Choosing What to Hold and What to Fold: Database Quality Decisions in Tough Times


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Choosing What to Hold and What to Fold: Database Quality Decisions in Tough Times

  1. 1. Choosing What to Hold and What to Fold NELINET Considering the Catalog and its Data Database Quality Decisions in Tough Times Karen Calhoun WorldCat and Metadata Services 27 May 2009
  2. 2. With thanks to Janet Hawk, Joanne Cantrell, Peggy Gallagher, OCLC Market Research Photo by allw3ndy
  3. 3. Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want End-Users expect online catalogs: to look like popular Web sites to have summaries, abstracts, tables of contents to help find needed information Librarians expect online catalogs: to serve end users’ information needs to help staff carry out work responsibilities to have accurate, structured data to exhibit classical principles of organization
  4. 4. Where does the library profession’s definition of “catalog quality” come from? Charles A. Cutter. Rules for a dictionary catalog.
  5. 5. Where does an end user’s definition of “quality” come from? “Users bring expectations developed through Internet use into library environments.”—Alison Dellit and Tony Boston, National Library of Australia “Due to the popularity of web search engines ... users think they can find everything on a topic with a few well-chosen words.”—Roy Tennant “More and more, users want, expect, and pursue full text.”— Norm Medeiros
  6. 6. What factors influence an end user’s definition of “catalog quality” today? “Dewey arranged books by subject, but Amazon tries to find every way we might want to get from the A of a book we know to the B, C, and Z of books we don’t know, including the fact that lots of other people bought Z.” --David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous, p. 62.
  7. 7. What is “full”? Product description and purchase information; ‘More like this’ Editorial reviews and author info Bibliographic Bibliographic information ‘Inside the information book’ tags, Library holdings ratings, Australian Details customer library holdings Subjects reviews, Editions lists and more + 3 more screens Reviews With thanks to David Lankes:
  8. 8. The Task Before Us “What is needed now is to integrate the best of both worlds in new, expanded definitions of what “quality” means in library online catalogs.”—Online Catalogs report How can what technical services does better reflect what end users want?
  9. 9. Objectives of our metadata quality research •Start over with a blank page •Identify and compare metadata expectations • End users • Librarians •Compare expectations of types of librarians •Determine end-user satisfaction with •Define a new WorldCat quality program •Considering the perspectives of all constituencies of WorldCat • End users (and subgroups of end users) • Librarians (and subgroups of librarians)
  10. 10. Research methodologies and demographics • Focus groups • Conducted by Blue Bear, LLC • Three sessions: College students, general public, scholars • Pop-up survey on • Conducted by ForeSee Results • 11,000+ responses: Students (28%), educators (22%), business professionals (19%), other; mix of ages; 44% from outside U.S. • Librarian survey • Conducted by Marketing Backup • 1,397 responses; North America (64%) and outside North America (36%); academic, public, special libraries; staff with roles in technical and public services, ILL, directors
  11. 11. What did we learn? End-user focus group results Key observations: • Delivery is as important, if not more important, than discovery • Seamless, easy flow from discovery through delivery is critical • Summaries and tables of contents are key elements of a description • Improved search relevance is necessary
  12. 12. What did we learn? Pop-up survey suggestions Changes to help identify an item? End users (n=7535)
  13. 13. End-user recommendations • Improve search relevance • Add more links to online full text (and make linking easy) • Add more summaries/abstracts: Make summaries more prominent • Add more details in the search results (e.g., cover art and summaries)
  14. 14. Librarian/staff survey results Recommended enhancements to WorldCat Total librarian responses
  15. 15. Librarian/Staff Results: End-User Results: Highlighted Differences Recommended Enhancements 9 Recommended enhancements to WorldCat Total end-user responses 1 4
  16. 16. What did we learn? Librarians’ Perceptions Compared to End-users Recommended enhancements to WorldCat
  17. 17. What did we learn? Librarians’ Perceptions Compared to End-users Recommended enhancements to WorldCat
  18. 18. What did we learn? Librarian survey results Respondents Who Reported Roles in Cataloging: Upgrade Brief Records Recommended enhancements to WorldCat
  19. 19. What did we learn? Librarian survey results Respondents Who Reported Roles as Library Directors: More Clickable Links to Online Content Recommended enhancements to WorldCat
  20. 20. Recommendations from librarian survey • Merge duplicates – New Duplication Detection and Resolution software in final testing phase • Make it easier to make corrections to records (fix typos; do upgrades); Expert Community Experiment began Feb. 15 • More emphasis on accuracy/currency of library holdings • Enrichment—TOCs, summaries, cover art—work with content suppliers, use APIs, etc. • More communication about what users say they want
  21. 21. What Does It Mean For Aligning What Technical Services Does with What Users Want? By: David Wulff
  22. 22. Matching Up What Technical Services Does to What End Users Want “A persistent shortcoming in the decision-making process that needs to be addressed is the lack of serious research into user needs and benefits, and the actual impact on users of database quality decisions.”—Janet Swan Hill Hill, Janet Swan, “Is it worth it? Management decisions related to database quality,” Cataloging and Classification Quarterly 46 (1) (2008): 5–26.
  23. 23. Two Starting Points 1. Paying attention to what’s important about records 2. Aligning technical services priorities with end user priorities • E-resources, books, media, unique digital collections • Redesigning workflows
  24. 24. “Evidence-Based Cataloging” Assess quality on external measures rather than subjective expert opinion Acknowledge other functions of records besides ‘find’ (FRBR “[Catalogers] need to practice evidence-based cataloging. tasks find, identify, select, obtain) They need to catalog based on the evidence that they can HIlder for the effectiveness of particular practices, and they find and Tan research: construct a measure of record need tofrom empirical research into catalog use quality judge their output according to this evidence.” • July-October 2007 • National Library Board (Singapore) and State Library of Victoria (Australia) Hilder, Philip and Tan, Kah-Ching. 2008. Constructing Record Quality Measures Based on Catalog Use. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 46:4.
  25. 25. Top Ten Elements for Identification and Selection at NLB, Compared to SLV Ratings for Those Elements 90 80 70 60 Weightings 50 40 30 20 10 0 n r ) g tle e ce e w y (s ho tio in l ag ar tit ie Ti ct en at ut m i ev Im Ed je nt R di A um R b ia au er Su ar /S ov et /v ts C rg rn n te Ta fo on ni U C Natl Lib Board State Lib Victoria Data Source: Hilder and Tan, p. 358.
  26. 26. Most Serious Errors by Field/Subfield (NLB) 10 9 8 Top Five Weightings (9 to 5) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 100 a 110 a 111 a 856 uz 245 a 100 others 110 others 111 others 700 a 710 a 711 a 130 a 240 a 246 a 247 a 730 a 740 a 245 bhnp 630 a 650 a 651 a 655 a 700 bqcd 710 bgncd 711 bcdeqn Data Source: Hilder and Tan, p. 354-5.
  27. 27. Buying What Users Want: Trends in Book, Media, Journal, and E-Resource Expenditures Public and Academic Library Acquisitions Expenditure Trends, 2004 and 2007 Reports Estimated % of Acq. Spend 45.00 40.00 35.00 Books 30.00 25.00 AV Materials 20.00 Periodicals/Serials 15.00 10.00 E-Reference 5.00 0.00 Public Academic Public Academic Libraries Libraries Libraries Libraries 2004 2007 As reported in The Bowker Annual, 2004 and 2007 editions; based on data taken from the American Library Directory.
  28. 28. ARL Library User Priorities: What Do They Want to Use, and Where? Five Most Desired Items Overall Making electronic resources accessible from my home or office Easy-to-use access tools that allow me to find things on my own A library Web site enabling me to locate information on my own Making information easily accessible for independent use Print and/or electronic journal collections I require for my work •The ‘wild user’ wants to use the library’s collections: •At a distance from the library •Independently and self-sufficiently •This is an international phenomenon Martha Kyrillidou and Ann-Christin Persson. 2005. The New Library User in Sweden: a LibQUAL+™ study at Lund University. Conference presentation. Available:
  29. 29. Shift effort to unique collections of value to local communities “The function of primary sources has “The availability of searching across Usage of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections been crucial for the success of my 2001-2008 [1] collections is a dream frequently teaching in history. Students have discussedwhat a difference it has made, remarked but seldom realized at 10000000 9000000 2 R = 0.9701 aand I have noticed a big difference robust level. This paper … 8000000 Millions of Sessions/Uses 7000000 discusses how we with themove between this course might availability 6000000 5000000 4000000 of online primary resources to those I 3000000 from isolated digital collections to 2000000 have taught before that were based on 1000000 0 interoperable digital libraries.” printed resources.” –History instructor, 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 —Howard Besser [3][2] University of California Posted 6/17/2008: Digital Collections Technology Librarian, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina DIGITAL COLLECTIONS TECHNOLOGY LIBRARIAN Digital visibility creates use: uncover those to provide access tohidden resources! [4] The Digital Collections Technology Librarian will investigate and develop solutions and long-term management of heterogeneous collections including text, images, video, and data…
  30. 30. Digital Collections Slide - Citations [1] Data source for chart and photo: University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center. Summary Statistics. [2] Quote from survey respondent as reported in Harley, Diane. 2007. Use and users of digital resources. Educause Quarterly 4, p. 12-20. [3] Besser, Howard. 2002. The next stage: moving from digital collections to interoperable digital libraries. First Monday 7:6. e/view/958/879 [4] For much more on the topic of digital collections’ visibility, see Research Information Network. 2007. Uncovering hidden collections.
  31. 31. Workflows 20% to 80% to Cataloging FastCat From: Andreadis, Debra K., et al. 2007. Cooperative Workflow Redesign in Library Technical Services at Denison University and Kenyon College. In: Library Workflow Redesign: Six Case Studies, ed. Marilyn Mitchell. Washington DC: CLIR.
  32. 32. A New Context for Technical Services Bibliographic Desktop (TS Data The Web Control Workstation) Management New sources/types Network, hardware Relational Data Authoring of records; and software Management outsourcing administration New workflows Integrated library SQL: queries and Publishing systems reports New metadata Macros; impt. of More data Web site standards ergonomics manipulation, less organization and data entry management E-resources and Growing number of Global change Digital library digital collections applications management systems Adapted from Calhoun, Karen. Technology, productivity, and change in library technical services. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services Volume 27, Issue 3, Autumn 2003, Pages 281-289
  33. 33. Examples of What Other Technical Services Leaders and Librarians Have Done (1) • Adopt evidence-based cataloging • Don’t sweat the small stuff (and figure out what the “small stuff” is) • Let go of the perfect on behalf of the good • Accept that fast and convenient availability are essential aspects of quality • Redeploy, re-skill, and refocus human efforts on (1) organizing the materials your end user communities use or want the most AND (2) what cannot be automated • E-resources • Media • Digital collections
  34. 34. Examples of What Other Technical Services Leaders and Librarians Have Done (2) – Workflow Redesign for Print •Study your processes with workflow •Stop special cuttering practices; close maps starting with selection and ending the shelflist card catalog with access (for e-) or on the shelf •Consolidate multiple tech services •Outsource or automate the ordinary departments (where it makes sense to do (e.g., obtain MARC record sets for e- so) journals) •Reduce the number of times materials •Maximize use of approval plans and/or are handled, moved, searched vendor or OCLC record supply services •Seek out and eliminate as many (e.g., WorldCat Cataloging Partners) workflow “exceptions” as possible •Receive as much as possible shelf-ready •Seek out and eliminate routines or (and spot check only) subprocesses that take time but don’t •Do as much processing (FastCat) as add value possible in acquisitions; save copy and •Get rid of multiple processes that original catalogers for the work only they accomplish the same thing can do •What else? •Stop editing CIP copy; examine and adopt automated tools (e.g.,, OCLC Bibliographic Notification) to capture upgrades
  35. 35. Examples of What Other Technical Services Leaders and Librarians Have Done (3) – Not Going It Alone • Commit to and invest in collective action with • --other libraries and consortia --other OCLC members --like organizations (local museums, archives, historical societies, cultural organizations) --vendors --other metadata communities --end users (your local communities)
  36. 36. Start Small, But Start We are staffed and trained for a print world—this MUST change! Realign our efforts to match • How collections are changing Highway • How users are changing By: SFAntti • How the Web is changing