Sources for Cataloging Information 3
A third source of cataloging information is a subscription to a cataloging database that provides access to cataloging records for the purpose of downloading or copying them into your catalog.
An example of this type of database is OCLC, which contains over 46 million cataloging records. The libraries that are members of OCLC contribute the cataloging records for their holdings into the database, which is then accessible by anyone who becomes a member. In this way, libraries can save on cataloging time by copying the records they need, editing them for local call numbers and subject headings, and entering them directly into their own catalogs.
There are many advantages to this service, but the cost is fairly high for most small libraries.
OCLC does offer various levels of participation, and has a service for smaller libraries that want to access the cataloging records, but do not wish to enter their catalog into the OCLC system. Another available cataloging database is Lasercat, a CD Rom product that is issued quarterly through subscription by OCLC-Western. This is a listing of the cataloging records for libraries participating in this northwest regional cataloging network. WLN (formerly the Western Library Network), which originated Lasercat, merged with OCLC and the availability of Lasercat may change in the future, but currently it is an option for cataloging information. If you add many materials to your library each year, you may wish to check into the cost of minimum participation in a cataloging network and compare it with the staff time and costs for doing the same work.
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