Some of you may be following the discussions and debates surrounding Level 3 records in WorldCat on the various cataloging listservs (OCLC-CAT and AUTO-CAT). OCLC made an announcement in July that they would begin loading Baker and Taylor records into WorldCat (See the July MINITEX/OCLC Mailing article, page 6, to read more about this announcement), and, soon after the announcement, discussion in the form of complaints began on the listservs. BATS staff have also been reading all of the comments and taking note of the issues brought up by our MINITEX participating libraries. We would like to provide a short summary of the listserv discussion on Level 3 records. After reading, please send us your comments. We will soon be attending one of our semi-annual meetings at OCLC headquarters in Dublin, OH, and would like to be able to voice our participants concerns.
OCLC stated that they are loading these Level 3 vendor records because they have heard a lot of "discussion from libraries about the potential of getting bibliographic data earlier in the life cycle of that data and about the potential of reducing duplicative effort by repurposing vendors' data" (Glenn Patton, OCLC). These vendor records loaded into WorldCat are not intended for cataloging use as they are, but are there to be upgraded by member libraries, vendor cataloging staff, and OCLC. See Glenn Patton’s message at the end of this article to read OCLC’s official response.
Discussion from libraries on OCLC-CAT have said that these level 3 records are so brief that, rather than upgrade the record, one is better off cataloging them from scratch. Catalogers have also stated concerns about the quality of WorldCat with the recently loaded Baker and Taylor Level 3 records. To read more user comments posted to OCLC-CAT, you can access the listserv archives and search the subject line for “level 3 records.” NOTE: You need to be a subscriber to access the archives found here
Please comment or send us your feedback!