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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Apr 21 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio

By Connie Harrison, MLIS Student

My Alternate Spring Break with OCLC was an exclusive opportunity to engage with the people and the work of the Metadata Quality Control team that serves Worldcat and all its incumbent products and services. I had the delight to team with Laura Ramsey who is the Section Manager. Laura was so very generous and hospitable to me as were her team members.

As an ASB intern, our hosts graciously toured us through the entire Kilgour Building which is on the OCLC campus in Dublin, Ohio. I settled in a cubicle space with a refreshing view of the man-made lake and now dormant vegetable garden seen below.

The Metadata Quality Control team members provided an overview of each area of their specialization and oriented me around sample catalog records which touched just a tiny fraction of the +390 million bibliographic records they maintain in Worldcat.

The team underwent year-long training and testing to apply the new RDA (Resource Description Access) catalog standard. And they are busy hybridizing MARC records using AACR2 rules with RDA rules, by way of macros. Additionally, everyone on the team is responsible for record maintenance that present as exception records that don’t pass validation after the new rules are applied.

I learned from each of the 5 Quality Control members in a specific area of specialization pertaining to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). Those included half day long sessions on MARC, BIBCO (monograph), CONSER (serials), NACO (name authority), and SACO (subject authority). As a result, I was able to take home a new appreciation for RDA and the massive responsibility it takes to upgrade from one standard to the new standard. I was also fortunate to get a lesson on the documentation contained in Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) which is a suite that I will use as a primary resource for cataloging questions in the future. And conforming the training to my specific area of interest, I received a session on serials record management to punctuate the week. It was a fantastic learning experience about the campus, the people, the work, and the culture of OCLC in Library & Information Science.

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