"Moving from a Card Catalog to Going Online"|
Steve Sowder *
Moving from a card catalog to an online system requires much planning and the work of more than one person. Creating a Library Steering Committee can facilitate this process and spread the work load around. It is advisable to solicit the ideas of others and "negotiate" some of the decisions.
Some issues to be settled. Do you want the online system to be an Integrated Library System (ILS)? An ILS incorporates the acquisitions, cataloging, patron records, periodicals, and circulation. Such systems can be purchased by modules. Your use of an ILS may be limited to acquisitions and the catalog.
Do you have a local network in place and will the catalog be available at all computers in the school? If so, your local gurus, that setup and maintain the network, will need to be involved. The local guru(s) may also be willing to tackle one of the open-source ILS's that are available. Probably the best known of these is Koha.
If you do not want an ILS but just the "catalog online" then the same local guru(s) may be able to help provide and maintain a program that can be used to search your list of titles using a web browser. In the future, a locally developed database can usually be used as a starting point to create records for an ILS.
Going online does not necessarily mean that online has to be at
your school. Some ILS providers can host your collection at their site
and you and your students access it via the Internet.
A general outline of the project follows:
1. Budget and/or fund-raising
If creating a local list, this may start with a computer readable list of accessions. Computer readable means that a computer program can read the file and can tell the difference between each book, and each field (Author, Title, Subject) within the book entry.
A minimum of fields should be Author, Title, Subjects, and Call Number (see Note 1). Other fields that would be nice are Accession Number, Location (or room number), Year of Publication, format (Hardback/Paperback), ISBN, and any other fields of local interest (ie Donor name).
One possible use would be fields from the Dublin Core (Appendix D) or a limited verison of it.
This information could be entered into a spreadsheet, access database, or a locally defined system (ie web page).
1. Call Number is not essential for a small library. Items could be kept
on the shelves by subject order and then by authors last name. The first
or main subjects used should be from a controlled list that is by Dewey
Decimal Number. (See Appendix C).
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White Paper Guide
for Planning Automation
Based on the article "Library Automation: A Buying Guide" by Kathy
Shrock in Technology and Learning,
February 2004. Additional information supplied by this author.
Appendix B: Selected open-source Integrated Library Systems
Appendix C: Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) of Subjects
A good introduction to the DDC for the non-librarians on your committee
Appendix D: Elements of the Dublin Core
* Presented by Steve Sowder - Systems Librarian & Head, Dept of
Systems and Media Librarian,|
Andrews University - firstname.lastname@example.org at the
25th ASDAL Conference, School Library Section - Union College - Nebraska - July 14, 2005