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2018 AskQC office hours

Find office hour recordings and supporting materials for 2018 AskQC office hours.

 Note: See AskQC office hour URLs for a list of all URLs shared during AskQC office hours.

January 2018 :: 260 to 264 conversion


Cynthia Whitacre (Metadata Policy Manager) presented on the OCLC 260 to 264 MARC conversion project. When the RDA cataloging standard first came out in 2010 the 264 field had not yet been implemented. The MARC 260 field was still being used for publication information. The MARC field 264 was approved until 2011 and it was implemented in WorldCat on May 2012. Now that 264 is considered the standard MARC field for publication information when cataloging according to RDA OCLC thought it would be worth pursuing converting the 260 MARC field in RDA records to 264. There are currently 12+ million records coded as RDA in WorldCat. Out of those records 1.5 million of them have a 260 MARC field. The WorldCat Metadata Quality Division will be correcting those 1.5 million records to have the appropriate MARC tag 264. OCLC reached out to the Program of Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) community to hear their opinions about the possibilities of doing this conversion project to RDA records in WorldCat. Some PCC members voiced concerned on the complex production/publication situations and CJK records. We have considered these concerns and will be analyzing complex 260/264 field conversions carefully as well as will be working closely with the CKJ OCLC Users Group to analyze CJK records. At this time, there are no plans to convert non-RDA record with a 260 MARC field to 264. Records that will be candidates for the project will have to be coded with a $e rda in the 040 MARC field and have a 260 MARC field. Complex 260/264 MARC field scenarios such as a 260 MARC field with a publication and copyright date (e.g. $c 2012, ©2011) will be worked out carefully to be converted to the correct 264 _1 2012 and 264 _4 ©2011. The 260/264 conversion project will help make data more consistent we expect to work on this project in the Spring and have it completed by the end of the calendar year. An announcement on OCLC-CAT will be posted once this work is underway. If you wish to obtain records with your holdings that change, you can receive them through Bibliographic Updates, a service available to< everyone with a cataloging subscription through Collection Manager

Supporting material

 Note: The January 31, 2018 session was not recorded.

February 2018 :: Cataloging defensively with edition statements


Jay Weitz (Senior Consulting Database Specialist) presented on Cataloging Defensively with Edition Statements. The edition statement is a field that is heavily used in OCLC's matching and merging algorithms and through all formats. When to Input a New Record from OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS), Chapter 4 has long served to provide a common basis for decision making in the creation of WorldCat bibliographic records by the participants in the OCLC Cooperative. When to Input has also been the public reflection of how OCLC's matching algorithms, including Duplicate Detection and Resolution (DDR), and automated loading of records are intended to work. When to Input has been thoroughly revised, with the updated version being available since October 2017.

One of the most important MARC elements that is included in the matching algorithms of both DDR and Data Sync is the edition statement. If a resource has an edition statement explicitly on the item, we ask that it be recorded in a field 250. An edition statement coded in a 250, rather than being recorded in a quoted or unquoted note or to other title information, can be one of the most effective means of differentiating records that might otherwise be identical. RDA defines the scope of an edition statement including the words or statements that evidence a designation of edition. Other matching elements, such as dates or publisher numbers, may also adequately distinguish the records; however, an edition statement should be recorded in field 250 if one is present on your resource. In cases where there is no explicit edition statement on the resource, both RDA and AACR2 1.2B4 give considerable power to catalogers to account for differences by supplying an edition statement. Supplying an edition statement to bring out subtle differences in resources is one of the most effective ways of assuring that bibliographic records won't be merged incorrectly by DDR. If there is a date associated with these different versions, it is within the scope of the instructions to include the date as part of the edition statement in field 250.

March 2018 :: Processing change requests


Charlene Morrison (Database Specialist II) and Shanna Griffith (Database Specialist II) presented on the topic: Processing change requests: how WorldCat Metadata Quality staff sort, analyze, handle error reports, and how they are categorized. This topic was chosen from suggestions made by an attendee from February's presentation. We hope by sharing how WorldCat Metadata Quality staff process change requests, members will understand and appreciate the volume of requests processed and the care we take in processing each request.

Bibliographic change requests are routed to the BCR Inbox ( and are processed by WorldCat Metadata Quality staff daily. Duplicates are filed for evaluation and processing by format specialists, and change requests are processed on a first in, first out basis. The same process is followed for authority change requests sent to the Authfile Inbox ( Staff do not have items in hand, and resolution time frames may vary based on the complexity of the request. OCLC cannot merge authority records and will forward them to the Library of Congress for member libraries who are not NACO participants. There are multiple ways change requests can be submitted, these are documented in Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) Chapter 5 (

We currently average 2,500 merge requests each month and have a backlog of approximately 24,000 merge requests. Two-thirds are for book duplicates, followed by sound recordings, continuing resources, and scores.

April 2018 :: URLs in a shared cataloging environment


Robin Six (Database Specialist II) presented on the topic: URLs in a Shared Cataloging Environment. The focus of this topic was on use of URLs in fields 856 and 956. Field 856 is retained in the WorldCat record and should be provider neutral, while field 956 is not retained in the WorldCat record and may be used for an institution specific URL. If field 856 is used in a Local Holdings Record (LHR), then an institution specific URL may be use. These fields contain the information required to locate and access electronic resources. The 2nd indicator in field 856 should never be coded 0 on a print resource. Properly coded indicators on print and online version records are very important and affect how records are displayed in a library's online display in their catalog.

OCLC works to maintain current URLs through partnerships with publishers and vendors, who often contact OCLC when URLs need updating. However, we also rely on member institutions to report issues with URLs to In general non-working URLs are deleted from bibliographic records, except in the case where a bibliographic record representing an online resource would no longer have a URL. In those cases, the second indicator would be changed to "blank" and a note would be added stating that the URL no longer works as of a specific date. Another URI found in fields 856 and 956 is the PURL, or persistent uniform resource locator. Broken OCLC PURLs should be reported to as with any other change request.

We will be sending out a survey after the May session to OCLC-CAT to gather feedback from the Virtual AskQC Office Hour sessions. We are looking for feedback on how you thought these sessions went as well as suggested topics for future sessions. We are looking to send the survey to OCLC-CAT sometime in early June.

May 2018 :: Bibliographic record validation


Robert Bremer (Senior Consulting Specialist) explains how the use of Validation helps ensure that bibliographic records contain valid MARC coding in various applications such as Data Ingest, Connexion, and Record Manager. He explains with detail the process that uses a database of MARC data elements, such as fixed field elements, tags, indicators, and subfields.

June 2018 :: What is the expert community?


Cynthia Whitacre (Manager, Metadata Policy) presented on the topic: What is the Expert Community? The presentation provided a definition on the concept, its history, capabilities and restrictions of the expert community, and resources where catalogers can learn more the expert community.

The expert community is a crowd-sourcing quality control function that allows catalogers from OCLC member libraries to improve almost all WorldCat WorldCat records. The first iteration of the program began in 1983 what was then called the enhance program. The enhance program allowed libraries to apply to obtain special capabilities of modifying records in a specific format (e.g. books, maps, and serials). Libraries had to apply and were required to go through a review process where they submitted revised records for OCLC staff to review. Only through this process were libraries certified and would become contributors to the enhance program. Two years after the enhance program, the Minimal Level upgrade functionality was introduced, which allow any member library the ability to enhance less than full or minimal level records, encoding level 3 or K. In 1991 the database enrichment program permitted libraries to include the addition of certain metadata elements such as call number, summary notes, subject headings, content notes, and other fields that were lacking in the WorldCat record. Finally, in 2009 there was a 6-month experiment called “Expert Community” which consisted of extensive evaluation by OCLC Metadata Quality staff, where changes to WorldCat records were analyzed to determine if it was a positive or detrimental change. The experiment concluded that the changes to bibliographic records were mostly positive, where corrections and additions were being done in a timely manner to fix bibliographic record problems. The experiment was deemed a success and the Expert Community became the successor of the Enhance Program. Even though the Expert Community replaces the Enhance Program the National level enhance still exists today for certain OCLC member libraries to correct Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) records. You can learn more about the entire history of Expert Community in the newly revised Chapter 5 of Bibliographic Formats and Standards.

The expert community has always been intended to acknowledge the wealth of knowledge that catalogers can share in WorldCat, as we already do in listservs and social media channels. All catalogers can make an impact to the WorldCat database due to the Expert Community. Connexion and Record Manager users who have full level cataloging authorization or higher can make corrections to WorldCat records. Regardless of the edit, your contribution helps improve the WorldCat record for other catalogers to use. Whether it be correcting a typo or adding metadata elements relevant to the resource, WorldCat greatly benefits when its members correct or enhance records.

Catalogers can do almost anything to any WorldCat records because of Expert Community. There are only a few fields that catalogers cannot change in a WorldCat record. These MARC fields are: 019 (contains the OCLC control numbers of merged records), 029 (control numbers to specific large libraries loads, that are used for matching), 938 (contains vendor information supplied in OCLC), 040 $c and $d (the OCLC institution symbols that create or modify a bibliographic record). Besides these fields you can change essentially anything in non-PCC records. Another restriction in expert community are CIP records where you cannot change the encoding level 8 but can modify any other part of the record. Encoding level 8 must stay on CIP records due to the overlay process that occurs when national libraries and vendors send their full encoding level record to WorldCat; code 8  allows that overlay to happen. Libraries also have restrictions on editing CONSER (continuing resources and serials records) or BIBCO (non-serial and monographic records), both types of records can be identified by a “pcc” code in the 042 MARC field. Even though CIP, BIBCO, and CONSER records have certain restrictions, the Expert Community can enrich these records by adding metadata that is not already present in the record (e.g. adding summaries, content notes, call numbers, and subject headings in schemes that are not present).

You can learn more about the expert community be reading the resources below. Please note that the last two links are a little outdated, but we are hoping to have this content current later in the year.

Some of the examples of FAQs that you will see in the last link are “Can I improve and update records in all formats? Can I add URLs to mater records? Both answers to these questions are yes! Do I need to lock the WorldCat record before I replace? The answer to this question would depend on the interface you are using for cataloging. Are there special considerations for non-Latin scripts? More information on this question can be found in the document, so we highly encourage you to view it.

The expert community is founded on the principles that catalogers should try not to do harm to bibliographic records and if in doubt of the change you are considering, it’s best not do it. You can read more about these principles in the second link, Expert Community Guidelines. Also, remember to never remove accurate or correct information in a WorldCat record, never change the basic nature of the WorldCat record to represent something else, and never make changes to the WorldCat records that follows local practices or includes local metadata fields. Be cautious of changing a WorldCat record that has a different language of cataloging than you use and changing a metadata element in a WorldCat record that is based on cataloger’s judgment. Please behave responsibly when editing records and avoid starting “editing” wars with other catalogers. OCLC entrusts its member libraries to do the right thing in editing WorldCat records.

Finally, if you would like to join us to talk more about expert community, you are welcome to the ALA conferences where we hold the OCLC’s Expert Cataloging Community Sharing session. These events are usually held from 10:30 to noon on Friday. They are coordinated and moderated by Jay Weitz. Several staff members of OCLC Metadata Quality also attend. Attendees are welcome to ask any questions, as we do with the AskQC office hours. The notes from the meetings are also widely distributed in the listservs afterwards.

September 2018 :: Meet Metadata Quality


The WorldCat Metadata Quality staff introduced themselves and an overview was given of each of the three sections that make up the Metadata Quality division at OCLC.

Metadata Quality is divided up into three primary sections: Metadata Policy, WorldCat bibliographic database (quality control, working primarily with bibliographic records and also authority records), and WorldCat knowledge base and registry.

  • Metadata Policy works on setting policy for all of WorldCat, including both bibliographic and authority records with some involvement in Local Bibliographic Data (LBD) and Local Holdings Records (LHR). They are responsible for implementing policy within the WorldCat bibliographic database, and assuring that the database is updated when needed. The staff also represent OCLC to outside groups at ALA, IFLA, PCC, and other cataloging communities and are responsible for answering a majority of the questions submitted to
  • WorldCat Quality improves, enhances, and enriches the quality of the WorldCat bibliographic database. Staff run multiple sessions of Connexion client to correct and enhance bibliographic records. OCLC staff as a group modify an average of 10 to 15 million bibliographic records a month. Staff also merge duplicate records in all formats and are involved in the Member Merge Project, an outreach program that trains select member libraries to merge duplicate
    bibliographic records. WorldCat Quality staff resolve user requests for corrections to bibliographic records, and support libraries who do not participate in NACO by creating and modifying name and series authority records
  • WorldCat knowledge base resolves issues relating to linking and holdings information, primarily for electronic resources, within the WorldCat knowledge base, enabling library to manage e-collections, provide access to resources, and receive MARC record delivery. The WorldCat registry contains information regarding institutions, such as the library's address and links to the catalog. Maintaining accurate information in the registry facilitates, among other things, access to library holdings in

October 2018 :: Parallel record and language of cataloging


Cynthia Whitacre presented on the topic of language of cataloging and parallel language records. The language of cataloging is characterized using a single language in cataloger supplied elements. The code for language of cataloging may be found in field 040 subfield $b in the record. If subfield $b is absent from field 040, the implied language of cataloging is English. Language of cataloging (Field 040 subfield $b) relates the descriptive cataloging, while the language of the item (Lang fixed field) relates to the language of the content in the resource itself. Subject headings do not determine the language of cataloging in a bibliographic record and may be in any language on any record. DataSync collections may be set up with a specific language of cataloging code within the collection profile setup, which provides a crucial match point.

Parallel records are multiple records for the same manifestation that describe that manifestation in different languages of cataloging. Each language of cataloging is allowed one record per manifestation. Do not report parallel language records as duplicates to WorldCat Metadata Quality staff; however, do report duplicate records within the same language of cataloging. For example, report two German language records that represent the same manifestation, but do not report a German language record and a French language record representing the same manifestation. Elements to look for when determining language of cataloging include: the authority file used for non-subject heading access points, relator terms used in access point fields, words and abbreviations in subfield $a and subfield $b in field 300, and terms used in 33x and 34x fields.

If, after a thorough search of WorldCat, a record does not exist in your language of cataloging for a resource, please create a parallel record in your language of cataloging. You may derive a record from a parallel language record to create a record in your language of cataloging but be sure to change all appropriate fields to your language of cataloging. When correcting records, if the language of cataloging is coded incorrectly or appears to be a hybrid, you are welcome to make the correction yourself or report it to to be corrected. When correcting hybrid records, consider the intent of the inputting library, the language of the descriptive fields in the record, and the language of the majority of libraries who have attached holdings. Some non-English libraries do accept and input record with English language of cataloging and some libraries base their language of cataloging on the language of the item. When in doubt, sent hybrid  record requests to

For more information on language of cataloging and parallel records see BFAS 3.10 Parallel Records for Language of Cataloging. Note that these instructions may eventually be moved to BFAS Chapter 2.

November 2018 :: How the OCLC MARC update process works


Jay Weitz presented on the topic of the OCLC MARC update process. MARC21 has evolved over the last 50 years, and Jay gave a history of MARC21 and the field update process. He talked about the organizations responsible for approving new fields, the MARC Advisory Committee (MAC), including MARBI (1973-2013) and the MARC Advisory Committee (2013- ). He shared the list of current MAC members, both national libraries and other constituent members and how they work together.

Using the MARC field 647 as an example, Jaywalked us through the process OCLC followed in getting this field defined for use for FAST headings.

The MARC Update Timeline: Idea -> Discussion Paper -> Proposal -> MARC Update ->OCLC-MARC Update

The MARC Code Timeline: MARC Code Requested -> LC Technical Notice -> WorldCat Validation Install