Until recently, Drexel University librarians had to engage in some pretty serious work-arounds in order to manage records for their e-books. "We had to put appointments in our calendars to remind us to check a vendor's site," says Holly Tomren, Head of Metadata Services. "And we had to go to 20 different sources to get 20 different record sets."
In part, it was frustrations like this that led to the creation of the WorldCat knowledge base and WorldShare Metadata. Librarians described how managing metadata for electronic materials required many such similar, cumbersome, inefficient activities because many publishers and content providers had different, often incompatible ways of communicating additions and changes.
Metadata quality is another concern for Holly. As she puts it, "Not all vendors provide MARC records, or the quality of vendor records varies. Not all vendors provide information about changed records, either, and few provide OCLC numbers or holdings data."
"Compared to the records we get from other sources," she continues, "the e-book metadata we get from the WorldShare Metadata is extremely accurate and timely."
Holly also likes that there are many options for customizing e-book records before they move into her catalog. "I spend a lot less time doing in-house editing, as a result," she says.
Accurate metadata for e-books is important not just for librarian workflows, but for getting the right materials to students and faculty. Holly points out that since her libraries' e-book holdings are in WorldCat, they are also discoverable through WorldCat.org, WorldCat Local and any partner sites powered by the WorldCat Search API. "Having the holdings set automatically is really a great benefit for e-book discovery."
"Using the WorldCat knowledge base and the record delivery feature of WorldShare Metadata is a better workflow overall," says Holly. "It's given us better access to and discovery of our e-books in our discovery tools. It's just an easier way to deal with all our e-book collections."