The Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) recently announced an agreement with library automation software provider Innovative Interfaces to make SkyRiver bibliographic services available to libraries throughout the state. SkyRiver will facilitate a comprehensive audit of CLiC’s AspenCat union catalog, and ultimately, will offer the consortium’s 400 libraries a source of cataloging records.
“Everything comes down to a good catalog record,” Jim Duncan, executive director of CLiC, told LJ. “It impacts discoverability, it impacts access. And those two things, from a patron perspective, end up driving resource sharing. If a catalog record is good quality, it stands a greater chance of being found, and then when patrons find it they want it. If you’ve got messy records, they may not understand what they’re looking at, or they may not even find it. And in a multi-library union catalog situation like … AspenCat, the cleaner we can make those records, the more comprehensive we can make them, it’s going to improve things all around.”
Forty-nine public, academic, school and special libraries currently use AspenCat, and most of these libraries are small. Without an official cataloging source, these libraries were relying on open Z39.50 targets, which resulted “in kind of a mishmash of copy cataloging activity from all of these libraries,” Duncan said. “As you might expect, the catalog had become pretty messy.”
The SkyRiver cataloging client will enable the initial audit, which Duncan described as “a massive cleanup,” and then ensure consistency throughout AspenCat and the CLiC network, as members use the client as their primary target source of catalog records going forward. Duncan explained that SkyRiver was selected, in part, because it offered a lower-cost option compared with OCLC, but he expects the service to be a comprehensive source of records as well.
“We looked at the libraries around the country that are already SkyRiver clients and became convinced that the diversity of that database is more than sufficient for these small library purposes,” Duncan added. “It’s going to be a rare thing, I think, for a library not to find a record in SkyRiver when they are copy cataloging. If they don’t find it, there’s a really solid methodology for submitting new, original catalog records.”
The rollout of the service will be supported by an extensive training program. CLiC staff, along with independent contractors, will conduct training sessions at member libraries, and will incorporate training workshops into the consortium’s regional spring meetings in Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Fort Morgan.
“We have a long track record with [continuing education], and SkyRiver gives us another excuse to get out in the field and train libraries on the importance of cataloging,” Duncan said. “While we licensed SkyRiver specifically for AspenCat’s benefit, our deal allows us to have other libraries that aren’t part of AspenCat also license SkyRiver if they choose…. We will provide them with training, and as much support as reasonable for them if they need assistance in that implementation phase.”