Thursday, January 21, 2010

Large print books

Cathy W. had a question for me yesterday (or maybe today, my memory is like Swiss cheese) that brought something to my attention - there's no way to find large print books using our OPAC, or even, as far as I know, a report in WorkFlows. You can limit a search in WorldCat just to large print books that we own, but it can't generate a list of every large print book we own. The best option right now: I can come up with what is probably an almost complete list of them using OCLC Connexion. Since this list is based on the master records available via Connexion, rather than our own local records, it doesn't include our call numbers. It relies heavily on the assumption that the previous catalogers who added our holdings to those records were paying attention to the little code in the fixed fields that can indicate whether something is large print - it's quite possible that these items we have that are supposedly large print really aren't, and I've already seen that we have a few books that are probably large print but that aren't coded as such in the master records. The biggest drawback, as far as DSL's users and people working at the reference desk are concerned, is that the only one who can generate this list is someone with access to Connexion.

There's a way to fix this, however. There's a subject heading, "Large type books," which I could add to every large print book record we've got (it'd probably be more correct to add it as a local genre heading, but, without a genre index, that would defeat the purpose of creating something that people can actually make use of). The "tidy" way to do this would be to take a look at everything in our holdings that Connexion told me was large print (34 items, as of this morning) and confirm that it really is large print. The faster way to do this would be to just add the subject heading to all 34 records, plus the few stragglers that seem to have miscoded master records - some of them might not actually be large print books, but the project would take up less of my time.

It's not really a "rush" project, so I'm thinking about it for now.


  1. What exactly generated this whole request? I don't think we buy much if any large print, at least not intentionally. Usually costs more than regular print. I think I've only selected one large print book in the almost-four years I've been here, and that was only because it was the only hardbound format available.

  2. I think it was a question from a user (student? faculty member? I don't know) with poor eyesight.

    Well, it's pretty obvious that we don't actively collect large print materials - 34 or so books out of all that we own isn't very much, and I think quite a few of those 34 were in our Curriculum collection (maybe some cataloger coded children's books with large print as large print books?). This is the only time I've ever heard from somebody about needing to find any large print books we own - this kind of thing is usually more of a public library concern.

    So, on the one hand, if there's not much need for it, I can choose not to do this at all. On the other hand, since we don't have too many of them, I can just go ahead and add the subject heading to the records, going the fast route and not bothering to check whether the books are really large print or just miscoded.

    I have more than enough to do that I wouldn't mind just skipping this project altogether. I'm just concerned that, if this is something that may come up again, there's currently no way to come up with an answer using our OPAC or even WorldCat.

  3. I think I know who the user was - he also came down here looking for the equipment in the AV room for the visually impaired. I'm betting he was just asking if we happened to carry any large print books, as most public libraries (even the one in Granbury) have a large print section as a lot of older adults prefer them.

    If you generate the list of the books, I can have one of my student workers pull them (since most are down here anyway) and I can confirm whether they are or not. Let me know.

  4. Ok, when I get to it - I figured I'd probably be asking Jennifer for the help of one of the Circ students, or something. I'd still have to get all the call numbers for each one, since the list isn't generated from WorkFlows or our OPAC. Maybe the student (yours or Jennifer's) would also be willing to search the titles in our catalog and find the call numbers themselves?

  5. Students in Circ are busy enough - I on the other hand have trouble keeping mine busy (or busy and not bored). This would be an excellent diversion from shelf-reading for Brittany who works 6.5 to 7 hours MWF. She can search the titles, find the call numbers, and pull the books. E-mail me the list whenever it's convenient.

    If you have other tasks that a borrowed student worker could do for you, check with me first. I'm always willing - and usually the one most able - to share.