Monday, March 29, 2010

DSL audiobook cataloging changes

I'm just about done cataloging all our new audiobooks. In order to speed up the cataloging of audiobooks and, I hope, improve the way they're displayed in our catalog, here's some things I've started doing. Note to any catalogers who may stumble upon this: these are local edits only, so don't freak out. I rarely edit audiobook master records.
  • Statements such as "abridged" and "unabridged" are moved from the 500 field (a miscellaneous "note" field) to the 250 field (used for edition statements). Although these statements aren't technically edition statements, according to the way they're defined in OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards (I wasn't able to find anything this specific in AACR2, so AACR2 may be more flexible in its definition of "edition"), even if 500 notes for audiobooks displayed in our OPAC, and I don't believe they do, it would take a little work for our users to see what many audiobook listeners consider important information.
    What this means for catalog users: Whether an audiobook is abridged or unabridged will display right next to the title in our results lists.
  • I'm no longer listening to even a portion of each audiobook. According to AACR2, the chief source of information for sound recordings is, for CDs, the disc and label and, for cassettes, the cassette and label. Listening to the discs wasn't really accomplishing anything other than making the cataloging process take quite a bit longer.
    What this means for catalog users: Probably not much, unless the discs are defective in some way. In theory, listening to the discs also allowed me to spot-check them for problems. I still visually examine the discs for scratches, but I could potentially miss problems that might only make themselves known by listening to the discs. However, by the time I catalog things, it's usually well past the period when we'd be able to send something back. If we were truly concerned about defective discs, we'd need to have our Acquisitions students check them as they received them.
  • As I mentioned in my previous post, I now add the 306 field, which contains standardized playing time information, to each record that doesn't have it. Although this may add a little to the time it takes to edit an audiobook record, it doesn't add much - this takes less time to do than adding a 590.
    What this means for catalog users: Probably not much, unless they want to try my advanced search, with all its annoying limitations. However, without this field, any kind of limiting by playing time is next to impossible.
  • I don't record producers, directors, etc. in audiobook records. In most cases, I'd have to at least listen to the first and last discs (or cassettes, although I've only had to deal with CDs so far) to get this information, skipping to the last track of the last disc and carefully fast forwarding until I got to the credits. I've done this before - this added significantly to the time it took to catalog an audiobook, and I kept asking myself, "What's the point?" I doubt our users are interested in the producer and director of, say, the audiobook version of Blink. Rest assured, I always record and add access points for audiobook readers.
    What this means for catalog users: In the event that they actually are interested in audiobook producers, directors, etc., they're out of luck.

Ok, I think that's all the main changes I've recently made to the way I catalog our audiobooks. While certain information is left out that wouldn't have been before, I don't think the information is important to our users - if I'm wrong and someone has come to the reference desk asking about something that I'm now leaving out of records, let me know. The primary benefit of several of these changes is that audiobooks are getting cataloged much faster. This not only benefits me - it benefits our users, who get to see audiobooks on the shelves sooner and who don't have to wait ages for me to get back to cataloging print books because the audiobooks are taking up all of my time.


  1. 1. Abridged versus unabridged is important - thanks!

    2. We now buy all our audiobooks from Audio Editions, where we have up to a year to send back defective discs, and after that, we can get replacement discs for $8. Since I'm a big audiobook user, I generally listen to all the stuff we buy within the year (and the titles I don't listen to are popular authors that others do listen to). So, hopefully we are catching all defective discs.

    3. I think most current users are able to estimate length by looking at the number of discs (since we put on a neon yellow label with that information, more to make sure all the discs get put back in the case by the user). Nevertheless, I am glad this information will be more accessible.

    4. While users probably don't care about the directors or producers, users might care about the reader - not sure if that is something already included in your catalog records. Some audiobook aficionados really love or hate particular readers.

    Thanks for all you do, Melissa!

  2. I haven't seen a record yet where the reader wasn't included, although I still make sure to always check. I used to listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I definitely understand how important readers are!

    I'm glad to hear that you're likely to catch any defective discs - that was one of the things I was most worried about. Since we received some of the stuff I just cataloged only a couple months ago, it'll definitely get listened to in time then. I think I'm done with all our newly purchased audiobooks, and I'm just waiting for Dick Smith Library stickers to be put on your gifts before I can catalog those and finish up everything.