OSMOSIS in a NUCshell

National Library staff, TMQ and seven pilot libraries around New Zealand are deep in the throes of a new project that aims to simplify the way libraries in New Zealand report changes in holdings to the National Union Catalogue (affectionately referred to as the NUC).

What's the NUC?

The NUC is a shared catalogue of items held by all New Zealand libraries that are Te Puna Subscribers (the vast majority of libraries in New Zealand are subscribers). The NUC contains bibliographic records to which New Zealand libraries are expected to add their holdings information, and it facilitates resource sharing by providing information to the interlibrary loan service, known as Te Puna Interloan. The NUC represents the collections of over 280 libraries and contains more than 13 million holdings records.


OSMOSIS is a piece of software developed by US-based The Marc of Quality (TMQ) designed to detect changes among holdings in a library catalogue. The National Library has formed a pilot project to trial the new software in seven New Zealand libraries.

Building an environment around that software is where the real grunt work is being done. The goal of the project is to determine the feasibility of offering OSMOSIS a national service.

As the project's manager, I can't say the road has always been a smooth one. Identifying and resolving issues that arise during the trial can be very challenging (and frustrating!), but it is deeply rewarding to work on a project that will add value to the services the National Library provides to libraries around New Zealand.

There are three stages in the OSMOSIS process.

Stage 1

Libraries are asked to complete profiles that will help in processing their library through the OSMOSIS software. Once these profiles are complete, the library extract a copy of their catalogue and send it to the National Library. TMQ then retrieve the file and verify that the file is readable.

Stage 2

The OSMOSIS software works its magic. The catalogue undergoes pre-OSMOSIS processing where coding errors in bibliographic records and duplicate records are identified. Once this is done, the OSMOSIS software compares subsequent snapshots of the catalogue and determines changes, additions and deletions of holdings. The results of this comparison are analysed by TMQ and the library is sent detailed reports of their findings.

Stage 3

Libraries are asked to analyse the reports for themselves to enable them to fix errors and make improvements in their local catalogue. If the library is satisfied with the results, the National Library upload changes in a library's holdings to the NUC. These changes are then reported to OCLC where the currency of holdings is maintained on an international level.

By Chelsea Hughes

Chelsea had many hats here at the Library, and probably still wears them if they're funny enough.

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