Survey of the New Zealand Cataloguing Community February 2019: summary of results for New Zealand libraries
Summary report of the findings from our ‘Survey of the New Zealand Cataloguing Community February 2019’.
- New Zealand libraries as users of National Library records are a diverse group with very different needs. Specialists will always augment for their local context. The National Library should continue to aim to provide timely metadata of a good standard to meet the core needs
- The response rate from public libraries was low so that we need to be cautious about using this data to inform any change in practice that might impact on this user group
- Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) for fiction is almost universally unimportant across all types of libraries, with libraries either shelving by genre/author name or not collecting fiction at all
- DDC for non-fiction is generally appreciated, but libraries mostly use it as a guide and for modifying for their own collection
- No-one mentioned using DDC for serials
- National Library local genre terms are appreciated
- The lack of local genre terms for Māori literature (adult) was noted
- The expertise and cataloguing work of the National Library is appreciated
- The National Library’s application of Ngā Upoko Tukutuku is very much valued and quite a few respondents are also adding them to their records in line with the National Library’s approach
- The adult fiction records created by the National Library lack some data public libraries want, particularly subject headings
- Tables of contents and summaries/abstracts are very much wanted
Actions to be taken by the National Library
Publications New Zealand metadata
- Promote the availability of Publications New Zealand metadata
- Make available an updated set of records with permalinks for all open-access National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA) resources
- Promote the email@example.com email box for queries about the Publications New Zealand metadata
Māori Subject Headings
- Provide a summary of the comments about training in the application of Ngā Upoko Tukutuku to the Māori Subject Headings Governance Group
National Library cataloguing policy
- Review the National Library’s use of genre terms to consider whether and in what circumstance it might be better to use genre terms rather than form subdivisions
- Improve the timeliness of National Library records by moving away from adding subject headings and classification where richer subject access is provided by abstracts or contents notes from the resource itself
- Undertake follow-up research to determine the make-up of the current New Zealand cataloguing community, to understand what kinds of tools and workflows are used, and to better understand current challenges
Analysis of responses
Number of respondents
There were 47 complete responses and 3 additional responses which only completed the first few questions. Using the Directory of New Zealand Libraries data it’s possible to construct a very rough comparison of our responses and the total number of libraries in New Zealand, although this is affected by multiple responses from the same library. Note that the Directory relies on libraries self-identifying their type and is organised by library symbols. Some libraries, e.g. University Libraries, have more than one library symbol:
|No. of library symbols||Our responses||%|
Without a clear picture what the current cataloguing community in New Zealand looks like, it is difficult to assess whether these responses are sufficient to draw any meaningful conclusions. The university libraries were well represented but the response rate from the public libraries was so low that caution is needed in using this data to inform any change in practice which might impact on this user group.
Question 1: Which type of library do you work in?
The highest number of respondents came from public libraries, with the next largest group from the eight university libraries. The four responses from "other" libraries were a National Museum and Art Gallery, a mixed Public and university library, a university plus heritage/archival library and a vendor.
Question 2: Do you actively look for Publications New Zealand records (identified by the 042 $a nznb) to import into your catalogue?
While one respondent indicated that Publications NZ records are "our most preferred records", most comments implied that it is less important that it is a Publications New Zealand record than that there is a full record available when the library needs it.
Question 3: Where do you look for Publications NZ records?
The question asked people to select all options they use.
Te Puna on WorldCat is the most popular source for records by far, particularly for Public libraries.
The ten that use the Z39.50 gateway are mostly special, government and university libraries.
The nine that use the files from the website are mostly university, other and government – although it is unclear from the responses whether these libraries are using the PDF of the Publications New Zealand file to select records which they then search for in another way or importing the file of MARC records directly.
Other includes Connexion Client and Smart Search in Kōtui’s BlueCloud.
Question 4: Do you actively look for records by the library symbol in the 040 $a?
Most respondents answered ‘no’, and although not many added comments, the responses to question 2 suggest that most are more concerned that a full record is available when it is needed than with who created it.
Of the respondents who answered yes, most searched for NZ1 and DLC, with a scattering of a few other older NLNZ library symbols (WN, NZNB and NZWTU). The comments of some who answered yes to this question indicated that while they didn’t search for records by library symbol, they found the presence of NZ1 reassuring.
Question 5: What proportion of your cataloguing workflow would involve NZNB records?
Respondents’ comments reflected that they are cataloguing both New Zealand and overseas published material and that number of NZNB records used corresponded with the number of New Zealand published resources acquired.
Question 6: What is your overall impression of NZNB records?
Overall, respondents had a positive view of NZNB records with 35/40, or 80% of respondents ticking that NZNB records are a good match for their library’s needs. One respondent who ticked that the records need a lot of editing to be useful their library commented that ‘as a specialist library - in a very niche topic area, we have to alter records anyway, from wherever we source the Bib data’.
Some respondents noted some of the data they typically add to NZNB records including subject headings for fiction, summaries and tables of contents. Again, the importance of records being available in a timely manner was highlighted both by the 14 respondents who ticked that records are generally slow to be available, and in several of the comments.
Question 7: Dewey – for fiction, select the one that best applies
The comments clearly showed that many libraries either don’t have fiction in their collection or if they do, it is shelved by genre and/or by author.
Question 8: Dewey – for non-fiction, select the one that best applies
Like the question about Dewey on fiction, most respondents answered ‘other’ This was most often because another scheme, such as Library of Congress Classification, was being used. This was particularly true for university, other tertiary and special libraries.
Public libraries indicated they tend to leave the Dewey as it is in the record but shelve using a modified form of that Dewey or another Dewey entirely based on the needs of their local collection. However, the number of respondents from Public libraries is too small to make any general conclusions about the usefulness of the NLNZ library supplied Dewey for non-fiction for all Public libraries. It may be useful to do some targeted follow-up research in this area.
Question 9: Ngā Upoko Tukutuku – do you think NZNB records are a good source for this data?
It’s very clear from responses that NZNB records are considered a good source for Ngā Upoko Tukutuku headings. While one respondent commented that they are occasionally ‘missing and/or miscoded’, all comments recognised the importance of these headings and appreciation for them.
Question 10: Do you look for NZNB records specifically to find appropriate Ngā Upoko Tuktuku/Māori subject headings?
Several comments suggested that cataloguers are deliberately seeking NZNB records because it’s expected that the National Library would have added Ngā Upoko Tukutuku headings. A comment from the final survey question noted that the ‘NatLib specialist Māori expertise (is) essential because we don’t readily have access to it otherwise’ and although this is just one comment, it may signal that the Ngā Upoko Tukutuku headings are seen as an area where the National Library’s expertise is supporting libraries that do not have this.
Of the ‘no’ responses, seven out of the sixteen were from special libraries. However, the same group responded 100% yes to question 9. This possibly suggests the records are still regarded as a good source for this data but that cataloguers may not be specifically searching for NZNB records to find it.
Question 11: Ngā Upoko Tukutuku – How do you use these headings in your library?
Most respondents indicated that they are currently adding Ngā Upoko Tukutuku headings to resources about Māori and in te reo which is currently how the National Library applies them. There is no requirement for libraries to follow the National Library in this area though and five respondents are adding their headings to all resources in their collections.
Question 12: What is your general impression of subject access in NZNB records?
Overall respondents were satisfied that the subject access provided in NZNB records is about right. Although only one library selected that NZNB records are regularly missing elements, the lack of subject headings for fiction was mentioned in more than one comment. One university library shared that they add contents notes and abstracts.
Question 13: Do you add anything else to compensate for Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) terminology – such as publisher-supplied keywords, tagging, or local headings?
Most respondents indicated that they are enhancing records to compensate for the Library of Congress Subject Heading terminology, although only five respondents are always doing so.
In line with earlier comments, libraries add subject headings for fiction, summaries and contents notes but they are also substituting New Zealand English spelling for words like ‘harbor’, and New Zealand terminology for American such as ‘railways’ instead of ‘railroads’.
Additionally, some libraries are adding local genre terms and subject headings to suit their collection and community.
Question 14: Are the National Library local headings for fiction, poetry, drama, etc. useful to you?
Most respondents answered ‘yes’ to this question and the comments by libraries who answered ‘no’ or ‘not applicable’ implies that this is because they do not have fiction collections.
One respondent commented that the National Library should consider extending the list, and while it is not practical for us to try and cover all possible genres wanted by libraries, the suggestion to create a local genre term for Māori literature for adults should be considered, especially as we already have a local genre term for children’s fiction in Māori.
Question 15: What is your general impression of notes in NZNB records?
The only respondent who said there were too many notes was a library working with a specialised collection with very specific data needs.
Question 16: Do you remove notes from NZNB records?
Given that most respondents accept the notes supplied on the record it seems that generally notes are appreciated.
One special, two public, three university and one other tertiary libraries removed notes and the reasons shared in the comments indicate that it is usually National Library local notes that are removed.
Question 17: Is it useful to your library, for the National Library to include summary notes, abstracts and tables of contents?
Summaries and tables of contents are particularly wanted – most comments across the range of library types mentioned them. Six of the comments specifically mentioned the usefulness of this data for enhancing keyword searching.
Question 18: Do you make use of National Library permalinks to access NDHA resources?
The respondents who answered 'yes' were mostly from the university libraries (nine) with the remainder a mix of special, government, other tertiary and public libraries. A large number responded ‘no’, ‘don’t know’, or skipped the question and it would be worth following up the reasons for this. It may be that that the monthly files of open access NDHA resources are unknown, or that cataloguers aren’t able to make use of them within their systems. Some promotion of the files and how to use them would be useful.
One respondent commented that they are having ‘a lot of trouble getting workable links for NDHA material since you became hosted on OCLC. I wish you could provide direct links as you used to’. We acknowledge these have been problematic since migrating to both to OCLC and Alma and we will work towards making an updated set of records with permalinks for all open-access National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA) resources available.
The same comment continued: ‘Also wish you would provide a collection of all NDHA records to the Knowledge Base’.
Question 19: what do you do with permalinks for resources only available on site at the National Library?
While most respondents delete these or don’t know, several of the comments pointed out that these resources are unlikely to be downloaded into their catalogues.
Question 20: Please rank the usefulness of the following areas to your library, with 1 being the most useful and 10, the least
In the chart above, the more green you see, the more highly the element was rated.
Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and access points were clearly deemed most valuable, while genre/form, general notes, URLs to fulltext and relationships to other resources were less highly valued. Interestingly — by contrast to the Dewey question results above — Dewey Classification was rated relatively highly by some (12 respondents rated it between 1 and 3) while also being rated low by others (11 respondents rated it between 8 and 10).
It should be noted, however, that several respondents qualified their ratings in the free text note at the end of the survey, pointing out that their answers would vary depending on material type or other criteria.
Question 21: Is there anything else you want us to know?
The comments shared in the final section were generally positive. One commented that that the ‘Publications New Zealand records are essential to our acquisitions and cataloguing workflows for NZ Publications’ while another noted: ‘I really appreciate the helpfulness of the National Library cataloging team when I’ve had questions about records’. Another respondent asked us to ‘keep up the good work!’. One respondent highlighted again the importance of the timeliness of the data.
Two comments mentioned the desire for training and while the National Library is not in a position to offer formal training in cataloguing at this time, we will continue to actively support professional development for New Zealand cataloguers in a number of ways. This includes sharing training materials and our cataloguing policies on DescribeNZ and in Catapult and continuing to support LIANZA CatSIG professional development events.
As noted above, we will also provide information about the availability of Publications New Zealand metadata, including the availability of datasets for download.
Additionally, we will promote the firstname.lastname@example.org email box for queries about the Publications New Zealand metadata, queries about our records and questions about our cataloguing practices generally.