Projects - Catalogue Quality - BLCMP


Quality of records in a shared cataloguing database: a case study using the BLCMP database

Researcher: Ann Chapman. Technical Support: Steve Prowse

This research project was carried out between January 1992 and March 1993 using bibliographic records on the BLCMP database to investigate record quality. A simple count of the number of records edited was used to measure the overall quality of the database, on the premise that records are edited because of faulty and/or incomplete information. A random sample of 'before' and 'after' editing pairs of records was used to investigate the fields being edited and the types of changes being made. A random selection of records was submitted by BLCMP member libraries, with annotations giving the edits they were making and their reasons for the edits. The results of the study indicated that, overall, the standard of records available to member libraries meets the needs of the majority of these libraries. Records are found for around 90% of items; of the records found, 80% are used without editing. Within the edited records, those for printed monographs are most often edited in the author and imprint/collation fields, while for serials the fields most often edited are title and imprint/collation. Addition of data to existing fields was the most common edit, followed by the addition of extra fields. The study identified some particular problems within the BLCMP system. It also highlighted some areas for further research into record quality including comparative studies on multi-source databases, investigation of locally created records, and studies on records for 'non-book' materials.

An article on the survey , Up to standard? a study of the quality of records in a shared cataloguing database, was published in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 26 (4) Dec. 1994 pp201-210.

A report on the case study was published as a British Library Research and Development report:
Chapman, Ann Quality of records in a shared cataloguing database: a case study using the BLCMP database
Bath: University of Bath, Centre for Bibliographic Management, 1993
British Library Research and Development Report no. 6120

[Bibliographic Management]

Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 03-Jun-2005
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