Ebooks and Overlays

When you buy ebooks, you have the records in the catalog and that’s pretty much it.  It’s a steady state deal, and if you weed, you do it by hiding or deleting the records.

Subscriptions such as “such and such Collection” are another thing entirely.  I didn’t realize until we’d been doing it a while how much change would occur as records were added and deleted.

I needed to overlay, but I didn’t realize that until too late.  The catches (multiple!) included:

  • Some ebooks came from more than one vendor, but the OCLC record might be the same.  If you overlay the same record with multiple links, how do you deal with having to remove several thousand from one vendor as that subscription changes but the other vendor still (at least for a while) continues to include them?
  • How do you deal with having purchased an ebook specifically, but it also shows up in the subscription, so overlaying the record means you may have to remove the subscription link but not the purchased one?
  • What do you cue on for overlaying records?  ISBNs turned out to be a bad idea, but not all ebooks come with an 001 field for OCLC number — some put that in the 035 field, or need to use the 001 field for a custom number (which then won’t load into our system since it is not recognized as a proper OCLC number).

Combining that with several vendors, and changing major ebook subscriptions from ebrary to ebscohost and THEN getting ebrary from a statewide subscription on top of that…

So, our ebscohost ebooks were a mess.  Lots of duplicate records, and that meant that more and more of those couldn’t be overlaid (which one?) so yet another was added instead, making it worse.

During spring break, I’ve been delete-proofing the ebscohost ebooks specifically purchased (put PURCHASED after the OCLC number), and then deleting the rest — something like 180,000 or so. A number of these were actually duplicates (don’t ask how many — I have no way to tell except when I run across them).

Then I began reloading the ebscohost from scratch.  First batch: 50,000 records.

Wish that had been simpler.  Taught me the complications, however.  Many overlaid our older (owned) netlibrary ones, for example.  Yes, ebscohost owns netlibrary now, but many of the old links still work, and I need to keep those purchased ones separate.  So, fixed that and removed the ebscohost links.  Have to remove all the ebscohost other than that as well, just to be sure.

Found the credo and cambridge and so on that were overlaid and fixed those.  And changed the 001 numbers to add the vendor name after the number to ALL the non-ebscohost ebooks, to try to prevent overlayment.  Vendors other than ebscohost and ebrary, these days, come in small enough amounts that I can deal with them without overlaying records.

Having one OCLC record (ideally) for each ebook vendor, and a separate record for the print editions (even if the ISBNs appear on both), allows the ebooks to be handled separately.  I tried, in early days, combining on the same record.  Big mistake — couldn’t keep up with all the changes.  So I’ve separated them again.  Lots of work both times.

And I mentioned that I have ebrary records again, from a statewide subscription, which fortunately use a different 001 numbering and a ebr prefix.  Unfortunately, it won’t download with my load table, so overlayment is not going to work with them, at present.  I had a suggestion from another librarian (thanks!) who suggested I put that number in the 903 field, and have Innovative add the 903 field to the o index (like the 001 field) so I can overlay additions/deletions to ebrary using the 903.  I added the ebrary ahead of that change, so we’d have some ebooks during the process of working out the ebscohost situation.

So, once I find all (one hopes) the possible wrong overlays, I load the ebscohost from scratch all over yet again.

New idea — since I don’t really need Cutter (092 subfield b) to keep ebooks in order on the shelf, I can change that to the vendor name for ebooks.  That makes it easy to distinguish quickly when I find it in Sierra, such as using CTRL-g to check the index for other copies of a title.

Ended up with a lot fewer duplicates. Still, we now have over 235,000 ebooks and pdf files.

Now I have to add the 690 PROGRAM fields to these all over again. Job security!