Libraries Enhance Catalog

Boston College Libraries recently were authorized to enhance book entries in the system of the Online Computer Library Center, a major national cataloging data base.

The certification means Boston College's cataloging standards meet those of the Library of Congress, according to University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky, who said only a few dozen university libraries nationwide have been so honored. The Library of Congress sets the national criteria for creating catalog records that provide access to research materials, Yavarkovsky explained.

"If you're conducting research, you need tools to point you toward what you need," said Yavarkovsky. "The tools offered for research at Boston College have been judged first-rate."

The format for cataloging records is detailed, containing dozens of descriptive elements, he said, and records entered into the OCLC by libraries across the country are often deficient in the amount of data they provide. With the authorization from OCLC, Yavarkovsky said, Boston College can now make improvements to these records and ensure they meet the Library of Congress standards.

Last fall, BC received Library of Congress approval to establish new subject headings for use in American library catalogs, joining a small group of libraries so entitled. Yavarkovsky said these endorsements reflect the excellent work of BC catalogers, "the unsung heroes" of the campus library system.

"We are gaining national recognition for the quality of the access we're providing," Yavarkovsky said, "all in support of helping people find what they need."

- Mark Sullivan

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