[library-media] Union Catalog

Brian Ferguson bferguson at dsdmail.net
Thu Nov 6 11:21:53 MST 2008

Julie -- 

Davis District has been using Follett Destiny for several years now and we have a small group of librarians that were training by Follett as Destiny trainers. My number one piece of advice for you is DON'T DO IT ALL YOURSELF.  We took the implementation of the Destiny system as an opportunity to begin ongoing librarian training for all District librarians in library policy setting, cataloging, selection, weeding, and even related subjects such as library web page creation.  We have had Destiny update, refresher, review and misc. training every year since, for all school librarians, before school starts in August, in a lab at our District office. 

It takes three days (each only comes one day) to meet with all our elementary librarians.  In our District the secondary librarians are certified teachers and the elementary librarians are not. This training day has helped increase communication, support, and trust between our secondary and elementary folks and has given the secondary librarians an opportunity to educate the uncertified librarians about some aspects of teaching and library science they may not have known about.

The reason I believe ongoing training for all librarians is important is twofold.  First, like any software product, Destiny continues to evolve.  Just yesterday I presented some issues to our secondary librarians group http://www.sdavjr.davis.k12.ut.us/~brian/wp/slmta/ , which meets quarterly, about the new Destiny feature allowing student book reviews.  We agreed that we should develop some "publication guidelines" for student book reviews that a librarian may approve to appear live on the web. These will be based on the note called "Student Book Reviews" I had already posted for my school on the SDJH library web page at http://www.sdavjr.davis.k12.ut.us/~brian/pn/library/html/ .

Second, as you already know, Destiny makes a clear distinction between a MARC record which is shared by everyone in your District, and a copy record, which is unique to each school.  While you may well want to keep the number of people who can create or modify MARC records small, you should absolutely make each school responsible for their own copy records and provide them with whatever training they need to do so.  Part of our ongoing discussion ever since implementing Destiny is the question of what decisions should be made at the school level (library hours, length of checkout, number of books at a time, fines) and what decisions should be coordinated and/or centralized. We make every effort to give as much flexibility to the schools as possible; and where a decision must be made centrally, we try to communicate the decision, and the reasons for it, openly.

All of this is a prelude to say that the miscellaneous items you mention are perhaps more local (copy record) in nature than central (MARC record). Destiny keeps track of such things, in a "special collections" way, by putting a prefix (Fic, E, Sp, etc.) at the beginning of the Call Number.  If, as I recommend, you put each school-level librarian in charge of their own copy records (which also puts them in charge of their own bar codes and Call Numbers), you can allow THEM to make the decisions about what type of prefixes to use.  Still, you can offer them a suggested list of prefixes to use for items of various types.  If you take the flexible, school-centered  approach you can avoid those firey debates between those who prefer F, FIC, or Fic for fiction. The Davis list of suggested prefixes can be found in our (draft) Procedures Manual at http://www.sdavjr.davis.k12.ut.us/~brian/wp/slmta/wp-content/pdfs/Davis_District_Library_Procedures.pdf .

Finally, I realize that you will still want to create generic MARC records for the items you named so that the school librarians can attach their copy records to a good MARC record.  It is at this point, when I am about to actually answer your specific question, that I am afraid I am not very helpful.  I don't put A/V Equipment into my library catalog, though others in my District do.  I hope someone who does this will reply to your email.  I do know that our Destiny catalog has something like "27 inch TV" as a MARC record.  I do not know if we list "27 inch Sony TV" and "27 inch Philips TV" as separate records (probably should be). 

Art prints can be "Art" and Photographs can be "Pic." But at some point, you will find that the value of cataloging everything begins to have diminishing value.  You may want to have a discussion about just what should be cataloged, and what should not be catalogued, and what should be thrown away (weeded). You should only catalog items that are in current circulation and have current educational or literary value. I have my videotapes and DVDs in the catalog, but under no circumstances should you catalog a filmstrip (!!!). If any teacher is really still using this outmoded technology, the library should give them all to him or her.  Also, you should only catalog an item that you are willing to bar code.  This can work for a TV or a cart, but pamphlets???  

These are just the first of many decisions you will be making as you use a District-wide catalog.  I hope you have a good tech and library savvy committee to help you make these decisions.  Frankly, here in Davis we have found it very educational, empowering, and, dare I say it, FUN, to plan, discuss, train, and make decisions together.  I wish you the best as you proceed!

-- Brian Ferguson

P.S. I hope your district purchased "Alliance Plus" and "Title Peek" as a part of your Destiny package.  The first makes cataloging with good MARC records easy and the second makes the catalog much more user friendly to patrons.

-- Brian Ferguson --
A Librarian's Journal

>>> "Julie Barlow" <Julie.Barlow at loganschools.org> 11/5/2008 11:41 AM >>>
Our district just started using a union catalog system this year, Destiny by Follett.  Though I love the features and record consistency, I am unclear how to handle miscellaneous items such as equipment, posters, pamphlets etc.  My school is performing the cataloging for all schools. We need to add a record that all schools can use, but provide adequate details.  Any suggestions or ideas would be helpful.


Julie Barlow
Mt. Logan Middle School

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