chapter  15
OCLC WorldCat as a Cooperative Catalog
ByAmy H. Turner
Pages 8

When Cataloging and Classification Quarterly published an issue on the theme of cooperative cataloging in 1993, cooperative cataloging was seen as the production of high quality cataloging records to be used in many local catalogs. The de facto definition of “high quality” was “like a Library of Congress (LC) record.” Of course, large numbers of non-LC records were available, but these were treated with varying levels of skepticism by cataloging departments. The largest (and now the only major) database for shared cataloging, WorldCat, published guidelines calling for the use of the same standards as LC (the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules ed. 2 [AACR2],

the Library of Congress Rule Interpretations [LCRIs], Library of Congress Subject Headings [LCSH], etc.). These standards are so extensive and so detailed that without some sort of comprehensive training program and/or testing of catalogers, it would not be realistic to expect uniform adherence. Yet, catalogers as a group are detail-oriented and quality conscious, so it is ironic that collectively we produced a database in which we seemed not to take much pride. Instead, effort was focused on enhancements and corrections of local versions of the master Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) record. This duplication of effort in many libraries is contrary to the principle of cooperative cataloging.