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DataBank: Public Catalogs: Public Catalogs

Public Catalogs and LC Subject Headings

A simple method for obtaining comparisons of the strength of your library's collection with that of a peer library is to search by LC subject headings via the local catalog of the peer institution.

 

Although this is less rigorous than some other methods (e.g., those which map titles and call numbers) and more time-consuming, it can be said to result in at least an indication of collection strengths and requires only the resource of time. Keyword searches can also be used, but it is important to be sure that the catalogs are searching in the same manner; hence, subject headings are preferable.  Limits such as publication date will probably not be an option that can be consistently used across the catalogs of different libraries.

 

Accessing local catalogs from institutional sites has two advantages over using WorldCat data:

(1) many local catalogs are more complete than their representation in WorldCat

(2) many local catalogs include all branch libraries or provide the option to choose between them, thus eliminating the need to know which OCLC library codes cover which collections

 

For help in finding subject headings, use WorldCat and:

                1. Go to: Advanced Search
                2. On the left-hand side of the grey box, chose: Subject
                3. Type in Word or Concept such as: gender (for gender studies)
                4. For details of the type of works to expect from this heading, click: Expand

 

Here is an example of a sketch of "Andean Collections" comparing fictional peer-type libraries against the fictional ODD library:

 

 

 

ANDEAN COLLECTIONS

PEER COMPARISON

 ASPIRATIONAL PEER COMPARISON

LCSH Search

U. of Roosen

  ODD Holdings

% of Peer Holdings

U. of Bosschen

  ODD Holdings

% of Peer Holdings

Colombia History

1,188

1,494

126%

3,378

1,494

44%

Ecuador History

540

536

99%

1,564

536

34%

Peru History

1,159

1,809

156%

3,802

1,809

48%

Quechua Language

95

200

211%

471

200

42%

Quechua Literature

18

34

189%

54

34

63%

Quechua Indians

124

248

200%

335

248

74%

TOTALS:

3124

4321

138%

9604

4321

48%