February 2009

Ever find yourself with a perfectly good classification number in Library of Congress but your library uses Dewey?  Or vice versa?

If you don’t have access to Mona L. Scott’s three volume Conversion Tables, then QuestionPoint might be able to help you.  QuestionPoint does use the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification number for medical topics.

LCC to Dewey
– Mapping to LCC Schedules D, J and K are in process. Instead of Schedule R, NLM’s QS-QZ and W schedules are used.

Dewey to LCC
-Since QuestionPoint uses NLM for Schedule R, most NLM classes map to 362.1-362.3, and 610-618.97

More information on NLM classification, including the schedules.


Most libraries acquire material in different languages.   Sometimes though the language may be unfamiliar to the cataloger or be similar to another language.  The Language Identifier from Xerox can help you identify whether your material is in Portuguese or Spanish.  Currently 47 different languages can be identified from Albanian to Welsh.

Another language identifier is the TextCat Demo which came about from a paper presented during the Third Annual Symposium on Document Analysis and Information Retrieval in 1994. A wider range of languages can be identified from Afrikaans to Yiddish with a total of 76 languages.

I mentioned earlier how confusing OCLC’s Web site can be, with all its varied content (as well as all the changes OCLC has made to the site from time to time). For catalogers, one of the most useful starting points here is Librarian’s Toolbox:


Among the resources linked from the Toolbox are:

Bibliographic Formats and Standards

Authorities: Format and Indexes (“details on selected topics that catalogers need to identify and verify information in bibliographic and/or authority records via the OCLC® authority file”)

Technical Bulletins (only those still in effect; all have been incorporated into Bibliographic Formats and Standards, according to OCLC. Since 2003, the Technical Bulletins have not been available in print.)

OCLC System Alerts

Also linked from OCLC’s Support page. The System Alerts, which include known issues and their status, are useful when you’re encountering problems and are wondering if it’s just you, though comments on system problems usually show up sooner on the OCLC-CAT mailing list.

There are also links to OCLC’s error-reporting forms (all have links to their PDF versions, in case you need to send proof):

Authority Record Change Request

WorldCat Record Change Request (what some of us used to know as the Bibliographic Record Change Request)

WorldCat Duplicate Record Merge Request

(So pervasive has the problem of duplicate records become, even in English-language books, that I just have this form open when I catalog. In the Connexion client full record display, you can right-click on the highlighted “OCLC” in the upper left corner next to the OCLC control number and copy in a single keystroke [correction: mouse click, on “Copy Control Number”] the control number, which you can then paste into the appropriate box in the Merge Request form.)

By the way, if you do need to use the PDF versions of these forms with proof from the resource you’re cataloging, you no longer need to mail them in to your network as some of us used to do; you can simply fax them to the number given on the form.

Remember that the MARC Code lists are no longer published by OCLC; you’ll look in vain to a link to them from Librarian’s Toolbox. OCLC does provide a convenient list of links here, though.