September 16, 2009

Washington DC Chapter Reviews Cataloging Programs

Submitted by Mary Bowen

Our February 28 meeting was very productive! First, thanks to Kathy S., Roberta L., Mary Beth K., and Evelyn H. for hosting the meeting and providing the program. The breakfast was delicious, and we enjoyed hearing about the library at Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal. Our program focused on library cataloging programs and members shared their experiences with programs they are using.

Mary Beth K. provided information about Readerware. Records can be entered by scanning the ISBN code found on the back of most books. Technical support is provided by the developer, who is very responsive. The standard book version costs $40. The three product (books, videos, music) bundle comes with a free bar code reader and costs $85. The three product bundle is not essential since videos and music can easily be entered into the book version.

Mary B.’s library uses Cross Library 1.7 and is fairly happy with it except that it does not have good keyword searching and it has fields for only two subject headings. This can be problematic when so many books have more than two subjects. The cost is $150.

In another library where Mary volunteers she uses ResourceMate and has been happy using it. It is easy to download records from the Library of Congress as well as enter records manually. It has a separate module for users to search so they will not have access to the librarian's version and cannot change records. The basic version is $195. The Plus version is $395.

Avery B.’s church library uses Surpass. She said that the product works very well although they did have some initial difficulties with installation. The basic church library program (Surpass CL) sells for $495, allows for self-checkout and offers quick cataloging via the Internet.

Melissa H. uses LibraryThing. Melissa has no computer in her church's library and no money for a computer or software. She has a card catalog in her library and has entered all of her library holdings into the free website, LibraryThing. This way her library users can look at her library holdings on the Internet.

In two of our group’s libraries, the current catalog was developed by a member of the church who is no longer available for help with the program. Both of these libraries are looking for a new program.

The topic chosen for our spring meeting is collection building. We plan to cover mission statements, policies on purchases and donations, weeding, sources of materials, fund raising, and budgets.

Whew! Sounds like enough for several meetings!