[Koha] Re: some thoughts about cataloguing and acquisitions [important]

Stephen Hedges shedges at athenscounty.lib.oh.us
Fri Jan 17 10:03:58 NZDT 2003

Hi, Paul, and thanks for opening an interesting topic -

I think that a strong acquisition component would be a very valuable asset for 
Koha.  In fact, I think acquisitions are much more important than cataloging.  
That means that I support your idea of separating the two, so it would be 
easier (to my mind) to focus development effort on acquisitions. If they are 
not separated, then I think cataloging should at least be handled as a sub-task 
of acquisitions.

My thoughts are based on my experience with library users and librarians.  We 
have found that library users appreciate the ability to make purchase 
suggestions and see what the library has on order, even place reservations on 
items before they arrive at the library.  In other words, a good acquisitions 
system allows users to see not only what the library has, but what the library 
WILL have, and also gives them the power to suggest and reserve things the 
library has not ordered.  That means the acquisition system needs to deal in 
records that are nearly complete, so people can search for items by title, 
author, ISBN, subject, etc.  Cataloguing, in that case, merely adds the 
"labeling" to the item once it arrives, i.e. barcodes, spine labels, etc.  The 
item has already been cataloged in all other respects as soon as it is 

As for librarians, I had a conversation with the tech guy from Worthington 
Public Library who suggested that they might be willing to put money toward a 
really good Koha acquisitions system, one that would allow the librarian to 
automatically search for an item and compare prices from several different 
vendors and download any MARC records available from vendors with a minimum of 
effort on the part of the librarian. He had other thoughts, as well, because he 
had been wrestling with searching for a good acquisitions system for some time, 
but I unfortunately can't remember them now.

Both of these experiences lead me to believe that any ILS that wants to be 
competitive in the future should pay close attention to its acquisitions 
component.  I think both library users and librarians are going to demand much 
more functionality than what is currently available in most ILS acquisitions 

Stephen H.  

> I want here share some ideas for the 2.0 version 
> of koha, around 
> cataloguing and acquisition.
> Most ILS, in France at least, separate 
> cataloguing and acquisition.
> * *cataloguing* is often done through a CDROM 
> (from the BNF for example) 
> : the librarian download from the cd the biblio 
> in MARC format, which is 
> included in it's ILS. The cataloguing refers only 
> to BIBLIO notice, not 
> items and how they arrive in the library.
> * *acquisition* referers to how "books" arrive in 
> the library (and 
> includes items)
> In koha, at the moment, there is no distinction 
> between those 2 topics : 
> look at koha main page, there is only a 
> "acquisition" picture, which 
> includes cataloguing and acquisition in fact.
> I want to begin de debate to see if it's a good 
> idea to distinct 
> acquisition and cataloguing in 2.0.
> It would mean :
> * in mainpage => 2 links for cataloguing and 
> acquisition
> * acquisition => works almost like the normal 
> acquisition system of the 
> old version : search for a supplier, enter a 
> little part of the biblio...
> * cataloguing =>
> - if marc is selected : works like the 
> acqui.simple in 1.3.3 (see 
> demo.koha-fr.org),
> - if marc is not selected : works like the 2nd 
> part of the normal 
> acquisition in 1.2 : enter the biblio details.
> this supposes a new parameter in the 
> systempreferences table.
> One other idea : it would enable a "suggestion" 
> feature in the opac : 
> readers could suggest books to add, which could 
> be stored in the 
> "acquisition" part of koha, in a "to validate" 
> status.
>  From a developper point of vue, this means :
> * duplicating biblio table to acqui_biblio table
> * split normal acquisition in 2 parts
> * change normal acquisition to write acqui_biblio 
> table and not biblio
> * create some screens to link the acquisition 
> part and the cataloguing one.
> some work, but not too much i think (if someone 
> wants to fund it, send 
> me a mail :-) ).
> Of course, if you create a book in the 
> acquisition part, all what you 
> typed would be auto-copied when entering the 
> cataloguing part :-)
> So there should not be too much more work for the 
> librarian/cataloguer 
> (but a few, anyway : this would add screens, so, 
> more clics)
> -- 
> Consultant indépendant en logiciels libres
> responsable francophone de koha (SIGB libre 
> http://www.koha-fr.org)

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