[Koha] some thoughts about cataloguing and acquisition (important)

Regula Sebastiao reseba at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 17 13:16:59 NZDT 2003

First of all: a short introduction of myself. I'm a Swiss librarian,
interested in different library systems, and am presently co-writing part
of the Koha documentation. I've been working with different library
systems in the past, both commercial and custom made, but am not currently
working in a library.

Following the discussion on the koha list on acquisitions and cataloguing
with a lot of interest some thoughts and questions popped up for me.

Historically, in libraries, acquisitions and cataloguing have been
distinct processes, often employing personnel with different
qualtifications. This was the case mainly in the paper age, but also in
"early" automation, as often acquisitions was added onto an ILS only
later. But Koha offers up till now a different approach.

Koha uses a somehow linear process for entering the document data. First a
document is ordered, and therefor linked to the supplier data. At
receiving, the bibliographic data can be completed, and group and item
information added. And the cataloguing is complete. There is no
distinction of acquisitions and cataloguing in Koha, cataloguing is
"modifying an acquisition's record".

So for me, there are a few questions, I'd like to throw into the
- what arguments are against keeping Koha "different" and have a "document
treatment unity" comprehending acquisitions and cataloguing?
- is it really necessary to separate cataloguing from acquisitions -
provided that acquisitions allows "complete entering of the data =
cataloguing" according to the format chosen (marc or non-marc)?
- does a marc-record necessarily need to be complete? or is it possible to
have something like a "temporary marc record" which has only a few marc
field used, and still have every record in the same bibliotable?
- if acquisitions and cataloguing are going to be separated - is there
really a need to have a second copy of the database? As I fully agree that
the user interrogating the catalogue should be shown wheter a book is on
order or bought and available in the library, there should be done sth
about it. But I think that this could be treated in adding a "status" to
the document like "on order", "in the library - but in process", "on the
shelf", "borrowed" etc.
In other words: if separation is needed, shouldn't there be just separate
"interfaces" for acquisitions and cataloguing - both using the one and
only one database?
- is it possible to differentiate by "record status"only?

Personally, I'd rather have a ILS which unites acquisitions and
cataloguing, keeping the system as simple as possible, for librarians and
members, even if this needs some reorganisation in a library, e.g.
employing personnel in acquisitions who knows how to catalogue.
And concentrating all efforts in other parts of the system.

Regula Sebastiao

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