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Looking and benefits and best practices of WorldCat Collection Analysis in a subject-specific consortium.

In November, 2005, the eight libraries of the Desert States Law Library Consortium (University of New Mexico, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, University of Denver, University of Utah, Brigham Young, and University of Nevada Las Vegas) licensed OCLC's WorldCat Collection Analysis Service (WCA). WCA is designed to provide objective information concerning the makeup of a library's collection, including subject coverage, age of materials, languages of publication and material types and audience level. Multi-institution comparisons provide detail and summary views of how two or more collections overlap or differently specialize, subdivided by subject areas, languages of publication, material types and dates of publication. Desert States librarians who worked with the service considered it a wonderful concept and promising tool but discovered that it had significant limitations. Topical analysis within WCA is based on the OCLC Conspectus which includes 32 broad divisions such as 'Law.' Using WCA, we were able to see both the number and percent of unique holdings of each consortial library broken down by subject and time. Similarly, we were able to view how much our holdings overlapped with each other. It is easy to use WCA to obtain some interesting, but mostly superficial, data; it is quite a bit more complicated to get meaningful information. Most librarians did not learn to use the service very well because it takes a lot of time and initiative to turn your searches into information that you can act upon. Even after substantial time working with the training materials and the service itself, our most ambitious users still did not feel that they were able to make good use of the data export features. Those investing in this product should budget additional funds and time for training in order to get the most out of it. At the time we purchased there were few active training options, but OCLC and regional providers now offer web seminars and workshops.

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Technical Services Law Librarian





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Presented at Desert States Law Library Consortium.



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