Statewide Catalog Policies

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Participating Library Responsibilities
  4. Bibliographic and Holdings Record Loading
  5. Adding Holdings of Un-automated Libraries
  6. Electronic Resources
  7. Problem Reporting and Resolution
  8. Policy Revisions

1.0 Introduction

MeLCat new-window-icon.png is a centralized, statewide, union catalog that includes the bibliographic records and holdings information, as well as circulation status, for the collections of participating libraries and for statewide licensed electronic resources. The users of Michigan's libraries need a statewide union catalog to easily and quickly identify, locate and request materials of interest to them in the state's libraries. Libraries of all types need to be able to add and update their holdings in this statewide catalog, as well as to include information about their unique resources. Michigan residents need to be able to access full-text electronic resources licensed by the state through the statewide catalog.

1.1 Purpose of the policies

The purpose of the policies outlined here is to:

  1. support the development of MeLCat, Michigan's statewide union catalog, for all types of participating libraries;
  2. provide bibliographic record standards for record quality and as a guide for libraries' record loading decisions;
  3. encourage continued enhancement of the ease of use, scope and quality of the MeLCat database.

1.2 Goals of the policy document

The goals of this document are to:

  1. record the recommendations of the MeLCat Advisory Committee, which become effective upon approval by the State Librarian;
  2. identify statewide decisions for building the catalog;
  3. identify participating libraries' responsibilities and the decisions they have to make about required and optional components;
  4. provide a problem reporting and resolution process for MeLCat.

1.3 Purpose of the statewide union catalog

  1. MeLCat, the statewide union catalog, is designed to:
    1. provide a union catalog of the collections of Michigan's libraries
      • that is easy for patrons to use for locating and requesting materials in participating libraries, and
      • that demonstrates the value of Michigan's library resources, including the difficult-to-find local treasures;
    2. provide online access to electronic resources made available by the Library of Michigan for Michigan residents;
    3. serve as a resource database of quality MARC records to which participating libraries can add their holdings;
    4. serve as an aid for cooperative collection development for Michigan's libraries.
  2. MeLCat is intended to serve as a supplement to, not a substitute for, local and regional online catalogs. Participating libraries are responsible for providing their own local catalogs.

1.4 General principles for MeLCat

The general principles used to develop these policies are:

  1. that MeLCat is easy for patrons to use for identifying library materials and their availability;
  2. that all participating libraries, including un-automated libraries, are able to add and update their holdings information in MeLCat;
  3. that records in MeLCat for statewide licensed electronic resources clearly identify them as available to all Michigan residents;
  4. that bibliographic records adhering to national cataloging standards are given priority when selecting master records for MeLCat;
  5. that MeLCat bibliographic record standards are designed to ensure that unique resources are identified in MeLCat;
  6. that participating libraries are responsible for the quality of the bibliographic records and holdings information they contribute to MeLCat.

2.0 Definitions

2.1 Authority control

A system for keeping the forms of names, series and subjects consistent and up-to-date and for providing references from unused and related terms to the authorized terms. Automated authority control systems use authority records in MARC 21 Format for Authority Data.

2.2 Bibliographic records

Bibliographic records are machine-readable records that describe books, media and other information assets in library collections. MeLCat records use the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data.

2.3 Collections

The objects, both physical and electronic, that a library has selected and organized in identifiable groups to make available to its patrons, e.g., children's books, electronic books, and media collections.

2.4 Encoding level

A code in the MARC bibliographic record (Leader byte 17) for the completeness of the record.

2.5 Holdings

The items in a library's collections.

2.6 International Standard Numbers (ISBN and ISSN)

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are unique numbers used to identify books and periodicals.

2.7 [deleted]

2.8 Master record concept

MeLCat uses software that is designed so that one bibliographic record from a participating library serves as the "master" record for a title. Holdings information from other libraries with matching bibliographic records are linked to and display with the "master" record.

2.9 [deleted]

2.10 Statewide electronic resources

Electronic books, journals, databases and websites, both licensed and free, which are made available to all residents of the state, e.g., by the Library of Michigan.

3.0 Participating Library Responsibilities

3.1 Eligible libraries

Any Michigan library may participate in the MeLCat statewide union catalog. Participation is voluntary. A participating library agrees to:

  1. Add and maintain its holdings in MeLCat;
  2. Participate in the MeLCat resource sharing service if the library has any circulating materials;
  3. Abide by the MeLCat statewide catalog and resource sharing policies.

3.2 Categories of material to include in MeLCat

Participating libraries are expected to add holdings information for their collections into MeLCat. Libraries will designate which of their collections are available for MeLCat requesting. Materials that are not available for requesting will be clearly identified to users.

Examples of collections for which holdings should be added include:

  1. Circulating collections that can be loaned through MeLCat.
  2. Collections available only for local circulation or on-site use.
  3. Electronic journals that have been added to the library's catalog.
  4. U.S. government documents, including shipping list records that will be upgraded when cataloging is available.
  5. Serials collections, including holdings records, if possible.
  6. Local digital collections that have been added to the library's catalog.

3.3 Categories of material to exclude from MeLCat

Holdings for these categories of material should not be added to MeLCat:

  1. Materials that are not part of a library's permanent collections, e.g., rental items, interlibrary loan items, and course packs and instructors' personal copies on course reserve.
  2. Locally licensed eBooks and streaming media.
  3. Materials that are on order, including approval items that have not yet been accepted into the local collection.
  4. Materials being circulated using temporary brief bibliographic records that will be replaced or deleted, e.g., uncataloged items or items being sent to the bindery.
  5. Individual issues of periodicals to which a library subscribes, unless they are special monographic issues.
  6. Community information files.
  7. Equipment, e.g., keys, laptops, projectors.

3.4 Maintenance of bibliographic and holdings information

  1. Bibliographic, holdings and circulation status information
    1. Participating libraries will be responsible for adding their holdings to the MeLCat statewide union catalog before they begin participating in resource sharing.
    2. Circulation status information should be included, if at all possible.
    3. Libraries are also expected to keep their holdings up-to-date.
  2. Updating requirements
    1. Participating libraries are expected to update their holdings in MeLCat regularly and to fix problems with their records that are reported through MeLCat's problem reporting system.
    2. Libraries able to provide circulation status are expected to provide regular updates.
    3. Frequency of updates
      • Libraries with Innovative Interfaces local systems will update in real time.
      • Daily updates of new and changed information are recommended for libraries with local systems that can provide circulation status information.
      • Participating libraries that cannot provide circulation status should do regular updates no less frequently than monthly.
  3. Holdings deletions
    1. Deletions from MeLCat of a participating library's withdrawn holdings should be done as part of the daily update process, if possible.
    2. If daily updates are not possible, participating libraries that can provide a separate file of deleted holdings should do so regularly, but no less frequently than monthly.
    3. Participating libraries that cannot provide a separate file of deleted holdings should work with MeLCat staff to determine the best way to delete withdrawn holdings.
  4. Authority control
  5. Local authority control is highly recommended to provide consistent name, series and subject headings for contributed bibliographic records.
  6. MeLCat-compliant libraries
  7. Libraries that meet these standards will be certified as MeLCat-compliant libraries.

3.5 MeLCat cataloging practices

  1. Cataloging practice
    1. Bibliographic records that meet national cataloging standards are preferred, e.g., standards used by OCLC and by the Library of Congress Program for Cooperative Cataloging.
    2. Subject heading systems used in MeLCat are: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), and Library of Congress subject headings for children's literature (LC Annotated Card Program).
    3. Please see MeLCat Best Practices for bibliographic record contribution.
  2. Authority control
  3. Bibliographic records in MeLCat will not have centralized authority control. Cross references may be provided in MeLCat by purchasing and centrally loading MARC authority records.

3.6 Access to, and uses of, the MeLCat database

  1. Participating libraries are expected to provide their patrons with access to MeLCat from their local online catalogs and/or their library websites.
  2. Bibliographic records in the MeLCat database may be used to upgrade records in a participating library's local catalog.
  3. MeLCat will be accessible via the Z39.50 protocol, Bath Profile, Conformance Level 0. See new-window-icon.png
  4. If a participating library would like a MARC file of the MeLCat bibliographic records to which its holdings are attached, the library will be responsible for the costs for this service.

3.7 Changes in MeLCat Participation

  1. Temporary suspension of participation
  2. If a library temporarily suspends its MeLCat participation, its holdings will no longer be requestable and may be suppressed from display.
  3. Withdrawal from MeLCat
  4. If a library withdraws from MeLCat, its holdings will be removed from MeLCat.
  5. Migration to different local automation system
  6. If a MeLCat library migrates to a new system, migrates from a standalone system to an already participating shared system, migrates from a shared system to a standalone system, or automates for the first time, the library will be responsible for charges for any migration services needed from MeLCat's software provider, Innovative Interfaces.

4.0 Bibliographic and Holdings Record Loading

This section covers the standards and requirements for adding machine-readable bibliographic and holdings records to MeLCat.

4.1 Bibliographic record format

  1. MARC format
    1. MeLCat bibliographic records use the MARC record structure of tags, fields, indicators, and data elements. MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is the standard used.
    2. Local fields on contributed MARC records, e.g., 049, 562, 590, 599 and 9xx fields, will not be loaded into the MeLCat master record.
  2. Non-MARC format
  3. Non-MARC bibliographic records must be converted to MARC format for loading into MeLCat. Non-MARC records will be loaded on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Conversion of non-MARC records to MARC format
  5. Libraries with non-MARC records will follow an application process to get approval for converting their records to MARC format and loading them into MeLCat.
    1. Non-MARC records must meet MeLCat's minimum standards for bibliographic records.
    2. Criteria for loading non-MARC records include:
      • the value of the collection to patrons,
      • availability of materials for use
      • potential for creation of duplicate records,
      • the cataloging standards used,
      • the resources needed to create a customized load program.

4.2 Provision of machine-readable records

  1. Authorization to share machine-readable records
  2. Participating libraries that provide machine-readable records for loading into MeLCat will be responsible for ensuring that they are authorized to share those records in a statewide union catalog.
  3. Transmission of bibliographic and holdings information
  4. To ensure security of bibliographic and holdings records with circulation status information between local system and MeLCat servers, participating libraries with local systems from vendors other than Innovative Interfaces will transfer records to MeLCat servers using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) or Secure Copy (SCP).

4.3 Standards for bibliographic records

  1. Bibliographic record matching
  2. Bibliographic records contributed to MeLCat will be matched to previously loaded records to identify duplicates, to add holdings to master records, or to create new master records.
    1. Duplicate record identification
      • MeLCat looks to match on the bibliographic record number first (that record number refers to the MeLCat server where the bibliographic record resides).
      • Subsequent matches are sought on various standard numbers and then on a specially created alpha-numeric string.
    2. Handling non-matched records
      • Records that are unique to MeLCat will be loaded as new master records provided they meet the minimum bibliographic record requirements.
  3. Minimum bibliographic record requirements
  4. Records that fall below these requirements will not be loaded into MeLCat. More complete records are always encouraged.
    1. All bibliographic records loaded into MeLCat must have:
      • Title field (245 subfield a), and Type of record (Leader/byte 6)
    2. All bibliographic records loaded into MeLCat should have either an ISBN or ISSN, if available.
    3. Other required fields are dependent on the Type of Record (i.e., format of the material) and the cataloging rules employed (RDA, AACR2, earlier rulesets).
      • Please see Detailed Information on Bibliographic Record Requirements for the necessary details. [LINK forthcoming]
  5. Bibliographic record loading requirements
    1. For libraries with machine-readable bibliographic and holdings records, a significant portion of a library's cataloged holdings must load successfully for a library to fully participate in MeLCat.

4.4 Master record priorities

  1. The MeLCat central server automatically determines master record status based on the presence and/or absence of a number of fields, as well as on the values in some fields and/or configuration tables. Please see the Master Record document for more detail.
  2. Record-by-record master record option
    Libraries will be authorized by MeLCat staff, on a case-by-case basis, to set specific records as the master records in MeLCat. These records can not be replaced by any other incoming records.

5.0 Adding Holdings of Un-automated Libraries

This section covers the specific requirements for un-automated libraries, i.e., those libraries without online catalogs, automated circulation systems, or machine-readable records for their holdings.

5.1 Adding holdings

  1. Un-automated libraries will be able to add their holdings to MeLCat bibliographic records using a Web-based interface.
  2. Until 10% of its cataloged materials have been added, none of its holdings will be displayed in MeLCat.
  3. An un-automated library will be expected to get a significant portion of its cataloged materials added to MeLCat within three years. A plan to accomplish this will be developed together with MeLCat staff.

5.2 Adding bibliographic records for unique materials

  1. Un-automated libraries are strongly encouraged to provide MARC records for loading into MeLCat for materials unique to MeLCat, i.e., those not already represented in MeLCat.
  2. These MARC records should follow the guidelines in 4.0 above.

6.0 Electronic Resources

6.1 Bibliographic record loading for statewide electronic resources

  1. Bibliographic records for statewide electronic resources, including both licensed and free resources, will be loaded as MeLCat statewide resources. Statewide electronic resources will be represented in MeLCat by separate bibliographic records.
  2. Bibliographic records for statewide electronic resources will have standardized access-related text, e.g., in the 856 subfield z and the 506 fields.
  3. Library of Michigan staff will be responsible for loading records for licensed statewide electronic resources, whenever possible.
  4. MeLCat staff will monitor links to the statewide electronic resources in MeLCat's bibliographic records. They will be responsible for fixing broken links identified or reported in records they loaded as quickly as possible.

6.2 Bibliographic record loading for locally licensed resources

  1. MeLCat participating libraries will contribute bibliographic records to MeLCat for their cataloged locally licensed electronic periodical resources.
  2. Records for eBooks and streaming multi-media should not be contributed.
  3. Libraries have the option of using a single bibliographic record for the print and electronic versions or separate records, following the CONSER cataloging guidelines. However, due to the problems inherent in multiformat records in the MeLCat union catalog, libraries are strongly encouraged to use separate records.
  4. Libraries are encouraged to follow recommended practice for access-related text in the 856 subfield z. See the MeLCat Best Practices document.
  5. Links to the locally licensed electronic resources will be displayed in each library's holdings rather than on the master bibliographic record.

7.0 Problem Reporting and Resolution

7.1 Problem reporting

  1. Staff in any Michigan library can report MeLCat problems.
  2. Participating libraries will be responsible for promptly correcting problems reported on their records.
  3. Participating libraries will provide a contact person to follow up on problem reports received.

7.2 Types of problems to report through MeLCat

  1. Errors that impact record retrieval and matching.
  2. Broken links, i.e., URLs that do not work, on records for statewide electronic resources.

7.3 Types of problems not to report through MeLCat

  1. Cataloging errors or omissions that do not impact retrieval or identification of the material.
  2. Circulation status information.
  3. Duplicate records of any type.
  4. Broken links, i.e., URLs that do not work, on records for locally licensed electronic resources.

7.4 Unresolved problems

  1. When problems reported for a library become numerous, or go unresolved for a lengthy time, MeLCat staff will contact the library to help analyze the problems and develop plans to resolve them.
  2. Libraries with persistent problems may be referred to the State Librarian or his/her designee for action. MeLCat staff may need to review the library's bibliographic record quality to make sure their records still meet the minimum requirements.
  3. Serious problems could result in suppression in suspension of MeLCat resource sharing privileges. The State Librarian or his/her designee will be the final arbiter.

8.0 Policy Revisions

These policies will be reviewed as needed by the MeLCat Advisory Committee. Comments on revisions will be solicited from the participating libraries via the MeLCat email discussion list. Participating libraries will have three (3) weeks for comment. In the event a revision is deemed problematic by a majority of commenters, the issue may be further considered by the Advisory Committee before the changes are forwarded to the State Librarian for approval.

Recommended by the MeL Catalog Policies Committee: September 30, 2004
Approved by the State Librarian: October 11, 2004

Revisions to minimum record requirements approved by the State Librarian: June 18, 2007

Revisions to 1.2, 1.3, 4.3, 5.1, 6.1, 7.4 and 8.0 approved by the State Librarian: July 14, 2010

Revisions to 2.9, 4.3 approved by the State Librarian: April 23, 2012

Revision to 6.2 approved by the State Librarian: May 22, 2013 [Minor edit for formatting October 23, 2013]

Revisions to 2.7, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.0 approved by the State Librarian: March 1, 2016