Utilizing Z39.50 to obtain bibliographic copy a cost-containment study

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This paper looks at one approach, to controlling costs when seeking cataloging copy. A small task group in the University of Minnesota Libraries Technical Services Department conducted a study to devise the most cost-effective strategy for searching for and importing bibliographic copy, by compiling costs and benefits of importing records from the OCLC Online Computer Library Center database, the Research Libraries Group Union Catalog (RLIN), and the Library of Congress (LC) catalog. Results of the study indicated that, although the LC database is smaller than the other two utilities, a sufficient portion of needed records were available from LC to more than offset the cost of re-searching in the other databases for records not found. In addition, due to differences in pricing structure, searching RLIN second was found to be more cost effective than going next to OCLC, even though a slightly larger proportion of items were found in OCLC than RLIN. This study may prove useful either as a research method or in terms of its findings for other libraries wishing to compare sources of cataloging copy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalLibrary Resources and Technical Services
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


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