Inventory of federal archives in the states : series IV, the Department of War. no. 14, Iowa / prepared by the Survey of Federal Archives, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Work Projects Administration ; the National Archives, cooperating sponsor. (OCLC #994006495)
Sometimes it’s helpful to get ebook metadata from the print record, like when the technician doing the digitization has covered the publication information with their hand:
264 _1 ǂa Des Moines, Iowa : ǂb Historical Records Survey Project,
We did not bracket the information, as the record is provider-neutral, and covers any potential complete copies as well (of whose content we can be reasonably confident).
A textbook of nanoscience and nanotechnology / T. Pradeep. (OCLC #899218803)
Sometime in March, the metadata for this ebook at McGraw-Hill’s Access Engineering Library changed from having its title as “A textbook of nanoscience and nanotechnology” to just “Textbook of nanoscience and nanotechnology”. This would normally not be an issue, except that the URL changed similarly, from:
Laboratory evaluations of stabilized flue gas desulfurization sludge (scrubber sludge) and aggregate mixtures / by Mark Anderson, Gary W. Sharpe, David L. Allen, Herbert F. Southgate and Robert C. Deen. (OCLC #884361903)
When I first started cataloging ebooks, the standard was to catalog them as electronic reproductions of print, and with a separate record for each platform that provided the title. This made some sense, but was frustrating for copy cataloging when you’d see only a skimpy record for the copy you had access to, but a robust popular record for the copy from another vendor.
In 2009, the preferred standard changed to provider-neutral records; that is, all copies of a particular ebook should now be cataloged on a single record with 856 fields for each link that provides access to it. Fields in this record describe an electronic resource (rather than mainly describing print, with reproduction notes in a 533) and do not include details that only apply to specific platforms, such as added entries for the distributor or 506 notes describing restrictions on access. Such details can be added to local catalogs if they are helpful to patrons.
Since a single provider-neutral record can be used for manifestations with various carriers (PDF, HTML, plain text) but not all carriers (excludes print, microform), the level of cataloging is somewhere between expression and manifestation.
Concrete : microstructure, properties, and materials / P. Kumar Mehta, Paulo J.M. Monteiro. (OCLC #879384979)
Some ebook platforms, particularly those that have formatted text instead of page scans, do not provide a traditional title page/verso to catalog from. It can also be difficult to determine the extent of the book in pages, and the presence of certain elements such as illustrations, bibliography, and index. These may also vary from platform to platform for a given title, which is a problem when you are trying to create a provider-neutral record that accurately represents them all, while only having access to one.
One way to avoid biasing the record to your available platform is to base the description (pagination, etc.) on an available print record for the title, and record this decision in a note like:
588 __ ǂa Description based on print version record.
Note that 588 is not used to indicate where you found individual elements; those notes still go in a general 500:
Hyperbolic conservation laws and related analysis with applications : Edinburgh, September 2011 / Gui-Qiang G. Chen, Helge Holden, Kenneth H. Karlsen, editors. (OCLC #847125824)
The tables are turning; I have often had to upgrade a skimpy ebook record using the print description, but for this one I did the opposite. OCLC had a robust and popular ebook record, but the only print record is a skimpy Level 3 with only a few holdings.
It was nice to have a record to derive from, though it was in some ways incomplete. I still had to assign a call number (ebook records don’t always include them) and check for features are are not always evident from the ebook edition, such as bibliographical references and index.
AccessMedicine / from McGraw-Hill Medical. (various records)
Platform change! Fortunately the old URLs redirect properly (hooray!) but surely the content is slightly different. The title-list format is definitely different.
To avoid re-cataloging the whole platform, and to help reliably spot the differences, I re-formatted the old title/edition list (using vim) to match the new format, and compared the two side-by-side (with vimdiff, shown).
Blue on the right means a new title has been added; blue on the left means a title has disappeared. Pink just means a difference, sometimes a new edition to be cataloged, but sometimes just a variant in punctuation, spelling or title choice.
The title list documents were pretty different, but it looks like relatively little new cataloging is needed! Next month will be simpler: I’ll download the current title list again, and compare with what I have now.