This post will analyze how often and in what ways multi-library systems outsource cataloging.  You can see previous posts on the frequency of multi-library systems and more information on outsourcing in general.

323 respondents answered two questions regarding outsourcing of cataloging and whether or not they were part of a multi-library system.  Here is the breakdown.

Do you outsource any cataloging tasks?
Yes No I don’t know Total
Is your library part of a multi-part library system? Yes 81 72 0 153
No 72 95 0 167
I don’t know 1 2 0 3
Total 154 169 0 323
Table 1 – Outsourcing tasks vs. Multi-Library Systems (actual numbers)

Tables 1 & 2 shows that just over 52% of the respondents that outsourced tasks were part of a multi-library systems. Almost  47%  were not part of a multi-library system.   The reverse of this was true for respondents who did not outsource cataloging – 42% were part of a multi-library system and 56% were not.  It should be noted that a small number of respondents (3) who both outsourced cataloging and were part of a multi-library system, reported that the outsourced work was to other libraries in  the system or to a unit that took care of those duties for the entire library system.  However, the vast majority of outsourced cataloging work reported was to vendors who specialize in shelf ready and authority control.

Do you outsource any cataloging tasks?
Yes No I don’t know Total
Is your library part of a multi-part library system? Yes 52.6% 42.6% 0% 47.37%
No 46.75% 56.21% 0% 51.7%
I don’t know 0.65% 1.18% 0% 0.93%
Total 100% 100% 100% 100%
Table 2 – Outsourcing Tasks vs. Multi-Library Systems (percentages)

 

Table 3 below show the answers from the 153 respondents from multi-library systems who also answered the question about how many libraries were part of their multi-library system.

Do you outsource any cataloging tasks?
Yes No I don’t know Total Total %
How many libraries make up your library system? 2 16 9 0 25 16.34%
3 11 8 0 19 12.42%
4 5 6 0 11 7.19%
5 13 8 0 21 13.73%
6 3 3 0 6 3.92%
7 6 5 0 11 7.19%
8 5 3 0 8 5.23%
9 1 3 0 4 2.61%
10+ 21 27 0 48 31.37%
Total 81 72 0 153 100%
Total % 52.90% 47.06% 0% 100%
Table 3 – Outsourcing vs. Number of Libraries in a Multi-Library System

 

There was a slight pattern where large multi-library systems outsourced less often than smaller multi-library systems.  Chart 1 below visualizes that comparison in Table 3 above.outsourcingmlbylibraryno

Chart 1 – Outsourcing vs. Number of Libraries in a Multi-Library System (bar chart representation)

Types of tasks outsourced in a multi-library system

Analyzing the types of tasks that were reported as outsourced, a few main categories surfaced:

  • Shelf Ready
  • Authority Control
  • General Cataloging and Processing (including original cataloging, copy cataloging, and physical process of material)
  • Electronic Resources (including e-books, e-serials, and streaming video)
  • Foreign Language Cataloging
  • Special Projects and Backlogs and Special Formats (such as DVD, maps, music cataloging, and microfiche)
  • Other

With the exception of authority control, all of these categories were more frequently outsourced by multi-library systems than single libraries. The numbers for Shelf Ready may actually be more than what is indicated here, as many of the responses reported in the General Cataloging/Processing category may  be part of a shelf ready program, but were unclear and so categorized more generally as seen below.

outsourcingtasksfrequencymulti-singlelibraries

Chart 2 – Frequency of outsourcing tasks for multi-library systems and single libraries

Libraries in multi-library systems and single libraries followed a similar pattern of the number of outsourcing categories reported.  No respondents reported more outsourcing categories than 5.  For both multi-library systems and single libraries, respondents most frequently reported only outsourcing one or two categories.  These were typically Shelf Ready or Authority Control.

outsourcedtasksmulti-librarysystems

Chart 3 – Number of outsourced tasks for multi-library systems and single libraries

 

 

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