What should catalogs do? - From Locating to Use

End-users are not after catalog records, they want content.
For library holdings, other than for internet resources, this means: one has to gain access to the physical object. There is therefore a clear hierarchy of importance, in the view of the library patron:

Local Holdings
Subdivides into:  Available for use in the branch of choice / In some other branch / Not readily available

Holdings of other libraries accessible with relative ease 
(ILL networks)

Rest of the world

This directly translates into priorities for catalog policy:

  1. Every library has to be very much concerned about the integrity of its own catalog and its integration with circulation
  2. We have to pull in the same direction nationwide, not just network-wide, and not tolerate a division, at least among those libraries being members of the ILL networks. It is important to improve consistency, shareability and interoperability between the networks.
  3. Cross-border catalog access can and should be further improved, but in two steps:
  1. investigate ways to improve cross-access by programmable procedures, like improved conversion, i.e. without rule changes or manual editing of our own data,
  2. only after this, consider helpful changes in cataloging rules and practices.
Good Catalogs are a pillar of good library service.

B. Eversberg, UB Braunschweig, 2002-04 / 2006-09