From 2012-2014 two other librarians at the Texas A&M University Libraries, two librarians from Mexico, and myself were co-principal investigators of a project funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) under their Cataloging Hidden Collections Program. Our project was entitled “Discovering a New World: Cataloging Old and Rare Imprints from Colonial and Early Independent Mexico”. We wanted to test whether students with no cataloging background but who have appropriate language skills (Spanish, in this case) could, with minimal training, input bibliographic metadata into an easy-to-use template. After determining which fields were most essential, we set up two templates in Sharepoint, one for books and one for single-sheet documents. The students entered the data in four stages, each stage being more complex than the previous one. At the end of the grant they had entered records for approximately 1600 books and 600 documents. The Sharepoint databases were exported as Excel spreadsheets. The next step was to convert the metadata in the spreadsheets into MARC records using MarcEdit. Our initial idea was to load these records into our local Voyager catalog, do any necessary editing there, and then upload to OCLC. However, we discovered a problem with extraneous but invisible characters in our files that prevented MarcEdit from compiling the records. Even after much cleanup, Voyager wouldn’t load the MARC files. The solution was Connexion! I was able to create a local “Save” file, then batch loaded the records for the 600 single-sheet documents. Now we can edit the records and update our records in OCLC, then export them to our catalog—the reverse of the process we had envisioned. To date, about 150 of these records have been completely processed.
Based on CLIR grant-funded project: “Discovering a New World: Cataloging Old and Rare Imprints from Colonial and Early Independent Mexico” at the Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University.