Regarding the data in OCLC, my understanding (as a former serials cataloger) is 
that there is detailed information for at least some institutions in the 
interlibrary loan portion of the OCLC database but this is not available via 
worldcat. I know our ILL department added detailed information for commonly 
requested titles years ago. I also know we are in the process of getting our 
detailed holdings loaded into OCLC (possibly just on the ILL side, I'm not sure 
about this) and maintaining our holdings through batch updates. Many of our 
current titles use summary holdings, but not all do. I believe the summary 
holdings work much more effectively with ILL as well so our serials catalogers 
have been working for years to improve our local data. As part of our move to 
summary holdings, we also reduced some of the detail in our holdings, so now we 
show only gaps of entire volumes, but not specific missing issues in our coded 
holdings (the missing issues are included in notes in our i!
 tem specific records).

If there is better data available to ILL staff, this may be an avenue you could 

Wendy Robertson
Digital Resources Librarian .  The University of Iowa Libraries
1015 Main Library  .  Iowa City, Iowa 52242

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [] On Behalf Of Bill 
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:57 PM
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] WorldCat as an OpenURL endpoint ?

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 5:49 PM, Kyle Banerjee <> wrote:
> No, but parsing holding statements for something that just gets cut off
> early or which starts late should be easy unless entry is insanely
> inconsistent.

And....there it is. :-)

We're really dealing with a few problems here:

 - Inconsistent entry by catalogers (probably the least of our worries)
 - Inconsistent publishing schedules (e.g., the Jan 1942 issue was
just plain never printed)
 - Inconsistent use of volume/number/year/month/whatever throughout a
serial's run.

So, for example,

There are six holdings:

1919-1920 incompl
1920 incompl.
v.4 no.49
v.6 1921 jul-dec
v.6 1921jan-jun

We have no way of knowing what year volume 4 was printed in, which
issues are incomplete in the two volumes that cover 1920, whether
volume number are associated with earlier (or later) issues, etc. We,
as humans, could try to make some guesses, but they'd just be guesses.

It's easy to find examples where month ranges overlap (or leave gaps),
where month names and issue numbers are sometimes used
interchangeably, where volume numbers suddenly change in the middle of
a run because of a merge with another serial (or where the first
volume isn't "1" because the serial broke off from a parent), etc.
etc. etc.

I don't mean to overstate the problem. For many (most?) serials whose
existence only goes back a few decades, a relatively simple approach
will likely work much of the time -- although even that relatively
simple approach will have to take into account a solid dozen or so
different ways that enumcron data may have been entered.

But to be able to say, with some confidence, that we have the full
run? Or a particular issue as labeled my a month name? Much, much
harder in the general case.


Bill Dueber
Library Systems Programmer
University of Michigan Library

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