Friday, April 11, 2008

OCLC Validation Changes in Batch Processing

Relaxed Validation in Batch Processing

Beginning the week of April 13, OCLC will implement new validation rules for records added to WorldCat via batch processing. Until then, any validation error prevents a record from being added to WorldCat. After April 13, only severe errors will prevent records from being added to WorldCat via batch. Records with minor errors will be added. Online inputting rules will remain the same when records are entered through Connexion.

Most of the records entered into WorldCat through batch processing have an Encoding Level value of "3" or "M" or "4" that any full cataloging user in Connexion may correct and upgrade. A few records may have other values. Records with minor errors will no longer have Encoding Level 'E' in order to enable easier correction.

In addition to these changes, some records added via batch after April 13 may contain fill characters in the OCLC fixed field or in fields 006 or 007. Prior to April 13, a fill character prevents the record from being added to WorldCat. OCLC is adopting the MARC21 definition of the fill character to mean "no attempt to supply a value" for batch processing.

Presence of a fill character in a variable control field indicates that the creator of the record has not attempted to supply a value. ... The fill character may be used in undefined character positions and in character positions for which the MARC 21 format defines one or more values. Use of the fill character in variable control fields is usually regulated by the policy of the inputting agency.

The fill character will only be present in a record if the user has distributed a fill character to OCLC in a file sent for loading. The fill character is not yet valid in Connexion; if full validation is invoked in Connexion, the fill character will generate an error message. Validating use of the fill character within Connexion is under consideration.

Prior to loading records to WorldCat, OCLC processes all files through many clean-up routines, correcting millions of records each year. However, some problems require manual review of the item described by the record or more analysis of the record than can be accomplished by software.

The benefits of the changes to batch validation are many:
1. increased volume of records that can be loaded into WorldCat so libraries may participate in more OCLC services, such as WorldCat.local
2. increased number of new, unique records in WorldCat
3. batch projects will be completed more quickly than in the past
4. fewer records requiring manual review by OCLC staff or by owning library and fewer records rejected for loading

Rich Greene
OCLC, Inc.

(OBS-OCLC e-list)

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