USING LTI FOR AUTHORITY CONTROL
Based on a PowerPoint Presentation Created for EndUser 2003
By Marilyn Quinn
April 22, 2003
Rider University was one of the first Endeavor customers. We converted to Voyager in 1995 from CSLI. Although the library administration had originally planned to implement authority control prior to conversion, this, unfortunately, did not happen. Instead, I worked with a new Dean of Libraries, upon arriving as Bibliographic Control Librarian in 1996, to get funding for authority clean-up. We became the first Voyager site to do authority clean-up after the initial conversion. This was accomplished in 1999 along with the addition of catalog records from our music library to the main library catalog. The music library had previously relied on their card catalog.
Although I had talked to several different authority vendors, including LTI, prior to the implementation, Endeavor actually selected LTI. I did not question them, because I had been happy with the information I had received from LTI. At the time, OCLC was still quite new to authority control, and their quote for clean-up had been considerably higher than LTI’s and LSSI’s. I suspect that Endeavor wished to work with a vendor that had long experience with authority work and with whom they were familiar.
The web site for LTI, www.librarytech.com, has a wealth of information about their authority control services. LTI stands for Library Technologies, Inc.
Rider University’s main library had about 290,000 bib records in our Voyager catalog at the time of the clean-up. We added almost 50,000 records from the music library, using primarily their OCLC archival records. These records underwent authority clean-up as well. The Rider catalog has about 340,000 bib records currently.
Prior to clean-up, the Rider main library had no authority file, either online or on cards. The main library had not engaged in even minimal authority work for copy cataloging. The music library had always done meticulous authority work for all cataloging, but all of it was contained in a card file. When we loaded the files of bib records and authority records that we received back from LTI, Rider created its first online authority file. We received authority records from LTI for all subject, name, and series authorities that LTI could identify as being needed by our catalog records and for which there are LC authority records.
We opted to have full manual review of our records by LTI (which is actually a combination of automated and human matching), because the headings in the main library catalog were so dirty and disorganized. We also felt that music cataloging, which deals with very complex and large numbers of authorities, deserved the extra attention. This option cost 12 cents per bib record, and the total cost ended up at about $42,000.
Endeavor created its “Son of Slam” program for re-loading bib records in order to load back our entire database after the clean-up, merging the records from the two libraries into one catalog. One advantage of letting Endeavor load the bibs back, using this program, is the load does not generate an extra 035 in the record (more on this later).
After the clean-up in 1999 we subscribed immediately to two of LTI’s on-going authority control services the Express service (AEX) and a complete database maintenance service (AUP). It was clear to me that we needed help from a vendor, because, in the main library, the only cataloging staff with knowledge of authority control was me. I was already over-worked, having been asked to fill in as Serials Librarian, until we could hire someone. Even after we hired a Serials Librarian, I knew we needed LTI’s assistance. There was still no staff time to take on the burden of keeping track of authority changes, importing new authorities, and using Voyager’s global headings changes. We have a limited technical staff as well, and have not been able to take advantage of Gary Strawn’s global change software.
We were also short of funds, so, in 1999, I subscribed to LTI’s Authority Update Maintenance Level I for keeping up with authority changes throughout the database, because Level I costs roughly half of Level II. Level I requires the library to make the actual changes to the headings, based on LTI reports. We opted for the quarterly AUP Level I schedule. The choice of Level I proved to be a mistake. I had over-estimated the capabilities of the Voyager global heading change function. Some of the promised enhancements did not come about as soon as I had thought they would. I also over-estimated the amount of time and staff it would take to go through the LTI reports and do the changes in Voyager. I also became overwhelmed by other library projects. This is probably why the vast majority of Voyager sites that use LTI AUP, are using Level II. We later switched to AUP Level II and are very pleased with this level. More about this later.
We also subscribed to LTI’s Authority Express service, which permits the library to keep up with authority work for current cataloging. At the main library, catalogers (who consist primarily of staff who have never had authority control training) do not need to check the National Authority File for routine copy cataloging. This saves us a lot of time. (We do full authority work only for original cataloging, which we send to OCLC.)
We chose to stay with LTI for on-going authority work after the initial clean-up for a number of reasons. (1) During the clean-up process, LTI acquired a complete copy of our database, which they have continued to maintain and update. (2) LTI staff and customer service have been exemplary, quick to respond to questions, and easy to reach and talk to. (3) LTI was familiar with Voyager, having done clean-up and provided on-going control to a number of Voyager libraries. Their web site indicates they have done clean-up for 120 Voyager libraries, and are currently providing Authority Express (AEX) to 30 Voyager sites, Authority Update Maintenance Level I (AUP I) to 4 sites, and Authority Update Maintenance Level II (AUP II) to 17 Voyager sites. We were also happy with the clean-up job that they did for us.
Authority Express (AEX) handles authorities for current cataloging. Update Maintenance (AUP) results from LTI’s review of the entire database on a regular schedule and allows the library to keep a completely clean database, based on the many heading changes that LC initiates on an on-going basis.
AEX Files can be sent (via ftp) any time and as often as you like. Rider is currently sending a file once a month (includes bibs from both libraries, which are in the same catalog), on the first Wednesday of each month, a schedule I arbitrarily set, in order to permit cataloging staff to plan their work. We identify bibs for bulk export by the OK to Export designation in the bib record. All new cataloging records are marked OK to Export by cataloging staff. On a scheduled AEX day, the staff do not work on bib records marked OK to Export until I communicate that the AEX job is finished. They also refrain from deleting bibs at that time.
Files up to 10,000 records are typically finished within an hour or so after they have been received at LTI for Authority Express. The cost is 10 cents per bib and $10 per file. A file of 1200 bibs costs $130 (including the file fee). We use an ID and password to retrieve our finished records from the LTI server. We then use Voyager bulk import to re-load the authorized bibs and to load the new and/or changed authority records.
The bibs are matched only on the Voyager bib ID number, and are always reported as replaces in the log. All bibs sent to LTI return for replacing, a simple transaction.
Authority records pose a different problem. For AUP and AEX, we receive files of new (or changed) authority records. Where LTI has performed the library's batch authority control processing (database clean-up), LC authority records from AEX runs are deduped automatically against those previously provided to the library. Only new (or changed) authority records are extracted. The Voyager authority record ID number and the 010 subfields a and z are used for matching. Log reports from bulk import show mostly add’s and some replaces.
Rider uses the same bib dupe detection and import profiles for loading records from both LTI AEX and AUP jobs. Our bib dupe detection is set for replace handling and matches on the Voyager bib ID number (BBID) only. Our authority dupe detection profile is set at Merge for handling and matches on the Authority Record ID (ATID), the LC number in the 010 subfield a (A10A), with an override of the 010 subfield z (010z), and the 010 subfield z by itself (A10Z). The merge field is the 690, which we use for local notes we sometimes add to authority records.
We have not changed the default settings for Cancellation (None) and the default Duplicate Replace and Duplicate Warn (100 each).
Bulk import not only replaces all the ftp’d bibs, it simultaneously unchecks the OK to Export boxes. At any given time, any bib marked OK to Export is destined for the next AEX job. Only cataloging staff can mark a record OK to Export, and they mark it after it has been fully cataloged. (Work will be somewhat more complicated, if we decide to use the OK to Export mark for anything other than authority work.)
LTI advertises as one of its unique services that it runs the library's entire database through authority control during each AUP processing run. As a result, anytime we edit a bib in any way, we have to update our copy at LTI. This is easily done by means of the Express service.
Rider’s cataloging staff marks bibs OK to Export whenever they catalog new titles and whenever they edit previously cataloged records. When LTI reviews our entire database for an AUP job and sends us a file of bibs that have updated authorities, we do not want to replace a newer version of our bib with an older version, so we keep the LTI copy of our database up-to-date. We can do this using the Express service. (We do not edit call numbers in the bibs, so such edits alone do not require re-sending the record to LTI.) When LTI does authority work for Express or AUP, it makes changes only to controlled heading fields. The rest of the bib record is returned to us just as it currently appears in the LTI copy of our database. So if we have added, for example, a note field, since the initial authority work, we want to make sure that note field resides in that bib at LTI.
I find it comforting to know that LTI has a copy of our database. I also know that it is more up-to-date in many ways than the archival records we have at OCLC.
A library can subscribe to the LTI Express service and even to a limited AUP service, even though it did not use LTI for a clean-up of the entire database. Please refer to the LTI web site or contact LTI for more information.
The LTI Process: Job Reports, FTP Files, and MARC Fields
LTI uses the following file extensions for processing:
1. Files with the extention OUT are the bibs we send for work.
2. Files with the extention LCS are new subject authorities for us to load.
3. The LCN extension identifies a file of new name and series authorities. (A
library can opt for series to be in a separate file.)
4. ACF files contain authority control stats as an ASCII text file.
5. The ULH file contains an unlinked headings list (also an ASCII text file).
The MARC fields that are changed by LTI are the controlled heading fields: names, uniform titles, series, and subjects. Controlled fields are checked for proper punctuation and proper subfield coding. The following is a list of fields and subfields checked by the LTI process:
100 $a q b c d e k t n p l f
110 $a b e n d c k t p l f g
111 $a q e g k t p l f
130 $a t n p l f k s g d m o r h
240 $a n p l f k s g d m o r h
400 $a q b c d k t n p l f g v
410 $a b n d c k t p l f g v
411 $a q e g k t p l f v
440 $a n p v
600 $a q b c d k t n p l f m o r s h g v x y z
610 $a b n d c k t p l f m o r s h g v x y z
611 $a q e g k t p l f s h v x y z
630 $a t n p l f k s g d m o r h v x y z
650 $a b v x y z
651 $a v x y z
700 $a q b c d e k t n p l f m o r s h g
710 $a b e n d c t p l f m o r s h g
711 $a q e g k t p l f s h
730 $a t n p l f k s g d m o r h
800 $a q b c d k t n p l f m o r s h g v
810 $a b n d c k t p l f m o r s h g v
811 $a q e g k t p l f s h v
830 $a t n p l f k s g d m o r h v
840 $a h v
LTI does not touch 6XX fields unless they have a second indicator of 0. Nor do they touch 690’s. So we are free to use 6XX, second indicator 4, and 690 for local headings, which is, however, not a common practice for us.
LTI does not make changes to uncontrolled fields, i.e. 3XX, 5XX, 9XX, control numbers, etc. However, one must remember that after an AUP maintenance clean-up of the entire database, LTI will return the records with all of the uncontrolled fields as they currently appear in their copy of the database. That is why it is important to send them all edited records as well as new records as part of the AEX jobs. The edited records will replace the original records in the LTI database. One must keep up with this between AUP jobs. A second, less desirable, option is to create a Merge handling of all uncontrolled fields for the bulk import of AUP bib files. A third option is to send a new base file every year just before an annual AUP job.
For the initial clean-up of one’s database, LTI does a very thorough database prep. For details, see http://www.librarytech.com/A-PREL-C.HTM . These include helpful corrections of filing indicators, language codes, conversion of obsolete tagging, punctuation changes (e.g. brackets around GMD’s) in many fields other than the controlled fields.
LTI has created a large supplementary, non-LC authority file over the years. This proprietary file of well over 2 million cross-references and about 2 million headings are created using AACR2 and LC practice. These headings are used to correct headings in a library’s catalog. If LC later establishes those headings, LTI will replace its headings with the new LC headings and send the library the changes.
In the summer of 2001, we switched to from AUP Level I to Level II. The change did not cost more money, because we switched from a quarterly Level I to an annual Level II. In order to make this switch more than a year after the initial clean-up, LTI required us to send them a “new base file” for $500. This was especially necessary in our case, because we had been unable to do all the changes in Voyager that the Level I reports had asked us to do, in part because of lack of staff time, and in part because of what global changes could not do very easily at that time. We were not the only Voyager site to have made this switch. We also spent some extra money for clean-up of records added after we froze our AUP Level I service, in preparation for the switch.
We paid Endeavor $1000 to load the bibs back after the LTI switch-over maintenance job. They used the “Son of Slam” program that they had developed with us back in 1999. The load was faster and less of a burden for us as a result, even though LTI only returned bibs that had required heading changes. We used bulk import to import the authority records. They all ended up in the Global Headings Queue, which was a hassle to clean out. We simply deleted them, because the changes were already made when we replaced the bibs. For some reason, that has never happened since.
In the future, we will reconsider the value of doing AUP work more frequently than on an annual schedule, but so far this seems to work well for us. Our AUP job is done in the summer, when I have fewer responsibilities outside cataloging.
There was another advantage of loading the bibs with the Slam load instead of bulk import. No additional 035’s were created in the bibs, which are automatically created in both bibs and authorities by bulk import. These fields are totally unneeded by Rider and may actually prove to be a problem in the future. The only 035 we want in our bib records is the one with the OCLC number. Fortunately, the bulk import-added 035, which carries the Voyager ID number, appears to be added later in the record, and does not interfere with a needed match on the OCLC number for incoming records. It also appears that they are only added once, no matter how many times the record is bulk imported for replacement. We have asked Endeavor to make this added 035 an option, which could be turned off for simple record replacement.
A more serious problem is Voyager’s lack of an import profile option which would automatically throw non-matches in to a file instead of adding them as new records. My conversations with users of other library systems, indicate to me that this is possible with those systems. After LTI does our annual update maintenance processing, they occasionally include a bib in the return file that represents a bib we deleted sometime during the previous year. It is automatically added, because it does not match. For now, I assume that any add represents a deleted record, and I have to delete it again. Some libraries choose to spend $500 each year and send a new base file to LTI, which culls the deleted records from the LTI copy of the database. Rider may ultimately choose to do this also, if we can get the $500. (It probably ends up with a longer freeze on editing records during the process.) This may have the added benefit of sending some new records to LTI that got overlooked for the Express service during the year.
A similar problem, and even more serious, is the automatic unsuppressing of suppressed bibs during bulk import of bibs returning from an AUP maintenance job. I told Verne Cioppi about this at the 2002 VUGM, and I believe there is an enhancement request for this. The only solution I have at the moment is to create a report of suppressed bibs just prior to the annual AUP job and then re-suppress them after the bulk import. Many of our suppressed bibs are never affected, because bibs suppressed by acquisitions and circulation staff (unfilled orders, reserve titles for personal materials, etc.) are never sent to LTI for Express work. Only records that are fully cataloged and added to the catalog, and then suppressed, risk being unsuppressed if LTI later changes a heading.
Just this week, a new mailing list was born, an LTI Users List. There are only 42 users so far, but they represent many of the major library systems. One of the benefits of our discussions will be to see how the various systems perform authority control using vendor services.
Rider University is still evaluating vendor-supplied authority control. We will probably find that machine matching and machine changes are not perfect, but it is probably closer to perfect than doing authority work completely on our own. So far, LTI has provided us with excellent service and has substantially improved our catalog. Without LTI, Rider’s catalog would be a much more confusing database of questionable use to our users. Authority control is very complex, labor intensive work. My experience leads me to guess that an ILS designer needs to put a great deal of effort into its authority control functions if it wants to come close to matching the ability of a specialized authority control service to do the job. Probably, an ILS can never be as thorough, because an authority vendor keeps track of the LC heading additions and changes and can even keep track of the changes that a particular library needs to implement. In these days of staff shortages, particularly in technical services, and at small to medium-sized libraries, there is less time than ever to devote to authority control. I believe that an authority control vendor, along with local librarian supervision and an ILS designer that understands and appreciates authority control, can produce the nearest thing to perfect consistency and clarity in the headings and cross-references of our catalogs.