Success Story: In-House RA Reading Lists in the Library Catalogue

In March, I gave a presentation on how to enhance readers’ advisory services by creating opportunities for RA in the library catalogue. by collaborating with frontline staff. On March 22, I wrote a blog post reflecting on the presentation and trying to add some additional examples and ideas on the material that I presented.

One of the suggestions that I proposed included implementation of existing, or new, RA read-alike lists into the catalogue. This makes them linkable within the catalogue, and also offers a degree of discoverability, if a reader happens upon a title on an RA list. Even library catalogues that are considered legacy catalogues (traditional text-based v. next generation or “social” catalogues) can take advantage of linkable RA lists.

In a SirsiDynix Horizon ILS, cataloguers can take advantage of the 449 MARC tag to create these linkable lists. However, a colleague of mine from Ohio, Lynne Welch, indicated her interest in creating linkable RA lists, but found herself hindered by the ILS her library is using (They weren’t able to use the 449 tag as a linkable MARC tag because it wasn’t allowed by the ILS). Lynne and I started talking about how she could make it work for her library and, just this month, I received some great news –Herrick Memorial Library is now able to offer linkable RA lists within their catalogue. Not only did Lynne put a lot of energy into making this happen (great job!!), but the vendor of the library’s ILS was also interested it making it work – which just proves that vendors can and will collaborate with us, if we ask!

This is what Lynne had to say:

We wanted a quick and easy way to offer our readers timely and topical lists within the framework of our current PAC. [Your] March 22, 2010 blog entry on Halifax Public Libraries’ innovative use of the 449 field spurred us to experiment with our own catalog, and with some assistance from our vendor we achieved a very workable process using the 411 field. …without your post we’d still be wishin’ and dreamin’ without a solution.

So far, Lynne’s created two RA lists: If you like Science Fiction Romance, and If you like Twilight. If you do a title search on “like Twilight”, you’ll get a list of titles that, if you go into the bib record, you’ll see are linkable across from the Readers Advisory tag. The screenshot below is an example of this.

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