Can We Stop Manually Adding Ebooks to Our Catalog?

This week, I’ve been helping the head of collection management at my library figure out if we can make a change in the way we make our ebook collections discoverable. For many years, when we’ve bought ebook packages, we would go to the vendors website, download the MARC records, tweak them a bit in MarcEdit, and then get them uploaded into our catalog so they could be found along with our print book collections. Now that we have a new discovery service–Primo–we’re wondering if we can just activate those collections in the Primo Central Index. If we go that route, then we will no longer have to manually process all those ebook records in MARC.

I’ve been looking into each of the ebook packages we have and then checking the following in the Primo (and SFX) documentation:

  • is the package something that Primo/SFX has indexed
  • if the package is indexed, can you search not only by subjects and keywords but also the full text of those books

Regarding the first question, it’s interesting but not at all surprising that some ebook collections we get aren’t indexed by Primo/SFX. Examples include Oxford Handbooks Online and EBSCO’s Ebook Collection (that last one should surprise no one). I also don’t know how we’ll handle a PDA collection like the one we have from MyIlibary. It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to stop all manual uploads of records into the catalog yet, but we might be able to give up doing it for a few. It’d be nice if we could switch over wholly to a new workflow, but I guess as in many other arenas we have to learn to straddle the new and the legacy systems.