CCE Theses and Dissertations

Implementing and Evaluating A Bibliographic Retrieval System for Print and Non-Print Media Materials

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts (DA)


Center for Computer-Based Learning


Jane Anne Hannigan

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman


A fast growing south Florida school district struggled with providing needed central cataloging and processing services to its 103 school centers for library books and non-print media materials. Previous methods employed involved the manual typing of spine labels, book/material check out cards and pockets, and either the original production of catalog cards, the duplication of cards held in the master file or the ordering of available cards from the Library of Congress by U.S. Mail. Prior analysis by the researcher indicated that a computer-based bibliographic retrieval system, properly configured to meet district and school specifications, might be implemented to eliminate the mail ordering of card sets from the Library of Congress and serve to simplify and expedite the "in-house" production of cards and processing of materials not cataloged by the Library of Congress. It was assumed by the researcher that the providing of district-wide cataloging services and full "shelf-ready" processing of media materials to 103 school centers was a significant study worthy of review and relevant to existing problems in the information science field.

A comprehensive search of professional literature was conducted to obtain more information about currently used bibliographic retrieval systems - their merits and disadvantages. Media supervisors in selected colleges and other Florida school districts were queried for their input about research conducted and solutions they employed relative to the selection phase of the study. Based on the information gathering process, possible retrieval systems and/or ancillary products capable of solving the institutional problem were identified. Selected vendors were contacted for specific information about their individual products that was further analyzed for possible acquisition. Based on information received from all sources, the Biblio-File system was found to be the most cost-effective solution, and the one most capable of enhancing cataloging and processing operations. Its purchase was recommended to, and approved by, higher level district administrative personnel.

Once the system was received, it had to configure to insure that produced materials were consistent with both existing institutional guidelines and the MARC, AACR II and ISBD formats. During this phase, existing personnel were trained to use the system and queried for input relative to its implementation. Care was taken during this phase to insure that existing cataloging and processing standards, etc. we’re not sacrificed by an inadvertent enthusiasm to effect positive implementation of the system. By the same token, safeguards were taken to insure that dislike of change, particularly, automated change, on the part of existing personnel, and did not adversely affect the implementation of the system. During the configuration and limited implementation stages, which lasted two months, many procedural changes were identified that would enhance the full implementation of the system. Configuration adjustments were made throughout the configuration and limited implementation stages until system produced materials were of the desired quality and format.

Once the system was up and running and producing materials at a high level of staff satisfaction, system utilization moved into the full implementation stage. During this six month phase the system was used to produce processing materials for all books and audio visual materials cataloged by the Library of Congress. Additionally, the system was used for the in-house production of processing materials for books and audio visual materials for which there was no cataloging data either in the system database or in the district master file. During this phase, many procedural changes were identified and implemented, resulting in the writing of revised procedures for the Processing Section. Significant hardware changes were effected during this phase to enhance the production capabilities. Following the full implementation phase, it became necessary to evaluate the system for effect. In the researcher's opinion, system evaluation had to be based on both a survey of school media specialists relative to their needs and expectations and an in-house time-cost study effected at the institutional level to determine relative costs or savings of the new system as opposed to the preexisting procedures. In that regard, an evaluative instrument was constructed and distributed to district media personnel that facilitated the gathering of data about the effectiveness of the newly operational system from their point of view. Also, a time-cost study comparing the production of processing materials, under the old set of procedures and with the new system, was conducted by gathering direct time measurement data of the cataloging and processing functions. Results from both analyses strongly indicated that system production was viewed favorably from both the standpoint of district school media specialists and administratively from a cost-effectiveness point of view. Several recommendations from both staff and media specialists were analyzed and incorporated into the system production capability. Additionally, the researcher has considered several future measures that would facilitate the storage of cataloging data into a proposed district union catalog. The researcher was able to supervise the selection, installation, configuration, implementation and evaluation of the Biblio-File system.

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