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Cataloging costs

Library Systems Newsletter [December 1989]


The Editors recently received a letter stating that the $3.00 per title cost-of-cataloging-on-a-bibliographic-utility estimate, that we quote from time to time, is much too high. To support this claim, the writer pointed out that the cost with RLIN is much lower since there are no first-time-use or downloading charges and the cost of searching is only $.55 to $.78 per search. Unfortunately, the writer is wearing blinders. In order to accurately estimate the true cost, a library must look at much more than merely the cost of the search. In the case of RLIN, for example, users must amortize the start-up costs (typically $6,500 to $8,150), include annual fixed costs such as network membership and access fees, equipment maintenance, and telephone line charges (typically $3,180 to $3,440 per year) and add search charges (typically $2.17 to $2.31 per title cataloged since the average copy cataloging transaction requires 2.25 search commands). William Saffady's study of cataloging support system costs (Library Technology Reports, July-August 1989) released this past month documents that the cost of RLIN is a minimum of $3.31 per title plus local labor costs (estimated at $7.28 per title). We noted with interest that while the $3.31 figure compares favorably with those for other bibliographic utilities, it is ten percent higher than the estimate figure we have been using. Saffady's study reminds us once again to approach unusually low cost figures with great caution. If there were a way to catalog a title using a bibliographic utility for substantially less than $3.00, we would be able to make the same cataloging support system recommendation to almost all libraries.

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Publication Year:1989
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 9 Number 12
Issue:December 1989
Page(s):95
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss and Judy McQueen Contributing Editors
Subject: Cataloging
ISSN:0277-0288
Record Number:4678
Last Update:2021-11-17 12:27:41
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00