More than half of the libraries which now have automated library systems have had them for more than four years. Most of the databases on the systems are at least that old; many are much older because the library is on its second on third system. The majority of the databases that we have seen as consultants are badly in need of clean-up. The most cost effective way of doing this is to first write the bibliographic database to tape and then send the tape to a bibliographic service that specializes in tape processing.
A clean-up involves replacing obsolete headings with current headings, changing abbreviations to complete words, correcting spelling, etc. Machine processing can improve at least 95 percent of most libraries' records at a cost of only $.05 per record. A manual review of the other five percent will cost up to three times that much per record.
An ideal time to undertake a clean-up is before a major system upgrade or system replacement. The new records should be available for submission to the vendor of the upgraded or new system at least 45 days prior to scheduled installation.