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Harvard Library Launches Bibliographic Notification Service


February 26, 2013—The Harvard Library will launch the Bibliographic Notification Service (BNS), a service provided through the Library’s subscription to OCLC. This service permits automatic enhancements of the Library catalog by adding new metadata elements provided by the global library community. Some examples of enhancements include table-of-contents or additional subject access points.


Library users will benefit from the use of BNS as Harvard catalogers will be able to focus on unique material and/or material with more complex metadata needs while leveraging the work of the broad cataloging community to augment metadata for more commonly held materials.


BNS will be context-sensitive—there will be different approaches to records depending on whether they have been fully cataloged or more minimally cataloged. Fully cataloged records will be enhanced by adding new information according to field-specific rules developed by the BNS working groups. Minimally cataloged records may be overlaid (retaining local information and certain data elements with unique values) or may be enhanced. Enhancement of records will follow field-specific rules developed by the BNS working groups. These rules will be documented on both the LTS Aleph Documentation Center and the ITS wiki.


BNS will be implemented in a gradual manner beginning with books. Other formats will be assessed separately and will have their own treatment rules. The approaches are being developed by working groups and are posted on an ongoing basis to a project wiki and input from the community is solicited through updates to the HLcat e-mail list and open meetings.


BNS implementation is overseen by the BNS Steering Group, with input by various task groups focusing on specific areas of interest, and will be monitored and assessed on a continuous basis to determine where it is most effective. The group expects to begin testing in March, and plan to implement the service in the first week of April.


The BNS Steering Group includes:


Danielle Adams, Information & Technical Services

Corinna Baksik, Library Technology Services 

Michael Beckett, Information & Technical Services

Karen Carlson Young, Information & Technical Services

Thomas Ma, Information & Technical Services

Karen Nipps, Houghton Library

Donna Viscuglia, Information & Technical Services