The Most Edited Records in WorldCat

Recently I’ve been doing a large pile of data processing jobs that has me working in cycles of 20 minutes or so. In other words, I do some edits, kick off a job on our compute cluster (fondly named “Gravel” — don’t ask) and about 20 minutes later I do roughly the same thing. Yeah, I know, you’re thinking “why doesn’t he automate it?”. And I would, except that this is a shared resource and rather than kicking off my monster list of jobs that could keep the cluster running from now until…well…a long while from now I think it’s better to introduce some variability in load.

All of that is a long introduction to how I came to discover the most edited records in WorldCat. To fill in those 20 minute blocks I took up some “mini investigations” that do not take as long to perform.

For one such investigation I looked into how often WorldCat Records have been edited and by whom. I will be blogging about this in an upcoming post, but a small slice of this investigation was a closer look at the records that have been edited a lot. Since we keep track of the cataloging symbol of every institution that has edited a record, these can stack up for records that require updates on a regular basis — in other words, serials.

All of the records for these serials were edited more than 60 times over their life in WorldCat, and in no particular order:

Take a bow, serials catalogers, you’ve clearly earned your pay.

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About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant works on projects related to improving the technological infrastructure of libraries, museums, and archives.

3 Comments

  1. I know the bane of my existence is continuations (i.e. The Best American Poetry) which my assistant wants to handle without ever getting a fresh record from OCLC. So when a publisher, editor, table of contents changes, oh well. We have old medical titles (open entries) from the 1960s which have changed in every regard from the record we have, but the cataloger before me, who was here for 47 years, would never alter a record, and it is hard to go against decades of this. I’d prefer to treat such things as new.

  2. I have always thought that the publisher of THE Journal is the most stupid publisher ever to publish a thing. They gave their educational technology journal a name that is nearly impossible to retrieve in a computer search (thus proving they don’t read the stuff their journal supposedly publishes): article (usually ignored) and journal (most common non-article word in a serial title). The final seal on their stupid award is because they’ve never changed it to something even remotely better.

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