A MARC compatible automation system is important for a number of reasons. Since MARC records are are a standard format, having a compatible system enables you to easily share, obtain, and merge records between your library and neighboring libraries. Additionally, having a compatible system will help to ensure you have a proper and comprehensive inventory – which is something that is especially important in a field in which your inventory is constantly changing (items coming in, going out, and cycling.) This comprehensive inventory will also help with sharing records between libraries.
According to Robert S. Martin (2000), “Outsourcing is used as a means to reduce backlogs, increase productivity, and allow for shifts in staff. Outsourcing is also used to gain expertise in foreign languages that is not available from the local staff.” He continues to say that because of shared (and outsourced) cataloging, libraries are able to reduce costs since they no longer need a “professional cataloguer” to catalogue all of the media. A MARC compatible automation system would help to keep this process streamlined.
There are many companies that provide this service to libraries – one of which is The Library Corporation. They provide cataloging services for schools, libraries, churches, etc. for a fee – however, the fees still save the libraries money since, as Martin discussed, they do not need to have a professional cataloguer on staff.
Martin, R. S. (2000). On library services management: A study for the American Library Association. Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/ala/professionalresources/outsourcing/outsourcing_doc.pdf.