The work of the Inventory Working Group is largely a silent affair. We spent our time in fall 2019 and spring 2020 reviewing the community MARC to FOLIO data map. This means that we look at our Five College MARC metadata and see where it aligns with the community-planned mapping profile, and where it doesn’t. We maintain our data map and specify custom solutions if we need them. In Summer 2020, we also inventoried all of the fields in our Aleph item records and completed our own custom mapping of these fields into FOLIO item records.
The other part of our work involves reviewing and troubleshooting the Inventory application each time data is loaded into our Five College FOLIO tenant. Starting earlier this fall, we began testing loads of our entire catalog. This was no easy task to get more than 7 million records out of Aleph and into FOLIO. It may have been FOLIO’s largest record load at that time! Each time we load data there is some trial and error. We see what works, we see what breaks, we see where our MARC metadata is non-compliant and we figure out what needs to be tweaked and by whom.
In November, we were able to load our first ever batch of merged bibliographic files, thanks to all of the work done by the Record Merge Working Group. We had a few bumps, we made some corrections and we tried again. Before Thanksgiving we were able to implement the FOLIO community holdings record MARC data map and our new Five College Aleph to FOLIO item record field mapping.
Today, we’ve had some big successes! We’ve re-loaded our complete catalog, which equals more than 6 million merged and non-merged records. Out of 6 million records, only 186 records failed transformation and could not be added into FOLIO. This is a huge accomplishment! It is a direct result of the work done by the Inventory Working Group. But we couldn’t have done it without the many metadata professionals at all five colleges working on numerous catalog clean-up projects over the course of the last year.
Another success is that our item records 100% mapped into FOLIO according to our specifications. This is another big feat, and is remarkable because it was our first time implementing this map. We still have to see how this data will work for us, but it is there and available for viewing, testing and feedback by all!
I want to thank the Inventory Working Group: Laura Evans (Amherst), Jen Bolmarcich (Hampshire), Emma Beck (Mt. Holyoke), Sara Colglazier (Mt. Holyoke), Colin VanAlstine (Smith), and Jaime Taylor (UMass). I’d like to send a shout out to contributor and back-burner member Michelle Paquette (Smith). Thank you to former Inventory Working Group members because your contributions definitely helped us get to where we are today: Paul Trumble (Amherst), Suzanne Karanikis (Hampshire), Jane Pickles (retired from Hampshire), Rachael Smith (Mt. Holyoke) and Mary Ann Stoddart (retired from UMass). Extra special thanks to the Record Merge Working Group, Aaron Neslin (5C), Steve Bischof (UMass) and Anya Arnold (Ebsco) for answering all of my questions. And a final special thanks to Theodor Tolstoy, our Ebsco developer, who answers questions on Zoom and Slack (sometimes at odd hours because he’s in Sweden), and who tries to make our requests happen.
So let’s celebrate this small, yet huge milestone, on our path to FOLIO! I recognize that we have done the bulk of this work remotely and in a weird and overwhelming environment, which makes it all the more poignant. I look forward to many more successes in the coming months.
Cheers to us!
Ann Kardos, Lead, Inventory Working Group