The Many Benefits of Working in a Network Zone Environment

By Eve Miller, Santa Rosa College, Jeff Karlsen, Sacramento City College, Monica Doman, Cypress College and Steve Hunt, Santa Monica College


The California Community College (CCC) Library Services Project presents our libraries with new opportunities to operate in a true consortial environment.  The CCC Alma network zone allows libraries to work together to reap the benefits of collaboration and coordination in ways we haven’t been able to achieve in the past.   The network zone will be maintained by a network zone manager and a committee of CCC librarians who will continually coordinate standards, policies and best practices to make sure the network zone works well for all of our libraries. Listed below are some of the many advantages the CCC Alma network zone offers.

  • Automatic updates to bibliographic records
  • Shared expertise of the worldwide cataloging community
  • Resource sharing made easier and faster
  • Analytics can be performed at a centralized level
  • Simple ways to see which library owns what resources
  • Catalogers can quickly locate the best record for use

Additional Benefits for Resource Management

  • With the network zone’s linkage to OCLC WorldCat, bibliographic records will be continually improved by the worldwide cataloging community
  • Copy cataloging is vastly simplified
  • Institutions can add their holdings and items directly and then automatically copy the bibliographic record to their institution zone
  • Normalization of metadata can be done in the network zone, removing duplicate effort
  • Reduces the need to purchase MARC records from materials vendors
  • Leads to fewer brief records, aiding discoverability of new resources

Additional Benefits for Collection Development and Resource Sharing

  • Quick identification of other CCC libraries who own a title you’re considering purchasing
  • Establishes a foundation of regional and/or statewide Interlibrary loan initiatives (such as the CSUs have achieved with their Alma network)

Additional Benefits for Analysis and Assessment

  • Demonstrates CCC libraries’ contributions toward student success through the utilization of a broad range of library resources
  • Aids in finding areas of overlap in electronic and physical resources
  • Helps discover opportunities for consortial purchasing
  • Tracks growth of open-access and OER resources

Requirement for Network Zone Participation

In order to participate in the network zone based on OCLC records, OCLC requires that all colleges maintain a current OCLC Cataloging and Metadata subscription. Remember that, in the event of ongoing funding for the LSP, your library budget will no longer incur ILS subscription costs, and while the OCLC cataloging pricing structure makes the subscription a challenge for some colleges, the cost of that subscription will almost certainly be less than the subscription and maintenance licenses for your legacy ILS. We are in conversation with OCLC about statewide cataloging licensing and are looking for ways for that to be part of our ongoing funding. In the coming year, however, we need colleges to provide this subscription on their own, hopefully as a bridge toward a statewide solution.