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Book Selection from MARC Tapes: a Feasibility Study

Jane Wainwright (Aslib Research and Development Department)
Jacqueline Hills (Aslib Research and Development Department)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 March 1973


The technical and economic feasibility of providing selective notifications of current books to specialised libraries by extraction from MARC tapes has been explored. An experimental on‐line system ‘MARCAS’ was used to test profile construction and the utility of the various elements in MARC records as search keys. The programs allowed both weighted and Boolean searching on the title and author, LC classification and subject headings, and the BNB Precis indexing terms and Reference Index Numbers. Test profiles were constructed for nine libraries covering a range of subject fields, and run on six weeks of BNB and six weeks of LC MARC tapes. The output was assessed for relevance and recall, and the results analysed in terms of precision and recall for various combinations of searchable fields. The best performance, with recall and precision both about 50%, was given by searching all verbal fields together—title and author, LC subject headings, and (BNB tapes only) Precis indexing terms. Costs for the experimental on‐line system, and a batch version of the system, are identified.


Wainwright, J. and Hills, J. (1973), "Book Selection from MARC Tapes: a Feasibility Study", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 123-144.




Copyright © 1973, MCB UP Limited