ASSOCIATES (vol. 11, no. 2, November 2004) - associates.ucr.edu

*Mitinet Releases Newest Version of OPAC Cleanup Software*

review by

Kirsten L. Marie
Library Media Teacher
Washington High School
Fremont, California
mskmarie@hotmail.com

One of my tasks as library media teacher for the Washington High School library in Fremont, California, has been to clean up the volume of poor records littering our catalog since automation a few years ago. This arduous project has taken us almost two years to complete.

Just before summer, the district purchased the MARC Magician (MM) software package. I never had a chance to try out the software before school ended but promised myself that as soon as it resumed, I would roll up my sleeves and learn that program. I still needed good records for a number of books that were not in anyone elseís catalog. September rolled around, and I reluctantly booted up MM, knowing it would undoubtedly take some time just to learn the program. To my astonishment, within 5 minutes of double clicking the desktop icon I had 20 records for material I hadn't been able to find anywhere. The fantasy of a thorough, accurate catalog suddenly became reality.

Last month Mitinet launched its latest version of the popular OPAC cleanup software, MARC Magician (MM), version 2.0.7. Mitinet sales representative Justin Hoelscher indicated this update is designed to make MM more server compatible, and it eliminates most of the problems for those using firewalls. In addition, over 140,000 new MARC records have been added to its existing database.

Known as Mitinet 1.0 when originally released in 1987, this software package has become invaluable to many school, public, and academic libraries, and even some museums. It has been hailed by numerous publications, including Multi-Media Schools, THE Journal, LM Net, and infotoday.com Newsletter. Hoelscher stated there are currently about 15,000 MM users. Mitinet serves over 1000 k-12 school districts, but an increasing number of public libraries have begun using MM because it contains such an extensive database of records for AV material.

MM comes bundled with other software in whatís known as the Dream Suite package. Dream Suite includes: AccessMARC, a database containing millions of MARC records for print and non-print material; Magic Recon, a program that assesses and updates poor catalog records; and MARC on Demand, a submission service with a 1-3 day turnaround, where difficult records are completed by specialists and emailed back. There is even a card and label maker included.

One invaluable service that may be purchased with Dream Suite is Mechanic Express. With this, libraries may upload their entire OPACs, and Mitinet returns complete catalog records. Hoelscher stated that this is the most comprehensive data cleanup available. Libraries can then use Magic Recon to maintain incoming vendor records.

If all this sounds complicated, rest assured itís not. Mitinetís mission statement indicates that it ď...strives to be the leading company on the cutting edge of data technology for todayís working librarian by making the complex simple.Ē The programsí ease of use is one of the reasons it has become so popular.

Most librarians know that a collection is only as good as its records, but this has become even more important for school libraries whose students must demonstrate mastery of state information literacy standards. Peggy Burge, district librarian for Fremont Unified School District in the San Francisco East Bay Area, explained, ďSeveral of the California State Information Literacy Standards revolve around studentsí ability to use an OPAC to find research material and determine its appropriateness to the topic. That assessment can only be made if the subject headings are accurate and thorough.Ē Burge, who has used Dream Suite for over a year, said, ďIt gives people of varied technical abilities templates to easily create records and guides users through the process. Records that canít be found in its extensive database can also be submitted to Mitinet for search and completion.Ē If that isnít enough, eight online tutorials are available on the MM website. Full technical support and training are included with purchase.

One issue for concern is that MM uses Sears subject headings, and many libraries assign those used by Library of Congress. Hoelscher said that Mitinetís software engineers are working to include both of these systems. A user will then be able to choose the appropriate one for that library, and the software will modify all of that libraryís catalog records instantaneously. Hoelscher anticipates this option will be available in the next version, which should be released in Spring 2005.

One might expect software this extensive would cost a fortune, and realistically, in these difficult times of reduced library budgets, few have funds for collection materials let alone extravagances. However, Mitinetís Dream Suite is economically feasible. The initial license for Dream Suite with Mechanic Express may be purchased for $249; Dream Suite with subject heading updates is only $199. Annual license renewals are only $99. School districts or public libraries wanting to purchase multiple copies for sister libraries receive a $20 discount per copy. A free demo of MARC Magician 2.0.7 is also available from the Mitinet Web site under downloads at: http://www.marcmagician.com.

Time is money, and the speed at which Mitinetís Dream Suite establishes and maintains clean catalog records is nothing short of magic, MARC magic.



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