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The Newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group
February 2001

MeSH in CORC Survey -- Summary of Report Results

Date: February 8, 2001


An invitation to complete a survey on the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and OCLC's Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) was sent out in early January of 2001. Mary Holt, Tulane University's Rudolph Matas Medical Library; Betsy Friesen, Bio-Medical Library, University of Minnesota; Dan Kniesner, Oregon Health Sciences University Library; and Joan Gregory from the Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah were responsible for the development of the survey. The survey was mounted on the University of Utah's server as a web form created by Joan Gregory with the assistance of Sharon Dennis from Eccles Health Sciences Library who graciously provided the required cgi programming. The results were placed in a database which were imported into Excel for compiling and calculation.

Announcements to encourage participation in the survey were sent to electronic lists: AUTOCAT, CORC-L, MEDCAT, MEDLIB-L and the OLAC list. The invitation to participate in the survey was posted on January 9th, 2001 and a reminder was posted on January 26th, 2001 just prior to the January 31st deadline. The subject line for the message was: MeSH in CORC: an invitation to complete a quick survey. The survey was brief, eight questions. Seven of the questions could be answered by selecting radial buttons for the desired response; however, there was an opportunity for individual comments on each question, plus open comments and concerns on the last question of the survey. Respondents were able to leave any question blank that they wished. The respondents were required to enter their email address, but email addresses were not correlated to the responses in any way.

The HSOCLCUG survey was available from January 6th through January 31st, 2001 at:

The text that was used as an introduction to the survey follows:

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) / Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) Survey

The Health Sciences OCLC Users Group (HSOCLCUG) has lobbied OCLC for some time to have the entire Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) authority file loaded into the OCLC Cataloging System. New technologies in OCLC's Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) may offer the opportunity to have the MeSH file loaded in the CORC environment.

With that in mind, HSOCLCUG submitted a proposal to OCLC requesting that MeSH be loaded into the OCLC CORC database. The proposal will be on the agenda of the Collections and Technical Services Interest Group at the February 2001 OCLC Users Council meeting. Initial response has been positive. The discussion is now turning to details. The first detail is whether we want OCLC to load only the topical headings or to try to load everything, including publication types, topical subheadings, etc., which would delay implementation.

We'd like to get a sense of how librarians feel about OCLC loading MeSH into CORC. We are also interested in how all types of libraries are handling access and description of health science electronic resources. Discussion on the topic would be welcome on MEDCAT, CORC-L and other appropriate lists. In addition, a health sciences special interest group is being officially formed through the CORC Users Group.

The survey deadline is January 31, 2001. The results of the survey will be used to assist discussion of the proposal by the Collections and Technical Services Interest Group at February's OCLC Users Council meeting.


Reported Data, Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Total Respondents to the survey: 109

Breakdown by respondent's email domain:

Percent of respondents

  • ..EDU (73 of 109) 67.0%
  • ..ORG (10 of 109) 9.2%
  • ..COM (8 of 109) 7.3%
  • ..GOV (5 of 109) 4.6%
  • ..CA (3 of 109) 2.8%
  • ..NET (3 of 109) 2.8%
  • ..AU (2 of 109) 1.9%
  • ..US (2 of 109) 1.9%
  • ..MIL (2 of 109) 1.9%
  • ..ZA (1 of 109) 1.0%


  1. Experience with OCLC Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) since July 2000.

    49%--No use since July 2000 (53)

    27%--Searched, created, edited and/or exported less than 20 CORC since July 2000(29)

    25%--Searched, created, edited and/or exported more than 20 CORC since July 2000(27)


  2. Would an initial load of only the MeSH topical headings in the CORC database be of interest?

    76.1% Yes (83)

    11.0% No (12)

    12.9% Unsure (14)


  3. Would you prefer that OCLC wait until they are able to load the entire MeSH file, even if it means delaying implementation?

    53.2 % No (58)

    26.7 % Unsure (29)

    20.2 % Yes (22)


  4. Do you believe that availability of an online MeSH authority file via OCLC would help you in cataloging?

    83.5% Yes (91)

    9.2% Unsure (10)

    6.4% No (7)

    ..9% Did not answer (1)


  5. Please check authority features that most interest you.

    Percentage of Total respondents (109)

    86.2% (94 of 109) -- Search/browse for MeSH authorities

    72.5% (73 of 109) -- Export single MeSH authority records

    64.2% (70 of 109) -- Error detection

    59.6% (65 of 109) -- Automatic compliance with approved practices

    55.0% (60 of 109) -- Apply authority control to headings in CORC

    54.1% (59 of 109) -- Global maintenance of MeSH headings in CORC

    44.0% (48 of 109) -- Tag and export groups of MeSH authority records

    41.2% (45 of 109) -- Edit and export of MeSH authority records


  6. Do you believe that availability of an online MeSH authority file via OCLC would help public services librarians or non-medical catalogers describe health information?

    74.3% Yes (81)

    19.2% Unsure (21)

    6.4% No (7)


  7. Please check the methods currently being used in your library to provide access to health science electronic resources (check all that apply): Percentage of Total respondents (109)

    74.3% -- 81 of 109 -- Web lists of resources maintained by the library

    64.2% --70 of 109 -- Cataloging of selected electronic resources in library catalog using MeSH

    58.7% -- 64 of 109 -- Linking to electronic resources maintained by groups outside of the library

    43.1% -- 47 of 109 -- Building a local database of electronic resources

    6.4% -- 7 of 109 -- Use of pathfinders in CORC


  8. Other Comments and Concerns: Available in Microsoft Word document, in addition to the comments on questions 1-7, Also available in an electronic format via the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group Website:



Health Sciences OCLC Users Group

Mary Holt, President-elect Tulane University Health Sciences Center Rudolph Matas Medical Library, New Orleans, LA email:

Dan Kniesner, MeSH MARC, Committee Chair Oregon Health Sciences University Library Portland OR email:

Betsy Friesen, CORC Liaison Bio-Medical Library, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN email:

Joan M. Gregory, MLS, AHIP Librarian, Technical Services Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library Salt Lake City, UT email:



Start of Message is the newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group, an independent group composed of health sciences libraries and individuals who either use or are interested in the use of the services of OCLC, Inc. in health sciences libraries.

Created March 5, 2001