The MCDU Project investigated catalogers’ use of MARC fields, subfields, and other content designation structures (CDS) in over 56 million MARC bibliographic records from OCLC’s WorldCat database. As we confirmed through our analysis that a relatively small percentage of available CDS are typically used, the recurring question was: Why do catalogers do what they do? The MCDU Project did not study this question but the Project provide a wealth of empirical data about the records created in the cataloging enterprise. The results and findings about catalogers’ use of MARC CDS can be further informed by studying the factors that affect catalogers’ utilization of MARC.
In our original proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the MCDU Project, we included as one of the project goals: Investigate a methodological approach to understand the factors contributing to current levels of MARC content designation use and relationships with the cataloging enterprise. A specific objective of the MCDU Project was: Develop a methodological approach to identify and understand factors contributing to catalogers’ use of MARC content designation. We have addressed this objective by producing the following document: