Thursday, December 31, 2009

What is a Bath Book?

It is a little frustrating getting my book "Green Technology Strategies" into the catalogue of the National Library of Australia. First I tried sending the details, then I tried an electronic copy, a preprint and finally a few weeks ago an actual published copy handed in at the library. So far the book has not appeared in the catalog. I found it in Trove, which indicates the details came from Libraries Australia, which is run by the NLA. Also I am curious as to why it is described as a "Bath Book".


Tom Worthington said...

The NLA has sent a disappointing reply to my query about why my book is recorded in their system as a "Bath Book" and why it is not catalogued.

They blame the data quality on Thorpe Bibliographic Services and the lack of a catalogue entry on my not having deposited the book with them.

This is disappointing. As I expalied to the NLA, I have looked in Thorpe's receords and can find no mention of "Bath Book".

As for the legal deposit of the book, I walked into the NLA and handed over the book in person, so I know they have got it.

Just to add insult to injury the NLA message ended with "The status of your question is now *closed*. Please do not respond to this email.".

Tom Worthington said...

The ISBN Agency Australia, run by Thorpe-Bowker, have replied to my query. They advise they did have a problem with books being identified as "Bath Book" which has now been rectified. What I don't know is how I get NLA to change their record.

Tom Worthington said...

NLA have sent this more useful response:

There was a recent message sent to this list about 'bath books', which raised two issues.

Firstly, the phrase 'bath books' is being used in error. It appears next to an International Standard Book Number in many MARC records sent to the National Library by the Thorpe-Bowker ISBN agency. The National Library and Thorpe-Bowker are investigating the issue to find a solution. The records appear in the National Library's catalogue, at; the national bibliographic utility Libraries Australia, at and Trove, the new public search service at When the solution is implemented, it will flow through to all three services.

Secondly, Trove was introduced to the general public in November 2009. Trove replaced the free Libraries Australia search service, accessible to the general public since 2006, but it does not replace the suite of services also known as Libraries Australia which includes the national bibliographic utility, and which the National Library hosts to support the workflows of Australian libraries.

Trove ia an ambitious attempt to construct a national 'information portal'. While there are many examples of worldwide portals with extensive coverage, the National Library is not aware of any others that include content from such a variety of sources, including library, archive and museum collections, university repositories, digitised newspapers, web archives and online biographical databases. More information about the scope and functionality of Trove may be found under its 'Site news' and 'About' tabs, and at

It would have been a nice touch had they actually addressed the reply to me, rather than just as a general comment to a mailing list, but the response is welcome anyway.