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FAQ Library Content Comparison System

The Gold Rush® Library Content Comparison System allows libraries to load their MARC records for either individual or comparative analytics. Remember if you are in a group each library must license the service and load their records for comparative analytics. However, there is still great value even if only one library loads their records for individual library analytics. Here are Frequently Asked Questions about the Content Comparison System as well as documentation. 

I would like a basic overview of Gold Rush Collection Analysis.

Gold Rush Overview

How do I export records from Gold Rush?

Options when exporting 

Suppressing Duplicate Records 


Where can I view some key components of the system?

Basic system functions

What are some tips in working with Facets?

Using the publication location facet

How can I create a list of items to weed?

Create list of items to weed

How do I create a list of retention commitments for a particular collection?

Create list of retention commitments

How can I compare a subject or LC class of one library to a group of others?

Compare one library to a group in subject area of psychology

How do I use the pivot table option in the content comparison system?

Creating a pivot table

How can I use the tool to analyze how diverse my collection is compared to other libraries in the consortium? 

Diversity Use Case

Why was the system developed?

The Gold Rush®  Library Content Comparison system was developed to allow libraries to load their MARC records and compare them with other libraries in the system. It was initially developed to support the Shared Print program of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, but is now available to any library or consortium for a modest fee.

What are some use cases for the system?

There are a many possible use cases for the system, some of which could include:

  • Shared Print programs among a group of libraries so that libraries can make better decisions about what to weed or put in storage.
  • Adding a new program at an institution and the library wants to see how their collection compares to an institution that has a similar program in the same area.
  • Cooperative collection development. Analyze your collective holdings to provide additional information to help reduce collection overlap, get improved discounts for backfile purchases, etc.
  • Performing quick exports of data sets for participation in other cooperative programs.
  • Analyzing a collection for accreditation or membership in another organization.
  • Aggregating your group's holdings for exporting to discovery layers either in total or a tailored set

How much does it cost to participate?

Libraries in the Prospector union catalog (Colorado/Wyoming) may use the Library Content Comparison System for free but records need to be loaded from an institution's local integrated library system.

Other libraries or consortia, outside of the Prospector family, may license the system for a low annual fee or may also license the tool on a project basis for any predetermined period of time. There are no set-up charges and the fee is determined by how many MARC records will be contributed. Please contact the Colorado Alliance office if a project-specific quote is desired at

  • Less than 1 million MARC records - $1,000/library/year
  • 1 million to 2 million MARC records - $1,750/library/year
  • 2 million to 3 million MARC records - $2,500/library/year
  • 3 million to 4 million MARC records - $3,250/library/year
  • 4 million to 5 million MARC records - $4,000/library/year
  • 5 million to 6 million MARC records - $4,750/library/year
  • 6 million to 7 million MARC records - $5,500/library/year
  • 7 million to 8 million MARC records - $6,250/library/year
  • 8 million to 9 million MARC records - $7,000/library/year

Discounts are available for consortia or groups of libraries joining under the same contract. We recoginize that there are many specialized use cases and if this pricing doesn't work we are happy to talk with you about your specific situation.

  • 2-10 libraries - 10% discount
  • 11-20 libraries - 20% discount
  • 21-50 libraries - 25% discount
  • 50+ - Contact the Alliance to work out deep discount arrangements specific to your needs

How do MARC records get into the system?

Libraries may submit a set of records which will be loaded on behalf of subscribing libraries. The records will be submitted via secure FTP (SFTP) and libraries will have the option of identifying a record set either as a full load which will replace an existing data set or an update which will be incrementally added to the existing data set already loaded. See Upload Guidelines.

Libraries may also load special MARC record files from a vendor or perhaps as part of consideration pool for weeding or storage. Please contact our office for the details on doing this.

How often are records loaded?

The Gold Rush system is updated and reindexed once per month.  Many libraries script this process so that it automatically happens. 

How are records matched in the system?

MARC records are matched in the system via an algorithm which includes portions of the title, author, publisher, imprint date and a few other elements. The system does not use ISBNs, ISSNs or OCLC numbers since many records do not contain these elements (particularly older records or non-monographs). The current match key match key documentation is available online. Questions and more information about the matching algorithm are available by sending an email to

To see a match key just go into the system, run a search and view the full MARC record and the match key will be clearly labelled near to top of the record.

Can multiple libraries be compared?

Yes, you can compare your library holdings to one or many other libraries.

What is the purpose of the search box?

The search box allows one to search the entire database of all libraries that have been loaded into the system. The "all fields" search indexes almost the entire MARC record. If multiple words are entered, the system does a logical "OR" between the words (but a logical "AND" can also be used.) If you want to search an exact string put the phrase in "quotes." Additional indexes are available for author, title and publisher.

If you only enter terms in the search box and don't select libraries to compare, the entire knowledgebase will be searched. However, if you also select libraries that you want to compare, the particular word/phrase will only be applied to those libraries.

How are the facets used?

Once a search or comparison is done between libraries, users may narrow the results of the comparison with the facets on the left. It is possible to create facets from any elements of a MARC record. If you don't see the facets you need, please contact the Colorado Allliance office at to discuss what should be added.

How can searches be saved?

It is possible to create complex queries in the system using the search box, facets and the selection of multiple libraries. By selecting the "Save Search" button these queries can be named and saved for later execution. Use the "Load Search" button to see a list of all saved searches.

How can records be exported?

Once data sets have been created it is posible to export the records in raw MARC, XML, Excel or a delimited format (useful when a delimited set of over 1 million is needed). Select "Export Records" to see the export options. The system will generate a file of the records that have been selected and you will receive an email with a link to the file.

Generic MARC records are being exported and you may not necessarily be receiving back the MARC records that were originally ingested. The Colorado Alliance office will be happy to discuss with you ways to handle these records for special projects.

It typically may take a few minutes to a few hours to receive your exported data set depending on how many records were requested. At the present we have limited exports to sets of less than 5 million records. If you need to export more, this can easily be done by contacting our office. The reason for this limitation is to make sure that monster data sets are not accidentally created that could fill-up directories, since many libraries may be doing this at the same time.

Can Gold Rush load circulation counts?

Gold Rush can load circulation counts if the library can supply them embedded in the MARC records that are deposited.  These circulation counts then become a facet in the system where the library can limit a result-set by circ counts of interest (e.g. I want to see everything that has never circulated; or I want to see all results with 3 or more circulation count)

How do I compare journal publisher lists, aggregators, and indexing/abstracting services?

This feature is available in the Gold Rush® Decision Support system, which is separate from the Library Catalog Comparison System. Subscribers to the Library Content Comparison system may use the Gold Rush® Decision Support at no extra charge. Subscribers to the Gold Rush® Decision Support System may just add the difference from their $650/year fee to upgrade to the Library Content Comparison System.