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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 7, February 1996

No. 7, February 1996


From the Editor

We normally issue CONSERline twice a year, in conjunction with the meetings of the American Library Association. However, you'll notice that our frequency statement says "at least semiannually" to allow for extra issues from time-to-time. With the implementation of the final phase of format integration, the new HTML version of CONSERline, the recent issuance of LC rule interpretations for serials, as well as two new members and the Bowker award, we decided that this was just such a time!

-- Jean Hirons

Hirons Captures Bowker!

Good news travels fast so I hope that many of you have already heard that Jean Hirons will be the 1996 recipient of the Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship Award. The prestigious Bowker Award is presented annually by ALA ALCTS for distinguished contributions to serials librarianship. While not necessarily limited to recent contributions, the award jury generally focuses on activities during the past three years. In Jean's case, that is just fine because the past three years have been demanding and very productive.

While over the course of her career, Jean's contributions to the serials community have been varied and significant, her work in the development of documentation and training have been particularly praiseworthy. Jean has served as the principal designer, editor, illustrator and author of the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) which received a very enthusiastic reception and is highly regarded as an exceptional learning aid for the cataloging of serials. In fact, Jean has been involved in every detail of the publication of the CCM short of filing our update pages! Through Jean's effective editorship, the CCM is continuously maintained and enhanced to reflect the latest developments in serials cataloging and expanded to new areas of coverage.

Jean has played a key role as editor and technical writer for the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) since its was first published in 1986. In 1994, she managed a complete revision of the CEG and prepared for the extensive changes mandated by the implementation of format integration. The CEG is internationally accepted as the standard for documenting the online cataloging of serials.

Jean is as respected as a teacher of serials cataloging as she is as a documenter of policies and practice. She has participated on the faculty of ALA cataloging institutes, has served as an instructor in many other settings and is responsible for planning and monitoring all formal CONSER training. Her knowledge, preparation and effective teaching style are highly regarded and appreciated.

Since 1993 Jean has served as the acting CONSER Coordinator. She organizes, supports and serves on CONSER task forces; leads the annual CONSER Operations Committee meeting, plans other CONSER meetings, supports the policy and executive committees, edits this newsletter, and performs many other important functions that contribute to the success of the program.

Jean first became an active contributor to CONSER as a serials cataloger and cataloging administrator at the Government Printing Office. She joined the Serial Record Division staff in 1983 in a dual role. She helped to organize the new CONSER Minimal Level Cataloging Section and oversaw its important work in the bibliographic control of microforms and the elimination of the serials cataloging arrearage. She also served as the assistant to the CONSER Coordinator and shared in many of the projects and activities that have contributed to making CONSER such a successful cooperative cataloging program.

Clearly, through hard work, dedication to her profession and numerous important contributions, it comes as no surprise that Jean was selected by her peers for the Bowker/Ulrich Award. Please join me in taking this opportunity to thank Jean for all of her hard work on behalf of CONSER and for her many contributions to the serials community.

-- Kim Dobbs, Chief, Serial Record Division, LC

CONSER Welcomes Two New Participants

CONSER is pleased to announce that the University of Maryland at College Park has joined as a full level member and that St. Louis University Law Library has joined at the associate level. Both institutions are actively involved in cooperative cataloging programs. They are independent NACO participants and are members of the National Coordinated Cataloging Program (NCCP), which has now been subsumed by the BIBCO arm of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

As a full level member, the University of Maryland will be contributing and maintaining records for a broad spectrum of serials, but a special contribution will be records for East Asian titles and the addition of vernacular data to CONSER records. Marietta Plank, Associate Director for Technical Services, will represent the University on the CONSER Policy Committee. Jeanne Baker, Head of Serials Cataloging, will serve as the representative to the CONSER Operations Committee. John Schalow, Head of Cataloging, reports "We have long appreciated CONSER's quality bibliographic records and leadership in establishing serials cataloging practices and we are excited to join in this effort."

St. Louis University Law Library, which has one of the finest serial law collections in the midwest, is the first law library to join the Program. In her letter accompanying the application, Eileen Searles, Law Librarian & Professor of Law, noted that "three successive Law School Deans have encouraged the library to explore all avenues which would facilitate cooperative programs at a national level ... and ... the CONSER Program figured prominently on our list of such programs." As an associate level member, St. Louis will contribute and maintain records for legal serials and be represented on the CONSER Operations Committee. William Toombs, Microform Projects Cataloger, will be responsible for coordinating the CONSER cataloging and will serve as the Operations representative.

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Announcing the CONSER Home Page and CONSERline on the Web!

You can now access CONSER information and CONSERline on the Web! The URL for the CONSER Program home page is:

The CONSERline home page, which includes links to all seven issues, has the following URL:

Along with the creation of these two home pages, CONSERline issues for 1996 are now available in HTML format via the World Wide Web. Issues for 1994-1995 can be accessed via the CONSERline home page which links to back issues on the gopher server, LC MARVEL.

On the CONSER Program home page you'll also find general information about the program, the current Annual Report, a CONSER calendar with the schedule of 1996 program meetings, and documents on serials cataloging issues. New CONSER record requirements, including the seven new core records for special format serials, are included. Updated guidelines for cataloging remote access serials (e.g., electronic journals) are also available via the home page.

The program home page includes links to catalogs available on the Internet, serials collections online, and other Internet cataloging services. The final section lists email addresses for asking questions or identifying problems relating to serials cataloging or CONSER records. The "mailto" link is included here to automatically generate email messages provided your Web browser can accommodate.

Arrangements for the creation of separate CONSER and CONSERline graphical banners for the home pages are underway. Additional information and links are planned as well. A section on CONSER Task Forces is being developed to include information about all active efforts. Additional links to catalogs available on the Internet are also planned as CONSER catalogers are able to support a more focused approach with more direct links to individual catalogs.

We will continue to publish CONSERline in ASCII format and distribute issues via email through listserv software, in addition to making the HTML version available on www. (New listserv software for email distribution will be in place within the next few weeks.) We hope you find these additional services to be positive developments that enhance your reading on the CONSER Program and serials cataloging issues. For suggestions of additional information or links, please email me ( with your comments.

-- Bill Anderson, CONSER Specialist, LC

Format Integration and CONSER

The second and final (gasp!) phase of format integration will be implemented by OCLC on March 3rd. Unlike the first phase of format integration, which allowed for gradual implementation, all catalogers using OCLC must implement the second phase following March 3rd. This phase has been more difficult to complete than the first because the fixed field data is critical for the retrieval, display, distribution, and identification of records. For CONSER, a primary concern has been the ability to identify CONSER records, when the "primary" format is not serial.

While the changes for print serials are relatively minor, CONSER catalogers will be making a major change in the way that non- print serials are coded. Prior to implementation of this phase, all CONSER records have been created using the serials format. This was necessary for the identification and distribution of the records. What resulted was a dichotomy of practice with some non-CONSER catalogers using the non-print format and others using the serials format. This practice will not continue once format integration is complete. All catalogers will follow the same guidelines for choosing the appropriate format and creating records. Duplicate records now existing in OCLC will be merged; the CONSER record will be retained and recoded.

Changes That Affect All Serials

The changes that affect records for printed serials are truly minor. Serial catalogers will find a new serials workform in OCLC with revised mnemonics and rearranged positions. Notable changes include:

  • In the "Dates" element a comma will divide the dates rather than the hyphen (e.g., 1992,9999). This is necessary because some of the displays, such as that for computer files, will be used for both monograph and serial items.
  • When the publication status is coded as "u" (unknown), the final date will be coded as "uuuu" rather than "9999."

Changes That Affect Non-print Serials

The changes affecting non-print serials are much greater. The major change is that CONSER catalogers will use an 008 fixed field that reflects the physical medium--computer file, music, visual materials, etc. Seriality will be reflected by code "s" in the bibliographic level of the leader and in field 006--Additional Material Characteristics. In OCLC, field 006 is input using mnemonics, after which the field displays as a string. The mnemonics may be viewed on command. Additional 006 fields may be input to include additional features for a multi-dimensional work (e.g., a serial map in computer form).

Field 006 is currently optional for OCLC records but is mandatory for CONSER records. We in CONSER urge that ALL catalogers supply serial 006 fields in records for non-print serials. Coded data for serials is used in check-in records, holdings displays, and for many other purposes and it is highly desirable that all non- print serial records contain the 006 field.

Field 007, formerly used only for microforms in serial records, may now be used for a number of formats, including computer files, sound recordings, and video recordings. For CONSER, field 007 is defined as "core" (i.e., mandatory) only for computer files and microforms.

When a printed serial is accompanied by material in a non-print format, such as a CD-ROM, the serial 008 is used and fields 006 and 007 may be given to reflect the CD. Supplying fixed fields 006 and 007 for accompanying material is optional for CONSER libraries.

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Conser Editing Guide Update 3

Update 3, Spring 1996, to the CONSER Editing Guide is now available. The update includes all of the format integration- related changes and newly-defined fields and elements that are applicable to serials. A number of newly-defined variable fields are included, as well as new 008 and 007 pages. In addition, Appendix N, Special Physical Formats, has been expanded and includes sample records. The update also contains newly-defined CONSER core records for non-print and special format serials (see related article below). The CONSER Editing Guide is available from the Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service. An annual subscription service, consisting of two updates, costs $36 (North America)/$38 (other countries).

USMARC Distribution Services

The Library of Congress will continue to distribute a separate service for serials. All serials will be kept together in one file, regardless of physical format.

MDS (MARC Distribution Service) Serials will contain records for textual, music, visual materials, map, and computer file CONSER serials. For more information, consult the Cataloging Distribution Service home page:

The Future

The wisdom of coding all digitized materials as "computer files" has been much discussed of late. During the mid-winter meeting of ALA in San Antonio, Discussion paper 92 was addressed at a meeting of MARBI. The paper suggests that only executable programs be coded as computer files in the leader and fixed field 008 of the record and that items that are textual, such as most electronic journals, be coded primarily as textual materials using the serial 008 field. The suggestion found favor early on with many within CONSER and we plan to contribute to the ongoing discussion. While some suggested that CONSER could implement such a change now, there are too many unresolved issues to do so. Of primary importance is that cataloging instructions be clear and our practice consistent. But we look forward to taking an active part in the debate.

--Jean Hirons

CONSER Core Record Update

Beginning sometime in March, CONSER members creating core records will use field 039 to indicate that a record was created at the core level (for more information on core records, see CONSERline #4). Field 039 was defined by OCLC for this use and will be output on CONSER tapes as encoding level value "4." CONSER core records are currently designated using field 040 subfield e "core." The use of field 039 is an interim measure until OCLC can fully implement value "4" in the encoding level. Use of field 039 was originally scheduled to begin March 3rd, but there will now be a delay of several weeks. CONSER catalogers who are creating core records should continue to use field 040 $e until hearing further word from OCLC.

New serial core records have been defined for special format and non-print serials and are included in Update 3 to the CONSER Editing Guide. Special format serials include newspapers and microforms. Non-print core records have been defined for direct and remote access computer files, music, sound recordings, visual materials, and cartographic materials. The new core records are included in section B6 of the CONSER Editing Guide and available through the CONSER home page (

Bill Anderson, CONSER Specialist, coordinated the definition of the core records. An initial step was to review the PCC core records already defined for special formats, such as music, and to consult with those currently working to define an AV core record. The new definitions reflect comments from specialists at LC, as well as those in CONSER and the library community. The CONSER Format Integration Task Force was also actively involved, supplying comments and suggestions.

Unlike printed serials, for which a full, core, and minimal record is defined, only the core record has been defined for special format and non-print serials. CONSER catalogers should use the special format core records in conjunction with the definitions for full, core, and minimal. The intent is that regardless of the level of records being created, the core definitions will identify the fields specific to the type of material that are necessary in CONSER records.

--Jean Hirons

LC Rule Interpretations for Serials

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging's CPSO/PCC Task Group on LC-Issued Descriptive Cataloging Documentation began looking at Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRIs) several years ago in an effort to reduce the number of LCRIs and to simplify those retained. During 1995 LC, CONSER, and other serial catalogers reviewed the LCRIs for AACR2 Chapter 12, Serials. Judy Kuhagen, in LC's Cataloging Policy and Support Office, and Jean Hirons were responsible for organizing discussions, reviewing comments, and preparing and revising existing text. The revisions are contained in Update 3-4, which was recently issued. They are also reflected in Update 4 to the CONSER Cataloging Manual.

Some LCRIs have been simplified and others omitted entirely. Policy changes will leave more to cataloger's judgment and allow for a more common sense approach. In addition, some LCRIs have been split, added, or deleted in order to tie them more closely to the rules. This will be particularly important when using the LCRIs in online tools, such as the Cataloger's Desktop.

The majority of changes affect the choice and recording of the designation. The list of priorities for sources has been eliminated, allowing catalogers to choose the most complete presentation rather than having to first select the designation found on the chief source. Catalogers will also be able to record the year or volume number that appears in conjunction with a more complete "identifying" numeric or chronological designation (e.g., Vol. 1, no. 1 (1995)). The revisions also allow for numeric designations to be pieced together from different sources when the publisher's intent is clear. Other changes allow more flexibility in selecting the chief source when working retrospectively that will cut down on the number of title changes (LCRI 12.0B1). The deletion of LCRI 12.7B17 allows for the recording of a general cumulative index note.

--Jean Hirons

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