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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 16, Summer 2000

No. 16, Summer 2000


From the Editor

Welcome to the Summer 2000 issue of CONSERline.

CONSER is busier than ever! There are new CONSER members, new pattern participants, new courses being developed for SCCTP, and new initiatives relating to foreign newspapers and electronic resources. The past month has been both exhilarating and exhausting! I attended meetings in Ottawa, San Diego, and Chicago and had the opportunity to speak to a broad range of catalogers and librarians about the AACR revision process and other CONSER-related activities. As I now prepare for a month-long visit to Great Britain, I hope that the rest of you are planning restful visits to the beach! On a more somber note, my sincere apologies to all of you who suffered through the spamming incident in March. Given the problems that we have had with the subscriber list for CONSERline, we've decided to make this a Web-only newsletter. We will use our subscriber list, however, for notification of the availability of the Web version, along with standard library listservs. I hope that you will not be inconvenienced by the change in format.

-- Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress

Northwestern University and Cleveland Public Library join CONSER

CONSER welcomed two new participants this spring. Northwestern University joined as a full member and Cleveland Public Library joined at the associate level. Northwestern, located in Evanston, Ill., has strengths in African studies, 20th century music, and transportation studies. They plan to contribute records for print, microform, and electronic serials. Cleveland Public collects widely in more than 30 languages with emphasis on East Asian and Slavic language materials. Kevin Randall and Andrea Olson will serve as representatives to the CONSER Operations Committee from Northwestern and Cleveland Public respectively. For both institutions, membership in CONSER completes their participation in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging as each is already contributing to NACO, SACO, and BIBCO.

Highlights from the CONSER Operations Meeting

The CONSER Operations Committee met at the Library of Congress May 11-12 in conjunction with the meeting of the BIBCO Operations Committee. Once again, electronic serials were a focus for both CONSER and joint discussions with BIBCO. Dave Reser (LC) and Jean Hirons presented proposed changes to the Anglo American Cataloging Code, 2nd ed. rev. (AAR2) chapters 9 (Computer Files) and 12 (Serials) respectively. The combined group then discussed the impact of the changes on cooperative cataloging programs and how the cataloging of "integrating resources" (e.g., loose-leafs, Web sites) could fit into the current BIBCO and CONSER programs. All agreed that maximum flexibility is desirable when considering changes to the MARC format and authorizations for enhancing records on OCLC.

Regina Reynolds (LC) discussed issues relating to harmonization of the three major standards for serials: AACR2, ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) and ISBD(S) (International Standard Bibliographic Description, Serials). In order to achieve the shared goal of making records created internationally compatible for sharing, the groups must agree on various issues, including what constitutes a title change and methods for transcribing the title. Reynolds described a proposed International Standard Title (IST) that would replace in part AACR2 uniform titles and ISSN key titles as a serial identifier and benchmark for title changes. The group agreed in principle with the goals of the IST but Reynolds acknowledged major issues that need to be resolved before such a standard could be seriously discussed and implemented. (See also article below)

Robert Bremer (OCLC) and Regina Reynolds (LC) led a discussion with BIBCO and CONSER members on the problems of multiple electronic versions, how they are currently being described and the problems involved. Participants defined characteristics and elaborated on the problems. Recommended guidelines will be developed by a newly formed task force of the PCC Standing Committee on Standards to be chaired by John Riemer (University of Georgia). An interim report will be due at ALA Midwinter in January 2001.

Marjorie Bloss (CRL) described, ICON (International Coalition on Newspapers) that seeks to develop a union catalog and preserve foreign newspapers from around the world. The project is similar to the U.S.Newspaper Program and plans to use CONSER documentation for its cataloging of newspapers. Most participants are CONSER libraries and efforts will be made to bring all or most records into the CONSER database.

David Van Hoy (MIT) led one of four break-out sessions on finding ways to cooperate on the cataloging of e-serial packages. Les Hawkins (LC) explored the use of PURLs (persistent uniform resource locators) in CONSER and other issues related to maintenance of URLs. John Riemer (Georgia) discussed OCLC's CORC (Cooperative Online Resources Catalog) database and its potential impact on CONSER. And Kristin Lindlan explained ways in which the University of Washington will be using the jake (Jointly Administered Knowledge Environment) database at the local level to guide patrons directly to serial articles. As an outcome of these discussions, a group of "e-serial experts" was formed which is currently working on a survey regarding URL maintenance and use of PURLS and will assist in the revision of CONSER documentation. The desirability of adding records for Asian and African serials to the CONSER database was also discussed in relation to recruitment of new members. The group would also like to see more Canadian libraries participating in addition to the National Library of Canada.

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AACR2 Revision, Harmonization, and Related MARC 21 Discussions

AACR Revision Update

In February, rule revision proposals to Chapter 12 and related chapters were submitted to the Joint Steering Committee on the Revision of AACR (JSC) and are currently under review by JSC constituents. The JSC will meet in London to review the comments and make major decisions. The comments so far, both in writing and from discussions at the CONSER/BIBCO meeting, the North American Serials Interest Group's annual meeting, and ALA, have been very positive. The proposals (external link) are available on the JSC Web site (external link).

Harmonization Update

Efforts to harmonize AACR2 with ISBD(S) and ISSN have also produced a number of new ideas and suggestions. Following the fruitful meeting in San Antonio of the ISBD(S) Working Group, which also included representatives of ISSN and AACR2, a small working group met in Ottawa in June to further the development of what is now being called the "International Standard Serials Title" or ISST. The ISST would replace the key title and most uses of the uniform title and would serve as a benchmark for determining when to make a new record. Ultimate goals for the ISST are increased use of the ISSN, international record sharing, and the ability to described from the latest issue with the ISST serving as a stable title. The group also discussed the possible exploration of a return to latest entry for serials, providing that ISSN followed the same approach. Catalogers at NASIG and ALA all agreed that we should pursue development of the ISST, despite the difficulties of doing this internationally, and there was also support for investigating latest entry. A "Meeting of Experts" will be held in November at the Library of Congress with representatives from AACR2, ISBD(S), and ISSN that will harmonize some practices and decide on further directions and studies.

MARC 21 Update

MARBI Discussion Paper No. 119, Seriality and MARC 21 was prepared during the spring with a proposal to define a new code 'i' in leader 07 (bibliographic level) for integrating resources. Code 'i' would be used with a serials 008 for textual materials and could also be applied to cartographic materials. The proposal would provide serials control coding for integrating resources while separating them from serials for purposes of OCLC authorizations and searching and retrieval in catalogs. The discussion paper met with broad support at the MARBI meeting at ALA. Other associated proposals for new codes to be added to various bytes in fields 008 and 006 for constantly updated resources, loose-leafs, and "integrating entry" also met with favorable responses and suggestions for further improvement. Use of a repeatable 260 field garnered the majority of the discussion, particularly in relation to integrating resources. With expected approval of the continuing resources model in September by the JSC, the discussion paper will be turned into one or more proposals for mid-winter ALA.

SCCTP Developing New Courses

With over 40 sessions of the Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop being held in 2000, it seems safe to say that the Serial Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) is a success! Evaluations continue to be overwhelmingly positive and new workshops are constantly being added to the list. The Trainee Manual was recently revised and is available from CDS for the fall workshops. In addition, the workshop has gone international! In May, a session was held in Mexico City which drew broad interest in SCCTP and CONSER, and in August, the workshop will be expanded to a week-long course for catalogers in Taiwan.

A number of new courses are currently under development or in the planning stages. Frieda Rosenberg (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Thom Saudargas (College Center for Library Automation) are developing a one-day holdings course focusing on serials. The course will be tested at the University of Georgia in the fall and a train-the-trainer session will be held in conjunction with ALA Midwinter in Washington, DC, January 2001. A call for trainers will be sent out in September.

Steve Shadle and Kristin Lindlan (University of Washington) are working with Meg Mering (University of Nebraska) to develop a two-day advanced serials course that will be available next July. We are also discussing how electronic resources fit into the training package and a separate course may be developed as an adjunct to the advanced serials course.

The materials for the holdings course will be the first to be offered in an electronic format. Rather than printing copies of the Trainee and Instructor's manuals in advance, CDS will offer the documents as PDF files for printing by workshop sponsors. This will allow us to revise the course materials as needed, will eliminate worries about receiving manuals on time, and, hopefully, will cut costs. The advanced course may be offered in both electronic and print formats, depending on expected demand. Developing a mentoring program and distance learning classes also remain strong goals. For further information, consult the SCCTP Web site.

CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings Successfully Launched

On June 1, 2000 the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative officially began as a two-year project during which participants add publication pattern and associated holdings data to CONSER records, test methods for transferring these data to local systems, identify system issues/MARC holdings format and assess the impact on workflow in CONSER libraries. On June 8, 2000 Carol Feustel of the Health Sciences Library of the University of Cincinnati input the first pattern data to the 891 field of the CONSER record for Heart failure reviews (OCLC #35601086, LCCN sn96-39667).

The Task Force met at the ALA meeting in Chicago to review progress on the 891 data building experiment, adequacy of the MARC 21 holdings data standards, the impact of pattern data in CONSER records on work flow, and utilization of the pattern data by library system vendors. In addition to cataloging and serials librarians, the task force is comprised of representatives of several library system vendors, OCLC, and liaisons to the MARBI committee. Participants were encouraged to become active in using the 891 field to create pattern and holdings data. As soon as OCLC loads the pattern data from the Harvard file, participants will be able to modify existing pattern data in the 891 field. OCLC will load the data for the CONSER records first--comprising an estimated 12,000 of the total 46,000 records in the Harvard file. Once loaded, OCLC will make a test file of the Harvard "seed" records available to the library system vendors for their testing.

Representatives of VTLS, DRA, SIRSI and Ex Libris attending the Task Force meeting reported various stages of progress on their ability to capture and utilize patterns and holdings data from CONSER records. VTLS reported that they had successfully tested the creation of predictive check-in records in the VIRTUA system using 891 pattern data. It is encouraging to note that Linda Miller reported that 11 of the 13 vendors have responded to the survey on use of the MARC 21 holdings format. The final analysis of the survey data should be ready by the end of July.

The ALCTS Committee to Study Serial Standards held an open discussion on the implementation of the MARC 21 format for Holdings and ANSI/NISO Z39.71 standards at ALA Frieda Rosenberg spoke about the CONSER publication pattern project. There was much discussion on system vendor's and bibliographic utilities implementation of the standards, the capability of exporting CONSER patterns to local systems and the potential use by A&I vendors to hook to library's holdings.

At the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) meeting in mid June, Frieda Rosenberg (UNC-Chapel Hill), Ruth Haas (Harvard), and Jean Hirons led a networking node on the patterns experiment that drew an enthusiastic crowd and garnered five new participants in the project.

James Castrataro (Indiana University) will lead the task of assessing workflow impact for various size libraries and recommending strategies for workflow once patterns become a regular part of the CONSER database.

A more complete summary of the Task Force meeting will appear on CONSER's Publication Patterns and Holdings Task Force Web page, along with the Frequently Asked Questions and documentation for input of the caption/patterns and holdings data. The Task Force seeks libraries interested in participating in the CONSER experiment and anyone with questions about the project may post queries to the list serv at

-- Sally Sinn (NAL), Chair, Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings

Bowker/NSDP Collaboration

The Library of Congress and R.R. Bowker have agreed to an historic collaboration in which a Bowker employee will be located at the Library of Congress, in the National Serials Data Program (NSDP), the U.S. ISSN Center. The Bowker employee will simultaneously create entries for Ulrich's Periodicals Directory and create ISSN assignments and records for the CONSER database and the international ISSN Register. The CONSER Program expects to soon welcome Bowker to the ranks of affiliate members in recognition of the ISSN records Bowker will be contributing to the CONSER database.

Regina Reynolds, Head of NSDP, announced the agreement at the recent CONSER at Large Meeting held at ALA annual. Reynolds indicated that one of the target areas for this position would be electronic resources, an area in which both organizations are seeking to expand their coverage. In addition to record creation responsibilities, the employee would also review sources to select new titles for addition to the Bowker and ISSN serials databases and assist with the development and testing of Bowker product enhancements and new products. As NSDP and LC strive to develop policies and practices regarding electronic resources, the incumbent of this position would be given opportunities to provide input to developing ISSN and electronic serials cataloging policies and practices at the Library of Congress and to provide input to Bowker regarding issues and emerging practices in serials bibliographic control. Reynolds indicated that she was hopeful that the collaboration would be "a win-win situation for both Bowker and NSDP since the data that both organizations need to glean from serial publications overlaps to a great extent." Dawn Stoecker, Managing Editor of the Bowker Serials Department, joined Reynolds in expressing optimism about the collaboration. "We are pleased to become an active participant in CONSER as an affiliate member and to contribute to the CONSER database," Stoecker said.

Recruitment for the position is expected to begin as soon as possible. Ads will be forwarded to CONSERlist, Serialst,, and various print publications.

--Regina Reynolds, Head, National Serials Data Program

CRL awarded NEH grant for global newspaper project

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) has been recently awarded a grant for $365,915 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the development of a union list of global newspapers and the microfilming of twelve newspaper titles.

This two-year project was proposed by CRL on behalf of the International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON). The project's objectives are:

  • To provide access to the new sources of information through the development of a Union List of International Newspapers;
  • To identify existing needs and establish priorities for foreign newspaper collection, indexing, and preservation;
  • To launch a pilot preservation program of foreign newspapers, employing a flexible program model; and,
  • To publish and maintain an ICON web site and listserv that will disseminate information about the Union List and project outcomes to a wide array of participants and scholars.

ICON began taking shape at The Symposium on Access to and Preservation of Global Newspapers, held May 27-28, 1997, in Washington, DC. The symposium was sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), the Commission on Preservation and Access/Council on Library Resources (CPA/CLR), and the Library of Congress (LC). These organizations convened to discuss global newspapers and, most importantly, to design a course of action that will guarantee acquisition of and access to global newspapers.

Out of this effort, a working group was established in February 1998 to develop and disseminate an action plan that describes how the research library community will increase access to global newspapers. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave the working group seed money, and administrative and organizational support came from the CRL. The working group was comprised of 10 initial participants and represented 9 institutions: The British Library, CRL, Harvard University, LC, New York Public Library, New York State Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Southern California, and University of Washington. For the final working group discussion, The National Library of Canada, University of Florida, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign joined the conversation. Based on their 3 meetings in 1998, the working group prepared their recommendations in a document titled "Proposal to Establish the International Coalition on Newspapers." With the addition of OCLC, ICON was launched by 13 Charter Members and housed at CRL.

ICON will establish a Web page to disseminate information about the union list, provide details on preservation initiatives, and solicit announcements and suggestions about newspaper preservation efforts around the world. When this site is established, we hope you will visit often to get additional news on the ICON project.

-- John Dorr (CRL) ICON Project Manager

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Hirons Wins Marcia Tuttle International Grant

Jean HironsJean L. Hirons has been awarded the NASIG (North American Serials Interest Group) Marcia Tuttle International Grant. The grant is named in honor of Marcia Tuttle who played a leading role in the founding of NASIG (patterned strongly after the United Kingdom Serials Group). The grant provides $1,000 to help defray the costs of international travel.

Hirons has served as acting CONSER Coordinator since 1994 and as CONSER Coordinator since 1997 to the present. She has served as editor of CONSER documentation and founder of the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program, and the chief author of the serials revisions to AACR2. She is also greatly involved in efforts to harmonize serial standards (AACR2, the ISSN and the ISBD(S)). It is very much in this keeping with these activities that she applied for and was awarded the grant.

Her intent is to visit the United Kingdom at the end of August through the middle of September for the following purposes:

  • To support the proposed revision to AACR2 relating to seriality;
  • To extend the work of the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program to the United Kingdom;
  • To promote CONSER membership and cooperative cataloging in the UK; and
  • To develop an exchange of information regarding serials among UK libraries and CONSER.

Hirons will begin her travels with visits to the National Library of Scotland where she will discuss seriality, Voyager, and CONSER membership, and the British Library, where she will meet with colleagues working on the revision of AACR2. She will then travel to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, where she will give SCCTP and CONSER training, and to Cambridge University for more SCCTP training and a lecture on seriality for staff from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. She will complete her trip in London attending the meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on the Revision of AACR.

Her travels to the UK underscore what Hirons is well noted for, namely, serving as a cheerleader for serials and other continuing resources. Given the parameters for the grant and Hirons' experience and goals, she is indeed a worthy recipient.

-- Marjorie Bloss (CRL), Chair, Program for Cooperative Cataloging

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