CONSERline (ISSN 1072-611X) Newsletter of the CONSER Program - Published by the Library of Congress, Serial Record Division
No. 2, June 1994
By Bill Anderson (Library of Congress)
The CONSER Policy Committee held its 1994 meeting May 5th and 6th at the Library of Congress. Twenty-three representatives met, including CONSER Councilors from Australia, England, and France. This year's meeting focused on defining a CONSER core level record and setting a subject standard for the Program. The following issues were also featured: membership, the CONSER maintenance project, coordination with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), and a new CONSER task force on electronic serials.
CONSER Core Record
Brian Schottlaender (UCLA) summarized CONSER members' responses to the core record proposal prepared by the CONSER Core Elements Task Force. Members generally supported continuing two levels of records in the CONSER database--minimal and core. Minimal level cataloging is still considered useful by most CONSER members, and the committee agreed that minimal level records are too valuable to be excluded from the CONSER database.
CONSER's core level of requirements are seen as the *floor* for the CONSER record, with the understanding that each institution will define its own *core record* (i.e., the CONSER core record plus optional, local, or institution-specific fields). LC suggested that one set of core descriptive elements be defined for minimal and core level records. Core records would be distinguished from minimal records by the presence of subject headings and authoritative name and series headings. The Policy Committee endorsed the single level of description with the understanding that the set of core descriptive elements contained in the proposal would likely need revision.
The Core Elements Task Force will present a new proposal, supported by one set of descriptive elements, which will be discussed at the CONSER At-large meeting at ALA. A CONSER response to MARBI proposal 94-12 in support of core encoding level value *3* will also be submitted. (The next issue of _CONSERline_ will examine CONSER's core elements in greater detail.)
CONSER Subject Standard
Linda West (Harvard) led the discussion on a proposed CONSER subject standard that will be documented in the upcoming edition of the _CONSER Editing Guide_. The standard will be coordinated with the development of the CONSER core record. The _Subject Cataloging Manual_, the online subject authority file, and _Free- Floating Subdivisions_ were identified as the standard tools for constructing CONSER subject headings. Only those using _LCSH_ will be responsible for verifying LC subject headings on newly authenticated CONSER records.
The CONSER requirement for authenticating subject headings will include verification with a standard authority file to assure current validity and construction. Classification will be optional for both core and minimal level records, and no subject headings will be required for minimal level records.
Maureen Landry (LC) presented an update of an ongoing LC review of CONSER subject analysis. The purpose of the review is to provide subject cataloging instruction to CONSER catalogers, and to make it feasible for LC to accept CONSER subject analysis in a copy cataloging workflow. A study of the review showed a 71% record accuracy rate and an 88% field accuracy rate--almost 3 of 4 records and 9 of 10 subject fields were reviewed without comment. Once a full study of the LC review is completed, subject review will be integrated into the ongoing accuracy review of CONSER records.
Bill Gosling (Michigan) led a discussion on membership that included a broad review of CONSER's future and specific requests to edit the definitions of membership levels. Participants discussed whether the newly defined core record might make it possible for more libraries to consider CONSER membership, and whether participation in the PCC might spark interest in CONSER. Governance, program finances, and training may need restructuring prior to a significant expansion of the program. The training issue raised the possibility of establishing regional centers or "funnel" projects, similar to those used by the NACO Program. A new governance structure, broader maintenance support, a model for regional training, and the CONSER core record would have to be in place for a significant expansion of the program to be considered. As a first step, definitions of membership levels will be revised in the _CONSER Editing Guide_ to make them less restrictive.
CONSER Record Maintenance Project
Ruth Carter (Pittsburgh) presented an overview of the maintenance project spearheaded by the Task Force on the Maintenance of CONSER Records by Non-CONSER Institutions. During the first six months of the project, UC San Diego and the University of Kentucky have modified CONSER records for serials that have ceased publication or changed titles. Vanderbilt University joined the project in April and the University of California at Irvine started in May. Two other libraries have expressed interest: Southwest Texas State University and the SUNY Health Sciences Library in Buffalo, N.Y. A final report on the project will be presented at the January 1995 CONSER At-large meeting at ALA.
CONSER and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging
A discussion on CONSER's relationship with the PCC focused on a desire to coordinate developments of the two programs, including cataloging standards, record distribution, the use of foreign catalog records. The possibility of cooperative training programs was also considered. A motion was passed by the committee to invite a representative of the PCC to attend CONSER Policy Committee and At-large meetings as a CONSER Councilor.
Electronic Serials Task Force
The Committee also agreed to establish a new task force to assess the rapidly changing world of electronic serials and the Internet, and perform an *environmental scan* to identify the issues relating to serials and CONSER. Their work will be coordinated with standards groups and others active in this area.
By Bob Harriman (Library of Congress)
The Library of Congress hosted the Seventh Annual Meeting of participants in the United States Newspaper Program, April 28-29. Eighty-five participants, representing twenty-four state projects, attended the meeting.
The USNP Annual Meeting serves as an opportunity to feature the achievements of individual state newspaper projects; provide information and workshops for catalogers and preservation staff; discuss new standards and developments relating to the work of the program; provide information for state project planners and managers; and serve as a forum to present new ideas and initiatives relating to the use of newspapers in libraries, archives, and research institutions. Perhaps most importantly, the meeting provides a chance each year for all the participants in the program, including representatives of the vendor community, to meet and share their experiences.
This year's program included field reports from Alaska, New York, and Texas; a preview of OCLC PRISM union listing; an overview of newspaper preservation microfilming; and reports on two projects involving conversion of newspaper microfilm to electronic text. Plans are already underway for the 1995 meeting, which will celebrate the participation of all fifty states in the USNP with a major symposium on the use of newspapers for historical research.
_CONSERline_ (ISSN 1072-611X) continues the newsletter, _CONSER_, and is published at least semiannually (January and June) by the Library of Congress, Serial Record Division and OCLC, Inc. _CONSERline_ is a cooperative effort with contributions from program members consisting of news of the CONSER Program and information of interest to the serials cataloging community. For comments or suggestions, contact the editors: Jean Hirons, Library of Congress, Serial Record Division, Washington, DC 20540-4160, firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail), 202-707-5947 (voice), 202-707-6333 (fax); Liz Bishoff, OCLC, Inc., 4545 Frantz Rd., Dublin, OH 43017-3395, email@example.com (e-mail), 800-848- 5878 (voice), 614-764-0740 (fax).
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