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Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Program for Cooperative Cataloging > CONSER > TYPES OF CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS AND THEIR TREATMENT

FINAL REPORT

May 21, 1997

"Conference publications represent one of the most difficult aspects of library work from any point of view: acquisition, budget constraints, cataloging, bibliographic instruction, reference, or access."[1]

Prepared by task force members:
Mechael Gago, Chair (IU)
Bob Ewald (LC)
Judy Herrick (LC)
Jean Hirons, ex-officio (LC)
Sara Shatford Layne (UCLA)
David Van Hoy (MIT)
Beacher Wiggins (LC)

INTRODUCTION

Bibliographic control of conference proceedings has always been viewed as problematic. Both monograph and serial catalogers have long recognized that the current approach used to catalog ongoing conference publications results in bibliographic records that are less than ideal. While we may have reached some agreement on diagnosing the problems with our current cataloging practices, we have not reached consensus on solutions to those problems.

At the 1994 ALA Annual Conference held in Miami, the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section's Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA) and the ACRL Science and Technology Section sponsored a preconference entitled Bibliographic Control of Conference Proceedings. In that session, speakers discussed the many issues and concerns related to the bibliographic control, access, and acquiring of conference proceedings. Beacher Wiggins (LC) spoke specifically on the national policies, standards, and issues having to do with the bibliographic control of conference proceedings. That same year, at the CONSER Operations Committee's fall meeting, a panel session was organized to begin a dialogue on the various cataloging issues surrounding conference publications. The sentiment expressed by the panel was that the current practice of creating serial record sets for conference publications, based on AACR2r and the LCRIs, was not a useful approach. At the conclusion of the session, participants recommended that a CONSER task force be formed to propose changes in the cataloging of conference publications.

The CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications was established in February 1995 with the charge as given in "Appendix A." This CONSER task force was unique in that represented on the group were experts in both serial and monographic cataloging.

In the words of the charge, "It is hoped that within the specified time range, the Task Force can develop a list of recommendations, including changes to existing rules or LC rule interpretations, and possible new solutions that can be forwarded to the appropriate groups for further consideration."

Briefly put, the Task Force was charged to review and recommend changes to current cataloging policies, taking into account the needs of a variety of users. Specific areas to be addressed were:

  1. Monograph versus serial treatment
  2. Choice of title and title changes
  3. Headings for conferences

CC:DA TASK FORCE ON CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

Also established in 1995 was the CC:DA Task Force on Conference Proceedings. Chaired by Mark Watson (University of Oregon), the group was charged to review the existing method of cataloging conference proceedings and to propose changes in the current cataloging rules. In order to avoid duplication, both the CONSER and CC:DA task forces carefully coordinated their efforts. Sara Shatford Layne served as the official CONSER liaison to the CC:DA Task Force. When possible, CONSER Task Force members took advantage of ALA midwinter and annual conferences to attend the CC:DA Task Force's meetings.

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RESEARCH ON CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS

The CONSER Task Force on Conference Publications began its work by performing an extensive literature search (Cf. "Appendix B"). Several readings were found to be useful and supported many of the observations made by Task Force members as well as statements heard during the discussion of conference publications at the 1994 CONSER Operations Committee meeting. Three recurring themes appeared throughout the readings:
  1. The need for classification number collocation (regardless of treatment decision)
  2. The preference for monographic treatment due to the provision of additional access points
  3. The inadequate coverage of conference publications in traditional commercial abstracting/indexing services

Although the readings contained many opinions concerning conference publications, the Task Force found little empirical corroboration for these opinions in the published literature.

DEFINITION OF ONGOING CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS

Within the Task Force, a Definitions Sub-Group was appointed with the responsibility of defining and categorizing "serial-like" (i.e. ongoing) conference publications. The group identified two types of serial conference publications:
  1. Those that consist of the minutes, proceedings, etc. of regularly-held meetings of one or more corporate bodies
  2. Those that contain the proceedings, etc. of ongoing topical conferences

Within these two types of ongoing conference publications, the Sub-Group outlined their respective characteristics, discussed current cataloging practices, identified options for change, and listed the various pros and cons of monograph versus serial treatment (Cf. "Appendix C"). Building on the outstanding work done by the Definitions Sub-Group, the Task Force began the difficult assignment of finding an answer to the "monograph versus serial" dilemma.

CHARGE 1.A: MONOGRAPH VERSUS SERIAL TREATMENT

Although some ongoing conference publications are clearly serials, the Task Force acknowledged the fact that serial treatment excludes certain types of access points often identified by users as important for retrieval purposes (e.g., editor, date, venue, series number). Frequent conference name and/or title changes can also cause an unwanted proliferation of successive entry serial records.

Monographic treatment, on the other hand, provides a way to access those elements commonly identified as important. Although an attractive alternative, the Task Force rejected the idea of treating all conference publications as monographs. Often serial treatment simply provides benefits, such as "automatic" call number collocation and less prohibitive added volume cataloging costs, which outweigh the potential gains of monographic cataloging.

Many hours of discussion convinced the Task Force members that there simply was no easy solution to the treatment of these publications. Brainstorming sessions netted innovative suggestions like "let's try a pseudo-series approach," "link monographic records to an umbrella serial record," "create a serial record with analytics," or "treat conference publications as multi-item monographs." Finally it became apparent that instead of focusing on developing a long-term solution, what was really needed was an immediate, albeit interim, improvement to the current practice for determining monographic versus serial treatment as documented in LCRI 12.0A.

CHARGE 1.B: CHOICE OF TITLE AND TITLE CHANGES

Choice of Title
Currently, monograph and serial catalogers have a difference of opinion when it comes to title selection for conference publications. Monograph catalogers tend to view the name of the conference as the title proper and words such as "proceedings" as other title information. Serial catalogers, on the other hand, see words like "proceedings" as the title and the conference name as a statement of responsibility. There is a reluctance on the part of serial catalogers to "repeat" the name of the conference, or main entry, as the title proper.

Example of the same bibliographic item described by two different catalogers:

Monograph choice of title: Conference on Dynamics : proceedings.
Serial choice of title: Proceedings / Conference on Dynamics.

Serialists recognize that an ongoing conference may publish several different "serial" publications. Whether placing a standing order or bibliographically describing an item, the emphasis is placed on the specific publication produced by the conference (proceedings, papers, abstracts, etc.) not the name of the conference. Some members of the Task Force felt very strongly that the distinction between the name of the conference and the title of the bibliographic entity was a critical one and that this distinction should be preserved. Others felt that perhaps this was one area where the serials catalogers should attempt to conform to the monographic trend of always putting the name of the conference as the title proper.

Title Changes
One of the most cited reasons for preferring monographic treatment over serial treatment when it came to ongoing conference publications was the instability of the title proper. The more unstable the title or conference name, the more prolific the number of successive entry serial records created. In an informal study of twenty-nine ongoing conference publications conducted by Judy Herrick (LC) and presented at the 1994 CONSER Operations Committee meeting, it was found that approximately half of the titles studied were represented by a single serial record (describing, on average, five issues). Fourteen of the publications were represented on two to three serial records (describing six issues per publication) and one conference publication involved over ten separate serial records.

In looking at the rules in AACR2 and the LCRIs for title changes, the Task Force agreed that the current practice must be improved to reduce the number of successive entry records created for conference publications. The usage of uniform title construction as a way to reduce the number of successive entry records was discussed as a possibility. A more liberal use of variant title added entries to avoid "unnecessary" title changes was also advocated. Another idea was to create a new successive entry record only when there was a change in the conference heading (main entry).

Note: The CONSER AACR2 Review Task Force has been studying the rules surrounding title changes and successive entry record creation due to changes in main entry. Their work and the outcome of the forthcoming October International Conference on the Principles of AACR in Toronto may have an impact on this area.

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CHARGE 1.C: HEADINGS FOR CONFERENCES

In a 1975 article entitled "Corporate Headings: Their Use in Library Catalogues and National Bibliographies: A Comparative and Critical Study," Eva Verona concluded that: "... author entry for named conferences remains the best solution, provided simple and straight-forward rules are established and followed."[2]

Twenty-two years later the rules found in AACR2 and in the LCRIs which dictate how to formulate conference headings are still not "simple and straight-forward." Today's serials and monograph catalogers are faced with two major difficulties when working with conference publications: 1) determining whether a conference is named; and: 2) constructing the named conference. Clearly, as Verona indicated, more simple and straight-forward guidance is needed in the area of headings for conferences. The question then becomes, "Are more LCRIs the answer or is it time to contemplate revision to AACR2?"

Choice of Conference Name
Currently, title page prominence is an important criteria for determining choice of conference name - a criteria which the Task Force concluded was inappropriate. As one member pointed out, "... as with personal author entry, happenstance of formal title page presentation is an artificial criteria for determination of main entry [and] the bibliographic form of entry is actually predetermined by the title page's graphic designer." The CC:DA Task Force on Conference Proceedings also came to the same conclusion. In its final report, the CC:DA Task Force recommended the removal of the "prominently named" provision from 21.1B2 d).

Note: The CC:DA Task Force's recommendation concerning 21.1B2 d) was accepted, however, the Task Force was reconstituted in order to continue its work on determining what constitutes a conference name.

Name Changes versus Name Variations
In order to facilitate the Task Force's discussion, David Van Hoy prepared a summary of the AACR2 rules and LCRIs which deal with conference name changes. In his summary, David concluded that only LCRI 24.2 provided specific guidance on how to differentiate between a name change and a name variant. David also noted that catalogers tend, when in doubt, to consider a different conference name presentation on later issues to be a name change rather than a variant.

Task Force members strongly supported the idea of making the LCRIs applicable to conference names more prescriptive with regard to name changes versus name variants. The rules for changes in title proper (AACR2 21.2A1 and LCRI 21.2A) are good examples of a prescriptive method which eliminated many unnecessary title changes. In addition, members felt that the AACR2 rules and LCRIs for including "see" references on name authority records (NARs) should be less restrictive.

Example of an improved NAR for a conference heading:

  • 110 20 American Library Association. |b Conference
  • 411 20 ALA Conference
  • 410 20 American Library Association. |b Annual Conference
  • 411 20 ALA Annual Conference

All of the see references in this example would be very helpful in directing users to the official established form of the name and would greatly improve user access.

Year of Convocation in the Conference Name
One specific area dealing with conference names which the Task Force felt needed to be resolved was clarification of AACR2 24.7A1, the year of convocation in the name of the conference. Currently AACR2 24.7A1 instructs catalogers to "omit from the name of a conference, etc., indications of its number, frequency, or year(s) of convocation." However, the LCRI for 24.7B instructs catalogers as follows: "If the name is followed by one or more additions, a date must always be included in these additions, even if this means repeating a year integrated within the name of the conference." This instruction is followed by two examples, each of which includes a two digit abbreviated designation for its year of convocation.

The CONSER Conferences Working Group (this Task Force's predecessor) also addressed this particular topic. From the document that was prepared for the 1994 CONSER Operations Committee meeting's discussion on conference publications:

"When names of ongoing conferences are established as, for example, Graphics Interface '89 or COMPASS '86, it seems to inevitably lead to more work later when the name must be serialized/generalized. Note that taking this [generalized NAR] approach with the first conference would save time for monograph catalogers as well, as NARs for COMPASS '87, COMPASS '88, etc., for example, would become unnecessary."

This separate NAR approach for each year-of-convocation-embedded-in-name means that earlier/later/general see also references cannot be made between different names of a conference or between related conferences. No general name is available for use as subjects (e.g., a book about Graphics Interface or a separately published index covering the publications of a conference). No general name is available for added entry use on other serial records (e.g., a periodical that contains the abstracts of the papers for a specific meeting in each of its spring issues).

Note: It is the Task Force's understanding that Robert Ewald (LC) will be preparing a draft LCRI revision for 24.7B which will allow catalogers to omit the abbreviated form of the year from headings for ongoing conferences. The Task Force supports this proposal.

Classification Number Collocation
One of the major reasons cited for the desirability of serial treatment is the ability to file all issues under the same call number. Institutions like MIT and Rutgers have both developed local procedures for ensuring that conference publications treated monographically are classed in the same number, including cutter/book number, so the volumes will sit together on the shelf. In looking at a possible solution, Task Force members suggested that the classification number could be attached to the authority record for the conference name in the same way there is a class number in the authority record for a belles-lettres author. This approach would require some creative ways of recording publication-specific classification numbers to a conference which issues many different publications.

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation #1
Revise the conference publications portion of LCRI 12.0A to provide clearer guidelines to facilitate decision-making on the part of the cataloger, to reduce costly and time-consuming recataloging, and to provide improved access points for users.

Comment: Acting on the above recommendation, the Task Force worked on a revised version of the specific section dealing with conference publications in LCRI 12.0A. Once the initial draft was developed, the Task Force conducted an informal study to test existing conference publications against the proposed changes. The new guidelines were found to be easy to apply and the publications fell out under the appropriate monographic/serial treatment category as we had hoped.

The Task Force posted its first draft version of the proposed LCRI to CONSERlist (the CONSER Program's moderated electronic mail forum) for comment from CONSER catalogers. During the spring 1996 CONSER Operations Committee meeting, a two-hour discussion on the proposed LCRI rewrite also took place. Based on the helpful comments and input received, the Task Force posted its LCRI 12.0A draft revision proposal to various electronic discussion groups in June 1996 (Cf. "Appendix D"). In keeping with its mission, the proposal was sent, not only to cataloging listservs, but also to library discussion forums in the areas of collection development, reference, inter-library loan, and science and technology. Several comments were received from the community at large. After compiling and analyzing all of the responses, the Task Force finalized its proposed LCRI 12.0A draft revision and submitted it to the Library of Congress staff and its cooperative partners for comment and review in the fall of 1996. The proposal was approved with minor changes and was published in the 1997 LCRI Update Number 1 (February 1997) from the Cataloging Distribution Service.

The resulting revision changes the criteria for monograph or serial cataloging treatment in several significant ways. Under the old version, catalogers had to wait for evidence from "several" issues that a conference's name and the title of publication were likely to remain stable. This meant that in almost all cases, conference publications were initially cataloged as monographs. At LC and other institutions, once "several" issues had been received and no changes were in evidence, monograph catalogers would forward the entire run to be recataloged as a serial. This recataloging was costly and time-consuming and was the major impetus for revising the LCRI.

Under the new guidelines, a conference publication can be treated serially from the first issue as long as the event exhibits evidence of being ongoing. However, if the publication bears a title that is unique to the issue on the chief source and/or is part of a numbered monographic series, each issue will be cataloged as a monograph to provide the necessary title and series access. The anticipated effect of these provisions is that it will be easier to make the initial monograph/serial decision and that more conference publications will be cataloged as monographs.

Recommendation #2
That the PCC Standing Committee on Standards appoint a new task group to continue studying the issues surrounding choice of title for conference publications and headings for conferences. The specific charges to this new task group should include the following:

  • Develop clearer guidelines to be used by both monograph and serial catalogers in determining a more consistent choice of title for conference publications.
  • Revise LCRI 24.2 to include additional categories of minor changes in name which would not constitute a name change (similar to the rules found in AACR2 21.2A1 and LCRI 21.2A for title changes).
  • Explore options for ensuring that runs of conference publications treated monographically are classed in the same classification number (similar to the approach used to record class number in authority records for belles-lettres authors).

In looking at these issues, the task group should build upon the work already done by the CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications and the CC:DA Task Force on Conference Proceedings.

Comment: The above recommendation identifies specific areas where long-term solutions are needed in order to solve the issues surrounding the cataloging of conference publications. Because many of these issues, such as name changes for headings, are not limited to conferences or serials, it was felt that a body with broader cataloging representation should be formed. With the impending merger of CONSER and the PCC, members felt that the timing was perfect to disband our Task Force and for the PCC Standing Committee on Standards to appoint a new group.

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Appendix A
Task Force Charge

Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 10:45:48
To: David Van Hoy (MIT)
Mechael Gago (Indiana University)
Judy Herrick (LC)
Beecher Wiggins (LC)
Bob Ewald (LC)
Sarah Layne (UCLA)
Jean Hirons (LC), ex officio
From: Linda West, Chair, CONSER Policy Committee Subject: CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications

On behalf of the CONSER Policy and Operations Committees, I wish to thank you in advance for agreeing to serve on the CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications. This task force was set up on the recommendation of the CONSER Operations Committee which felt that a combination of monograph and serials expertise was required to resolve the issues outlined in the charge. It is hoped that within the specified time range, the Task Force can develop a list of recommendations, including changes to existing rules or LC rule interpretations, and possible new solutions that can be forwarded to the appropriate groups for further consideration.

Background
The cataloging of conference publications has long been a problem for both monograph and serial catalogers alike. LC rule interpretations have been written over the years that address a number of issues associated with them; however, there is an increasingly strong desire to find new solutions. Areas of primary interest are: monograph versus serial treatment, the choice of title and the handling of title changes, the formulation of headings, and determining the best form of access for these publications.

The cataloging of conference publications was addressed at the Nov. 1994 meeting of the CONSER Operations Committee. Many issues were raised and many good ideas were suggested but no recommendations were made. As this issue is equally important to monograph and serial catalogers alike, the ideas of both must be heard and thus, the inclusion of monograph as well as serial experts on this task force.

Charge
The CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications is charged with:

  1. Reviewing and recommending changes to current cataloging policies, as outlined in AACR2 and the LC Rule Interpretations for the following areas. In doing so, take into account the needs of a variety of users--the general public, other librarians, catalogers, and the publishing community, as appropriate.
    1. Monograph vs. serial treatment. By using the results of user studies, listserv queries, and the collective expertise of the task force, recommend the best treatment for conference publications. Consider also possible new solutions that could combine both approaches.
    2. Choice of title and title changes. Consider the different approaches to choice of title currently followed by monograph and serial catalogers and recommend changes, as appropriate. If serial treatment is to be continued, recommend a policy for title changes and consider new approaches that would reduce the number of new records created.
    3. Headings for conferences. Review CPSO's efforts to change AACR2 and recommend CONSER endorsement (if appropriate) and further changes, as necessary.
  2. As time allows, further recommend:
    1. Technological changes that can improve the accessibility to conference publications in online systems.
    2. Ways in which catalogers and others in the library can work more closely together to more efficiently handle these publications.
    3. How CONSER can collaborate with others who are working to simplify the control of conference publications (e.g., ACRL work with publishers).

Time frame
An interim report should be submitted to the Operations Committee by ALA Midwinter. The final report and recommendations are to be submitted to the Operations Committee by May 1996 in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Appendix B
READING LIST

Borries, Michael S. "Cataloging Conference Publications: Problems and Issues,"
Science & Technology Libraries 9:2 (1989) : 29-45.
Cole, Jim E. "Conference Publications: Serials or Monographs?" Library
Resources & Technical Services 22:2 (Spring 1978) : 168-173.
Intner, Sheila. "Access to Serials. Part I: A Look at the Bibliographic Unit,"
Technicalities 10:1 (Jan. 1990) : 3-5.
Intner, Sheila. "Modern Serials Cataloging," Technicalities 10:5 (May 1990) :
4-6.
Intner, Sheila. "Serials Catalog Records: Image and Reality," Technicalities
10:3 (Mar. 1990) : 5-7.
Johnson, Karl E. "IEEE Conference Publications in Libraries," Library
Resources & Technical Services 28:4 (Oct./Nov. 1984) : 308-314.
McGarry, Dorothy and Marth M. Yee, "Cataloging Conference Proceedings:
A Survey and Comments," Library Resources & Technical Services
34:1 (Jan. 1990) : 44-53.
Mendelsohn, Loren D. and James A. Ruffner. "Living with Conference
Proceedings: An Analysis of the Problems, Pitfalls, and Successful
Techniques for Access," Science & Technology Libraries 9:2 (1989) : 1-19.
Puccio, Joseph A. Serials Reference Work. Englewood, Colorado : Libraries
Unlimited, Inc., 1989. pp. 113-119. (Chapter on conference publications.)
Sears, Jonathan R.L. "Coverage of Conference Documents in Scientific Databases:
Viewpoint of Cambridge Scientific Abstracts," Science & Technology
Libraries, 9:2 (1989) : 35-45.

Appendix C
TYPES OF CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS AND
THEIR TREATMENT: MONOGRAPH VS. SERIAL

[Prepared by the Definitions Subgroup of the CONSER Task Force on Conference Publications: Bob Ewald, Jean Hirons, and Beacher Wiggins, with the assistance of serial and monograph catalogers at the Library of Congress.]

September 27, 1995

The following is an examination of conference publications for ongoing events that exhibit aspects of seriality and thus, could be treated as serials. One-time events that are clearly monographs are excluded. Indications of seriality in conference publications include: frequency (e.g., Annual conference on ...), numbering or dates associated with the title (e.g., FAIR '95, Marina III), numbering associated with the event (e.g., 1st Conference on ...), and statements in the prefatory material that indicate the ongoing nature of the event.

Conference publications are often problematic because of the duality between the event and the publication. Just because the event takes place is no guarantee that there will be a publication. Sometimes the publication does not begin until after several meetings have taken place.

There are two types of serial conference publications: 1) those that consist of the minutes, proceedings, etc. of regularly-held meetings of one or more corporate bodies; and 2) those that contain the proceedings, etc. of ongoing topical conferences.

TYPE I. Meetings of a corporate body
The meetings may be general in nature or thematic. Those that are general are more likely to have generic titles and lend themselves to serial treatment. Those that are thematic might be more monographic in nature.

Characteristics:

  • Corporate body is most often prominently stated and is constant
  • Event is often named only generically, such as "meeting"
  • Title is may be generic, "Report of the annual meeting" or specific
  • Title is not usually as important as an access point and may be unstable
  • Theme titles sometimes occur, but are not frequent
  • Numbers and dates most often refer to the publication
  • Place may be less important for access; more likely to be held in the same place, but not always (e.g., ALA conferences)

Discussion: Current practices and problems

This category has traditionally been treated serially and we recommend continuing this practice, as appropriate. The fact that these are publications of a corporate body lends stability. The cataloger is more assured not only that the event will reoccur but also that a publication will accompany it.

The primary problem is with the title. Since titles are often generic, they may vary from issue-to-issue. These changes may seem unimportant to the publisher and the patron but often require a succession of records that are difficult to decipher. Since the titles are so often generic, they are often less likely to be searched. The corporate body will more often be the primary access point.

Options for consideration:

  1. Retain the current practice
  2. Revise and broaden the rules for title changes to reduce the number of records
  3. Use a uniform title to eliminate the need for new records to reflect title changes

Pros and cons:

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  1. Retain the current practice

    pros:

    • No change to rules, documentation, or existing records
    • Records will reflect the items (may be better for check-in)
    • Conformance with ISSN records

    cons:

    • Title changes result in creation of new records which is labor-intensive and not useful to the patron
  2. Revise the rules for title changes
    (Note: The CONSER AACR2 Review Task Force will be looking at this issue)

    pros:

    • Would benefit all serials, not just conference pubs.
    • Would reduce the number of needless records
    • Title variations considered important are easily recorded in 246 fields

    cons:

    • Would/could result in need to collapse and revise records unless agreement is reached to leave existing records alone
    • Changing rules, documentation, etc. takes time
    • Less relation between the record and the individual issue (possible draw-back for check-in)
    • Need to coordinate with ISSN
  3. Use a uniform title
    (Note: this could either be an agreed-upon term such as "Proceedings" or its equivalent in other languages, or the title on the first issue)

    pros:

    • Would eliminate need for successive records (at least until corporate body changed or publication changed significantly)
    • Could make searching easier for patron once educated; single record would also be easier to decipher
    • Could also be more efficient for check-in, once technicians are educated

    cons:

    Would/could result in massive record collapsing and revision

    • Need to create an additional authority record?
    • Major departure from AACR2
    • Possible confusion over term to use
    • Possibility of little relation between entry and publication
    • Might not be able to conform with ISSN assignment

TYPE 2: Meetings on a topic

These are meetings of experts on a subject rather than those affiliated with a body. Because these are not as closely aligned with a corporate body, there is more likelihood for change.

Characteristics

  • Name of conference may be given prominently or informally or not at all
  • Name of conference may be unstable and likely to change (particularly if conference is international, sponsors change, etc.)
  • Title may consist of generic terms, solely of the name of conference, or distinctive words accompanied by numbers or dates (e.g., Proceedings, Conference on Cosmic Instability, Oceans '94, Marina III)
  • Title is subject to change
  • Numbers, dates and places refer to the event rather than the publication
  • Editors are likely to be present and vary from issue-to-issue
  • Corporate bodies may play a number of roles; most often serve as sponsors; are likely to change

Discussion: Current treatment and problems

Because these types of conference publications do not necessarily have a stable corporate body in charge of their production, the publications are more likely to change than those in Type 1. Currently, international conferences and those with distinctive titles that change from issue to issue are cataloged as monographs (due to changes in language and desire to give access to titles). For others, the cataloger must first have evidence that the name of the event and the title of the publication will remain constant before doing them as serials. Once the decision is to do as a serial, monograph records are canceled.

The current policy causes much recataloging, loss of perfectly good records, and frustration on the part of catalogers. It is also not always adhered to throughout CONSER, indicating that it is not widely accepted.

While these publications are very susceptible to change, others do stay the same over a long period of time, questioning the efficiency of possible universal monographic treatment.

Overall pros of monograph vs. serial treatment

Serial

  • more efficient when there are few changes
  • allows for shelving under one call number
  • conformance with ISSN records and assignment
  • provides a record to which holdings can be attached
  • needed by A&I services for citations, etc.
  • better for standing orders

Monograph

  • more access points/data of potential use (editors, numbers, dates, places, etc.)
  • easier to see what an institution holds
  • changes are not an issue

Options for consideration:

  1. Catalog all as serials. Continue to catalog as a serial, regardless of the stability of the name or title and the number of records needed.
  2. Catalog as a serial until proven unstable. If proven to be unstable (e.g., several consecutive issues within a short period of time) catalog subsequent issues as monographs. Do not recatalog those treated as serials.
  3. Catalog as a monograph until proven stable in several consecutive issues (current practice). If name and title do not change, catalog as a serial and recatalog earlier issues. (It is possible that this policy could be changed using links, however, serials are ideally cataloged from the earliest issue and it is hard not to want to reflect those issues when they are known to be in the institution.}
  4. Catalog all as monographs, regardless of whether there are any changes or not.
  5. Catalog as a series with monographic analytics. This approach has been suggested by the directors of the ISSN centers as being the one that will serve all interests most adequately. Whether a full serial bibliographic record is needed or just a SAR might be debated.

Pros and cons

  1. Catalog all as serials

    Note: An ongoing publication of an ongoing event is, by definition, a serial so long as it has a designation and a title by which the issues can be described. This does not mean that we can't make exceptions in treatment for purposes of practicality, just as we do with what is, by nature, a monograph.

    pros:

    • All would be kept under the same call number
    • Workflow: would all be kept within serial cataloging (may or may not be an issue depending on the size of the organization)
    • Efficiency: one record vs. many (if changes do not require new successive entries)
    • No decision-making (mono vs. serial)
    • ISSN assignment will be aligned with bibliographic records; accommodates A&I needs
    • Provides a record on which holdings can be attached

    Cons:

    • Conference publications with unstable names/titles will result in multiple records
    • Additional record-keeping for serials is costly (e.g., check-in, union listing, SERLOC, etc.)
    • Not as efficient for public access and searching -- no access given to place and date of conference, theme titles, editors, some sponsors, etc.
  2. Catalog as a serial until proven unstable

    pros:

    • Eliminate need for recataloging because description would be based on earliest issue
    • Most efficient for those which do not change
    • Would allow for monograph treatment when necessary
    • Allows for conformity with ISSN assignment and accommodates A&I and holdings needs, but only to a point

    cons:

    • Loss of potentially important access points
    • How to know when to change treatment; what if it becomes unstable after 10 years?
    • Creating multiple serial records also means creating serial control records
    • Changes in treatment are hard to deal with in a cooperative environment and are hard to predict
    • Reversal of current approach; need to change RI and current thinking
  3. Catalog as a monograph until proven stable

    pros:

    • No need to change existing RI, documentation, etc.
    • Less work to create a monograph record than a serial record
    • Safer approach, particularly for those likely to change

    cons:

    • Not efficient since it can result in multiple records with same name, title
    • When decision is made to catalog as a serial, the need or urge to cancel the mono records and recatalog from the first is time-consuming and wasteful
    • Changes in treatment are hard to deal with in a cooperative environment and are hard to predict
  4. Catalog all as monographs

    pros:

    • Workflow: all in one area
    • Better for retrieval because full complement of access points always provided
    • No need to worry about changes/instability
    • Easier to see which issues a library has
    • No changes in treatment

    cons:

    • Not efficient for those which do not change
    • Rejects the seriality of the publication
    • Non-conformance with ISSN; does not accommodate A&I or holdings needs
    • Minor changes in the name or title will mean that issues do not file together/may make retrieval more difficult
    • Different call number will mean they are not shelved together
  5. Treat as a series

    pros:

    • Acknowledges the seriality of ongoing, numbered conference publications
    • Accommodates A&I services, ISSN needs
    • Allows for all issues to be collected under the same call no.
    • Allows individual institutions to determine their own treatment (i.e., whether or not to analyze)
    • Mono analytics would provide specific information needed by reference librarians (could be done as core records with minimal notes, access points, one subject heading, etc.)

    cons:

    • Stretches the definition of a series and may result in some redundancy in the record
    • Not as efficient since both serial and monographic cataloging are required
    • Doesn't solve the serial cataloging problems of instability and the need to create multiple records (however, work can be done on that)
    • We would need to revise rules, guidelines for series, possibly definitions, etc.

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FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION

Call number: One of the major reasons cited for the desirability of serial treatment is the ability to file all issues under the same call number. Is there a way that conferences treated as monographs can be assigned the same call number? Could this be attached to the name authority record for the conference in some way? It would have to be clear what publications would be given the call number since the name could be used as an added entry or there might be different publications issued as a result of the one conference.

Access to specific data: If treated as serials, are there other means of providing access to specific data, such as the place, date, and editor of an individual conference? Might an online check-in/control record contain some of this information; are brief analytics a possibility; or a name authority record or other device? How important is the data? Which data is most important?

Appendix D

Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 10:36:51 -0500
From: "Mechael D. Gago" [mgago@indiana.edu]
Reply to: CONSER Program Discussion List [CONSRLST@RS8.LOC.GOV]
To: Multiple recipients of list CONSRLST [CONSRLST@RS8.LOC.GOV]
Subject: CONSER T.F. on the Cataloging of Conference Publs.

This message is being cross-posted to ACQNET-L, AUTOCAT, BI-L, COLLDV-L, CONSRLST, COOPCAT, ILL-L, INTERCAT, LIBREF-L, SERIALST, and STS-L.

We apologize in advance for any duplication.

***********************************************************
May 31, 1996

The CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications is charged to review and recommend changes to the current practices surrounding the cataloging of ongoing conference publications (as outlined in AACR2 and the LC Rule Interpretations), taking into account the needs of a variety of users.

One specific area the Task Force was asked to address was that of monograph vs. serial treatment.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The Task Force recognizes that some publications of an ongoing named conference are clearly serials. Unfortunately, serial treatment excludes certain types of access points often identified by our users as important for retrieval purposes (e.g., editor, date, venue, series number). Frequent conference name and/or title changes can also cause an unwanted proliferation of successive entry serial records.

Monographic treatment, on the other hand, does provide a way to access those elements commonly identified as important. Although an attractive alternative, the Task Force rejected the idea of treating all conference publications as monographs. Often serial treatment simply provides benefits, such as "automatic" call number collocation and less prohibitive added volume cataloging costs, which outweigh the potential gains of monographic cataloging.

Many hours of discussion and research have convinced the Task Force that there is no easy solution to the cataloging of ongoing conference publications. One of the recommendations that the group has been working on is a revision to the conference publications portion of LCRI 12.0A. The Task Force tested many previous draft guidelines before formulating the current proposed version. The intent of this revision is threefold:

  1. to provide clearer guidelines that will facilitate decision-making on the part of the cataloger
  2. to reduce costly and time-consuming recataloging
  3. to provide improved access points for users

We would like to receive your comments on this proposal and any other thoughts you would be interested in sharing about the cataloging of conference publications.

PLEASE send your response, by June 21st, to:

CONSER-survey@mit.edu

DO *NOT* SEND YOUR RESPONSE TO THE LIST.

A paper mail address also appears at the end of the message.

Thank you.

Cooperative ONline SERials (CONSER) Program Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications:

Bob Ewald (LC), Mechael Gago (Indiana University, chair), Judy Herrick (LC), Jean Hirons (LC, ex-officio), Sara Shatford Layne (UCLA), David Van Hoy (MIT), Beacher Wiggins (LC)

=======================================
5/31/96

DRAFT REVISION TO LCRI 12.0A (CONFERENCES PORTION ONLY)**

**NOTE: Exhibition catalogs will be retained as a separate category. They have been omitted from this draft revision.

4) Special types of publications

  1. Conference and exhibition publications.
    1. Conference publications. Apply the following to ongoing conference publications that are being cataloged for the first time. Consider a conference publication to be "ongoing" if words such as "first" or "annual" are associated with the name of the conference and/or the title of the publication.

      Catalog conference publications that meet the three criteria for serial consideration as serials, unless one or more of the following is present:

      1. a distinctive or unique title is presented on the chief source. These special titles are usually dedicated to a particular topic and vary from issue to issue and conference to conference.
      2. the conference publication is issued as part of a numbered monographic series.

Once a treatment decision is determined based on the first conference publication (or earliest issue in hand), prefer to retain that treatment. For conference publications treated serially, any change that would require the creation of another successive entry serial record should be considered "new" for the purposes of descriptive cataloging and once again re-evaluated against the above criteria.

Use cataloger's judgement when changing the treatment and when deciding whether to recatalog the earlier issues. For instance, if a conference publication exhibits evidence of seriality only after the first issue, and it does not contain a distinctive title or series number, it is probably best to change the treatment to serial and recatalog the first issue (as would be done for other serials). However, if a number of issues have been cataloged and it becomes clear that the current treatment is highly undesirable (e.g., the serial changes title with each issue), the earlier issues need not be recataloged. In the serial record, a linking note may be added to indicate the preceding/succeeding monograph record or treatment change:

580 -- Beginning with the 1995 conference, issues are cataloged separately.

580 -- Continues the monograph: Conference on Abelian Group Theory (3rd : 1985 : Oberwolfach, Germany). Proceedings of the Third Conference on Abelian Group Theory at Oberwolfach.

In general, prefer not to recatalog when the treatment is changed.

As previously noted, ISSN centers create serial records for conference publications even though they may meet one or more of the above criteria that would qualify them for monographic treatment. If LC catalogs the publication as a monograph, "xlc" will be added to field 042 in the ISSN record. Other CONSER participants differing in their treatment decision may continue to use these records but may not further authenticate the record by adding "lcd."

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PAPER MAIL ADDRESS:

Mechael D. Gago
Asst. Head, Serials Dept.
Main Library, Rm. E-048
Indiana University Libraries
Bloomington, IN 47408-1801

FAX: (812) 855-3072

Endnotes

1. Loren D. Mendelsohn and James A. Ruffner. "Living with Conference Proceedings: An Analysis of the Problems, Pitfalls, and Successful Techniques for Access," Science & Technology Libraries 9:2 (1989), p. 1.

2. Eva Verona. "Corporate Headings: Their Use in Library Catalogues and National Bibliographies: A Comparative and Critical Study," (London : IFLA Committee on Cataloguing, 1975), p. 122.

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