January 25, 2003 - CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings
Summary of the Pattern Workshop - January 26, 2003
Carlen Ruschoff (University of Maryland) introduced herself as the new chair and welcomed others. In her opening remarks, she discussed some of the challenges that we are currently facing. She noted the recent discussion with the PCC Policy Committee and said that perhaps our biggest challenge is promoting the initiative with our colleagues and administrators. There is still much skepticism over the value of the CONSER effort due to the lack of ability to use the data, perceived costs and impact on workflow, and the uncertainty of its application to electronic journals. Fortunately, a number of these concerns are currently being addressed by various task groups.
Status of the program. Jean Hirons (LC) reported that there are 4 new members: University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, and the Detroit Law School of Michigan State University. She also distributed statistics. At the end of November 2002 there were approximately 50,000 patterns in the CONSER database, 10,000 of which were contributed by participants.
OCLC report. In November 2002, Rich Greene and Cathy Kellum of OCLC held a conference call with Jean Hirons, John Levy, and Carlen Ruschoff to discuss the status of OCLC's MFHD implementation and a variety of other issues. Rich reported on the possibility of two products discussed in November.
One would be a file of records containing patterns. The file would be a snapshot and could not be geared to any one library's holdings. A user could match records with ISSN or OCLC number or could load as a resource file. The pricing structure for the file is perhaps the most difficult hurtle. However, there was also the issue of how much interest there would be. It was pointed out that companies, such as The Library Corporation, whose primary customers are small libraries without access to utilities, could certainly make use of the file. We know that there are other companies who might have a similar interest and they will be contacted in this regard.
The second service would be a notification service of new or changed patterns added based on a library's holdings. There is much enthusiasm for this. (Participants at the Sunday morning discussion were all enthusiastic.) In discussing how the data would be used, it was suggested that an update to the vendor survey be done to gage vendors' abilities in this area. Linda Miller will pursue the vendor survey; Rich will pursue the notification service.
Cathy Kellum reported that MFHD implementation by OCLC will wait until the change to the Oracle database. However, OCLC is making strides in building local data records from reported holdings.
Review of the strategic plan
Task 1. Database. There are two new task groups that deal with a potential universal holdings record (UHR). Linda Miller is chairing a group looking at the long-term storage of pattern data and the technical aspects of a UHR. Diane Hillmann is chairing the group that will discuss the potential uses of the UHR. Neither group had yet met at the time of the meeting. However, the MARC Formats Interest Group met just before the meeting and there was a lively discussion! It is obvious that there are many interpretations of this concept and much work to be done.
Task 2. Mentoring and workflow. Wen-ying Lu reported on the mentoring guidelines that she and her task group established and the liaisons set up for the new members. Yumin Jiang is chairing a new task group on the potential need and uses of pattern data for electronic journals.
Task 3. MFHD and vendors. Vendors were present from Ex Libris, III, VTLS, and TLC. There is no new functionality to report at this time regarding the ability to upload/download pattern data. TLC brought up the need to obtain pattern data for use by smaller libraries and the potential new record service would be of great interest to them. TLC could also participate as a vendor by feeding new/revised pattern data back to OCLC.
Task 4. Documents and training. Carlen discussed the future of the publication pattern "workshop" or "discussion group" that CONSER has held on Sunday mornings at ALA. She suggested that it might fit very nicely into ALCTS's new category of special interest groups. She will pursue.
Task 5. Utilities and subscription vendors. Jennifer O'Connell reported on a task group that is working with EBSCO to review frequency change reports to see how this data might be used to add patterns to OCLC. Beth Jedlicka (U. Georgia) is the task force chair. They are investigating how many titles are represented by CONSER records, how many already have patterns, and how feasible it would be to create this data. The accuracy and reliability of the data was discussed. Sometimes the frequency actually changed much earlier, or a projected change never takes place. Nevertheless, knowing ahead of time and being able to signal this in a record might be useful.
Carlen is also discussing the matter with Tina Feick of Swets Blackwell.
Robert Bremer (OCLC) noted that the macro used to create publication patterns from existing records would not be in the first release of Connexion but will be there eventually. He assured the group that there will probably not be any time during which the macro is unavailable in any OCLC product.
Task 6. Publicizing the initiative. Carlen discussed an invitation to speak in New York and what that might entail. She and Jean suggested that a PowerPoint presentation might be developed that would provide both historical and motivational information, as well as some of the details of the format. Such a presentation could then be shared for use by others. She and Jean will pursue the New York offer to determine whether a speech or the SCCTP Holdings course is most appropriate.
Jean asked whether we should pursue another networking node on holdings and patterns this year at NASIG. The group agreed. Jean will send a message to SCCTP and CONSERHOLD looking for volunteers.
Recognition. Carlen mentioned that at the Sunday night PCC Participants meeting, three people involved with the pattern initiative would be honored--Frieda Rosenberg, Wen-ying Lu, and Renee Blakey (University of Georgia).