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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > Publication Patterns Initiative > Summary of Meeting at ALA Midwinter, Boston

January 16, 2005 - CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings


The group heard a report from Cathy Kellum of OCLC about the implementation of the MARC21 holdings format by OCLC scheduled for fall 2005. The process will start with conversion of local data records (LDRs) and it is estimated that 80% of these can be machine converted to 853-863 pairs, the remaining LDRs will need to be converted by hand because of compatibility problems. It is hoped that in a later phase data stored in the 891 fields of CONSER records can be converted to the holdings format. CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative members were invited to contact Cathy Kellum if they are interested in helping test the new format, provide training materials, or help develop other documentation [email protected]

Diane Hillmann (Cornell) and Frieda Rosenberg (UNC) described their visit to OCLC to discuss the implementation of the holdings format and ideas for building a virtual display of the super record concept. There was a great deal of interest in the format and its possible use in conjunction with a super record to display serial relationships and manifestations. It will be important for CONSER to continue to pursue the idea of a super record with the utilities and vendors.

Linda Miller reported on preparations for a meeting of the Long Term Storage Task Force with publishers and vendors scheduled for Monday January 17. As OCLC prepares for implementation of the MFHD and the ONIX formats begin to mature, it is a good time to discuss standards compliance with the organizations that create, store, or transmit holdings information. The newest draft of the Serials Release Notification (SRN) record format, a part of ONIX for Serials, offers a tool to test sharing of holdings data among publishers, publication access management services (PAMS), aggregators, and libraries. The focus of the meeting on Jan. 17 was to begin planning a test of the SRN format and representatives from each of the stake holders attended. The draft of the SRN will be available for comment after February 2005 (it will be posted: (external link)) and a follow-up meeting at ALA annual 2005 will be held. Involving publishers as a source of coverage data is key to the process and there is a need to be clear on pointing out how publishers will benefit by adhering to standards for recording and transmitting holdings data. Incentives for publishers include assurance that an article in print and electronic format is cited completely and uniformly in PAMS, indexing tools, and other databases. Publishers (and others!) may benefit by having access to retrospective holdings housed on a utility database such as OCLC.

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Paul Moeller (University of Colorado Boulder) and Wen-Ying Lu (Michigan State University) presented the results of a survey they conducted among librarians about the use of the MARC21 Holdings Format. The survey pointed out opportunities for the Publication Patterns Initiative to market use of the format and further encourage compliance among vendors. Some librarians are using ILS systems which do not support the format fully or do not offer a loader to upload the data. Lack of training opportunities was also cited as a problem and so was the need to provide promotional resources which explain the importance of compatibility between ILS and the format. Some of the reasons librarians gave for supporting the format are future looking (even if not all were able to take advantage of it now) and include easing the migration to a new ILS, developing predictive check-in, and automated check-in features. Improving consistency in user interface displays was regarded as a critical advantage.

John Hostage (Harvard) led a discussion of several specific coding problems encountered using the format. Some of these arose previously on the CONSERHOLD discussion list. Discussion of them pointed to the need for uniformity in documentation presented on the CONSER Website, the SCCTP workshop on holdings, and the MARC21 Holdings Format. Changes in the holdings format may also be needed. An update to the Format completed in fall 2004 was based on comments submitted by Initiative members, most changes were corrections and useful additions- it was not a comprehensive update. Suggestions for future updates can still be submitted to the Network Development office. For some of the coding questions John raised, it appeared that there were no wrong or right answers. Unusual cases can often be handled by making use of the inherent flexibility of the format.

Action: Les will send a message to the documentation review group to start a review of the documentation and areas where changes are needed. The documentation review group will continue to report needs for updating the Holdings format and report them to the Network Development Office.

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