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

June 15, 2002 - CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Summary of the Pattern Workshop - June 16, 2002

Sally Sinn (NAL), Chair of the Task Force, welcomed the group and announced that Carlen Ruschoff (U. Maryland) will be taking over as chair following this meeting. Jean Hirons thanked Sally for her able and eloquent leadership.

Reports and Updates

Reports from meetings at ALA

Big Heads: Sinn and Hirons gave a presentation to Big Heads on Friday at which Sinn summarized the aims of the initiative and its successes to date and Hirons put in a plea for more participation. There was not a lot of discussion, but subsequent conversations made it clear that others are interested in participating and that they approve of the effort. One comment, however, was that perhaps the MFHD is too complex.

MARBI: Proposal 2002-12, which includes a proposal to add the ability to repeat enumeration at the first level was deferred. Because a significant number of catalogers oppose this proposal, MARBI decided to refer it to the Committees to Study Serials Cataloging and Standards.

FRBR: Sinn also noted all of the meetings in which the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Description (FRBR) was being discussed and the fact that holdings may play a part in this as well, particularly the idea of the universal holdings record. CONSER has a task force that will be exploring the issue of what how FRBR concepts apply to serials and continuing resources.


The CONSER database currently has 44,382 patterns, of which 4,891 were added by participants. And the numbers are growing. For the fiscal year 2001, which included 15 months, the total contributed was 3,373. For the six month period of Oct. 2001-Mar. 2002, the total is 2,795. Hirons asked that participants keep up the good work and she will pursue adding new members as time permits.

Survey results

Hirons reported that all current participants who responded to the survey want to remain active participants. Participants who contribute on an active basis reported that the effort was not too difficult, was not very time-consuming, and did not radically alter their work flow. Respondents who are not participating registered concerns about timeliness, inability to use the data, workflow, and system incompatibility with MFHD. Concerning long-term storage of data, most respondents favored some form of sub or related record, some citing that this would make it more feasible for non-cataloging staff to work on this data. Most reported that the CONSER intitiative has had an impact, some think it is significant, others more modest.

Hirons summarized potential future directions in response to the surveys:

  • Converting the pilot to a routine aspect of CONSER or CONSER enhance work (voluntary for CONSER members)
  • Resolving the issues of long-term storage
  • Addressing how this effort relates to electronic journals
  • Developing workflow diagrams and documents, as Lu has been doing, that will address some of the concerns of those not yet participating
  • Developing partnerships with ILS vendors to work on development of loaders, increased compatibility, or whatever else is necessary
  • Continuing efforts to train the library community at the technical level and to increase awareness at the policy level

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Pilot: next steps

All active participants will become routine CONSER enhance members. Those who have not contributed or who have contributed very little will be dropped.

Long-term storage of pattern data is an issue that must be addressed. Should the current pattern only be retained in the CONSER record with older patterns in an attached sub-record? What would be needed to import such data? Would ILS's have to develop a separate loader? OCLC will be converting to MFHD and Cathy Kellum is in charge. All agreed that vendor input is particularly critical with this. Ted Fons (III) volunteered to help out with the effort.

Action: Hirons will contact Kellum about OCLC's plans and discuss a method for proceeding with the issue.

Vendor liaisons

Representatives from VTLS, Innovative Interfaces, SIRSI, ExLibris, and Endeavor were all present. Fons and Wen-ying Lu discussed their collaboration on developing a loader for III customers. It was suggested that institutions work with vendors to develop import/export capabilities and loaders and to address the issues of MFHD compatability. Helen Gbala also noted that ExLibris has 20,000 patterns in Aleph that she would like to load to the CONSER records. Many of these are completed patterns that are in the Harvard load. Hirons noted that in their survey, MIT had volunteered to work with ExLibris on a loader.

Action: The following potential liaisons were suggested: MIT and ExLibris (Harvard and Maryland are other possibilities); LC and Endeavor; Vanderbilt or Lehigh and SIRSI (however, at the pattern workshop on Sunday, Bob Allen from Penn State said that they are planning to work with SIRSI on this issue).

We should also pursue the possibility of a load of patterns from Aleph.


Lu introduced the members of the workflow task group and discussed the various documents that they have prepared: flow charts, a template to help new members, and a frequently asked questions document.

Action: Sinn asked that those with comments send them to Lu soon. The documents will be added to the CONSER Web site and publicized.

Training and documentation

Frieda Rosenberg asked how new coding from the approved MARBI proposals should be added to the documentation. It was agreed that the coding needs to be added with instructions; however, there should be a statement to check with your ILS to determine whether the new coding has been implemented.

Electronic journals and patterns

This was a topic addressed both at this meeting and at the pattern workshop. Sinn noted that she thinks that we are going to need check-in type data for electronic journals, even though many feel that this is unnecessary. No action items were developed but the issue will be further pursued.

Further actions: Hirons will update the plan and will contact those who said they were interested in participating.

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Summary of the Pattern Workshop -Sunday June 16, 2002 10:00-12:00

Nineteen people attended in addition to Jean Hirons and Sally Sinn, including current participants and others who wanted to learn more about the initiative and the pattern creation process, particularly its impact on workflow.

In an initial round robin, the following was learned:

Bob Allen reported that they are working with SIRSI and that Penn State wishes to participate

Cornell has finished its creation of patterns and Cecilia Sercan is encouraging her colleagues to participate; she plans to start herself to lead the way

Naomi Young reported that the University of Florida may soon be ready to rejoin the effort

Harvard and U. Maryland will be bringing up Ex Libris this summer and UC Davis is also on Ex Libris and used patterns from Iowa

Wen-ying Lu brought a pattern problem which she explained to the group. Frieda Rosenberg wrote it out and explained how it might be coded. The difficulty of this pattern made it clear how beneficial it is to share this effort!


Lu discussed the workflow documents that she and her group have prepared. Various participants discussed how they contribute patterns and how this relates to the creation of patterns within their ILS. For some it is more connected than others, depending on the system's ability to import patterns and the need for work arounds by a number of systems.

Electronic journals

How does the need for patterns relate to electronic journals? Bob Allen noted that because of the cost of the electronic resources, there is a demand for more detailed holdings information. It was also noted that when a journal is checked-in, this data is available from the catalog and patrons expect to find this. It was also noted that users assume that the library has everything!

An article by Steve Zinc and others from the University of Nevada, Reno, was discussed (and a presentation will be given at NASIG). The article proposes that users want only the electronic and therefore there is no need to check in the print. It was noted that this approach would not work for many!

The group discussed the typical uses of predictive checkin, such as claiming, which is probably not needed for e-journals. On the other hand, it might only be at the point of checkin that you learn that a link doesn't work. Why wait for the patron to let you know; this is not good service. What about federal/state regulations that require accurate records of what is held? Digital archives were also addressed.

Robert Bremer suggested that ejournals should check themselves in. Jian Wang noted that III has the capability to automatically update the holdings for electronic journals in their new release.

Future of the workshop

Hirons asked whether we should continue this group. It was suggested that "workshop" is not a good term. Cindy Hepfer suggested that we might register with ALA as an interest group. This will be explored.

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