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

June 21, 2003 - CONSER Publication Patterns Task Force

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


Carlen Ruschoff chaired the meeting which featured reports of various task groups.

OCLC report

Rich Greene reported that OCLC is working on a service whereby participants can sign up to receive a notice if a pattern is added or changed. When asked about implementation of $n, he noted that it needs broader interpretation. ExLibris and VTLS have also offered to send files to OCLC of their pattern data. Rich will determine what needs to be done and develop a timeline.

Long term storage

Linda Miller said that the interim report of her group will be ready by the end of June and final report should be done for ALA annual in Orlando.

Linda also discussed extending use of patterns for supplements and indexes, something that the law community is interested in. Rich noted that it would not be a problem to implement 854-55/964-65 in the 891field. However, there is a limit to the number of such publications that are actually predictable as many are more irregular in nature. It was agreed that named or unpredictable supplements should not be added. Frieda will revise documentation over the summer and will consult with Susan Goldner, the law community's representative to MARBI.


It was agreed that we should set up a small group to work on documentation and that we should get examples from other communities, such as music. Frieda and Jean will develop a strategy to accomplish this. Frieda noted that she is writing a guide to holdings for NASIG on the creation of local holdings that could be linked from the NASIG site to the CONSER publication patterns site.

Universal holdings

Diane Hillman reported that the MARC Interest Group had taken up the topic and that her group would be discussing further on Sunday. One decision that has emerged is to change "universal holdings" to "publication history". Where will this data reside? A holdings record might be the "platonic ideal" but the bibliographic record might be more feasible, perhaps in 3XX fields that could be viewed upon request. The idea of the master record concept and the master holdings seem to fit nicely. Such data might be very useful for Open URL and link resolvers for electronic journals or for interlibrary loan. All agreed that a clearer sense of the uses of the data is needed. Digital preservation in upcoming years is another large potential use as lack of detailed holdings can be problematic.

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Subscription agents and pattern data

Jennifer O'Connell reported on behalf of Beth Jedlicka, chair of the task group. During the past six months, Beth and others have worked with EBSCO to determine whether the data produced by EBSCO would be sufficient to update patterns in CONSER records. EBSCO provided the group with lists of frequency changes. 433 of 639 (68%) had records; of those 23% had patterns, 71% of which were provisional (Harvard incomplete patterns). The group found that the data supplied from EBSCO was not always sufficient to identify the appropriate record on OCLC. There is also no way of seeing the publication to be sure that changes have taken place. There is a chance that this data could be used as an alert service, but would not be sufficient to warrant a change on its own. The group recommends that no further action be taken at this time.

Electronic journals and publication patterns

Steve Shadle reported for Yumin Jiang. The task group surveyed the library community in the spring about the perceived need for publication pattern data and has issued an interim report based on the results of the survey. Most people are using level 3 (summary) holdings data for ejournals. Only 20% report to union lists. Interestingly, one third said that being able to determine more detailed holdings would be useful as it would provide better local control, as well as better supporting ILL, document delivery and other such functions. While no libraries reporting are currently using automated check in features, 40% hope to be in the next five years.

The group does not see any important impact on ejournals holdings from the CONSER move to an "aggregator-neutral record." Since most Serials Solutions customers want a single e-serial record, this seems to be a good approach.

As to future directions, Steve suggested that we continue to work with ILS vendors and serials management companies and monitor the situation. Diane noted that giving up recording of detailed holdings for electronic journals might be similar to the library community's earlier decision to leave article-level access to the abstracting and indexing community. With libraries needs to archive this data, we will need to play an active role.

MARBI proposals

Proposal 2003-03 was passed which deals with article-level information, a request of the California Digital project, that would like to pull the article-level description into the MARC display. Subfield $g would be used for eye readable data; $q for SICI format data.


A PowerPoint presentation for general use at meetings and conferences was prepared by Jean and is available on the Web site. Please send comments to her.

Carlen reported on the future of the Sunday morning pattern discussion group. ALCTS is interested in using this as a "guinea pig" for its new "interest group" format. Carlen suggested that having a connection to LC was important; Jean noted that the connection to the CONSER task force and including regular updates on its activities might be more appropriate. Carlen will need a small group of people to work with her on this initiative. Wen-ying Lu has volunteered; others are needed.

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