June 16, 2001 - CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings
Sally Sinn (NAL) chaired the meeting, which took place during a conference highlighted by a preconference and a number of meetings dedicated to the topic of serial holdings. [Note: This summary also contains some of the decisions and action items from the participants workshop held on Sunday June 17.]
Reports and updates
Statistics. Jean Hirons (LC) distributed participant statistics showing how many new, subsequent, and revised patterns were attributed to each participant. It was noted that LC had contributed almost half of the patterns, but each contributor was making good progress, large and small alike.
Preconference and MARC interest group meeting. Sinn reflected on the fact that the format hasn’t been used enough to know what really works and what doesn’t and it is the CONSER initiative that is finally giving the format its first test. The initiative will improve the format over time. She noted that compliance with the format is a key issue and reported that Diane Hillmann (Cornell) and Ellen Rappoport (Albany Law) will be developing a statement of what it means to be compliant with the holdings format. We need to continue promoting the format and working its use into mainstream activities.
Action: Some of the presentations from the preconference will be posted on the CONSER Web site when available.
A suggestion was made that OCLC develop a macro to convert the 891 field to LDR format in order to reduce duplicate work. [At the PCC Participant’s meeting on the following night, Glenn Patton announced that OCLC will move to the MARC Holdings Format when it inaugurates it’s new system.]
MARBI actions. Linda Miller (LC) reported that five discussion papers on improvements to the format were discussed by MARBI and all but one (2001-DP07) would be brought back as proposals. With the next round, Miller and Rebecca Guenther (LC) will be sure to get the papers out on CONSERHOLD for initial comments prior to their airing at LC and by others in the community.
Vendor survey. Miller also reported that four ILS vendors--VTLS, EOS, ExLibris, and Gaylord—have given approval for their individual survey results to be posted on the CONSER Web site. Miller will first ask each of the vendors to update their surveys which, at this point, are a year old. It is hoped that this will encourage other vendors to follow suit.
Critical Success Factors
Sinn noted that the 2-year pilot is now half completed and that it will be our task in the coming year to decide on where to go next. She identified a number of critical success factors against which we could test our progress. These are:
- Having a set of common practices and well-developed guidelines
- Having established a database of up-to-date patterns
- System vendors have developed export and import capabilities for the pattern data in OCLC
- Libraries are able to migrate data from one system to another
Strategic Plan Update
Task 1. The Pilot.
1a. Rather than setting a total goal for the initiative, Hillmann suggested that each participant be asked to set their own goals and also to identify the types of materials to which patterns are added. We should be aiming to provide the most useful patterns possible.
Action: Sinn will ask each participant to set goals for the next 6 months and report them to Hirons.
1d. Storage of patterns. There are a number of issues in looking at the storage of pattern data outside of the bibliographic record, such as examining how union list data interacts with this. With OCLC’s database redesign, however, there is hope for the capability and a need for the task force to provide more detailed advise. It was agreed that we should define the functionality that would be desired of a universal holdings record and that doing this during the next six months is a good timeframe.
Action: Hillmann and Rappoport volunteered to develop functionality statement.
1e. Data loads. Rich Greene (OCLC) will review data files supplied by VTLS to determine whether they can be loaded without causing confusion to existing records.
Task 2. Workflow analysis.
It was agreed that this is an area where we can really be useful. Hirons suggested that the participants meeting on Sunday would provide a good forum for beginning the discussions on workflow. An interim report from the task group will be due in January.
Task 3. MFHD and Vendors
In discussing how to work more closely with vendors, several ideas were suggested. John Espley (VTLS) noted that while suggestions from user’s groups are very important, it is the new contracts that often drive the vendor to make improvements. Thus, if your institution hosts a site visit for prospective customers, be sure to have them suggest improvements to the format during that visit! Working with the user’s groups was also noted as a means for concentrating our efforts. Espley suggested that CONSER use its "clout" to make known the importance of the standard and compliance with it. An expanded functionality statement might be one way of doing this.
Action: [As a result of discussions at the participant’s workshop, Sinn will send a letter to system vendors urging them to participate in the task force and participant workshops.]
Further suggestions were: making it clear to the industry what compliance and functionality means in terms of the MFHD; working with the ILL community; and finding ways to emphasize the importance of MARC holdings formats to public services.
Task 4. Documentation and Training.
Hirons mentioned the new SCCTP Holdings Workshop and expressed her hope that it would be widely promoted. A further action at this point is to find an ongoing way to add to the documentation and to make it more standardized. Sinn suggested that problems that have come up on CONSERHOLD be added to the documentation. [At the participants’ meeting, it was noted that Guenther has a file of the problems and John Levy (LC) agreed to work on adding them to the documentation. Another idea was to expand on the list of patterns developed by John Espley for VTLS.] Frieda Rosenberg expressed her concern that the participant’s manual may be too specialized and not appropriate for staff in regard to holdings work. However, it could be added to the CONSER Editing Guide as it is an interpretation of the format for use with patterns. Hirons will further explore. In any case, we will want to keep it freely available.
Task 6. Publicity.
Hirons noted that the bibliography, now contained under this task, will be moved to the Publication Pattern home page. A number of possible articles were discussed, including the following:
- CONSERLine article on Michigan State’s work with III (Wen-Ying Lu)
- AALL newsletter (Ellen Rappoport)
- Serials Librarian (Mary Ann Van Cura, possibly)
- ILL and Reference-related publications (Julie Su)
- An article for administrators in a LAMA journal
- Also, articles in PLA and acquisitions journals
Action: Hirons will update the strategic plan and post it and the summary to the Web site.