Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > SACO > Join SACO > Most Frequently Asked Questions about Joining SACO
  1. Who can join SACO?
  2. What are the requirements?
  3. Are there membership fees to join the SACO Program?
  4. Is there any training provided?
  5. Is there any cost for attending the SACO workshops?
  6. What options do I have if I have need of a subject heading and my institution decides not to become an institutional member?
  7. Is there a list of institutions which can be contacted in my own region for mentoring?
  8. If I contribute a heading proposal for which there is currently no LC classification number will I have to also contribute a classification number proposal?
  9. Will my institution need a MARC 21 identification code?
  10. What are the chances my subject heading will be approved exactly as proposed?
  11. How long does it take before the heading is approved for use?
  12. What reports does LC provide to SACO members?
  13. What happens if our institution's contribution does not meet the required annual statistical goal?
  14. What happens if our institution's contributions doe not meet PCC SACO quality standards?
  15. Are there any SACO funnel projects?
  1. Who can join SACO?
    Any institution that participates as an independent contributor to one of the other PCC component programs is automatically considered to be a SACO member and does NOT need to submit a formal SACO application. SACO participation has become an institution-based program. To further clarify eligibility, institutions participating in NACO funnels are required to submit a completed SACO membership application and appoint an institutional SACO liaison, much as NACO membership requires. Any institution is eligible to become a full-fledged SACO member. To enjoy full SACO membership please submit the SACO membership application. For more comprehensive information about the SACO Program, please see the SACO program guidelines on the SACO Homepage

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  2. What are the requirements?
    • Submit a completed Web-based SACO membership application with an institutional agreement/commitment to an annual numerical contribution goal of 10-12 proposals. This numerical goal includes a combination of new or changed LCSH headings and/or new or changed LC Classification numbers.
    • Catalogers at all institutions are expected to have a basic knowledge of the procedures and guidelines contained in the Subject Headings Manual: Subject Headings (SHM), familiarity with LCSH and with the MARC 21 Authority Format and standard reference sources.
    • In order to prevent duplication of effort participants should have access to the online Library of Congress authority files, both for name authorities and subject authorities, for searching purposes.

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  3. Are there any membership fees to join the SACO Program?
    The only cost is the time and resources expended to assure that the heading proposed is not a duplicate, that the necessary research has been performed and recorded, and that all elements in the proposal form have been filled in correctly.

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  4. Is there any training provided?
    Procedural training for filling in the SACO proposal form available on the SACO Homepage is available on demand. LC often offers SACO workshops in conjunction with ALA conferences. The workshops offered are a basic LCSH class and a more advanced subject specific class, such as geographic names, language and literature, etc.

    The PCC, in conjunction with ALCTS, has created an introductory course in subject cataloging called "Basic Subject Cataloging using LCSH". This course will be available through the Library of Congress' Catalogers Learning Workshop. The materials are modeled after those used in the SCCTP workshops used by CONSER participants. And although attendance at this training is not a mandatory requirement, the PCC strongly encourages all participants to take advantage of this course before submitting subject proposals.

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  5. Is there any cost for attending the workshops?
    Attendance at the SACO workshops held at ALA conferences is free of charge.

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  6. What options do I have if I have need of a subject heading and my institution decides not to become an institutional member?
    A cataloger from a non-PCC participating institution who needs a subject heading not available in LCSH or an LC classification number not found in the LC schedules now has the following options available for sending forward a proposal to SACO. 1) Contact a nearby institution that is currently a PCC member and request to submit your new proposal through their contribution mechanism. The second alternative is for your institution to 2) explore entering into a SACO funnel cooperative project and make contributions through an active subject funnel. See the response to SACO funnel question #12 below.

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  7. Is there a list of institutions which can be contacted in my own region for mentoring?
    Yes, the SACO program has developed a cadre of PCC members who have been designated and trained as SACO mentors. The SACO Mentors Home Page provides a complete roster and the geographic region for which each SACO Mentor is responsible. In addition, each of the BIBCO liaisons should be able to offer assistance in providing guidance for submitting subject proposals.

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  8. If I contribute a heading proposal for which there is currently no LC classification number will I have to also contribute a classification number proposal?
    No, it is not necessary to send a classification proposal for a proposed heading for which an LC classification number does not exist. Many libraries do not use LC classification and thus would not need to have this number established; however, if a cataloger uses the LC classification it would stand to reason that a corresponding number would be necessary.

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  9. My institution does not currently have an assigned NUC or MARC 21 identification code. Do we need this identification code in order to contribute to SACO? How do we get one?
    A MARC 21 identification code is not necessary for SACO participation; however, in order to assure that your institution gets the acknowledgment for its contribution to LCSH and for PCC statistical purposes all SACO participants will be supplied with a MARC 21 identification code upon receipt of a proposal. An institution may send an e-mail message to the SACO account or write directly to LC's Network Development and MARC Standards Office and request an authorized MARC 21 identification code to be assigned before sending a proposal forward.

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  10. What are the chances my subject heading will be approved exactly as proposed?
    Generally, LCSH terms are approved on the basis of what is standard in contemporary American English usage. Preference is given to terminology and expressions in general use over jargon and in some cases over technical terms especially when precision would not suffer. The Coop Team is responsible for providing initial review of proposed subject headings from SACO participants and will notify a contributor if a heading is not formulated within these guidelines. One key to having a subject heading proposal accepted without change is to provide adequate research in support of the heading proposed.

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  11. How long does it take before the subject heading or LC classification number being proposed is approved for use?
    Generally, authorized subject headings can be searched in the utilities ten-twelve weeks after having been submitted.
    Note: SACO proposals are considered pre-approved after being assigned to an editorial list and are immediately available for use; however, bibliographic records will need to be updated should the heading be revised or rejected during the course of the approval process.

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  12. What reports does LC provide to SACO members?
    Statistics showing the contributions of all institutions in the PCC programs are compiled twice during the LC fiscal year. Midyear statistics cover October 1 to March 30 of the following calendar year. Annual statistics cover October 1 to September 30th of the following year. In addition, monthly SACO contributions are posted online alphabetically by MARC 21 organization code so that libraries can monitor their own contributions throughout the year. Statistical reports are displayed online through the PCC homepage.

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  13. What happens if our institution's contribution does not meet the required annual statistical goal?
    The Secretariat identifies institutions whose low production becomes a cause for concern, bringing these concerns to the attention of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will decide on appropriate action based on the Governance document. The institution may be invited to join a funnel project.

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  14. What happens if our institution's contributions doe not meet PCC SACO quality standards?
    SACO participants shall maintain record contributions in accordance with rules and policies outlined in program documentation. If it becomes apparent that quality is not being maintained, the Secretariat notifies the PCC Steering Committee. If appropriate, the Committee will ask the Secretariat to initiate a six month review of the member institution's contributions. The institution is notified prior to the review. If the desired improvement is not realized, the institution will be notified that its SACO membership has been concluded.

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  15. Are there any SACO funnel projects?
    Currently there are five SACO Funnel projects, the African American Subject Funnel Project, the Africana Subject Funnel project, the Hawaii/Pacific Subject Authority Funnel Project, the Judaica Subject Funnel Project, and the Virginia Subject Funnel Project. The Funnel FAQ provides information on forming a new funnel and on joining an existing funnel. This link is also available from the SACO Homepage. For more information on SACO funnels contact the SACO Program.

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