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CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative

Workflow Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why add patterns to CONSER records? Isn't this local information?

    No, the publication pattern is universal to the serial, just as the bibliographic data is universal. By adding patterns to CONSER records, you can share this data and save others from doing the same intellectual work.

  2. How does my ILS affect my ability to share and use patterns in the CONSER database?

    Creating patterns can benefit your library immediately if your ILS has the capability to load them. The pattern exported to your ILS helps to expedite the set-up of the predictive check-in and the generation of the holdings statement.

    If your system cannot utilize the data, patterns entered today will help to reduce labor and increase accuracy of records during future system migration and during holdings data sharing among libraries within or across ILS. In addition, records which contain patterns will be helpful to vendors as they work to make the format functional in their systems. They give them a good group of records to test.

  3. My library is not a CONSER library. Can I participate and add patterns in CONSER records?

    Certainly. You can become a pattern contributor by contacting Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress, at Your library will be given the CONSER Enhance library status and CONSER credits. Check with your local OCLC network office on the exact amount to be credited for your pattern contribution.

  4. Can I edit existing patterns in OCLC?

    Yes, if your library is given the CONSER Enhance library status or is a CONSER library. Some pattern data are the result of data loads and may be incomplete. You can edit existing pattern data in OCLC if necessary. You can also add subsequent patterns when changes occur in the serial.

  5. How much time does it take to create a pattern in OCLC?

    This varies depending on the complexity of the pattern; however, participants report that most patterns take no more than 2-3 minutes to complete.

  6. What tools and/or shortcuts can be used to expedite the creation of patterns in OCLC?

    For new patterns, most participants use a macro developed by Robert Bremer at OCLC. The macro uses cataloging data to create the initial pattern, and participants have found it to be a great help and report that most of the resulting patterns require only minimal editing. The Bremer macro is listed as pubpat.mbk and can be downloaded from OCLC's Website at Other tools for pattern creation include cut-and-paste from library holdings records; constant data records in CatME; in-house macros.

  7. Which staff should create patterns?

    Most participating libraries currently use serials catalogers to create the patterns or to perform final review. With adequate training, some libraries have involved or are considering involving library technicians and assistants in copy cataloging, acquisitions/check-in and holdings maintenance to create patterns.

    Because a pattern change may also require a change of corresponding data in the bibliographic record, it is most efficient if staff who maintain patterns are also able to maintain the CONSER record on OCLC. Changes to serial records are limited to changes to frequency codes and notes, and fields related to the numbering.

  8. Can the creation of pattern data in OCLC fit naturally into the existing workflow?

    Certainly. The pattern data may be created at the stage of original cataloging, copy cataloging, discovery of frequency change, or maintaining holdings. Adding pattern data to OCLC will be just an extra step for catalogers or staff trained for MFHD. You may want to consider workflow changes to reduce duplicate effort though.

    A template has been designed to help you determine how pattern contributions will fit into your workflow. It is available at

    Information on possible workflows and time needed is available on the flowcharts listed at

  9. Are there any resources available for training staff to input patterns?

    The Guidelines and pattern examples available at are great sources for self-study. A one-and-a-half-day serials holdings workshop is available through the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP). See

    For those who attend ALA, there is a pattern workshop on Sunday mornings from 10:00-12:00 where you can learn more about the CONSER initiative and bring questions about pattern creation.

    Training can also be done in a small group setting in house, with different serial publication patterns shown. A two-hour training session will enable catalogers as well as inexperienced staff members to create simple and/or straightforward patterns in MFHD. Initial review of patterns added is important to reinforce the training results.

    To utilize and/or input the pattern data locally, additional training time will be needed as different ILS's meet various degrees of MFHD-compliance and have different interfaces.

  10. Because of staffing shortages, system upgrades and/or various project priorities, there is no way to accommodate the extra work, is there?

    Participants report that the extra work is not a drain. The more one does, the quicker and more efficient one becomes in creating the patterns.

  11. Why should I contribute patterns if my system cannot make use of them?

    Many libraries are participating in order to build the pattern database and in hopes that the more patterns there are in OCLC, the more that systems will be pressured to be able to use them. In addition, participation provides an opportunity to learn more about the format and its application and to participate in an important library-wide effort.

  12. My ILS has provided us with a database of patterns. Why should I contribute to the CONSER effort?

    Most systems are making patterns available for libraries that are newly implementing MARC holdings. These patterns have the benefit of being created for use in that system. However, there may be more than one pattern from which to choose for any one title, and there will not be patterns for new titles, or new changes to existing titles. CONSER's goal is to have one authoritative pattern on the shared record in OCLC that can be used by all. CONSER's effort also looks to the future and the need for standardization. The patterns that work in one system today may not work in another system in the future when your library converts to a new ILS. So, while CONSER's effort may not help significantly with your current implementation, it is a key to cooperation and successful implementations in the future.





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  April 20, 2011
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