Online Newsletter of the Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress

Volume 2, no. 5, ISSN 1066-8829, July 1994


Arabic Swat Team
Hungarian Swat Team
CCC/CPSO Task Group on the 670 Field in Name and Series Authority Records
CONSER Policy Committee Meeting
Record for Core Business Serials Enriched
Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee
Michael Gorman and AACR 3
Cataloging Tools Recently Issued


The success of the Cataloging Directorate's Swat Team last year served as an inspiration for the organizing of the Arabic Swat Team. Combined with the Middle East/North Africa Team's previous experience in the use of collection level cataloging, the swat approach seemed to be a reasonable solution to reduction of one of the largest cataloging arrearages.

Beginning with presentations on collection level cataloging, the Middle East/North Africa Team began removing materials from the arrearage. Materials were sorted into general categories such as literature, history, or Islamics. Materials were then searched for editions and duplicates, and specialized categories such as ephemera concerning the Gulf War, or modern plays from Egypt were created.

While collection level cataloging is the preferred treatment in this project, materials that do not fit easily into established categories are processed either as MLC (minimal level cataloging) or as full level cataloging, depending on the research value of the items. Since the beginning of the projet in April, the team has created 143 collection-level records, accounting for more than 2,500 items in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Georgian.


On April 18, 1994, a team of 3 descriptive catalogers, 1 serials cataloger, 1 subject cataloger, and 1 technician embarked on a 3 month project to eliminate the ca. 3,000 volume Hungarian language arrearage. Pooling their language and cataloging expertise, they were able to determine quickly the level of treatment appropriate for each item and then process it expeditiously.

Some very valuable research items surfaced and are now under full bibliographic control. These include historical source materials (e.g., a facsimile edition, with notes, of the 1506 Winkler Kodex), seminal works on the transition from communism to democracy in Hungary, studies on formerly taboo subjects (e.g., a history of the effort by Charles IV, the last Hapsburg king, to regain the Hungarian throne), and significant works of literature by Hungarians living in Hungary and abroad.

Less valuable and ephemeral materials were also encountered and given an appropriate level of treatment. For example, the works of lesser known poets received collection level treatment, while art catalogs less than 50 pages in length were transferred to the National Gallery of Art.

Progress was slowed somewhat by equipment difficulties and by the fact that the arrearage contained many problem books that were set aside over the years because no one quite knew what to do with them. At the end of the project (July 7), the team had eliminated the arrearage, having processed 2,712 items in the twelve-week period.


The Cooperative Cataloging Council established the Task Group on the 670 Field in Name and Series Authority Records as a response to the identification of the 670 field as needlessly complex during surveys conducted by the council's Task Group on Authorities.

The charge of the task group was as follows: "The Library of Congress should publicize the recent simplifications adopted regarding the 670 field (source found citation) in name and series authority records. Prior to the 1994 ALA Annual Conference, the task group will prepare a document identifying the minimal elements for the 670 field, proposing further simplifications if possible, listing various uses of this field by general and special interest groups, and exploring the use of automation to generate this field from bibliographic records."

The task group distributed information, through publications and listservs, about the 1993 simplifications for the 670 field and summarized various ways libraries are using automation to create heading lists/records.

The group characterized the 670 field as a footnote, substantiating the established form of name or title in the 1XX field. A 1XX heading does not exist in a vacuum; it exists within the context identified by the 670 field for the source used to authorize the preferred form chosen. The presence of this source information confirms authority work and is a distinguishing feature of an authority file as opposed to a headings list; the latter cannot be used by itself because not enough information is present.

The task group documented the varied uses of the 670 field by general and special interest groups and enumerated seven functions of this field, ranging from supplying information in support of the choice and form of heading to supporting machine manipulation based on algorithms using information in 670 fields. Use of this field by the British Library and the National Library of Canada was examined.

After considering the comments received on these topics, the task group made two recommendations:

1) A 670 field for the work being cataloged should be included in name and series authority records, especially if those records are going to reside in a shared database. Other 670 fields could be added as needed or desired by users of those authority records.

2) The minimal elements of such a 670 field in a name authority record in a shared database would be the title and publication date of the work being cataloged, recorded in subfield a. The publication date is important for identifying the time period of the person or corporate body, especially in a large file. If the title is so generic it could not be identified by only title, main entry would also be given. Information in subfield b (location of name or title, usage, data about author, etc.) could be given according to each library's own policy or as the complexity of a situation calls for such information.

Suggestions for possible simplifications of the 670 field in name authority records were listed for consideration by Library of Congress and NACO participants; the Cataloging Policy and Support Office will distribute revisions of the 670 section of the Descriptive Cataloging Manual "yellow pages" for comment. No suggestions for series authority record 670 simplifications were made since the CCC Series Authority Record Task Group is reviewing all fields in series authority records.

The full text of the report will be available on LC MARVEL.


The CONSER Policy Committee met at the Library of Congress, May 5-6 and discussed the following:

The CONSER Core Elements Task Force presented a proposed core record that would be similar to that proposed by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. Members expressed a desire to define two levels of records (minimal and core) and to define one set of descriptive elements that would be used for both levels. Classification would not be required at either level. Once the core record is fully defined, it will be documented in a future update to the CONSER Editing Guide.

In subsequent discussions during the CONSER-at-Large meeting at ALA, members agreed to postpone a decision on defining a core record until after the CONSER Operations meeting in November. A revised proposal will be submitted to the Coopcat and Serialst in October.

CONSER has been conducting an experiment to allow non-CONSER institutions to help maintain CONSER records by updating records to reflect title changes and cessations. The University of Kentucky, the University of California at San Diego, and Vanderbilt University are currently participating. Three more institutions are expected to join, and a final report will be issued for consideration at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

CONSER policy representatives expressed a desire to work jointly with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging in solving problems of mutual interest, such as batchloading records, simplifying the name authority process, and defining authentication codes.

CONSER members also agreed to review and redefine membership levels to enable broader participation and to establish a new task force to assess CONSER's role vis-a-vis electronic serials. Linda West, Associate Librarian for Collections and Cataloging of Harvard College, was elected chair of the Policy Committee to serve a term beginning in 1995.

More details on these topics are available in the second issue of CONSERline, which was issued in June and is available on LC MARVEL.


Ninety CONSER serial records for core business publications have been enriched by the addition of descriptive annotations. The annotations can be found in MARC field 520 and were added as part of the Library's Bibiliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (BEAT) Table of Contents Project.

Earlier, monograph records for titles comprising The Entrepreneur's Reference Guide to Small Business Information were enriched by the addition of table of contents information. For the serials covered by the guide, annotations prepared by the Business and Economics Team of the Social Sciences Cataloging Division provide a summary of the serial as a whole. Prior to being input to the CONSER records, these annotations were only available on records in an internal LC file. As new serials are added to the guide, corresponding serial records will be updated with appropriate annotations.

BEAT projects are supported by the Library's Business Research Center and funded by the Lowe Foundation.


On May 11-13, members of the Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) held their one hundred fourth meeting at the Library of Congress. In this, the key meeting in the cycle between Dewey Decimal Classification editions 20 (1989) and 21 (to be published in mid-1996), the committee considered the intellectual content of all remaining schedules and tables not yet approved for DDC 21.

In addition to approving a number of "routine revision" exhibits produced by the Dewey editorial team, EPC took positive action on several parts of the classification which have been under internal and external review for many years. Extensive revisions of 370 (Education), 296 (Judaism), and 297 (Islam) were approved.

By far the most significant approval was that given to the 560-590 (Life sciences) complete revision. After gestating for over twenty years, during which philosophical differences about the nature of a modern classification of biology and its literature could not be satisfactorily resolved, an all-out effort during the past year, which included intense cooperation between Gregory New of the Decimal Classification Division and Ross Trotter of the British Library, produced a sequence of exhibits with an edifying didactic apparatus that EPC found persuasive. The underlying reversal of principle upon which the revision turns is the preference of process over organism (i.e., physiology of the cat is to be classed under physiology, not cat).

At its next meeting (to be held in April 1995), the Editorial Policy Committee will consider Edition 21's index and its introductory apparatus.


Michael Gorman, dean of Library Services, California State University at Fresno, addressed Library of Congress staff on May 24, 1994. The program was sponsored jointly by the LC Cataloging Forum and the Cataloging Directorate. The title of his speech was "Why We Don't Need an AACR3."

Mr. Gorman praised LC's attempts to promote copy cataloging, stating that the best way for libraries to save money during budgetary constraints is to share resources. On the subject of an AACR 3, he asserted that rather than develop a new code, we must examine and revise AACR 2 to provide more uniformity in cataloging. He believes that there are presently too many rules, particularly in areas that apply to music.

The former reference librarian who was the first editor of AACR 2 called for an end to the "medieval, fate-driven system" of creating rule interpretations. He proposed that a separate manual be created to complement AACR 2 and recommended that the rules be "pruned" to provide special guidelines that will cover all areas of cataloging. Gorman called for new and revised chapters of part one of AACR 2 to accommodate electronic media. He also proposed that additional examples of ways to apply rules be included in the code revisions.


Cataloging Service Bulletin, no. 64, Spring 1994
Free-Floating Subdivisions, 6th ed., 1994
LC Classification: Additions and Changes, List 253, January-March 1994
Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, 1994, update no. 1
Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, 1994, update no. 2
Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings, 1994, update no. 1
USMARC Code List for Geographic Areas, 1994
USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data, 1994

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