Online Newsletter of the Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress

Volume 2, no. 7 ISSN 1066-8829 September 1994


Cataloging Directorate Tactical Plan
Harvard Cooperative Project Update
Technology and Cataloging
National Digital Library
New on LC Marvel
LC Outreach


In a series of meetings that began on July 19 with an all-day Catalog Management Team retreat at the National Agricultural Library, Cataloging Directorate staff have been drafting the directorate's operational work statement (tactical plan) for fiscal years 1995 and 1996. Although based on the substance of the tactical plan fashioned for the previous two fiscal years, several new features have emerged, including a proposed vision statement and a modified mission statement.

The directorate's vision is "to be a catalyst and participant in furthering linkages between the Library's collections, the nation, and the world." Its reformulated mission is "to provide innovative and effective bibliographic access to the Library's collections and leadership to the library and information communities."

The directorate has established four goals, each with a set of objectives and action plans, to measure progress toward fulfilling the mission and vision:

  1. Stay current with incoming materials and meet the arrearage reduction goals set forth by the directorate .
  2. Develop staff resources and implement Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action programs and initiatives.
  3. Increase the efficiency of cataloging operations in order to reduce the directorate's overall cost and improve cataloging productivity.
  4. Provide national and international leadership in the development of cataloging theory and practice and prepare for the future of cataloging.

Directorate staff are now in the process of developing the objectives and action plans that breathe life into these goals. Throughout this process, we are attempting to keep the plan relevant, simple, and measurable: a guide to the work we must accomplish in the immediate future.


The Library of Congress and Harvard University have agreed to extend their cooperative arrangement to catalog Germanic-language materials that have not yet received full processing. At the ALA Annual Conference in Miami, Jerry Wager, LC coordinator of the project, met with Michael Kaplan, Harvard coordinator, and other Harvard University staff to evaluate the success of the initial phase of the project. LC deemed it a success since it helped to process the entire backlog of 1,165 items in scope for the project, primarily through copy cataloging. Since Harvard also thought it beneficial, it was decided to expand the project to include Scandinavian-language items as well. This follow-up project includes in-process records with 92-prefix LCCNs that also have language codes for Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, and Swedish.

In August, a file of 2,708 in-process records was sent using FTP to Harvard. Of the 2,014 items that could be searched in OCLC in an automated fashion since they had ISBNs, 397 were held jointly and 1,617 were held only by LC. For the jointly-held items, LC will catalog the German hits (195) and Harvard the German "no-hits" (195); LC will catalog all the Finnish (7) and Harvard all the Scandinavian (20). LC will use the existing OCLC records to copy catalog the 863 items held only by LC.

These records, which will be redistributed, will be supported by full LC authority work, subject analysis, and classification, both LC and Dewey.


The introduction of a bibliographic workstation (BWS) at the Library of Congress is the first step in providing catalogers with a tool capable of doing more than just the creation and updating of online catalog records. While not all catalogers have a BWS, those that do are finding uses beyond the capabilities of their former "dumb" terminals. The BWS is more than an input/update terminal.

Running under the OS/2 operating system, the BWS is also connected to the Library's computer system via a token ring LAN connection. All the Library's networks are part of the Internet thus all catalogers with a BWS are direct Internet nodes capable of any Internet transaction-- Internet mail, file transfer protocol (FTP), and telnet.

Catalogers are provided with an OS/2 gopher client connected to the Library's MARVEL gopher and are therefore able to search the Internet using gopher technology to find information available on the Internet anywhere around the world. With the power of OS/2 supporting their searches (whether by gopher or direct telnet), the catalogers are able to grab any data they encounter and store them temporarily in the OS/2 clipboard for further manipulation.

The OS/2 operating system supports the REXX programming language. By invoking a REXX script (a very involved batch program perhaps comparable to an advanced BASIC program), the cataloger is able to manipulate any data grabbed from an Internet transaction and massage those data into any form required. Current experiments underway have involved searching OPACs around the world, grabbing the bibliographic data as given (a MARC display or plain text with ISBD punctuation), and converting those data into something that can be the used as the basis for an LC catalog record. This is achieved by scanning data elements for character recognition on ISBD punctuation and then creating an LC MARC record based on that punctuation with additional input from the operator.

The bibliographic workstation is being used for several experiments. One experiment involves the Electronic CIP experiment where manuscripts are submitted electronically through FTP to the Library for CIP cataloging. The manuscript is called up in the built-in OS/2 system editor and the descriptive cataloging portion of the item is done electronically by providing ISBD punctuation, highlighting the data to go in particular fields, and then telling the computer, via a REXX script, what those data represent. The computer simultaneously creates an LC MARC record based on the operator manipulation of the data. The ease and speed of this manipulation has also enabled the Library to experiment with including the table of contents in a catalog record if the cataloger feels it would provide an enhancement to the catalog record.

Efforts are also underway to convert raw MARC records into useable LC records. The Library currently catalogs its serials in OCLC. By performing an OCLC "xpo" command, the raw MARC representation of a serial record can be downloaded to a file on the BWS. Using another REXX program, that file can be scanned and converted from the OCLC MARC format into a record suitable for the Library's SERLOC (Serial Location) file, which differs significantly from the usual MARC formatting of LC records. Staff in the Social Sciences Cataloging Division performing experimental trials of the procedures have indicated savings in what would otherwise be a re-keying of the data into the SERLOC file. They have also commented on the program's ease of use, which will save time, money, and the re-keying effort.

The same is true of authority records submitted by the Library's overseas offices. Some of these offices are beginning to submit name authority records to the Library by creating the records on the PC-based cataloging package called Minaret. Minaret is capable of exporting records in raw US MARC format to a file. Currently there is no way to get records into the Library's name authority file by uploading. By reading these records in REXX on the BWS, the records can be brought up in an LC MARC format, highlighted, copied into memory, then pasted into blank name authority creation screens. Again, this saves time and money by eliminating the re-keying of the entire record that would be needed.

These are just several examples of the technological experiments underway using the BWS, OS/2, REXX, and new cataloging techniques. Several other projects are in various stages of development and new uses are being envisioned. Given the limitations of the Library's aging MUMS cataloging environment, these programs and techniques offer one solution for getting more out of the system than the system is able to provide itself.


Librarian of Congress James H. Billington addressed the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in July, discussing the Library of Congress's plans to develop a National Digital Library (NDL) that would serve as the "electronic library of the future". Dr. Billington defined the NDL as a cooperative effort among organizations around the world to provide digital access to all types of information through electronically linked services. The impact of the NDL on copyright issues and the cataloging and preservation of library materials proves to be tremendous, as institutions will be required to discover new methods to share digital collections.

The Library of Congress has assumed a leadership role in developing the NDL by forming the Digital Library Coordinating Committee. The committee has constructed a plan entitled "strategic directions towards a digital library." Part of the plan is for LC to create digital collections for existing holdings, obtain materials already in digital form, and develop new standards and automated tools for the processing of digital items. One of the major goals of the plan is to reduce substantially LC's arrearage by converting as much of its holdings as possible to electronic format.

LC has targeted the American Memory project for distribution in electronic digital form. The Library of Congress has so far digitized 210,000 items for the American Memory collection and plans to distribute more in the future. LC also provides electronic images and texts of its major exhibitions, which can be viewed by any institution with global linkage. An electronic copyright management system is being developed at LC to provide automated copyright registration, with features that include electronic deposit of works and transfer of copyright ownership.


A description of the National Union Catalog of Manuscripts Collections (NUCMC) program is now available under:

     Libraries and Publishers (Technical Services)
               Cooperative Cataloging Programs

The USMARC Standards section of LC MARVEL has recently been reorganized to make it easier to find documents. Below are the menu choices for USMARC Standards.

     Libraries and Publishers (Technical Services)
          USMARC Standards
               The USMARC Formats: Background and Principles
               MARBI Proposals and Discussion Papers
               MARBI Minutes, Status, etc.
               Keyword Index to MARBI Proposals
               USMARC Documentation
               USMARC Change Form
               USMARC List Messages

The files of proposals, discussion papers, minutes, status, and USMARC List messages all include the current and previous year. Status reports have recently been updated to reflect results of MARBI discussions from the 1994 ALA annual meeting, including the results of final LC review of MARBI decisions.


The Cataloging Directorate of the Library of Congress will again sponsor an outreach program in September. Beacher Wiggins, chief of the Arts and Sciences Cataloging Division, will coordinate the project that was initiated in 1993. The purpose of the program is to provide an opportunity for catalogers at LC to visit other libraries and exchange ideas on cataloging. One of the primary subjects to be discussed is copy cataloging.

Catalogers who participate in the program are asked to submit a written report at the conclusion of their visit and attend a de- briefing session at LC with the Cataloging Management Team. The outreach program will be offered annually through the Cataloging Directorate provided travel funds are available. Each year, different LC catalogers and host institutions will be selected to ensure that a broad scope of information is obtained.

     New York Public Library:  Jo Monaco (History and Literature
Cataloging Division), Sharon Tsai (Arts and Sciences Cataloging
Division), Jennie Whitt (Cataloging in Publication Division)

     Northwestern University:  David Williamson (Social Sciences
Cataloging Division)

     Ohio State University and OCLC:  Dick Capet (Arts and Sciences
Cataloging Division), Barbara Conaty (team leader, Central and
Eastern European Languages Team, Social Sciences Cataloging
Division), Rebecca Williams (Special Materials Cataloging Division)

     Princeton University:  Charles Fenly (acting chief, Social
Sciences Cataloging Division), Natalia Jagannathan (History and
Literature Cataloging Division), Beulah Pittman (Social Sciences
Cataloging Division), Barbara Tillett (chief, Cataloging Policy and
Support Office)

     University of California, Los Angeles:  Jonathan French
(Social Sciences Cataloging Division), Angela Kinney (History and
Literature Cataloging Division), Betty Stevens (Arts and Sciences
Cataloging Division)

     University of California, San Diego:  Lydia Hsieh (Regional
and Cooperative Cataloging Division), Nick Meier (Acquisitions
Bibliographic Support Project), Young Ki Lee (Regional and
Cooperative Cataloging Division)

LC CATALOGING NEWSLINE (ISSN 1066-8829) is published at least quarterly by the Cataloging Directorate, Collections Services, Library of Congress, and contains news of cataloging activities throughout the Library of Congress. Editorial Office: Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-4305. Editor, Robert M. Hiatt; Editorial Advisory Group: John Byrum, Roselyne Chang, Rebecca Guenther, Angela Kinney, Albert Kohlmeier, John Mitchell, Susan Morris, Geraldine Ostrove, Regina Reynolds, David Smith, Richard Thaxter, Susan Toulmin, and David Williamson. Address editorial inquiries to the editor at the above address or [email protected] (eMail), (202) 707-5831 (voice), or (202)707-6629 (fax). Listowner: David Williamson. Address subscription inquiries to the listowner at [email protected]

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Comments : [email protected] 06/19/00