Online Newsletter of the Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress

Volume 2, no. 10, ISSN 1066-8829, December 15, 1994


Linda Bartley Resigns as CONSER Coordinator
CONSER Operations Committee Meeting
CONSER Documentation
NRMM Project for Serials
ISSN Directors Meet in Paris
Seminar on Cataloging Digital Documents
Comparing Cataloging Practices: LC, NLC, BL, NLA
MARC Format Alignment
Class H: Social Sciences


In November Linda Bartley, Coordinator of the CONSER Program, submitted her resignation in order to spend more time with her family and community. Linda became the second CONSER Coordinator in 1982, following Dorothy Glasby. Among her many accomplishments were the revitalization of CONSER into an ongoing, highly acclaimed program, the decentralization of the authentication process, and the expansion of membership to A&I services and subscription agencies. In recent years she was also instrumental in developing an automated serials control system for the Library.


The CONSER Operations Committee met at the Library of Congress in early November. The primary topic for the agenda was to approve a core record for serials, as proposed by the Core Elements Task Force. The group suggested several additional elements and considered various plans for implementation and documentation. The new core record will be announced in the electronic newsletter CONSERline and will be described in the first update to the 1994 edition of the CONSER Editing Guide, to be published next summer.

Other topics discussed were the cataloging of conference publications, regional participation in CONSER, and the cataloging of electronic serials. A CONSER task force, comprised of those from the monograph and serial communities, will explore new approaches to the treatment of conference publications. A new module for the CONSER Cataloging Manual on the cataloging of electronic serials is being prepared by Melissa Beck of UCLA and will be available this summer. (A fuller report will soon be available in CONSERline.)


A new edition of the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) will be available in January 1995. The new 1994 edition will be issued in two volumes and has been completely updated to incorporate changes resulting from format integration and the AACR 2 1988 amendments. Also to be issued is Update 2 to the CONSER Cataloging Manual which will include a new module on the cataloging of microform serials, as well as updated text. Both will be available from the Cataloging Distribution Service.


A joint effort, sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), to convert retrospectively over 29,000 serial records for master negative microforms in the National Register of Microform Masters and contribute them to the CONSER database began this fall. The cooperating libraries are Harvard University, New York Public Library, and Library of Congress. The records are being entered into the OCLC database by staff at OCLC Retrocon under a contract with ARL. Staff in LC's Serial Record Division are providing the quality monitoring for the project which should be complete by summer 1995.


Directors of 28 ISSN centers gathered in Paris October 18-21 for the 20th Meeting of Directors of ISSN Centers. Representatives from newly-established centers in Lithuania and Tunisia attended, as well as directors who will be opening centers in Estonia and Switzerland in 1995. Regina Reynolds, head, National Serials Data Program (NSDP), represented the United States and reported on NSDP's experience in assigning ISSN to over 150 remote-access electronic serials as well a larger number of CD-ROM serials. Reports from the centers showed a trend towards publishing national bibliographies on CD-ROM and making the bibliographies available on the Internet. Among centers with current or planned CD-ROM products are Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, and the Nordic countries, while Belgium and Italy are among the countries whose catalogs are available on the internet.

As a result of fiscal difficulties worldwide, charging for ISSN was a topic of intense discussion. The directors were strongly in favor of the ISSN remaining free, but they recognized the need for the April 1994 decision by the ISSN Network General Assembly to remove the prohibition on charging from the international ISSN standard. The ISSN International Centre will incorporate the directors' suggestions for keeping charges reasonable and for alternatives to charging for the number itself into guidelines for use by those countries that need to charge for the ISSN.

Other agenda items concerned a proposal to add publishers' addresses to ISSN records, implementation of a physical medium code in ISSN records, continued discussion of how many ISSN to assign to electronic serials in different "versions," and how to handle republication assignments when the publisher cannot be located after the expected date of publication.


Over 75 North American librarians attended a seminar on cataloging digital documents coordinated by the Library of Congress on October 12-14. The seminar, which concentrated on the emerging area of providing access to electronic texts and other media, began with a field trip to the University of Virginia, Alderman Library, which organized tours of five centers actively engaged in the creation and use of electronic data and a session on the cataloging and organization of electronic materials. Visitors saw equipment used for capturing and viewing the data and heard experts describe the philosophy of their efforts and some of the challenges they face. An important element in the provision of access to the digital materials was the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) header, a convention for embedding codified information about the digital data in the document itself.

On the second day, attendees convened at LC to hear a series of presentations by individuals representing a broad spectrum of perspectives about how librarians and others should provide access to digital materials. Speakers included Susan Hockey, Director of the Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities; Carl Fleischhauer (Library of Congress); Lynn Marko, University of Michigan Library; Joan Swanekamp, Columbia University; David Williamson (LC); Edward Gaynor, University of Virginia; Diane Vizine-Goetz, Consulting Research Scientist, OCLC; and, David Bearman, Museum and Archives Informatics.

The third day, critical issues for an action plan emerged. Because there is yet no consensus concerning how best to provide access to electronic materials, there were calls for increased communication and analysis, including an email network, a videoconference, white papers on specific topics, and possible follow-up ALCTS (Association of Library Collections and Technical Services) regional institutes. Another recommendation called for the mapping of SGML to MARC and vice versa. With changing modes of publication and distribution, the group agreed on the need to explore whether cataloging these items using MARC and traditional bibliographic description is sufficient or whether there are other methods of intellectual access that will be essential.

This seminar is one in a series of meetings LC is sponsoring on aspects of the digital library. A fuller version of this summary was published on EMEDIA, AUTOCAT, and COOPCAT. Shortly, the Cataloging Directorate will make the proceedings available through MARVEL and ftp. The World Wide Web version, which includes images, is available at http://lcweb/catdir/semdigdocs/seminar.html


The November 8 Cataloging Forum featured a talk by Ed Jones, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, comparing cataloging practices among the Library of Congress, British Library, National Library of Canada, and National Library of Australia. Jones sought evidence by which to gauge the progress of standardization of cataloging practice in the Anglo-American arena. If found, agreement among these major libraries would represent significant progress toward the goal of Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC), the achievement of cataloging compatibility worldwide.

Using a sample of about 400 records for each pair (LC-BL, LC-NLC, and LC-NLA) taken from two time-periods (1982, immediately after the adoption of AACR 2, and 1989), Jones counted the instances of identical choice and form of main entry. Specifically, he compared choice of main entry, form of personal name, corporate, and uniform title headings, and treatment of title proper. He then tried to identify the factors which produced similarities and differences of treatment over the course of the years and among the libraries studied.

Generally speaking, Jones' results show an increase in similarity of practice over the seven-year period studied, especially between the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada, which have explicit policies of cooperation regarding the form of some classes of headings. He also found many divergences of practice, some systematic (like the British Library's addition of dates to personal name headings only to break conflicts, and LC's emphasis on the assigning of collective uniform titles) and some (especially as regards choice of entry) apparently due to operations of "cataloger judgment."

The most important conclusion of Jones' research is that compatibility of practice among libraries is most likely to result from explicit cooperation.


Representatives of the British Library, the Library of Congress, and the National Library of Canada met on November 8 and 9 at the Library of Congress to discuss the future alignment of CANMARC, UKMARC, and USMARC into a common MARC format. Motivating the meeting was the prospect of the benefits the three national libraries and their constituencies would realize through the reconciliation of differences inherent in their respective formats. Chief among the advantages foreseen by the group was the potential for reducing the cost of cataloging, as the elimination of key differences would facilitate copy cataloging and record sharing. In turn, this would allow libraries to redirect the savings gained to cataloging of unique materials, thereby increasing the coverage of the world's bibliographic output. The records would be available in a more timely fashion since they would require less mediation by catalogers, and they would no longer be subject to a conversion process. By obviating the need for conversion, the three agencies would optimize their resources. The number of total conversion programs the agencies would need to write to convert from other national formats would be reduced, and the maintenance of those programs as well as the maintenance and documentation of the common MARC format would be beneficially streamlined. In addition to helping catalogers and those responsible for maintaining the format, format alignment would significantly improve other library functions. For example, by facilitating timely record sharing, alignment of the formats would assist collection developers who would have earlier and more accurate access to the bibliographic records representing recently published works. Reference librarians and other online searchers would profit from enhanced international cross-catalog searching. Libraries in general would encounter additional options for systems as vendor competition would increase by virtue of having an expanded market they could serve with a single format, rather than three variant formats. Finally, building on the successful implementation of format integration, MARC format developers would have a solid, unified foundation on which to propose augmentation.

To prepare for the meeting, the participants, who included Ross Bourne, Brian Holt, and Pat Oddy of the British Library; Ingrid Parent and Ralph Manning of the National Library of Canada; Sarah Thomas, Sally McCallum, John Byrum, Barbara Tillett, Randall Barry, Amy Southwick, and several other LC staffers, drafted papers documenting differences in the formats and variances in cataloging practices. Following a review of key issues, the group recommended several steps to resolution of outstanding concerns. One important topic was the governance of an aligned format. By the end of January, Ross Bourne, Ralph Manning, and Sally McCallum will propose options for ensuring that all parties would have adequate input to format development. The three representatives will also be part of a larger task group that will be charged with ascertaining and evaluating the essential features of CANMARC, UKMARC and USMARC, preparing a matrix indicating which of the three formats incorporates these essential elements, and recommending the path for reconciliation. The task group should complete this phase of the review by May 1995, enabling discussion of the proposed format alignment at their respective library association meetings in June 1995. Once they complete this effort, they will analyze the cost and impact of any proposed changes over the next six months, with plans for the original group from the three national libraries to reconvene in December 1995 to review findings, accept or reject recommendations, and plan an implementation schedule. Extensive consultation with each other and users of the three formats will occur through use of listservs, paper communications, and open forums.


Library of Congress Classification H: Social Sciences, 1994 edition, is now available from the Cataloging Distribution Service of the Library of Congress. This new edition, with an information cutoff date of June 14, 1994, introduces several innovations in the publication of the Library's classification schedules. Class H has been produced using a new, automated system which will make revising easier and updating more rapid.

Unlike the old 1980-81 edition, the new, 912-page edition once again unifies the entire class into one volume.

Class H, 1994 edition comes in a new, smaller 7 1/4" x 10 1/4" format with two-sided printing. This format will be used for all new editions of the classification schedules. Tables and indexes are marked with thumb tabs for easy content location. The new schedules will also have new cover designs and colors to help users quickly distinguish older schedules from the new ones.

Library of Congress Classification H: Social Sciences, 1994 edition sells for $39.00 for delivery in North America and $42.00 for delivery elsewhere. ISBN: 0-8444-0840-9. 912 Pages. Order it directly from Library of Congress, Customer Services Section, Cataloging Distribution Service/Dept EO, Washington, DC 20541-5017; Telephone 1-800-255-3666 (U.S. only) or (202) 707-6100; Fax: (202) 707-1334. TDY: (202) 707-0012. Internet: [email protected]

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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