LC Cataloging Newsline

Online Newsletter of the Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress

Volume 5, No. 02, ISSN 1066-8829, March 1997

Subject Subdivisions Simplification Progress
Report on Core-Level Cataloging
Business and Economics Online Project

Subject Subdivisions Simplification Progress

A report on the changes that have taken place in subdivision practice in the Library of Congress Subject Headings system in the five years since the Subject Subdivisions Conference took place at Airlie, Virginia, in May 1991 is now available on LC MARVEL and through the Cataloging Directorate home page, and it will be published in Cataloging Service Bulletin. Following the conference, LC addressed each of the six recommendations and made decisions regarding their implementation in consultation with the library community. LC has an ongoing commitment to improve the Library of Congress Subject Headings system and to implement those recommendations that have been determined by the library community to be worthwhile. The five-year progress report summarizes the decisions that were made and the actions that have been taken on each recommendation. Simplifying the form and application of subdivisions is an ongoing process, and changes to headings and subdivisions are regularly announced. Over 450 subdivisions have been discontinued, updated to more current forms, or replaced by existing subdivisions or phrase headings. Documentation on subdivisions and the lists of free-floating subdivisions in the new fifth edition of Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings have been improved and streamlined.

Report on Core-Level Cataloging

The Cataloging Directorate s Core Cataloging Task Group submitted its final report on the LC core-level cataloging experiment for monographs in December 1996. The experiment found that core-level cataloging resulted in a savings of time in descriptive cataloging for 51% of the items cataloged and a savings in subject cataloging for 18% of the items cataloged. For 31% of the items in the experiment, full- and core-level cataloging would have been identical. Analyses of the LC database during January and February have confirmed the efficiency of core-level cataloging and shown what data elements are most likely to appear only in full-level catalog records. Staff and supervisors who participated in the experiment generally view core-level cataloging very favorably and want to see this important new approach added to the repertoire of cataloging modes at LC.

The directorate is committed to implementing core-level cataloging for monographs after all managers and supervisors in the directorate have completed the Facilitative Leadership training now underway for all supervisors in the Library. Since Facilitative Leadership training will improve supervisors ability to manage large-scale initiatives such as core-level cataloging, Acting Director for Cataloging Beacher Wiggins has decided to postpone decisions on core-level cataloging implementation until the training is completed. The implementation plan will be issued before the ALA Annual Conference begins on June 26.

At the ALA Midwinter Meeting session of the ALCTS Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group Beacher Wiggins briefly updated the group on the status of core-level cataloging.

Business and Economics Online Project

Although the Cataloging Directorate's Bibliographic Enrichments Advisory Team (BEAT) has several projects underway, one of its current major initiatives focusing on Internet resources is the Business and Economics Online Project (BEOnline). BEOnline is a pilot project intended to serve as both a model and a catalyst for developing approaches to meet the challenges of identifying, selecting, and providing bibliographic access (as well as direct access) to electronic works that are remotely available on the World Wide Web. The success of this effort would enable Library users to enjoy improved access to Internet resources as a by- product of traditional uses of the Library's catalog and as a feature of the services it provides through the LC Web site.

A small project team has been appointed to observe methods of handling electronic resources developed by other institutions and prepare recommendations to form LC cataloging policies to cover digital materials. The BEOnline team has developed a project plan that was shared with others through Internet lists and announcements and that has met with positive and supportive response; has developed selection criteria for resources; has composed a recommendation/selection form; has developed cataloging guidelines; and has started developing a home page that will include a listing of all resources selected for the project.


The BEOnline project proposes to provide access to business and economic related resources from the Internet that are of interest to the practice or study of entrepreneurship and small business, including:

  1. general business resources utilized in a broad range of business reference;
  2. resources that provide substantial information on topics for which the Business Reference Service receives frequent questions and/or to those which are provided comprehensive referrals. In particular, such resources may include:
    1. online versions of published print monographs, journals, newspapers, and newsletters;
    2. frequently updated information on relevant topics which had previously appeared in formats difficult for the Library to collect and maintain, such as loose-leaf publications, working papers, and newsletters;
    3. documents which are in scope and only available online; and
    4. documents that are freely available to the public.

The recommendation/selection form had been composed for use in the selection process. The form is now in the process of being converted from print form to a World Wide Web form. The online form will allow the individual recommending or selecting the resource to capture or copy descriptive information (in a cut and paste method) from the resource itself while viewing the resource. The captured or copied information can then be converted through a developing TCEC (text capture electronic conversion) application into MARC fields, thereby creating a preliminary catalog record. This preliminary record may contain data regarding the subject aspects of the resource to be described, thus facilitating subject cataloging.


The project planners have also drafted a framework for cataloging the resources selected for the project. This framework will enable experimentation with various approaches to provide access to electronic resources. In this area, the project team will:

  1. test new and different levels of access
    1. core level - using the core-level standard under development, emphasize the streamlined assignment of subject and descriptive access points and greater tolerance for local practices;
    2. "guide card" level - a cataloging treatment under consideration for describing related Web sites; or
    3. listing on the BEOnline home page.
  2. experiment with noting the address of the electronic resources within the bibliographic record for a print version to which it is in some way related;
  3. consider the combination of adding a note to the print version record in addition to creating a core level record for the electronic version;
  4. experiment with trying to find and use cataloging copy from Intercat and other online catalogs.

In addition the team will experiment with automatic mechanisms to monitor and update records to take care of changing addresses (URLs).

The planning phase of the project has been concluded -- resulting in a document that will guide the activity to follow. The project team is now continuing work on developing the home page, reviewing resources to comprise the experiment, and setting up workflow and procedures to achieve the work. A final phase will follow to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the service tested and to provide recommendations for future implementations.

LC CATALOGING NEWSLINE (ISSN 1066-8829) is published irregularly by the Cataloging Directorate, Library 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: William Anderson, John Byrum, Roselyne Chang, Eugene Kinnaly, Angela Kinney, Albert Kohlmeier, John Mitchell, Susan Morris, Geraldine Ostrove, David Smith, Richard Thaxter, 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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