LC Cataloging Newsline

Online Newsletter of the Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress

Volume 5, No. 04, ISSN 1066-8829, May 1997

C. Sumner Spalding
Library of Congress Control Number and Century Change
National Library of Scotland and University of Oxford Begin NACO Participation
Phase Two of LC-British Library Exchange of Authority Data Implemented
Series Training in Cairo and Nairobi
CONSER Documentation for Electronic Newspapers on the Web
East Asian Librarians Support Conversion to Pinyin
CAP's Revolving Fund Legislation

C. Sumner Spalding

Charles Sumner Spalding died March 8 in Baltimore from complications of pneumonia. This remarkable man was an internationally renowned authority on cataloging and an accomplished organist, composer, and band and choir director. He was also a good friend whose sense of humor, devotion to others, and ability to laugh at himself were hallmarks.

Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1912, Spalding received bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Harvard University in 1933 and 1934 and a master's degree from the School of Library Service, Columbia University, in 1940 before joining the Library of Congress as a music cataloger later that year. With the outbreak of World War II, Spalding took a leave of absence from the Library and joined the U.S. Army where he served as bandmaster of the 362nd Army Band.

After the war, Spalding returned to the Library of Congress where he served as assistant chief and chief of the Catalog Maintenance Division, chief of the Serial Record Division, chief of the Descriptive Cataloging Division, and assistant director (cataloging) (equivalent to the current position of director for cataloging), the position that he held when he retired from the Library in 1975. Upon his retirement Spalding received the Library's highest award, the Distinguished Service Award.

During his professional life, Spalding represented the Library of Congress at many national and international conferences and served on many boards and committees. The International Conference on Cataloguing Principles, Paris, 1961, at which he represented the Library, adopted an internationally accepted set of principles of choice and form of entry. These principles led to the first edition of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, for which Spalding served as general editor and for which he received the Margaret Mann Citation, the highest award in cataloging and classification offered by the American Library Association. He also represented the Library at the International Meeting of Cataloguing Experts, Copenhagen, 1969, at which the machinery was set in motion for a series of International Standard Bibliographic Descriptions. At the national level, Spalding served as the Library's representative to the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN), an interagency organization responsible for providing uniformity in geographic nomenclature and orthography throughout the federal government. At the time of his retirement he was serving as chairman of BGN.

During his retirement Spalding continued to pursue all his interests, including continuing analysis of professional cataloging matters, full participation in the musical life of several churches, and musical composition. At 81 he was granted a patent for a specialized electronic device to enhance the sound of an organ.

Library of Congress Control Number and Century Change

Current Structure of the LCCN

The Library of Congress began to print catalog cards in 1898 and began to distribute them in 1901. The Library of Congress Card Number was the number used to identify and control catalog cards. With the development of the MARC format and the first distribution of machine-readable records for book materials in the late 1960s, the name of the LCCN was changed to Library of Congress Control Number. LCCNs are used for both authority and bibliographic records and are currently structured as follows:

          Element             Length         Positions

          Alphabetic Prefix        3              00-02
          Year                     2              03-04
          Serial Number            6              05-10
          Supplement Number        1              11

The uniqueness of the LCCN is determined by the first 11 positions (positions 00-10). The Supplement Number has never been used by the Library of Congress and this position is always blank. The Supplement Number may be followed by two kinds of variable length data known as the suffix/alphabetic identifier and the revision date. Each suffix/alphabetic identifier is preceded by a slash as is the revision date. If there is no suffix/alphabetic identifier, the revision date is preceded by two slashes.

          ###95156543#        May be displayed as: 95-156543
          ###94014580#/AC/r95 May be displayed as: 94-14580/AC/r95
          ###79310919#//r86   May be displayed as: 79-310919//r86
          gm#71005810#        May be displayed as: gm71-5810
Interim Solution

With the year portion of the LCCN stated as two digits, there is no means of distinguishing numbers assigned in different centuries, e.g., 98-1, and therefore, the numbers duplicate one another. As an interim solution to this problem, the Library has taken steps to minimize the possibility that LCCNs assigned in 1898, 1998, 1900, etc., are re-assigned in the years 1998, 1999, 2000, etc. This is not a significant group of numbers for the years 1998, 1999, and 2000 because fewer than 8,000 numbers were assigned in each of the years 1898, 1899, and 1900. However, beginning in 1901, the group of numbers increases substantially.

With respect to "blocks" of serial numbers, the Library's current practice is to allocate the first 100,000 numbers in each year to the Cataloging in Publication Division (CIP). This will change slightly in 1998 and 1999 in that the first CIP numbers assigned in these years will be greater than the last Serial Number assigned in 1898 or 1899 (this approach will be followed as long as the interim solution is in place at the Library).

Long-term Solution (Restructure LCCN)

Although the interim solution could probably be managed for several years into the twenty-first century, the Library recognizes that this is not an adequate long-term solution. Therefore, the Library has decided to restructure newly assigned LCCNs such that the prefix portion will be reduced to two positions, and the year portion will be expanded to four digits (e.g., ##2000000001). There will no longer be a position defined for "supplement number," and use of the variable data elements suffix/alphabetic identifier and Revision Date will be discontinued. The new structure will be

          Element             Length         Positions

          Alphabetic Prefix        2              00-01
          Year                     4              02-05
          Serial Number            6              06-11

               ##2005256543   May be displayed as: 2005-256543
               ##2010014580   May be displayed as: 2010-14580
               gm2005005810   May be displayed as: gm2005-5810

If the Library is able to implement the new LCCN structure by the year 2000, only the relatively few numbers assigned in 1898 and 1899 would not be distinguishable from those assigned in 1998 and 1999. If the implementation occurs later, numbers assigned in 1900, 1901, etc., would not be distinguishable from those assigned in 2000, 2001, etc.

Some of the considerations in choosing this alternative are

  1. A four-digit year is unambiguous, easy to read, and easy to interpret.
  2. Previously assigned LCCNs will not be changed to the new structure. This should minimize the impact of the LCCN change for systems that use LCCNs to link records or to point to records.
Timing of the Restructuring

The Library is well aware of the impact this change will have on other systems and is, therefore, attempting to provide adequate lead-time. The Library will not implement the restructured LCCN before the year 2000. Actual implementation is contingent upon accommodation of the restructured LCCN by the Library's integrated library system, procurement of which is now actively being pursued, and upon an assessment of the impact of other "Year 2000 Changes" on the data processing environment of libraries. Since these conditions cannot be predicted at this time, it is not possible to state an exact date for implementation. However, whatever the date, the Library will ensure advance notice of at least six months.

Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions to

Cataloging Policy and Support Office
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C. 20540-4305

Email: [email protected]

National Library of Scotland and University of Oxford Begin NACO Participation

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) received NACO training in March as NACO's newest international contributor. NLS will likely concentrate on headings for Scottish authors and imprints. Records produced by catalogers at NLS, the Advocates' Library (national legal collections), and the Signet Library (legal collections serving the Writers to the Signet of Scotland) should begin appearing in the authority file soon.

The University of Oxford has begun NACO contribution. Training for catalogers at the Bodleian Library also took place in March. Representatives from the University of Cambridge, the National Library of Wales, and Trinity College, Dublin participated in part of the training to learn more about NACO and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

Phase Two of LC-British Library Exchange of Authority Data Implemented

In anticipation of phase two implementation of the Anglo-American Authority File (AAAF) at the British Library, Ann Della Porta, Cooperative Cataloging Team Leader, traveled to Boston Spa, Yorkshire, to observe planning for AAAF implementation and review documentation with BL managers. BL authority records with the "nb" prefix have already begun to appear in the authority file.

Series Training in Cairo and Nairobi

In February and March, Judith Kuhagen, series/serials specialist in the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO), traveled to LC's Cairo and Nairobi field offices to conduct series training and consult with staff. The head of cataloging in LC's Jakarta office joined the group being trained in Cairo. Thus, by the end of this training mission, the heads of cataloging in all the field offices had completed series training, either abroad or by coming to Washington for this series of classes. While in Nairobi, Kuhagen also consulted with the serials cataloger, the first field office serials cataloger to become independent.

Fourteen staff members attended the training classes in Cairo and seven in Nairobi. Consultation sessions in Cairo covered treatment decisions for specific publication categories and solutions for specific cataloging problems. In Nairobi, in addition to these topics, consultations covered related automation, acquisition, and microphotography issues; office staff from these areas participated in the sessions related to their work. The Nairobi office sponsored a special half-day workshop on choice of access points, held at the University of Nairobi for forty Nairobi area catalogers.

CONSER's Documentation for Electronic Newspapers on the Web

The CONSER Program has converted its documentation for cataloging electronic newspapers to HTML format. "Electronic Newspapers" can be directly accessed online (URL: or can be found through the CONSER home page (URL: under "Serials Cataloging Issues." "Electronic Newspapers" originally appeared in CONSER Cataloging Manual, Update 5-6, Fall 1996, as part of Module 33, "Newspapers."

East Asian Librarians Support Conversion to Pinyin

At the annual meeting of the Council on East Asian Librarians (CEAL), held March 11-14 in Chicago, it was announced that East Asian librarians had voted overwhelmingly in favor of converting from Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese to pinyin.

The vote came in response to a survey sent by CEAL's Technical Processing Committee to eighty East Asian libraries in North America to ascertain opinions about conversion to pinyin, as well as about a proposal made by the Library of Congress concerning pinyin word division. Of sixty-seven responses to the survey, fifty-six (84%) agreed that Wade-Giles romanization should be converted to pinyin, with six responses opposing the idea (9%).

The Library of Congress has long wished to convert from Wade-Giles to pinyin for the romanization of Chinese. Initially, conversion was not supported by the library community. The United States government and the United States Board of Geographic Names converted to pinyin many years ago. Now virtually all institutions as well as the scholarly community use the pinyin system to romanize Chinese. Until recently, however, conversion to pinyin has not been considered economically or technically feasible for the library community.

Last year the National Library of Australia (NLA) converted about 500,000 Chinese records from Wade-Giles to pinyin. NLA used an independent conversion software program to identify and convert the Wade-Giles data in the MARC records, and then reassemble the records. Parallel databases (containing Wade-Giles and pinyin) were created. Those files will be maintained indefinitely, to assist other libraries as they also convert to pinyin at their own pace. Early results have been highly encouraging.

In preparation for eventual conversion, the Library of Congress has proposed employing a word-division system similar to the one now being followed for Wade-Giles. Syllables would be separated from each other, except in forenames, surnames, and the names of jurisdictions. It was felt that this approach would be easy to learn and apply by all library users and would lend itself to consistent application. The CEAL survey also revealed strong support for this proposal.

Representatives from the Library met with those from the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and OCLC in February to coordinate planning for eventual conversion. Further meetings will be held between these parties and representation from CEAL to map a cooperative long-term timeline and implementation strategy. During the CEAL meetings, Karl Lo, University of California, San Diego, offered to make his pinyin conversion program widely available to those who might wish to use it. His front-end program can convert Wade-Giles romanization to pinyin, and vice versa. It distinguishes pinyin words from other words. He offered to tailor one version of the program to the needs of American library users, making it compatible with Windows 3.1 or Windows 95.

CAP'S Revolving Fund Legislation

The Library of Congress Overseas Operations Division (OvOp) is seeking authorization from Congress to continue running the Cooperative Acquisitions Program (CAP), a component of its foreign acquisitions program which acquires materials for other libraries. Since 1960, the Library has provided centralized acquisition services to locate, purchase, and distribute important and difficult-to-acquire research materials from foreign sources. The Cooperative Acquisitions Program currently has seventy-eight participating university and research libraries throughout the United States that acquire materials from sixty-six countries through the Library's six overseas field offices located in Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Pakistan. In fiscal year 1996, LC acquired 550,840 pieces of foreign library materials through CAP.

Beginning in 1983, participating libraries have been paying the costs necessary to operate CAP in addition to the cost of the materials they receive. The General Accounting Office (GAO) recently informed the Library that it may not continue to retain administrative charges from participants used to fund CAP without the express approval of Congress. LC has collected $442,986 from participants to cover their share of the program's fiscal year 1997 administrative costs. The GAO has ordered the Library to turn over those contributions from participants to the U.S. Treasury unless revolving fund legislation to continue operating CAP is approved by Congress.

For many years LC has sought congressional approval for a revolving fund to operate programs such as CAP that can be run only on a cost recovery basis. At the ALA Midwinter Meeting held this year in Washington, D.C., OvOp chief Judy McDermott emphasized the urgency of obtaining revolving fund legislation from Congress to continue operating CAP in 1998. McDermott announced that she would be immediately reducing OvOp expenditures to absorb the cost of running the program in 1997 without using money contributed by CAP participants. On March 20, Library officials testified before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration about the need for legislation to authorize a revolving fund to operate CAP beyond 1997. Soon after that, the Senate and the House Appropriations Subcommittees approved the Library's request to operate CAP through the current fiscal year using already appropriated funds from participants pending congressional approval of the revolving fund legislation.

Library officials continue to work on resolving this issue and have notified Congressional oversight members that LC will reluctantly be forced to discontinue CAP after the end of the fiscal year if the legislation is not enacted by that date. Area studies groups that have benefitted most from CAP are sending letters to Congress in support of the program. LC officials are optimistic that Congress will approve the legislation.

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).

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