By GAIL FINEBERG
Library staff spelled out the benefits of cooperative cataloging for some 135 catalogers and technical services librarians attending an Asian Materials Cataloging Seminar on March 30-31 in the Mumford Room. The purpose of the session was twofold:
- To promote library membership in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), whose goal is to provide more dependable and timely cataloging in a cost-effective manner, and
- To expand the contributions of high-quality, standardized, core-level cataloging records for materials in Asian languages or related to Asian studies.
Angela Kinney, team leader of the Southeast/South Asia Team, and Philip Melzer, team leader of the Korean/Chinese Cataloging Team, both in LC's Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division (RCCD), coordinated the seminar. Another prime organizer was Ann Della Porta, head of the Cooperative Cataloging Team in RCCD.
During her welcome to 100 guests representing 92 libraries from throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Asia, plus 35 Library staffers, Ms. Kinney said: "Our intention is to promote cooperative cataloging by providing you with NACO [Name Authority Cooperative] training and an introduction to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. We also hope, through your participating in the PCC, to continue expanding the contribution of high-quality cataloging records in Asian languages."
Ms. Kinney introduced Director for Cataloging Beacher Wiggins as a "longtime advocate of cooperative cataloging" and leader of a Library decision to use core-level cataloging "as a more efficient, cost-effective method of bibliographic control that ensures appropriate access to users of LC's collections."
Said Mr. Wiggins: "We're delighted to be able to kick off the first Asian Materials Cataloging Seminar as part of our role as secretariat for the PCC. ... This is the beginning of a happy relationship and an ongoing expansion on our part."
In his welcoming remarks, John Byrum chief of the Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, noted that LC classification, Dewey classification and Anglo American Cataloging Rules "all originate from a much earlier era when collections were mostly focused on North America and Western Europe.
"These tools have evolved to broaden their scope, of course, as interest in other parts of the world has grown. ... Nevertheless, many problems remain for further attention. Today's seminar will provide a unique opportunity to pursue discussion of at least a few of these problems," Mr. Byrum said.
"Cataloging is not a pursuit in itself," he added, but serves "to enable a coherent and organized means to link our users with the materials in which they are interested. The job of providing bibliographic control to library materials in general -- and Asian materials are no exception -- is beyond the ability of any institution to satisfy by itself.
"Recognizing the need to share cataloging expertise in an era of shrinking resources has fostered this past quarter-century a renewed interest in cooperation," Mr. Byrum said.
Helen Poe, chief of the Asian Division, encouraged the visiting catalogers to tell their institutions that "cooperative cataloging is the way to get faster, better and cheaper cataloging."
Ms. Poe, a cataloger herself for 10 years and a veteran of the Library's former Overseas Operations Division, recalled the reaction of participants in the overseas Cooperative Acquisitions Program: "They said this is great, but how can we get these materials cataloged?"
Ms. Della Porta described the Program for Cooperative Cataloging as a formal coalition of libraries that have agreed to increase the availability of unique records created under mutually acceptable standards, facilitate the creation and use of these records, and provide leadership in the information community. This program consists of four component programs:
- The Name Authority Cooperative (NACO) Program, which includes 250 libraries that have contributed 1 million records to a 4-million-record file during the past 20 years. So successful is this program, Ms. Della Porta said, that NACO participants contributed more records to the file than LC did during the past two years.
- The Subject Authority Cooperative (SACO) Program, which includes more than 75 libraries that research and contribute new headings to the Library of Congress Subject Headings.
- The Cooperative Online Serials (CONSER) Program, the oldest of all the cooperative programs; CONSER members create and maintain high-quality serial records for the nation's databases.
- The Bibliographic Cooperative (BIBCO) Program, whose 27 library members last year contributed nearly 30,000 full- or core-level bibliographic records with complete authority data for all access points, both descriptive and subject. Ms. Della Porta said the Program for Cooperative Cataloging's goal is for BIBCO members to add 90,000 records each year by 2002. She said the Library of Congress copies nearly half of the BIBCO records for use in its catalogs.
According to Ms. Della Porta, Program for Cooperative Cataloging benefits include:
- Increased access to materials. Because libraries use one another's cataloging to provide access to materials they have in common, they are able to catalog more items for databases.
- More dependable cataloging. Use of a shared standard increases the reliability and predictable quality of cataloging.
- More efficient cataloging. Copy cataloging allows libraries to streamline workflows. Copied records require less review, and support staff rather than catalogers can review and process the work.
- More timely cataloging. Copy cataloging requires only a fraction of the time to produce original cataloging. The Library estimates copy cataloging is three times faster than original full cataloging.
- More cost-effective cataloging. The Library copied 51,214 full bibliographic records for monographs during an eight-year period, saving a cataloging cost of $87.05 per record.
- Problem-solving through networking. The network of catalogers creates a resource for solving tough bibliographic problems.
- Access to expert training. PCC participants have access to highly qualified trainers drawn from a pool of peer institutions, including the Library.
- Influence on cataloging policies. PCC participants have a strong, coherent voice in the review and development of national and international cataloging standards.
On March 30, Library staffers offered training in several intensive courses and answered questions of participants.
Tom Tsai, senior cataloger on the Chinese Cataloging Team, and Carolyn Sturtevant, a cooperative cataloger on the Cooperative Cataloging Team, offered Name Authority Cooperative Program training and instruction on Asian name authorities.
Lynn El-Hoshy, senior cataloging policy specialist in the Cataloging Policy and Support Office, offered training on subject analysis and classification. Kio Kanda, senior cataloger on the Japanese I Cataloging Team, trained the group in cataloging Buddhist materials.
Mr. Melzer led a discussion to answer the visitors' general questions. Discussing shelflisting matters were Helen Pritchett, senior technical adviser on the Southeast/South Asia Cataloging Team, and Cornelia Goode, technical adviser on the Cooperative Cataloging Team.
Ms. Fineberg is editor of The Gazette, the Library's staff newspaper.