The Cooperative Online Serials (CONSER) Program celebrated its 25th anniversary during the annual meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) in Washington.
CONSER began as the Conversion of Serials Project in 1973, with the aim of converting to machine-readable form 200,000 serial bibliographic records for use in union catalogs. Today, CONSER's achievements include a database of more than 825,000 records created and maintained by CONSER participants and used worldwide, two standard tools for serials cataloging -- the CONSER Editing Guide and CONSER Cataloging Manual and a diverse membership of 30 libraries and organizations. In October 1997, CONSER became the serials cataloging component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). The Library of Congress serves as the secretariat for the PCC and manages the CONSER Program.
Jean Hirons, CONSER coordinator, welcomed CONSER members and friends to a reception at the Library on June 28, during which Winston Tabb, associate librarian for Library Services, highlighted CONSER's achievements and thanked those who have participated in the program's success. Mr. Tabb noted that in addition to its contributions to serials bibliographic control, CONSER has had a major impact on the development of the PCC "in its current governance structure, in the formation of the BIBCO Operations Committee and in the many task forces and standing committees that enable broad participation at every level." "CONSER can be very proud of the foundation that it has provided," he said.
Brian Schottlaender, associate university librarian for collections development and technical services, UCLA, and chair of the PCC, noted CONSER's current involvement in the revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition, revised, and announced a new training initiative. CONSER, in honor of its 25th anniversary, is working with the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) and the ALA Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) to sponsor a continuing program of instruction for serials cataloging that will take advantage of new forms of technology, including the World Wide Web.
Mr. Schottlaender described the program as "groundbreaking" in its attempts to standardize training materials, make use of new technologies and be a cooperative endeavor among various library groups. A pilot is planned for spring 1999.
In attendance at the reception were former CONSER Coordinator Linda Bartley Button and former Serial Record Division Chiefs Joseph Price and Kimberly Dobbs, all of whom were instrumental in the development and success of CONSER over the past quarter century.
In addition to the speeches, Alex Bloss, ALCTS councilor, read an ALA resolution to congratulate CONSER, and Beverly Geer, Trinity University, presented a letter from the North American Serials Interest Group congratulating CONSER on its achievements.
The reception was sponsored by OCLC Inc., the Faxon Co., EBSCO Subscription Services, R.R. Bowker, Swets and Zeitlinger Inc. and Blackwells Information Services.
The celebration continued during the meeting of the PCC participants, held in the Mumford Room following the reception. Ms. Hirons presented a slide show highlighting CONSER's development and accomplishments. Cecilia Leathem of the University of Miami, Jennifer O'Connell of EBSCO and Mechael Gago of Indiana University spoke on the uses of CONSER records and documentation from the perspectives of a non-CONSER institution, a serial vendor and a longtime participant, respectively.
Ms. Leathem reported on the impact that CONSER has had on small and medium-size libraries, saying that the availability of high-quality records and documentation has allowed professional librarians to become better managers. Ms. O'Connell spoke on the importance of the CONSER database to EBSCO, a serials vendor, saying that it allows the company to provide accurate information about serials to its users without having to see the actual publications. Mr. Gago reflected on the benefits that Indiana has received in its 19-year association with the CONSER Program. The meeting ended with a celebratory cake.