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Medical ECIP Processing Changes from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress (LC) will stop assigning Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to clinical medicine titles not added to the Library of Congress’ permanent collection on a six month trial basis effective July 1, 2011. The trial will last through December 31, 2011. The National Library of Medicine will continue to provide subject headings from the MeSH vocabulary and NLM classification numbers for these titles.

Specifically, the Library of Congress will cease assignment of LCC and LCSH to medical ECIP (Electronic Cataloging in Publication) titles cataloged by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the ECIP pre-publication stage. Library of Congress staff will continue to fully catalog medical titles received through the CIP Program post-publication that are selected for the LC permanent collections, regardless of whether they received pre-publication cataloging by the National Library of Medicine.

LC’s collection policy is highly selective in the area of clinical medicine. In FY 2010, LC assigned subject headings and class numbers to 2262 medical titles not kept by LC for its collections. The principal selection officer at the Library of Congress estimates that 60 – 70 % of the medical titles processed by the National Library of Medicine at the ECIP stage were not added to the LC collections. The Library of Congress’ one expert cataloger of medical titles retired in December 2010. While we would like to continue to provide LCC and LCSH for medical ECIPs processed by NLM, we find ourselves in the situation where we must reduce workload in areas that do not directly support LC’s permanent collections. Most of the clinical medicine titles sent to the Library of Congress through the Cataloging in Publication Program are eventually transferred to the National Library of Medicine. The net result of this proposal would be that neither LCC nor LCSH assignments would be provided in NLM CIP records or printed in their corresponding CIP text blocks. Library of Congress staff will continue to assign Dewey Decimal classification number to clinical medicine titles.

We have queried the Cataloging in Publication Advisory Group, the ALCTS Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Group, and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) about this proposed change. These groups have representation from publishers, vendors, medical libraries, and library systems that include medical libraries. While some concerns were raised by members of the CIP Advisory Group and the ALCTS Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Group, in general there was support for the Library of Congress discontinuing this service.

While we realize that implementation of this change will result in a transfer of work to medical libraries that catalog clinical medicine titles with LCC and LCSH, the Library of Congress has recently enhanced Classification Web to assist those libraries that wish to continue to add LCC and LCSH to clinical medicine titles. Included in the Classification Web enhancement package that was sent out on February 19, 2011 is an expansion of the existing correlations feature, which allows users to run correlations between Library of Congress classification numbers and Library of Congress Subject Headings and National Library of Medicine classification numbers. This assists staffs that assign LC class numbers to bibliographic records that only contain NLM class numbers, which is often the case for clinical medicine ECIPs. While correlations are not intended to provide authoritative, one-to-one matches, and are only as good as the bibliographic records that the data is run against, they do serve as an efficient guide to class number assignment, as evidenced by the popularity of the long-existing feature of LC class-Dewey class correlation. Library of Congress classification number assignment will also assist staff in assigning Library of Congress subject headings.

We are interested in hearing from our constituencies about how this change affects their work. Please send comments directly to Karl Debus-López, Acting Chief, U.S. and Publisher Liaison Division at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Karl E. Debus-López
Acting Chief, U.S. and Publisher Liaison Division
Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate
Library of Congress

Beacher Wiggins
Director, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate
Library of Congress