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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 9, January 1997

No. 9, January 1997


Brian Schottlaender Becomes Chair of CONSER Policy Committee

Brian SchottlaenderBrian Schottlaender, Associate University Librarian for Collections & Technical Services at UCLA, is the new Chair of the CONSER Policy Committee, after serving a year as Chair-Elect. As Policy Committee Chair, Schottlaender will also chair the CONSER Executive Committee.

Schottlaender, who has held successively more responsible positions at UCLA since 1984, assumed his current responsibilities in 1993. Prior to joining the UCLA staff, he worked at Indiana University and the University of Arizona. Schottlaender holds an MLS degree from Indiana University and a BA degree in German from the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the CONSER Policy Committee since 1989, Schottlaender also serves as the Interim Chair of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. Under his leadership, CONSER and the PCC are now working toward a gradual consolidation.

Greetings from the Chair

Greetings! I am very pleased to be assuming the chair of the CONSER Policy Committee at this exciting point in CONSER's evolution. First, I want to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Sue Phillips, for all her good work during the past two years; I shall do my best to live up to her standard, and that of her predecessors, and shall look forward to her good counsel during my own tenure. Second, I'd like to update you all briefly on the status of CONSER's planned consolidation with the PCC.

As was described in CONSERLine No. 8, the CONSER Executive Committee decided at its May 1996 meeting with members of the PCC Executive Council to pursue possibilities for consolidation with the PCC. Between May and November 1996, both the CONSER Policy Committee and the PCC Executive Council discussed electronically how such a consolidation might take shape. With these discussions as background, both groups came together in Washington, D.C. in November 1996 to discuss the possibilities further. The groups confirmed reasons why consolidation makes sense at this juncture, including:

  • Creating a more unified voice to speak for the cataloging community
  • Wedding the strengths of the two programs
  • Eliminating duplication between the two programs
  • Speeding decision-making
  • Broadening constituencies
  • Allowing for issues of shared concern to be addressed more effectively

We agreed, further, that the basic organizational elements of the consolidated program should include a single, representative Policy Committee and, as a subset thereof, Steering Committee; separate BIBCO and CONSER Operations Committees; and Standing Committees on Automation, Standards, and Training. We also agreed that the consolidated program would benefit from a strategic plan that combined the essential elements of the individual program's plans, and from careful deliberation about how best to optimize advisory relationships between the program and various interested constituencies. Finally, we agreed that high priority needs to be given to ensuring the financial health of the consolidated program.

Since November, a small working group--chaired by myself, and including John Byrum and Jean Hirons from LC, PCC's Colleen Hyslop and Jennifer Bowen, and CONSER's Carol Fleishauer and Sally Sinn--has been working to carry the consolidation initiative forward. We are pursuing this effort on three fronts: governance, strategic plan, and advisory relationships. We expect to have progress to report at ALA Midwinter and, after that, in CONSERLine.

Waiting in the wings to contribute to the consolidation effort are two additional work groups. One, chaired by Duane Arenales, and including Martha Hruska, OCLC's Liz Bishoff, and RLG's Karen Smith-Yoshimura, will focus its attention on funding. The other, chaired by Ann Dellaporta, and including Jean Hirons and PCC Standing Committee Chairs Mike Kaplan, Willy Kessler, and Joan Swanekamp, will focus on the roles of the Standing Committees and their relationship to the consolidated program's two Operations Committees.

All of the activities I've just described are what convince me that CONSER finds itself at an exciting evolutionary point, as it did ten years ago. I look forward to our carrying our leadership position within the serials community forward into a broader arena who's goals are so very similar to our own: namely, the proliferation of quality bibliographic control to a wide variety of library materials as effectively and efficiently as possible.

--Brian Schottlaender, University of California, Los Angeles

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Hirons and Graham Invited to Present Paper at International Conference on AACR

Jean Hirons, Acting CONSER Coordinator at LC, and Crystal Graham, Head of Digital Information and Serials Cataloging at the University of California, San Diego, have been invited to present a paper on "Issues Related to Seriality" at the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR, to be held at the University of Toronto October 23-25, 1997. The paper is one of nine that will be presented by cataloging experts from the Anglo-American cataloging community and is the only one that focuses exclusively on serials. The purpose of the conference is to examine the underlying principles of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules to determine whether these principles are still appropriate and will continue to meet our needs in the future.

A major focus of the paper will be the changes in serials in the electronic environment and how these new manifestations can be accommodated in the rules and in our catalogs. The paper will also look at some of the underlying principles of AACR that haven't worked well for serials and will suggest possible changes in the structure of the code.

In anticipation of such a conference, CONSER set up the AACR Review Task Force in June 1995, which is currently chaired by Sara Shatford Layne (UCLA). The Task Force, of which both Hirons and Graham are members, has been considering cataloging problems such as those posed by title changes and electronic media, and developing a principled approach to identifying changes in the cataloging rules that would alleviate these problems. In particular, the Task Force has been exploring the concepts of seriality and the serial work. The Task Force will meet during the American Library Association's midwinter conference in Washington, D.C. and will devote a full day to working on the ideas to be expressed in the conference paper.

-- Sara Shatford Layne, University of California, Los Angeles

CONSER's Guidelines for Online Versions

In August 1996, CONSER announced its interim practice for handling online versions of serials that are also issued in print or other formats. The guidelines have since been incorporated into the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) in Update 5 (fall 1996) and the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) in Update 5-6 (fall 1996).

The guidelines were developed to address the need to accommodate the growing number of serials "going online." Briefly, the guidelines allow CONSER institutions two options: 1) to create a separate record for the online version, or 2) to note the presence of the online version in the record for the paper without creating a separate record. Field 856, the electronic address, which can be used to "hot-link" to the online journal, will be added to records for both the online and paper versions to accommodate others wishing a one-record approach.

In setting the guidelines, CONSER recognizes that this is not the ideal or necessarily a final solution. However, it does seem to be meeting our current needs in many cases. A number of institutions are using the one-record option, including the University of Texas at Austin, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and the University of California at San Diego, which is using it's new status as a CONSER Enhance member to add the 856 field and other related data to print records. According to Tad Downing, Chief of GPO's Cataloging Branch,

"CONSER's option to use records for the original physical format to also represent electronic versions makes it possible to commit our limited resources for full level serials cataloging of many electronic titles. By using this option we can provide information about and electronic access to an increasingly important segment of serials publishing without creating cataloging backlogs that would otherwise result from production of separate records for electronic versions."

CONSER members will review how the guidelines are working and the categories of serials to which they are being applied at a meeting during the ALA Mid-Winter Conference, to be held in Washington mid-February. It is hoped that criteria for applying the one-record option can eventually be developed once we've had sufficient time to try it out. The Library of Congress' Cataloging Policy and Support Office is also reviewing LC's policies and how similar guidelines will be applied internally. Expect to see more on this topic during the coming months.

In addition to their inclusion in the paper updates to the CEG and CCM, as noted above, the guidelines (PDF, 303 KB) are also available online via the CONSER homepage under the category of "Serials Cataloging Issues". (The address for the homepage is: For a more in-depth review of how the guidelines were developed, look for the article "One Record or Two?: The Online Discussion and the CONSER Interim Approach" by Jean Hirons, to be included in the second issue of the new Journal of Internet Cataloging (published by Haworth Press).

-- Jean Hirons, Library of Congress

CONSER Welcomes Its First CONSER Enhance Members

Three participants in the former CONSER Maintenance Project (see CONSERline no. 4) have become official CONSER members at the newly-defined CONSER Enhance membership level. They are Vanderbilt University, the University of Buffalo Health Sciences Library, and the University of California, San Diego. They join the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Libraries, which began at a different level, prior to the formation of CONSER Enhance.

As explained in CONSERline no. 8, CONSER Enhance members work initially in a mentoring environment with a CONSER member, then are given the ability to make changes or add information that will maintain and/or enrich the CONSER database. Because three of the four new members had worked for several years as part of the Maintenance Project, they were given their independence once the new level was approved. But most plan to maintain a close working relationship with their CONSER mentor.

While CONSER Enhance membership is institutional, certain individuals at each institution have been the key players. Ann Ercelawn at Vanderbilt has been working with John Riemer of the University of Georgia. Ann and John have both been instrumental in the formation of the new level, providing advice and comments on procedures. Ann reports "we are delighted to be able to contribute to the currency of the CONSER database in a way that meshes quite well with our workflow." John was also instrumental in writing a number of the procedures and continues his interest in CONSER training as the newly-appointed CONSER representative to the PCC Standing Committee on Training.

Cindy Hepfer at SUNY Buffalo Health Sciences Library is maintaining health-science and biomedical records and adding medical-specific data. She has been working with Marianne Kasica at the University of Pittsburgh. When asked about her reason for participating, Cindy reported "I consider every effort that keeps the CONSER records up-to-date and as accurate as possible to be extremely worthwhile. I have always taken the time to report any incorrect information or duplicate records I find to OCLC, even before I began handling the serials cataloging for my library. I think that accurate shared records are something worth my time and effort."

Mary Piper at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Libraries is also working with medical records to enrich them with MeSH subject headings. Her work is part of a retrospective project and participation may be limited to the duration of the project. She has been working with Winnie Kao at the National Library of Medicine.

Crystal Graham, UC San Diego, joined CONSER Enhance in order to maintain records for electronic serials and to add to print records the URLs (uniform resource locations) of their electronic counterparts (see article below). Crystal believes that "expansion of the program to other qualified libraries should have the net effect of decreasing our workload through cooperative effort." Ron Watson, UCLA, served as the mentor for UC, San Diego.

CONSER Specialist Bill Anderson was instrumental in the original Maintenance Project and will be developing further documentation for CONSER Enhance members and their mentors during the coming year. For more information on CONSER Enhance, contact Jean Hirons by email at: [email protected] or by phone (202) 707-5947.

-- Jean Hirons, Library of Congress

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UC San Diego Uses New CONSER Guidelines to Enhance CONSER Records

The University of California, San Diego is on the forefront of technology. The Library is committed to integrating records for Internet resources into the online catalog. We were one of the first to implement the Innovative Interfaces web-based catalog which features "clickable" hypertext links from catalog records to Internet web sites. The Library uses this capability to link to electronic journals, web sites selected by our bibliographers, finding aids for archival materials, and sites on the campus information service.

The prospect of cataloging scholarly resources on the Internet is exciting but overwhelming. We know that it is feasible only if we share catalog records the same way we share records for serials in traditional formats. Through the CONSER Program and our new status as a CONSER Enhance member, our efforts to add electronic versions information to serial records can be used by other libraries and we, in turn, can benefit from their contributions. A special contribution USCD can make is the updating of URLs. We have developed a verification system to check our URL links using an automated program. Defective links are then researched by a staff member to determine if the link contains an error, if the site has moved, or if it has disappeared from the Internet. This time-consuming effort need not be repeated in other libraries now that we can correct the records through CONSER Enhance.

-- Crystal Graham, University of California, San Diego

Conference's Task Force Completes LCRI

In the last issue of CONSERline I reported on the formation and methodology of the CONSER Task Force on the Cataloging of Conference Publications. Since that time, the Task Force has completed the major task of revising LC Rule Interpretation 12.0A which governs the cataloging of these publications as monographs or serials. The revised LCRI will be included in the next update from the Cataloging Distribution Service and should be available late spring. This article will focus on the new LCRI and its significance.

The goals for revising were to improve the cataloging process by making it more rational and cost-effective and to improve access to conference publications by treating those publications that have important issue-specific information as monographs.

The resulting revision changes the criteria for monograph or serial cataloging treatment in several significant ways. Under the old version, catalogers had to wait for evidence from "several" issues that the conference's name and the title of the publication were likely to remain stable. This meant that in almost all cases, conference publications were initially cataloged as monographs. At LC and other institutions, once "several" issues had been received and no changes were in evidence, monograph catalogers would forward the later issues and the entire run would be recataloged as a serial. This recataloging was costly and time-consuming and was the major impetus for revising the RI.

Under the new guidelines, a conference publication can be treated serially from the first issue as long as the event exhibits evidence of being ongoing. However, if the publication bears a title that is unique to that issue on the chief source and/or is part of a numbered monographic series, each issue will be cataloged as a monograph to provide the necessary title and series access. The anticipated effect of these provisions is that it will be easier to make the initial monograph/serial decision, that there will be less need for publications to be forwarded to other divisions (at LC at least) for decisions, and that more conference publications will be cataloged as monographs.

Earlier versions of the LCRI called for a "wait and see" approach to serials treatment because conference names and publication titles are apt to change. The LCRI began by specifying three issues, which later changed to "several," but catalogers were never quite sure what "several" meant. And there was no assurance that once several issues had been received and cataloged as monographs and the title was then recataloged to a serial that a change would not appear on the next issue!

The new LCRI discourages automatic changes of treatment but does allow catalogers to change the treatment when it seems necessary. Since stability of the name and title is no longer a criterion, there will be cases where a conference publication cataloged initially as a serial exhibits extreme instability and is better done as a monograph. The revised version of the LCRI discourages re-cataloging issues that have already been cataloged. Instead, notes will be used to explain former practice. An institution may wish to reclassify the issues to keep them together on the shelf but does not need to redescribe them.

One of the things the Task Force realized in revising the LCRI was that it is not possible to write a set of guidelines that will work for every institution and we recognize that some will choose not to follow these. If an institution wishes to catalog all conference publications monographically it may do so. However, all newly-authenticated CONSER records must be created in conformance with the LCRI.

Once the LCRI was completed, the Task Force reassessed it's remaining tasks and decided that it would be best to wait and form a new group under the auspices of the PCC Standing Committee on Standards. Since conference publications so obviously cross the line between monographs and serials this should no longer be seen as a "CONSER" but as a "PCC" issue.

-- Mechael Gago, Indiana University

LC's Core Cataloging Project for Serial Publications

The CONSER Program established the core-level record for serial publications in late 1994. Following the core standard for monographs ratified by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) describes the core-level as a cataloging level between full and minimal that includes essential bibliographic elements for serials. The core record also takes a new approach to record requirements by relying on cataloger judgment in a number of areas. Core records are currently identified in OCLC by the presence of the word "core" in field 039, or by the presence of encoding level "4" in distributed records, such as those found in RLIN.

The CEG identifies a number of fields as optional at the core-level including fields 041, 043, 300, and 310. LC does not plan to include these fields in its core records for serials, with the exception of the current publication frequency (field 310). Classification is not required in CONSER records, but LC core records will include the LC call number (field 050) and the Dewey Decimal call number (field 082).

Core-level requirements for several areas of the serial record are explained in general terms in the CEG. Notes, added entries, and subject headings are to be included in the core record if considered essential for record identification or access, depending on the cataloger's judgment. Project staff met with reference librarians from LC's Current Periodicals and Newspapers Reading Room to determine which elements are to be considered essential. They reached a number of conclusions:
  • Variant titles and title added entries will only be included if they are considered essential for record access.
  • Personal names and corporate body added entries will only be included if they are necessary for access.
  • Fewer notes will be included, particularly the numbering peculiarities note (field 515) and the linking entry complexity note (field 580).
  • Subject headings will reflect a broader treatment as the cataloger focuses on the principal subject coverage of the serial.
  • Fewer linking entry fields will be recorded for related titles, except for those identified in fields 780 and 785 for preceding and succeeding entries.

LC's Serial Record Division (SRD), in consultation with selection officers, identified several groups of serials for core-level cataloging: travel guides, car repair manuals, and administrative reports. Genealogical titles are also selected on a case-by-case basis. (SRD core catalogers will assist in identifying other serials suitable for core-level cataloging.) In May 1996, the serial core cataloging project was set-up to process these publications at the core level. The project is functioning under the whole serials cataloging effort with descriptive and subject cataloging completed in SRD. Project records were first input in August 1996, following CONSER requirements.

The project is ongoing in 1997 with plans for an evaluation during the fall.

For information on the development of the CONSER core record, see CONSERLine No. 4. The core record requirements can be accessed online via the CONSER home page (

-- Bill Anderson, Library of Congress

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CONSER Issues New Guidelines for Cataloging Newspapers

The next update to the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM), Update 5-6, (Fall 1996), will include a new 62 page module for the cataloging of newspapers. The "Newspapers" module is important in that it replaces the cataloging portion of the U.S. Newspaper Program (USNP) manual, Newspaper Cataloging and Union Listing Manual (NCULM), and documents USNP practice within the CONSER Program. The development of the module also followed the pattern established for Part III by being a fully cooperative effort with contributions from four CONSER and USNP members. Various fields and sections of the CONSER Editing Guide were also updated to reflect policy changes outlined below.

Cathy Sagendorf, New York State Library, and David Moore, Schenectady County Community College, drafted the main portion of the document that covers domestic U.S. titles. Sagendorf and Moore worked with the USNP's New York State Newspaper Project for many years and the module reflects the experience and knowledge they acquired from their association with the USNP. A separate section on electronic newspapers was contributed by Margaret Mering, Corinne Jacox, and Beth Jedlicka, of the Nebraska Newspaper Project. Also important were the contributions from Adriana Pilecky-Dekajlo and staff from the Center for Research Libraries, who lent their expertise in cataloging foreign newspapers and microform publications. Bill Anderson, Library of Congress, edited the module and worked out some of the more difficult discrepancies, drawing from his experience as former USNP Specialist. Staff at the University of Florida and the Virginia Newspaper Project contributed in an important way by reviewing the document and offering many helpful comments.

The principle topics discussed in the module include:

  • Guidelines for determining what constitutes a newspaper
  • Areas where the cataloging differs from other serials cataloging;
  • U.S. Newspaper Program cataloging;
  • Areas where CONSER and USNP practice differ, and;
  • Cataloging electronic newspapers.

While newspapers are serials and are technically covered by CONSER documentation, USNP has been the principal group that has addressed the cataloging of newspapers. By working on the new guidelines together and including them in the CCM, differences between USNP and CONSER practices have been reduced, making it easier for catalogers to participate in both programs.

A recurring theme throughout the module is how place names are recorded, including the uniform title (field 130), edition statement (field 250), geographic subject heading (field 651), and the hierarchical place name entry (field 752). The module requires use of the established form of the name for headings and added entries in full- and core-level records, a change in practice from the NCULM. Newspaper editions are also highlighted, including specific instructions on how to treat frequency, geographic, chronological, and language editions. Subject headings are covered as well, including policies for topical, local, and ethnic newspapers.

Several circumstances are described where USNP practice differs from standard CONSER policy, most notably USNP's use of the "master bibliographic record convention." This is the practice of describing a newspaper as if it was in its original physical format (i.e., paper), even when working with different formats or reproductions (most often microform). CONSER's practice is to separately describe microform reproductions and this process is outlined along with examples.

Electronic newspapers are treated comprehensively, including what is and is not cataloged as a serial according to the current definition. Module 33 was completed concurrently with the 1996 revision of Module 31, "Remote Access Computer File Serials." (PDF, 303 KB) Editing of the two modules was closely coordinated to include the addition of the recent CONSER guidelines on the use of print records to record online access and location information. Also included are instructions on how to handle information about online news services that are not currently treated as serial publications, and how to record online access information for material about the publication.

-- Bill Anderson, Library of Congress

CONSER Documentation Update

As noted above, updates to both the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) and CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) are now available. CEG update 5 (fall 1996) includes the guidelines for online versions, a major revision of field 856, and revised instructions on the order of notes in records for electronic serials. Update 5 is the second update for 1996.

CCM update 5/6 (fall 1996) is the only update for 1996 and is due from the printer the first week of February. It includes changes to Module 30, Direct Access Computer File Serials, a complete revision of Module 31, Remote Access Computer File Serials, and the new Module 33, Newspapers.

For information on ordering and availability or the status of your account, please contact: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, Customer Services Section/Dept. W, Washington, DC, 20541-5017; or send questions to the Internet email account ([email protected]).

Several additions and updates to CONSER's Web pages ( were recently completed. A link to CONSER's guidelines for online versions of print journals was added to the home page along with the updated version of the CONSER Cataloging Manual Module 31, "Remote Access Computer File Serials" that includes these guidelines (see "CONSER's Guidelines for Online Versions" above). The 1995/1996 CONSER Annual Report is now included for access through the home page, as well as several additional links to online catalogs, electronic journal collections, and Internet resources. The lists of CONSER members was also updated to include four new CONSER Enhance members.


Barry Baker, who has served as the policy representative from the University of Georgia since 1987, will be leaving to become Director of the Library at the University of Central Florida. Barry has been a strong supporter of CONSER and we will miss him. Ann Hope, Head of the Cataloging Department, will serve as the new policy representative.

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