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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 10, June 1997

No. 10, June 1997


From the Editor

Group of people wearing blue t-shirts

Attendees at the CONSER Operations Committee meeting--with t-shirts

It's been a busy spring with the CONSER Operations and NASIG meetings held in the same week, continuing work on the PCC/CONSER consolidation, and the drafting of the paper for the upcoming JSC conference. Holding the CONSER meeting in conjunction with NASIG was very successful, however, and CONSER catalogers were the envy of their NASIG colleagues as they sported their new teal and cream t-shirts with the slogan "CONSER Does it Periodically!" Now on to San Francisco.

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

CONSER welcomes Columbia University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The CONSER Program is pleased to welcome Columbia University Libraries as a full level CONSER participant and the University of North Carolina as a new CONSER Enhance participant. Full level members authenticate original and adapted cataloging, serve as mentors for CONSER Enhance institutions, and are eligible to serve on the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Policy Committee, of which CONSER will become a part on October 1st (see article below). CONSER Enhance members enrich and enhance already authenticated records. This type of membership is relatively new to the Program but particularly valuable, given the constant changes in serials.

Columbia University is one of the country's major research libraries, featuring the Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library and the Starr East Asian Library. According to Bob Wolven, Director of Bibliographic Control and Processing, "by joining CONSER, Columbia confirms the commitment to national cooperative cataloging programs reflected in our existing participation in NACO (name authorities), SACO, (subject authorities), and BIBCO (monographs). Participation in CONSER will also enhance the value of our original serials cataloging by making it available sooner and more widely." Carroll Davis, formerly a serials cataloger at the Library of Congress, will serve as the Operations Committee representative. His desire to join CONSER is expressed as follows. "Committing to CONSER responsibilities helps settle some debates about local policies and expectations. While respecting local service demands and economic realities, we have also committed to quality and productivity standards necessary to fulfill obligations to the greater cataloging community. Having CONSER behind serials cataloging at Columbia will help make some of our positions strong and clear." Columbia expects to contribute records in a wide range of subjects with specialization in business and economics, architecture, and area studies. The University is also actively collecting electronic serials.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an active NACO participant, is also adding to its PCC involvement by joining CONSER. Larry Alford, Senior Associate University Librarian, notes that "I am a strong supporter of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging and look forward to our active participation in CONSER and other components of PCC." The University specializes in the literature of the South, as well as collecting in a wide range of subjects. Frieda Rosenberg, Head of Serials Cataloging, will represent the institution at the operations level and will work with mentor Sue Fuller from the University of Texas at Austin. Enhance activities will include updating CONSER records to reflect changes, adding classification and subject elements when these are not in the records, and supplying vernacular data.

Information on CONSER membership can be found in the CONSER Editing Guide, Section A4. and on the CONSER home page ( Or contact Jean Hirons at the Library of Congress via phone (202-707-5947), fax (202-707-6333), or email ([email protected]).

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

PCC/CONSER Consolidation Update

Members of CONSER and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) have worked during the spring to finalize or further develop steps that are needed for the consolidation of the two programs. A draft version of the PCC governance document was circulated to CONSER and PCC early in May for comment and a revised draft will be approved at ALA. The strategic plans of PCC and CONSER have been combined and will form the basis for the new PCC Policy Committee's first meeting in November. With the near completion of the governance structure, a small group will now begin working on the funding aspects of the program, including credits, training, and travel expenses for meetings. The consolidation will take effect October 1st.

The PCC Policy Committee will comprise many members of the current PCC Executive Committee, but new representatives will be added in order to reflect the CONSER, BIBCO and NACO Programs. While the CONSER Operations Committee will remain the same, a new BIBCO Operations Committee will be formed and will meet for the first time in the spring of 1998, in conjunction with the CONSER Operations Committee's meeting.

LC staff from Serial Record Division and Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division have also been working together to improve statistical reporting and review the current communications structure. Thanks to LC's David Williamson, both BIBCO and CONSER members will be able to report statistics online using a form on the PCC home page. This will simplify the statistical reporting and data collecting process for program participants, OCLC, and LC staff.

In order to keep all interested apprised of developments, a separate section on PCC/CONSER consolidation issues will be added to the PCC and CONSER web sites in July. The addresses for the sites are: and

-- Brian Schottlaender (UCLA)
- Chair, CONSER Policy and PCC Executive Committees

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CONSER Operations Committee Meets at the University of Michigan

The annual meeting of the CONSER Operations Committee was held on May 28-29 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in conjunction with the 1997 North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) Conference. The decision was made to hold the CONSER meeting in Ann Arbor, rather than at the Library of Congress, because the conference was held at a CONSER institution and NASIG's theme of "Experimentation and Collaboration: Creating Serials for a New Millennium" was reflective of CONSER's recent work with electronic serials. Operations Committee members were afforded the opportunity to tour Michigan's digital projects and experience firsthand the University's use of the latest technologies in informational services.

Review of the JSC Paper & CONSER Cataloging Experiment

Jean Hirons, Acting CONSER Coordinator at LC, and Crystal Graham, Head of Digital Information and Serials Cataloging at the University of California, San Diego, will present the paper, "Issues Related to Seriality" at the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR, sponsored by the Joint Steering Committee on AACR (JSC), to be held at the University of Toronto in October. Hirons and Graham discussed two of the major aspects of the draft paper: how we might redefine the concept of "serial" to accommodate electronic publications and the ramifications of such a redefinition on the cataloging rules. Hirons discussed the gradual redefinition through the use of a model that divides the bibliographic universe into static and ongoing publications. Graham discussed basic principles that she would like to see applied to all ongoing publications and discussed the possibility of reintroducing latest entry for certain types of serials.

In order to assist Graham and Hirons in developing the best approach to serials cataloging rules, and to help catalogers break from tradition, an offline cataloging experiment was proposed. This experiment would involve cataloging as serials, publications that do not fit the current "serial" definition, including loose-leafs, databases and other electronic publications.

The final papers for the JSC conference are expected to be available on the Web early in the summer ( (external link). Hirons encouraged attendees to read all of the papers and offer their comments.

Online Versions and Electronic Serials

Committee members recommended that the "Interim Guidelines for Online Versions" (PDF, 303 KB) be kept broad, rather than trying to suggest situations when a single record approach is desirable. They also discussed whether other details might be included, such as coded 007 fields or multiple ISSN. They agreed not to include field 007 but that an ISSN assigned to the online version should be given in the 776 linking field. The primary concern is to retain the integrity of the print record.

CONSER members also discussed ways in which the coverage of an online reproduction might be given in the record and the need to change the description of electronic journals to better reflect the forms in which these publications are issued. New guidelines will be included in a revision to Module 31 of the CONSER Cataloging Manual after discussion with LC's Cataloging Policy and Support Office.

In a related issue, Bill Anderson (LC) and Graham discussed their institution's guidelines for including uniform resource locations (URLs) in field 856 in print records when the URLs are found on the printed serial at the time of cataloging. Catalogers will assess the value of the online resource, which is sometimes an online version, but often includes supplementary information. If the online information is purely promotional, the URL is not given.

CONSER Training

John Riemer, CONSER representative to the PCC Standing Committee on Training, has agreed to lead an effort to identify the main issues relating to CONSER training and develop a "CONSER training curriculum." Several Operations Committee members volunteered to work with Riemer, Hirons, and Anderson to determine what aspects of the cataloging and CONSER authentication process need to be conveyed to new CONSER members at all levels. The aim is to produce a training package that can be used by LC and other CONSER catalogers in training new CONSER participants.

A&I/ISSN Task Force

Cindy Hepfer (SUNY-Buffalo) presented several issues relating to the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and abstracting and indexing (A&I) services. One problem is that the ISSN is not always kept current in A&I services, resulting in problems for libraries using the technique known as "hooks-to-holdings," which employs the ISSN to link A&I citations to the library's holdings record. Another problem is that A&I information given in 510 fields in serial records is becoming out-of-date and there are insufficient resources to maintain the data. Numerous 510 fields sometimes lead to records that meet the maximum number of variable fields allowed by OCLC, inhibiting additional record updating. A new CONSER task force will be established to recommend future directions.

Thoughts on Combining the CONSER and NASIG Meetings

Holding the CONSER Operations Committee meeting in conjunction with NASIG offered an opportunity for more CONSER catalogers to attend NASIG--many for the first time. It also enabled attendance at the Operations meeting by CONSER Enhance participants and others from CONSER institutions who would not otherwise have had that opportunity. One first time NASIG participant, David Van Hoy (MIT), commented that he attended all of the cataloging workshops and sessions, yet found the non- cataloging specific workshops to be particularly "thought- provoking and helpful." He also noted, however, that he "missed the opportunity to meet with serials cataloging colleagues from the Library of Congress" and is looking forward to returning to Washington in 1998.

-- Bill Anderson (LC)

CONSER Members Participate in NASIG Programs

Participants from CONSER libraries contributed three presentations at the recent meeting of the North American Serials Interest Group. Les Hawkins (LC) and Steve Shadle (University of Washington) presented a workshop "Cataloging Electronic Journals" that focused on a number of the problem areas arising from the new ways in which electronic journals are being formatted. Included were problems with determining the source of title and appropriate terminology to describe the source, the fact that the "issue" is now far less distinct and may be disappearing altogether and how this affects description, and problems associated with multiple versions and electronic locations. Both sessions of the workshop were well attended and generated many questions.

Jean Hirons (LC) was the convener for a presentation "CONSER Goes Out on a Limb," which addressed CONSER's "Interim Guidelines for a Online Versions." (PDF, 303 KB) The guidelines include a single-record option that has been widely applied since the announcement of the guidelines in August 1996. Joining Hirons on the program were Jim Holmes from the University of Texas at Austin, Tad Downing from the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Linda Terhaar and Tom Burnett from the University of Michigan.

In the opening presentation, Hirons covered some of the background for the development of the guidelines, recent developments with standards that may impact on its use, and possibilities for the future. Holmes gave a whimsical reflection of the "good old days" at the University Texas when catalogers and funds were plentiful and explained the potential crisis caused by the combination of major cut backs in staffing and funds and the desire to provide access to growing numbers of online resources. Using the single-record option has enabled a much reduced cataloging staff to provide online locations for thousands of titles in a relatively brief period of time and reference librarians are happy with the results. Downing spoke on GPO's broad use of the single-record option for not only serials, but monographs as well. For GPO, the use of a single record is consistent with their policy of recording microfiche on the record for the original (in the field used to designate the depository item number). Terhaar and Burnett, both public services librarians, took participants on a "safari" of the University's online public access catalog to show the difficulties of discerning library holdings, particularly for differing physical versions. Their presentation successfully demonstrated the difficulties that patrons have in dealing with multiple records and in interpreting captions in online displays. Both agreed that, while the single-record approach is not perfect because it doesn't go far enough, it is preferable to separate records.

At the networking node on serials cataloging, Crystal Graham (UC, San Diego) and Jean Hirons took the opportunity to share with NASIG colleagues the ideas expressed in their paper "Issues Related to Seriality." Participants seemed generally in favor of including updating publications, particularly databases, within the definition of "serial."

Margaret Mering (University of Nebraska--Lincoln) and Lise Hedin (Library of Michigan), both participants in the U.S. Newspaper Program, gave a workshop "Newspapers: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" which focused on the new chapter on newspapers in the CONSER Cataloging Manual and the cataloging of electronic newspapers.

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

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Florence Hayes is retiring from her position as serials cataloger at Cornell University effective June 30. Florence, or Lolly as she is known, has served as the Operations Committee representative for many years and has been involved with CONSER since it began as the Conversion of Serials Project in the early 1970s. Florence has been an active contributor at meetings and her gracious presence will be greatly missed. However, she plans to continue with her serials cataloging by volunteering her time three mornings a week and hopefully, will stay in touch with CONSER colleagues. She looks forward to spending more time with her husband, five children and six grandchildren and traveling.

Marianne Kasica, who has served as the Operations Committee representative from the University of Pittsburgh for many years, has recently been reassigned to a reference position. We will miss Marianne but welcome Faye Leibowitz who will represent the University on the Committee.

Congratulations to CONSER Enhance participant Cindy Hepfer and USNP participant Birdie MacLennan, this year's recipients of the Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship award and Esther J. Piercy award, respectively. Hepfer, who heads the Serials and Bindery Department at the Health Sciences Library, State University of New York, Buffalo, received the award in recognition of her "distinguished leadership in the ALCTS Serials Section and in the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) where she has shaped both the administrative and programmatic direction of those organizations."She is also the editor of _Serials Review_, which under her direction has become one of the preeminent journals in the serials field. Other activities cited are her participation on the SISAC (Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee) Executive Board and her participation in CONSER Enhance.

MacLennan is the serials coordinator at the Bailey Howe Library, University of Vermont. She is being recognized "for her leadership in providing a forum for communication and discourse among the members of the serials information chain through SERIALST, a highly acclaimed online international discussion list; and for her dedication to her profession by serving two terms on the NASIG executive board and creating an electronic communication link among its members."

Both awards carry a stipend of $1,500 and will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the American Library Association during the ALCTS Membership Meeting and President's Program, June 30, at 9:30 a.m.

ISSN Directors Meet in Budapest

The National Széchényi Library in Budapest was the site of the 22nd Meeting of Directors of ISSN Centres (external link), May 27-30. Regina Reynolds, Head of the National Serials Data Program, represented the U.S. ISSN center, along with directors of other ISSN centers worldwide, including representatives from newly-established centers in Georgia and Cyprus.

One of the major decisions resulting from the meeting was a reaffirmation of the existing policy of assigning separate ISSN to serials issued in multiple physical formats. Each format, including online versions, will continue to be issued a separate ISSN. However, just as an exception to this policy has been made for reproduction microforms issued by a secondary publisher, so, too, serials which form part of retrospective digital reproduction projects, such as JSTOR, will retain the ISSN of the original serial. Although the directors recognized that for certain tasks, such as document delivery and abstracting and indexing, it is desirable to have the ISSN identify the content of a serial, in far more cases, identification of separate entities or objects for ordering, claiming, and bibliographic control is an overriding consideration.

The directors also agreed on the need to ensure that the ISSN stays viable in the electronic world by keeping abreast of work on digital identifiers such as the URN (universal resource name) and DOI (digital object identifier) and possible changes in the definition of serial which might result from the upcoming conference on AACR. Another area for future work is exploring greater compatibility between ISSN rules and those used for cataloging in various countries.

On a more concrete level, directors agreed to experiment with adding publishers address data to ISSN records and heard about the ISSN International Centre's progress in adding abstracting and indexing data to the ISSN publication of ISSN Compact, the CD-ROM of the ISSN database. The ISSN Register, a microfiche version of the database, has ceased publication. Options for providing Web access to the ISSN database, or portions of it, via subscription and other means, were also discussed.

In addition to the above discussions, directors heard presentations about the Nordic Union Catalogue of Serials (NOSP) and about CASA (Cooperative Archive of Serials and Article), a European Communities project to build a Web-based virtual European catalog of serials. The ISSN will be the key to linking the separate union catalogs contributing to the project and the ISSN International Centre is a full partner in the project's Consortium.

The next directors meeting is provisionally scheduled for fall 1998.

-- Regina Reynolds (LC)

NACO Celebrates 20th Anniversary at ALA

1997 marks the 20th anniversary of NACO, the Name Authority Cooperative Program of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). On Sunday, June 29, 1997 the PCC will holds its semi- annual participant's meeting in conjunction with the ALA annual conference in San Francisco. PCC participants are invited to attend the meeting celebrating this milestone in cooperative cataloging. The celebration is sponsored by Blackwell/North America.

Brian Schottlaender (UCLA), chair of the PCC Executive Council, will provide an update on the status of the PCC/CONSER consolidation and brief participants on the future structure and organization of the Program. In addition to reports on CONSER, BIBCO, NACO, and SACO, there will be a panel discussion on the core record. Librarians active in BIBCO will discuss their experience in applying the core record standard and their observations on the core record vis-a-vis quality, timeliness, and efficiency in their cataloging operations.

Librarians participating in the PCC as well as those interested in cooperative cataloging activities are welcome to attend the session as PCC members reflect on their accomplishments and plan for the future. The meeting will be held in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Plaza Ballroom E and will convene at 7:00 P.M.

-- Ann Della Porta (LC)

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