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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 11, December 1997

No. 11, December 1997


From the Editor

1997 has been a year of transition and change for CONSER. Here in the Serial Record Division, my appointment as CONSER Coordinator became effective in August, Maureen Landry was named the Assistant Chief in November, and Kim Dobbs, the Division Chief, announced that he will retire on January 2. On October 1, CONSER officially became part of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging and the first Policy meeting was held subsequently in November. And in October participants at the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR supported recommendations to change the definition of "serial" and rethink some of the ways in which we catalog them. So with new personnel, a new governing structure, and the charge to craft new rules, we anticipate a full, challenging, and exciting year in 1998, the year that marks CONSER's 25th anniversary. Happy holidays and a healthy and productive new year to you all!

-- Jean Hirons (Library of Congress)

Jean Hirons Appointed CONSER Program Coordinator

Jean HironsJean Hirons was appointed the third CONSER Coordinator in August 1997 following Dorothy Glasby (1977-1981) and Linda Bartley (1981-1994). Jean first became involved with CONSER in 1978 while supervisor of serials cataloging at the Government Printing Office. In 1983 she came to the Library of Congress and joined in a partnership with Linda Bartley that resulted in many significant program developments and improvements. The two most important of these were designing vastly improved CONSER documentation and restructuring the program in 1986 following a tenth anniversary comprehensive program review and strategic planning retreat. The program coordinator serves as chair of the CONSER Operations Committee and also represents CONSER on the PCC Policy and Steering Committees as part of the program secretariat.

Jean took over the helm from Linda in late 1993 as acting Coordinator and since has guided CONSER through a very important and dynamic period which included: format integration, the core record, the emergence of electronic serials, and the PCC/CONSER consolidation. She was principal author and editor of the CONSER Cataloging Manual and the CONSER Editing Guide and has overseen the publication of updates to both. She has also worked with the CONSER AACR Review Task Force and with Crystal Graham (University of California, San Diego), co-authored the paper, "Issues Related to Seriality," for the 1997 International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR. As CONSER Coordinator, Jean also shepherds new members through the program; plans and chairs activities of the program's Operations Committee; edits CONSERline; and oversees the program's Web pages [].

Jean graduated from Marietta College (Ohio) with a BA in fine arts in 1970 and the University of Rhode Island with an MLS in 1973. She was cataloger for Southeastern Massachusetts University (now University of Massachusetts--Dartmouth) and cataloged serials at the Government Printing Office for over six years. Jean joined LC in 1983 and served for 10 years in a dual role supervising the CONSER Minimal-Level Cataloging Section and assisting Bartley with CONSER documentation and program meetings. While Jean is most recognized outside LC for her many contributions to CONSER she has also contributed much to the Serial Record Division and to LC. To mention just three, she co-authored the Serials Accessioning Manual, implemented a comprehensive program to catalog serial microforms and played a key role in our efforts to eliminate serials cataloging arrearages. In 1996, Jean's unique contributions to CONSER and to the serials community were formally recognized by her peers with the presentation of the Bowker Serials Award.

-- Kim Dobbs (Library of Congress)

Kim Dobbs Retires

Kim DobbsKimberly Dobbs, the Chief of LC's Serial Record Division, will retire on January 2, 1998. Kim is the real unsung hero of CONSER! It was Kim who, in 1984, suggested that CONSER participants be given the ability to authenticate their own records. It was under his tenure that CONSER held its important 1986 retreat in which the Conversion of Serials Project was transformed into the Cooperative Online Serials Program. It was Kim's desire to provide useful documentation to all serials catalogers and from that came the support for the CONSER Editing Guide and CONSER Cataloging Manual. It was also Kim who suggested several years ago, upon hearing of the possibility of a conference to review the cataloging rules, that serials catalogers and CONSER be represented in some way. Throughout his years in the Division, Kim has lent strong support to the Serial Record Division's participation in the Program and stressed his belief in cooperation among equal partners.

Kim is a native of Los Angeles and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He came to the Library in 1970 as a special recruit and spent nine years as the Executive Officer of the Law Library, during which time he prepared a guide to the collections that remains a valuable resource. He was hired as Assistant Chief of the Serial Record Division in 1979 and was appointed Chief in 1981. Much of his energy has been focused on the automation of LC's mammoth serials check-in files and the reduction of the Library's serials arrearages. Unfortunately, he will retire before seeing the implementation of an integrated library system (ILS) and the automated serial record, however, the Library is better prepared for an ILS due to the preparation and experience that Kim has contributed.

Those who have worked with Kim in the Library and in CONSER value his clear thinking, his ability to quickly scope out problems, his commitment to the principles of librarianship and cooperation, and his wonderful sense of humor. Linda Bartley, former CONSER Coordinator, offers high praise: "Kim made working with serials--and all attempts to tame then--FUN! His wisdom and integrity, as well as his ability to give encouragement and to be of good cheer are unsurpassed. Kim is a fine, kind person. I am proud to have been his colleague."

Kim is retiring at a young age and hopes to develop a new career that will combine his love of the principles of librarianship with the opportunities of the Internet. We will miss him and we wish him well.

-- Jean Hirons

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Maureen Landry Appointed Assistant Chief of Serial Record Division

Maureen LandryMaureen Landry, formerly Head, Serials Cataloging Section I, became the Assistant Chief of the Serial Record Division on November 9, 1997. She will rapidly assume responsibility for the daily operations of the division in anticipation of the retirement of the Chief, Kimberly Dobbs.

Maureen has had a variety of library jobs, and she looks forward to using the knowledge and skills gained from those experiences in her new position. She was a teacher until she and her husband moved to the Panama Canal Zone. Unable to get a teaching job mid-year, she volunteered at an Army Library and began her library career collating serials! She was subsequently selected for the position of Circulation Supervisor where she provided reference service half-time. It was during this time that she became interested in librarianship; and at her farewell party before moving to Washington, she quipped to her colleagues she would let them know when she got a job at the Library of Congress. Within six months she was selected for an Accessioner's position in the Processing and Reference Section at the Library of Congress!

In 1978 Maureen became a serials cataloger, was named Assistant Section Head in 1983, and Section Head in 1986. She received her MLS from Catholic University in 1980. Maureen has been a leader in developing and expanding the division's role in serials subject analysis and classification and is well known to CONSER catalogers as a strong supporter of cooperative cataloging.

Maureen acknowledges that she is assuming her position during exciting times and only wishes that she could have the benefit of Kim's experience for a bit longer. She believes that "the new integrated library system, the increasing change in serials to electronic formats, and the potential redefinition of 'serial' will pose challenges and offer opportunities for all division members." Maureen looks forward to working with division staff and CONSER colleagues to cooperatively meet these challenges.

-- Jean Hirons

JSC Conference Addresses Seriality

The long-awaited International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules) was held in Toronto October 23-25, 1997. The conference was sponsored by the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR (JSC), a group consisting of representatives from national libraries and library associations in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and the US. Participants from the Anglo-American world, as well as Germany, Russia, and Scandinavia heard presentations based on the nine papers that were posted during the summer on a Web site. The conference marked the culmination of a very active online discussion in which librarians around the world shared their thoughts on the cataloging code and its relation to today's online catalogs. Many of the speakers addressed discussion list concerns in their presentations.

Jean Hirons presented "Issues Related to Seriality," based on the paper co-authored with Crystal Graham (UC San Diego). She presented the "model for ongoing publications," discussed various options for redefining "serial," and explained the ramifications of each. An important theme was that seriality pervades all types of materials and cannot be relegated to a single chapter in AACR2, written primarily for printed serials. A second theme was the evolution of serials into electronic publications that are looking and acting quite different, while still retaining their essential functions and their status as "ongoing." Because of this evolution, Hirons and Graham suggest that we need to review and revise some of the distinctions between serials and monographs now expressed in the rules. Following the presentation, Graham joined Hirons in answering questions. The application of a new definition of "serial" to electronic resources received widespread support, but questions were raised about the impact on print resources, such as loose-leaf publications.

During a breakout session on seriality, participants from the US, Canada, Scotland, England, and Australia discussed the recommendations in the paper, including the redefinition of "serial" and ways in which to "identify" rather than "transcribe" the descriptive elements. The "seriality" group agreed that Model B in the paper, which eliminates the requirements for a designation and separate parts, should be adopted and Michael Gorman offered a new definition of serial that might read:

"A serial is a bibliographic entity in any medium that is intended to continue indefinitely. Serials can be sequential (i.e., issued in successive parts), or cumulative (as with databases and bibliographic entities that are updated such as 'loose-leaf' services)."

Conference participants were very supportive of addressing seriality issues in ways suggested by Hirons and Graham, and voted the resolving of seriality issues a top priority for immediate action. As a result, Hirons was asked to begin the process of preparing rule revision proposals for submission to the JSC via the ALA ALCTS Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. The CONSER AACR Review Task Force will coordinate the effort, including others from the US and international serials communities. The Task Force was formed several years ago when the idea of such a conference was first being discussed and has been instrumental in developing ideas for the paper and reviewing its contents. Sara Shatford Layne (UCLA), who also attended the conference, serves as chair. Hirons noted that the ability to prepare the paper in a cooperative environment with the help of so many serials experts was indeed a benefit and the overwhelming support with which it was received at the conference was a testament to the effectiveness of CONSER.

Other topics receiving strong support were the primacy of intellectual content over physical carrier, the need for an analysis of the principles and structure of the code through data modeling, and the need to clearly state the principles in the introductory chapter. Participants also expressed interest in reducing the number of specialized rules and encouraged the JSC to endorse specialist manuals, citing the CONSER Cataloging Manual as a prime candidate for such recognition.

Further information on the conference can be obtained at the Web site (external link).

-- Jean Hirons, Crystal Graham (UC San Diego),
and Sara Shatford Layne (UCLA)

PCC Policy Committee Holds its First Meeting at LC

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Policy Committee held its inaugural meeting at the Library of Congress on November 13-14, 1997. The Committee was formed from the PCC Executive Committee and the CONSER Policy Committee following the merger of the programs. Brian Schottlaender (UCLA) chaired the meeting, which included representatives from the CONSER, BIBCO, and NACO programs, the chairs of the Standing Committees on Automation, Training, and Standards, and the LC Secretariat.

The first day was spent developing a new strategic plan and Mark Matson, the newly appointed Head of Human Resources at OCLC, served as facilitator. Working from a draft plan that was developed from the existing PCC and CONSER plans, committee members agreed to a mission statement, five goals, and related objectives. Participants then broke into smaller groups to discuss potential action items, such as "Develop BIBCO manual" and "Develop a Web-based training prototype." The action items will be discussed and agreed to during the winter of 1998 and those specific to CONSER will be addressed at the CONSER Operations Committee meeting in May. Action items not specific to any one program will be addressed by joint task forces working under the appropriate standing committee. The new plan will be available on the PCC home page [].

On November 14th, Duane Arenales (NLM) presented the "Final Report" of the Funding Task Force, which she co-chaired with Martha Hruska (University of Florida). Other members were Beacher Wiggins (LC), Liz Bishoff (OCLC), and Karen Smith-Yoshimura (RLG). Committee members agreed with most of the recommendations, which aimed to provide a stable source of income for the PCC. The major points of disagreement were with the recommendation that funding for Operations Committee meetings be phased out and with the lack of travel support for the chairs of the three standing committees. A revised funding structure was proposed and agreed to that will ensure continued travel funding for operational representatives and standing committee chairs, as well as meeting and training costs. The funds will be contributed by OCLC, LC, and RLG. There was also discussion on the benefits and costs of membership, and the use of the PCC name in advertising. Arenales will revise the report and the final version will be posted on the PCC home page.

Most of the remaining time was spent on reports from the standing committee chairs. Joan Schuitema (Northwestern), Chair of the Standing Committee on Standards, discussed the recommendations contained in the Final Report of the Joint Task Group on Streamlining Authority Record Creation and suggested possible actions for each. In response to one of the recommendations, a Joint Operations Task Group will be appointed to study provisions for references in AACR2 and associated LCRIs to formulate recommendations for consideration of the Standing Committee on Standards. Mike Kaplan (Indiana), Chair of the Standing Committee on Automation, reported that a task group is being established to work with OCLC to investigate and test batch-load issues and to investigate and test issues involved in real-time copy/paste from local systems to utilities (see article below). Joan Swanekamp (Yale), Chair of the Standing Committee on Training, discussed the Cataloging Now! Institutes that will be sponsored by ALCTS and offered in five locations, beginning in July 1998. The institutes are primarily monograph-based but also address basic cataloging values and how these have changed. She also discussed the revision of the BIBCO training manual, currently in progress, and participants recommended that facilitation skills be included.

A nominating committee was named to select candidates for next year's round of appointments to the Policy Committee. Jennifer Bowen (Eastman School of Music), Ingrid Parent (National Library of Canada), and Roxanne Sellberg (Northwestern) will serve. Sally Sinn (National Agriculture Library) was unanimously elected Chair-Elect. The meeting summary will soon be available on the PCC home page.

-- Jean Hirons

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PCC Automation Committee Pursues Options for Record Contributions

In spring 1997, the CONSER Program announced the successful batch-loading of new CONSER records into the OCLC catalog. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) sent 12 records to OCLC via FTP after searching the OCLC catalog and creating the records in NLM's local system. The records were then downloaded, converted to USMARC format, sent to OCLC, and loaded into the WorldCat catalog in less than one week. NLM submitted 127 new CONSER records to OCLC via FTP by the end of November, with plans to submit all new CONSER records in this manner in the future. Additional CONSER members can now implement this record contribution process.

The PCC Standing Committee on Automation plans to pursue the issues and viability of batch-loading CONSER and other PCC records through a dual-track approach. A Task Group to Advise OCLC on PCC Batch-loading Requirements was approved at the November PCC Policy Committee meeting. The group will be established in the upcoming months and charged to consider issues relating to record batch-loading, and advise OCLC on the following:

  • Sending program records with other records
  • Resolving duplicate records
  • Batch-loading enhanced or updated records
  • Credits for batch-load record contributions

The Committee on Automation also plans to investigate and test a "real-time copy/paste" process that would facilitate the use of locally created records for loading into the bibliographic utilities. To use this process, a local system must offer the output of MARC records to a file. Michael Kaplan (Indiana), chair of the PCC Standing Committee on Automation, reported at the summer 1997 CONSER At-large meeting that "real-time copy/paste" is an option to batch-loading that shows several advantages. This process makes full use of automation efficiencies while working in a local system, and facilitates the direct input of records into OCLC so that contributors can receive the full CONSER credit for new records. The copy/paste process can accommodate serial and monographic records as well as new records and enhancements, although enhanced records cannot now be input through this process. The Committee on Automation hopes to meet with local system vendors at the 1998 midwinter ALA conference to apprise them of issues related to record loading options and other automation priorities.

-- Bill Anderson (Library of Congress)

CONSER Documentation Updates

Updates to the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) and the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) were recently issued by LC's Cataloging Distribution. For details on ordering and availability, please contact Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, Customer Services Section/Dept. W, Washington, DC, 20541-5017; email: [email protected]; World Wide Web:

CEG update 7 (Fall 1997) includes new practices for online serials and information relating to the consolidation of the CONSER Program with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). The new cataloging practices for online serials were recently developed by the CONSER Operations Committee. The identification of the extent of issues available online (field 362) and the issue on which the description is based (field 500) can both be enhanced by recording the date that the serial was viewed for cataloging. This practice is further explained in the CCM Module 31 revision (described below). The consolidation of CONSER and the PCC is reflected in a complete revision of CEG section A5, which covers governance. Membership levels have also been adjusted with the elimination of the "national" level.

Update 7 (Fall 1997) to the CCM also includes a number of changes in CONSER policies and practices. Module 2, "What is a Serial," reflects a revised LCRI 12.0A that more clearly delineates serial and monographic cataloging treatment for conference publications and reduces recataloging requirements. The update to Module 33, "Newspapers," reflects the recent revision of LCRI 25.5B, covering serial uniform titles. A revised practice for cataloging serial language editions is also included in the CCM update.

Module 31, "Remote Access Computer File Serials," has been revised to reflect the prevalence of the World Wide Web for accessing online serials and includes new cataloging practices. Several sections were rewritten and new record examples were added to reflect the current Internet environment. The updated module is also available on the World Wide Web [] (PDF, 303 KB).

-- Bill Anderson

CONSER Web Pages—Restructured and Expanded

CONSER's World Wide Web pages have been reorganized to better accommodate twice the number of hypertext files than were previously available. Seven navigational pages were added to facilitate a hierarchical network of information about the CONSER Program and serials cataloging. The CONSER home page can be found on the LC Web site:

Several informational categories have been added or expanded. New information on CONSER membership includes a description of the levels of membership and program application forms. A new section on committees and task forces includes directories of members, summaries of CONSER committee meetings, and task force reports. Additional information on the CONSER and PCC consolidation is also accessible through the PCC and CONSER home pages []. The new page, "Online Resources for Serials Catalogers," facilitates access to library catalogs, library-related organizations, online serials collections, and LC Internet resources []. The _1996/1997 Annual Report of the CONSER Program_ was most recently added in November

-- Bill Anderson

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