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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 14, Summer 1999

No. 14, Summer 1999


From the Editor

Welcome to the Summer 1999 issue of CONSERline.

It's been an exciting and--as always busy year to date. With a lot of help from my CONSER friends, I submitted the report on the revision of AACR2 to accommodate seriality and it was released in May. New initiatives were undertaken to deal with aggregator databases and to investigate how we might share publication pattern and holdings data. We increased our CONSER membership, and, perhaps most exciting for me, the new Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) got underway with two train-the-trainer sessions and the publication of our first course offering. And of course, my good friend and colleague, Regina Reynolds, won the Bowker award.

-- Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress

SCCTP is Up and Running!

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NASIG Train the Trainer participants

Just one year after the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) was officially inaugurated, the first course is available and 36 trainers from the U.S. and Canada have been trained to present it. The trainers participated in one of two train-the-trainer sessions in June, the first held in Pittsburgh prior to the annual conference of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG), and the second held prior to American Library Association (ALA) meeting in New Orleans. Trainers were introduced to the Program's first course: Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop, prepared by Cameron Campbell of the University of Chicago. Various sessions were presented during the first day by Hirons and Campbell (at NASIG) and Hirons and Beverley Geer (at ALA). SOLINET donated the services of Cathy Kellum, who presented the train-the-trainer portion of the workshop on the second day. Perhaps the best part was the practicum, where participants got to use their imagination and creativity to present various aspects of the sessions to their fellow trainers. AMIGOS, SOLINET and PALINET helped with the financial and logistical support for the sessions and NASIG funds helped support trainers' expenses.

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ALA Train the Trainer participants

The Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop consists of nine sessions, plus suggestions for a "trends in serials cataloging session" and a "question and answer session" that covers original and copy cataloging of print and electronic serials. The complete workshop is designed for two days but can be expanded to two and a half days. A more focused one-day session can also be provided, if desired. The course materials consist of an instructor manual with PowerPoint presentation (version 7.0) and a trainee manual and are available from the Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress. Additional exercises for pre- and post-class use are available on the CONSER Web site. The complete set of course materials is available for $140.00. The trainee manual costs $35.00. The complete set is recommended for those wishing to provide in-house training or use for self study. Only the trainee manuals are needed for those sponsoring an SCCTP workshop.

SCCTP is a new concept in library education because the program is not running the workshops. Instead, we are leaving this part to organizations whose function it is to provide training, such as OCLC network affiliates and library associations. Sessions have already been planned for the summer and fall in Washington D.C., Vancouver, and Texas. Providing a workshop involves arranging for a team of trainers, ordering copies of the trainee manual from the Cataloging Distribution Service, and providing all of the promotion and logistics for the session. For more information, contact Jean Hirons or visit the SCCTP web site at:

-- Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress

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CONSER Membership News

Faxon Rejoins CONSER

The Faxon Company, located in Westwood, MA, has joined CONSER as an affiliate member. Faxon, a major subscription agent with facilities in Illinois and Massachusetts, is one of eight companies comprising the Dawson Information Services Group. Another of the eight, Dawson Information Quest, Inc., based in California, produces a state of the art serials indexing and full text retrieval product, IQ. Both Faxon and Dawson Information Quest may participate in adding and maintaining data in CONSER records. Of primary interest is abstracting and indexing data as well as the details of publishing.

Ed Jones, Systems Analyst at Dawson Information Quest, will represent both Faxon and Dawson Information Quest on the CONSER Operations Committee. For both Faxon and Jones, this is a return to CONSER. Faxon was an affiliate member during the 1980's and Jones was the CONSER representative from Harvard from 1981-1989. In addition, Faxon president, Dan Tonkery, was instrumental in the development of CONSER during the mid 1970's.

According to David Fritsch, Director of Business Development at Faxon, "We are very pleased to be able to contribute further to centralized bibliographic resources in the library community. Faxon and Dawson have many knowledgeable serials specialists on staff and we work with many publishers and libraries daily to collect information for our own databases. We look forward to working with CONSER on several worthwhile projects, such as the maintenance of abstracting and indexing data and the provision of records with links to the full text."

University of Oregon is Newest CONSER Enhance Member

The University of Oregon has joined CONSER Enhance. Mary Grenci, Serials Catalog Librarian, has been working with mentor Kristin Lindlan at the University of Washington and will now be working independently. CONSER Enhance libraries update and maintain CONSER records for serials that have undergone change. A member of NACO and SACO, Oregon is expanding its commitment to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging through its involvement with CONSER. In addition to maintaining records, the University may also add vernacular data to Chinese and Japanese serial records.

Kristin Lindlan, who worked with Mary Grenci, reports "I really enjoyed the experience of teaching Mary to do maintenance for title changes, issuing body changes, etc., according to CONSER practice. Mary was an enthusiastic participant with many thoughtful and detailed questions. She definitely challenged my knowledge of the cataloging rules and rule interpretations, as well as of some of the finer details of CONSER practice. I know that we're going to appreciate having another participant from the northwest doing maintenance on titles from this region in the years to come." Mary reports: "We at the University of Oregon are pleased to be able to expand our involvement in cooperative cataloging efforts through participation in the CONSER Enhance program. CONSER, like all of the PCC programs, provides an invaluable service to catalogers worldwide. But like all such cooperative ventures, it is successful only through the continued contributions of its members. We are very happy to join CONSER's ranks and offer our services to the serials cataloging community. In addition, working with Kristin has been truly great. I've learned so much, and had a really enjoyable time doing it. I think CONSER's mentoring approach to training new candidates for membership is very effective, and I recommend it to others."

Ops. Committee Meets in April

The CONSER Operations Committee held its annual meeting for the second time in conjunction with BIBCO and also in conjunction with the NATO 50th anniversary celebration! Security concerns forced the Library of Congress to close on the second day and the meeting was cut short but not before a number of substantive topics were covered. Jean Hirons presented an overview to both CONSER and BIBCO of her report, "Revising AACR2 to Accommodate Seriality," and an accompanying discussion paper for the MARC advisory committee, MARBI, that addresses potential impact on the MARC 21 format. Valerie Bross (UCLA) discussed a draft policy statement for CONSER on the use of the single record technique for online versions. Karen Calhoun (Cornell) and John Riemer (University of Georgia) presented the progress of the task force working with aggregators to provide record sets. And Hirons, Ruth Haas (Harvard), and Frieda Rosenberg (UNC-Chapel Hill) discussed a new initiative to include holdings and publication pattern data in CONSER records and the many issues involved. Each of these topics is covered by separate articles below. The Operations summary is available on the CONSER Web site at:

Seriality: JSC report/MARBI paper

The report, "Revising AACR2 to Accommodate Seriality: Report to the Joint Steering Committee on the Revision of AACR" was released in May for worldwide review and is available at: (external link). The report has been the subject of much discussion: at the CONSER/BIBCO meetings, the North American Serials Interest Group annual meeting, and at ALA. A task force of the Cataloging and Classification: Description and Access (CC:DA) Committee, chaired by Wayne Jones of MIT, will be reviewing the report for the official response from CC:DA. Seriality will also be the topic of a workshop at the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) meeting in Bangkok in August. Regina Reynolds will be attending and providing a discussion of the recommendations, as well as discussing what is meant by "seriality." Comments on the report are due to the JSC by the end of September and instructions for commenting are available at the JSC Web site (external link). The JSC will be meeting this fall to discuss this and other reports. Also to be held is a harmonization meeting involving representatives from the AACR2 community, ISBD(S) and ISSN.

In addition to the JSC report, Hirons also prepared a discussion paper for MARBI, DP 114 ( The report covers three areas of potential impact if the recommendations are adopted: the bibliographic level (leader/07) and how records will be coded and displayed in library catalogs; the inclusion of both earliest and current publication data in the publication area (field 260 or a related field); and the need for a new code value to represent the new use of "latest" entry that is recommended by the JSC report.

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

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Aggregators Task Group Progresses

The PCC SCA Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases is investigating and making recommendations for a useful, cost-effective and timely means for providing records to identify full-text electronic journals in aggregator databases. Over the past six months, the task group has focused on defining the content of a vendor-supplied record, completing a demonstration project with EBSCO, and exploring options with other interested vendors.

Formerly under the aegis of CONSER, the task group began its work in 1998 by surveying PCC libraries. In keeping with the findings--that a majority of libraries want records in their OPACs to represent the full-text journals available in aggregators and that three-fourths are interested in acquiring record sets from vendors--the task group expanded its charge last winter to focus on demonstrating the feasibility of machine-generating a record set for an interested vendor's product (EBSCO's Academic Search Elite). Task group members were added from the PCC SCA to take advantage of their experience working with vendors and systems specialists on automation issues.

The task group has been guided by a number of working assumptions, chiefly that aggregator analytic records need to contain sufficient fields such that they could stand alone in an OPAC as separate records, but also--for those libraries desiring to avoid multiple hits for a given title--records must include fields needed for deduplication against the existing hard-copy version records in an OPAC. Task group members have also assumed that vendors will provide means to keep their record sets up to date.

The task group's interim report, available at, describes and illustrates the content of a vendor record that is machine-derived from a bibliographic record for the print equivalent.

Just prior to the ALA annual meeting, the task group announced the completion of the EBSCO demonstration project. EBSCO subscribers who are interested in obtaining the 1,142 record set may contact Oliver Pesch at [email protected]

In the weeks leading up to ALA annual, the task group defined the content of a machine-generated record--a MARC record automatically generated from data available to the vendor, for use when cataloging records are unavailable to consult. They also prepared a letter encouraging OCLC to issue record sets for journals in publisher- or scholarly organization-based aggregations via WorldCat Collection Sets. At ALA, the task group began negotiations with two other vendors that offer very large, general-interest aggregator databases to libraries.

The task group's final report is expected in December 1999. To be posted to the PCC Web site, it will contain a progress report on current negotiations, describe the plans it has presented to vendors, and identify the support required from other appropriate organizations. For further information, contact any member of the task group. Task Group members are: John Riemer (U. Georgia)--Chair, Jeanne Baker (U. Maryland), Matthew Beacom (Yale), Karen Calhoun (Cornell), Eric Celeste (M.I.T.), Ruth Haas (Harvard), Jean Hirons (LC liaison), Oliver Pesch (EBSCO liaison).

--Karen Calhoun (Cornell), John Riemer (Georgia)

The CONSER Single Record Option: No Longer Interim!


In 1996, CONSER experimentally introduced the single-record approach. Since then, many catalogers have been using it for online serials where a bibliographic record for another format is already available. This past winter, Jean Hirons appointed a CONSER Working Group to tackle the questions, When is the single-record approach most appropriate? When is it best to use the separate-record approach? Group members were: Valerie Bross (UCLA), chair, Crystal Graham (UCSD), Christa Hoffmann (NLM), Cecilia Sercan (Cornell), and Steve Shadle (Washington).

Just in time for the CONSER Operations meeting in April, Crystal Graham drafted a report for the Working Group, CONSER WG: Single v. Separate Records (external link) The report is divided into four parts (following the charge to the Working Group):

  • Description of various types of online serials;
  • Conditions when the single-record approach is appropriate; and conditions when the separate-record approach is appropriate;
  • Suggestions for modifying CEG and CCM; and
  • Pros and cons of the two approaches.

Underlying the report is a caveat that the discussion is limited to situations where institutional policy permits both approaches.

Steve Shadle critiqued the report and added a "Rules of Thumb" segment to summarize conditions warranting each approach:

  • Equivalent content:
    If the online version could be a satisfactory substitute for the print version, then the single-record approach is appropriate.
  • Partial content:
    If the online version includes a subset of the articles from the print version, or some portion of the print version (e.g., the table of contents), it would not be a satisfactory substitute. However, in this case, the online version also would not warrant a separate record. In this case, too, a single-record approach is appropriate.
  • Enhanced or unique content:
    If the online version contains additional or different content, the separate-record approach is appropriate.

Reaction to the Report

The report was presented at the CONSER At Large meeting at ALA in New Orleans. Among those who use the single-record approach, reaction was generally favorable. Some people felt that the third condition in the "Rules of Thumb" should be loosened, to allow catalogers to record some content differences for online serials in 856 field, subfield $z. Others wondered how the results of the report and discussion would be used: to develop new policies, or to provide guidelines. In the end, the decision was made to refine the current CONSER documentation to include guidelines (not policies) on the single/separate record approach.

A similar presentation at ALCTS:SS Committee to Study Serials Cataloging also elicited discussion, but of quite a different tenor. That morning, CC:DA discussed a report by the 0.24 Task Force presenting options for cataloging multiple formats of the same work. The CSSC audience and committee members discussed the relationship between the 0.24 Task Force Report options approved by CC:DA and the CONSER report. While CC:DA approved an option that would allow for all manifestations of a work to be included on one record, the CONSER report addresses the nature of the content in order to determine when differences are significant enough that the two versions can no longer be considered the same work. Thus, the two reports are quite compatible.

The group's report and resulting discussions have made it clear that the single record option is here to stay at least for the foreseeable future and is no longer an "interim" approach.

-- Valerie Bross (UCLA)

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Using CONSER Records to Share Publication Patterns and Holdings

After literally decades of discussions about the possibilities for exchanging MARC holdings pattern data, the time seems right to address the issues again. Libraries are migrating to new systems, and the moans and groans of those having to create "from scratch" pattern and holdings data filled the hallways of Philadelphia hotels and its convention center at the ALA Midwinter meeting. There HAS to be a better way, our experience with bibliographic data tells us so.

Thus the CONSER Task Force on the Inclusion of MARC Publication Patterns/Holdings in CONSER Records was created. As is common in such endeavors, our reach exceeded our grasp, and from our first, very ambitious schedule, we've pulled back to a more realistic stance. Part of this was necessitated by the realization that although there is a consensus that something needs to be done, what that something actually is, is less clear.

Following a presentation on the issues involved, participants at the CONSER Operations meeting concluded that publication pattern data should take a priority over holdings and that we should encourage standardized use of the MARC Holdings format to allow for input/export of the data among local systems.

At present we are poised to set up a small demonstration project with OCLC beginning this fall, whereby a local 891 field will be enabled in CONSER records to carry pairs of 85X/86X fields representing the current pattern for a title and its associated holdings. These fields are intended to carry "generic"data--those holdings which are not specific to a particular institution, but apply to the title as published. Institutions using the data would modify this information to reflect their own holdings. We'd like to "seed" the project with a limited set of pattern data extracted from a library or vendor currently using the MARC Holdings Format.

The Task Force will develop guidelines for the use and updating of these fields (which will be possible only by CONSER members in the beginning), but we hope to publicize the availability of this data and encourage libraries to experiment with using it.

Members of the task force are: Diane Hillmann (Cornell), chair Diane Hillmann (Cornell), chair John Espley (VTLS), Ed Glazier (RLG), Rich Greene (OCLC), Rebecca Guenther (LC), Ruth Haas (Harvard), Katherine Harnish (Endeavor), Linda Miller (LC), Jennifer O'Connell (EBSCO), Marietta Plank (University of Maryland), Frieda Rosenberg (UNC, Chapel Hill), Mary Ann Van Cura (Cooley Law School Library, East Lansing, MI), Jean Hirons, ex officio.

-- Diane Hillmann (Cornell)

Legal Serials Module to be Published Soon

After many years in the writing, Module 34: Legal Serials is about to be published as a new addition to the CONSER Cataloging Manual. The module was written by Rhonda Lawrence (UCLA). Ann Sitkin and John Hostage of Harvard assisted with the final editing and review. The module, which is the most substantial CCM chapter to date, provides a very clear explanation of the various types of legal serials and the key issues in cataloging them: entry, uniform titles, and subject headings. Illustrations of each type of legal serial are included as well as the records for them. The module also includes an extensive glossary of terms and list of references. For legal catalogers and those who catalog the occasional legal serial, this module is a must!

The module will be issued as update 10 to the CONSER Cataloging Manual and will be available during the fall from the Cataloging Distribution Service. Also under preparation is a module covering rare serials being prepared by Jane Gillis (Yale) and Juliet McLaren (UC-Riverside). Ideas for further modules are welcome and should be sent to Jean Hirons ([email protected]).

-- Jean Hirons (LC)


Regina Romano Reynolds Wins Bowker Award!

Regina ReynoldsOn Monday June 28th at the American Library Association Annual Conference, Regina Reynolds was presented with the 1999 Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship award. She received the citation from Lisa Macklin, chair of the Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship Award Committee and a check from Judy Salk of Bowker. But the real celebration took place on Sunday night, when Regina, her daughter Elizabeth, and many of her friends and colleagues gathered at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen to celebrate her many achievements and contributions at a reception hosted by Bowker. Regina won the prestigious award in recognition of her "impact on all constituencies in the serials industry," according to Macklin. Regina's contributions to standards and in particular the ISSN, her work on the revision of AACR2 and seriality, and her many entertaining and informative presentations were all cited as reasons for the award.

Regina is well known to CONSER colleagues as the head of the National Serials Data Program at the Library of Congress, where she oversees the assignment of ISSN to serials published in the U.S. Through her day-to-day contact with serials and serial publishers, Regina has witnessed developments in serials publishing that afford a unique perspective on the state of the art. Her ability to use this perspective to develop standards, communicate trends here and abroad, and work with her colleagues for the overall betterment of serials control are just some of the reasons why she is so richly deserving of this award. Congratulations Regina!

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

Marietta Plank leaves University of Maryland to head CIRLA

Marietta Plank, Associate Director of Technical Services at the University of Maryland and CONSER representative to the Policy Committee of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging since the merger of CONSER and PCC in 1997, has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Chesapeake Formation and Research Library Alliance (CIRLA). CIRLA is a not-for-profit organization of nine education and research institutions from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware. Prior to her appointment to CIRLA in May 1999, Marietta was head of technical services at the University of Maryland for 15 years. During that time she was an active supporter and contributor to CONSER. CONSER participants are grateful to Marietta for her leadership and service and wish her the best in her new endeavor.

-- Sally Sinn (NAL), Chair PCC Policy Committee

Bill Anderson, LC's CONSER Specialist, has been detailed to work on the conversion of the serial record files. Bill has been actively involved with ILS implementation for both cataloging and initial bibliographic control and will now turn his full attention to the mammoth task of converting the serial record. LC plans to use a contractor to do much of the work, but LC staff will also be instrumental in the conversion. The conversion is expected to take 5-7 years.

Bill will be greatly missed in the CONSER Office. He has been heavily involved in the development of the CONSER discussion list (CONSRLST) and the CONSER Web site, preparing CONSER documentation, working on various task forces and projects, and assisting at CONSER meetings.

Congratulations to Marjorie Bloss (CRL) and Karen Hsu (NYPL) who were elected to three and two-year terms respectively to the PCC Policy Committee. They will replace Sally Sinn and Marietta Plank.

Faye Leibowitz, CONSER Operations representative at the University of Pittsburgh, has returned to work after an extended leave of absence to care for your daughter. According to Faye, her daughter is doing very well and Faye is glad to be back.

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