Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 18, Winter 2001

No. 18, Winter 2001


From the Editor

Welcome to the Winter 2001 issue of CONSERline.

This issue of CONSERline focuses on the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative. CONSER took on a whole new world when it jumped into the holdings arena, but the rewards are beginning to be felt. More libraries are contributing and more records now contain publication patterns, enabling cooperative sharing of this data. And new training is now available as well in the form of an SCCTP course in Serial Holdings.

The Program recently welcomed its newest member: the University of Chicago, one of the major research institutions in the U.S. And at long last, the AACR revision is coming to a conclusion, but much work remains for CONSER and BIBCO in determining how the changes to the code will be implemented by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

-- Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress

University of Chicago Joins CONSER

University of ChicagoThe University of Chicago Library (external link), one of America's largest and most comprehensive research collections, has become CONSER's newest full member. With special strengths in area studies, the classics, and the sciences, Chicago expects to contribute eventually in all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean and in all subjects. Martin Runkle, library director, says joining CONSER "rounds out" Chicago's participation in the PCC and its general commitment to cooperative cataloging: "Having benefited from the contributions of others to the CONSER program, [the University of Chicago Library's catalogers] look forward to making their own contributions to this program, both in the provision of high-quality records and in the shaping of national policy for serials." In addition to a history as a NACO, BIBCO, and SACO contributor, Chicago has led or participated in several CIC cooperative endeavors, such as the ARTFL cataloging project. Judith Nadler, associate library director, will be the University of Chicago's policy representative to CONSER. E. Renette Davis, head of Serials and Digital Resources Cataloging, will be joining the Operations Committee. Hoda Fateen at the Library of Congress will be helping Chicago staff as they start making contributions to CONSER.

-- Carroll Davis (LC)

Back to Top

CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative Sets New Goals

The CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative received a boost of energy at the meeting of the CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings in January. A concerted effort to increase the number of CONSER records containing patterns was agreed to, with an ambitious goal set for 1000 patterns contributed by participants by the ALA annual meeting in June. More institutions have been recruited and interest in the initiative is being raised in many circles. The latest milestone is the load of the Harvard pattern data (see below).

This article highlights the goals and accomplishments of the initiative as set out in its revised strategic plan. Related articles feature the Harvard load, LC's participation in the pilot, and the new SCCTP course on holdings.

The mission of the CONSER initiative is to promote use of the MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data (MFHD) in order that publication pattern data can be cooperatively created and shared among users of different library systems. The CONSER Task Force on Patterns and Holdings is the guiding force for the initiative, setting goals and monitoring achievements. Those collaborating in the effort include libraries with CONSER authorization to modify records, representatives from the major library systems, MARC holdings experts, OCLC and RLIN staff, and representatives of major subscription agencies. Sally Sinn (National Agriculture Library) chairs the task force.

The key goal is a two-year pilot to add pattern data to CONSER and non-CONSER records on OCLC. Adding this data to bibliographic records, will, hopefully, one day make it possible to upload the data directly into a local system to create the predictive check-in record. One system, VTLS's Virtua system, can now accommodate the data. Other system vendors are working with initiative participants to find ways to make the uploading and downloading of this data feasible. Diane Hillmann (Cornell) is leading the pilot.

The role of the library systems is integral to the success of the initiative. Linda Miller (LC) is leading a subgroup whose task is to focus on the MARC format, its use by system vendors, and needed improvements. To that end, the group completed an initial survey of vendors to determine compliance with the MFHD. To date, only summary data is available, but the group would like to see individual system data be made available and maintained by each vendor. Miller's group is also working with MARBI to seek changes to the format and a new subfield was approved last year that will accommodate Roman numerals and other forms of non-Arabic enumeration.

One of the major challenges to the effort is the current workflow in libraries. Often the people who handle check-in and holdings are not those who would be able to update or add to CONSER records. James Castrataro (Indiana University) is leading a Workflow Task Group which will explore potential changes and develop "best practices" for various size libraries.

In support of the pilot, documentation has been created by Frieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) with the help of Ellen Rappaport (Albany Law School), Ruth Haas (Harvard), and Hillmann. The Guidelines for Input of Captions/Patterns and Holdings Data are available on the CONSER web site. In addition, Rosenberg recently completed work on the Serial Holdings Workshop for the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (see related article). Pattern participants will also meet during the annual meetings of the North American Serials Interest Group and ALA in informal workshops that will provide a forum for questions and answers.

The role of the utilities has been crucial. OCLC's support has included the definition of field 891 into which pattern and holdings data is added in OCLC, the completion of the Harvard load, and the creation of a very useful macro. The macro was suggested by participant Ann Ercelawn (Vanderbilt) and created by Robert Bremer (OCLC). It creates the 891 fields from existing data in the bibliographic record within seconds! While it often requires some editing, the macro is a great time-saver and is making it possible for increased contributions. Rich Greene is the OCLC representative and Ed Glazier serves as the RLIN representative.

The last goal is to further publicize the initiative and its mission. A bibliography of published articles has been added and further articles will be written. Look for an article in the OCLC Newsletter this spring. CONSER participants are also contributing to an ALA preconference on the MARC holdings format being organized by Linda Miller. A discussion of the CONSER effort along with demonstrations will be a feature of the one-day session.

Much is happening; much remains to be accomplished. However, major milestones have been achieved and there is increased visibility of the CONSER effort. There is renewed energy among participants and enthusiasm is high. Complete information on the initiative is available on its home page at the CONSER Web site.

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

OCLC Loads Harvard Pattern/Holdings Data to CONSER Records

A major milestone in the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative occurred on February 27, 2001 when OCLC loaded publication pattern and related holdings data from Harvard to 39,491 CONSER records. The load has been a goal for those working on the project since its inception in 1999.

The pattern and holdings data is being added to field 891, an OCLC-defined field that imbeds MARC 21 fields 853 and 863 within a subfield $9. Those viewing records on OCLC will see the data in field 891. However, distributed records will have the 891 stripped and will contain the MARC 21 fields, along with an 852 field containing the phrase "universal pattern."

Data included in CONSER records will normally include one 891/853 and 891/863 pair; however, in cases where the frequency or numbering has changed, multiple pairs may be present. The "holdings" are limited to the first issue to which each pattern applies. According to Ruth Haas at Harvard, not all of the data will include the complete pattern information because many of the Harvard libraries have yet to use predictive check-in. In many cases, the 853 fields will include only the caption subfields and a related 863 field. In other cases, all of the pattern subfields will be found. A subfield $x "provisional" will be included in the 863 field to indicate that the information given in the pattern portion may be incomplete.

According to Sally Sinn, Chair of the CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings, "this is an important step forward for a project designed to eliminate the costly redundant effort to create this data in each new system installation." Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, hopes that "the inclusion of the Harvard data will promote the idea that this information should become standard in CONSER records. The large bulk of records will also enable systems to experiment with loading it into their check-in modules and for libraries to use the records for system implementation." Further loads are sought and institutions with pattern data to share should contact CONSER ([email protected]).

The records will be distributed through the MARC Distribution Service but are not being loaded into LC's ILS at present. Examples of the Harvard data can be found in OCLC records: OCLC#: 7748334 (LCCN 81-643689), OCLC#: 6155013 (LCCN: 86-649025/NE), and OCLC#: 22971842 (LCCN: sn90-39476).

Rich Greene serves as OCLC's liaison to the CONSER initiative and has overseen the load. Any questions about the load specifically should be addressed to him ([email protected]).

-- Jean Hirons (LC)

The Publication Pattern Initiative Pilot at the Library of Congress

Serial Record DivisionAt the recent meeting of the CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings, Diane Hillmann (Cornell) made an interesting analogy. According to Hillmann, we are now in the initial stage of creation of a database of publication pattern data, a stage that is similar to the early 1970s when libraries first began creating bibliographic records in OCLC. What seemed then to individual participants as an enormous commitment of money and time, with uncertain benefits, quickly burgeoned into our shared utility databases from which we all now greatly benefit. It is exciting to think that the inclusion of pattern and holdings data may have the same impact on the work of librarians interested in the acquisition, check-in, and inventory control of serial publications that the presence of bibliographic data in OCLC and RLIN has had on the work of catalogers.

At the Library of Congress, the pilot could not have come at a worse time. Staffing shortages coupled with coping with and adjusting to a new online system just did not seem to offer any hope that LC could participate in a significant way. However, because staff recognized the importance and potential value of the Project, LC decided to start small and expand later when we were better able to contribute.

To plan for the project, we considered experimenting with a dual approach by: 1) having a limited number of catalogers input patterns directly into OCLC at the point of cataloging, and by 2) having cataloging technicians input standard patterns, i.e. recognizable by Voyager, into OCLC using Voyager to create the MARC holdings string. It was thought that a dual approach could provide valuable feedback as to when it would be most desirable to add the data. To date, LC has been successful in implementing the first approach but has still not implemented the second approach. And, indeed, at this point LC is heavily leaning towards input at the point of cataloging, since it is hoped that when the data becomes usable by library systems, this will save time for technicians by allowing them to be able to accept established patterns that have been added to OCLC records and, thus, manually create fewer patterns.

The Library of Congress is now in a position to increase the number of staff participating in the pilot and, following training in late March, will begin inputting as many patterns as possible without compromising normal expected cataloging output activities

-- Lucy Barron (LC)

Back to Top

Trainer Session Launches SCCTP Serial Holdings Workshop

Group in a classroomFor two days before last January's ALA Midwinter Meeting, twenty-nine volunteers from the United States, Mexico, and Canada met at the Library of Congress and became instructors for the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program's second course, the Serial Holdings Workshop. Sharon Wiles-Young (Lehigh University), who gave a trial run of the workshop last November at the University of Georgia, presented the new materials and helped the prospective trainers see alternative ways of presenting and adapting them in different situations. Cathy Kellum (OCLC) gave the group an overview of principles for training, presentation, and workshop management. The highlight of the event was the final practicum, in which teams of new trainers planned workshop strategies to address a variety of problem scenarios. The creativity and good humor demonstrated in that exercise, together with the quality of the new workshop materials, foreshadow success and popularity for the new SCCTP course.

Cover of a training manualFrieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Thom Saudargas (College Center for Library Automation) authored the Serial Holdings Workshop course materials, which are based on the MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data (MFHD) and ANSI/NISO Z39.71–1999 (external link). The workshop provides the basic principles of creating holdings records and publication patterns, along with information on why holdings are important and a brief background of key standards. While the course is designed to serve staff who create ho August 17, 2011 anagers and system designers who want to know more about MFHD and its uses. The workshop includes exercises on creating formatted and free text holdings and publication patterns and provides time for discussion of local system implementation. The course materials are flexible and may be adapted as a one day or a one and a half day workshop, depending on local needs and preferences and on which optional sessions are selected.

Course materials for the SCCTP Serial Holdings Workshop include an instructor manual, a trainee manual, and a set of PowerPoint presentation slides. These are available from the Cataloging Distribution Service at LC only in electronic form, distributed over the Internet for downloading and printing locally. See the CONSER/SCCTP Web site for links to information on ordering the materials from CDS. Contact CONSER ([email protected]) if you are interested in sponsoring an SCCTP workshop.

Two other new SCCTP courses are being developed this year. An Advanced Serials Cataloging Workshop is under preparation by Margaret Mering (University of Nebraska) and Kristin Lindlan (University of Washington). Steve Shadle (University of Washington) and Les Hawkins (Library of Congress) are working on an Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop. There are tentative plans to hold train-the-trainer sessions for both in New Orleans before the ALA 2002 Midwinter Meeting.

-- Carroll Davis (LC)

Updates on PCC Aggregators and E-versions Task Groups' Work

The PCC Standing Committee on Automation's Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases continues to pursue vendor creation of sets of cataloging records. The initial record set Ebsco created has now been successfully loaded into a variety of OPACs: California State University, Northridge; University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire; Yale; and eight different online catalogs within the University System of Maryland, including the global database of all USM libraries. These implementations represent the application of both single- and separate-record techniques. Yale has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of maintenance by loading a subsequent set of the records.

The Task Group worked through the summer with John Law and Connie McGuire of Bell+Howell, and this culminated with the fall release of the long-awaited aggregator records for all the ProQuest titles. For more information, please see URL: (external link). Most recently, the Gale Group has offered on a test site both ASCII and MARC records for the titles in its InfoTrac Web database products, at URL: (external link)

In the upcoming year the task group will be assessing how applicable the standards for serial "aggregator analytic" records would be for monographic titles within aggregations. It will also be giving thought to how the PCC might serve as a clearinghouse of information on the existence and terms of availability for various record sets.

The aggregators task group, which began as a CONSER initiative, now consists of John Riemer (UCLA, chair), Jeanne Baker (University of Maryland), Matthew Beacom (Yale), Ruth Haas (Harvard), Kyle Banerjee (Oregon State University), SCA liaison Karen Calhoun (Cornell), and LC liaison Jean Hirons.

The aggregators task group has for some time been attempting to respond to a need, often expressed by public service librarians, to consolidate information about multiple manifestations of a resource into as few bibliographic records as possible. For one thing, records in the sets being created for aggregators include those fields libraries need for deduplication against the existing hard-copy-version records in their OPACs. Moreover, the task group has envisioned an approach covering multiple aggregator versions of a given serial title by means of multiple 773 fields in a single bibliographic record. Even libraries that choose the separate-record technique, because that makes loading and removing of aggregator record sets easier for them, can reduce their creation of "duplicate" records for the same title to a minimum.

In May 2000, the PCC Task Force on Multiple Manifestations of Electronic Resources (home page at URL: was formed to identify the most common types of versions and reproductions for textual resources as well as to determine which situations warranted the creation of separate records. In the technical services realm there is a tendency to split out different e-versions onto separate records, so that staff can clearly identify a version they are interested in borrowing, ordering, or having access to. Catalogers are recognizing an increasing need not to lose time sifting through a growing accumulation of records in a search for matching copy, however, so this preference may be weakening somewhat.

The paper Michael Kaplan recently presented to the Library of Congress' Conference on Bibliographic Control in the New Millennium (at URL: inspires hope that we might, with the aid of technology, harmonize the public service need for unity of display among related e-versions with the expediency of behind-the-scenes technical processing involving discrete records. In its remaining two months, this task force could examine what data would need to be in the separate version records such that a programming effort could successfully assemble the correct "bibliographic family." An interim report is located at URL:

-- John Riemer (UCLA)

AACR2 Seriality Revisions Near Completion, Implementation Approaches

Having discharged and thanked its AACR Review Task Force, CONSER can now glimpse on the horizon the fruition of years of coordinated effort and is bracing itself for the prospect of getting what it wished for. Final sets of responses and counter-responses on AACR2 revision proposals related to seriality are coming in from library associations (including a CC:DA task force), national libraries (including LC), and other international stakeholders. Interesting developments have continued emerging until the last; for example, last November's harmonization meeting among AACR2, ISBD, and ISSN representatives produced important agreements on major versus minor title changes for serials and those are being incorporated into the proposed revisions. Consensus on key proposals remains strong, however, and the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR is expected to finalize the seriality revisions at its April meeting this year.

After adoption of the revised cataloging code will come the work of implementing it, and CONSER has begun some of the necessary next steps and is planning for others. Related MARC 21 proposals are being submitted for consideration at the June MARBI meeting; among these are a new code for integrating resources as a type of material and provisions for repeatability of field 260. A new edition of the CONSER Cataloging Manual, completely rewritten for the revised AACR2, will be undertaken later this year. Course materials for the SCCTP Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop will also be reviewed thoroughly and updated. Revisions of the CONSER Editing Guide will also be necessary, but may be made gradually as changes in MARC 21 are implemented. Training the serials cataloging world, inside and outside CONSER, in the new standards will be a priority. Workshops at major meetings during 2002, such as ALA and NASIG conferences, seem likely.

The addition of rules for cataloging integrating resources is the greatest of the upcoming AACR2 changes. Implementing those and related MARC 21 proposals in the major bibliographic utilities and in the CONSER and BIBCO programs may take years, and there remain significant questions about division of responsibilities, record distribution, and maintenance. To address those and to recommend appropriate documentation and training, the PCC's standing committees on standards and on training have jointly formed the Task Group on Implementation of Integrating Resources, which includes CONSER and BIBCO representatives. The task group will issue an interim report before the BIBCO and CONSER operations committee meetings in May and make its final recommendations this fall.

-- Carroll Davis (LC)

Back to Top

CONSER Documentation Update

Woman posing near a display of t-shirtsUpdates to the CONSER Cataloging Manual and the CONSER Editing Guide will be distributed this spring. CCM Update 11 (Fall 2000) is the last update before a new edition of CCM is issued. It has changes to Module 31, "Remote Access Computer File Serials," and was revised with the assistance of the CONSER E-serial Specialist Group. Noteworthy additions include CONSER's decision not to use recent LCRI 1.11A revisions with respect to electronic serials, an interim policy on handling multiple distributors of electronic text, and guidance on selecting and maintaining URI's in 856 fields. The revised CCM Module 31, current through this update, is available online on the CONSER Website, at URL: (PDF, 303 KB). CEG Update 13 (Spring 2000) has, among other changes, new instructions for inputting the restructured LC control number format implemented this year and revised guidelines for creating records with vernacular Chinese script, reflecting adoption of pinyin romanization. Course materials for the new SCCTP Serial Holdings Workshop have also become available from CDS; see the related separate article in this issue of CONSERline.

-- Carroll Davis (LC)


Brian Schottlaender (University of California, San Diego) has been named recipient of the 2001 Margaret Mann Citation. He is being given the award primarily in recognition of his outstanding service as ALA representative to the Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR and for his contributions to the development of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. Schottlaender is a longtime friend of CONSER, having chaired the CONSER and PCC Policy Committees during the time when CONSER merged with the PCC and having led the group that defined the CONSER core elements.

Some new faces have replaced departing friends on the CONSER Operations Committee. Beth Jedlicka has become the operations representative from the University of Georgia. She replaces John Riemer, who left last year to become head of cataloging at UCLA. Adriana Pilecky-Dekajlo moved to Endeavor Information Systems late last year after many years of service at the Center for Research Libraries and on the Operations Committee. Stephen Early has joined the committee, taking her place as CRL's representative. Margaret Smith is the new operations representative from Saint Louis University Law Library. She replaces William Toombs, who left for a position at Kenrick Seminary.

Back to Top

To view PDFs Acrobat Reader