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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 19, Fall 2001

No. 19, Fall 2001


From the Editor

Welcome to the Fall 2001 issue of CONSERline.

The efforts of the past five years to define seriality and accommodate new forms of bibliographic resources are about to reach fruition as we await the publication of the new Chapter 12 in AACR2. The primary focus for CONSER now is on documentation and training. New SCCTP courses are under development and existing documentation will require revision. It is an exciting time and a busy one! And while cataloging code revision has been a major focus of past years, serial holdings and publication patterns are becoming an equally important aspect of CONSER and are sure to provide challenges for years to come. This issue of CONSERline focuses on reports from recent meetings of the CONSER/BIBCO Operations Committees, NASIG, and ALA, the new SCCTP Serial Holdings Workshop, and includes a number of updates.

- Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator

New York University joins CONSER

Detail from an archNew York University (NYU) is the newest CONSER member, joining as an associate member in April. Everett Allgood is serving as the CONSER Operations Committee representative and attended the operations meeting in May. New York University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and will be contributing records for some of its unique collections, including a collection of avant-garde serials from the 1950's dealing with city life. The university is also embarking on a project to catalog a large collection of serials belonging to the Tamiment Library and Wagner Archives relating to labor history and radical political movements.

NYU is cataloging electronic journals and plans to contribute publication patterns to its CONSER records. Joining CONSER completes NYU's PCC membership as they are already members of NACO, SACO and BIBCO. Les Hawkins, is helping with CONSER training.

Highlights of the CONSER Operations Meeting

Attendees of the CONSER Operations Meeting this year faced challenges that have been in the making for several years, including the management of electronic resources and the implementation of AACR2 rule revisions. The meeting was held over three days, May 2-4 with 39 attendees representing 34 CONSER institutions and included a joint CONSER/BIBCO meeting. The first day was devoted to an orientation for new members and new CONSER Operations Committee representatives. The CONSER orientation consisted of panel discussions led by experienced CONSER members, LC, and OCLC staff. CONSER members on the panels gave a description of their institution's participation in CONSER, including the scope of material contributed to the CONSER database and workflow issues. LC and OCLC staff described their roles in the CONSER program. The afternoon of the first day included breakout sessions which allowed participants the opportunity to discuss workflow, procedural and cataloging issues.

The joint CONSER/BIBCO meeting began with a discussion of Metadata in PCC libraries. Participants discussed their institution's involvement with various types of metadata standards including Dublin Core, SGML, TEI, EAD, AACR2, and MARC21. Several metadata projects of individual institutions were identified and the extent and levels of staff involved in applying metadata in these projects was discussed.

A review of the Final report of the PCC Task Force on Multiple Manifestations of Electronic Resources led to the suggestion that PCC use its Web site to house a clearinghouse of aggregator record sets. The clearinghouse will provide a listing of record sets available from vendors, utilities, and other sources. It will also provide information such as the size of each set as well as information for obtaining them. Since the meeting, Becky Culbertson (UCSD) and Kate Harcourt (Columbia) have volunteered to compile a listing for the clearinghouse which will be made available on the PCC Web site.

Valerie Bross (University of California, Los Angeles) gave an overview of the Interim report of the Task Group on Implementation of Integrating Resources. Bross pointed out that training, documentation, maintenance, and distribution of records for integrating resources will be concerns for both BIBCO and CONSER once the revision of AACR2 Chapter 12 is available. There was consensus that BIBCO and CONSER members should collaborate in the creation of training tools and documentation for cataloging integrating resources. There was also consensus that maintenance for these resources should be shared as widely as possible. The distribution of records for integrating resources by CDS will play a role in how widely maintenance efforts can be shared among BIBCO and CONSER members. Possible record distribution scenarios for integrating resources are currently being considered by the Task Group and will appear in their final report, due this October.

A session on the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative included an overview of sharing publication patterns using the MARC Format for Holdings Data (MFHD) by Lucy Barron (LC). Elmer Klebs (LC) gave a demonstration of the macro developed by Robert Bremer (OCLC) for adding patterns to OCLC records. James Castrataro (Indiana University) discussed workflow considerations for adding publication pattern data.

A PURL Pilot Proposal was developed by Valerie Bross and Becky Culbertson (University of California, San Diego) to test the concept of cooperative maintenance of URLs through an OCLC-hosted cooperative PURL server. Following a discussion of the proposal, several CONSER members volunteered to collaborate on the project.

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The CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative and ALA

The issue of serial holdings was much in evidence at the recent meeting of the American Library Association in San Francisco. It was the topic of a full day preconference, a meeting of the MARC Interests Discussion Group, and two CONSER-sponsored meetings. In addition, MARBI considered a number of serial holdings-related discussion papers.

"Future of Serials Control" Preconference

The LITA preconference, "The Future of Serials Control: Implementation of the MARC 21 Holdings format," was held on Friday, June 15. An audience of approximately 130 participants was composed of system librarians, catalogers, acquisitions staff and library management. The preconference offered an informed look at many commercially available systems from the standpoint of compliance with the holdings format. It also gave an introduction to the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative. Sally Sinn (NAL), chair of the CONSER Initiative, provided both the introduction and the wrap-up speech at the end of the day, providing a context through which the varied presentations could be understood. Another task force member, Frieda Rosenberg, provided an excellent overview of the holdings format, which was very well received. This review of the format was crucial to ensure that the audience could follow the ensuing presentations. In a follow-on presentation, Rebecca Guenther positioned the format alongside related standards such as ISO 10324, Z39.71 and Z39.50. She provided a summary of discussion papers related to potential changes to the holdings format that were under review by MARBI during the conference.

Presentations related to commercial ILS products described the format support efforts of Endeavor, EOS, ExLibris and VTLS. VTLS representative, John Espley, put the spotlight on the CONSER initiative when de demonstrated how their Virtua system could download an OCLC record with a publication pattern into a local catalog and draw the 891 data into the Virtual check-in system to start the creation of a publication pattern. A presentation by task force member, Diane Hillmann was particularly effective in clarifying the problems and pitfalls encountered when publication prediction was handicapped by the failure to more fully comply with the holdings format. A panel with vendor representatives from DRA, Innovative Interfaces, Endeavor, EOS, ExLibris and VTLS, moderated by Susan Davis, came near the close of the preconference. Questions concerning format support were directed to the vendor representatives.


Concerns and issues described in the preconference were reflected through many serials related meetings during the conference . The MARBI meeting on Saturday, June 16, devoted time to format related discussion papers (DP07 through DP11) and was well attended by both library staff and system vendors. Many of the issues in the papers emerged from discussions that appeared on the CONSERhold listserv (the discussion list used by the CONSER Initiative). The discussion papers encompassed such issues as recognizing the number of pieces per year in a separate subfield, spanned enumeration and spanned chronology, enumeration predictions that encompass skipped numbering, and issues with enumeration that restart at the first level. Some of the papers will emerge as proposals by ALA Midwinter while others require further discussion. CONSER Initiative participants will review pending proposals and discussion papers prior to ALA Midwinter 2002.

CONSER meetings

The CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings met at ALA to review progress and set new goals. Chair Sally Sinn (NAL) congratulated members on having surpassed their goal of creating 1000 new patterns in CONSER records. Sinn noted that the two-year pilot was half completed and suggested critical success factors that might be applied to test progress. These are:

  • Having a set of common practices and well-developed guidelines
  • Having established a database of up-to-date patterns
  • System vendors have developed export and import capabilities for the pattern data in OCLC
  • Libraries are able to migrate data from one system to another.

Task force members then reviewed the strategic plan and set goals for the coming six months. Rather than setting an overall program goal for new patterns, it was decided that each participant should set institutional goals for pattern creation. To date participants have set goals to create a total of 2,622 patterns by the end of 2001.

Other goals included additional data loads from VTLS libraries, a functionality statement concerning the storage of old patterns, and increased participation from system vendors. Continuing publicity is also critical. The May/June issue of the OCLC Newsletter featured an article on the CONSER initiative by Jean Hirons. Other articles were encouraged.

A workshop for pattern participants was held on Sunday following the CONSER At Large meeting that featured discussions on workflow and pattern creation. A number of others joined the workshop, including librarians from Slovenia. Participants considered the workshop to be helpful and another workshop is planned at the same time during ALA Midwinter 2002.

-- Linda Miller (LC) and Jean Hirons

Michigan State and III participate in Publication Patterns Initiative

In December 2000, as a participant in the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative, Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries started to add publication pattern and holdings data to CONSER and non-CONSER records on OCLC in the OCLC-defined 891 fields. As a non-CONSER library, MSU Libraries were given a conditional CONSER Enhance authorization to edit OCLC record fields relevant to the CONSER pilot project. By the end of August 2001, MSU has contributed new publication patterns to 160 existing CONSER records, modified 32 exiting patterns and added 7 subsequent patterns.

When MSU Libraries decided to participate in the CONSER pilot project, staff also decided to explore the possibility of using coded MARC holdings fields (85X/86X) in local check-in records and for the generation of holdings statements. The check-in module, namely, Innovative's Millennium Serials Module, already supported automatic issue prediction and used data elements of MARC Format for Holdings Data (MFHD) to provide prediction. A range of subfields in 85X/86X were also supported and could be used to generate holdings statements in the OPAC. After some experiments with the 853/863 fields in MSU's library test database, MSU Libraries decided to purchase a loader from Innovative Interfaces to export publication pattern and holdings data (which is embedded in the 891 fields in OCLC's bibliographic records) into the local check-in system. The loader that MSU Libraries purchased from Innovative Interfaces was developed in partnership with MSU Libraries for the CONSER pilot project. The intent of the loader is to streamline the check-in record creation process by utilizing the MARC coded pattern data already in the OCLC bibliographic record.

Before the export of an OCLC bibliographic record, data in the 891 fields is edited to reflect MSU's holdings, as necessary for local display and workflow purposes. When the OCLC record is exported into the local system, the loader successfully generates a check-in record containing the 853/863 fields embedded originally in the 891 fields. The existence of the 853/863 fields in the check-in record automatically generates a holdings statement for the OPAC display. The system can also apply captions and frequency elements of the 853 field to expedite creation of a check-in card. All Innovative libraries interested in participating in the CONSER project and libraries not participating in the CONSER project may now contact Innovative Interfaces for more information about utilizing this loader in their libraries.

As MSU Libraries prepare to implement MFHD and use the CONSER project loader in its production database, there is ongoing discussion with the library's Database Advisory Committee, composed of representatives of public and technical services and systems, to develop recommendations for clear and patron-friendly OPAC display of library holdings. In the near future, the summary holdings statements in the textual MARC holdings fields (866's) in existing check-in records will be revised to follow the ANSI/NISO Z39.71-1999 standard, and coded MARC holdings fields (85X/86X) will be used for newly-cataloged titles. In addition, there is also continuing collaboration between MSU Libraries and Innovative Interfaces to improve the system's support of MARC holdings fields.

Allen Thunell (Manager of the Bibliographic Enhancement Team) and Wen-ying Lu (Catalog Librarian and Linguistics Bibliographer) presented a workshop at the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) 16th Annual Conference in San Antonio on May 24, 2001. It provided an overview of the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative and described MSU's participation in the Initiative. Issues related to system vendor support, administrative support, workflow, staffing, training, and OPAC display were also discussed. More than 70 participants attended the workshop. It was well received and inspired participants to try MFHD and to participate in the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative. Libraries were encouraged to risk a short-term investment for a long-term gain.

-- Wen-ying Lu (Michigan State University) and Theodore A. Fons (Innovative Interfaces)

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SCCTP's Serial Holdings Workshop: A Trainer's Perspective

Group of workshop attendeesJust as holdings come in many different flavors and formats, trainees who have attended the SCCTP's Serials Holdings workshop come from many different types of library and serial settings. Some are new to serials in general, while others may be well-versed in serials but are new to the MARC 21 Holdings Format, fondly known as MFHD (pronounced "muffhead"). Some libraries that attend have already migrated to an integrated library system with the MFHD and want to know how their system works "behind the scenes," while other libraries plan to implement the format in the coming months and need to learn how to code their holdings from scratch.

This wide variety of factors (level of experience with serials, level of experience with MFHD, the type of library, and the position held in the library) makes each Serials Holdings workshop unique. Throughout the 9 sessions of the workshop, the questions and the discussions they generate are always distinct, always different. Even the trainer (myself) is always learning something new about some aspect or subtlety of the format.

Because I can never predict the questions or the perspective of the trainee, I have learned to bring into the workshop all the official documents for the MARC 21 Holdings and Z39.71 standards, as well as bookmark the SCCTP, MARC, and CONSER Web sites. Usually, by the end of the two days, all standards and websites have been referred to.

Sometimes the training doesn't end at the finish of the two days. At one workshop, the trainees were so excited to meet other serialists in their area who were implementing the holdings standard that, when the workshop ended, they swapped e-mail addresses. They are now starting their own informal local network to ask questions of each other and to share their experiences.

-- Margi Mann, OCLC/Western

Holdings on the Move! The University of Maryland's Experience

The University System of Maryland and its affiliated institutions (USMAI), the Health Sciences Library in Baltimore and St. Mary's College of Maryland, are lucky campers in the MARC 21 holdings arena. Just as USMAI needed to learn this format for the implementation of its new integrated library system, Ex Libris, CONSER's Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program had a two-day Serial Holdings Workshop ready and waiting for us. On March 1-2 and on March 12-13, 2001, two classes each of twenty USMAI staff participated in SCCTP's latest course offering. The training was held at the Thurgood Marshall Library at Bowie State University.

The two classes contained many who are familiar with MARC 21 for bibliographic records but most had no experience with MARC 21 holdings. The trainer for both workshops was Linda Geisler, a senior instructor from the Library of Congress, who works daily with MFHDs in Endeavor's Voyager system. USMAI benefited greatly from Linda's experience in all things related to holdings, especially the creation of publication patterns needed for predictive check-in systems. Indeed, the best part of the Serial Holdings Workshop for UM was that it allowed plenty of time to discuss publication patterns at length. This was of great interest to most of the class since this was the one area with which UM staff had the least knowledge. The pace of the class is flexible enough to allow for concentration in a particular area, if needed.

Our luck has continued as USMAI has been given access to publication patterns provided by other Ex Libris' customers, namely, Notre Dame, Boston College, and the University of Iowa. During the summer, these patterns were matched against our database using ISSN and title. An exact hit rate hasn't been determined yet, but any match is helpful. After all, editing something is always easier than having to create it anew.

The MARC 21 Holdings Format is also being used to transfer summary holdings data and item records into Ex Libris from USMAI's previous systems, CARL, DRA, and Dynix. Fortunately, this data was stored in previous systems in a way that it could be mapped into MFHD for loading into Ex Libris. As summer ends, USMAI staff are testing the transfer of data into test files.

USMAI is delighted with the SCCTP MARC 21 Holdings Workshop. As a data communication tool, the MARC 21 Holdings Format is helping us to prepare for our next ILS migration. SCCTP is providing a wonderful service to educate all on the value of this format.

-- Jeanne Baker (University of Maryland, College Park)

Editor's note: A schedule of upcoming Serials Holdings Workshops is available on the SCCTP Website. SCCTP relies on others to sponsor workshops. For more information, contact Jean Hirons.

Two New SCCTP Courses Under Development

Two new SCCTP courses will be tested this fall. Advanced Serials Cataloging Workshop, is a two-day course being developed by Kristin Lindlan (University of Washington) and Margaret Mering (University of Nebraska). The course will include 9 sessions in 1.5 days that will cover the more difficult aspects of serials description. The last half day will be devoted to cataloging exercises and problems from home. The second course, Electronic Serials Workshop, is being developed by Les Hawkins (Library of Congress) and Steve Shadle (University of Washington). This one day course will cover the cataloging of online journals and will focus on special problems, including providing access to titles in aggregations and use of the single or separate record approaches. Both courses are based on the changes to AACR2 chapters 9 (Electronic Resources) and 12 (Continuing Resources) and will be released in 2002 at the same time the new format of AACR2 is made available. Two train-the-trainer sessions are being scheduled for January 2002. The first will be held prior to ALA in New Orleans (Jan. 16-18). The second will be held in Toronto (January 28-30) in association with the Ontario Library Association meeting. A call for trainers will be issued during the fall. For more information on the new courses, see the SCCTP Web site.

-- Jean Hirons

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Seriality, International Harmonization, and CONSER Documentation


Chapter 12 "Continuing Resources" of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Code is almost complete. Highlights of the revision are the inclusion of rules for integrating resources, new minor title change rules, and more complete rules for the description of serials. The final review will take place in mid-October at the meeting of the Joint Steering Committee to Revise AACR2 (JSC) in Ottawa. The new chapter and related rule changes will be issued as part of a new loose-leaf formatAACR2. Yes-AACR2is becoming an integrating resource! And now we'll have rules to catalog it!!! The new format should be available in mid 2002.


MARBI approved proposals for new codes to accommodate integrating resources at its meeting in June. Approved was a new code 'i' for integrating resources for a position in the leader of the bibliographic record (Leader/07 bibliographic level). The new code 'i' will be used in association with the current serials 008 fixed field. New codes were also approved for the 008 and related 006 fields: code 'k' (continuously updated) in the frequency (008/18); codes l (updating loose-leaf), d (updating database), and w (updating Web site) in 008/21 which will be renamed from "Type of serial" to "Type of continuing resource"; and code '2' ("integrated entry) in 008/34. Another major change that was approved was the repeatability of field 260 (Publisher) to accommodate changes over time for continuing resources and multi-parts. There is no indication as to when these changes will be implemented.


The ISBD(S) Working Group held its final meeting August 19th in Boston during the annual convention of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. The group reviewed questions and suggested changes generated by the world-wide review of the final draft of the ISBD(CR)-the International Standard Bibliographic Description for Serials and Other Continuing Resources. The revised standard will include rules for integrating resources and reflects many of the changes made to AACR2. Edward Swanson is editing the revision under the direction of Ingrid Parent (National Library of Canada). The revised standard will be published during 2002.

ISSN Manual

The third major standard under revision is the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). A small group of ISSN directors and members of the ISSN staff at the International Centre in Paris have been working on a revision of the ISSN Manual that will incorporate a broadened scope to include continuing resources (serials as well as updating Web sites, loose-leafs, and databases that are issued on a continuing basis), new rules for major and minor title changes, and some changes to key title construction. Final revisions were approved at the annual meeting of directors held in Bern Switzerland during September.

The revision of AACR2, ISBD(S), and the ISSN Manual has marked a significant effort in international harmonization that recognizes the increased need to share cataloging records and be able to work in a cooperative environment.

ISST (International Standard Serial Title)

One element that has been much discussed-the ISST, or international standard serial title- will take more time to develop. A small working group met in Boston to discuss next steps. As envisioned by the group, the ISST would be the authoritative title for a serial (or perhaps for any continuing resource) and the records for ISSTs would serve as the international authority file for continuing resource titles. ISST records would reside in the ISSN database. The ISST would replace the current ISSN key title and, in most cases, the AACR2 uniform title. There are many benefits but significant challenges to accomplishing the ISST. The continued exploration and development of an ISST is being coordinated by Françoise Pellé, Director of the ISSN International Centre.

Update on CONSER Documentation

A new edition of the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM)is currently in preparation and will be published next spring or summer. The new edition will be updated to reflect rule changes for description of printed and electronic serials and title changes, and will eventually include new chapters on the cataloging of integrating resources. The section (or sections) on integrating resources will also be made available separately and as part of the BIBCO Manual in recognition of the fact that a broad spectrum of catalogers will catalog integrating resources. The CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) will be revised, as needed, to accommodate the Chapter 12 revisions. There will be no updates to either the CCM or CEG between now and next spring.

-- Jean Hirons (LC)


Wayne Jones has left MIT to return to Canada where he will be working towards a certificate in publishing from Ryerson University in Toronto.

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