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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSERline > No. 29, Fall 2007

No. 29, Fall 2007


From the Editor

Welcome to the Fall 2007 issue of CONSERline.

CONSER members have passionately discussed the future of CONSER and cooperative cataloging this year!

CONSER operations representatives met in May at their annual meeting to lay the groundwork for implementing the CONSER standard record. To be sure we realize gains in implementing the new standard, we agreed to set up a mechanism to monitor our steps and resolve problems as we encounter them.

At the annual meeting, we also examined the single versus separate record approaches and the role our records play in providing access to continuing resources in future digitization projects. We surveyed member institutions on their use of the two approaches locally and asked how they intend to employ them in contributing to the DLF Registry of Digital Masters.

The outcomes of these and other discussions within the PCC are explored in this issue of CONSERline. I know that many readers in the cataloging community will have comments and concerns about some of these topics, and CONSER can benefit from your input. I welcome you to share your comments with CONSER, through me directly, with any member representatives you know, or in the wider electronic venues, blogs and listservs that carry discussions of interest to those who provide cataloging and metadata services.

We also have news on other developments that I am very excited about: SCCTP workshop updates and online learning initiatives, PCC authentication of records for integrating resources, new member institutions as well as other news. I hope you enjoy this issue of CONSERline!

-- Les Hawkins, CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress

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CONSER Standard Record News

CONSER Operations meeting May 1-3 2007

CONSER operations representatives agreed to implement the CONSER Standard Record (CSR) on June 1, 2007 with the understanding that member institutions will probably need to consult with staff before setting an implementation date locally. Representatives agreed to monitor the implementation of the standard throughout the year and make changes or adjustments as needed.

One full day of the operations meeting was devoted to working through the documentation for the standard and identifying areas that needed to be clarified. The summary of the meeting is available from the CONSER Web site. To provide a framework for our discussions, Melissa Beck (UCLA) and Valerie Bross (UCLA) presented an SCCTP training session on the CSR developed by Melissa on behalf of the PCC. The session outlined the record element requirements, special instructions and record examples in the CSR Metadata Application Profile (MAP). After the session, members discussed cataloging questions that were not clearly addressed in the documentation or that required further decision-making by the group.
Representatives agreed that the next steps include charging a CONSER group to monitor the standard and suggest revisions for the MAP and other CONSER documentation. We plan to have this group formally charged and in operation this fall. A summary of unresolved issues is being maintained on a portion of the PCC wiki and representatives have been making comments, suggestions, and offering rule of thumb decision making tools throughout the summer. Representatives met and exchanged some of these ideas at the ALA Annual CONSER at-large meeting in June and have carried on their discussions through the CONSER email list and the wiki.

CONSER operations representatives decided that gathering feedback from the cataloging community beyond CONSER would be a valuable source of information on the impact of the records. If anyone has comments on particular records or the standard in general, please feel free to contact me directly, Les Hawkins: [email protected] or 202-707-5185 (voice). I'll share your comments with the CONSER membership and the group that will be charged with monitoring the standard.

Hien Nguyen, CONSER Specialist, developed a successful CSR poster session aimed at non-CONSER members and presented it at NASIG in May. Comments were gathered during the NASIG meeting and were incorporated into training material and the documentation. Melissa Beck presented an SCCTP CSR session to a full house in conjunction with ALA Annual as an out-reach effort to non-CONSER serials catalogers on use of the standard. The SCCTP PowerPoint presentation Melissa used for this session is freely available from: (PPT; 482KB).

The MAP is the primary documentation for the new standard and is intended to be a brief and succinct guide to cataloger decision-making. The existing CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) and CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) are foreseen as places where additional rules of thumb, principle-based decision-making, and information on the nature of serials publishing, etc. can be maintained. Members of the monitoring group will provide input for the revision of the CEG and CCM

Many of the comments that CONSER representatives have offered on the CSR include suggestions for improvements in MARC21. A CONSER group has been established to draft CONSER standard related MARBI proposals. Tina Shrader (National Agricultural Library) is leading this group that includes a wide range of CONSER representatives.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

DLF Registry of Digital Masters

CONSER representatives attending the May CONSER operations meeting discussed the Digital Library Federation’s Registry of Digital Masters Record Creation Guidelines (RDM) (external link) recently revised as version 2, May 2007. The guidelines encourage creation of separate records for the digital version and also provide for use of a single record approach. Several mandatory fields: 007, 506, 533, 583, 856 are included for the single record approach in the guidelines. These elements go beyond the relatively few record elements recommended in CONSER’s single record approach outlined in the CONSER Cataloging Manual, Module 31 Remote Access Electronic Serials (Online Serials), 31.2.3. In the RDM discussions at ALA midwinter, suggestions for adding additional elements to the single record approach were debated including series access for series titles appearing on the digital reproduction but not on the print original.

CONSER representatives have been discussing potential contribution of CONSER serial records to the RDM for the past two years, led primarily by Renette Davis (University of Chicago) and Naomi Young (University of Florida). Renette has represented CONSER interests in conference calls of the Digital Library Federation/OCLC Registry of Digital Masters Working Group and has led discussions on the topic at meetings of the PARS Intellectual Access to Preservation Data Interest Group at ALA. Naomi has long had an interest in the topic and coordinated a survey of CONSER members as preparation for our discussion at the operations meeting this year. Our discussions have called for a reexamination of the intent and principles behind the single record approach and how we make use of it generally. We've also reflected on the role of CONSER records in the RDM and the role of RDM itself as a tool to identify collections that will be digitally preserved.

CONSER concerns about the single record approach in the RDM guidelines focus on combining many more elements that relate to both the print and the electronic in a single record than we have in our past use of the single record approach. As an example of the record elements used for the single record approach, see section 9.8, example 8 Serial – Single record approach in the RDM guidelines. Some CONSER representatives commented that RDA and FRBR will be more focused on a separate record approach in the future and that moving too much toward a single record approach now by combining additional elements puts us out of synch with these future developments. Over the years since developing CONSER guidelines for the single record approach, we’ve received feedback that some elements on the CONSER print single record (for example, 007 referring to the electronic version) are confusing. There is concern that the additional required elements of the RDM referring to the electronic version will further confuse interpretation of the record, especially for subscribers to the CONSER file.

On the other hand, several CONSER members by long established institutional policy prefer use of the single record approach to provide access to electronic versions of serials and indicated in our survey that they will not be able to contribute to the RDM without making use of it. Some have suggested that since RDM data elements are intended to detail plans for preserving the print, data about the digital version is appropriate on the record for the print.

The revised DLF guidelines indicate another possible approach. Section 10 of the guidelines includes a “Development Road Map” of future efforts, the first effort listed is investigation of using the holdings record to contain RDM data. This would provide an appropriate location other than the bibliographic record to contain details of an institution’s planned digitization. There may be some hurdles to overcome before using the holdings approach for the RDM however. The guidelines point out that “currently, the 852 field is not retained in the master record and is considered local data.” On the searching end, use of the holdings record requires a two-step process for finding out if a preservation plan is in place for a particular resource, first bibliographic records are searched, then the holdings records viewed. Also many institutions currently do not configure holdings records for OAI harvesting as they do bibliographic records, although encoding holdings records in XML for harvesting is certainly possible.

At this point CONSER member contributions to the RDM are relatively small and those that are currently contributing will be able to make use of the separate record approach. CONSER members agreed at its operations meeting in May not to contribute single record approach records to the RDM for a year. CONSER will monitor developments in how holdings records might be used in the RDM and how our institutional needs for contributing to the RDM evolve over the coming year.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

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Integrating Resources Cataloging


In June members of CONSER and BIBCO began to authenticate records for integrating resources on OCLC and these records will soon be distributed in a single "continuing resources" file to CDS MARC Distribution Service (MDS) subscribers. Subscribers of the “MDS serials” file include several ILS vendors, providers of publication access management systems, and others services that rely on knowledge bases that cover continuing resources. CDS has provided its subscribers a customary 60-day notification that the file now contains records for integrating resources.

OCLC configured its account authorizations for CONSER and BIBCO member institutions to be able to add the two required elements for distributing records for integrating resources in the MDS serials file, "pcc" in the 042 field and a valid LCCN. Members of both BIBCO and CONSER can maintain records containing these two elements in the model of CONSER record updating for serials.

There are several “flavors” of existing records for integrating resources that members of the two programs are encountering. These include records created under the previous “interim” practice using the monograph format and a continuing resource 006. Others are records in the continuing resources format created after OCLC implemented bibliographic level code “i” in June 2006. Members running into difficulties converting records to the continuing resources format can report these records to OCLC for conversion. Members have been asked not to convert any LC records done before or during the interim format since there is additional work needed at LC to assure they are distributed correctly to the continuing resources file.

Cataloging Documentation

Peter Fletcher (UCLA) chaired a PCC task group working on guidelines for a provider-neutral record for electronic integrating resources. The final report is available for public comment from: (PDF, 625 KB). Please send any comments to Les Hawkins ([email protected]) or Peter Fletcher ([email protected]) by October 31, 2007.
The next step is to begin work on PCC documentation for cataloging integrating resources. The BIBCO Participants’ Manual appendix entitled: Integrating Resources: A Cataloging Manual (PDF, 6.17 MB) will be updated to remove references to the interim monograph coding practice. Guidelines for the provider neutral approach for electronic integrating resources will be added and there are aspects of the CSR that may be appropriate for inclusion. The appendix will document practices for both CONSER and BIBCO catalogers cataloging integrating resources and will also be made a part of the CONSER Cataloging Manual. This work is expected to begin this fall by a joint group made up of CONSER and BIBCO catalogers, staff from LC, and OCLC.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP)

The CONSER Standard Record presentation developed by Melissa Beck has been used by SCCTP trainers as a supplemental module to the other SCCTP workshops and is freely available from the CONSER Web site. The presentation has been updated as trainees comment, ask questions about the standard, and CONSER representatives respond. Early versions of the module were vetted in a live online learning format and in face-to-face presentations. In April, Laura Kimberley, Associate Director and Manager of Continuing Education Services Amigos Library Services, helped arrange for three online train-the-trainer sessions. Led by Melissa and Valerie Bross, the online sessions were presented to over 20 SCCTP trainers to give them background on the new standard and the resources to incorporate the topic in other SCCTP workshops.

SCCTP Online Training

SCCTP continues to experiment with online training in asynchronous and synchronous formats. An asynchronous learning format provides a platform or portal to post assignments, quizzes, and provide forums for email and chat allowing participation at any convenient time. In a synchronous learning format, students and teachers interact live in scheduled real time sessions using virtual classroom technology to communicate. 

This summer, Steven Miller, Senior Lecturer, School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee and author of the SCCTP Integrating Resources Workshop, offered an asynchronous version of his workshop through UWM, SOIS. Steve taught two back to back sessions in July and August. Each of these Web-based Integrating Resources workshops ran for four weeks.

In July, through a NASIG grant to Amigos, Christine Peterson, Continuing Education Librarian, Technology at Amigos offered a synchronous train-the-trainer workshop for SCCTP trainers using its real time online classroom Centra software. The workshop is aimed at introducing trainers to the online training environment and consists of four sessions culminating in a session of student presentations. In August, Amigos offered the SCCTP CONSER Standard Record update sessions as one of its regular for-fee live online sessions open to the entire cataloging community. In September, Bibliographical Center for Research (BCR) also offered the CSR module as one of its WebLive Training courses. Due to popular demand of this live online workshop both Amigos and BCR have planned to offer it again later this year.

SCCTP Informal Discussion at NASIG

SCCTP trainers meeting at NASIG discussed strategies for updating the Basic Serials Cataloging and Advanced Serials Cataloging workshops. Several SCCTP trainers have volunteered to help revise the manuals. The group discussed the need to reconsider and re-purpose the content of the basic and advanced workshops. Several people expressed the need for more advanced and special-focus topics in the advanced workshop. Two trainers mentioned working on retrospective cataloging projects and suggested that an advanced module on this topic would have been helpful in training staff working on these projects. Similarly, acquisitions and reference staff in many institutions are in need of information about serials that could be incorporated into modules of the Basic workshop. Work on these two workshops will begin this fall. (See also the article "Plans for Revising CONSER Documentation" below for additional SCCTP revision information.)

-- Hien Nguyen (LC), Les Hawkins (LC)

PCC Ad Hoc Series Review Task Force

The PCC Ad Hoc Series Review Task Force was formed as a result of the LC series decision last year. The charge for the group is available from the PCC Web site. During a first time informal meeting at ALA Annual in 2007 the group decided to focus on one specific task: Make recommendations on changes in PCC series policies and documentation that result in simple, unified PCC policies, procedures and series authority data elements in PCC records. The group will take responsibility for vetting and submitting series related MARBI proposals and will soon be consulting the cataloging community on the MARBI proposals and other changes to series practice and policy it is considering.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

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Plans for Revising CONSER Documentation

Program members have been thinking about how to incorporate aspects of the newly implemented CONSER standard record (CSR) into existing CONSER documentation. A basic tenant of the CSR is that many elements are "not required" but can be added if the cataloger judges them necessary to provide appropriate identification, access, and description for a particular resource. Catalogers of special types of serials such as rare serials, non-roman script serials (where we are providing parallel roman and non-roman characters), legal materials, and newspapers, etc., have made it clear that elements beyond the basic requirements of the CSR are often required for these resources. The CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM), CONSER Editing Guide (CEG), and SCCTP training materials will continue to retain information that is necessary to supply elements needed for these resources and other cases where additional elements are needed that go beyond the CSR.

As a training tool, the CCM contains information about the nature of serial publishing in general and the reasoning behind cataloging rules that catalogers and other staff working with serials need to know. Implementation of the CSR has not changed the demand for and utility of the CCM in delivering this type of information for training and reference purposes.

The CEG records the history, policy decisions, and agreed upon practices of the CONSER program. It also documents some MARC 21 practices and requirements defined by CONSER that are not included in MARC 21 documentation. We plan to retain those sections of the CEG that are unique to continuing resources and the CONSER program as well as sections containing useful, often member contributed, explanation and examples that make our work in cataloging continuing resources more efficient. We plan to pare down the CEG to remove sections that overlap with the MARC 21 documentation and perhaps consider ways to merge information in the CEG and CCM into one tool.

Based on recommendations from CONSER members, SCCTP trainers, and others who are interested in training programs for continuing resources, we plan to re-purpose the content of the SCCTP Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop to incorporate information needed by acquisition and reference staff and expand the Advanced Serials Cataloging Workshop to include more special-focus topics. We will also begin work on revising the content of the Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop. The Integrating Resources Cataloging Workshop has been undergoing revision and a new version will be available this fall that incorporates changes that have occurred since PCC members have begun to authenticate records for integrating resources. Frieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) has completed a revision of the Serials Holdings Workshop that will also be available this fall.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

Membership News

CONSER welcomed two new member libraries from Pennsylvania!

In 2007, CONSER gained two new associate level members, University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University. Both representatives from these institutions have experience at CONSER institutions. Shana L. McDanold was previously Assistant Professor and Serials and Non-Print Formats Cataloger at Saint Louis University, Pius XII Memorial Library before becoming Electronic Resources & Serials Cataloging Librarian at University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Shana has been working with LC cataloger Lakeia Roseboro for CONSER review. Christopher Walker was previously CONSER/NACO Serials Cataloger at Indiana University before taking the position Serials Cataloging Librarian at Pennsylvania State University Libraries. Steve Shadle (University of Washington) has been working with Christopher during his CONSER review.

-- Les Hawkins (LC)

CSA ProQuest Information Merger

As of February 2007, the information technology firms CSA and ProQuest Information and Learning have merged to form Proquest, part of the Cambridge Information Group family of companies. As a result of this merger, the online products associated with Ulrich's Periodicals Directory - and Ulrich's Serials Analysis System have joined the Serials Solutions family of e-resource management tools for libraries. Beginning in August 2007, and Ulrich's Serials Analysis System will be sold exclusively through the Serials Solutions sales organization. As a result of this, ProQuest has become an affiliate member of CONSER. Alayne Mundt, ProQuest CONSER Affiliate representative, will continue her work in making ISSN assignments and creating Ulrich's listings for U.S. serials.

-- Alayne Mundt (ProQuest)


Congratulations to Robert Bremer (OCLC) who was the recipient of this year's CONSER Award of Cooperation. The citation read in part: "In recognition of your contributions to the building and maintenance of the CONSER database in the spirit of innovation and cooperation. You have served the CONSER Program and its members well with sound advice, practical approaches to problem solving, and the performance of coding conversions and other complex database work."

Peter Fletcher, formerly serials cataloger and CONSER operations representative from Tulane has taken a new position at UCLA as Cyrillic Catalog Librarian & Metadata Specialist. We are glad Peter was able to remain in a CONSER institution! He will continue to serve as PCC's representative to CC:DA.

Ageo Garcia will take on CONSER duties at Tulane. Ageo is Catalog Librarian at Tulane, has been active in the NACO Program, and has worked with Lisa Furubotten (Texas A&M) in translating SCCTP materials into Spanish. Lisa will be helping out with review as Ageo gets started in his new CONSER responsibilities.

Bonnie Parks, formerly CONSER operations representative from MIT has accepted a position as Head of Cataloging and Technology Librarian at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. We'll miss Bonnie as a CONSER representative but she plans to continue her role as an SCCTP instructor. Good luck Bonnie! Jennifer Edwards, MIT Serials Cataloging Librarian, will serve as MIT acting head of serials cataloging until a new section head can be hired. She can be reached at [email protected].

-- Hien Nguyen (LC)

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