Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Program for Cooperative Cataloging > CONSER > CONSER At-Large ALA Annual June 27, 2004


Carlen Ruschoff (U. Maryland), chair of the PCC opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.

Updates and reports:

Les Hawkins, CONSER coordinator, gave an update on the program. He announced that Hien Nguyen, who has been acting CONSER specialist for several months has recently been named permanently to the specialist position. Hien has a high level of serials cataloging experience, including cataloging of electronic serials. She will be working on an update to the CCM scheduled for completion this fall. Except for the update of Module 31 issued last year, this will be the first CCM update since the 2002 edition was completed. Hien will also be working on updating the CONSER Web pages and has ideas about improving access to CONSER resources and documentation.

In early 2004 CONSER implemented changes to its membership structure, moving Enhance level members to the Associate level, and changing record contribution requirements. Ten members were moved to the Associate level, some members are working with mentors to make the transition. Members in the Associate level rotate for OCLC funding to attend the annual operations meetings in May.

Seven institutions have expressed interest in joining the CONSER program at the Associate level. Two of these libraries participate in the Publications Pattern Initiative, two are state libraries, and two others are affiliated with current CONSER libraries, but are administratively separate units.

CONSER Replacement File

John Levy (LC) reported on the CONSER replacement file received from OCLC and processed against the CDS distribution database. The processing of updates (later versions of OCLC/CONSER records) records resulted in the redistribution of over 378,000 records to subscribers of the CDS serials product. It also resulted in the identification of several categories of mismatches between the OCLC and LC files of the CONSER database. One category of mismatches (records on CDS file but not in CONSER replacement file), includes 3,628 records that will need to be examined on a record-by-record basis to resolve conflicts and resend the correct records to subscribers. John and others in LC’s Serial Record Division will be working on this project. Another category of mismatches (records on replacement file but not previously in CDS), consists of 3,204 records that will be analyzed and added/distributed by CDS as necessary.

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An update of actions on the recommendations of the CONSER Summit was given.

1) Revise CONSER’s mission statement: Since CONSER’s mission statement is combined with the PCC mission statement, the PCC Policy Committee (PoCo) will consider revision of the statement.

2) Work with the ISSN Network to ensure that CONSER records have correct ISSN and provide feedback on the ISSN revision process: CONSER members provided input into the four scenarios formulated by the revision group earlier this year. Regina Reynolds gave an update and overview of subsequent activities (see below).

3) Increase coverage of e-serials in the CONSER database: A CONSER task group was put together to look at existing coverage and ways to expand it.

4) Establish a CONSER publisher advisory board to recommend initiatives for collaboration between publishers and CONSER: The PCC Steering Committee has asked CONSER to develop a proposal for such a board, with a charge and possible appointments. At-large attendees said the board should include aggregators and system vendors. NASIG may be a vehicle for implementing contacts necessary to form this group.

5) Explore ways of accommodating OpenURL on CONSER/PCC records: A task group was formed during the CONSER Operations meeting to look at URLs used in the CONSER database

6) Discuss ways to monitor the success of the aggregator neutral record… as well as ways to accommodate non-AACR2 data from international sources and preAACR2 records: A task group was charged with looking into part of this charge: accommodating non-AACR2 and pre-AACR2 records.

7) Establish a task group to consider displays of multiple versions in order to make the OCAT clearer: The PCC task group on automation will be asked to consider this. Other work that has an impact is the Publication History Task Group working on the display of a super record to pull related bibliographic and holdings records together; the CONSER FRBR task group, and the PCC task group working on linking displays.


CONSER At-Large attendees discussed several FRBR related issues. Everett Allgood (NYU) submitted the following summary of the discussion:

Frieda Rosenberg (UNC - Chapel Hill) summarized the FRBR pre-conference held in Orlando the Thursday afternoon and Friday before the ALA Annual Conference. Frieda was enthusiastic that much of the emphasis was upon FRBR’s potential for expressing relationships, and not so much on the FRBR Group 1 Entities (e.g., Work, Expression, Manifestation and Item). For decades, serialists have gone to great lengths in efforts to determine and describe relationships among serial resources.

It was noted that the final recommendation of the CC:DA Task Force on Rule 21.0D in late 2003 encouraged catalogers to resume the old practice of entering the optional “designation of function” roles in AACR2r. This will enhance personal and corporate body entries within OPACs, allowing users greater ability to retrieve persons and bodies serving the roles in which they are interested.

Attendees of CONSER At-Large felt that the FRBR conceptual model does not presently handle continuing resources well. The CONSER Task Force on FRBR and Continuing Resources has submitted two papers to Patrick LeBoeuf’s IFLA FRBR Review Group documenting the “challenges” the current model presents for serials and other continuing resources (“Attributes of a serial expression” and “Serial expressions and works”). Judy Kuhagen (LC CPSO) and Regina Reynolds (LC NSDP) both serve on Patrick’s IFLA FRBR Review Group and the CONSER Task Force, and the two groups are working together to determine if the FRBR model needs to be revised to better accommodate serials, or if serials/continuing resources simply present too many challenges to work within the FRBR structure.

Everett Allgood of the CONSER FRBR Task Force and Regina Reynolds both emphasized that serialists need to think about what we want and need. We are entering a new time in cataloging. AACR3 is being drafted and is due to be published in 2007, the ISSN Network is currently reexamining practices, and finally, harmonization and user needs are the current overriding principles. Consequently, serials catalogers should not be looking at FRBR thinking, “How can we make this replicate our current serials cataloging guidelines?”

Instead, we should be looking at serials as they exist and continue to develop. In so doing, catalogers need to consider how to best describe these resources for identification and retrieval by users. Once these “serial best practices” are determined, tested, and proven, they must be harmonized into AACR3 and the ISSN Guidelines.

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ISSN Update

Regina Reynolds provided an update and overview of ISSN developments. The ISSN Network is working on implementing its ILS based system, VTLS Virtua for maintaining the ISSN database. This will enhance the process of record contribution for ISSN centers that do their ISSN work independently of their national databases and may help increase over all timeliness of updates. The system is also MARC21 based and will provide greater flexibility in record exchange options.

The group working on the revision, ISO/TC 46/SC9/Working Group 5 (WG5), met in May 2004 and reviewed results of a survey that asked ISSN users about four possible scenarios for ISSN revision:

A. Maintain the status quo, assign separate ISSN to separate manifestations

B. Change the ISSN to title-level identifier

C. Use one base ISSN plus a suffix to identify other manifestations

D. Choose a “master” title level ISSN accompanied by manifestation ISSN

None of these scenarios met the needs of all ISSN user communities. An alternative proposal was formulated by the revision group and is known as “functional granularity”. It involves providing the publisher control in assigning ISSN. If the publisher prefers to use one ISSN to identify both the print and online titles, the publisher could do that. If the publisher, because of the needs of its trading partners, needs to assign separate ISSN to separate manifestations, the publisher could do that. The ISSN Network would need to consider providing training or mentorship for publishers to familiarize them with the philosophy and guidelines for assigning ISSN under functional granularity.

The concept of functional granularity is one of three activities the revision group is pursuing. Two other activities address title level identification and access to metadata in the ISSN database. Title and manifestation level identification are important in identifying content for indexing, access through particular products, and linking applications, including reference linking and OpenURL. Using the ISSN as a title level identifier embedded within another identifier, such as the (International Standard Text Code) (ISTC), a Uniform Resource Name (URN), or Digital Object Identifier (DOI) may help address title and manifestation identification. The exact mechanism for this still needs to be developed.

The revision group and the ISSN Network are looking at the functionality of the ISSN database and various new services that could be generated from it. Authoritative metadata associated with the ISSN are important for CONSER records and other library systems that rely on ISSN data for linking and delivering text. CONSER is polling its membership on behalf of the ISSN Network to determine the uses for different types of services that the ISSN database could provide to assure correct ISSN data on CONSER records.

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