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Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Program for Cooperative Cataloging > CONSER > CONSER OPERATIONS COMMITTEE ANNUAL MEETING May 1-3, 2002




2002 Meeting Agenda
With links to background documents

The CONSER Operations Committee held its annual meeting May 1-3, 2002. The CONSER and BIBCO Operations Committees met jointly on May 2. Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator, chaired the CONSER meeting. The meeting was held for three days due to the need for training in both serials and integrating resources, as well as a very full agenda of additional topics. Next year's meeting will return to the traditional two days.

This summary is arranged by topic rather than in the order in which these topics were addressed. The summary of the joint BIBCO/CONSER meeting on May 2nd is available separately.


I.1. Training for serial changes to AACR2

The meeting began with presentations on the changes that are due in the 2002 amendments to AACR2. These include a complete revision of chapter 12, the title change rules in chapter 21, and other related rules. Library of Congress rule interpretations (LCRIs) were finalized shortly after the meeting and their contents were also discussed. On Friday we learned that the 2002 amendments would not be published until some time in August. [LC has subsequently decided to postpone implementation, probably until December 1.]

Jean Hirons presented an outline of the descriptive rule changes for serials. Les Hawkins discussed definitions, scope and sources of information for serials. Regina Reynolds presented the rules for major and minor title changes. During the presentations on changes to AACR2, CONSER catalogers were asked to make decisions on how the CONSER Cataloging Manual should be updated for various aspects of the revision. Most of the decisions reflected a desire to keep CONSER policies flexible. For instance, there will be no CONSER policy on how to apply the new rule for other title information, which allows various possibilities for how data may be represented in the record.

Action: The CCM will be updated to reflect the decisions reached at this meeting. It should be available on the Cataloger's Desktop in mid November.

I. 2. Discussion paper: electronic serials that don't retain earlier titles

Background: AACR2, as originally drafted, included a rule under which serials that did not retain their earlier titles would be treated as integrating resources. That provision was removed before the final version was prepared and CPSO asked whether we should include such a provision in an LCRI. There were differences of opinion and a discussion paper was prepared by Hirons, Hawkins and Reynolds that presented two options: 1) catalog according to integrating entry; or 2) catalog according to successive entry.

Discussion: It was noted that Web based resources not retaining earlier titles are becoming more and more common and not restricted to serials. One comment noted that changing the title proper on the record to match what appears on the earliest issue at a given time is not incompatible with successive entry cataloging. Robert Bremer suggested that if successive entry records are used, the current url could be maintained on the record for the earlier title to allow use of the 856 on both records. Local practices for handling such situations seemed to vary, though most mentioned that a latest entry approach is preferred locally.

Records for Web sites that have disappeared raise similar questions. The utilities have in some limited cases removed records for these, though cautiously. It is often not known if the site has temporarily disappeared or is in the process of moving. The catalog record can serve as a historical record for a resource that no longer exists; the URL for such a site, even if not current is the key to matching an archived version in the Internet archive.

CONSER members asked what should be done with an "earlier title not retained" resource that changes title yet again at a later time. Should latest entry continue to be used even if the resource retains some but maybe not all earlier titles?

Decision: The final vote was taken on Friday and the decision was to use an integrating entry approach for Web serials that do not retain their earlier title. However, if the serial later changes again, this time retaining an earlier title, it was decided to return to successive entry.

Action: an LCRI has been drafted and sent to CPSO.


Valerie Bross (UCLA) gave a summary of the CONSER PURL Pilot project. Participants in the 10-week project felt it had been successful but a better measure of its usefulness would be achieved from a longer time span and increased participations. Participants add PURLS only to freely available Web resources. PURLs established by the pilot are added to a second subfield $u in field 856 to facilitate duplicate detection in CORC. Since many of the PURLs were created for Web sites rather than serials, the pilot members recommend opening it to BIBCO members. Weekly error reports from OCLC provide users with information about changed URLs.

Discussion: GPO and pilot participants mentioned that PURLs are sometimes deleted from records by other CONSER members, which defeats the purpose of using them. It was suggested that a CONSER policy be clearly stated in CCM Module 31 that PURLS should not be deleted from records. A training component could be added to the PURL Pilot to help potential CONSER and BIBCO members develop local procedures for creating and maintaining PURLs.

One problem with expanding the project to non-OCLC PCC members is that access to the CONSER PURL server is based on users inputting their OCLC authorization and password.

The question of whether the scope of the Pilot could be expanded beyond free resources was also discussed. The report of the Pilot recommends that the focus remain on free resources, since many commercial sites use IP specific access (causing a problem during link checking) or forbid link checking entirely from an outside source.

One suggested enhancement of the link checking process was to add an automated verification of the content of working URLs to determine if the resource is the same resource represented in the record or an entirely new resource (not just a more recent iteration of an existing resource).

Decisions: CONSER members supported continuation of the project and a number volunteered to participate. They also recommended that the project be expanded to include BIBCO participants, a number of who also volunteered during a subsequent presentation at the joint meeting. Members also supported the proposal that OCLC provide credits to institutions that choose to participate. Members agreed that a policy of not deleting PURLs in CONSER records be documented.

Action: Bross will issue a formal request for new participants from CONSER and BIBCO. Robert Bremer (OCLC) will look into the possibility of a different type of logon id for non-OCLC users. Hawkins will add instructions to the CCM and CEG relative to PURLS and CONSER maintenance.

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A number of discussions were held on various proposals and issues related to electronic serials. Hirons summed up the issues on Friday morning in order to give an overview of the realm of possibilities and proposals for access facing CONSER catalogers. These include:

· Using the single record approach (print record with note for online)

· Using LCRI 1.11a for reproductions (proposal discussed at meeting)

· Using a single electronic record that would represent all manifestations of the electronic version (proposal discussed at meeting)

· Using records sets from aggregators (e.g., EBSCO) or new services from serials management providers (e.g., Serials Solutions)

· Considering how future implementation of the FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) may impact on displays of multiple versions and how the proposals under discussion could impact such displays.

In order to begin with the big picture, the FRBR was discussed first, followed by the two proposals for use of LCRI 1.11a and use of a single record for multiple manifestations.

Hirons asked how many people are using the single record approach and the majority indicated that they are using it and plan to continue to use it for at least some situations. Because it is difficult to assess the full impact of some of the proposals that were on the table, Hirons suggested setting up a small working group that would develop criteria against which such proposals could be evaluated. The group would include representatives from acquisitions and reference and several names were suggested.

Action: Working Group on Criteria for Assessing Access Methods for Electronic Serials will prepare criteria and submit by July 30. Cecilia Sercan (Cornell) will chair. Other members of the group: Denise Bennett (U. Florida), Tim Jewel (U. Washington), David Reser (LC), Regina Reynolds (LC), and David Van Hoy (MIT).

III.1. FRBR and Serials: Expression level cataloging and displays for multiple manifestations

Background: The JSC is currently examining the possibilities of "expression level" cataloging through a task force led by Jennifer Bowen. The Network Development and MARC Standards Office has prepared a paper on the hierarchical display of records for multiple manifestations based on the levels in the FRBR. The examples included are for monographs. Hirons prepared a paper that examined the levels for serials and provided several examples.

Discussion: Everett Allgood (NYU) discussed the interim report from Bowen and some of the ideas expressed in it. This was followed by a general discussion of the paper prepared by Hirons. Looking at FRBR as it could be applied to serials raises a number of questions. Are the only true expressions translations? What constitutes a serial work? Might we extend the concept of a serial work to include the entire run of changed titles or need it be title based?

Action: Hirons proposed that CONSER set up a task force to take up the immediate issue of providing serial examples for the MARC21 paper and the longer term charge of reviewing and responding to developments related to the FRBR with an eye to its impact on serials and continuing resources. The CONSER Task Force on FRBR and Continuing Resources will be chaired by Everett Allgood. Members are: Robert Bremer (OCLC), Valerie Bross (UCLA), Carroll Nelson Davis (LC), Ed Jones (Information Quest), Naomi Young (U. Florida), Ann Sitkin (Harvard), Ann Caldwell (Brown), John Attig (Penn.State), and Jean Hirons (LC), ex officio.

III.2. LCRI 1.11a and Reproductions

Backround: CONSER decided not to apply this LCRI last year although there has been some discussion among CONSER members of cases where it might be appropriate. Hirons reintroduced the issue during the winter and many members indicated an interest in applying it. The LCRI allows for a microform approach to electronic reproductions whereby the record for another version is cloned and a 533 note is added containing the details of the electronic reproduction. A draft of CCM Module 31 was prepared that would limit use of the RI to reproductions of dead serials.

Discussion: In looking at the proposed guidelines there were two issues of concern: 1) how to determine whether something is a reproduction, and 2) whether it should be limited to dead serials.

What is a reproduction?

Distinguishing reproductions from simultaneous versions is complicated by current publishing practices for print serials that very often begin with a digital format from which the paper product is produced. However, there are many scanning projects and situations where it is clear that the serial is a reproduction.

Some CONSER members were concerned about how the LCRI would be used with institutional preservation projects. Could the fact that a reproduction is made by a secondary publisher, like a university preservation project be a factor in identifying when this LCRI should be used? If a preservation project contained a variety of material (monos, serials, other) some material might fit the scope of the LCRI and some not; catalogers would need to decide if doing some material one way and some another way is worth it.

It was also noted that the work being done by NetLibrary, the group for which the RI was originally revised, has also changed. It appears that NetLibrary is no longer exclusively producing scanned reproductions of older material. Another comment was that electronic reproductions could include a lot of things beyond reproductions of print material such as online versions of material first issued on CD-ROM and that libraries were even dealing with printouts of material originally issued online. Some CONSER members mentioned the increasing complexity of 533 fields as a potential problem.

Dead or alive?

Why not use this LCRI for scanning projects that include current serials rather than only dead serials? Newspaper reproduction projects work in this manner and generally in reproduction microfilming there is no distinction made between dead and live serials. The possibility of treating the records for the different titles of a serial according to different practices was not a pleasant one!

Decision: CONSER members voted to use the LCRI in cases where it is clear that the serial is a reproduction and to use it for both current and dead titles. However, first it will be tested against the criteria established by the CONSER working group (see above). Further decisions will need to be made concerning uniform titles in pre-AACR2 records, etc.

Action: Once criteria have been established, Hirons will present to CONSER for a new decision.

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III. 3. Proposal to use a single record for all online manifestations of a serial

Background: Many serials are being made available by multiple aggregators. The current CONSER practice is to create separate records for each aggregator. This proposal, developed by Becky Culburtson, Naomi Young, and Regina Reynolds, would provide access for all aggregators on a single electronic version record. The proposal was precipitated by the fact that the distributors are continually being bought out or otherwise changing and the records being created on the basis of the distributor are becoming hard to manage. The paper presented a proposed model for fields to be included.

Discussion: Several questions were raised. The model as presented did not include a 260 date of publication. How should the fixed field be coded? What sort of 130 and associated qualifiers should be used--those based on the print, including any qualifiers associated with the print, or just "online"? If this approach is taken, how would these records interact with records created according to LCRI 1.11a that use a 533 field?

The question of whether or not this would conflict with the creation and use of record sets (e.g., those created by OCLC) was also raised. Libraries purchasing record sets want to minimize record-by-record editing. Ideally, records could be updated automatically when titles are added or dropped. It was suggested that single records with multiple 856 fields could actually aid in the control and updating of aggregator information. Record sets are often created from records that are not "clean" because they are based on the print record or on a different aggregator and require much "tweaking" to be of use. Using records based on the minimal amount of data identified by this proposal could be a real help. Like the single record approach for using the print record, this proposal is not cataloging for the digital version so much as assuring access and the ability to easily manipulate records. Might this move be viewed as a move toward expression level cataloging? It is also important to remember that this could apply to monographs and integrating resources in various aggregator products as well.

A further issue is how this proposal would overlap with commercial efforts currently underway by Serials Solutions, which is developing a service to provide a single record for all online versions customized to a library's holdings, based on the CONSER record for the print.

Decision: While no decision could be reached at this meeting, it was agreed that the idea should be further pursued and tested against the criteria developed by the CONSER working group. Also there is a need to explore how serials management systems might take advantage of such records if they were to be created by CONSER.

Action: Hirons has added this issue to the PCC Steering Committee agenda for discussion with utilities, will further discuss with CPSO, and decide on next steps. In regard to how the serials management systems relate to this approach and to CONSER in general, representatives from Serials Solutions, TDNet, and JournalWebCite have been invited to speak at CONSER at Large at ALA annual in June.

IV. CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative

IV.1 CONSER survey results

Hirons gave a brief report of the surveys sent to participants in the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative and to non-participating CONSER members. Participants reported that contributing patterns is relatively easy, takes little time, and has not significantly changed their workflow. Those not participating cite lack of perceived benefits and concerns about difficulty, additional time it will take, and the impact on workflow. A number of libraries are not in a position to contribute due to the status of ILS implementation or no ILS. The survey results will be used by the task force in developing new goals and action items at their meeting at ALA.

IV.2. Universal Holdings Record

Background: The idea of a "universal holdings record" has gained certain popularity of late. While holdings have always been considered local information, it is now recognized that the concept of universal holdings is valid. A universal holdings record would contain complete publication pattern and holdings information for a serial, reflecting the issues published rather than the issues that any one library holds. This type of data would be useful as baseline information for inventory and other projects such as remote storage projects. Frieda Rosenberg (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Ruth Haas (Harvard) led the discussion.

Discussion: The problem of obtaining complete data for universal holdings records was discussed. Inventory projects such as LC's might generate data for legacy information. Though item level records are a separate type of record, information in them could be used to create universal holdings records. Ideally, item level records could also be used to optionally display local or universal holdings. Microform sets also are a potential source of data for print and online serials.

Check-in data as a source of holdings information was mentioned. The 891 fields from the Publication Patterns project also are possible sources for data. A macro developed at UNC called "Explode" is used to calculate the appropriate number of volumes based on check-in information and allow for adjustments to the data for combined volumes, etc. This macro could be developed further to help harvest information for universal holdings records.

It was pointed out that there are overlapping functions of different types of holdings information. There is a need to identify what type of information is purely local and what is universal. Using holdings for predictive data is different than showing individual holdings.

There was discussion about how useful textual data is for manipulating holdings information versus compressed and expandable data. It was agreed that 891 information should continue to focus on patterns for check-in rather than universal holdings.

Could the holdings record serve as a solution for electronic version problems? Complete holdings could provide links between electronic content and citation databases. Serial management systems like TDNet track an individual library's electronic (and other) subscriptions and this could be tied into complete holdings data if available in a universal holdings record. These systems are increasingly being used to check-in electronic serials, rather than traditional methods of check in.

Hirons noted her interest in the holdings record as a possible further component of a multiple versions approach for the future and wanted members to think about this in relation to the previous discussions on electronic serials. Further discussion on universal holdings and the uses of the holdings records will be held at ALA at the meeting of the MARC Formats Interest Group on Saturday afternoon (2:00-4:00).

V. CEG issues

A number of issues relating to documentation in the CONSER Editing Guide were identified in preliminary work by Carroll Davis.

V.1. 7XX linking fields: implementing link display text subfield "i"

Background: A text subfield 'i' has been defined for linking fields other than 780/785 that allows for an introductory note, similar to the 246 field. The subfield is now valid for use in OCLC, though not currently documented in the CEG.

Discussion: The discussion of this topic was oriented toward showing examples of the ability to customize information given in the linking fields by generating a note with second indicator 8 and adding text to subfield i of the link. Several circumstances where the 580/530 fields should still be used were identified and will be added to the CEG.

Action: CONSER members can use the subfield $I now; it will be added in the next update to the CEG.

V.2. URIs in Fields 856 and 5XX

Background: This topic covered two issues: 1) the ability now to add the URI subfield $u to 520, 530 and 555 note fields, and 2) the use of subfield y in the 856 for "link text" (hotlinked text for the uri appearing in subfield u of the 856).

Discussion: Members were asked what CONSER's policy should be for giving subfield $u in note fields. For serials, the subfield would most likely be used with the 530. It was noted that the more fields the URI appeared in, means that more areas of the record need to be maintained when a change occurs in the URI.

On the second issue, members were asked if a CONSER policy was needed for how the $y link text subfield would be used in CONSER records. Discussion pointed out that this is a local decision, not unlike whether to use a 956 field for a uri that is institution specific.

Decisions: $u in notes: Use should probably be limited to minimize maintenance.

$y: Use of $y is to be used locally and should not be used in CONSER records.

3. Use of "Frequency varies" in Field 321

Background: The CEG currently allows the use of a "frequency varies" note in field 321 when there are 3 or more former frequencies. The question arose as to whether this policy should be retained given the current emphasis on building holdings records.

The questions were: Does this field hinder or potentially help (if the Bremer macro could pick up on 321 data) publication pattern creation? Would inclusion of patterns reduce the need for the field? Should we stop using this note in favor of a separate field for each former frequency?

Discussion: It was noted that the field is not required for core records. Several people pointed out that the data is useful as given and that maybe the "rule of three" should be loosened up to provide even more former frequency data. Ultimately, it was felt that we could better use the limited room in the record for adding more 891 fields.

Decision: Keep the description of the 321 as it is in the CEG

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V.4. Use of "xlc" in field 042

Backgound: Code 'xlc' as used in field 042 is currently defined to mean that LC does not consider the resource to be a serial and other CONSER libraries are prohibited from further authenticating the record. Given the current policy on conference publications, which allows for differences in practice, the question arose as to whether the definition and policy regarding 'xlc' should be changed.

Discussion: CONSER members agreed that they are interested in the decisions LC has made for publications rejected as serials under LCRI 12.0A. But they also agreed that they might legitimately make a different decision in some cases and that the records should be opened for CONSER authentication..

Decision: Keep xlc procedures for LC decision making, but allow CONSER members to make a different decision: CONSER members may further authenticate a record LC has added xlc to, e.g. xlc $lcd. No need to notify LC when doing so.

Action: The CEG will be updated to show this decision

V.5. Field 210 for other abbreviated titles

Background: Field 210 was expanded in 1999 at the request of NLM to accommodate its use for

recording title abbreviations other than abbreviated key titles. The reference community has indicated its interest in having access to more title abbreviations because many of the citations are in this form. The question was: Are CONSER libraries using this capability for other abbreviations, including those found on the piece since this field was changed to allow it?

Discussion: It's not clear that the 210 is being consistently used since some systems may have problems indexing the field. In some cases, the information appears as a running title and may be given in field 246 instead.

Decision: The CEG should encourage the use of this field when the information is readily available without detailed research.

V.6. Field 510

Background: Field 510 contains the name of abstracting and indexing services that cover the serial. The fields were added in the mid-1980s as part of the CONSER Abstracting and Indexing Coverage Project. While the data was supposed to be maintained, most of it has not and new services are not included. Members were asked about the usefulness of keeping the field in records and the practice of copying 510 fields to new records for title changes.

Discussion: Many CONSER members felt that the fields should be removed altogether from CONSER records. The data is often outdated and when moved unedited to new records for title changes is often incorrect for the new title. On the other hand, data added by NLM is up to date and correct. 510s currently entered by the National Agrigultural Library and Chemical Abstracts also is maintained and kept up to date.

Decision: This topic needs more discussion before a decision can be made. In the meantime it was decided that CONSER members should not automatically delete 510 fields. When there are record length problems, continue following CEG C14 guidelines regarding removal of 510 fields. CONSER members should not be required to copy 510 fields from old title record to new title record when cataloging a title change.

Action: The issue will be brought to the PCC Policy Committee, OCLC, and others interested in this issue.


Background: At the CONSER At Large meeting in January 2002, Kathy Tamalko (Georgia Tech) and Julie Gammon (U. Akron) spoke on behalf of reference and acquisitions librarians, respectively, as to their use of CONSER records and their desires for change.

VI.1. ILS display of title changes

Reference librarians cited numerous problems with the multiple successive entry records for serials in OPACs and it was suggested that CONSER develop guidelines for the use and display of linking fields. The basic problem is that even though linking information exists on bibliographic records it is not always fully used in local OPAC displays. Some systems provide more sophisticated abilities to display this information than others. But it was noted that even when the system can produce hot links, reference staff and patrons fail to use them. Several systems, including III, Voyager and VTLS, were mentioned and their varying ability to display this information. VTLS in particular was mentioned for its ability to develop cascading displays of linked records.

Action: CONSER will request that the Standing Committee on Automation set up a new task force to explore the current uses that ILSs are making of links and to provide guidance to libraries in how they can best take advantage of links during implementation.

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VI.2 Multiple ISSN

Reference librarians requested the ability to use both print and electronic ISSN in the same record when the CONSER single record option is used. Many local OPACS use multiple 022 fields to show both the ISSN for electronic and print versions to enhance searching. Should the 022 be made repeatable in the national CONSER record? Regina Reynolds noted that the International ISSN network is in the process of reconfiguring its system and at this point could not handle multiple 022 fields. SFX is using the ISSN of the print version in the 776 field to make a machine link to the record for the electronic version. One member noted that having the related ISSN in field 776 worked in her library. No further action will take place at this time.

VI.3. Maintenance

Following up on a comment from Gammon that serial records don't seem to be maintained and from past comments by CONSER participants, Hirons asked whether maintenance has decreased. The overwhelming response was that it has increased. While some of the more minor changes are difficult to keep up with, emphasis for most CONSER catalogers is on major changes (title changes etc.). Workflow within an institution can be a major factor. Gene Dickerson (NLM ) discussed NLM's maintenance workflow, which involves technician staff updating bib records. Changes noted by check-in and other staff can be quickly and effectively updated when staff are authorized to make minor changes to the CONSER records. Hirons indicated her hope that more non-cataloging staff will become involved, particularly in the area of frequency changes and publication patterns.

In response to the original comment from Julie Gammon at ALA, David Van Hoy noted that local records may not be updated even when the CONSER record is. This brought up the idea of the "virtual record", first discussed in January 2001, and at the end of the meeting Ed Glazier offered a possible solution!

Action: Hirons has asked Ed Glazier, Robert Bremer, and John Levy to further explore this idea to determine whether any further action might be taken at this time.

VII. Strategic Planning Issue: Membership

Expansion and possible restructuring of CONSER are on the agenda for 2003. International expansion is particularly of interest. Brainstorming on how to enhance the CONSER database with language material for more unusual languages led to suggestions that libraries in Israel, Switzerland or Germany be approached for CONSER membership if they are using AACR and MARC21. The suggestion was also made to make more use of ISSN database and possible reopening of discussions between OCLC and ISSN to make the database more widely available. Some CONSER members noted difficulty in getting help for Southeast Asian languages and the representative from Cornell offered that Cornell has full time catalogers for Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cataloging in the humanities and social sciences.

The possibility of a growing number of CONSER Operations Committee members and the impact this would have on meeting effectiveness, as well as OCLC's continued financial support was discussed briefly. Several members mentioned that their institutions currently support attendance regardless of whether OCLC provides funding. Strong support for full representation at meetings was voiced by Ron Watson (UCLA), Sue Fuller (Texas), and others, citing the importance of having everyone present during decision-making and training. Not everyone is able to go to ALA or other meetings and the CONSER Operations meeting may be their one opportunity to keep abreast of current policies.

Action: Hirons will turn attention to membership issues following AACR implementation. She is currently working with the three CONSER policy representatives to PCC. She asked for Operations members who would be willing to work on membership-related issues. Sue Fuller, Tad Downing and Mary Grenci volunteered.

Hirons will ask the PCC Steering Committee to look again at the issue of the utilities being able to provide access to the ISSN database.

Next meeting: May 1-2, 2003

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