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The Library of Congress > Program for Cooperative Cataloging > CONSER > CONSER NACO SACO SUMMARY OF THE 1997 CONSER OPERATIONS COMMITTEE MEETING

The annual meeting of the CONSER Operations Committee was held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in conjunction with the 1997 North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) Conference. Jean Hirons, Acting CONSER Coordinator, chaired the meeting and Bill Anderson, LC CONSER Specialist, served as recorder. Thanks go to Leighann Ayers and Tom Champagne, of the University of Michigan, for their gracious hosting of the CONSER meeting. Most Operations Committee members stayed for the NASIG Conference and were able to see firsthand some of the University's digital projects and the latest technology in information services. NASIG's theme of "Experimentation and Collaboration: Creating Serials for a New Millennium" was also reflective of CONSER's operational agenda for 1997.



CONSER Documentation

CONSER Editing Guide, Update 6 (Spring 1997), will be distributed early this summer. Included are instructions for online versions regarding the addition of a title added entry when the online title differs from the original. CEG Update 7, to be released in early 1998, will highlight changes relating to the PCC/CONSER consolidation effort. (CONSER Web pages will be updated as well.) CONSER will issue one update for the CONSER Cataloging Manual this year that will include changes to the electronic serials and newspapers modules, and a new module on legal serials. We are also considering the development of a module to assist in record maintenance.

Hirons issued a call for ideas for articles for CONSERline. CONSER members should consider submitting articles highlighting local developments for a more institutional focus for the newsletter.

New Authentication Codes for CONSER

The Library of Congress has requested OCLC to add two USMARC authentication codes (Field 042) for record validation: premarc and lccopycat. John Levy is working with LC premarc titles, using CONSER records and other OCLC copy to replace records in the separate Library of Congress premarc file. Additional authority work is not planned for this effort. LC does plan to implement a copy cataloging workflow in which the "lccopycat" code would indicate that existing catalog copy was accepted for use by LC. The CEG will document the new codes when they're included in the validation process.

LC Core Cataloging for Serials

Anderson reported that LC's Serial Record Division started a serials core cataloging project one year ago, including travel guides, car repair manuals, and administrative reports. An LC core cataloging approach for serials was developed in consultation with reference staff for the consistent treatment of fields optional at the core level. The LC core approach relies on catalogers' judgment that is based on a knowledge of how the material is accessed and used.

A major issue in the core project was how to amalgamate with OCLC full-level records. Over 80% of the project titles had existing records and the question of whether, or when to downgrade from "full" to "core" was an issue. The group developed a policy to generally retain the record as full-level unless the record clearly lacks a field required for that level. Serial Record also decided to remove the travel guides from the group as nearly all the titles were represented on OCLC at the time of cataloging.

[Serial Record Division will be considering how to expand the core cataloging effort over the summer in compliance with the LC Cataloging Directorate's decision to institute the core-level as the "base record" for cataloging at LC.]

Subject Support at LC

Catrine Goska, an experienced subject cataloger from the Social Sciences Cataloging Division, was recently transferred to Serial Record Division. She is working with CONSER to provide subject support, including review and consultation.

Rare Almanacs at LC

Maryvonne Mavroukakis, LC's rare serials cataloger, will be using earliest entry treatment for almanacs from the 17th and 18th centuries. LCRI 21.2C will be revised to document this practice.



Robert Bremer reported on the batch-loading of original NLM CONSER records that was completed this spring. OCLC is now ready to implement this for other CONSER members. The following record requirements will apply: bibliographic level code "s," USMARC encoding level values, valid LCCN, CONSER authentication code, etc. No record matching process will be run at OCLC, so records must be searched in the OLUC right before they're sent to OCLC. Members should FTP batch-load files on a weekly basis.

A formal announcement of the availability of this service for original CONSER input will be made shortly by OCLC. The difficulty in developing the process has been the need to redistribute CONSER records to LC. The PCC Standing Committee on Automation plans to pursue the issues and viability of batch-loading existing CONSER records for maintenance activities. Participants contributing records through batch-loading will not receive the CONSER credit but will be given the standard OCLC credit for new records.

Electronic Serials

Electronic Collections Online, a new OCLC initiative from its Reference Services Division, is expected to be operational this month. One hundred full-text journals will be available online with an additional 700-900 titles planned for the future. Several major commercial and academic publishers will participate. Articles will be in HTML and/or PDF formats. OCLC is planning to provide cataloging through its OCLC TechPro office. Information will also be added to print records reflecting the presence of the online version. The records OCLC creates for the online resources, entered under OCLC symbol "F#A," will not be CONSER-authenticated. Local data records will be included.


Monograph                                    Serial

                         C           B       A   Current

                         |            |        |       |

  STATIC                 |    ONGOING |        |       |

    |                    |          | |        |       |

    |                    |          | |        |       |

  __|_________           |  ________|________________  |

  |          |           |  |         |        |    |  | 

Single      Multi        |  |         |        |    |  |

 Part        Part        |Determinate |        |Indeterminate

                         |  |         |        |      ||

                     _______|____     |      _________|_____

                     |   |      |     |      | |       |   |

                  Multi  |    Single  | Single |       | Multi

                   Part  |      Part  |   Part |       |  Part

                         |    Updating|Updating|       |    |

                         |            |        |       |    |

                         |            |        |   _________|_

                         |            |        |   |   |     |

                         |            |        |  Un-  | Numbered

                         |            |        |Numberd|

                         |            |        |       |

Model for Ongoing Publications -- Hirons and Graham

Redefinition of "Serial"

Crystal Graham (UCSD) and Hirons discussed their draft paper, "Issues Related to Seriality," that will be presented at the October 1997 JSC meeting in Toronto. JSC papers will be available on the Web this summer and Hirons encouraged members to review the papers and comment to the JSC. These are "issues papers," with theoretical viewpoints that reflect practical environments.

Much of the Hirons/Graham paper focuses on the "Model for Ongoing Publications." (The separate models given in the paper have been condensed above into one display.) This approach was developed in meetings of the CONSER Task Force on AACR Review. The model divides the bibliographic universe between "static" and "ongoing" information. The terms, "determinate" and "indeterminate," are used to distinguish between indefinitely ongoing publications and those that are ongoing for a specified period of time.

Model A

The model represented by line "A" relaxes the "serial" definition by dropping the numbering requirement (e.g., unnumbered series). Unnumbered series are not currently addressed in the rules. The paper is not suggesting major changes in the way we treat unnumbered series, but that the rules should incorporate this category of material. Participants noted concerns about recording holdings for materials that lack designations.

Model B

The model represented above by line "B" drops the requirement for separate parts, thereby adding single-part updating items (e.g., looseleafs, databases). The question of whether to bring back latest entry cataloging into AACR is considered here. Does the online environment alleviate most of the problems with latest entry? CONSER members indicated support for returning to latest entry cataloging for databases. Many patrons and reference librarians indicate a preference for latest entry. Perhaps latest entry would work well for online materials, while successive entry works better for print and other tangible formats.

Latest entry may have a negative effect in the following areas:

  • entries on related records
  • application of the ISSN
  • record clarity
  • length of record

Model C

This model adds single-part updating publications that are determinate. By bringing the line to this point we would avoid making distinctions that are often difficult to make and may not be very useful. According to William Toombs (St. Louis Law), catalogers of legal materials are concerned that if more looseleafs become serial, the records will be more complex, and titles might not be processed in a timely manner. If more looseleafs are treated as serials, how should one treat earlier titles when a publication changes title? Complicated workflows may be involved with both the looseleaf and the ongoing monograph. [Note: model C has been changed in the current version of the paper.]

Basis of Description

The JSC paper moves away from closely transcribing a single issue and instead suggests a more general description and identification of the whole publication. This approach could lead to the omission of statements of responsibility (245 field, subfield $c), and specific concerns about how data appears on a single issue. Should we describe the latest issue when creating successive records? (Current practice is to describe from the earliest issue.) One possibility would be to record publishers' statements to reflect current information in a similar fashion to the updating of frequency information in the 310/321 fields, using separate tags for current and former publishers.

Experiment with the Redefinition of "Serial"

Hirons suggested that one way to test the workability of some of the ideas in the paper would be to create "experimental" records off-line for various ongoing publications (e.g., single-part, unnumbered databases). She invited CONSER members to participate in such an experiment, as time allows, and discussed guidelines for the experiment. Titles may be cataloged in different ways, in latest entry and successive entry serial records, and as monographs. Each participant can work with a few titles. A list of titles will be offered for those who don't have items available for experimentation. Hirons and Graham would like the results by the end of August along with any conclusions that may have been reached.

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Online Versions

Hirons noted that new instructions for online versions were issued in the latest CEG update. Title added entries for online versions with different titles are now added to print records. There was some interest in adding to the print record, uniform title added entries for online versions with the same title ("online" as qualifier), although most seemed to feel that would complicate searching. All agreed that the current options for online versions should be retained.

There was specific discussion on JSTOR, an electronic reproduction service for which print journals are scanned for computer storage and online access. While several libraries have decided to use separate records for JSTOR titles, others are using the print record for the online version. LC is updating print records with URLs in 051 fields (subfield $a) and "ELECTRONIC COPY" in subfield $c. Concern was registered that there are many more online versions expected in the near future (JSTOR and others), representing a potential flood of cataloging while additional complications continue to arise with the format. ISSN catalogers will generally retain separate numbers for different versions, with JSTOR as an exception. The ISSN for the online version should be given in subfield $x of the 776 field in the print record.

Recording URLs from Printed Serials

LC plans to record URLs in print records in certain cases when the print issue lists the online address. LC catalogers agreed to include an 856 field if the following information is available online: full online version, supplemental information, bibliographically related information, other information useful to the user (e.g., table of contents). Catalogers are to investigate the resource to determine its nature, and are to use judgment in determining how much time is reasonable.

Graham described how UCSD developed a similar policy to record URLs for publications that don't represent "equivalent electronic versions." Lists were developed to indicate what kind of sites are included in the record and which are not. 5XX notes are sometimes added to describe the online information.

URLs added to the record for:

  • Indexes
  • Tables of contents
  • Abstracts
  • Selected articles
  • Supplementary information
  • Updating information
  • Other important bibliographically related information

Information is not generally added to the record for subscription information, Web sites for organizations, advertising, and unrelated sites.

Second Indicator for 856 Field

At ALA midwinter, MARBI approved the CONSER proposal for a second indicator for the 856 field. This will assist in identifying what the URL represents: blank = no information (i.e., existing records); 0 = item described; 1 = electronic version; 2 = related site (e.g., index). CONSER documentation will be updated this summer to reflect these and other changes involving the cataloging of online serials (e.g., when to add URLs on print records for related online resources).

Type of Record Code (Leader /06)

A redefined leader code--type of record--for "computer file" will again be discussed by MARBI at ALA. The definition for code "m" is clearer in the new proposal, and if accepted, CONSER records would be reformatted back into the serial workform (serial 008 field).

Source of Title/DBO notes

Sources of information for online serials were also discussed. One must often review several files online to determine the title proper. "Title from title screen" is not often descriptive, while recording language found in the publication can be more useful (e.g., title from contents page). Perhaps a more useful note would read: Title from contents page, viewed on May 27, 1997. Additionally, the description is actually based on the whole publication rather than a single issue, making the current "description based on" note less useful.

John Riemer (Georgia) asked whether we could reconsider our policy of not giving any coverage information for digital reproductions that don't include the first issue when first made available online. Carroll Davis (Columbia) suggested using the following note, as an example:

362 1 Coverage as of May 1997: Vol. 10, no. 1 (July 1987) -

This suggestion met with wide-spread approval. The practice will be included in the next CONSER documentation updates.


PCC Governance Proposal

A draft of the Consolidated PCC Governance document was distributed over the CONSER Policy discussion list in May. Three rotating PCC Policy Committee representatives from CONSER institutions will be included, with five permanent members: LC, NLC, British Library, RLG, and OCLC. The newly reconfigured PCC Policy Committee will meet in November for two days. The 1997 meeting will be a planning session to determine future directions.

Current plans are for the CONSER and BIBCO operations committee meetings to be held in conjunction with one another, including a joint session. CONSER will continue to identify new issues and develope new policies and practices, some of which will need to be coordinated with the PCC and BIBCO. The CONSER Operations Committee will be kept informed on PCC policy issues as well. The BIBCO Operations Committee will be a representative group with a total of ten members serving rotating terms. Concern was expressed about the timing of the meetings and whether one group might have to meet on Wed. and Fri. with an off-day in between.

CONSER representatives to the three PCC standing committees are John Riemer (Training), Mechael Gago (Standards), and John Levy and Eric Celeste (Automation). Committee members serve 3-year rotating terms. According to the governance proposal, committee chairs are included in the PCC Policy Committee as non-voting members: Michael Kaplan (Automation), Willy Cromwell (Standards), Joan Swanekamp (Training). They will also attend Operations Committee meetings. PCC task groups are set-up through the appropriate standing committee. As new issues arise, CONSER must consider if they are solely serials issues, and if not, then the appropriate PCC standing committee will be consulted. The CONSER Conferences Task Force recommended that the PCC Standing Committee on Standards establish a task group to work on several issues relating to cataloging conferences, including conference headings and call number collocation. CONSER representatives on the committees have been asked to relay comments when there is information available on relevant activities.

Riemer reported that the Standing Committee on Training organizes PCC "Training the Trainer" sessions that includes a "values" training component. The Committee currently is working on refining its documentation and is investigating the production of a training video for more remote institutions. A series authority training manual is also under development, stemming from Judy Kuhagen's series authority training sessions.

Communications & Statistics

PCC and CONSER staff at LC have been meeting to discuss program discussion lists and statistics. It is expected that a new PCC list will be established at LC to communicate with all PCC members. CONSER hopes to retain the CONSER cataloging discussion list (CONSRLST) and an additional list for BIBCO may be created as well.

LC has been working to streamline the reporting of CONSER and BIBCO statistics using a Web form that would generate statistical tables and program totals for members to view online ( An automatic reporting mechanism is built-in for notification to be sent to OCLC to report CONSER maintenance activities.

For additional information about the PCC, visit its home page ( Updating information on the consolidation of CONSER and the PCC will be available via the CONSER and PCC home pages.

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Hirons asked the Operations Committee to recommend good candidates for CONSER Enhance membership, which she could then pursue. In the spring of 1997 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill joined as a new CONSER Enhance member with Sue Fuller (Texas) serving as UNC's mentor.

Fuller reported that her experience as UNC's mentor has been positive and largely uneventful to date, and feels that electronic communication has been perfectly adequate. Several experienced Enhance members have now had two years of experience maintaining CONSER records. Cindy Hepfer (SUNY-Buffalo) has found it to be a very positive experience and is now working with Kevin McShane (NLM). Graham reported that UCSD's cataloging activities are focused on computer files, using the single-record approach for online versions. A software program is used to verify the URLs on catalog records and has discovered few address changes.

CONSER is now considering a review of its training for new members, looking closely at the PCC training process. LC may not be able to continue performing all the CONSER training and reviewing as it has in the past. CONSER is considering a "training the trainer" session designed for catalogers outside LC who can assist with CONSER training. Michigan and Indiana have been successfully conducting CICNet training, largely conducted through email. CONSER will also consider additional documentation that may be needed to support training from outside LC. LC could evaluate the initial quality of work at new member institutions to determine how to tailor the training. The basic goals should be to increase the quality and quantity of records in the database. John Riemer, in his role as PCC training committee liaison, will coordinate an effort to identify the main issues relating to CONSER training and develop a CONSER curriculum.

CONSER Procedure to Update Pre-Publication Records

Many CONSER catalogers have been updating NSDP pre-pub records and consider the new procedure to be a big improvement. NSDP would like to further monitor the current practice before opening it up to Enhance members. Enhance members don't authenticate records and the pre-pub record is authenticated for record distribution purposes only--no issue has been reviewed when the record is created. Documentation will be changed to restrict the practice to exclude enhance members for the time being. We will reevaluate this decision after we have more experience with the practice.


CCM Module 33

CONSER recently established new policies for cataloging newspapers that build on established U.S. Newspaper Program practice. Anderson, module editor, reported on the new module that was drafted by Cathy Sagendorf (N.Y. State) and David Moore (formerly N.Y. Newspaper Project), with contributions by the Nebraska Newspaper Project, and assistance by Adriana Pilecky-Dekajlo (CRL). Module 33 supercedes the cataloging portion of the Newspaper Cataloging and Union Listing Manual that served USNP since 1990. The module retains USNP's domestic focus while incorporating the CONSER approach for foreign titles and microforms.

Special Policies for Newspapers

Pilecky-Dekajlo reviewed newspaper cataloging policies that differ from those for other serials. The module documents the practice of using a single record for titles of short duration when the change involves an A-B-A succession and title B lasts less than one year. Weekend editions for newspapers are also included on the record for the main edition. Existing records are also used when the publisher reverts to an earlier numbering scheme.

Newspaper titles also require some special treatment. The source of the title note is not generally used. Uniform titles for newspapers always use the place name as the first element of the qualifier, which often leads to additional qualifying elements to distinguish the entry. LC's Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO) plans to distribute a revision of LCRI 25.5B for review this summer that clarifies use of place name qualifiers in uniform titles. CONSER plans to update Module 33 later this summer to more closely follow instructions in the revision. (See section below on LCRI 25.5B.)


Module 33 highlights areas where CONSER and USNP treatment differs, with footnotes used to explain USNP practice, and earlier USNP policies. USNP's use of the "master bibliographic record convention" is explained, whereby records for the original publication are also used for microform reproductions, with local data records indicating format holdings. 530 notes are sometimes used to indicate availability of the microform. The "newspaper" definition in Module 33 differs from the earlier USNP manual in that all newspapers must include some general information and, when in doubt, CONSER will treat serials as periodicals.

USNP has traditionally used the 752 field for comprehensive access to place names for newspapers. Module 33 calls for a more limited application, instructing that the current place of publication be recorded. USNP has taken a different approach to certain bibliographic notes as well. Language notes (546) are more freely given and a comprehensive approach in recording frequencies (310, 321) is followed in USNP. Mergers and splits involving two related titles are not generally described in 580 notes.

Draft Revision of LCRI 25.5B

Serial Record Division requested that policies for uniform titles that cover place name changes be clarified in view of their complexity. New instructions have been added to a draft LCRI 25.5B by CPSO to specify treatment for all types of names used--countries, states, cities, and city sections--particularly for those involved in name changes. The issues for newspapers are the choice of the local place name when the name has changed, the treatment of city sections, and the practice for larger jurisdictions after a change occurs. CONSER and USNP catalogers will have a chance to review the final draft of the RI when it is distributed this summer, and should relay their comments to CPSO.

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Hepfer presented several issues relating to the ISSN in A&I services, and A&I information given in 510 fields in serial records. Many records have numerous 510 fields and the information is becoming dated. A survey could be used to determine the usefulness of the information. A new CONSER task force will be established to recommend future directions. Some of the issues to be investigated will be:

  • Is 510 data still useful?
  • How can it best be maintained?
  • Are there alternatives for recording the data in the serial record?
  • How can A&I services be better informed about ISSN assignments?
  • Can the "hooks-to-holdings" feature be programmed to retrieve from the 780 field?

NLM and NAL maintain contact with A&I services in their fields. UCSD serials catalogers report bad "hooks-to-holdings" links (incorrect ISSN) to services. NLM uses a contracter to add 510 fields and CONSER may wish to consider that option. We could investigate to see if the A&I services would be willing to support the effort. Some members indicated a willingness to help maintain the information and the affiliate members may be well situated for this. Also, the ISSN International Centre is pursuing plans to add A&I information into the ISSN database that is used to produce the ISSN Compact.

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"Ceased" Note

NLM queried the CONSER cataloging discussion list (CONSRLST) about using the 362 field to indicate that the publication has ceased--without a designation cited. Some recall using a 500 note for that information, prior to AACR2. OCLC has no objections with the use of field 362, inicator "1," to input "Ceased." LC will investigate the matter further to determine the best field for the note. [CPSO agreed that use of the 362 field, indicator "1," is appropriate.]

936 Field

Field 936 is considered a "local" CONSER field. A proposal from LC requests to expand the use of the field to include "information from catalogers concerning the bibliographic description that would be useful to other catalogers." The proposal also specified an order for the information, and subfielding with punctuation. Several indicated support for the proposal, although Davis suggested that if the record is modified, and the uncertainty relating to the 936 information is resolved, the 936 field should be updated. It was also suggested that the USMARC library code, enclosed in brackets, provides sufficient separation and that subfielding, punctuation, and specified order were not necessary.

Expanded Use of Field 210

McShane proposed that the 210 field (abbreviated key title), be broadened to include other title abbreviations that follow the standard used by the ISSN network (ISO 4) or ANSI/NISO Z39.5-1985. A&I services and publishers print title abbreviations and there is no clear provision for recording these abbreviations, though some catalogers have recorded the abbreviation in field 246. NLM and NAL work directly with A&I services which assign abbreviated titles, and would like to record these titles in a clearly defined field. The committee agreed that a CONSER proposal should be developed that would expand the application of field 210. The proposal will suggest defining an indicator to specify the type of abbreviated title that is given in the field.

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