Friday, April 21, 2006

Series Work at LC

This is a memo distributed April 20 to LC staff.

The Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Announces the Library of Congress's Decision to Cease Creating Series Authority Records as Part of Library of Congress Cataloging April 20, 2006

The Library of Congress has determined that it will cease to provide controlled series access in the bibliographic records that its catalogers produce. Its catalogers will cease creating series authority records (SARs). The Library considered taking this step over a decade ago, but decided against it at that time because of some of the concerns raised about the impact this would have. The environment has changed considerably since then--indexing and key word access are more powerful and can provide adequate access via series statements provided only in the 490 field of the bibliographic record. We recognize that there are still some adverse impacts, but they are mitigated when the gains in processing time are considered.

As the Library was considering introducing this change, it was heavily swayed by the number of records that included series statements. Using statistics for the most recent year with full output of records appearing in the LC Database (fiscal year 2004) gives a sense of the impact on the cataloging workload:

Total monograph records created: 344,362 Total with series statements: 82,447 Total SARs created: 8,770 (by LC catalogers); 9,453 (by Program for Cooperative Cataloging participants)

As a result of the Library's decision, the following explains what catalogers will and will not do, related to series.

What LC catalogers will do:

  • Create a separate bibliographic record for all resources with distinctive titles published as parts of series (monographic series and multipart monographs).
  • Give series statements in 490 0 fields.
  • Classify separately each volume (i.e., assign call number and subject headings appropriate to the specific topic of the volume). (Imported copy cataloging records will have series access points removed and series statements changed to 490 0.)
What LC catalogers will not do:
  • Create new SARs=20
  • Modify existing SARs to update data elements or LC's treatment decisions
  • Consult and follow treatment in existing SARs
  • Update existing collected set records=09
  • Change 4XX/8XX fields in completed bibliographic records when updating those records for other reasons
The Library's rationale includes:
  1. Eliminates cost of constructing unique headings; searching to determine the existence of an SAR; creating SARs; and adjusting 8XX on existing bibliographic records.
  2. Maintains current level of subject access.
  3. In some instances, increases access because more titles will be classified separately
  4. Maintains current level of descriptive access other than series. Uncontrolled series access will remain available through keyword searches.
The Library will be working with affected stakeholder organizations--OCLC, RLG, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, and the larger library community to mitigate as much as possible the impact of this change.

The Library will implement this change on May 1, 2006. The Cataloging Policy and Support Office is revising affected documentation to be reissued to reflect these decisions.


Here are the session I intend to attend at TLA next week.
  • Poppies, Flying Monkeys, and Good Witches; Stephen Abram
  • You Need My Metadata: Demonstrating the Value of Library Cataloging; Shawne D. Miksa
  • Cool Jobs
  • Cataloging Changes; Scott Piepenburg
  • Technology Showcast, Mitinet
  • XML Stylesheet Language; Bill Walker
  • Promoting Our Scholarship, Preserving Our Legacy: Developing a Common Metadata Standard for Electronic Theses and Dissertations; Brian Surratt
  • Institutional Repositories for Scholarly Publishing; Geneva Henry
  • Revolting Librarians Redux; Jessamyn West
  • Whoopie for Wikis!; Jenny Levine and Michael Stephens

Safety at the Steak-house

I've been listening to the talk Vision: Wikipedia and the Future of Free Culture by Jimmy Wales. During it he made an analogy that hit close to home.

Imagine you are building a steak-house. One thing you need are steak-knives. However, patrons could attack each other with them. So you build your steak-house to keep all diners separated from one another by cages. No one can get hurt.

How often do we build just such systems? Allowing users to tag bib records? They might put in the seven forbidden words. User reviews linked to bib records. What if they write slander and the library gets sued? How often do we picture the very worst that could happen and then destroy our systems due to that remote possibility? Yet, Wikipedia, Amazon, et al. seem to survive. Maybe we could also.

Cataloging Resources on the Web

If you are a small library, school, church, non-profit and can't afford OCLC there are now some resources on the Web to help cut down on original cataloging. Open WorldCat and both contain bibliographic information and a large number of records. To search just drop the ISBN after to search Open WorldCat drop the ISBN on the end of

You won't get MARC records and don't' forget copyright, but these can be places to get started. Also you might be pleasantly surprised at the cost of CatExpress, if you have not priced OCLC services recently.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The New Cataloger

The New Cataloger by Roy Tennant appears in Library Journal.
I've often said librarians should like any metadata they see. This is because we are entering an age where MARC no longer rules, since the 21st-century library will be handling increasing amounts of born-digital material. Even now, librarians are using formats such as Dublin Core (DC), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), and Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), among others, to capture and manipulate important data about various information resources. One metadata standard is way too inadequate for the job.
Later he goes on to mention ONIX records from publishers. At one time there was talk of someone putting together a list of publishers providing them freely on the Web. Anyone know if this is being done? That and Endnote citation metadata are perhaps the two closest to our bibliographic metadata. They might yield the largest benefit to enriching and exposing our catalogs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

RDA: Resource Description and Access

Now available RDA: Resource Description and Access Part I - Constituency Review of December 2005 Draft and RDA: Resource Description and Access Part I - Constituency Review of January 2006 Draft of Chapter 3 from the UK Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
Our cataloguing community must respond to a broader range of views, and not confine itself to the thoughts of cataloguing specialists, important and informed as they (i.e. we) are. Whether we like it or not, other packaging formats are now well-established (and there will be more). We can choose competition or collaboration with them; If we compete, we will lose; whereas if we collaborate, we may have a chance of spreading the core gospel before it is too late. Most of the newer formats are becoming aware of the need for content standardisation. If RDA doesn't suit them, they will invent their own (which is almost certainly their natural inclination).

Monday, April 17, 2006


The other day I mentioned a tool for working with ISBNs. Now, John Blyberg has ported it to PHP from the original Perl. Thanks John.

Just for Fun

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