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Program for Cooperative Cataloging

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June 29, 2008

TO: SACO-At-Large
ALA Annual Conference
Anaheim, Calif.

Dear colleagues,

Once again, I send my regrets about not being able to join you at the SACO-at-Large meeting here at Annual. As I mentioned in my note at Midwinter, beginning next Midwinter in Denver, with the conclusion of my CCS Executive Committee responsibilities, I'll be free to attend these meetings, and am very much looking forward to it.

Between Midwinter and this meeting, two documents were released by the Library of Congress with implications for LCSH development and application. In February, the Cataloging Policy and Support Office released the report, "Library of Congress Subject Headings: Pre- vs. Post-Coordination and Related Issues." This report recommends continuing the practice of assigning precoordinated LCSH strings, with a number of other recommendations aimed at simplifying catalogers' work in this regard and also at promoting discovery by end users. At the beginning of this month, Deanna Marcum released the Library of Congress' official response to the recommendations in "On the Record," the report of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. LC's position is, generally, to "support" the Working Group's recommendations under 4.3, "Position LCSH for use and reuse." LC's response is most supportive of 4.3.1, "Transform LCSH," 4.3.2, "Pursue De-Coupling of Subject Strings," and 4.3.3, "Encourage Application of, and Cross-Referencing with, Other Controlled Subject Vocabularies." Support for 4.4, which discusses computational indexing, is expressed but appears more muted. SACO is mentioned in the comments on, "Transform LCSH into a tool that provide a more flexible means to create and modify subject authority data." A second mention of SACO appears in the response to, "Assess barriers and incentives to participation by more libraries, including PCC's and LC's abilities to manage a larger scale of collaboration." Taken more broadly, though, the LC response, together with February's report from CPSO on pre- and post-coordination, might stimulate some thought about further review and development of SACO. How might we take part in these initiatives, so as to strengthen the best that controlled vocabularies have to offer, as well as address the continuing challenges to LCSH?

As your representative to the PCC Policy Committee, I'll conclude by repeating what I wrote before Midwinter: Let's work together to capitalize on the opportunity presented by having a SACO representative on the Policy Committee. Please contact me with concerns you have related to the SACO program, and we can explore whether they could be discussed with PoCo, or in some other context. I look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks,

David Miller
Levin Library, Curry College
Milton, Mass.

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