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Compiled by the Library of Congress
Serial Record Division, November 2001


During 2000/2001, CONSER and its affiliate programs continued to grow and flourish. Two new members were added and libraries continued to participate in the Publication Patterns Initiative and the Serials Cooperative Cataloging Training Program. The CONSER Operations Committee held its annual meeting May 2-4, 2001 at the Library of Congress in a three day format. The first day was devoted to new member and representative orientation, the second was a joint session with BIBCO and the last devoted to CONSER issues. CONSER At Large meetings were held at both mid-winter and annual ALA. Jean Hirons continued as CONSER Coordinator. During the year Carroll Davis was detailed to the CONSER Specialist position at the Library of Congress; Les Hawkins was appointed to that position in March.

CONSER membership grew to 41 members with the addition of one institution at the full level and one to the associate level. The CONSER database grew to 932,713 records with the addition of over 25,000 authenticated records.

Other highlights of the year include the beginning of CONSER efforts to document practices based on the new rule revisions of AACR2 Chapter 12. CONSER was the source of MARBI proposals related to coding of integrating resources that were approved at ALA in June. A new course, the Serial Holdings Workshop was added to the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) along with its training manuals. Libraries added over a thousand publication patterns to CONSER records as part of the Publication Patterns Initiative and a load of data from Harvard added pattern data to 40,000 CONSER records. The CONSER Guidelines for Input of Caption/pattern and Holdings Data were developed by Frieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina) to aid participants in the project. The CONSER At-Large meeting in January featured a "visioning" exercise to brainstorm ideas for the future functionality of CONSER records and the CONSER program as a whole. The results of the exercise have been summarized and include a "wish list" of enhanced database capabilities for OCLC's future relational database. Organizational strengths, weaknesses and future challenges for CONSER are also outlined and provideuseful input for strategic and operational planning.

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CONSER membership

Membership in CONSER now stands at the following: Full members (24), Associate members (6 plus USNP), Affiliate members (4), and CONSER Enhance members (5). The University of Chicago joined as a full member and New York University as an associate member. E. Renette Davis represents the University of Chicago on the CONSER Operations Committee, Everett Allgood is the representative from New York University. Hoda Fateen (LC) is providing CONSER training for the University of Chicago, Les Hawkins (LC) is working with New York University. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, represented by Ada Shuk-man Cheung, became an independent CONSER member this summer.

Membership was a major topic for discussion during the CONSER At-Large meeting in June. Participants from non-CONSER institutions talked about reasons for wanting to become a CONSER member and barriers to fulfilling this. Some of the reasons for becoming a member included wanting to contribute to the database and other aspects of the program. Barriers included staffing, training concerns, and quantity requirements. The ensuing discussion touched on the various types of CONSER enhance activities that have developed through the years which have been quite useful. These include the adding of publication patterns, MESH headings, and URL maintenance. Other issues included the need for consistent institutional support for successful CONSER membership and the idea of using a funnel approach to expand CONSER participation.

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AACR2, MARBI, and Integrating Resources

The Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) gave basic approval to the revised chapter 12 of AACR2 at their April meeting with final approval scheduled for October. Publication is expected in 2002. Chapter 12 "Continuing Resources" will provide rules for both successively issued serials (including series) and integrating resources. CONSER members participated on the Task Group on Implementation of Integrating Resources whose Interim report is available. The Group's recommendations focus on the needs for training, documentation, maintenance of records, and the distribution of records. At the joint BIBCO/CONSER meeting, members of both BIBCO and CONSER volunteered to begin work on a guide (to be part of the CCM and available separately) to cataloging integrating resources using the new rules.

In July, Jean Hirons began working with a group of LC staff to revise the CONSER Cataloging Manual and other documentation to incorporate changes from the revised chapter 12.

CONSER was one of the sources of two approved MARBI Proposals that relate to the implementation of the revised AACR2. MARBI Proposal no.: 2001-05, Changes in MARC 21 to Accommodate Seriality, contain four separate changes to MARC 21. These includeLeader/07 Bibliographic level code "i" for integrating resource which will identify integrating resources. Other changes involve the serial 008 which will be renamed the "Seriality" 008.

MARBI Proposal no.: 2001-04 proposed to make field 260 repeatable for resources that change over time so that both earliest, current, and, if desired, intervening publishing information could be included in the record. Resources that change over time include multipart monographs, serials, and the newly-defined AACR category of integrating resources. This proposal was also approved with amendments.

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Electronic Resources

In October of 2000 the CONSER "E-serial Specialists" revised the CONSER Cataloging Manual Module 31 "Remote Access Computer File Serials." As part of this effort, guidelines for treating serial titles that are covered in more than one journal aggregator package were documented. The guidelines suggest using the single record approach to give access to the online title through the record for the print version. If a record for the online version is desired, the guidelines suggest creating separate records for each online version offered by various aggregators. Also included in the update to Module 31 is an outline of specific fields added in creating separate records for a title covered by multiple aggregators. These guidelines are intended to be interim, until a clearer approach to handling multiple versions of a serial can be devised.

CONSER members participated on the PCC Task Force on Multiple Manifestations of Electronic Resources. The group issued its Final report in April 2001. The report describes various types of electronic versions and reproductions and methods for handling them. Approaches identified by the report include the single record approach and separate record approaches outlined in Module 31. It also includes the recommendation to work with vendors and aggregators of serials to provide bibliographic records contained in the vendor's products. A discussion of the group's report at the BIBCO/CONSER meeting led to the suggestion that the PCC provide a clearinghouse of aggregator record sets available from vendors and other sources. Kate Harcourt (Columbia) and Rebecca Culbertson (USC San Diego) volunteered to create the Web site.

Another discussion at the annual CONSER meeting led to the formation of a group of CONSER libraries who will collaborate in setting up a PURL server for URL checking. The PURL Pilot Proposal developed by Valerie Bross (University of California, Los Angeles) and Becky Culbertson (University of California, San Diego) will test the concept of cooperative maintenance of URLs through an OCLC-hosted cooperative PURL server. The pilot would be conducted with the intention that, if successful, a recommendation would be passed to PCC regarding possible use of a PURL server for records maintained by BIBCO/CONSER institutions.

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Publication Pattern Initiative

The CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative achieved many of its first year goals, including adding and modifying 1000 patterns through the contribution of CONSER and non-CONSER participants. By the end of the fiscal year, participants added a total of 1947 new patterns to existing and original records, added 109 subsequent patterns to CONSER authenticated records, and modified 591 existing patterns. A key goal since the inception of the project was reached in February 27, 2001 when OCLC loaded publication pattern and related holdings data from Harvard to 39,491 CONSER records. Rich Greene from OCLC was instrumental in facilitating the load.

Some of the other major milestones achieved this year include the development of the Guidelines for Input of Captions/Patterns and Holdings Data by Frieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) with the help of Ellen Rappaport (Albany Law School), Ruth Haas (Harvard), and Diane Hillmann (Cornell).

Linda Miller (LC) led a subgroup whose task is to focus on the MARC format, its use by system vendors, and needed improvements. To that end, the group completed an initial survey of vendors to determine compliance with the MFHD. CONSER participants also contributed to an ALA preconference on the MARC holdings format organized by Miller. A discussion of the CONSER publication patterns effort was a feature of the one-day session. One of the major challenges in adding publication patterns to records is the current workflow in many libraries. James Castrataro (Indiana University) leads a Workflow Task Group formed during the fiscal year which will explored potential changes and develop "best practices" for various size libraries.

Miller and her subgroup also produced a number of MARC discussion papers that propose changes to the MARC 21 Holdings format identified by participants in the Pattern Initiative. Most will be brought back as proposals in 2002. They are 2001-DP07 through 2001-DP11, available from the MARC Discussion Papers page.

The Task Force is the guiding force for the Publication Patterns Initiative, setting goals and monitoring achievements. In June, the task force revised its strategic plan to update accomplishments and set new goals for the remainder of the project. To help set individual institutional goals each participant was asked to set their own goals for the number of patterns to be added within the next six months. They were also asked to identify the types of materials to which patterns are added. The aim of this approach is to draw on the strengths of individual libraries to provide the most useful patterns possible. The Task Force identified several critical success factors to measure the effectiveness of the remainder of the initiative's efforts. These are:

  • Having a set of common practices and well-developed guidelines
  • Having established a database of up-to-date patterns
  • The ability of system vendors to develop export and import capabilities for the pattern data in OCLC
  • The ability of libraries to migrate data from one system to another

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Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program

During the year 42 workshops sponsored by the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program were given throughout North America. Course materials for the Basic Serials Workshop have been translated into French for Canadian workshops, Spanish for courses given in Mexico, and Chinese for a workshop given late last year in Taiwan. Thirteen of the workshops given during the current fiscal year were the newest SCCTP course, the Serials Holdings Workshop. This workshop, developed by Frieda Rosenberg and Thom Saudargas, was made available in early 2001. Twenty-nine trainers were introduced to it at a train-the-trainer session given at LC in January 2001. Based on the MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data and ANSI/NISO Z39.71-1999, the workshop provides the basic principles of creating holdings records and publication patterns, along with information on why holdings are important and a brief background of key standards. The course is made available through CDS in electronic form. The workbooks are in PDF format and the slide presentations in PowerPoint. Workshop sponsors are responsible for down loading and replicating the workbook text and cover art for the instructor and trainee manuals.

The electronic distribution model of the Holdings workshop will be the method of distribution for two new courses. Development of the Advanced Serials Cataloging Workshop and the Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop began during the fiscal year. The Advanced Serials Cataloging Workshop is being developed by Kristin Lindlan (University of Washington) and Meg Mering (University of Nebraska). The Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop is being developed by Steve Shadle (University of Washington) and Les Hawkins (LC). The courses are timed to be available with the publication of the revised AACR2 in mid 2002.

CONSER documentation and publications

One update to the CONSER Editing Guide was published. Update 13 (spring 2001) included revisions of instructions for inputting LC control numbers, to support use of the new MARC 21 LCCN format implemented in January 2001. Guidelines were added for creating records with vernacular Chinese script, to reflect implementation of pinyin romanization. One update to the CONSER Cataloging Manual, Update 11 (fall 2000) was published. Significant additions included documentation of CONSER's decision not to use May 2000 revisions of LCRI 1.11A for electronic serials. An interim policy for multiple distributors of electronic text was documented. Guidance on selecting which and how many URIs to record in 856 fields was included, as was information on general maintenance of 856 fields.

CONSER Member Reports


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