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2003/2004 ANNUAL REPORT
OF THE CONSER PROGRAM

Compiled by the Library of Congress
Serial Record Division, October 2004

Report Appendices

Members of CONSER Committees and Representatives
CONSER Task Forces and Working Groups
CONSER Statistical Summary
Publication Patterns Statistics

Introduction

In fiscal year 2004, there was a 6% increase in CONSER database transactions (self reported PCC statistics for new records added and maintenance transactions). As the individual member reports show, much of the increase in authentication and maintenance activity was related to electronic resources. Les Hawkins was named CONSER Coordinator after the retirement of Jean Hirons and Hien Nguyen was appointed CONSER Specialist after acting in that capacity for almost a year. Jean Hirons continued serving CONSER as a consultant for part of the fiscal year by completing a report on expanding the SCCTP program to include distance learning and coordinating the CONSER Summit on Serials in the Digital Environment.

CONSER Summit

The Summit was a meeting of 70 people representing all library service areas, the serials industry, and standards communities. The purpose of the Summit was to gain an understanding of electronic resource growth and usage and to help CONSER shape strategies for the future. Panel discussions focused on publishing, users, and standards. Members of the publishing panel told the attendees that the model of the journal was still valuable to authors for getting papers to press, generating citations, and tenure review. But there are new models of publishing such as open access journals and the institutional repository model, which are becoming increasingly important and will have an impact on the type of metadata needed. Paper as a format will still be with us until digital preservation issues, including standards for electronic format and metadata are sorted out.

Another panel identified a wide variety of metadata and resource users, including researchers, librarians, and providers of library systems such as OPACS and link resolvers. Researchers are interested in obtaining full text and it is not necessarily important to them whether the material is obtained through libraries or Google. Librarians use multiple records to acquire electronic resources, but multiple records for the print and the electronic confuse researchers. Mismatches in metadata for a resource contained in indexing tools, link resolvers, and ILS systems are barriers to the user receiving full text.

Some of the recurring themes of the Summit were that library efforts should focus on making sure our systems are interoperable, we should try to share data more efficiently, and provide better coverage of e-serial packages within the CONSER database. The Summit resulted in a list of recommendations for CONSER and the PCC and a summary of the proceedings.

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Action on recommendations:

Two recommendations from the Summit focus on CONSER and the ISSN:

  • CONSER should provide input on the ISSN standard revision process
  • CONSER should work to improve the usefulness of ISSN that are recorded in the CONSER database.

Regina Reynolds, head of the National Serials Data Program (NSDP), is working with CONSER members to gather input on the ISSN revision process and ideas for improving ISSN accuracy in the CONSER database. Regina is a member of the ISO working group leading the review of the ISSN standard and was awarded the 2004 Marcia Tuttle International Grant to draft wording for the revised ISSN standard. Regina's membership on the ISO working group and the NISO/EDItEUR Joint Working Party on the Exchange of Serials Subscription Information (JWP external link), gives her a good perspective on the wide range of needs associated with the ISSN. Regina has conducted surveys and addressed many audiences including those at NASIG, the CONSER Operations meeting, and ALA to gather input for the ISSN revision and the need for accurate ISSN data.

Ideas for increasing accuracy of ISSN in CONSER records include the possibility of providing wider access to ISSN assignments. If basic ISSN data were easily available to CONSER catalogers, it could be accurately transcribed onto CONSER records. The CONSER office surveyed its membership on behalf of the ISSN Network on the type of access needed to verify ISSN. Maureen Landry, chief of the Serial Record Division LC, is consulting with the Cataloging Distribution Service and the ISSN Network on possibilities for sharing data.

Other Summit recommendations were discussed at the CONSER Operations meeting in May and resulted in the formation of task groups to explore issues within CONSER. Valerie Bross (University of California, Los Angeles) presented a proposal that addresses the Summit recommendation to find ways of accommodating OpenURL on CONSER records. The proposal offers the opportunity for CONSER to examine its existing policies on URLs on CONSER records, look at ways to enhance persistence in URLs for commercial resources, and consider needs of services that implement OpenURL. This effort requires coordination with the ISSN revision process which is looking into the possible relationship of the ISSN with a resource identifier standard such as ISTC, Info URI, or DOI.

The CONSER Operations meeting also resulted in a task group to explore the recommendation that CONSER expand its coverage of e-serials within the database. The group will look at existing coverage in the CONSER database and consider ways to coordinate the creation of records for titles in particular packages. In a related discussion at the operations meeting, Adolfo Tarango (UCSD) demonstrated a macro developed by Robert Bremer (OCLC) as part of the work of the 3rd Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases.The macro will be made available to CONSER members to assist in the creation of e-serial records for titles in packages based on existing print version records. The task group completed its work in August and the macro will provide a valuable tool for adding records for e-serials to the CONSER database.

Lucy Barron (LC) proposed new procedures for updating pre-AACR2 records and records from non-AACR2 cataloging sources at the operations meeting. The proposal is a result of a Summit recommendation to monitor the success of the aggregator-neutral record and explore ways to accommodate non-AACR2 cataloging in the CONSER database. A CONSER task group has been formed to examine existing CONSER guidelines on updating pre-AACR2 records and to consider the application of this proposal to other types of non-AACR2 records, such as catalog records created in countries that do not use AACR2.

Members of the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative also attended the Summit and have been working on Summit related recommendations. The Publication History Task Group has been considering a display model that would tie different types of records for a serial together, including holdings records and multiple bibliographic records for online and print versions to provide a more meaningful display for users. Members of the task group illustrated the idea for this "super record" at two ALA annual meeting venues. Diane Hillmann (Cornell), chair of the task group, presented the idea at the Serials Standards Updates Forum and Frieda Rosenberg (University of North Carolina) gave a presentation at the MARC Formats Interest Group Meeting. Linda Miller (LC) is working on a standards compliance survey that will be a basis for a meeting at ALA Mid-winter 2005 to discuss standards compliance and interoperability with vendors. Linda has also joined the Serials Release Notification (SRN) sub-group of the JWP. The SRN is a format intended to support the exchange of information about item availability at the issue and article levels. Linda's involvement with the group allows her to contribute her knowledge from her library systems background and experience with the MARC21 Holdings Format. It also helps establish a connection between CONSER efforts and the work of other serials standards organizations, another of the recommendations from the Summit. The Publication Patterns Initiative has proposed a new task force at its ALA annual meeting, the Standards Interoperability Task Force to monitor and provide liaison with other standards groups.

The PCC Policy Committee will be looking at other recommendations from the Summit in 2005. These include:

· Revise CONSER’s mission statement to emphasize data sharing and focusing on user needs.
· Establish a CONSER publisher advisory board to recommend initiatives for collaboration between publishers and CONSER.
· Establish a task group to consider displays of multiple versions in order to make the OCAT clearer. A summary of user display needs will be explored to determine the PCC's role in improving OCAT displays of multiple versions.

Summit related presentations and publications

Membership

In early 2004 CONSER implemented changes to its membership structure, moving Enhance level members to the Associate level, and changing record contribution requirements. Ten members were moved to the Associate level and some of them are working with mentors to complete the transition. Members in the Associate level rotate for OCLC funding to attend the annual operations meetings in May of each year. Tulane, which began training as a new Enhance member last year, has now become a fully independent Associate member.

Seven institutions have expressed interest in joining the CONSER program at the Associate level. Two of these libraries participate in the Publications Pattern Initiative, two are state libraries, and two others are affiliated with current CONSER libraries, but are administratively separate units.

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Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP)

Two SCCTP train-the-trainer workshops were given in September and October of 2003 to provide more trainers for the Basic Serials Workshop. Jean Hirons, CONSER Consultant, compiled a report and recommendations for SCCTP involvement in distance learning in October 2003. The report points to a need to provide more supplementary material on the Web for existing SCCTP workshops. Distance learning efforts for SCCTP should be focused on small portions of existing workshops to provide a more basic serials processing overview.

Lisa Furubotten (Texas A&M University) and Joe Hinger (St. John's University) translated and compiled material from SCCTP workshops to give a presentation at INFO-2004 - International Congress of Information in Cuba.

Publication Pattern Initiative

Carlin Ruschoff (University of Maryland) continued serving as the chair of the Publication Pattern Task Force.
Members have been contributing patterns to OCLC records at a steady rate, though fewer than last year.

Frieda Rosenberg coordinated an update of the CONSER Guidelines For Input Of Caption/Pattern And Holdings Data completed by Patricia Hatch (Harvard). Suggestions for the revision were contributed by Patterns participants and prompted in part by the availability of a few new subfields. Many more examples were added to the guidelines and new appendices were included. LC staff, staff at other CONSER libraries, and the PCC Standing Committee on Standards have expressed interest in updating and using Appendix A: Abbreviations for Captions. A task group has been charged with updating the Appendix. This group will vet new abbreviations to the list, consider widening its coverage (to include monograph related terms) and submit proposals for adding terms to Appendix B of AACR2.

Ruth Haas (Harvard) presented a paper Publication patterns: an essential and successful collaboration at IFLA in August. The IFLA program included other holdings format related presentations this year.

Two task groups were active during the year, the Task Force to Explore the Use of a Universal Holdings Record
and the Task Force on Long-term Storage of Pattern and Holding Data. Increasingly, the efforts of these two groups are becoming intertwined. Both are beginning to explore the long term storage of publication history data through OCLC's new platform and have begun plans to convene a meeting of vendors, publishers, and librarians to discuss compatibility and data sharing issues.

At ALA annual this year, it was decided that for forthcoming ALA meetings, one two hour meeting will be held on Saturday afternoon of the Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings Meeting; the end of this meeting will be used for sharing specific vendor and holdings questions.

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Operations Meeting

The CONSER Operations Meeting was held May 6-7, 2004, with forty CONSER operations representatives in attendance. The representatives discussed specific cataloging problems and recommendations from the CONSER Summit on Serials in the Digital Environment. (Operations Meeting summary) Three new task groups were formed to pursue Summit recommendations (see discussion of the Summit above).

CONSER Database

During the CONSER At-Large meeting at ALA, John Levy (LC) reported on the CONSER replacement file received from OCLC and processed against the CDS distribution database. The processing of updates (later versions of OCLC/CONSER records) resulted in the redistribution of over 378,000 records to subscribers of the CDS serials product. It also resulted in the identification of several categories of mismatches between the OCLC and LC files of the CONSER database. These records are being examined to resolve conflicts, identify mismatches and redistribute the records. John Levy coordinated an investigation of records missing from the CONSER database, as reported by Serials Solutions. As a result, a number of records for key serials were corrected and distributed to all subscribers of the database.

CONSER Documentation

Module 31 of the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) was updated to reflect changes resulting from implementation of the aggregator-neutral record and to remove older material. Hien Nguyen completed a large update to the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG). A project to replace image files in the Catalogers Desktop version of the CCM was completed with the help of Library of Congress staff. David Collins, working with funding from CDS, re-scanned and sized images that were of poor quality or too large. Michael Cunningham, Regina Gladden, and John Connell assisted in retrieving material for scanning.

CONSER People

Kathleen Dougherty, (NAL) retired after 38 years of government service.

CONSER Member Reports

Appendices

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