Les Hawkins gave an overview of the CONSER Program, updates on recent activities and related meetings held at ALA. Statistics for record transactions increased by about 6% in the past fiscal year. Part of this is due to the move of Enhance members to the Associate level, a change in membership structure that was approved and implemented last year. Another factor in the increase is the work associated with electronic serials projects that is evident in the annual reports of CONSER institutions.
CONSER / ISSN databases
Maureen Landry (LC Serial Record Division) and Francoise Pelle, head of the ISSN Network, have discussed a plan to enable CONSER and the ISSN Network to cooperate in verifying and requesting non-US ISSN assignments. CONSER members with access to the ISSN database would verify non-US ISSN before adding them to CONSER records and a mechanism would be put in place for CONSER members to request ISSN for serials that need them. Various pricing strategies for CONSER member access to the ISSN database are being discussed. In later phases of the plan, automated sharing of data or comparison between the ISSN and CONSER databases will be explored.
Recently the work of the CONSER Publication Patterns Initiative has focused on standards compliance issues. Initiative members have contacted publishers and vendors to discuss the role of standards compliance in sharing and transmitting holdings data. The Task Group on Long Term Storage sponsored a meeting at ALA Midwinter with representatives from publishers, system developers, aggregators and others to discuss putting together a pilot for encoding and sharing holdings data through the Serials Release Notification format of ONIX. Standards compliance is also a part of the development of a shared database of "universal" holdings. Attendees of the Publication Patterns Initiative meeting at ALA received an update from OCLC on its implementation of the MARC21 Format for Holdings and conversion of existing data. This development offers the opportunity to explore wider sharing of universal holdings data in a utility database. A summary of the Publication Patterns meeting at ALA Midwinter 2005 is available from http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/conser/ppi/summarypubpat1-05.html
CONSER hosted a meeting of SCCTP sponsors and trainers at ALA midwinter. Four of the five SCCTP workshops will require updates because of the 2004 AACR2 rule amendments and the updates will be done this spring. The meeting with trainers and sponsors provided an opportunity to gather additional input during this process. The SCCTP Program has long talked about providing online training in conjunction with the workshops and this led to some exiting ideas for how distance learning might be applied to SCCTP material. A representative of the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) attended the SCCTP meeting at ALA to discuss Catalogers Learning Workshop, a web clearinghouse for cataloging training materials hosted by CDS http://www.loc.gov/catworkshop/. The clearinghouse provides access to training material produced by PCC (including SCCTP workshops) and ALCTS.
Robert Bremer reported on implementation of OCLC's new Connexion client. Support for Passport and CatMe is due to end May 1st, 2005, current versions of CJK and Arabic will be retired July 1st. Version 1.3 of the Connexion client, due March 2005, will have more features including support for CJK and Arabic scripts, a Spanish interface and true keyword searching of WorldCat. Full implementation of Unicode will come later, there will be a need to work with LC and other stakeholders.
Robert also presented a discussion on normalization schemes and the problems caused by the lack of a uniform scheme that can be used by local systems, utilities, authority records and bibliographic records. This discussion was presented to both CONSER and BIBCO members at ALA and members of both groups felt it was worthwhile for the PCC to pursue on behalf of the larger library community, including vendors, and system developers.
Action: The BIBCO and CONSER Coordinators will request the PCC Steering Committee charge the PCC Standing Committee on Automation to pursue this task.
LC serials copy cataloging
Les provided background on issues surrounding LC Serial Record Division's implementation of its copy cataloging procedures. The procedures include making use of the 042 code lccopycat to identify records accepted for copy cataloging by technicians and catalogers at LC. An outline of the new procedures was announced in August 2004 indicating that the focus of serials copy cataloging at LC was on identification and access, unauthenticated records would be accepted essentially as-is and only obvious or egregious errors would be corrected. Authority work would be completed for all access points in the records. It was unclear to CONSER members whether these records meet existing standards for CONSER authentication. Members were unsure of what elements to expect in the records, how problems found in copy would be handled, and the implementation timeframe.
CONSER At-Large attendees reiterated these concerns, including the concern that LC didn't involve other CONSER members in developing the procedures until the new policy was put into place. Members felt they did not have enough information to determine the impact these records will have on the shared CONSER database. LC copy cataloging for serials was also discussed at the PCC Policy Committee (PoCo) meeting in November of 2004 and representatives from the PCC Steering Committee attended the CONSER At-Large meeting to address questions raised about PoCo's decision to support LC's implementation of the policy. In December, Les and the PCC leadership suggested setting up a group represented by CONSER members, the Serial Record Division, and other stake holders to begin looking at the records and procedures, consider additional ideas, and make recommendations about how the procedures could be improved and whether the records should remain in the database. Suggestions from At-large attendees included the idea that a CONSER wide standard for copy cataloging be devised and that it focus on the idea of a "resource" record.
Regina Reynolds, head of the National Serials Data Program (the US ISSN Center) provided an update on ISSN revision activities. Multiple users of the ISSN require different levels of resource identification. The current level of ISSN identification is a "middle level" approach where separate ISSN are assigned to separate formats (print, online, CD, etc.). Under the current scenario being studied by the revision group, this level would be maintained for those ISSN users that need it. In addition, a title or work level ISSN assignment would be available to add to the “cluster” of ISSN associated with a resource. The title/work level "tISSN" (an as yet unofficial name for the title level ISSN) would benefit many applications that rely on a single identifier to deliver or transmit information about resources
Under this scenario, user groups that need separate ISSN for separate versions can continue to have them. Other applications that increasingly rely on a title level or work identifier could make use of the tISSN. Such an identifier could be embedded within existing identifiers such as Info:URI and DOI. It would also have a positive impact for interoperability among citation services, link resolvers, PAMS, and other services. Other activities that are part of the revision process include forming a user advisory group for the ISSN Network and developing new services at the ISSN International Centre, such as ISSN look up and notification services.
The ISSN revision group is beginning work on refining these ideas this year,
it is hoped that a final draft of the ISSN revision might be available by the
end of 2006.
AACR3 Part 1 Draft
Regina also discussed meetings of CC:DA during ALA Midwinter and the importance of CONSER and PCC making known their reactions to the draft. Kristin Lindlan (U. of Washington) agreed to lead a CONSER group in compiling CONSER's comments on the draft. Paul Weiss (UCSD) compiled comments for a PCC response.