Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > CONSER New Member Review Period

The following is a help for those undertaking review of a new CONSER member institution and should be regarded as a work in progress.  Reviewers with additional problems and insights should please contact Les Hawkins, [email protected] with their comments and questions.


Requirements and guidelines for the beginning review period for a new CONSER member institution are not defined rigidly. There is always latitude to adjust (and re-adjust) arrangements to accommodate the needs and situations of specific reviewees and reviewers. There are, however, preferred models for some aspects of the review period.

Goals of CONSER New Member Review

The goal for a new member during the review period is to become knowledgeable about CONSER policies and practices so as to be able to contribute independently. Reviewers promote, monitor, and confirm the new member's assimilation of CONSER standards and procedures and ability to apply them reliably as a builder and custodian of the CONSER database. The chief criterion observed is quality, especially quality in CONSER database maintenance.

The new member institution must have already demonstrated good (not necessarily perfect) serials cataloging ability in order to have passed the application process. The review period should serve, generally, to confirm this. The reviewer should look for a clear understanding of rules, rule interpretations, etc., and an overall high level of quality in cataloging. The review period may also, as needed, help instruct the new participant in particular areas and in emerging standards. Because the reviewee's contributions come from a real workflow and therefore cannot be selected, it is generally not practical to expect a predetermined array of different cataloging examples before independence may be granted. It is more valuable for the new member to demonstrate judgment and a readiness to ask for advice when necessary. If review over time contradicts the earlier positive overall evaluation of the new member's serials cataloging quality, the reviewer discusses with the CONSER Coordinator how matters should proceed.

The specific purpose of CONSER training and review for new members is to assure that they become not just good serials catalogers, but good CONSER catalogers. That is, beyond good judgment and command of rules, etc., they must consistently consult and follow the policies, procedures, and standards promised by participants in the CONSER Program. They should know, for example, when and how to modify or collapse existing records and when not to do those things. CONSER independence comes when there is confidence in the new member's overall awareness of, regular consultation of, and reliable application of CONSER standards and policies. The new CONSER member should not necessarily be expected to contribute examples requiring specific policies and procedures before independence may be granted, but should demonstrate steady and intelligent use of CONSER documentation and related standards.

There is no predetermined length of time that a CONSER review period must last or within which CONSER independence must be granted, although six months has often proven to be a good goal. Likewise, there is no predetermined number of records which must be submitted and approved before CONSER review ends. Lengths of time spent and numbers of records seen may be different in the reviews for different institutions. The quantity of work seen during the review should be sufficient to confirm general serials cataloging quality and, especially, to assure reliable grasp and application of CONSER standards. The reviewer discusses with the CONSER Coordinator when this point has been reached and the necessary competencies have been demonstrated sufficiently. If the new member's contributions over time are so low in number that they seem certain to fall very short of CONSER production requirements, the reviewer brings this to the attention of the CONSER Coordinator, who discusses the situation with the new member and determines how matters will proceed.

Back to Top

General Principles

  • The reviewer should see the reviewee's new or modified records in their final form, including all authentication elements, as nearly as possible.
  • Reviewer and reviewee should aim to assure that authenticated records appearing in the CONSER and OCLC databases fulfill the requirements given in the CONSER Editing Guide and the CONSER Cataloging Manual.
  • Review and contribution should be done in a timely fashion.
  • The reviewee may, using judgment, ask for the reviewer's assistance with difficult or unfamiliar problems when needed, before or at the time of review.

Before Review Begins

Needs to be done: Contacts:
Provide initial training, as needed Trainer, CONSER Coordinator
Provide supply of LCCNs for current year LC U.S. and Publisher Liaison Division Automated Operations Coordinator, CONSER Coordinator
Provide new member with CONSER documentation, if lacking CONSER Specialist
Obtain OCLC authorization at appropriate CONSER level for new member institution CONSER specialist/coordinator sends new member information about requesting the authorization copying the CONSER OCLC representative
Arrange for Web CONSER statistics form for new member CONSER Specialist, CONSER Coordinator

Back to Top

Logistics for Review


Reviewer and reviewee should exchange full communication information: email addresses, voice phone numbers, Fax numbers.

Initially, at least, the new member institution's CONSER operations representative should coordinate communication between the reviewer and different catalogers of the new CONSER institution. Later, if it is judged to be appropriate, the reviewer may agree to communications with individual catalogers.

Authority Work and CONSER Review

Generally, name and series authority work required for authentication should be done through NACO before CONSER review, unless the reviewee is asking for the reviewer's help in doing that work (in which case, that help may be requested at the time the CONSER bibliographic record is submitted for review).

  • New CONSER member institutions should be independent NACO participants, as is explained in CEG A4.2. CONSER records cannot be authenticated at "pcc" level without any required authority work having been done.
  • If NACO work in the new CONSER institution requires review or other work outside the unit that does CONSER cataloging, that should generally be completed before the bibliographic record is submitted for CONSER review.
  • The CONSER Editing Guide allows CONSER members the option of not contributing series authorities through NACO, but following procedures in CEG C4.2 instead.

New LC subject heading and LC classification proposals and changes may be submitted through SACO channels and procedures, without delaying CONSER review for their final approval.

  • Such proposals are considered pre-approved until and unless the review process determines they should be rejected or amended. Therefore, CONSER records may be reviewed and contributed while those proposals are still awaiting final approval. It is desirable for the reviewee to advise the CONSER reviewer when this is the case.
  • Contributors are advised to keep a record of their authenticated records affected by outstanding proposals, in case it is necessary to update them after subject heading and classification proposal review.

CONSER Authentication and Review

It is preferred that records have CONSER authentication elements (as defined in CEG C2) in place at the time the reviewee submits them to the reviewer for CONSER review.

  • Inputting the CONSER authentication elements is new to most new CONSER members and their correct entry is important to CONSER operations. Therefore, it is important for the reviewer to confirm the reviewee has mastered them and provides them reliably.
  • Planning of the review workflow can enable the reviewer to check the reviewee's inputting of CONSER authentication elements before the record is contributed to the CONSER and OCLC databases; see below.

Back to Top

Use of Connexion review record feature

Detailed information can be found in the OCLC help file on the Connexion client or the Web version of Connexion by searching review record. The basic steps for submitting a record for review and retrieving records are outlined below:

Reviewee: To submit records for review:

  1. Log on to the WorldCat. Prepare a bibliographic record: Retrieve, lock, and edit a master record or Create a new record
  2. On the Action menu, click Submit for Review, or press <Alt><A><B>.
  3. In the Submit for Review dialog, type one or more OCLC institution symbols for the library to which you want to submit.

    • Enter symbols in uppercase or lowercase. The system converts lowercase to uppercase.
    • Click OK to submit the record or workform immediately (online)
  4. 4. Results:
    • Validates OCLC symbols you supplied. If any symbol is invalid, the system does not submit the record. An error message identifies the invalid symbol(s).
    • You must retry submitting the record. When prompted, correct all invalid symbols and then click OK.
      Sets the record's Submit status to C (Completed) or F (Failed).
    • For a locked master record, retains the lock on the record in WorldCat.
    • Automatically saves the record to the online bibliographic save file.
    • Shows the record's save file number.
    • The client keeps the review institution symbol(s) you entered each time you open the dialog until you change them.
    • Note: After you submit a record for review, the system takes up to 1 minute for the record to register in the Review File index.

Reviewer: Retrieve records sent to you for review Records submitted to your library for review are called Review File records. You can search the online save file for all review records or for records sent by a single institution:

  1. On the Cataloging menu, click Search > Online Save File, or press <Ctrl <O>.
  2. In the Search Online Bibliographic Save File, under Review File, select one of the following check boxes.
    • All Review File Records
    • Review File Records for Institution: If you select this option, in the adjacent text box, type a single OCLC institution symbol.
    • To retrieve only review records, leave other search criteria blank.
  3. Click OK or press <Enter> to retrieve a list of review records

Back to Top

Workflow Plans for CONSER Review

Suggestion:  It is a constructive option for the reviewer and the reviewee operations representative to draft a written plan for their CONSER review period, in which they agree on their respective responsibilities and obligations and lay out specific plans for how things will flow during the review. The plan may also capture various small but essential details, such as addresses, Fax numbers, OCLC symbols, and the like. The goal should be to think about necessities beforehand and agree on mutually workable solutions, rather than to follow any standard CONSER design. The plan should be viewed as flexible and a planning aid, rather than rigid and an enforcement tool.

One possible component of a review plan is turnaround goals for the reviewer and the reviewee. The reviewer commits, generally, to return comments on records submitted for review within a certain time frame; a specific target period (for example, two working days or a week) is more useful than a general "ASAP." Likewise, the reviewee commits, generally, to contribute work to the CONSER database promptly after receiving the reviewer's OK. Enforcement is not the purpose here; helping the reviewer and reviewee see their obligations in concrete terms and fit them into their workloads is. Specific turnaround goals also provide some objective basis for identifying serious, continuing delay problems when they exist, although flexibility and tolerance should be the rule. At least, reviewer and reviewee should recognize together that timely review and contribution are important for the following reasons:

  • to reduce redundant and wasted cataloging effort when someone else creates an original record in OCLC for a title while the reviewee's record is awaiting review;
  • to reduce the time a modified existing record stays locked while awaiting review; and
  • to get useful instructions and advice to the new CONSER catalogers in time for it to help in the cataloging they do shortly afterward.

Example: One Possible Review Plan

The following is offered as one example of a workflow plan. It includes features and flow strategies that have worked well in some cases. The details of any specific review situation will always require some adaptation and invention, with some cases needing more than others. Three review "phases" are described here, but they are not meant to be prescriptive. They represent a very complete plan. Review plans put into practice may be simpler, with two "phases," or even one. It may be appropriate to start some new reviewees at a more advanced stage than others, depending on experience and familiarity with CONSER standards. The criteria used to advance a reviewee from one "phase" to another should reflect the goals of the review period, as described earlier. Each advancement is an acknowledgment of the reviewee's command of necessary CONSER standards and procedures; and independence is the concluding act of recognition.

Back to Top

Operating procedures for CONSER review: Beginning phase

  • Reviewee does CONSER cataloging and saves it for review as follows:
    • Reviewee creates fully authenticated new records and saves the workforms in the OCLC save file.
    • Reviewee locks existing unauthenticated OCLC records, makes appropriate modifications in them and authenticates them, and saves the modified/locked records in the OCLC save file.
    • Reviewee locks authenticated or unauthenticated records in OCLC that need modification related to CONSER work, makes appropriate modifications, and saves the modified/locked records in the OCLC save file.
    • Reviewee does necessary creation or modifications of name authorities and/or series authorities in the national/LC authority file through its normal NACO workflow. When desired, reviewee may request reviewer's advice or review ad hoc in particular NAR/SAR cases.
  • Reviewee faxes to reviewer appropriate surrogates (per CEG C11) supporting bibliographic description and authority work for records to be reviewed.
  • Reviewee emails to reviewer:
    • notification that surrogates have been faxed and records are ready for review
    • save file numbers for new record workforms
    • save file numbers for existing records locked and modified for authentication and/or modification
    • authority record IDs for any NARs or SARs created or modified by reviewee in association with a case
  • Reviewer uses the OCLC Connexion review feature to view and/or print out the reviewee's records in the reviewee's OCLC save file.
  • Reviewer reviews the records based on the faxed supporting evidence (and other information available, as necessary).
  • Reviewer provides feedback, with appropriate instructions, citations of relevant standards, and requests (if necessary) for additional work.
    • Reviewer generally responds within an agreed turnaround period (if there is one).
    • Reviewer gives priority to cases that have existing records locked.
  • Reviewee makes changes to records or does other work as instructed by reviewer.
  • Reviewee adds or replaces records in the OCLC database promptly after reviewer gives an OK.
  • Reviewee confers beforehand with reviewer on any duplications between authenticated records, on any record consolidations, and on any cases of recataloging from pre-AACR2 to AACR2. (See relevant sections in CEG.)
  • When reviewer observes that reviewee is consistently applying authentication and database maintenance procedures accurately, reviewee moves to intermediate or advanced phase.

Operating procedures for CONSER review: Intermediate phase

  • Reviewee creates, authenticates, and modifies bibliographic records in OCLC as in the beginning phase, but adds and replaces records before review.
    • Optionally, reviewee may save new or modified records and ask reviewer to use Connexion review feature for review in cases where reviewee desires advice before contributing the work.
    • When locking and authenticating and/or modifying an existing OCLC record, reviewee makes a "before" printout to show the record before reviewee's work.
  • Reviewee faxes to reviewer:
    • surrogates as instructed for the beginning phase
    • "before" printouts for existing OCLC records that reviewee authenticated and/or modified
  • Reviewee emails to reviewer:
    • LCCNs and OCLC record numbers for new and newly authenticated records
    • OCLC record numbers for related records that have been modified
    • authority record IDs for any NARs or SARs created or modified by reviewee in association with a case
  • Reviewer does review and provides feedback and instructions as in the beginning phase and reviewee takes any further actions needed.
  • Reviewee confers with reviewer as needed on duplications of authenticated records, record consolidations, record separation, and cases of recataloging from pre-AACR2 to AACR2, but may do and save work for such cases and then get reviewer's review and OK before contributing the work.
  • When reviewer observes that reviewee's database maintenance decisions are consistently correct and show good judgment and that cataloging is consistently accurate, reviewee moves to advanced phase or independence.

Back to Top

Operating procedures for CONSER review: Advanced phase

  • Reviewee creates, authenticates, and modifies records as in the intermediate phase.
  • Reviewee emails to reviewer LCCNs, OCLC record numbers, and authority record IDs for work done, as in the intermediate period.
  • Reviewee is not required to fax surrogates or "before" printouts to reviewer. (Reviewee may, optionally and as reviewee deems necessary, provide those to reviewer when special attention is thought useful.)
  • Reviewer reviews records and provides feedback and instructions as in the beginning and intermediate phases and reviewee takes any further actions needed.
  • Reviewee confers with reviewer as needed on duplications of authenticated records, record consolidations, record separation, and cases of recataloging from pre-AACR2 to AACR2, but may do and contribute work for such cases and then notify reviewer of actions for normal LC review and actions as described in relevant CEG sections.
  • When reviewer and CONSER Coordinator agree that the goals of the review period have been met sufficiently, the new member is declared independent.

CONSER Independence and End of Review

The reviewer works with the CONSER Coordinator to determine the appropriate time when the review period ends and the reviewee institution is declared independent for CONSER cataloging. Because local collections, policies, and resources affect what the reviewee institution can contribute to CONSER, experiences during CONSER review tend to be unique. Therefore, deciding when an institution should become independent is subjective. Generally, independence comes at a point when the new member institution can reliably provide serials cataloging of good quality, keep abreast of and follow CONSER policies and procedures, and contribute a reasonable quantity of authenticated work, as is expected of a CONSER member.

Support for and development of the new CONSER member does not stop when the review period ends. The CONSER Coordinator assigns the new member to an LC serials cataloging section that should be contacted for advice and for liaison purposes. The new CONSER participant is expected to consult other CONSER members, including the former reviewer, for information and discussion when needed. The CONSER Coordinator, the CONSER Specialist, and CONSRLST subscribers are available when problems seem to go beyond existing standards, policies, and procedures.

Back to Top