American Library Association
Annual Conference (2009 July 9-15 : Chicago, Ill.)
Report on cataloging, etc. meetings
Prepared by Sherman Clarke

Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group ("Big Heads") - Friday a.m.

Chris Cole (NAL), Dianne McCutcheon (NLM), and Beacher Wiggins (LC) gave a report on testing and implementation of Resource description and access, the new edition of the cataloging rules. RDA is expected to be released in the early fall and following some testing of the online product, testing will be done in the first quarter of 2010. Twenty-seven institutions have been selected for the testing period. Among the testing institutions are the Morgan Library and Museum, the Minnesota Historical Association, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (all of whom have staff members on the ARLIS/NA Cataloging Advisory Committee). The test will encompass two phases with each institution doing records for 25 books, one in AACR2 and one in RDA. OCLC is looking at how easily they can absorb records done by RDA. Wiggins said the testing will attempt to emulate a "normal" cataloging environment, with both bibliographic and authority work. cf

Jim Dooley of UC Merced reported on the next generation cataloging work at the University of California campuses. This work is based on the UC Libraries Bibliographic Services Task Force (BSTF) Report from 2005. It is expected that the Next Generation Melvyl can function as the new union catalog for the UC system. The working group will be looking at cataloging workflows and automation, with cataloging moving to the network level. They are hoping to shift from "shared cataloging" to "integrated cataloging." There is an executive group of the campus head librarians, a steering team, and cross-functional teams for each information resource type. The teams are expected to report in late 2009 or early 2010. More information, including a link to BSTF report, is available at

Scott Wicks (Cornell) and Bob Wolven (Columbia) reported on 2CUL, a project to look at collaborative arrangements that could be undertaken by the two institutions (sharing the initialism CUL). They will be looking at a wide variety of services, such as borrowing, shared storage, shared collection building, perhaps a shared OPAC.

Following the presentations on NGTS at UC and 2CUL, several other directors mentioned efforts elsewhere, e.g., OhioLink (80 libraries, 60 separate ILSes, multitype institutions), Berkeley doing German cataloging for UCSD and UCSD doing Thai for Berkeley. In each case, the libraries or groups are looking at ways to reduce redundancy, to build in more Open Access methodology, to figure out ways to load aggregator records collectively rather than each institution loading them, coordination of approval plans, and, perhaps most difficult, getting staff buy-in.

Measures taken to keep up production in tough economic times included stopping writing of call numbers in the book. Penn has started doing this, as has Indiana University. When Indiana discussed it a few years ago, there was considerable resistance but it was now accepted. The time seems to be right. The University of Minnesota has moved DVDs and videos to open stacks and they now circulate. The discussions again included much talk of reducing redundancy and lessening hand-offs of materials.

On Friday morning, there was a discussion on NPR about "toxic assets" becoming "legacy assets." We speak of legacy data (actually mostly metadata) and there seemed to be parallels with the toxic/legacy of assets. Important and sometimes hard to deal with, but a legacy that must be considered.

Subject Analysis Committee, Subcommittee on FAST - Friday p.m.

The FAST developers at OCLC is now mostly in maintenance rather than significant increase in size, e.g., elimination of conflicts through validation, correction of records, links to roots for free-floating and pattern headings. Geographic coordinates are being added to geographic name records, based on GeoNames database. The coordinates are being added to all 151 records, whether the source record came from NAF or SAF. It is not anticipated that coordinates will be added to headings not coded 151 though some (buildings and historical societies, for example) might be candidates for the sort of place indexing that coordinates would allow. A form will be available on 151 records without coordinates for them to be added by someone viewing the record. At the SAC meeting, Janis Young reported that LC is not now adding coordinates to Name Authority File records. It is hoped that FAST might be expanded to include some headings from the Virtual International Authority File though VIAF is currently just name records.

Ed O'Neill and Lois Chan are working on a publication about the FAST project, to be published by Libraries Unlimited. It is nearing completion.

At our last meeting, Shannon Hoffman reported on a test project at Brigham Young using FAST in PRIMO. It is largely dormant and PRIMO has been removed from the test because it already does faceting as part of its interface. They continue to look at the literature.

CCS Forum: MARC Must Die - Friday p.m.

Rebecca Guenther (LC) gave a good overview of MARC 21 with careful description of what we can mean when we say MARC and how the ambiguity makes the whole idea of MARC being outdated confusing. MARC as a syntax may be MARC 2709 or MARCXML; it is a data element set but it reflects the external content rules (particularly AACR in Anglo-American libraries); there are five different formats for different functions (bibliographic, authority, holdings, classification, community information). Some of the problems are the MARC 2709 syntax issues such as the directory and leader, the limitation of characters for fields, subfields, etc.; the redundancy of data; embedded values in 008; limited ability to link and relate within and between records; and a lack of explicit hierarchical levels. Some progress is being made with more linking via $u, $w, and $0 (zero); more $2 for vocabularies; a MARBI discussion paper for URIs for controlled values; MODS and style sheets as streamlined alternatives to full MARC 21. Some of the issues to resolve include actionable vs descriptive information, between parsed information and text, codes vs words, library and non-library traditions, stability and change, basic retrieval and scholarly retrieval, and the cost of change.

Ted Fons (OCLC Research) talked about work at OCLC on building information beyond basic bibliographic records. For example, WorldCat Indentities can use a combination of bibliographic and authority records to build pages for authors and other entities. The detailed display in WorldCat Local uses information such as reviews and external links. They are continuing to work on the FRBR Work-Set Algorithm.

Also on the panel were Amy Eklund on the MARC Content Designation Utilization project and Diane Hillmann on the future of MARC.

These presentations are to be posted on the web.

Cataloging Norms Interest Group - Saturday p.m.

Jennifer Bowen gave a presentation of the metadata services toolkit they are building in the Extensible Catalog (XC). It will assist in record cleanup, FRBRization, authority control matching, aggregation, schema transformation, and normalization. It is automated, configurable, and pluggable, and with an interface for staff (not end users). It uses OAI-PMH to harvest records for manipulation, with faceted browsing. The XC harvester works on Voyager and Ex Libris catalogs and they are working on Millennium, Koha, and Evergreen.

Betty Meagher and Kate Crowe reported on a merger of technical services and archival processing at the University of Denver. Teams include Archives Policy Group, Special Materials Team, Catalog Management Group, and Monographs Team. They report that there has generally been good buy-in from existing staff.

Subject Analysis Committee - Sunday a.m.

The SAC agenda was not distributed before Annual and the meeting included mostly the traditional reports. Highlights include: Sears subject headings are now on WilsonWeb and they will be updated in the fall; Cataloger's Desktop now allows for a specific link to be emailed; headings for operas and theaters are being moved from NAF to SAF unless they are used as descriptive access points; LC has not yet altered their workflows because of the development of VIAF; a demo of the SKOS version of Dewey was given at the Dewey breakfast; there has been considerable work on DDC numbers for green and sustainability topics; those working on music genre terms are trying to decouple terms that mix medium of performance and instrumentation (Sonatas, Violin, for example) (654 was suggested); the PCC website is being redesigned; Catalogers Learning Workshop is now coordinated in Coop. The 31st edition of LCSH includes a sixth volume with free-floating subdivisions, genre/form subdivisions, and childrens' headings; it will be available separately for $20 from CDS. The reports from liaisons and representatives will be posted.

Miscellaneous notes

The BIBCO Standard Record was discussed at the BIBCO/NACO-At-Large meeting which I did not attend. This new standard will replace the BIBCO full and core standards, and represents a desire to build a good access record, based on CONSER's standard record for continuing resources (serials). The final report of the task group is available on the PCC website.

David Lankes (Information Institute of Syracuse) gave a wide-ranging and speculative presentation on "The death of the document" at the PCC Participants' Meeting on Sunday afternoon. He recorded as he spoke and it is to be posted at

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