American Library Association
Midwinter Meeting (2010 January 15-19 : Boston, Mass.)
Report of cataloging, etc. meetings

Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information Committee (MARBI) (Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon)

Proposals and Discussion Papers are described in numerical order rather than in agenda order. The agenda is available at with links to papers.

Proposal 2010-01: Defining codes for online and direct access electronic resources in 008/23 and 008/29 (Form of item) Codes were approved for remote access ("o") and direct access ("q") and the existing code ("s") which covered both was not made obsolete. The British Library stated that they did not need to differentiate, and legacy data will continue to carry the value "s."

Proposal 2010-02: Addition of subfield $5 (Institution to which field applies) in the 80X-830 Series Added Entry Fields of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format Approved to cover situations such as digital collections that appear in a series-like collection, even though some libraries use 7XX fields to collate such materials. An example will be added for a collection provided by a vendor rather than a particular cataloging institution.

Proposal 2010-03: Recording Place and Date of Capture in the MARC21 Bibliographic Format This proposal generated considerable discussion about places of capture that might not be established in authority files, e.g., "Joe's apartment." Consensus was reached that subfield $0 (zero) should be added for providing links to standard numbers and that subfields $d and $2 should be repeated. Subfield $o (letter o) was approved for "other" information to give information that might include introductory information as well as venue, e.g., Filmed on location $p Rome and Venice; Recorded live at the Lugano Festival Stelio Molo $p Lugano, Italy.

Proposal 2010-04: New data elements in the MARC 21 Authority and Bibliographic Format for works and expressions Fields 380, 381, 382, 383, and 384 were approved to carry, respectively, Form of Work, Other Distinguishing Characteristics of Work or Expression, Medium of Performance, Numeric Designation of a Musical Work, and Key. The proposal had been for non-repeatable (following RDA) but they were made repeatable and subfield $0 (zero) was added for linking to a control number. It was noted in discussion that objects might need repeatability for Form of Work, e.g., charcoal drawing and preparatory study.

Proposal 2010-05: Adding subfield $3 (Materials specified) to field 034 (Coded Cartographic Mathematical Data) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats Approved so that geographic coordinates of two aspects could be coded, e.g., mouth and source of river. Since this does not really match "materials specified," the definition of subfield $3 might be tweaked.

Discussion Paper 2010-DP01: ISBD punctuation in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format There was considerable discussion of varying practices between the Anglo-American community where ISBD punctuation is explicitly input and the German-Austrian community where ISBD punctuation has been covered by their MAB format which they are now moving away from. A proposal will probably come of the discussion with some code other than "n" and it will be made clearer that a record so coded actually includes a mix of punctuation since internal ISBD punctuation will be included in fields even though the beginning or ending punctuation may be provided through coding. A side discussion about subfield $e supported the desirability of its being made repeatable to allow for cases in which two or more sets of description conventions are being used, e.g., RDA and CCO, RDA and rare book rules.

Discussion Paper 2010-DP02: Encoding URIs for controlled values in MARC records While there is considerable interest in encoding URIs for controlled values, the paper proposes adding considerable new syntax for this encoding. OCLC thinks that experimentation could (and should) be undertaken before such complexity is added to the format. LC and OCLC might do some experimenting along the lines of the discussion paper but no changes will be proposed at this time.

Discussion Paper 2010-DP03: Encoding the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) and the International Standard Text Code (ISTC) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Format ISTC was removed from the discussion since the code is still being worked on. ISNIs were used in clustering names in the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF). Both LC and the British Library get ISNIs as part of their publisher information in CIP programs. Providing access to standard numbers for names and works is very promising and these first steps may provide for a solid place for CONA and other numbers as they become available.

LC report Update 10 became available in November, and it includes a quick list of changes for RDA. RDA testing continues. Tables were added to indicate where content, media, and carrier type information according to RDA (336/337/338) already exists in MARC records. MODS is now at version 3.4 and there will be changes to the XSLT conversion. Charles Husbands is working on a mapping from Premis and Text MD which are used for digital objects metadata.

Subject Analysis Committee (Sunday morning, Monday afternoon)

SAC intends to move more of its documentation to ALA Connect which is arranged by ALA organization. The URL is and I think you can view documents without logging into your ALA account but must be logged in to comment.

Most of the reports from representatives described below were also available in written form. If you would like a copy of any of the reports, please ask. And they may eventually be available at ALA Connect.

Joseph Miller reported on the Sears Subject Headings published by H.W. Wilson. They started using "Native Americans" some years ago and have just changed their headings for India from "Indic" to "Indian." When they were researching the efficacy of the change, they found 600K hits on "Indian literature" and 40K on "Indic literature" and most of the latter were library related. LCSH continues to use "Indian" for American natives and "Indic" for South Asian related headings.

From the report of Janis Young of the LC Policy and Standards Division (formerly Cataloging Policy and Support Office): Subject heading manual updates and other updates to LC documentation is now being made available from the "freepdf" site at; VIAF examples were added to DCM Z1 (and also to my 670 examples at; LCSH is now available in SKOS from and includes deleted records which are not available at; validation records are being created for those headings with 20 or more hits and when those are done, LC plans on doing some targeted areas such as World War II or biotechnology; instructions for adding 034 for geographic coordinates are being revised on the SACO page and coordinates will be added programmatically to geographic authority records as possible.

Joan Mitchell described which is their "an experimental space for linked DDC data." They are coordinating Table 2 (geographic areas) to FAST headings. The Europe Dewey group will be meeting next in Alexandria (though there was no speculation on whether Egypt would be applying for EU membership). Deborah Rose-Lefmann reported that 690s (building), 720s (architecture), and Table 1 were being expanded significantly for green topics.

Beth Iseminger reported on the work of the Music Library Association in trying to disambiguate and distinguish genre/form and medium headings. The music headings are being worked on as part of the general form work at LCSH.

For ARLIS/NA, I announced that the subjects chapter of Cataloging exhibition publications had been issued and that the three released chapters are being combined into one resource and will be part of Cataloger's Desktop.

Yael Mandelstam talked about the law cataloging community efforts to build a genre/form thesaurus separate from LCSH but it won't necessarily include cross-references between forms if they vary.

Patricia Dragon reported on the Subcommittee on Genre-Form Implementation. Their work is now focused on moving image/video headings, geographic and ethnic qualifiers to genre terms, relationship of 155 and 185 form subdivisions, and tagging of genre thesauri.

John Mitchell described the presentation at SACO-At-Large in which Paige Andrew talked about his map catalogers resource webpage which, I think, is not yet publicly available.

Janis Young of LC PSD also gave an update on "Where is LC heading with LCSH?" The full report will be made available on the PSD's website at Janis talked about efforts to partner to take advantage of technology, e.g., automatic generation of subject headings, metadata generation projects with Stanford grad students, metadata remediation project with the Office of Strategic Initiatives, XML datastore, SKOS interface, and social tagging. LC is also working on enhancing the subject authority file, e.g., validation records, classification numbers in subject authority records, and instruction sheet numbers in subject authority records. As part of the work on adding instruction sheet numbers, LC will be seeking help from SAC and other catalogers to analyze those subdivisions in H1095 which are really totally free-floating and those which are used under, say, classes of persons, ethnic groups, places, wars, or plants. They will also look at such twins as "Quotations" and "Quotations, maxims, etc." (Janis's favorite unliked twin). Such clarification might allow for lists to be prepared for specific topics or groups of topics (and he added, for example, buildings). More pattern or free-floating group lists might be prepared. In another meeting, I heard that LC is working on adding URLs to classification records which could be a very handy classified way of providing access to information, or vice versa.

Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group ("Big Heads") (Friday morning)

Ruth Fischer (R2 Consulting) reported on the R2 study of the North American MARC records marketplace. They surveyed libraries and distributors, approximately 7% Canadian. Some of the findings: everyone prefers LC copy; 80% edit copy even from LC; only half share to utility; most unaware of restrictions on sharing; backlogs are growing at most institutions and most institutions have backlogs; about 200 organizations create, sell or distribute MARC records; 70 vendors were included in the survey and have 600-800 catalogers building original records; most of BIBCO records are contributed by ten libraries; most libraries have calculated wait-for-copy periods of 3-6 months.

Beacher Wiggins reported on developments at the Library of Congress: is a new SKOS service that currently makes LCSH available in SKOS and hopes to make more vocabularies available; CDS has moved from "his" division to business enterprises; LC is developing a special collections database, not yet publicly available (amalgam of about ten databases); LC is adding URLs to the LCC schedules (this could provide helpful classified entry to web resources); the policy office is looking at social tagging with the LC Flickr project as a prototype, and they are looking at LibraryThing which has such "added entries" as characters and places.

Diane Hillmann and Jon Phipps discussed their work on developing a registry of RDA vocabularies which was published soon after conference in Dlib: They also mentioned the New York Times Linked Open Data project, DBPedia, and FreeBase as avenues of bibliographic control of various entities. cf - ("DBpedia is a community effort to extract structured information from Wikipedia and to make this information available on the Web.") - ("A social database about things you know and love, spanning millions of topics in thousands of categories")

ALCTS is sponsoring a pre-conference workshop on linked open data this summer in conjunction with ALA Annual in DC. cf

Compiled by Sherman Clarke

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