American Library Association
Midwinter Meeting (2012 January 20-24 : Dallas, Tex.)
Report on cataloging meetings, etc.

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

Update on Kuali/OLE (Open Library Environment) (Beth Picknally Camden, Penn): community-source next-generation information management for integration and interoperation; aiming at structured and unstructured content, version control, indexing and retrieval (Solr and Lucene), format agnostic, facets, but not a discovery tool. Kuali Rice is the basic workflow software: locally configurable, provides action lists and route log. Discovery will be via DLF Discovery Interface and they are working with JISC on GOKb (Global Open Knowledge Base) which will be external but used to manage global- and local-level data. It is not yet parallel to WorldCat Local but I guess that is their model. They are working on licensing (ONIX-PL), linked authorities (Open Linked Data AF), and on editing tools. More info at and

Update on LC Bibliographic Framework Initiative (Beacher Wiggins, LC): The plan was released last October and they are gathering information. Deanna Marcum has retired from LC and gone to Ithaka but will continue to do fundraising. An international advisory committee is being formed and will consist of CEOs of major players. There will also be a technical committee. The discussion will be about the new environment rather than narrowly about a new format to replace MARC: components are being investigated and integration is necessary; implementation will be evolutionary. Cath Tierney (Stanford) stated well the feeling of many that we have been working with MARC so long that it is hard to break out of that but she called on the young folks to dream and have fun and to move to data, not get bogged down in records.

Building communities of practice for new activities (Bob Wolven, Columbia): fitting new tasks into institution, e.g., web curation in original cataloging; remote storage in cooperation with University of Michigan, looking at public domain works; scanning contents of journals going to remote storage; author disambiguation in EEBO. Cooperation with other institutions (as well as within an institution) can be complicated by different administrative structures, but need to develop strategic initiatives and manage them. In a few words, new roles and old silos. Other new activities/responsibilities: metadata for data sets (library and sci/tech departments at Stanford), library and museum systems (Yale), study group on XSLT (U of Washington, not assigned to a unit). Split positions, overtasked people and skill building will happen and need to be coordinated, building on energy and creativity, benefiting from collective action.

I left for a different meeting at the break, with the post-break agenda including a discussion of new acquisitions methods for library collections and questions from the audience.

Machine Readable Bibliographic Information Committee (MARBI) (Saturday a.m. and Sunday p.m.)

There were only two papers for MARBI discussion at this conference along with discussion of the new bibliographic framework initiative. The latter discussion mostly focused on how MARBI and the MARC Advisory Committee will evolve as the new framework/environment becomes less associated with LC. While things will be different, it is likely that there will continue to be an ALA committee with representatives from a mix of specialized organizations.

Proposal 2012-01 addressed "New data elements in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats for medium of performance." This paper grew out of the work on music genre/form terms which have traditionally mixed genre terms with medium of performance but not always. For example, "Sonatas (Flute and piano)" is in LCSH but for waltzes for flute and piano, LCSH calls for "Waltzes" and "Flute and piano music." (I imagine that we art catalogers might find some parallels mixes in our art headings, though we probably mix process and product more than genre and medium, or maybe that is the same. Examples: watercolor painting, metal sculpture.) MLA proposed two options: expanded 382 or new field for medium of performance. The 382 option was approved with a couple changes.

Discussion paper 2012-DP01 addressed "Identifying titles related to the entity represented by the authority record in the MARC 21 Authority Format." Authority records often include information about titles that are or are not by the entity but they are in a note field and not actionable. This discussion paper will go forward as a proposal to create such a field. The German National Library has a link between authority and bibliographic records that displays a list of titles by the entity in the authority record; this is done on the fly by a search of bibliographic records.

LC report: MARC updates are currently done annually but may move to semiannual, i.e., after every ALA.

Agenda available at with papers linked.

Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (Saturday p.m. and Monday a.m.)

ALA Publishing report from Troy Linker: RDA will see 8-10 new releases a year, scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month (most will be incremental but two will be bigger based on JSC meetings). There will be a fast-track process for typos and similar. The file is being divided into "pages" to improve download time. Icons will be used more for navigation to expedite language editions (the rollover text for an icon can be more easily changed than a text button). A webinar of "RDA Essentials" is to be offered six times a year and archived. Free access for 30 days can be arranged after training sessions.

Chris Oliver has been hired as copy editor to reword RDA. The instructions will not change and there will be no public review period. The first five chapters are to go to the JSC in June but have not been scheduled for release. More examples will be added. Rule numbers, at this point, are not permanent though there is a sort-order identification in the background (like a DOI). Since applications need a permanent URI, the real ID needs to be exposed.

Subject Analysis Committee (Sunday a.m. and Monday p.m.)

Genre/Form Implementation (Adam Schiff, U Washington): The subcommittee presented a discussion paper on recording demonyms in authority records, that is, terminology related to nationality of creator or regional origins of a work. LCSH currently deals with this in several ways, e.g., adjectival qualifier (Canadian literature), geographic subdivision (Jazz – Belgium), combination of the above (American poetry – Appalachian Region, Southern), general/topical subdivision (English fiction – Welsh authors). Several options for recording the information were presented, e.g., 3XX field with subfields, indicators, or complex see-also references; linking entry fields between place and demonym; new vocabulary. The subcommittee also presented a discussion paper on identifying relationships to categories of persons, specifically, audience and creator characteristics. The committee developed a spreadsheet of genre/form headings and subdivisions. Documentation available at:

Several headings were marked as "Defer to art project" and Adam and Yael Mandelstam encouraged us to undertake that project. I plan on culling the art headings from the spreadsheet to get us started after discussion with the ARLIS/NA Cataloging Advisory Committee and in consultation with Janis Young at LC.

LC report (Janis Young): Kate James is the new Cooperative Program Specialist in PSD, continuing to work one day a week in the Rare Materials section. LC/NAF has been added to http//, the authorities and vocabularies site at LC for SKOS. The Copyright Catalog back to the 1870s is being scanned. The ABA Directorate is being reorganized and the US/General team will become the US/Arts, Sciences and Humanities team. Thrity-five LC catalogers are working in RDA and using the LC Policy Statements developed during the testing. Military expeditions will stay in LCSH; other campaigns will be established in NAF as events. RDA allows for family names and fictitious characters as authors; PSD has decided that two records will be used, one for the subject heading and another for the name heading with appropriate usage notes. This means that, for example, "Smith family" will stay in LCSH and stand for all Smiths, Smythes, etc. and more specific family entries will be in NAF marked for name-only use. I hope this does not result in the same kind of NAF/SAF issues that we have had with buildings but imagine that the post-MARC environment will allow for a more entity-attribute-relationship situation. LC will try to keep LCSH in sync with RDA and will exercise the same sort of appropriate-for-RDA criteria (aka compatible but we will not say that) that will be used in NAF. LC has moved from weekly to monthly editorial meetings which means that proposals will take longer to be discussed and action taken. On the other hand, the monthly list allows for more grouping of related proposals and headings requiring research may receive more careful consideration. Lists of tentative headings are available and comments are welcome. Report available at:

If you have been a scaredy SACO-cat, I was too. SACO proposals, new and revised, are now built in the Minaret system used at LC rather than a web form. I have now done more than a dozen and actually feel pretty comfortable with the form and the process of creating the proposal, proofreading it, revising as desired, and submitting it to LC Coop for review. The system is used from a ClassWeb account. If you have been timid about participating, please talk to me about being an Art SACO member. If you do not want to do it yourself but have a term that you think is needed in LCSH, I have a suggestion form on the Art SACO page:

Dewey report (Joan Mitchell): Abridged Dewey is being build with machine assistance which enables interoperability and customized abridgements. Julie Beall reported on work on two Shiite sects in two separate DDC sections.

All reports available at:

The Monday meeting started with a presentation by Karen Coyle on "KO: knowledge organization." Karen talked about how classification could make discovery smarter through related terms (BT, NT, RT), facets, context, systematic arrangements, and concepts, and it can help disambiguate words with multiple meanings and minimize problems with the order of words in headings. As she said, computers are profoundly stupid and just look for string matches. Some of the sites she mentioned as doing interesting work in linked data and subject analysis:

SACO At Large (Sunday a.m.)

LC update (Janis Young): BFM has been completed on LCGFT terms. LC is separating character- and franchise-based terms from genre/form or subject headings, with the expectation that post-coordination will allow the user to combine the character/franchise with form or topic; about 90 headings are to be cancelled in February 2012. About 400 literary forms have been identified in the literature genre/form project. ATLA is close to finished with their work on religious genre/form terms which includes liturgical objects that will be of interest to art catalogers. The PCC Acceptable Headings Task Force has determined that some 90% of AACR2 headings in NAF will be acceptable with RDA and machine-assisted revisions will be made in NAF (LC and PCC are looking at the others and there may be NACO projects for some). LC issues a Summary of Decisions report after each editorial meeting and Janis encouraged people to follow guidance and resubmit proposals as appropriate. The report can be very instructive about the construction of headings.

Online courses are being developed in LCSH and LCC. There may be a trial run for one of the classes at Annual in Anaheim. Someone suggested a course in scope notes and disambiguation would be good.

PCC Participants Meeting (Sunday p.m.)

Linda Barnhart reviewed the PCC activities relating to RDA implementation: post-RDA test guidelines; FAQ (updated continuously); task groups: Acceptable Headings, Hybrid Records, Decisions, SCS TG to Formulate or Recommend PCC/NACO RDA Policy on Authority Issues, Advisory Committee on Initiatives, Essential Elements TG (user tasks in all metadata), linked data. PCC training modules are being developed and examples are being compiled. A white paper on undifferentiated names is being prepared by Phil Schreur and John Riemer and an open forum will be held at Annual in Anaheim. PCC will take over series training now that Judy Kuhagen has retired and LC is no longer controlling series headings. Linda dared mention that it might be time to consider a name change from Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

Linda then introduced a panel on "Eyeing the future: what’s on the horizon for NACO?" Speakers were Paul Frank (LC, "NACO: a pattern shift?"), Phil Schreur (Stanford, "NACO, Naja, Ganja: smoky speculations"), and Laura Smart (Cal Tech, "Tales of a NACO newbie").

More info:

Report compiled by Sherman Clarke,

... go to more ALA reports ...