American Library Association
Midwinter Meeting (2013 January 25-29 : Seattle, Wash.)
Report on cataloging, etc. meetings

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

Many of the SAC reports are available on the ALA Connect site:

Janis Young reported from the Library of Congress. LC tried out its new Tomcat interface but there were performance issues and they re-established the standard version as the default. The Tomcat interface is available at Ex Libris is working on the performance issues. LC will install Voyager 8.2 sometime in 2013.

The National Agricultural Library is no longer collecting print mongraphs and LC will try to cover. So far, it seems like not much change in collection policy. LC has four million volumes plus special collections and microformats in remote storage, with four modules in Fort Meade, Maryland, with hopes for funding for another module. Barbara Tillett retired as chief of the Policy Standards Division and Tom Yee is acting chief.

In FY2012, LC did 330,621 cataloging records, of which 212,332 were original cataloging, 74,750 were copy cataloging, and 40,133 were MLC. Authority records: 91,321 name authorities, 4,227 subject authorities, and 2,312 classification numbers. Classes B (philosophy and religion), M (music), N (visual art), and Z (bibliography) were added to the Linked Data Service at; they are searchable by caption but not by class number (sigh).

The high-level model of the new Bibliographic Framework (BIBFRAME) was released in November 2012; Janis talked a bit about it and there were a lot of sessions and papers at Midwinter about it. Cataloger’s Desktop has been moved to an enhanced server facility in San Diego, allowing for more robust web crawling and updating.

LC changed the preferred headings for Chennai (Madras), Kolkata (Calcutta), and Mumbai (Bombay).

The simple-language rewording of RDA will start on chapters 9, 10, 11, 6, and 17, hopefully ready for release in late spring or early summer 2013. Dave Reser is the new LC representative to the Joint Steering Committee, and Barbara Tillett remains chair. The LC Policy Statements (LCPS) for RDA are now the LC-PCC Policy Statements; they are available free in the RDA Toolkit: (RDA itself requires a subscription). LC has trained 400 employees for RDA and expect to have everyone trained for implementation on April 1. New editions have been prepared of classes B-BJ, DS-DX, KF, PR, PS, PZ, Q, and R. LC will be reviewing the classes in manuals and schedules to determine what captions need to be revised for RDA, e.g., Koran to Qu’ran, Bible. O.T. to Bible. Old Testament. RDA will result in fewer of these changes than the shift from AACR to AACR2 with desuperimposition. Phase 2 of changes to the Name Authority File will happen before April 1. Field 072 for pattern instruction sheets is being added to authority records in hopes of computer manipulation and validation.

The subject heading “Voodooism” has been changed to “Vodouism.”

The LC Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) continues to grow: ATLA has submitted their religion terms; literature is working hard, as is the general terms group; the art group has not yet taken wing. Janis was asked what materials got minimal-level cataloging: low research value, fiction in some languages. MLC records do get a broad classification but are shelved by number.

WebDewey has added a number-building assistant. A constructed number can be saved for future use personally, institutionally, or for contribution to the wider DDC community.

The Music Library Association genre task force continues work with LC on musical genre terms. They are also grappling with thesaurus issues such as polyhierarchy and the inability of MARC to deal with node labels. Sounds like AAT discussions I remember.

Janis and Yael Mandelstam have written an article on the genre/form project entitled “It takes a village: developing Library of Congress genre/form terms” and it appears in Cataloging and classification quarterly, volume 51, no. 1-3, 2013. Yael worked on the law project and it is used as the case study.

The American Association of Law Libraries is setting up a SACO funnel.

As part of the ARLIS/NA report, I talked about the recent CAC online meeting to discuss the use (or not) of conventional collective titles for artist monographs and exhibition catalogs. Separate messages on those topics will be sent to ARLIS-L and arlis-cpdg.

The RDA Subcommittee is working on a discussion paper about dealing with subjects (FRBR Group 3 entities: Concept, Object, Event, and Place). Place (jurisdiction) may move to be with corporate bodies in RDA. The discussion paper is intended to go to SAC and CC:DA and thence on to JSC. Stay tuned.

The Monday meeting started with a presentation by Kevin Ford on “When URIs become authority.” He talked about the notion of authorities within BIBFRAME which adds what he calls a lightweight abstraction layer over metadata. There are four core classes: Work (roughly equivalent to FRBR Work and Expression), Instance (roughly equivalent to FRBR Manifestation and Item), Authority, and Annotation. BIBFRAME will allow the publisher place, for example, to be transcribed and linked to a place authority record. In their analysis, LC found that there were 5.7 million unique LCSH out of 24 million. Approximate occurrence counts of subfields were: 6.7 million with just one subfield, 10.5 with 2, 6.5 million with 3, 250K with 4, falling off fast to 10 headings with 10 subfields. Analysis of the high-count headings showed considerable quirkiness. I remember at a subject workshop in the 1980s when Mary K.D. Pietris was asked about a particular example; she said that the sequence of subdivisions was right but not something they’d want to do. Facets of interest that SAC is working on include audience, group characterization, medium, and temporal notions. They recognize that both content and order matter in precoordinated subject headings. They haven’t reached a final conclusion on on-the-fly subject strings based on patterns and policy versus authority records for all. Ford said that institutions would have a local cache of NAF/SAF/VIAF records regardless of where those files exist.

Adam Schiff talked about the various genre/form subcommittee endeavors. Yael Mandelstam reported on the work of the general group, e.g., Anthologies, Biographies, Dictionaries. I asked about some general terms of interest to art catalogers such as Illustrated books, Illumination of books and manuscripts, and Livres d’artistes; I am to send her a list of candidates for the general group. The subcommittee prepared three papers for MARBI discussion. Where do we go from here? Followup questions on audience, creator category, temporal: is LCSH best vocabulary? Singular/plural?

SACO-At-Large, Sunday a.m.

Janis Young presented a “tips mini-workshop” on LCSH proposals: check BTs and RTs for parallels and analogs; generally no foreign-language terms unless they’ve become English like Bildungsroman; no hyphenated ethnic groups outside U.S.; city sections in NAF, not SAF; Editorial Group does sometimes do more research but they’ll reject a proposal that is clearly under-researched; all geographic proposals should have BGN/GeoNet and 781 (BGN is unreliable for New Zealand; China has added a level of jurisdiction between city and county); PSD is happy to provide assistance if proposal isn’t coming together; encyclopedias and databases are stronger sources for literary warrant than Wikipedia; resubmit proposals are not deleted from the proposal system immediately but they will be locked for a while after the editorial meeting; look at tentative list and let them know if you see something wrong, especially things like Romanization; search proposal system to see if duplicate. Of the 5352 proposals submitted from March-November 2012, 1294 (26%) were not accepted (11% not necessary, 33% resubmit, 56% not approved). Six broad categories of unaccepted proposals: SHM instructions not followed (31%, of which 36% belonged in NAF); concept already in LCSH (23%); proposed heading vague or not well researched (26%); more proposals necessary (5%); no precedent (4%).

Melanie Wacker's report on SACO-At-Large to SAC includes the examples that Janis used in her workshop:

Compiled by Sherman Clarke --

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