Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Discussion Group
"Big Heads"
Friday, 9 January 1998, a.m.

The first topic of discussion concerned the integration of preservation into the mainstream of library functions. Many preservation projects so far have been funded by soft money. The preservation of digital materials is an issue, as is the use of digitization as a preservation method. While vendors may act as preservers of digital materials, libraries must have a role since vendors may not have the same commitment to preservation in perpetuity. A related issue is the preservation of sound.

Libraries were asked to report on their BIBCO experiences. Arno Kastner (NYU) said this is our year to be convinced. UCLA is sending BIBCO records through FastCat. Cornell is doing approximately half of its BIBCO records at the core level; anecdotal evidence shows that these records are being used as is. Cornell is also doing more original. Princeton has not been doing any BIBCO records because they do not always follow LC series treatment. Not allowing variance in series treatment will be an issue affecting the success of BIBCO. Columbia makes little change in any copy, whether core- or full-level.

The round robin updates will be mounted on the web by Judith Hopkins.

Bob Wolven (Columbia) gave an update on Dublin Core developments. ALCTS/LITA will be sponsoring a metadata institute in spring 1998. DC is never a replacement for cataloging, it is a device for web browsing (resource discovery and retrieval). Metadata issues outside the DC include rights, structure, and management. There are several working groups formed at the Helsinki workshop, i.e. rights, subelements, definition, date, relation/relation type, format/format type, internationalization. Work on DC is concentrated in universities but not necessarily in the libraries. Columbia is concerned about dealing with the non-data issues like rights, hierarchy, relations, multiple versions, structure, administration, external DC, and browsers. The players in the metadata arena are libraries, academic computing departments, content providers, and commercial suppliers.

There was also a discussion of the future of technical services. W(h)ither technical services? Do you need to jump on a new curve in order to avoid falling off the old curve? Are we in the business of processing or of providing access to our collections? Our staff is aging. How do we find and train new staff? How can we get the best staff and use technology well?

"Big Heads" ended with open discussion. We need practical projects of DC and other metadata. We need DC implementations to be interoperable in order to have the most effective access. Vacancies will be increasingly for positions that will not be "just" cataloging.


The URL for the official minutes of the Midwinter Big Heads meeting is at

The URL for the compilation of January 1998 round robin reports is at