Catalogers Discussion Group
24 January 2000
Bobst Library, New York University

Twenty art catalogers gathered at Bobst Library to hear reports on ALA Midwinter which was held in San Antonio from 14-17 January 2000.

After introductions, several items of business were discussed. Danny Fermon, our fearless coordinator, is at home, recovering from major surgery. In the short term, it was decided that CDG notices and queries would be put on ARLIS-L. Support was expressed for using ARLIS-L more generally for cataloging issues, where the messages will mix with the other messages of broader and narrower interest. Carol Pardo invited volunteers to be moderator of the Cataloging Section for next year since Emily Roth has indicated that she won’t be able to do it.

Sherman had heard from a colleague at ALA that there had been a discussion on AUTOCAT about the LC proposals for changes in art subject headings. No one had any information about the messages. It was suggested that the AUTOCAT archive would have the messages. [The AUTOCAT archive is at]

Liz O’Keefe led off the ALA reports with a discussion of MARBI Proposal 2000-04 which established a subfield (X00 $j) to handle attribution information in anonymous personal names, a.k.a. the “School of Rembrandt” issue. This proposal came from ARLIS/NA. Other suggested means of expressing this information were corporate phrase which was eliminated because these headings refer to individuals; 720 for uncontrolled names because these are controlled or at least the artist name part of the heading is likely to be controlled; X00 $g for miscellaneous information because this is a known type of information. While a heading like “Rembrandt, School of” might refer to more than one unidentified artist, it is like an undifferentiated personal name. The subfield was also approved for the authority format because the qualifier would be needed in artist/title records for individual works of art and references. ARLIS/NA has volunteered to work on a list of codes for $j, recognizing that it will never be complete and that some catalogers will use the term that appears in the source data, whether museum collection catalog or image vendor list. MARBI also approved the renaming of the subfield $u in 856 as “Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)” rather than “Uniform Resource Locator (URL)” which is only one of the uniform resource identifiers. A discussion paper on integrating the Community Information Format and the Bibliographic Format led to a consensus that the formats should not be integrated at this time -- their 008s are very different, CIF records often don’t have titles, different staff may input the records, they can be searched in an integrated way even if they don’t share a format.

The proposals are linked to the MARBI agenda at

Daniel Starr then reported on the Cataloging Advisory Committee response to the proposed changes in LC subject headings for art. The implementation schedule of any changes is not known. CAC will be meeting on Saturday, 5:30-7 p.m. during ARLIS/NA in Pittsburgh to discuss such topics as building names as names vs. subjects, $j terminology, and a core record and/or policy guidelines for art exhibition catalogs.

Daniel then reported on the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. Barbara Tillett reported on LC activities, including digital initiatives for which they plan on being the library of last resort as they are for other resources and implementation of the new Voyager library system. Brian Schottlaender reported on Joint Steering Committee activities, including the approval of the 1999 amendments package which will be available in both electronic and print form. JSC approved an appendix for initial articles, a much looser treatment of British terms of honor, parts of the seriality proposals, a rearrangement of AACR2 by area of description, the report on the cardinal principle (rule 0.24), and a new appendix describing the major and minor changes which should be considered when determining whether to make a new record for an item. JSC also discussed the spelling of “disk.” Americans had proposed sticking with the status quo, i.e. disk for magnetic disks, disc for optical discs. They also discussed again a lost proposal clarifying the definition of “work” in general and in reference to musical works. CC:DA will sponsor a pre-conference workshop on metadata (6-7 July in Chicago before ALA Annual; approx. $235). With the implementation of the new LC system and the closing of the old system, authority records are no longer accessible in the LC database (references do show) and LC is working with Endeavor and hopes to have them accessible again by the end of 2000. They are also working on a thesaurus view of LCSH records.

There was a SACO workshop on classification numbers (no attenders were present and the workshop will be repeated in July) and on events and buildings. Including classification numbers on subject heading proposals is encouraged in SACO. Claudia Hill and Sherman both attended at least part of the events/buildings workshop. The vast bulk of the time was devoted to events which can be topics, corporate bodies, or conferences. Daniel noted that CAC is working, as invited by LC, on a proposal to move building names from SAF to NAF.

Sherman also mentioned some of the highlights of other meetings (fuller reports on web page mentioned below). None of the prototype gateways for subject access via metadata seemed to be simultaneously searching multiple thesauri. At a forum on subject analysis and metadata, a new project at OCLC called FAST (faceted assignment of subject terminology) was described. Subject headings will be deconstructed for post-coordinated searching. The terms will be controlled terms taken from LCSH and coding will indicate the function. Technical services directors of large research libraries discussed “Technical services in the new millennium.” It was noted that with vendors doing the easy tasks, there is no “bib nursery” to get new catalogers started. This led to a discussion of library education for cataloging. Alison Dickey, now an assistant dean at the Palmer School, discussed some of the challenges of teaching she sees, and invited catalogers to consider giving guest visits to classes in the “organization of knowledge” as they are now calling their “introduction to bibliographic control” course.

More detailed reports of some of these meetings may be found at

The next meeting of the CDG will take place at the Whitney Museum, hosted by Carol Rusk, on 3 April 2000. The major topic on the agenda at this time is followup from the ARLIS/NA conference which will take place in Pittsburgh in later March.

notes compiled by