ARLIS/NY Cataloging Discussion Group meeting 2/6/2006
held at the Museum of Modern Art, 6th floor committee room A

Daniel Starr began the session with a discussion on the newly implemented revision of LCRI 22.17 for adding closing dates to personal name headings in authority records. [Here’s the policy: “Optionally, add death dates to headings that have open birth dates.” (For fuller discussion see CPSO site:].

Danny Fermon asked for a description of the policy and for an elaboration/discussion of the ramifications it may have on local practices and workflows. Daniel Starr discussed some of the details. Sherman Clarke reported that in conjunction with the new policy, Library of Congress was implementing a project to “kill off 300 famous people” (i.e., they will close date ranges in authority records for 300 well known persons who have died and make the necessary changes in the LC catalog)-to start Feb. 6, 2006. The 300 names can be found here:

As a reminder that the new policy is confined to closing off date ranges, Ken Dinin related how he inquired from CPSO if it was legitimate to add a birth date to an authority record that contained only a death date--and the answer was no. The new policy only deals with those records that have birth dates with hyphens and no death dates.

Daniel Starr asked the group how many libraries outsourced authority processing on a regular, periodic basis. No one responded in the affirmative.

Sherman added a procedural reminder that defunct forms in authority records are not normally cross referenced (because they might normalize to the same form as the heading, etc.). That could make it harder to locate the now obsolete headings in bibliographic records for maintenance. As a result, PCC (Task Group on the Function of the Authority File) is exploring the possibility of creating a 683 authority field to accommodate the former heading in a way that would help locate bibliographic headings that need correcting and could also be used by local systems for indexing. Liz O’Keefe discussed this point and repeated it later in her MARBI report. (for LC Discussion paper:

OCLC will provide an RSS feed update that will report on authority records that have been altered with added death dates. ARLIS will provide details when information from OCLC is available.

On an internal organizational matter, Daniel Starr asked why CDG needed to maintain 2 local e-mail lists. Danny Fermon believed he maintained only one list and that, typically, he posted every announcement to ARLIS-L as well. But he gladly gave up holding on to the local list as long as people would be notified through ARLIS/NY. [Contact with the ARLIS/NY Board, since this meeting, confirmed that it was O.K. to post notices and minutes on ARLIS/NY-L]. So folks, when hosting CDG meetings, send out the message to ARLIS/NY and ARLIS-L only. Repeat, only. I will hold on to the list in case it’s ever needed, but it will start becoming obsolete pretty quickly.

The discussion moved to ALA sessions:

1) ALCTS Committee on Cataloging:Description and Access (CC:DA)

Daniel Starr reported on the progress of Resource Description and Access (RDA), the draft of which is publicly available: He felt that the new draft rendered a broad view of description with fewer exceptions and fewer specifics than we’ve been used to in AACR. The result is less room for discussion of art related policies, but more room, presumably, for a wider array of library practices. Daniel said that the ARLIS Cataloging Advisory Committee (CAC) will formulate a formal response about the updated draft, to be released later.

Meg Black referred to Daniel’s report last year about the widespread dissatisfaction with the RDA draft and wondered if the updated document has improved. Daniel believes it has. He mentioned that a separate RDA group has been empanelled to compile examples and that ARLIS CAC will create its own list of art-specific examples.

The Joint Steering Committee (JSC) site is still accepting and encouraging responses (ibid.). Noteworthy changes in RDA: a) The General Material Designation (GMD) will no longer be wedded to the title field. Both GMD and the Specific Material Designation (SMD) will be described in the technical description area.

b) ISBD punctuation will not be required for transcription of information. Data could legitimately be “stacked” in lists if the library wants, or may, indeed, appear with traditional ISBD punctuation--the choice is up to the individual agency. Daniel felt this could lead to a healthy discussion about OPAC display. We are beyond the imperative of trying to recreate the old, and, to some, beloved, card catalog format.

John Maier observed that the Steering Committee is lavishing most of its attention on the RDA web product, which may be overlooking public libraries, whose budgets and technological assets are often squeezed or limited. That community is looking forward to a good print version.

Janette Rozene asked when the RDA would be published. Sometime in 2008 is the answer.

2) Machine Readable Bibliographic Information committee (MARBI)

Liz O’Keefe elaborated on her earlier remarks regarding the proposed 683 authority record field to accommodate defunct heading which can’t be added as cross references.

Sherman mentioned that the proposal for adding subfield $j for relator information in X11 fields was approved. This upsets the symmetry of MARC subfield assignments because the likely candidate, $e, was already taken by “the name of a subordinate unit entered under a meeting name.” Changing the definition of all $e’s throughout MARC into a relator subfield just to achieve harmony was seemingly too burdensome a prospect.

Liz talked about the MARC Content Designation Utilization study, a project awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge at the University of North Texas. The study is measuring the frequency of use of MARC fields by catalogers. But there was concern that it might be overlooking local practices since local fields do not display in OCLC master records. ()

3) RLIN21 Users Discussion Group

Elizabeth Lilker reported on widespread dissatisfaction among RLIN users with performance speed and loss of client functionality. (see Elizabeth’s summary ) Danny Fermon said he missed internal truncation capabilities that used to be available in RLIN Terminal for Windows but found a usable substitute in the RLIN21 title-word-with-quotes option.

The group agreed that RLIN21 still suffered from performance problems, that communication with RLG were less than perfect, and that lack of online statistical reports detailing record processing was an especially unsatisfactory situation.

Another favorite target was the loading cue. Most records were supposed to have been loaded into RLIN21 by Sept. 2005 but RLG is first now loading Harvard records. That means smaller collections are probably even further behind in the cue. Danny Fermon found that some MoMA records sent to RLG in May 2005 are just now appearing in RLG UC.

4) SACO At Large

Sherman referred us to the PowerPoint presentation of the talk he delivered at this session: (“Buildings, what’s the problem” )

5) Additional reports and miscellanea:

Sherman reported on an arrangement between Harrassowitz and Harvard University. “Harvard and Harrassowitz are talking but Harrassowitz is not now interested in preparing records similar to the PCC Casalini records.”-(From Sherman’s report on “Big Heads” meeting in his summary of cataloging meetings (part of

Daniel Starr and John Maier reported that since Jan. there were approximately 212 new retirees at Library of Congress. Cost saving/ attrition/buyout incentive program?

Sherman reported on Subject Analysis Committee (SAC) Subcommittee on FAST

Item: NC State has installed ENDECA, an OCLC/FAST subject vocabulary based on LCSH: “Another development in “exploitation” of LCSH is Endeca which is being used by North Carolina State University as a frontend to the opac and other databases. I think Ed O’Neill of OCLC said that Barnes & Noble and WalMart are also using Endeca (and they are indeed listed under customers on the Endeca site)”-(From Sherman’s summary of cataloging meetings (passim))

John Maier mentioned that Cataloging Distribution Service is making a number of free documents available in PDF format:

· Cataloging Service Bulletin
· Updates to Library of Congress Rule Interpretations
· Updates to Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings
· Updates to CONSER Editing Guide
· Updates to CONSER Cataloging Manual
· Updates to MARC 21 format documentation


Daniel mentioned the usefulness of other documents available on the CDS site, Understanding MARC Authorities and Understanding MARC Bibliographic

Finally, it was agreed that Library Technologies, Inc. (LTI) is a very reliable authority processing service.

Unless another institution wishes to come forward (hint), the next meeting will be held at Bard Graduate Center, Erin Elliott hosting-Agenda to be announced.

Reminder: CDG postings will now appear on ARLIS/NY’s list: as well as ARLIS-L. [List subscriptions are a benefit of membership in ARLIS/NY -- The archive of list messages may be perused from the chapter page.]

Danny Fermon

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