Catalogers Discussion Group, ARLIS/NY
28 July 1997

The Catalogers Discussion Group affiliated with ARLIS/NY met at Bobst Library, New York University, on 28 July 1997, with sixteen present. Those who were at ALA in San Francisco reported on programs and meetings they had attended.

Daniel Starr (MoMA) reported on the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. LC presented several proposals on serials and series, most of which have been rule intrepretations and are being proposed now as rule changes. Another LC proposal will add an appendix of articles to AACR. The international cataloging conference will be held in Toronto in October and the Joint Steering Committee will meet immediately following to discuss how to proceed from the conference. The papers for the conference are appearing on the web page (; about six of them are up as of mid-August 1997 and there is a discussion list (to subscribe, send "subscribe aacrconf " to The Task Force on Metadata gave a report on their work on the TEI (Text Encoding Iniative) header, Dublin Core, etc. John Attig has a website with a few sample DC records (and more, he wishes) at

Danny Fermon (MoMA) reported on a program on "Embracing the technological future." Sheila Intner talked about what professional catalogers are doing now, e.g., managing copy cataloging, discussing metadata and markup languages like HTML and SGML, building homepages, training staff on the OPAC, etc., in other words, lots of things besides sitting around cataloging. She also described intelligent agents for the Internet and how they can filter data effectively ("filter" as a searching mechanism more than as an agent for censorship). Daniel Starr mentioned a recent article in the N.Y. times about music selection software which will help you find what you like. A program will be sponsored at the next national ARLIS conference (Philadelphia, March 1998) on filtering and getting around the Internet. Intner then asked who will do the original cataloging and suggested that it will continue to move to vendors and contract catalogers like OCLC TechPro. Another program at the Philadelphia conference has been accepted and will deal with ideal cataloging (as a sequel to the "False economies" panel in San Antonio).

Liz O'Keefe (Morgan Library) reported on MARBI. A discussion paper on nonfiling characters presented several intriguing alternatives to dealing with indicators for initial articles and other characters which should be ignored in indexing. She reported that the adoption of Unicode (a universal character set) will solve some problems with characters but will double the size of the database (being 16-bit rather than 8-bit). A long discussion involved coding additional characteristics in authority records, like the language of a catalog or the language of a heading, nationality or sphere of activity. No resolution to any of the issues but a new discussion paper will be prepared for further discussion. Other MARBI discussions involved copy-specific notes in holdings records rather than bib records. MARBI also discussed various metadata issues. The CC:DA task force will be further expanded to have more MARBI representation, or a new task force will be appointed which will more fully involve both the cataloging and format communities.

Claudia Hill (Columbia) reported on a SAC (Subject Analysis Committee) Program Planning Subcommittee. They are working on a program for 1998 which will address "Uniformity vs. diversity within subject access systems: the conflict between consistency across disciplines and differing practices in specialized areas in terminology, structure and classification." The systems to be discussed include general subject heading systems and thesauri (e.g. LCSH, Sears) and general classification systems (LCC and Dewey).

Sherman Clarke (NYU) summarized his report which is posted, along with a report on the Meta Access Summit hosted on 1 July by RLG, on a web page at The Big Heads meeting (tech service directors of large research libraries) was mainly a round robin of what's happening. The report on SAC is mainly Lynn El Hoshy's report from LC, and a report from the subcommittee on form implementation. The Program for Cooperative Cataloging was a panel on core cataloging. LC has announced that core will become the default level for new cataloging, probably to be implemented with the new system they hope to bring up in 1999. There is also a proposed core authority record; the documentation for the core authority record includes significant information about normalization. OCLC, the World Wide Web Consortium, and the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsored a preconference program on the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS). While currently used mainly for screening undesired material, it is hoped that the PICS Next Generation software will be a more general metadata standard. The Meta Access Summit notes include a summary of Stu Weibel's description of the development of the Dublin Core. (Copies of the report were distributed to attendees; if you want a copy of the report and do not have easy access to the web version, copies will be provided on request.)

Other topics of discussion included a description of the electronic resources kiosk to be implemented in the Reading Room at Watson Library (Metropolitan Museum) and a surprisingly lively discussion on whether personal audio systems (aka Walkmen) were allowed in work areas. As to Walkmen, several offices allowed it and there was significant concern about how it affects the work environment (isolating the wearer) and intercollegiality.

The next meeting of the CDG will be held at the Pierpont Morgan on 22 September 1997 on the topic of "The perfect library system (and the IOLS from hell)." A more detailed description as well as a list of questions will be distributed before the meeting.

An invitation for the October meeting is in the works: Columbia, subject heading proposals, 22 October 1997.

Report prepared by Sherman Clarke, Head of Original Cataloging, NYU