The discussion started with an introduction to the FIT Library by Janette Rozene, head of cataloging. She distributed copies of some pamphlets with subject headings in various subject areas relevant to their library users. The FIT Library shares a DRA (formerly MultiLIS) online library system with other SUNY campuses. SUNY will be moving to another system in a few months and some of the larger university centers may join in using the system.
The topic of this month's group was reports from ALA Midwinter, held in Philadelphia in late January/early February. Danny Fermon read a report by Daniel Starr (not present) on the deliberations of the Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. At CC:DA, Brian Schottlaender had presented a group of proposals before the Joint Steering Committee for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, the principal ones being the revision of Chapter 9 and the revision of "computer files" to "electronic resources", a British proposal to eliminate titles of nobility and terms of honor (4 were accepted and 2 will be discussed further), and some series proposals from CONSER moving rule interpretations to the rules themselves. Daniel will send copies of the Annual 1998 minutes (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/personal/jca/ccda/986-agen.html) and the reports of the ISBD (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/personal/jca/ccda/tf-isbd.html) and Rule 0.24 (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/personal/jca/ccda/tf-024a.html) task forces to those who request it. New task forces are working on metadata, the VRA Core Categories, and the rules for archival moving-image materials.
Danny reported on the SACO workshops, the morning one covered basic proposals for new and changed subject headings and the afternoon one covered art subject headings. The art workshop was fairly general. The instructors stated that headings for groups of artists fell into two categories: movements which would continue to be set up in SAF and usually be given the qualifier "(Group of artists)" and groups which would be set up in NAF and would not normally get a qualifier unless the name does not convey the idea of a corporate body. Gladys Markoff-Sotomayor distributed copies of two handouts from the art workshop: "SACO authority research tips" and "Reference sources for establishing art subject headings." A conversation pursued about the proposal on anonymous artist relationships, e.g. school of, follower of, which has been discussed at CDG (March 1998) and on which Liz O'Keefe wrote a paper (http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/9783/anonart.html) as a basis for discussion. The paper has not been put on the MARBI agenda because policy experts in the Cataloging Policy and Support Office at LC have been concerned that such relationship additions to names are not bibliographic heading information. The need to express such a relationship came up twice at the VRA meetings in Los Angeles in February; Sherman will write a letter to LC about the need for tagging such information as a relationship to a heading. Liz also noted that there will be a panel in Vancouver on "The future of the rules" with Daniel, Liz, and Michael Gorman giving papers, and Sherman giving the introduction. Kay Teel is the coordinator of the panel. Liz asked for input on problems with the rules, such as the need to express relationships.
Danny started a discussion of the implementation of form subdivisions, which LC started to do on February 17th. Many questions were raised about whether "--Exhibitions" is really a form heading, about headings that were ambiguously form or topic, about the location of headings in a string (form is usually last subdivision), the difficulty in retrospectively applying form subdivision, and the lack of most systems to separate form from topic. Most of those that spoke seemed willing to try it, but recognized that only experience would make it clear and easy to apply. Peter Gammie said he'd heard at ALA that LC will start to distribute subdivision records on 15 February 1999; no one reported having seen any.
Liz and Sherman reported on some MARBI papers (all are available on the MARC web site at http://lcweb.loc.gov/marc). LC presented some proposals on MARC holdings which they are now working on relative to their implementation of Endeavor. The holdings format does not give clear guidelines how the layers of location information, etc. are to be used, and most libraries have therefore developed their own interpretation. Danny reported that the next release of Endeavor will be making active use of 008 information. Liz reported that there was a MARBI discussion paper on using URLs in many fields, including 037 for distribution information and 583 for preservation-related information. MARBI supported the principle of putting URLs in separate subfields in many fields but determined that guidelines would have to be developed. MARBI also determined that any field should have some text in addition to the URL. The convenience of having URLs dispersed throughout the record could significantly increase the need for maintenance of records. Another MARBI proposal concerned non-filing characters. Characters to turn on non-filing and to turn it off were approved (that is, for example, you would encircle an initial article with these characters). The paper discussed the differences between non-filing, non-sorting and non-indexing; sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't. The existing mechanisms for non-filing characters would be made obsolete; that is, non-filing indicators, etc. would continue to be found in records but would not be used prospectively.
Sherman reported briefly on the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog being developed by OCLC, a sort of bibliographic utility for electronic resources. The CORC website (http://www.oclc.org/oclc/research/projects/corc/index.htm) includes a template for creating metadata.
Heidi Hass asked for input on library movers, as they will have to temporarily move their cataloging department at the Morgan Library while renovations are going on.
The discussion group was preceded by a tour of the exhibition "China chic" by curator Valerie Steele and followed by a tour of the library, especially special collections, by Joshua Waller, reference librarian.
The next meeting will be at 3 p.m. on 12 April 1999 at the Uris Library at the Metropolitan Museum, with Emily Roth hosting. The main topic will be fallout, followup, and reports from the ARLIS/NA meeting in Vancouver.
Report by Sherman Clarke, NYU
N.B. Some reports on ALA meetings are available at http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/9783/alagen.html