Friday, January 26, 2007

Question: What are other people saying?

Hi, here are comments from other listservs


Everett Allgood said...

Colleagues :

Greetings! In our discussion of the CONSER Standard Record at Sunday morning's CONSER-at-large meeting in Seattle, we ran out of time. I'm attaching the first of two documents regarding some thoughts that I did not have time to raise.

Now that CONSER has decided to temporarily delay implementation of the guidelines as we await Joint Steering Committee feedback, I thought this may help generate further discussion if anyone feels it is warranted.


Oops!! Forgot about the "no attachment" policy. I'm pasting my thoughts into the text of this message ...


Colleagues :

During the CONSER-at-large meeting last Sunday morning at ALA, we ran out of time in our discussion before I was able to make the comments I wanted to add. First, I wanted to emphasize that Kevin Randall's concerns regarding the CONSER Standard Record are shared by others.
While I am basically in favor of initiatives that clarify/streamline the cataloging process and result in records easier for library users to understand, I do share some of Kevin's concerns.

For example, I believe (and correct me if I am mistaken, Kevin) one of Kevin's concerns was with the process in which the CONSER Operations Committee is portrayed as fully supporting what was presented at the
2006 CONSER meetings in Washington as "an access level record for serials", and what has now become the "CONSER Standard Record."
There were substantive concerns raised at the CONSER Meetings last year, with many reservations focusing on usage of uniform titles within the new guidelines. Serial uniform titles have historically been used to
*both* collocate and distinguish Continuing Resources, and relaxing the CONSER guidelines on when to apply uniform titles will have serious implications within the FRBR-aware catalogs/OPACs the AACR community is consciously moving toward.

Discussions concerning the usage of uniform titles within the CONSER Standard Record were also raised at the Monday morning CC:DA meeting on the topic of CONSER's proposed Standard Record guidelines as they relate to Resource Description and Access (RDA). In incorporating a more explicit embrace of authority control principles, RDA proposes to define such cataloger "holy grails" as work and expression identifiers.

I don't know what a work or an expression identifier looks like. In fact, I don't believe anyone does yet. For the time being though, and in the AACR (i.e., pre-RDA) environment, uniform titles are the closest thing we have to these identifiers. I believe it is counterintuitive for CONSER to move away from explicit support of uniform titles at the very moment when others in the AACR/RDA community appear to be recognizing the importance of what serialists have been doing with them for years.
While I will not make the mistake again of purporting to know the opinions of *most* serials catalogers, I will say that many serials catalogers I have spoken with are concerned with this apparent disconnect.
(NOTE: Quoting the Apr. 27-28, 2006 CONSER Operations Committee meeting summary from the CONSER website: "Distinguishing uniform titles are omittted from the [CONSER Access Level Record] mandatory elements. In future guidelines, uniform titles for translations and language editions [i.e., FRBR expressions] will be removed.")

I know that following the CONSER meetings last May, there was follow-up discussion regarding the CONSER Access Level/Standard Record on the CONSER list. While I am certain this discussion was representative, I believe the discussion window may have overlapped with the very short response time that CC:DA members had for responding to the first draft of RDA Chapters 6-7. I know many CONSER catalogers were involved in that CC:DA/ALA response and may therefore have had difficulty participating in both discussions (I know I wasn't able to do both, so I may simply be projecting here …)

I don't mean to be difficult, and I'm certainly not suggesting CONSER should not move forward with the CONSER Standard Record. I have two reasons for writing this morning: 1) I don’t want anyone to believe that Kevin's concerns represent a lone voice in the wilderness, and 2) now that CONSER has decided to temporarily delay implementation of the CONSER Standard Record, I thought we may be able to resolve some of the concerns raised by *some* members.


Everett Allgood
Serials Cataloger
New York University Libraries

Everett Allgood said...

Colleagues :

Hi -- here is the promised second part of my thoughts on the CONSER Standard Record. This part addresses the implementation with thoughts concerning possible effects upon the MARC 21 formats we use to record and exchange library records.

Another concern regarding the current CONSER Standard Record implementation guidelines within the MARC 21 format: while I understand and applaud the effort to move away from creating Primary Access Points/main entry's that confuse Serials Receivers and library users (and sometimes generate needless title changes), I'm a bit confused regarding the implementation.

My understanding is that in recognition of the importance of continuing to collocate serial works and expressions, the CONSER Standard Record recommends recording some cataloger-constructed uniform titles in 730/740 fields. Is that correct?

If so, then from the standpoint of the integrity of the MARC 21 communications format, this may be a bit problematic. The 7XX block of MARC 21 bibliographic fields is intended to represent relationships. In the case of 700, 710 and 711 fields, the tags typically represent added entries for other persons, corporate bodies and conferences who played some role in the creation or production of the resource at hand, but not primary responsibility.
The 730 and 740 fields though are intended to record "related resources." In the days before MARC Format Integration, non-serial resources used the 740 tag for additional title access, but since then the 246 field has been used for added titles in all formats. CONSER usage has also used the 730/740 tags to represent analytic, or Whole/Part relationships in the Tillett taxonomy, access to supplements and other resources that may or may not be cataloged separately. Many OPACs I have seen label titles entered in 730/740 tags as "Related resource."

If my above understanding is correct, to suddenly begin recording title main entry in the 245 and a collocating uniform title in the 730 sounds like a recipe for cataloger and user confusion. CONSER members have recently been discussing the fact that some of the Single-Record policy guidelines stretched the descriptive integrity of the MARC 21 bibliographic format in a way that may not have been wise. I'm not convinced we want to repeat that process with these new guidelines for the CONSER Standard record.

Has CONSER considered recording these collocating uniform titles in another MARC 21 tag, perhaps something in the 2XX block? Defining a new tag/field will require MARBI and that may be something CONSER needs to consider.
However, I also thought of an approach we may want to consider based on a message I believe Adam Schiff raised last year during the discussion of LC's change in series authority record policy. Adam contrasted the differences between how catalogers are able to establish "see from"
title references in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority formats.

In the Authority format, NACO catalogers may input "see from" references that include parenthetical qualifiers (i.e., cataloger-constructed uniform titles) in 4XX tags.
In the bibliographic format though, cataloger-constructed uniform titles are recorded only in the 130, 240, 6XX and 7XX blocks. However, could CONSER members record uniform titles in either a 246 (and ask MARBI for a new indicator value perhaps), or ask MARBI to define a new 2XX tag to record uniform titles so they are *not* part of the primary access point and therefore do not confuse library users or generate unnecessary title changes, but they do fulfill their role as collocating devices (at least until we actually get our Work and Expression identifiers)?

Just a thought, but it may be something worth discussing/considering.

everett (wearing my other hat as MARBI Representative to CC:DA)


Everett Allgood
Serials Cataloger

Ed Jones said...

I'm not sure that there _is_ any place in the MARC format for a "collocating added entry" since the concept seems to be new with the CONSER standard record and seems problematic in itself. Are we sure we want to create such a concept, or would the 765/767 relationship pair serve the needed function?


Steve Shadle said...

I think the 765/767 relationship already serves that purpose (in fact, because of the tagging, you know which one is the original and which the translation; the FRBR relationship can be identified from the linking fields).

I will be almost completely frank and say that the use of 730 for collocating entry was, if not in the WG's original proposal, at least not in their thinking.

The problem that the WG was trying to solve (which was cited by a number of catalogers in interviews) was that the use of uniform title as collocating main entry for translations caused no end of problems as the creation of a successive record was not based on a characteristic of the translation being cataloged, but instead of the original work. This is especially problematic when the two versions (original and translation) do not change title at the same time, resulting in multiple records with the unfortunate consequences of multi-to-one relationships between ISSN assignment and CONSER records (and the fact that the cataloger has to identify when the title changed with the *original* and then identify which issues of the *translation* have that same content to know which issue of the translation to associate with the first issue of the original).

Using linking fields as the sole mechanism to convey that relationship (esp. if that particular linking field is indexed), resolve those problems, but still provides the retrieval (if not actual collocation) in a multiple entry file. --Steve

Kevin Randall said...

Does this mean that we no longer have the option of using Core level? So, until the new standard is approved for use, we can only use the *current* Full level standard and Minimal? (Or, if we want to use the Core level, we follow everything for that standard but use encoding level blank?)

All of this makes me wonder: are we not going to worry that the now-Full-but-formerly-Core level records may not be up to snuff in regard to subject analysis?

Kevin M. Randall
Head of Serials Cataloging
Northwestern University Library

Les Hawkins said...

Kevin, if you use core level in the interim, it should be coded blank.

On subject headings, core called for the "most essential" headings, full called for "all appropriate" subject headings. I imagine for some types of serials there are differences in the number of subject headings appearing in core and full records, but I wonder if thats true for subject cataloging of most serials.