LC Series Report--Pt.1 (Judith Kuhagen) ANN ERCELAWN 16 Dec 1993 14:39 UTC
Date: 15 Dec 1993 06:58:06 +0000 (GMT) From: JUDITH A KUHAGEN <KUHAGEN@MAIL.LOC.GOV> Subject: SERIES REPORT The following message appeared yesterday on AUTOCAT and is reproduced here with the permission of Ms. Kuhagen. Due to the length of the report, it is being posted in two parts--ed. _______________________________________________________________________ Sarah Thomas, Director for Cataloging, Library of Congress, has issued this statement to accompany the report which follows: The following report is being discussed at the Library of Congress. Because of its sure-to-be controversial nature, it should be stressed that no final decisions regarding its recommendations have as yet been made. Cost-saving information (for the Library) is being collected and analyzed as part of a final management decision. The larger framework in which the report must be viewed is that the Library of Congress, in common with almost all the nation's libraries, must look at its cataloging program during a time of increasing financial stress to decide how it can get the most for its, and the supporting taxpayers', money. Elimination of series work, as outlined in the report, would presumably afford the opportunity to create a considerably larger number of the original cataloging records that are desired by all our cataloging constituencies. The Library also must honor the commitment made to Congress for arrearage reduction. The other force at work here is the movement, bordering on an imperative, to simplify the Library's cataloging process in a demonstrably significant way. Though many efforts have been made to arrive at significant cataloging simplification through consultation with the wider library community, these efforts have borne little fruit. We recognize that others have different ideas about cataloging simplification; this one may have the virtue of doing the least harm, especially if it has the offsetting benefit of providing more original cataloging records that are otherwise unaffected. Comments on this report may be directed to Sarah Thomas, Director for Cataloging, Library of Congress (eMail address = STHO@SEQ1.LOC.GOV. ; fax (202) 707-6269). Although no date for a final decision has been set, Library management is expected to act early in 1994.* *********************** SERIES GROUP REPORT "Whither series?" -- at least as an element of the Library's cataloging program -- was the question addressed by the Series Group. The Group, composed of Dorothy Glasby, Judy Kuhagen, Maureen Moore, David Smith, and, as a guest participant in the latter stages, Cynthia Watters, met over a period of four months to consider the effects on the cataloging landscape if controlled series access points, and the authority work involved in maintaining the current series cataloging apparatus, were eliminated. The Group's charge, as formulated after early discussions (and approved by the Cataloging Management Team), was as follows: As a response to calls for simplifying cataloging operations while at the same time reducing arrearages and producing more original cataloging, the Series Group, at the direction of the Cataloging Management Team, is foreseeing a near future in which catalogers will neither provide controlled series access points (added entries) nor create and maintain series authority records as presently prescribed. The ability to implement these changes is related to the Group's success in designing a new and significantly simpler series control system that adequately meets the needs of Library staff who process series or need series information, and those inside and outside the Library who must interpret or interact with our series control records within the current and future cooperative cataloging environment. Transcribing series information as an element of bibliographic description was not at issue: series statements will continue to appear in bibliographic records. This was not a research project in any sense. It involved interviews with a very limited number of Library staff from areas where interest in series was assumed to be high (especially reference and acquisitions units). But there was no dialogue with the outside community, though we know the issue, to many, is one of keen interest. Nor was the Group discussing whether the idea (eliminating controlled series access points and series authority work) was a good or a bad thing. Members occupied various points on that spectrum of opinion, but this question, looked at in some depth two years ago, was not part of the Group's debate. The charge assumed the condition (elimination) existed; the task was to foresee the results, and to provide, to the extent thought necessary, a series program/rationale that would substitute adequately for the present system. Essential from the outset was the determination to proceed only in areas over which the Cataloging Directorate itself exercised a reasonable degree of control. Thus, we avoided reliance on: 1) as-yet non-existent automation capabilities; 2) shifting work to other Library units (Serial Record Division, e.g.); 3) concurrence of the outside library community; 4) AACR2 or MARC format changes; and 5) radical changes in the Library's current policies on treatment of monographic series and multipart items (collecting in one general call number vs. scattering volumes in different specific call numbers; degree of analysis of volumes). Early in the process, many questions were raised. Most have been addressed by the Group, and positions taken. Through discussion (but not always consensus), key ideas gradually emerged and were refined. Response to the Group's charge The Group recommends not creating a new, or replacement, series control system designed to record the processing information currently contained in series authority records (SARs). Instead, the absence of an SAR will itself indicate that the cataloger should follow the "default" treatment: classified separately, analyzed in full, not traced. SARs will continue to be created for those series for which other than the default treatment is prescribed. These include: 1) series classified as collections (some are analyzed, some are not); 2) technical report series (most volumes are not cataloged at all). SARs will continue to be created for numbered, analyzable multipart items since the treatment is decided case by case, based on subject scope, number of volumes, etc. If such SARs did not exist, catalogers would need to search the bibliographic file each time a volume was received to determine the classification decision. Thus, catalogers will continue to rely solely on the current SAR system to supply series processing information, even when it is the lack of an SAR that determines the appropriate processing path. The searching step cannot be omitted for numbered series and numbered, analyzable multipart items; catalogers must interrogate the NAMES file in these instances. This recommended procedure appears to the Group to convey adequately the needed processing information. The Group had considered rudimentary series processing records, but didn't want to include the non-authoritative "headings" inherent in such records in the existing, and authoritative, NAMES file. The eight recommendations that form the backbone of the Group's series processing rationale are detailed below. Other sections of this report address implementation issues and the impact on cooperative cataloging programs. 1. Series will not be traced on analytic records of unnumbered series, unnumbered multipart items, and numbered series classified separately; the series information, transcribed as found on the publication, will be in a 490 field with a first indicator of "0". Series will be traced on analytic records of numbered series classified as *collections; technical reports; and numbered, analyzable multipart items, since in these instances series authority records will already exist --- see #6-7 below. 2. No series authority records will be made for unnumbered series or unnumbered multipart items. 3. No series authority records will be made for numbered series classified separately. 4. No series-like phrase authority records will be made to indicate that something, numbered or unnumbered, is not to be considered a series. Catalogers will use their own judgment in deciding whether these phrases, titles, etc., are recorded as notes or as series statements or not recorded at all. 5. The following categories of existing series authority records will not be regarded or updated: unnumbered series, unnumbered multipart items, numbered series classified separately, and series-like phrases. 6. Series authority records will be made for numbered series classified as collections and for numbered, analyzable multipart items. These two categories now constitute 14% of all the SARs (total number of SARs as of Aug. 16, 1993 = 172,386). The current method for creating such SARs will be used. 7. Series authority records will be made for technical reports. The current method for creating such SARs will be used. 8. The following categories of existing series authority records will be updated: numbered series classified as collections; numbered, analyzable multipart items; and technical reports.