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MFHL Birdie MacLennan 11 Jan 1991 14:19 UTC

The following was sent in response to Thomas Sander's question RE: MFHL,
sent to SERIALST on 1/9/91.

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
?SG:FROM: LIBRLV  --EMUVM1   TO: SERIALST--UVMVM             01/10/91 11:52:29

 Subject:  MFHL
 This is just a few brief comments in reply. I was on the committee that drafted
 the USMARC Format for Holdings as the token serials cataloger and used it
 through Solinet's Lambda system for 2 1/2 years (1985/April 1987). At that time
 we did not have an in-house system, but public services staff, and some users
 were accessing Lambda for bibliographic and holdings information.

 I would strongly recommend that 853/863 holdings be created rather than the
 free text 866 fields which cannot be manipulated at all. We did not do elabo-
 rate definitions in the 853 fields as we were recording our holdings in
 compressed form in the 863 field. Thus, typically our 853 consisted only of
 $a v. $i year, and our 863 would be a span of holdings such as $a 1-10 $i
 1950-1959. Simple 853/863 combinations such as this can definitely be done
 for retrospective holdings and full definitions for current receipts.

 We were doing this work as part of a Title IIC project which involved several
 Southeastern Research Libraries. I was hiring staff who were paraprofessional,
 and some had no serials experience to do the coding. They caught on very quick-
 ly. Many people, including Bonnie Postlethwaite who was heading up Faxon's Linx
 , worried about staff training with the Holdings Format. Others of us didn't se
 e it as that difficult.

 I'm not familiar with the details of what NOTIS is planning, but I think it
 would probably be a mistake to invest any effort at all in doing holdings
 work that cannot be communicated in a standardized way. None of us can pre-
 dict the future perfectly. Who knows what kind of union lists, resource sharing
 networks, etc. we might be involved in.

 There is a LITA MARC Holdings Interest Group that will be meeting at Midwinter.
 There is also a follow-up session to their meeting for those interested in cre-
 ating a national pattern database. I have already taken my meeting schedule
 information home, so I can't give any more details. The LITA/ALCTS Retrospec-
 tive Conversion IG and the MARC Holdings IG are planning a program (and I think
 a pre-conference as well) for Atlanta this summer.

 What the Holdings format tries to do is provide a great deal of flexibility so
 that people can provide as much or as little detail as desired and practical.
 As it is applied through utilities, systems, and local libraries, decisions
 will need to be made and conventions established and recorded. But it is not
 as hard to work with as it might appear to be at first glance.

 Linda Visk
 Head, Serials Control Dept.,
 General Libraries, Emory University, Atlanta GA 30322
 (404) 727-0121  Bitnet: LIBRLV@EMUVM1