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union lists and holdings format BMACLENN@UVMVM.BITNET 25 Jul 1991 14:43 UTC

I am posting this to serialst and notis-l.  Apologies to those who
receive duplicates.

At the University of Vermont we are currently investigating methods
for getting our serials holdings into a union list (we are considering
the New England Union List on OCLC).  Not so long ago (but long ago
enough so that it's no longer current) we abolished our local U. Vermont
libraries union list system -- a useful, but archaic, relic of the late
'60's.  We decided to commit time and resources to maintaining detailed
level holdings statements in our NOTIS system and, if necessary, use
the NOTIS holdings data to produce a printed list.

Recently, several issues have come to surface.  Our Interlibrary loan
dept. has several concerns about making heavy use of OCLC's union list
services while the University Libraries are not doing anything about
contributing to such a list (the ethical dilemma).  Additionally, since
bringing NOTIS up, we have been concentrating on maintaining long, detailed
holdings statements in our vol. holdings records.  This information is
not easily transferred to printed format without significant use of paper!
Furthermore, OCLC informs us that it is probably not possible for them to
convert this data into summary level statements that would fit into their
LDR's (local data records for display of an institution's holdings in the
union list).  Their tapeloading program apparently will only "read the first
occurence of the holdings field" which leads me to believe that an
attempted tape conversion would result in partial, incomplete, or
inaccurate display of union list holdings.

Are other institutions grappling with these issues?  I attended several
meetings at ALA Atlanta last month and several groups (ALCTS Committee
on Union Lists, LITA MARC Holdings Interest Group, OCLC Union List
User's Group) were talking about this.  It seems there are more
questions than answers at this point.

Specifically I am wondering: (1) if anyone has written a program to collapse
detailed level holdings statements into summary level holdings statements
(for displays in union lists); (2) if anyone is successfully tape loading
holdings data from a local system (any local system - NOTIS? Geac? CARL? DRA?
VTLS, etc.?) into a utility (any utility - OCLC? RLIN? WLN? UTLAS?).

Or, are folks who are union listing maintaining 2 holdings files:  one
for your local online system and one for your union list system?

Or are many of you waiting for standards to be fully realized by
libraries, vendors, utilities before you even begin to think about
union listing?

I guess I'm finding small comfort in the notion that our holdings
are viewable on the Internet (there are many smaller institutions
who have access to the utilities, but aren't quite there yet in terms
of accessing the Internet).

Anyway, I'd really appreciate some insights into this.  We are seriously
considering the OCLC union list possibility ... and the notion of re-keying
summary level holdings into the union list after putting years of detailed
level holdings into our local NOTIS system seems totally absurd, if not

Thanks for any thoughts on these matters.

Birdie MacLennan
Serials Cataloger
Bailey/Howe Library         bmaclenn@uvmvm.BITNET
University of Vermont  (Internet)