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LC Series Report--Pt.1 (Judith Kuhagen) ANN ERCELAWN 16 Dec 1993 14:39 UTC

Date: 15 Dec 1993 06:58:06 +0000 (GMT)

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

     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