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Response to LC Series Proposal, pt. 1 (Renette Davis) ANN ERCELAWN 30 Mar 1994 01:37 UTC

Date: Tue, 29 Mar 1994 11:40:05 -0600 (CST)
From: renette davis <rd13@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>
Subject: Response to LC series proposal

The U. of Chicago's response is being posted in two parts--ed.

Following is the University of Chicago Library's response
to the LC series proposal. It is being cross-posted to
forward to other interested persons. When we started
to prepare this report, I posted an inquiry to the above
lists regarding series use studies. While there was a lot
of interest in the topic, no one who responded knew of a
study which had been done. Similarly, a search of *Library
Literature* back through 1988 yielded nothing on series
use. We didn't have time to do an actual series use study,
but we did do a small study on loss of collocation of
series if series authority work is not done, followed by a
survey of our reference, collection development,
acquisitions, and serials staff to see how they would feel
about this loss of collocation.  Results of both are
mentioned in the letter below. If anyone would like
details, I would be happy to supply.

Renette Davis


             The University of Chicago Library
                   Cataloging Department

Date: 16 March 1994
To: Sarah Thomas, Library of Congress
From: Jane Ciacci, for the University of Chicago Library
Re: LC series proposal

This memo constitutes the University of Chicago Library's
response to the Library of Congress' Series Group proposal.
After ALA Midwinter, a small group of catalogers set out to
determine the effects that the implementation of this
proposal would have on our library's operations.  In the
responses that we have seen up to now on lists, not very
much attention has been paid to the public services effects
of the proposal.  Therefore, although our response does
address some technical services issues, we made an effort to
emphasize the effects on public services.  We consulted many
of our colleagues in the library's technical services,
public services, and collection development units.

We are concerned that there should be a middle ground
between continuing with present practices and effectively
abandoning series authority control.  We consider series
access points to be at least as important as personal name
or corporate name access points.  We would like to see a
solution in which the crucial aspects of series authority
control are retained, and simplifications of practice at LC
and elsewhere are introduced.  Therefore, this memo also
includes an alternate proposal, which we feel would allow
for a necessary level of series control and consideration of
ways to cut out some of the most frustrating work.

The information presented here comes from several sources:
an internal study of series collocation; a survey which was
sent out to about 30 University of Chicago librarians,
chiefly reference staff and bibliographers; a discussion at
the most recent meeting of our inter-divisional Cataloging
Policy Committee; and many informal discussions inspired by
the topic.  Respondents to the survey made many comments
which inform our response.

In our discussions about this proposal, there was concern
about its context: what other initiatives are in the works
at LC, and how does this proposal relate to them?  We know
about some initiatives: automation of shelflisting, re-
examination of the CIP program, and "the division of the
world".  Is there a quid pro quo?  For example, might we be
asked in the future to give up either full LC classification
or access to name headings in addition to series?

How does this proposal relate to the work of the Cooperative
Cataloging Council, for example to the "fluid record"
concept?  One of the most attractive features of the core
record is the fact that all access points are to be under
authority control, so that even though the record will
include fewer access points, those which exist will be
reliable.  If this proposal is implemented, how will it mesh
with the concept of the core record?  Extending the fluid
record concept, has it been envisioned that a vendor could
do batch post-cataloging series authority work?

Library of Congress staff invest a very significant amount
of time in the determination of policies and the creation
and maintenance of documentation which informs series
authority work and practice nationally.  The LC proposal
allows for the possibility of LC continuing to do this work,
for the benefit of other libraries that would continue to do
full series authority work.  More time is spent assisting
libraries in the application of rules and rule
interpretations.  These investments are very much
appreciated by librarians who do series work.  If LC were to
stop doing much of the series authority work which is now
done, it would seem that the time spent on documentation and
trouble-shooting would also be vulnerable, and might be
subject to erosion in the future, so that a central source
of knowledge about series authority work would be lost.

It is clear that if LC adopts all or part of this proposal
as policy, The University of Chicago Library's four
cataloging units (Cataloging, Serials Cataloging, Law and
East Asia, with a total annual production of more than
80,000 records, of which over 70,000 are copy cataloging),
will have to follow suit, for both original and copy
cataloging.  In the Cataloging Department, we have tied our
series practices very closely to those of the Library of
Congress, with regard to both form of names and treatment.

For monographic LC MARC copy cataloging, the Cataloging
Department ceased doing all authority work several years
ago, relying on the accuracy of the LC files.  Two other
cataloging units have recently adopted this policy.  More
recently, we have ceased doing name authority work for OCLC
member copy cataloging, but have continued to do series
authority work.

One of the major assumptions underpinning these decisions
was that in the future, system capabilities would be
available to clean and maintain the catalog's authority
structure more expeditiously than could be done in a record-
by-record mode.  However, it is clear that if series are no
longer fully controlled, it would not be a matter of
postponing this work, but of giving it up altogether.

Implementation of this proposal would affect both access to
series by name and collocation of all volumes in a series.
Some online catalogs provide access to 490 fields, and
others do not.  Our present online catalog does provide
access to 490's.  We expect to move to a new system in the
next few years, and we cannot know now what the capabilities
of that system may be.  We know, for example, that OCLC does
not now provide access to 490's.  Therefore it is possible
that for many libraries, access to information about series
could be lost in the future.

For us, implementation of this proposal means that although
our access to series will not be lost, we will have to
accept an increasing degree of non-collocation in our online
catalog.  Quite a bit of non-collocation already exists for
various local reasons, e.g. because changes mandated by
AACR2 since 1981 could not be completed.  However, again we
have assumed up to now that when system resources are
available, these changes will be made in batch in the online