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Nonmember participation in CONSER Enrique E. Gildemeister 03 Aug 1994 22:19 UTC

I am cross-posting this message because it may be of equal interest to
members of SERIALST and AUTOCAT. Please excuse the duplication.

A few days ago Beverley Geer-Butler of NASIG sent out a report on the
discussion that took place at NASIG's 9th Annual Conference's Catalogers'
Informal Discussion Group Meeting. She mentioned that Jean Hirons,acting CONSER
Coordinator at LC, reported that CONSER is experimenting with the possibility
that non-participants may be authorized to do some record maintenance, such
as supplying closing dates and linking notes for ceased titles.

I think this is a wonderful idea, especially if some smaller institutions
participate. Many a time I have received the first issue of a new serial
and wished, having the last piece of the earlier title close at hand (my
hypothetical library only occupies half a floor of a tall building) and
zip-zip-zip add the information. I used to work for the Center for Puerto
Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York, and we would get
hand-written letters from editors saying they were closing out a title.
We input a full run of two serials related in a 780 785 way, into OCLC,
only to have a CONSER library authenticate us, but "demote" our record
and give the beginning date as unknown and do a "description based on"
with the first issue they had in hand. My work now is mostly GPO material, and
again, I find myself knowing the exact "story" of a serial and feeling a bit
frustrated at not being able to enter it, hoping that GPO or LC will have
the materials at hand to give a complete and accurate description. Serials
have a way, by their very nature, of having very twisting and turning
patterns, and it really is to everyone's benefit if someone can come along
and spell it out.

When I worked at New York University on a serials retrospective cataloging
project, we used RLIN, which enabled us to piece together a composite
of other people's records (RLIN does not use the master record concept but
displays everyone's record very democratically), but also verify it against
our holdings. We were working with union newspapers and rare left periodicals,
and we had all sorts of special guides and bibliographies that kept our wheels
from spinning, which can happen when you get too perfectionistic. Along those
lines, I have to admit that I don't know the procedures that CONSER
libraries follow; in the general collections of NYU we did not go hunting
for the last issue of a periodical whose title had changed, and perhaps
CONSER has similar guidelines. The overall point I'm trying to make is that
it's a shame when, for some reason, one does know something which will save
a lot of time and will accurately enhance a record but be helpless to transmit
it, and I hope this pilot project will result in the ability of some non-CONSER
libraries to do some database enrichment.

Rick Gildemeister
Cataloger/OCLC Enhance Coordinator
Lehman College of the City University of New York