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Testimony Submitted to the Library of Congress
Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control
Judy Anderson Heather S. Miller
Bryan Baldus Allen Mullen
Deanna Briggs John J. Riemer
Diana Brooking Karina Ricker
Lloyd Chittenden Nathan Rinne
Ted Gemberling Deirdre A. Routt
Denise Hanusek Christine Schwartz W. Gerald Heverly Jeff Siemon Corinne Jacox Sarah Simpson Miriam Kahn Simon Spero Mary Charles Lasater Richard A. Stewart Andrea Leigh Connie Strait Marilyn McCroskey John Tofanelli Frances McNamara Scott Wicks Shawne D. Miksa
THE FUTURE OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC CONTROL AND ITS IMPACT
ON A MEDIUM-SIZED ACADEMIC LIBRARYby Judy Anderson, Catalog Librarian, James Madison University NOTE: These comments and questions are based on a review of papers and summaries of presentations given at the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control (WGFBC) open meetings on March 8, May 8, and July 9, 2007, as well as a review of various AUTOCAT messages and general observations about factors impacting a local library environment. The author is affiliated at a medium-sized academic institution in Virginia.
For too long now, our local library has taken for granted the wonderful cataloging provided by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging and one of its major contributors, the Library of Congress. These bibliographic resource organizations, along with other major stakeholders such as the bibliographic utility OCLC and other vendor outsource suppliers have contributed greatly to the creation of our local OPAC. Although we directly-–or indirectly--have paid for the metadata that they have created, perhaps we have not seriously considered the ramifications and costs of “doing without” some of it. The recent disclosure concerning LC’s need to cut back cataloging costs – along with various other major factors stemming from the web-based environment in which we live and work, have resulted in quite a bit of discussion here on the local level.
Amidst these major changes, some of which already appear to be occurring (see below), our Cataloging staff of one professional and five paraprofessionals (two part- time) continues to deal with the usual goings-on of a small Cataloging Department.
What we (and our Acquisitions Dept.) have accomplished and ‘created’ over many years is based on a commonly held, grounded philosophy of service to our public.
Although our OPAC is based on the cataloging of many – it attempts to provide access to resources based on the needs of a local constituency. Our overriding philosophy is to try to always keep the user needs in mind, whether student, faculty, general or library staff and the general community, to a lesser extent. Our concept of bibliographic access has expanded into various experiments with Dublin Core: the JMU Image Database, EAD: the Virginia Heritage Project, and indirect, limited involvement in helping to develop a local database to try to gather together all our resource databases, etc. Other examples include incorporating ebooks, e-scores, streaming videos and streaming audios into the OPAC. More recently, one of us has had limited involvement in reviewing a commercially available federated product that promises to provide cohesive, more simplified access to our resources. In these respects we are not unlike many other academic libraries attempting to deal with a plethora of complicated issues (see “Emerging issues in academic library cataloging & technical services,” by Elaine Sanchez (Primary Research Group, Inc., 2007.) What I would like to briefly illustrate below, using local examples, is a theme that has been emphasized by such authors as Bade and Yee. One of their points centers on the value of the role of the cataloger (or metadata specialist – or whatever we are called) - as an interpreter and conduit of access to published – and unpublished information. It is my opinion that we cannot, yet, dismiss the value of this contribution – and the creation of a local OPAC in the rush to answer all of our bibliographic access related problems. There is too much out there, in too many forms, being accessed in too many different ways - and at the same time there is too much locally crafted' data that is available on local OPACs that could possibly be lost in the process if certain changes continue.
Although we download a large percentage of our catalog records basically untouched into our OPAC, we also view these records as a part of a larger, cohesive holistic database – and as a part of an even larger, bibliographic access ‘whole.’ In addition, we engage in selective, enhanced projects that we feel add to the value of the local OPAC, according to recommendations made by faculty, staff and students.
(The examples below exclude such mundane editing work as revising call numbers so that different editions of books stand together on the shelves – an issue, which locally has been valued). Some of the more extensive projects we have/are working
1. Merging disparate MARC records describing different format iterations (often in electronic form) of the same intellectual content onto one unit record, a primitive FRBRizing attempt to consolidate and simplify user choices. (We have a set of criteria that we use to determine if this is feasible or wise – and only do so if we can “undo” what we have done.) We have done this for over ten years with our federal government documents records and more recently in the last several years with different electronic collections and individual different-iteration titles. In this respect we have utilized the OPAC as a simplified form of a federated search product. (See the records for the Documenting the American South collection, as just one example.)
2. Editing records to provide enhanced access to titles on differing granularity levels. For example, at the bequest of the Music Librarian we reviewed, edited, revised and added content to the notes fields on MARC records to various song anthology collections. This information is not necessarily available on WorldCat - or the data is not organized in a way that we want to use it. (See the Song Indexing Project.)
3. Providing limited local cross references to LC subject headings using local subject expertise (i.e., utilizing a form of social tagging.) We have, like some others, been frustrated with the paucity of currently-used vocabulary needed to describe new publications and unpublished documents such as dissertations - especially in certain disciplines. (This occurs not only with LCSH but other controlled vocabularies used by journal article databases). To partially remedy this situation we have been providing limited cross-references from terms used by subject-specific professionals to preferred LCSH headings: Based on JMU theses as a starting point, we are working with faculty in one allied professional field (Communication Sciences and Disorders) to thoroughly review all applicable LC subject headings with this intent and, if resources continue, we will attempt to do so in other areas as well.
Another example: We are providing enhanced title access to commonly-known classical music compositions by adding cross references to authority records based on information found in Berkowitz's "Popular titles and subtitles of musical composition" and Weidow's "The best of MOUG." (See Altered Music Authority Record as an example.) In addition, we will be eager to see how various FAST and other related projects develop. It is our hope that LC will not minimize the subject analysis of new trade publications; at the same time we look forward to their efforts to simplify LCSH construction.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Perhaps we have done too much to try to provide enhanced access to our collections via the local OPAC. We have not waited for standards to change but have adapted, without (we hope) undermining over-arching basic cataloging principles.
What will happen to local cataloging efforts and projects such as those above if the general quality of access to the majority of our collections such as common commercially available trade publications, deteriorates? Will we have to cease our efforts to enhance records such as those shown above to instead spend more time on "doing that which we thought we did not need to do?" Consider the record below which was created for a book co-authored by the husband of one of our
librarians here at JMU:
2007017393 010 040 DLC $c DLC $d BAKER $d BTCTA $d UKM $d JED 015 GBA749580 $2 bnb 016 7 013778983 $2 Uk 9781426201196 (hardcover : alk. paper) 020 020 1426201192 (hardcover : alk. paper) 043 n-us--- $a e-ur--TL788.5 $b.H37 2007 082 00 629.409/046 $2 22 090 $b 049 VMCM 100 1 Hardesty, Von, $d 1939Epic rivalry : $b the inside story of the Soviet and American space race / $c by Von Hardesty and Gene Eisman ; foreword by Sergei Khruschev.
260 Washington, D.C. : $b National Geographic, $c 2007.
263 0709 300 p. cm.
504 Includes bibliographical references and index.
650 0 Space race.
650 0 Astronautics $z United States $x History $y 20th century.
650 0 Astronautics $z Soviet Union $x History $y 20th century.
700 1 Eisman, Gene.
700 1 Khrushchev, Sergeĭ.
856 41 $3 Table of contents only $u http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/ecip0716/2007017393.html 938 Baker & Taylor $b BKTY $c 28.00 $d 21.00 $i 1426201192 $n 0007127111 938 Baker and Taylor $b BTCP $n 2007017393 What happens when basic bibliographic data misrepresents or prevents access to a title that it is describing?
According to the author, this record first appeared with the erroneous sub-division |v Juvenile literature following the main topical headings. (See the Table of contents link which still shows this misinformation.) Also, the spelling on the record for ‘Khrushchev’ in the 245 field - as it appears in the book - is (still) misspelled. When the author contacted the publisher about this misleading data, the publisher at first was not sure that the metadata needed to be changed(!) (Eventually the |v was removed from all headings, but the spelling in the statement of responsibility area of the 245 is still incorrect.) If this misleading data had not been caught by the author would his book be selling as well as it is today? Would libraries be acquiring this title erroneously –thinking it was a juvenile book? This data could have misinformed every ‘user’ - from publisher vendors to library selectors to ultimately, the public.
This one example could well bring up a number of points: The value of the data created by a human being, a ‘cataloger’ and the value – or lack of value placed on the type of subject analysis data - being created, for starters. The point is not so much perhaps that these errors occurred (we all make mistakes), the worrisome point concerns possibly/potential changes in workflow at LC/CIP that is already impacting the local library and its users. Is this an example of an anomaly or a pattern with CIP as regards to the type and extent of subject analysis being done?
Is this an example of the kind of cut-back that we can expect as LC struggles to determine new workflow patterns in light of budgetary constraints? Among other questions that could be asked, are: Who does what – and when in the evolution of metadata creation for a title? Who is responsible for providing what piece of accurate data - and when? For which piece of the metadata ‘pie’ will a particular group be held accountable?
The many wonderful ideas about enhanced, shared cataloging mentioned by various presenters and commentators at the WGFBC open meetings will mean little if we can not provide accurate basic data for a title.
It appears that LC, OCLC and others are already relying more on supplied vendor data, as evidenced by OCLC’s Level 3 records. What will be the result of this proliferation of incomplete data? Will vendor suppliers have the resources needed to provide adequate bibliographic access? Also: What is meant by the statement that “traditional cataloging requirements might be relaxed somewhat” – as voiced by Bob Nardini, representing the book vendor industry (3d open meeting session, July 9)? We need not point fingers to declining quality in data as we all need to take shared responsibility, but: Are we all – at all points in the chain of providing metadata –going to have to be more observant of the basic metadata that is created for a title? What are the ramifications for local libraries relying on ‘quality’ DLC-DLC cataloging? What are the ramifications for libraries with shelf-ready book contracts? What are the ramifications for libraries on time spent at the local level correcting basic errors? Will local library administrators decide that review - which in many cases has already ceased - is not necessary because of dwindling resources on their level? What costs will have to be considered if local libraries attempt to review and correct basic errors? (see Elaine Sanchez's AUTOCAT message about her comment to the WGFBC, posted on Fri., Aug. 3.) Or, will we all have to decide that basic accuracy does not matter?
Hopefully, these issues will resolve themselves soon as we collectively consider the consequences of some of these actions. I wish the Working Group much luck as they deliberate the many issues facing this far-reaching topic.
-Judy Anderson Catalog Librarian and Liaison Librarian to the Communication Sciences & Disorders Dept.
James Madison University Works Cited Bade, David. "Structures, Standards, and the People Who Make Them Meaningful."
Presentation before the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, May 9, 2007.
Berkowitz, Freda Pastor. Popular Titles and Subtitles of Musical Composition. 2d ed.
Metuchen, NJ.: The Scarecrow Press, 1975.
Nardini, Bob. "The Book Vendor Perspective." Presentation before the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, July 9, 2007.
Sanchez, Elaine. Emerging Issues in Academic Library Cataloging & Technical Services. Primary Research Group Inc., 2007.
Sanchez, Elaine R. "My Testimony to LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control: pt. 1" Email to AUTOCAT@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU, August 3, 2007.
Sanchez, Elaine R. "My Testimony to LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control: pt. 2" Email to AUTOCAT@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU, August 3, 2007.