Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 23, Number 2

By Elizabeth N. Steinhagen, News Editor

It is the purpose of this column to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of cataloging and classification. I would like to include news concerning you, your research efforts, and your organization; in fact, it would be desirable to expand coverage to include information about cataloging activities all over the world. Thus, this column is not just intended for news items, but serves to document discussions of interest to the cataloging community at this challenging and changing time in our professional lives. Please send any pertinent materials, notes, minutes, reports to: Elizabeth N. Steinhagen, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-1466, e-mail: Phone: 505-277-5176. Also, visit our CCQ home page at:

We would appreciate receiving items having to do with

Research and Opinion




The following report was contributed from the ALCTS Institute on "Serials Cataloging in the Age of Format Integration", held in San Francisco, October 6-7, 1995.

This institute--also held in Atlanta in spring, 1995--was designed to help both beginning and experienced serials catalogers understand the creation, interpretation, content, format, and uses of serials cataloging records, through lectures and practica. Concurrent sessions were offered for participants with interests in cataloging electronic serials, legal serials, interpreting serials records for local use, and cataloging of computer files. The faculty included Regina Reynolds, Jean Hirons and Maureen Landry from the Library of Congress, Rhonda Lawrence, from the UCLA Law Library, Crystal Graham, from UC-San Diego, and Kristen Lindlan, from U. of Washington.

Jean Hirons, Acting CONSER Coordinator, Library of Congress, opened the institute and spoke about format integration and its impact on Serials. She stated that FI is not the solution to all our problems, and those of creating core records, multiple versions, and having to still chose a primary format still remains with us.

The advantage for serials catalogers is the option of expressing seriality regardless of physical medium and the ability to sue any variable field regardless of type of material. She summarized the MARC tag changes but cautioned that the CONSER Editing Guide has excluded some fields that are non-applicable to serials.

Kristen Lindlan went over the basics of cataloging computer file serials (CD-ROM, floppy disks, magnetic tapes) and pointed out that many of the practices are still evolving, which are being documented in a new updates of the CONSER Cataloging Manual.

Regina Reynolds spoke about the cataloging of remote access electronic serials and also pointed out the changing nature of practices, saying that flexibility and creativity are still very important for dealing with these publications. How best to handle e-serials is yet to be determined by LC and CONSER.

"Serials cataloging for your local system" was the topic of Crystal Graham's presentation. She discussed the role of the catalog record in the local system and the pragmatic principles followed for their creation and use.

On the whole, to judge by comments received during and after the presentation, the institute was a great success. The attendees included a number monographic catalogers who now are having to catalog serials for the first time, with the "advanced catalogers" outnumbering by far the "beginning" ones.

Elizabeth Steinhagen
University of New Mexico

Summary of the ALCTS/Serials Section/Committee to Study Serials Cataloging meeting, ALA Midwinter Conference in San Antonio, January 22, 1996.

The Committee heard reports from liaisons from CC:DA and LC/NSDP, and reports of the sessions of MARBI held during the Midwinter Conference. Following discussion with members of the audience, the Committee selected topics for a presentation at the 1996 ALA Annual Meeting--format integration, and cataloging computer-file serials--and identified two promising program subjects for possible Committee co-sponsorship at the 1997 Annual Meeting--restructuring of serials cataloging, and collection management and cataloging of electronic serials. Two members of the Committee, J. Altimus and M. Mering, facilitated a discussion on the topic, "What elements of AACR2 no longer work for serials cataloging?" Discrepancies between cataloging requirements and the use of serial records for a variety of library functions, aspects of successive entry cataloging, and AACR2's emphasis on description of serials vs. the need for identification of serials emerged as serious difficulties for serials catalogers. In a shared environment, and also for purposes of linking with indexing and abstracting services, the "hook" is essential; and while the ISSN is best, participants observed that it is not always reliable. M. Horn proposed that the ISSN be repeatable, beyond subfield "y", as a means of overcoming inaccurate ISSN data elsewhere.

Carolynne Myall
Eastern Washington University

Report of the ALCTS/CCS Heads of Cataloging Discussion Group, from ALA Midwinter meeting in San Antonio, Jan. 22, 1996.

Chaired by Ivan Calimano (USC), this Group met at the San Antonio Convention Center to discuss the cataloging of Internet resources. Before an SRO audience, two technical services librarians, Cecily Johns of UC-Santa Barbara, and Sue Neumeister (SUNY-Buffalo), spoke from the point of view of an administrator and that of a practitioner, respectively. Johns said that the administrator must justify giving access to electronic resources through the library's online catalog, rather than relying on the users' abilities to navigate the Internet without help from the catalog. Neumeister had some interesting handouts in addition to her talk.

Clearly, the issue is complex and many questions were raised by the audience. One of these was the issue of ownership vs. access, based on the ethics of cataloging materials not owned by the library. Another member of the audience wanted to know which electronic resources one should consider for cataloging, clearly involving local decisions on collection development and the respective library's mission. Related to this is the issue of attaching holdings to master records residing in a national database such as OCLC. Some proponents of cataloging "access", were heartened to hear that OCLC is developing software that would help to track changes in such records, especially having to do with an electronic link such as a URL, and would thus be able to notify libraries whose holdings were attached to such record. At this point, there is no live link in MARC field 856 that would help automatically update it in the local record, so that local maintenance of such records containing 856 fields would be rather involved.

Other concerns raised were those of authority control, classification of such resources, holdings of former print journals that are available now only electronically, related union listing questions, home page cataloging and analytics. The big question remained one of not misleading the users, as the catalog record is only a finding tool and the emerging Web pages increasingly are providing access to the content/text of the materials themselves.

On the whole, this meeting answered some questions, but more issues were raised and many in the audience were looking forward to more discussions on this new and still evolving topic.

Elizabeth N. Steinhagen
University of New Mexico

Outsourcing Cataloging: Perspectives from SCOUG

Report form the Southern California Online Users Group conference, held May 3, 1996, in City of Industry, Calif.

Outsourcing, which is a common practice in industry, is becoming increasingly prevalent in the public sector and libraries are no exception. The lean budgets experienced in recent years are forcing libraries to resort to a variety of cost cutting measures, including outsourcing. Outsourcing is defined as contracting out to an outside vendor a product or a service previously performed in-house.

Appropriately, the topic of the Southern California Online Users Groups' (SCOUG) conference was outsourcing. Entitled "Outsourcing: By You, For You, Or In Spite of You," its participants included about 200 librarians from special, public, and academic libraries, as well as vendors.

The keynote speaker, Randy Marcinko introduced the concept and highlighted its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, a company can achieve substantial savings by outsourcing, on the other, attention to individual customers' needs is lost. In the early 1980s, Marcinko started his own document delivery company, Dynamic Information. He pointed out that librarians are often reluctant to outsource, because it creates a conflict between the profession and business. Librarians don't like to give their business to someone who goes out and makes a profit. There are several factors to keep in mind when outsourcing: what is the mission of the library; will outsourcing advance this mission; will it affect the quality of service; will it lower expenses; is it the least group of evils; and how will it alter operations and staffing? Ultimately, the success of the outsourcing operation depends on how well the library does its homework.

The next speaker was Bart Kane, State Librarian of Hawaii. Kane pointed out that organizations need to engage in reengineering in order to face the austere budgetary realities of today. When the Hawaii State Library was faced with a budget cut of 35%, the library's administration had to devise methods to maintain positions and services at acceptable levels. Through proper planning and outsourcing in key areas, the library system, which consists of 49 branches on six islands, was able to avoid staff layoffs. The library outsourced its back room operations--automation, selection and processing of materials, and serials. Existing staff was trained and reassigned to public services. The result was an increase in the number of hours that the libraries are open. As far as cataloging is concerned, books arrive in boxes ready to be "wanded in" and sent to the shelves.

There were four Vendor showcase sessions in the morning, with two sessions running simultaneously. Each session offered four to six brief vendor presentations. A variety of services were presented, in three areas: databases, personnel, and technical services. Even though vendors offering contract cataloging services stressed that they could service all types of libraries, most products were geared toward public and special libraries.

RLG presented its new service, "Diogenes", introduced in January 1996. Diogenes is offered jointly by RLG and Retro Link, a division of Ameritech Library Services. Diogenes delivers copy cataloging directly to a library’s OPAC. Judie Gee called it “a new approach to cataloging;” RLG’s brochure refers to it as a “fresh solution.” Diogenes automates record finding and based on the library’s profile, selects matching records from RLIN and delivers them to the library via FTP. The presenter emphasized that the profiling was very flexible, that the service was fast (“cataloging done within a week”) and that it was “simple and easy to use.” Diogenes can handle small or large files and can be used for backlogs as well as current materials. She added that it reduced or totally eliminated the time spent searching RLIN and concluded that it was “the total solution.” Diogenes is “vendor-neutral” and libraries do not have to belong to RLG to sign up. No price quote was given.

Maryann Nash, of OCLC Pacific, presented TechPro, OCLC's contract cataloging service. This program has been in existence since 1985. It provides customized, personalized cataloging for large and small libraries. It is used primarily by special libraries, even though Wright State University and Michigan State University are some of its more talked-about customers. In the past, libraries have used TechPro for the cataloging of gift collections, specific language or formats, backlogs, etc., and libraries send their books or photocopies of title pages, to Dublin (Ohio) where they are cataloged. The speaker stressed that TechPro can provide expertise in the fields of music, law, non-English titles, computer files, scores, and audio-visual materials. She conceded that they had some difficulty in cataloging “unusual” languages. OCLC has only two requirements: the library needs to send a minimum of 50 items per year and a minimum of 10 titles per shipment. Again, flexibility was emphasized. The turnaround time is one month and price varies according to the type of material being cataloged.

Allan Schade, of Ingram, gave a brief history of his company and referred to outsourcing as "a value-added service." He enumerated the services provided by Ingram: selection, shipping, and cataloging. Speaking about outsourcing from the library's point of view, he noted that it boils down to determining the library's needs and that it was an individual and complicated process; he cautioned librarians not to assume "that a vendor is always right" and he added that the idea that libraries can always drop a vendor and select another one is a fallacy. He noted that to switch from one vendor to another is a complicated process and that it is indeed very difficult to change all of a sudden. As a result, it is extremely important for the library to determine what a vendor can offer.

Brodart, which has been providing services to libraries for over 30 years, was next. Michael Wilder emphasized the experience of his company and then focused on "Compleat Book-Serv," Brodart's cataloging and processing service introduced in 1986. Compleat Book-Serv employed two catalogers in 1986 and has currently 75 catalogers on staff and offers customized cataloging and item level processing for materials supplied by Brodart. A library can use the service even if it does not buy its books from Brodart. Brodart works in partnership with DYNIX, CARL, and DRA for mostly public libraries.

Jeff McDaniel, from Baker & Taylor perceives outsourcing as the future of his company. He sees outsourcing as "partnering, an adjunct to your staff" to maximize dwindling library resources. Like all other contract cataloging services, he focused on flexibility, noting that Baker & Taylor did not take the cookie-cutter approach, did not provide a "you fit us" mold, and noted that outsourcing needed to be transparent to library patrons. He concluded that outsourcing eliminated the back room work (collection development, acquisitions, and cataloging).

Jeff Calcagno described Blackwell North America's efforts in the area of providing machine readable cataloging records to libraries. BNA works with OCLC through PromptCat to provide MARC cataloging records to libraries.

Advanced Information Management (AIM), based in San Francisco, has been providing services to libraries for the last 12 years. AIM provides an array of services, ranging from personnel to library functions (cataloging, circulation, ILL, automation, online searching, reference, etc.) with AIM staff on-site. Initially AIM helped set up libraries and provided temporary or contract personnel. AIM branched out with a new service, Library Maintenance Service, which provides professional and para-professionals contract employees in the area of technical processing--in order for library employees to work in the "front room." Belinda Spath noted that contract work allowed libraries not to increase their permanent staff headcount. Lately, AIM has started to provide services to academic libraries, in areas for example of re-shelving books at the end of the semester when it is difficult to hire students as well as doing inventories and affixing bar codes.

Library Management Systems was founded in 1983 and initially worked with law firm libraries, providing staffing, filing services, and clerical services. Its representative, Kay Zimmerman, remarked that her company had begun to supply temporary staffing at public libraries (reference, cataloging, and special projects).

Deborah Goldstein founded Library Associates in 1986 and like Library Management Systems provides temporary staffing to law firms. In 1989, Library Associates broadened its focus and began to offer cataloging services through its FastCat division. FastCat specializes in providing original, copy cataloging, and retrospective cataloging and conversion. It also provides authority verification, bar code and spine labels, book catalogs, and collection development/acquisition services. The company sees itself as supplementing cataloging in libraries. Library Associates accesses RLIN and OCLC using the library's own password. It hires professional librarians--usually retired librarians or librarians who are not interested in working full-time. Library Associates staff make an hourly wage and do not have benefits. Recently, UCLA contracted out with Library Associates for the cataloging of Serbo-Croatian pamphlets. It charges on a unit basis but does not have a price list. Each project is priced individually. Kay Zimmerman concluded by saying that it was easier for libraries to pay for a cataloging project rather than to hire staff.

In the Q & A session, participants noted that vendors were dependent on librarians who have built the OCLC and RLIN databases through a broad cooperative effort. Others noted that academic catalogers were doing the bulk of the work, contributing records to OCLC and RLIN, and that vendors resold that work to public libraries.

The first afternoon speaker was Barbara Winters, of Wright State University fame. Winters has been involved in one of the first well-publicized outsourcing operations, when the entire cataloging operation was outsourced to OCLC. She described the process and the lessons learned at Wright State. She cautioned the audience that a library should reengineer before outsourcing and never make outsourcing the initial goal. She also pointed out that only those operations should be outsourced for which a vendor could provide the same or better quality for a lower price. A library should not accept a reduction in quality simply because it costs less. Winters believes that job security has always been a myth, and therefore librarians who fear losing their jobs due to outsourcing should realize that their jobs were always ephemeral.

She spent considerable time discussing the details of the contract between the library and the vendor. Some of the most important concepts that need to be included in the contract are: good definitions (what exactly does copy cataloging mean?); specify each partner's responsibilities; who assumes the risk to property (e.g. if damage occurs to materials while in transit); and specifying the services the vendor will provide.

The next speaker, Tory Trotta, law librarian at Lewis and Rocca, stated that the outsourcing trend is threatening law librarianship. Trotta presented the recommendations of the American Association of Law Librarians, prepared in the wake of Baker and McKenzie's outsourcing its library operations. Key issues such as institutional memory, confidentiality, and the export of intellectual capital were identified by the Association as arguments against outsourcing. Trotta admitted, though, that if a firm is not willing to pay for a library, it won't.

The last speaker was Cindy Hill, who is running a library under contract for Sun Microsystems. Essentially, because of the corporate culture at Sun, which outsources many of its operations, it has worked very well but there is some ambiguity among Sun employees regarding her position, and many wonder when she'll "join" the company. Hill declared that in today's job market, one has to be tied to the profession, not to a company, which brings us back to Barbara Winters' idea that job security has always been a myth, and to the point made at the beginning of the conference by Randy Marcinko, that outsourcing can actually work in our favor--a company may outsource its library, but you may be the person to whom they outsource. For catalogers, this was like a reminder that most of us will eventually have to move to Ohio, or Palo Alto, or Portland, or one of the other centers where cataloging will be performed and then resold to all the libraries in the land. While this latter picture is unlikely to emerge soon, the fact that outsourcing is gaining a solid foot in libraries is certain. Professionals in all areas of librarianship need to add to their expertise the skills of evaluating, implementing, and managing outsourced operations. And a few of us may take the entrepreneurial step and start a private cataloging business.

Claire-Lise Benaud and Sever Bordeianu
University of Mexico

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