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LC Announces RDA Test Partner Libraries

Interest in participating in the test was far greater than we had anticipated.“, said Beacher Wiggins, Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access at the Library of Congress.  After some “unforseen delays” the US National Libraries RDA Test Steering Committee announced the list of 26 partners selected to test RDA in the U.S.  This group will test the content and online functionality of Resource Description and Access.

Creation and Distribution of MARC Records in US and Canadian Libraries

As part of the recommendations of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control a project to look at the “economics of current practices” of MARC record creation has been initiated. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, will be working with the R2Consulting who will be carrying out the investigation and describing the “current ‘marketplace’ for MARC cataloging records.”

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

The Library has recognized that its role as a producer of bibliographic data is changing and that other libraries have options as they consider sources for cataloging records. The conclusions outlined in a report issued last year, “On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control,” indicate that cataloging activity must be shared more broadly and equitably among all libraries. Before the Library considers any changes to its cataloging commitments or priorities, however, it is vital to understand the extent to which other libraries rely on its contributions.

In an effort to reach out to the cataloguing community and other interested parties R2Consulting have set up a social networking site to facilitate discussion and communication and you are encouraged to join the group.

They hope to have a final report submitted to LC before the annual ALA meeting.

Cataloger’s Desktop 3.0 Now in Development

As reported by Marshall Breeding:

Cataloger’s Desktop 3.0 Now in Development, Cataloger’s Desktop-the Library of Congress’s integrated, online documentation service with the most important cataloging and metadata resources-is now undergoing major modernization. The result will be Desktop 3.0: a significantly enhanced bibliographic web-based toolbox targeted for release to subscribers mid-year 2009.

More info …

Mapping the Market for MARC

Interesting news from the Library of Congress yesterday announcing a Study of Bibliographic Record Publication.

The Library has commissioned a study to research and describe the current marketplace for cataloging records in the MARC format, with primary focus on the economics of current practices, including existing incentives and barriers to both contribution and availability.

This is a follow up on one of the recommendations included in last year’s, On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, suggesting that “cataloging activity must be shared more broadly and equitably among all libraries.

Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, will lead the investigation, and had this to say about this new initiative:

I am very optimistic that the project will shed new light on the current cataloging supply and distribution environment … in such a way that future opportunities and challenges can be promptly identified and evaluated. I am hopeful that librarians and all other participants in the distribution chain will be as forthcoming as possible during the investigative process. Our intention is to understand as fully as possible both the economic and workflow implications for the U.S. and Canadian marketplace prior to implementing any changes at the Library.

Library of Congress Merging Acquisitions and Cataloguing

Interesting reorganization has happened at the Library of Congress.  They have merged their acquisitions and cataloguing functions to create the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate (ABA).

‘The new organizational structure … fully merges acquisitions and cataloging functions, streamlines workflows and deploys staff to take advantage of their unique language and subject skills,’ said ABA Director Beacher Wiggins. He noted that the new organization will be better designed and staffed to acquire new digital materials, which will be processed in the same work units as collections in printed and other formats.

The pebble has dropped. I wonder how many ripples this will create in the bibliographic pond?

Library of Congress Training Materials Now Available for Free

Interesting news from LC’s Cataloging Distribution Service:

On October 1, 2008, CDS will discontinue selling PDF training products. Instead, the following PDF training courses will be made available for free download:

The workshop materials from the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP): Basic Serials Cataloging; Advanced Serials Cataloging, Integrating Resources Cataloging, Electronic Serials Cataloging, and Serials Holdings.

The workshop materials from Cooperative Cataloging Training (CCT): Basic Subject Cataloging using LCSH, Basic Creation of Name and Title Authorities, Fundamentals of Series Authorities, and Fundamentals of Library of Congress Classification.

The workshop materials from Cataloging for the 21st Century (Cat21): Rules and Tools for Cataloging Internet Resources, Metadata Standards and Applications, Metadata and Digital Library Development, Digital Project Planning and Management Basics, Principles of Controlled Vocabulary and Thesaurus Design.

The maintenance of these PDF training products will be handled by the Instructional development and Training Division of the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Control Directorate at the Library of Congress. Additional information about these workshops is available online from .

CDS will continue to sell printed training products such as Cataloging Concepts and MARC Content Designation for the present.

CDS will not be issuing refunds to customers who purchased PDF course materials prior to October 1, 2008.

For information contact: Loche McLean, Chief, CDS
Phone: 202-707-1285
Fax: 202-707-3959

or visit their website

LC Responds to WGFBC Report, 'On the Record'

Deanna B. Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, has announced the release of, “Response to On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control“. This is a point-by-point look at the WoGroFuBiCo Report with a “rationale and a brief summary of current and planned actions.”

“… the Library of Congress accepts and endorses the recommendations of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. We are eager to work with colleagues nationally and internationally to achieve the vision that is so compellingly drawn in On the Record. This response is not an official program statement from the Library of Congress, nor is it an implementation plan. It is an endorsement of the concepts proposed by the Working Group and the Library’s current thinking about actions that can be taken immediately.”

Continued Work on RDA Supported in Joint Statement of LC, NLM and NAL

Deanna Marcum forwarded a letter to introduce the joint statement posted to AutoCAT last Thursday of the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library. In her letter she asked that, “… you bear in mind that it is the entire bibliographic system that needs to be considered and reworked, and the cataloging code is only one small piece of the work that lies ahead.”

The joint statement supports continued work on RDA; this is the concluding paragraph from the joint statement:

The collective resolve is to complete the development of RDA, to conduct appropriate tests that will inform and involve the broader U.S. library community as to the utility of the code, and to ensure a product that is useful, usable, and cost effective. The Library of Congress will continue to work with its international colleagues on the Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA and the Committee of Principals and keep them apprised of the evaluation progress and outcomes as the three national libraries, representing their constituents, undertake the tests outlined above.”

Discussion continues on the AutoCAT list.

LC Working Group Testimony Posted

Despite the fact that we began by stating that our testimony, “does not represent the opinions of our institution”, the comments submitted by Heather, Stacy and Tim has been included as part of the Organizational and Institutional Submissions recently released by LC. The testimony submitted by individuals has also been posted. I’m a bit surprised, I thought there’d have been many more submissions.

Scholarly Research and the Future of Bibliographic Control

Thomas Mann has written a response to the LC Working Group report on the future of bibliographic control. In it he questions the underlying assumptions of the WoGroFuBiCo report and cautions that a “one size fits all” approach to information seeking will have a detrimental effect on how scholarly research. He demonstrates that controlled vocabularies such as LCSH provide researchers with the capability to acquire a systematic overview of their research area, “one of the most difficult tasks they encounter” especially when exploring a new area.

He points out that the current reliance on keyword searching and “facetization” may make it easier for cataloguers and non-cataloguers to assign subject headings but the effort saved by information professionals is a burden that will then fall on individual researchers.

The genius of LCSH’s control is that it gives us systematic pathways to gain a reasonably comprehensive overview of the full range of book literature on any topic, even though we may not have any prior subject expertise in the subject to be researched, may know nothing in advance of its vocabulary (in multiple languages), its component parts, or its relationships to other topics—narrower, related, broader, or tangential…”

Mann goes on to question the current LC management plan to reorganize the LC cataloguing department to “minimize (or even eliminate)” subject expertise and notes that the “drain of professionalism from the Cataloging department, caused by increasing retirements that management does not see fit to remedy through more hiring, has already become very serious.”

He offers these sobering concluding remarks:

If the Library of Congress succeeds in dumbing down its own subject cataloging operations through this reorganization, there will be serious negative consequences for all American scholars who wish to pursue their topics comprehensively and at in-depth research levels, and for libraries in every Congressional District whose financial constraints make them more dependent than ever on the continued supply of quality subject cataloging from the Library of Congress.”

From the moment I first read, Library research methods : a guide to classification, cataloging and computers, in the mid-90s I have been a fan of Thomas Mann’s thoughtful writing and clear approach to scholarly research. This is a recommended and useful critique of the current state of ‘bibliographic control’ at the Library of Congress relevant to research libraries everywhere.