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PCCLIST  February 2000

PCCLIST February 2000

Subject:

Re: 667 vs. 680

From:

Elizabeth Robinson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 8 Feb 2000 13:33:51 -0800

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text/plain

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David,

Thanks for your summary and for pointing out other issues. I suspect the best way to do this would indeed be a MARBI proposal to alter the definitions/scopes of 678 and 680. Or do you think it should first go through a PCC committee? I am willing to draft the proposal with the assistance of this list of NACO members if that's okay with everyone.

To respond to some of your other points, I personally never intended to advocate that 680 replace 670/675. I am not sure anyone had that intention who has so far responded, but if anyone does, I am sure they will let us know. And, as I mentioned before, I think adding a 680 should be an option (not mandatory), based on a cataloger's judgment. For both new and edited records. 

I don't think there should be some concerted effort to go back and cull for this information in existing records in any project sort of manner, but just as we encounter them when editing records and feel the 680 would be appropriate, based on whatever guidelines we come up with.

Finally, I think there should indeed be guidelines on what goes in the 680, that it should be for national/international usage and not  info that only applies to specific local situations. Maybe if libraries want to do that, they can add a 680$5 after downloading.

--Elizabeth A. Robinson
  Principal Rare Book Cataloger
  Huntington Library
  [log in to unmask]



----------
From:   David W Reser[SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
Sent:   Tuesday, February 08, 2000 10:28 AM
To:     [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask]
Subject:        Re: 667 vs. 680

Dear Elizabeth and others,

There has been a fruitful discussion on this list of some of the
issues involved in relation to the original question (why don't we use
the 680 field)-- one nice thing about the NACO community is that you
can always get opinions!  Of course, part of managing a project so
large and diverse is trying to achieve consensus before making what
might seem to be fairly minor changes.  

Summarized briefly, here are a few of the issues that have been
raised and would need to be  collaboratively discussed by NACO
participants (including LC and the NACO nodes) to accomplish this
seemingly "simple" change:
1. What is "public" information and what fields in MARC should
contain it?
2.  Repetition of "public" information in an authority record.  
3.  Legacy data in existing authority records that might be
considered "public."
4.  Variations in local systems treatment of displaying "public
information."

LC tries not to make unilateral decisions that affect us all, and
attempts to do so only when consensus cannot be achieved or when the
issues seem overwhelming in relation to the perceived gain.  Although
an electronic mail list might be good for identifying specific issues,
it may not be the best forum for tying down the details.  If it is
considered useful to pursue these issues, a mechanism should be
invoked to perform this review and make recommendations to LC, produce
guidelines (if found necessary), etc., that then can be presented to
participants.

How would such a suggestion/request/recommendation get to the PCC
Policy Committee or Steering Committee for consideration?   I must
confess I've  not kept up with the PCC procedural hierarchy since
leaving Coop-- should this be directed to PoCo through the standing
committees  ( Standards or Automation) or is there a more appropriate
route?    

A more complete, though clearly not exhaustive, discussion of the
four issues follows.  Attempts have been made to identify some of the
questions that need to be answered, and some of the guidelines that
may need to be put in place.

1.  What is "public" information and what fields in MARC should
contain it?

 The USMARC (soon to be published as "MARC 21") Authority Format says
that information in the 680 field "provides general information about
a 1XX heading for which a specialized note field has not been
defined."  Some have noted that they would like to see "biographical
and historical" data, others have identified information in the
"cannot identify with ..." category as candidates for the 680 field.
Of course, there is a special field defined for biographical or
historical data, field 678, although the format suggests that it
should only be used for such information added as part of a manual
file conversion, and fields 670/675 should be used after conversion
(LC did use the 678 field for this purpose during the conversion of
its manual authority file in the late 1970s-early 1980s).  It is
unfortunate that the 680 field is the note field specifically labeled
as "public" note when it also includes the stipulation that it is for
use when "a specialized note field has not been defined"--
particularly when the specialized note field that has been defined is
not often written in a form adequate for public user display. Would
the "field definition and scope" statement for the 680 field need to
be adjusted to remove the stipulation about other specialized notes
taking precedence?  Would changes be necessary for the 678 field as
well, or is it to remain a fact of historical conversion alone?

2.  Repetition of "public" information in an authority record.

 Most likely any biographical and historical data recorded found in a
source would be cited along with the source information in a 670 note,
or may already exist in a 678 note.  Would that information then need
to be reformulated for public consumption and repeated in a 680 field?
 Sometimes, always, never?  Could we come to agreement that the 680
field is not a replacement for the 670/675, etc., just a field to
summarize for the public information found in 670/675?

It's worth recalling that one of the basic tenets of the NACO program
is to defray the cost of creating useful authority records, and one of
the goals of the PCC is to streamline and simplify authority
creation-- would some participants balk at recording the same
information in more than one place in a record, or find consulting an
additional set of guidelines for what type of information should be
recorded publicly or not?  Or might it be possible to leave 680
creation as a totally optional endeavor?  Could we agree collectively
on guidelines for what belongs there?   What is the across-the-board
impact of providing optional data that may be relevant only at the
local library level?

3.  Legacy data in existing authority records that might be
considered "public."
  
The 667 field was originally defined as "Name usage or scope note"
field.  It was redefined in 1991 as "Nonpublic general note." 
Likewise, the 680 field was originally defined only for subject usage
and not defined for use with non-subject authorities until 1991 (and
not officially implemented as a possible name authority field within
NACO until Jan. of 1999), so for the nearly five million records
already in the NACO file, the type of information folks have mentioned
as candidates for 680 fields already exists in various fields (e.g.,
667, 670, 675, 678, and one could argue 663, 664, 665 as well).  What
are the impacts of having this data in one place in some records and
elsewhere in others?   Would we expect those who edit earlier records
to move applicable data to new fields?

4.  What is a "public field" vs. non-public information?  Although we
do have the label of "public" on the 680, it is impossible to predict
from one local system to the next what is displayed to the public and
what is not.  In LC's old system, in fact, everything was displayed to
the public, including 667s, reference tracings with $w values for
non-display, and even a locally-defined "confidential information"
field!  It will likely be that way again before the end of the year,
in response to those outside of LC who have complained about losing
the access they once had).  Do our local systems all work the same in
this regard?  Would we even want them to, or do we prefer to make
institutional decisions on what is displayed to the public?  For
example, given the past history of the 680 field, how many of our
systems force a display legend such as "Scope note: ..." when
displaying 680 information?  Would such a legend be applicable to
non-subject uses of this field?  As a colleague said recently in the
email barrage about obsolete indicators in authority records: "this is
a good illustration of the difficulties involved in the management of
changes that affect a large number of records ... within the kind of
national and international networks that constitute the current
environment ... and do them in a manner that synchronizes all the
various interests to be served."

Dave Reser
CPSO

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