Can I offer some thoughts on the question of Membership Criteria (and
reassure you all that I'm not planning to take advantage of the earlier time
zone every week...).
One of the minor irritations of the extract from Fenly's report that was
distributed to PoCo is that it lacks the evidence that (presouambly)
supports the assertions and recommendations he makes. With that in mind, I
took his example of a minimum of 20 proposals p.a. and tested that against
the FY 2001-2002 statistics. And I also looked to see what difference a
minimum of 10 proposals would make. In both cases, I was using the aggregate
of "new" and "change" proposals, without any sort of distinction.
On the basis of last year's figures, requiring a minimum of 20 proposals
would mean that the SACO program had just 20 members (10 BIBCO/CONSER, 5
NACO, and 5 SACO only, following the categorisation used by the stats
Requiring a minimum of 10 proposals would increase the number of SACO
members to 37 (17 BIBCO/CONSER, 10 NACO, 9 SACO only).
(I've not included the Coop Team in these figures, BTW.)
Looking at the overall proportion of SACO work done by the 20+ category,
these institutions accounted for 79% of all new SACO proposals in 2001/2,
and 86% of all change proposals.
Looking at the overall proportion of SACO work done by the 10+ category,
these institutions accounted for 85% of all new SACO proposals in 2001/2,
and 89% of all change proposals.
A very small number of SACO participants are doing a very large proportion
of the work, whichever benchmark you use.
I hope those figures are of use to us.
I've a few more general thoughts, a little random in their coverage.
1. It's not our job to justify the overall change in policy, I think, but to
come up with workable proposals to support the proposed new policy.
2. Demand for "new" headings, even in large institutions, is rather less
"predictable" than for names. Whatever "minimum" figure is arrived at, I'd
have thought a certain amount of leeway will be required from year to year.
(This probably happens already with NACO, but I'm unaware of how that
3. I like the idea of funnels. But I worry about the assumption that
volunteers will be forthcoming. It's basically pushing the burden away from
LC and on to other people (that's not a criticism...).
4. Is there a relationship between quality and quantity? Underpinning
Fenly's thesis is an assumption that the fewer contributions an institution
makes the less reliable the quality (see, for example, the final para. of
Recommendation 6). Perhaps Ana or Tom would care to comment on that. I would
be more inclined, in theory, to trust a small specialist library dealing
with an area in which it has a high degree of knowledge over an institution
like my own, a large "general" library.
5. Looking at the stats, there's a potential inpact on BIBCO in that some of
the members wouldn't make the "cut off" figure. Since they're required to
have controlled access points, presumably records for which they don't have
suitable subjects and which they couldn't contribute, would have to be
excluded from BIBCO. (But perhaps there could be a BIBCO funnel for such
Overall, building on the Fenly work, I think we need to be clearer about the
reasoning behind the "minimum" level of contribution. Is it to do with
quality? Is it to do with more general management overhead (the sheer amount
of effort of keeping in contact with so many small contributors, for
example)? Is it designed to encourage/discourage contributions? And what
might we collectively lose if some of the smaller contributors don't find a
funnel or take umbrage at the new arrangements?
Regards to all,
Head of Cataloguing, Cambridge University Library
West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR, England
email: [log in to unmask] fax: +44 (0)1223 333160
phone: +44 (0)1223 333069 (with voicemail) or
phone: +44 (0)1223 333000 (ask for pager 036)