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PCCTG1  June 2003

PCCTG1 June 2003

Subject:

Rough Draft of Preliminary Report

From:

Jimmie Lundgren <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 13 Jun 2003 09:20:35 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (215 lines)

Dear SACO Task Group,
        I am pasting below a very rough draft that I hope to have you all
help me to polish and complete. My excuses for sending it in such rough form
is that I am a terrible procrastinator and that Hugh and Janet will be going
home from work soon and I hope to get it to them before that happens.
        Thank you all for responding to my input request, and especially to
Susan Summer who gave me many excellent suggestions for the report. Best
regards to all and have a great weekend!
Jimmie

Rough Draft:
PCC Task Group on SACO Program Development
Preliminary Report
June 2003

This group was formed and received its charge in February of this year with
an expectation to produce a preliminary report at ALA Annual and a final
report by November. A brief oral report was given at the BIBCO Operations
Committee meeting in May.

The task group is composed of a diverse group of librarians as follows:
Janet Ashton, British Library,
Linda Gabel, OCLC Liaison,
Mary Charles Lasater, Vanderbilt University,
Lori Robare, Subject Analysis Committee Liaison,
Adam Schiff, University of Washington,
Susan Summer, Columbia University,
Hugh Taylor, Cambridge University,
Thomson Yee, Library of Congress Liaison,
Joe Zeeman, Research Libraries Group Liaison,
Jimmie Lundgren, University of Florida, Task Group Chair.
Our charge, which grew out of discussions at the November 2002 PCC Policy
Committee and followed a commissioned study at the Library of Congress by
Charles Fenly in July 2002, is to address the following points:
1) To identify institutional/participant needs to facilitate subject
proposal contributions for inclusion in LCSH.
2) To recommend parameters for membership in SACO
3) To propose a list of responsibilities that accompany SACO membership,
both from the PCC and the participant perspective.
We began by establishing a schedule for discussing relevant topics and have
been communicating through our email list. In this manner we shared our
thoughts on membership criteria, responsibilities and benefits, on the
mechanisms for submitting and distributing subject proposals, and on
documentation, training and feedback. Now we have reviewed our thoughts on
these topics and put together some proposals that we hope will lead to
strong future development for the SACO Program.

Institutional/Participant Needs

The most important needs of individuals and institutions for improving
quality and quantity of subject heading contributions relate to being able
to more easily and efficiently create and distribute the proposals and to
training to better understand LCSH and the proposal process. The existing
web form for proposals is a great improvement over the previous options, but
falls short in not permitting saving and revision of proposals prior to
submission. The SACO training programs provided by LC in conjunction with
conferences are very helpful, but it would be desirable to supplement this
through a web-based training program that could reach library staff who do
not attend conferences. Proposal-specific input from PCC staff is extremely
valuable for training. The SACO listserve has potential as a vehicle for
sharing experiences and getting valuable input from fellow librarians while
preparing subject proposals.

SACO Membership

SACO has not to this point been an institution-based program. Any librarian
can submit subject or classification proposals using the web form or a print
form and have it considered by LC for inclusion in LCSH or LCC. This is, of
course, different from the other components of the PCC for whom a formal
agreement between the library and the PCC is required. In discussing options
for defining SACO membership, the group feels that some mechanism must be
retained to allow nonmembers to propose new headings as that enriches LCSH
and benefits us all. However, the need to improve the submission process by
providing a utility-based option such as that used for NACO headings makes
having a NACO-like agreement for SACO desirable. The formalized membership
would provide the utility (OCLC or RLIN) with criteria for giving its
members subject authority submission capability. The ability to create and
save the record prior to full completion while additional documentation may
be acquired and in-house reviewing take place can greatly facilitate the
work of subject proposing. This would allow individual catalogers in a
library to develop proposals for new subject headings or changes to existing
headings and save their work, which could then reviewed and possibly
improved upon somewhat by the more-experienced SACO coordinator before
submission without forcing the coordinator to re-key the entire proposal.
Similar reviewing and editing by PCC staff prior to CPSO consideration would
also be facilitated. In addition, the ability to use a macro like that used
for name authorities for basic authority record creation would contribute
both to efficiency and reduction in typographical errors. Since the delays
and inconvenience previously associated with subject proposing seem to have
been barriers to proposing more and better subject headings these options
could result in significant improvements to the quantity and quality of
headings submitted through the SACO program. While we accept that final
editorial responsibility for each heading and the overall structure of LCSH
must continue to rest with the appropriate group within the Library of
Congress, it is hoped that these improvements in the processes used for
preparing and presenting the proposals will result in quicker approval and
availability of the new and changed headings proposed.

The thought of establishing a quota of annual submissions for subject
proposals as a membership requirement generated little enthusiasm in the
group, which included several members whose libraries have contributed
subject headings at a very low rate. We are mindful of the burden that can
be placed on Coop staff-members by occasional contributors who require
extensive consultation. It should be pointed out that there is a difference
between a library's need for new subject headings and its need for new name
authority records. It is a very routine matter in cataloging to encounter
names that require establishment of name authorities to provide
cross-referencing, etc. It is less frequent that a particular library in its
day-to-day cataloging work finds a need for a new subject. In fact,
catalogers are skilled at making the best of existing subject headings and
seldom even recognize when an item would be better described through
establishment of a new and more specific heading. This works against
improvement to the rate of subject proposing and the quantity of SACO
headings at an appropriate level of specificity. Therefore, the group would
set the minimum requirement for number of subject headings that a library
would commit to proposing in a given year very low (HOW ABOUT 5???) This
would ensure that the library remains somewhat familiar with the mechanisms
of subject proposing while keeping the bar low enough to include smaller
libraries and supporting larger libraries while they work to increase
awareness of subject proposing as an option and take advantage of
improvements to speed and efficiency of the process. We all benefit is some
smaller, specialized libraries are encouraged to contribute headings in
their areas of specialty and making the process easier could help them
increase their contributions. Some meaningful distinctions between libraries
that will be members of the SACO program through formal agreement and others
who could continue to contribute subject proposals as they have in the past
could be access to the utility-based method of contributing headings and a
commitment to greater timeliness of proposal consideration by LC for
proposals from members.

Membership Responsibilities

SACO member libraries should have their responsibilities defined in their
agreement with the PCC. We're responsible for preparation and submission of
the proposal according to the established form and procedures (careful
paperwork). We could amplify this to say that this includes thorough
understanding and use of the Subject Cataloging Manual, the SACO
Participants' Manual and relevant reference sources.  We need to realize and
let our staff and administrators know that this can be a time consuming
task.  The time aspect should be covered in training sessions as well.  It
can be deflating when a proposal is returned with notes about further
research that is needed from the SACO coordinator or from PCC staff. Putting
a bit more emphasis on this aspect of the work and the corresponding benefit
to other catalogers, public services, etc. would be helpful and would
encourage participation. Related to this we might note that we are
responsible for trying to do as many SACO proposals as possible and as
needed to perform quality cataloging, but realizing our own limitations,
especially for subject or language expertise that might be needed in a
proposal. We are also responsible for realizing when a proposal or an update
may necessitate changes to other headings already in the file and making
proposals for these updates as well.  It is rewarding for staff when they
see they've improved a few related headings.

The group did not as a whole see provision of documentation as a significant
incentive to SACO participation, but a discount on subscriptions to
Catalogers' Desktop would not be refused. In general the documentation
needed for SACO proposing is either that already needed for cataloging such
as LCSH or the Subject Cataloging Manual, or the free SACO manual available
online, or more specific sources they use in their libraries to support
particular types of subjects such as geographic, botanical, etc. The SACO
Participant's Manual will need to be kept up-to-date, and the task group
hopes that the PCC staff will accept responsibility for coordinating this.

Summary of Recommendations

In summary, the group recommends the following basic changes.
        a.      That a utility-based submission and distribution option be
developed through both RLIN and OCLC in order to facilitate subject
proposals for LCSH. If in addition the currently used web-form could be
improved to allow for entering data, saving and later submission that would
also facilitate the process. It would be the role of the Coop Staff at LC to
negotiate the specifics of this option with the utilities..
        b.      That a letter outlining the responsibilities for SACO
institutional membership be sent to both NACO and SACO participants and
request an official commitment from those who chose to be members in this
new context. These should include acceptance of LCSH policies as outlined in
the Subject Cataloging Manual, LCSH itself, and the SACO Contributors
Manual; contributing at least 5 subjects or changes to subjects each year;
and use of the utilities as a mechanism of contribution and distribution.
Other institutions would be able to continue contributing in the manner they
presently do using methods such as fax or the web form, but would be listed
as "SACO Contributors" rather than "SACO Members."
        c.      That the Coop agree to participate in training of SACO
members and in expediting of the proposals as they perceive they can do so
most effectively. One promising avenue for enhancing SACO members'
capablities would be to develop a web-based training program that could
benefit all of us, including those who may not attend the ALA conferences
where training programs are offered.
        d.      That the SACO discussion list be employed to a greater
extent than it has been for sharing and peer-consultation among SACO
members. It will be up to the SACO members to make this happen on an
everyday basis, as this capability already exists.
        e.      That a provision be developed for the on-going update of the
SACO Participants' Manual. This should be referred to the Training
Committee.

Task Group Plan for Continuing Work

The Task Group was further enjoined that in its Final Report that will be
due at the end of October we should include recommendations that:

        1)      Outline a SACO training scenario, including what
responsibilities the PCC has in providing/sharing the existing subject
cataloging documentation or that which might be newly developed.
        2)      Suggest a mechanism for facilitating the contribution and
distribution of subject proposals among subject trainers and training
institutions for internal review, for final review by LC editorial review
staff, and for distribution of approved headings to the community at large.
        3)      Identify whose responsibility it should be to implement each
of the elements described.

We will thus be continuing this work as well as attending carefully to input
we hope to receive from other SACO and PCC librarians who may respond to
this interim report in the coming months.

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