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PCCTG1  October 2003

PCCTG1 October 2003

Subject:

Report

From:

Jimmie Lundgren <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 24 Oct 2003 08:11:13 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (489 lines)

Dear SACO Task Group,
        I have rewritten the report and integrated your input as well as I
could, and I believe the version of the report below to be final in the
substantive sense (I may fix a stray typo or something still). If you differ
on any significant point, please be very quick to speak up about it else as
I said this is the "final" version of the report. I very much appreciate all
of the input you gave me. I feel the report has been a truly collaborative
effort and is much better as a result of your help.
        Ana Cristan needs to have the report by Monday at the latest, and it
is my intention to send it to her later today. I managed to give myself the
flu by getting a flu shot, so I will probably go home early. Maybe I can get
some sleep. Last night some coyotes kept yipping all night and waking up my
Irish Wolfhound Sir Giles who insisted on going out into the yard each time
and telling them that he was bigger and they should go away.
        It has been wonderful getting to know each of you or getting to know
you better through our work together. Thanks again for all your help and
support. Best regards,
Jimmie
SACO Program Development:
Final Report of a PCC Task Group

The SACO Program has been providing a way for other librarians to join with
librarians at the Library of Congress to propose new and changed Library of
Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and new and changed class numbers for
Library of Congress Classification schedules (LCC) needed for works they
catalog for more than 10 years now. Through SACO many useful changes and
additions have been proposed and adopted over this time, and the often-heard
criticism that LCSH is unresponsive to change can be answered. The number of
these proposals has grown to over 3000 in fiscal year 2002, (see graph at
<http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/saco/sacographsfy02.html> ) Librarians
participating in SACO have been proud to contribute in this way and grateful
to be able to use the new and changed headings needed in their cataloging.


The PCC Task Group on SACO Program Development was formed and received its
charge in February 2003. The group's charge has been 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.
In addition, the Task Group was asked to provide recommendations that:
        1)      Outline a SACO training scenario, including what
responsibilities the PCC has in providing/sharing the existing subject
cataloging documentation or some 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.

The mandate for this work grew out of discussions about SACO at the November
2002 PCC Policy Committee. It also followed a commissioned study completed
at the Library of Congress by Charles Fenly in July 2002, which examined the
SACO program workflow in some detail and outlined possible improvements.

The SACO Program has so far avoided the formalities of institutional
membership characteristic of CONSER, BIBCO and NACO. It has thus been
correctly perceived as the most open and egalitarian wing of the PCC.
However, as the program has grown, inconsistencies in quantity and quality
of subject authorities proposed and in support provided by participant
libraries, including the Library of Congress, have been observed.

The task group members have been aware of the strengths and weaknesses of
the SACO program to this point in time both through study of the reports and
our own experiences with participating in SACO, and are united in our desire
to provide recommendations which will support the emergence of a new and
even better SACO program. In this spirit we submit the following.

Summary of Recommendations

Briefly, the group recommends the following actions be taken.
        a.      That the SACO Program be expanded to include formally
affiliated SACO Membership as well as the less structured SACO Participation
already in place. Letters of two kinds regarding the new option of SACO
Membership should be sent to all current participants in the PCC. One letter
should be sent to those who have contributed at least 5 subject or
classification proposals in a past year thanking them for their past
contributions and welcoming them for being among the first libraries to be
full SACO Members. It should also describe the benefits and responsibilities
of staying in the program and request written confirmation of their
appointed liaison to the program and their intention to continue. A
different letter should be sent to the rest of the PCC libraries announcing
the opportunity to become SACO Members, describing the benefits and
responsibilities of membership, and inviting those interested to apply.
Either applying or confirming acceptance of membership status would be a
means for libraries to make an official commitment to support and become
fuller partners in the SACO Program as Members. Membership responsibilities
and benefits should include acceptance of policies as outlined in the
Subject Cataloging Manual, LCSH, LCC, and the SACO Contributors Manual;
contributing at least 5 subjects, classifications or changes to subjects or
classifications each year; special training opportunities and access to
documentation to be developed, and access to use of the utilities as a
mechanism of contribution and distribution for subjects. The announcement
should also point out that libraries not choosing to become SACO Members at
this time would continue to be appreciated as SACO Participants and be able
to contribute proposals as they have in the past.
        b.      That a utility-based submission and distribution option be
developed through both RLIN and OCLC by the leadership of the PCC in order
to facilitate subject proposals for LCSH. The currently used web-form should
also be improved to allow for entering data, saving and later submission,
and the options of fax and email submission should also remain viable.  It
is hoped that a web-form for classification proposals will become available
also.
        c.      That appropriate resources be allocated towards the training
of SACO Members and towards expediting their proposals.   One promising
avenue for enhancing SACO members' skills would be to develop a web-based
training program under the coordination of the PCC Training Committee.
        d.      That the SACO discussion list be employed to a greater
extent than it has been for sharing and peer-consultation among SACO
members.
        e.      That a provision be developed for the on-going update of the
SACO Participants' Manual. This should be referred to the PCC Training
Committee.

The cooperation of various parts of the PCC will be needed for this plan to
succeed, and the task group solicits energetic and positive responses to our
recommendations for SACO Program development.

SACO Membership

The idea of a membership level of participation for libraries proposing
classifications and subject headings constitutes a new and exciting
opportunity for libraries to cooperate in growth and management of LC
subject and classification tools. Libraries choosing to become members will
move from a more casual approach to one that is more committed and coherent.


Since SACO has not to this point been an institution-based membership
program, it is intended that defining it as such will help to make it a
better program and certainly make it more consistent with other elements of
the PCC. Therefore, the task group has worked to determine the best ways to
define SACO Membership and its corresponding privileges and responsibilities
as part of the SACO Program. The task group recommends strongly that those
current SACO Participants who do not become SACO Members be allowed and
encouraged to continue to propose new headings as that enriches LCSH and
benefits all of us. The new SACO Program as proposed will thus include two
levels of involvement: SACO Member and SACO Participant. SACO Participants
will see little change from their current workflow. SACO Members will be
distinguished by newly defined privileges and responsibilities.

In SACO, any librarian may now submit subject or classification proposals
and have them considered by LC for inclusion in LCSH or LCC. No formal
agreement or commitment on the part of the contributing library has been
required for SACO Participants. The Library of Congress owns and maintains
editorial control of LCSH and will continue to do so. All changes and
additions going into both print and electronic versions of LCSH are approved
by the Subject Headings Editorial team (SHED) at the Library of Congress
before final acceptance to assure effectiveness, accuracy and coherence of
the body of subjects as a whole. This differs from the NACO program in which
member libraries after their training and review period are able to
contribute individual name and series authority records without specific
review at LC.

Membership Benefits

The task group discussed the various benefits they have enjoyed as SACO
Participants and tried to identify some that can be developed further for
SACO Members. The primary satisfactions inherent in developing the proposals
and being able to use them after approval will continue to reward both SACO
Members and SACO Participants. The intellectual stimulation and challenge
derived from learning enough about a concept to propose it as a subject can
be richly rewarding in itself, and being able to provide better subject
analysis for our patrons is part of what we strive for everyday.

Utility-based submission of subject authority records to SHED at LC (which
retains final editorial review) should become a privilege limited to those
libraries willing to accept the responsibilities of being SACO Members. Not
all SACO Members will have access to the utilities so some will need to
continue to rely on use of the web-based form, emailing, or faxing
proposals. Formalized SACO Membership will enable the PCC to provide the
utilities (OCLC and RLIN) with lists of their members who should be given
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 takes place can greatly facilitate the
clerical aspects of proposing subject headings. This will allow individual
catalogers in a library to develop proposals for new subject headings or
changes to existing headings as they encounter a need for them in their
cataloging and save their records, which could then be reviewed and possibly
improved upon somewhat by the more-experienced SACO coordinator before
submission without forcing the coordinator to re-key the entire proposal.
Submission via the utilities will also provide a good method to include
diacritics correctly when they are needed. When necessary, similar reviewing
and editing by other LC staff or funnel project coordinators prior to CPSO
consideration would also be facilitated. In addition, the ability to use
macros or record generation software like those used to assemble basic
authority records for names and series based on the bibliographic record
cataloged could be developed and contribute both to efficiency and to
reduction in typographical errors on proposals. Since the delays and
inconvenience previously associated with proposing subject headings seem to
have been barriers to proposing more and better subject headings, these
options could result in significant improvements to both the quantity and
quality of headings submitted through the SACO program. 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 subject headings proposed by SACO Members.  It is especially hoped
that utilities-based submission as a benefit of SACO Membership will serve
as a pragmatic means to encourage more libraries to join.

Another meaningful incentive for libraries that will be members of the SACO
program through formal agreement could be greater timeliness of proposal
consideration and adoption. Streamlining the procedures for approving
proposals from SACO Members based on the expectation of reliably good
quality proposal preparation and delivery of records in MARC format already
validated by the utilities will be key to applying staff resources to
consideration of an increasing volume of proposals. The possibility of
accepting some types of proposals without further review has promise, but
will need to be carefully explored and developed subsequent to establishment
of the membership option. Similarly, participation of some SACO Members as
coordinators of funnel projects has appealing aspects that the task group
recommends for future consideration.

The group did not as a whole see provision of documentation as a significant
incentive to SACO participation. However, a discount on subscriptions to
Catalogers' Desktop or a print copy of the SACO Participant's Manual would
be a welcome benefit. In general the documentation needed for SACO proposing
is either that already needed for cataloging such as LCSH or the Subject
Cataloging Manual. By exception, international libraries often lack access
to SCM and to some of the tools preferred for supporting subject proposals.
The excellent SACO Participants Manual developed by Adam Schiff is freely
available online from the SACO Homepage at
<http://www.loc.gov/catdir/pcc/saco.html> and now in both English and
Spanish. It will need to be kept up-to-date, and the task group is referring
this matter to the PCC Standing Committee on Training for coordinating this.


The last benefit specific to SACO Members is the added prestige associated
with being called SACO Members. It is hoped that this help to persuade some
libraries to join the program.

Responsibilities of Membership

SACO Member libraries should have their responsibilities defined in their
agreement with the PCC. They are 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.
Better understanding of subject proposal requirements can help prevent the
deflating experience of having a proposal 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. While SACO Members are responsible for trying to do
as many SACO proposals as possible and as needed to perform quality
cataloging, they must also realize their own limitations, especially for
subject or language expertise that might be needed in a particular proposal.
SACO Members 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.

It would be helpful to put forth a required training program for SACO
Members, but the task group was not able at this point in time to do so in a
fair and practical way. Clearly SACO Members will vary in their backgrounds
and levels of experience with subject and classification proposals, and each
will need to be responsible for identifying  their particular training
requirements. Possibly after further development and implementation of
training programs for SACO a standard minimum requirement can be defined and
expected of new SACO Members.

It is a reasonable idea and consistent with expectations for NACO members to
establish a quota of annual submissions for subject proposals as a
membership requirement. This has generated little enthusiasm in the group,
which included several members whose libraries have contributed subject
headings at a very low rate. However, we are aware of the burden that can be
placed on Coop staff-members by, "time-consuming inquiries from SACO
participants concerning the status of their proposals," as mentioned in the
Fenly report. A combination of faster turnaround time and improved expertise
in proposal preparation by SACO Members should contribute significantly
towards addressing this issue. The need to be more cost-effective as the
program continues to grow provides a convincing argument for having the
greatest number of the proposals submitted by skilled SACO Members rather
than new or occasional SACO Participants. Similarity to NACO Membership is
limited since 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 proposing subject headings 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 at the very low
number five. This would ensure that the member library remains familiar with
the mechanisms of subject proposing while keeping the bar low enough to
include smaller libraries and support larger libraries while they work to
increase their participation. We all benefit if some smaller, more
specialized libraries are encouraged to contribute headings in their areas
of specialty, and making the process easier could help them increase their
contributions.

Initiating SACO Membership

The task group recommends that the PCC endorse our recommendations to
establish SACO Membership. An announcement could then be prepared to
introduce this new opportunity for joining the PCC. The announcement should
especially be distributed to the libraries which have previously
participated in SACO and include basic information on a procedure to be
followed by those libraries choosing to become SACO Members.

Challenges and Context for SACO Program Development

As it was pointed out in Charles Fenly's report last year, 3,165 headings
were submitted through SACO in FY02. This is a very substantial number, and
represents a large investment of time and energy on the part of SACO
Participants as well as librarians at LC. It is also a significant
contribution to the ongoing development of LCSH and LCCS, together the most
important subject analysis tools ever created. It is thus highly important
that this program receive the support it needs to continue to grow and that
we overcome any problems standing in the way.

The most important needs of individuals and institutions for improving
quality and quantity of subject heading contributions relate to becoming
better trained and to having a better process for the submission and
processing of the subject authority records. When asked why they haven't
submitted more subject proposals librarians have responded that it takes too
long. Others have not been trained adequately to understand LCSH and the
proposal process so that they can identify when it is appropriate to submit
a proposal and how to go about doing so.


Training for SACO

The need for stronger expertise in developing and subject authority and
classification proposals can only be addressed through an active training
program. Training for SACO participation needs to be a "multi-pronged"
approach and the best scenario would have the following components:

- Workshops at national conferences, as currently provided by PCC
These attract a sizeable audience (about 40 people per session for ALA
sessions) and provide a good foundation for preparing proposals.  Workshops
on advanced topics provide continuing education, and group discussions are
very useful.  The basic workshop and several advanced sessions have already
been developed, and need only to be kept up to date.  It would be possible
to train experienced SACO participants to present the workshops to lessen
the burden on LC staff.

- Web-based training
 Not everyone can attend conference workshops.  Web-based training could
incorporate some of the materials developed for the in-person workshops,
from the SACO Participants Manual, and other materials already on the PCC
SACO webpage such as the FAQ and the list of web resources, etc., but would
have to be developed by people familiar with this instructional technology.
This approach has several advantages.  It is likely to reach a public
library audience in a way that has not been possible to date.  It is more
accessible to an international audience.  It has the potential to be very
interactive, if the instructional design is sound.  It would take a
substantial investment of time and expertise to develop and would require a
separate committee or task group, including among its members someone with
specialized expertise in web tutorials.

- Institutional training and workshops provided by PCC and taught by
experienced SACO trainers or LC staff
PCC institutional training given at the library has proven very helpful for
the institutions that can host a trainer and should be continued as an
option.  This idea could be expanded by including as trainers people who are
seasoned SACO participants. Workshops can be offered taught by experienced
SACO trainers as an extension of the SACO workshops currently done at ALA
conferences.  It would be possible to train a group of experienced SACO
Participants to present a basic workshop that could be offered at state or
regional library association meetings and other venues.

One member of the task group is currently co-chairing a group that is
developing a 2-day workshop on basic subject cataloging using LCSH, which
includes a brief session on SACO.  It's just 30 minutes, an introduction
really, rather than real training.  This workshop will have a
train-the-trainer component as other PCC programs do, and expanding SACO
into more train-the-trainer approaches can be very beneficial.  Trainers
from outside LC can't give exactly the same kind of feedback about the
editorial process, but still have a lot of potential for helping educate
people about developing good proposals.  The NACO and BIBCO training
programs include introductions SACO that are very helpful, and
proposal-specific input from experts at LC is also extremely valuable for
building greater expertise in preparing subject heading proposals.

Members of the task group have benefited from many of the existing SACO
training opportunities and strongly appreciate the help they have provided.
It is important to provide additional training opportunities that will be
more accessible to international participants and to others who do not often
attend conferences where they have been presented. It is viewed as
especially important that the web-based training program as described above
be developed and made available to SACO Members. Through these various
training options a cadre of very highly skilled SACO Members will emerge
over time and the SACO Program will continue to make significant
contributions to the ongoing development of LCSH and LCC.

Processes and Tools

The mechanisms for submitting subject proposals have been a source of
frustration. Fax machines are one way proposals have been submitted that
permits inclusion of associated documentation, but is subject to the limits
imposed by these gadgets and phone lines. Submission by mail was
unsatisfactory in the past because it was so slow, and should be avoided as
much as possible in the light of new security practices that delay delivery.
Email continues to be an option and is the primary choice for classification
proposals, which are not supported as yet by the web form. The web form now
in use for proposals is a great improvement over previous options, but needs
further development. It does not permit saving and revision of proposals
prior to submission which would better facilitate accurate keying,
participation of the institutional coordinator, and subsequent addition of
further sources or cross-references to the proposal, nor does it permit
keying of diacritics. It also does not provide a MARC version of the record.
It would be helpful to add these capabilities to the web form especially for
the benefit of subject authority contributors who do not have access to OCLC
or RLIN and those who are not SACO Members. The most significant way to
offer a better method for submitting SACO proposals is to permit libraries
who become SACO Members and who do use OCLC or RLIN to use their utilities
in a way similar to that used for submitting NACO headings. That will allow
use of save mechanisms, correct entering of diacritics, and for many even
reduce the need for keying by allowing macro creation to automatically
supply parts of the authority record based on bibliographic record data of
the work cataloged. Having better methods for actually creating and
submitting subject authority and classification proposals in these ways can
substantially support continued growth in quality and quantity of SACO
proposals.

However, some of the complaints about SACO being too slow were not related
to the proposal mechanism but to the length of time between when the
proposal is submitted and when it has been approved and added to LCSH. This
has not only discouraged participation by being slow, it has also been
somewhat unreliable in the aspect of communication to the librarian who sent
the proposal as to its progress (or lack thereof). How can this be improved?
If librarians develop better expertise in preparing subject authority
proposals, there will be less time required to review and supplement the
proposals after they are transmitted. If more resources are allocated to
support the processes of reviewing and adopting the proposals, these can be
done more quickly as well. In addition, if clear methods are implemented in
conjunction with utility-based submission for indicating status and
scheduling of each record it will improve the perception of reliability of
the program. The speed of approval of SACO proposals really has increased
greatly in recent years, but it is important to continue to process the
proposals quickly and to adopt procedures for effective and efficiently
keeping SACO Members apprised of the progress of their proposals. As this
report was in the process of being completed we noted that LC has announced
that a new feedback mechanism has been developed and instituted to notify
SACO contributors when their subject proposals have been downloaded into the
authority file, and the task group welcomes and looks forward to learning
more about this development.

Librarians preparing subject authority or classification proposals require
access to LCSH and LCC to ascertain the need for the new or changed heading
or number, to the Subject Cataloging Manual volumes on Subject Headings
(SCM:SH), Classification, and Shelflisting for guidance in formulating the
heading, and to a variety of sources for documenting a particular concept
and any related terms. A recent report from the PCC Task Group on
International Participation noted difficulties specific to SACO
participation from outside the United States. Lack of availability of works
preferred as sources for documenting certain proposals can limit
participation of international librarians. SCM:SH, which is so essential to
development of subject proposals, can be hard to find outside the United
States and the other two volumes of SCM even more so.

The SACO discussion list also has potential as a vehicle for sharing
experiences and getting valuable input from fellow librarians while
preparing subject proposals. Recently it has become a more active forum for
collaboration in identification of sources to document proposals as well as
consultation of sources held by other libraries and input towards proper
formulation of headings and required proposals for related terms.
Subscribing to this list is allowable on request, and should not become
limited to SACO Members due to its educational value for all contributors.

It will be up to the SACO members to continue to make this kind of use of
the SACO discussion list happen on an everyday basis through their
participation in sharing interesting experiences and asking and answering
questions related to their SACO work.

The task group feels that addressing these concerns and opportunities will
remove barriers and pave the way to future growth for the SACO Program.

Respectfully submitted October 24, 2003 by the
PCC Task Group on SACO Program Development:
Jimmie Lundgren, University of Florida, Chair
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

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