Dear SACO Task Group,
Here is the beginning section for the report that I have been
playing with. Please bear in mind that this is an introductory section and
more details will follow in other sections. One of my deficiencies as a
writer is that I find it hard to elaborate so I may be needing lots of help
on subsequent sections even after building on the comments some of you have
already sent. Please comment freely on both style and substance. Thanks,
(Summary and introduction section)
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) needed for works they catalog for more than
10 years now. Through SACO many useful changes and additions to LCSH have
been proposed and adopted over this time, and the often-heard criticism that
LCSH is unresponsive to change can be answered. While many of the libraries
participating in this program also join in the other collaborative efforts
of CONSER, BIBCO and NACO, SACO has so far lacked the formalities of
institutional membership characteristic of these other PCC programs.
Inconsistencies exist in quantity and quality of subject authorities
proposed and in support provided by participant libraries, including the
Library of Congress. How can the SACO Program obtain more support and
produce more and better subject authority proposals?
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
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
problems in some detail and outlined possible changes for SACO.
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 these reports
and our own experiences with participating in SACO, and are united in our
desire to provide recommendations which will lead to a better SACO program.
In this spirit we submit the following.
Summary of Recommendations
Briefly, the group recommends the following actions be taken.
a. 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 option of fax submission should also remain viable. Submission by
mail is discouraged for reasons of both speed and safety.
b. That a letter announcing the new option of SACO Membership
be sent to all current SACO Participants to describe this opportunity and
invite those interested to apply. Application would be a means for
libraries to make an official commitment to support and become fuller
partners in the SACO Program. The announcement should detail membership
responsibilities and benefits such as 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; special training opportunities and access to documentation to be
developed, and access to use of the utilities as a mechanism of contribution
and distribution. It should also point out that those 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.
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 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 continue to make this happen
on an everyday basis through their participation in sharing interesting
experiences and asking and answering questions related to their SACO work.
e. That a provision be developed for the on-going update of the
SACO Participants' Manual. This should be referred to the PCC Training
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.