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PCCTG1  October 2003

PCCTG1 October 2003

Subject:

Re: Onward Towards Completion

From:

Hugh Taylor <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Mon, 13 Oct 2003 08:20:56 +0100

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text/plain

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Apologies. I was on leave until last Monday and then spent most of the week
trying to catch up (not entirely successfully, as you can tell!).

I find that I agree with every word that Adam and Susan wronte in their
messages of 2 and 6 Oct respectively, so I'm not intending to repeat what
they've said there. What follows, therefore, are mostly *additional* points
related to Jimmie's earlier messages.

Utility-based submission. I would propose that this be restricted to SACO
"members" (this represents a change from the way we'd worded the interim
report, I think). Two reasons. One is the overhead on the utilities
themselves. If they're going to have to authorise accounts for SACO work it
seems reasonable to ask them to do it only for those who are "committed" to
SACO by virtue of having taken up membership. Agreeing to a minimum level
of contribution goes some way to ensuring that we're not asking the
utilities (who have, after all, resourcing issues of their own) to set up
SACO authorisation for "occasional" users.

The other reason is to do with benefits of membership and remembering
how.why this group came to be established in the first place. Membership
implies commitment, and from commitment (indirectly, admittedly) comes
"expertise" (or skill, at least). One of the complaints we've heard from LC
(I'm paraphrasing here) is that they are spending too much time dealing
with ill-prepared proposals submitted via the Web form by what we might
term "allcomers". This group has decided it wants to recommend that
"allcomers" (non-members, once membership has been established) still be
permitted to make proposals via the Web form. Restricting the use of the
utilities to members means that it ought to be possible to LC to
*prioritise* its work, giving first call on its time to the work of the
SACO membership, and addressing the "allcomers"' proposals as and when it
has the time. This can be both one of the benefits of membership - your
proposals get looked at sooner than a proposal from some occasional
contributor - and a means of speeding up the workflow (following the NACO
model, I'd expect to ask the utilities to upload to LC new/changed SACO
proposals every night). It is reasonable for LC to proceed on the
assumption that members' proposals are, as a body, better researched and
more easily/speedily processed. (I realise that we all have problems with
individual proposals from time to time, but I'm talking generalities here.)

To summarise:
        use of utilities restricted to members
        utilities asked to download daily to LC
        LC processes members' proposals before non-members
        this be flagged as a membership benefit

Mary Charles mentioned that with the Web form she sees her proposals online
"within a few days". Following the NACO model (and depending which time
zone you're in), using the utilities you should be able to see them the
next day (or, at worst, the day after).

Adam's reply (in the context of inviting institutions to join) suggested
sending a letter out to all "current participants", but one of the great
weaknesses of SACO at present is that there is no such list. In our report
I'd suggest we try to define this - e.g. any institution that has submitted
a proposals in the past 12 months. Anyone who hasn't been "active" during
the past year probably can't be counted as "current". In any case, anyone
else who wishes to apply for membership is welcome to do so, of course.

Training. There seem to have a lot of PCC initiatives on training of late,
though not all of them have yet yielded tangible results. I think we should
deal only with the basics here, as other people are working on the
framework into which our proposals will have to fit. One thing I would
emphasise (unsuprisingly) is the need to keep the *international* aspect of
SACO activity very much in mind. This almost certainly suggests a Web
element to the training. (I believe the "Internationalization" task force
is also addressing training issues in its report.) Courses that require
attendance "in person" still have a place, of course, but they're never
going to be able to reach all the members (or would-be members). Although
I've never attended the ALA sessions, I'd say they are almost as important
as "publicity" as for the practical content. Promotion of SACO and its
benefits to libraries and their users has a role, and we shouldn't
underestimate that.

Moving on to the final report, I'd like to suggest we need to keep two
contrasting readerships in mind - there's the PCC, whom we might categorise
as the folk who know all the background and who simply want the results of
our deliberations; and then there's the more general readership, esp (I
suspect) the occasional SACO contributors who might be worried about what
our report is going to say. They're not necessairly going to know much (or
anything, even) about the background to the setting up of this group. So I
would suggest the final report includes a good bit of background,
paraphrasing the consultant's report liberally in order to give some
context to the things we've been asked to look at and to the issues we've
discussed. I would also recommend that we include, where relevant, a
summary of the stuff we talked about before coming up with recommendations,
so that the recommendations don't simply appear to have been produced out
of thin air. The other thing is to highlight places where our work might
overlap with others' and the similarities between what we're suggesting and
other PCC program components.

Hugh
--
Hugh Taylor
Head, Collection Development and Description
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)

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