Here are some comments on the draft documentation for the CONSER Standard
In general, the guidelines are written very well. I appreciate the
simplicity and clarity. Some places in which I would like to see
improvements or changes are:
p.7, tag 130, first bullet: The phrase "Create uniform titles only for
these two categories:" contradicts the much-emphasized "floor" concept of
the standard. It would be better to reworded the second sentence as: "The
exceptions are: 1) monographic series, and 2) "generic" titles, i.e., [...]"
p.9, tag 246, first bullet, parallel titles: 1st indicator should be "1"
instead of "3". Use of "3" will keep any note at all from displaying in
the OPAC (if the OPAC is set up to use the MARC tags as intended, that
is). Without any note displaying the variant title, a user may well wonder
why the particular record was retrieved in their search, if one or more
words from the search appear only in the non-displayable 246 field. I can
think of absolutely no reason whatsoever to keep this information from
displaying to the user. This is a huge impediment to the FRBR task of
"identify". In the example record on p.20, a user might search for "CJEA"
and have several records come up--why in the world did this specific record
p.9, tag 246, first bullet, acronyms/initialisms: Along with 1st indicator
problem (see above), I have a problem with the second indicator. If the
variant title is not being recorded in the 245 field, then this is not a
"portion of title". Instead of 2nd indicator "0", use "3" (other title).
p.9, tag 246, second bullet: Again, the 1st indicator problem. In
addition, it might be better to use 2nd indicator "3" instead of blank.
p.12, tag 550: This instruction makes it sound like the authority record
will hold the data normally put into the bib 550 notes, for ALL resources
associated with the particular name! Are we to add a 670 field for each
serial related to the corporate body, giving the forms of name and dates of
use for that serial? I suppose this is just incorrect wording in the
instruction. I am assuming that actually we are to still follow just
normal 670 procedures in authority records. In which case, this will cause
some headaches in the future, when we're trying to sort out difficult
situations like government bodies and their hierarchies, and publications
which are issued out of chronological order or have chronological and
publication dates that have significant gaps.
p.16, flow chart: The step "Is there a different corporate body in the
title?" could be a bit confusing for newer catalogers. I think it could be
referring to a few different possible situations: 1) old title included a
name, new title includes a different name, but they equate to the same
authorized name heading; 2) old title included a name, new title includes a
different name, and they are two different authorized name headings; 3) old
title did not include a name, new title includes a name, and the name is a
different issuing body than what was associated with the publication
before. The first situation is a minor change, but the other two are major
p.17, "Maintaining or using existing cataloging with former frequency
information": Please delete the second sentence ("When there are a total
of three ..."). This is removing information that is still valid and
useful. There is no time saved in deleting 321 fields and typing in
"Frequency varies". The cataloger modifying the record only needs to
change the 310 to a 321 and add a new 310, and can put the date of the
issue in hand into angle brackets in the 310. The other 321 fields do not
have to be touched.
This is not a request for a change, but just a comment/question: On page
17, it says "A maintenance rule of thumb is that any change that affects
access to the record or other serials functions (such as arriving,
claiming, or binding) is a candidate for maintenance." In the
functionality objectives for the standard (from the Executive Summary of
the Final Report), it says "The record should function as a single 'CONSER
standard,' (or 'CONSER-authenticated') record, replacing existing levels.
It should be a 'floor,' not a 'ceiling,' and should include sufficient
information to meet FRBR user tasks." I am curious as to why, in the
guidelines, the only task of importance is "find"? What about "identify"
and "select"? I don't see that any one task is inherently of more or less
importance than another, and usefulness of elements will apply to different
tasks depending on the context.
Kevin M. Randall
Head of Serials Cataloging
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2300
email: [log in to unmask]
phone: (847) 491-2939
fax: (847) 491-4345