Dear SACO Task Group,
        If you haven't had time to review my previous messages yet, please
toss them out and respond to the draft below. It is continuing to evolve
with your help, and I hope to hear something from each of you in the near
future so that we may still meet the deadline. Especially, please tell me if
there are parts of the charge the report fails to address or if you disagree
with anything or feel we can express it in a better way. I really hate
criticism, but I much prefer that it happen before we send it as a final
report and we have to live with it forever :-)
        Thanks and best regards,
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 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
LC is unresponsive to change can be answered. The number of these proposals
has grown to over 3000 in fiscal year 2002, (see graph at
<> ) 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
problems in some detail and outlined possible changes for SACO.

While many of the same libraries participating in this program also join in
the other PCC collaborative efforts, SACO has so far avoided the formalities
of institutional membership characteristic of CONSER, BIBCO and NACO. 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 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
        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 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. 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.
        d.      That the SACO discussion list be employed to a greater
extent than it has been for sharing and peer-consultation among SACO
        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.

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 a team of experts 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 reserved for SACO
Members. The primary satisfactions inherent to 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 a rich reward 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 should become a
privilege limited to those libraries willing to accept the responsibilities
of becoming 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
reviewed and possibly improved upon somewhat by the more-experienced SACO
coordinator before submission without forcing the coordinator to re-key the
entire proposal. 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 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

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 will be key to applying staff resources to
consideration of an increasing volume of proposals. The possibility of
accepting some proposals without further review has promise, but will need
to be carefully explored and developed subsequent to establishment of the
membership option. Similarly, future participation of some SACO Members as
coordinators of funnel projects has appealing aspects that the task group
hopes will come to fruition.

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
<> 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. Possibly after further development and
implementation of training programs for SACO a 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 occasional contributors who require
extensive consultation and may call repeatedly just to check on the progress
of their proposals. The need to be more cost-effective as the program
continues to grow is a convincing argument for having more 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 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 and
some of the material from the SACO Participants Manual, 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 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 library association
conferences 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, and we
include 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 I really like the
idea of expanding SACO into more train-the-trainer approaches.  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 BIBCO training program includes
a session devoted to SACO that is 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 recommended by the
task group in addition to fully exploiting the workshop options as outlined
above that a web-based training program on preparing subject proposals be
developed and made available to SACO Members. Advantages of a web-based
program may include the ability of librarians to use the training at the
time they need it as well as ability to use it wherever they are located.


The mechanism for submitting subject proposals has 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. 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, 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 methodology 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 it 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 appraised of the progress of their proposals.

Librarians preparing subject authority or classification proposals require
access to LCSH and LCCS 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. 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 available 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 17, 2003 by the
PCC Task Group on SACO Program Development:
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, Chair.