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To the PCC community:
This message reviews actions and discussions regarding the new LC serials
cataloging work flow from the point of view of the PoCo. It is being sent
to the PCC list as well as the CONSER list.
Maureen Landry, head of SRD, announced LC's new serials copy cataloging
work flow to CONSER members in September. According to the announcement
all copy cataloging for Roman language serials would be performed by
cataloging technicians and the technicians would be working with
unauthenticated as well as authenticated OCLC records. Formerly, the only
records handled by technicians for copy cataloging were records
previously authenticated by another CONSER
The focus of LCís new serials copy cataloging work flow is on providing
sufficient access to, and identification of, the serial. Name and subject
headings are verified and authorities are established if needed, but
generally only obvious or egregious errors that impede access and
identification are corrected. The records contain the authentication code
lccopycat. This code helps flag the records within the utility databases
and provides a way for institutions to set up a separate work flow for
these records if they want to.
Also important, the coding means that the records are authenticated. When
a CONSER library authenticates a record, elements are added that cause
the record to be sent to the LC Cataloging Distribution Services as part
of the CONSER database for further distribution to subscribers.
Authentication also implies that the record has been reviewed and meets
current CONSER standards.
Some CONSERlist participants reacted strongly to the announcement,
pointing out that SRD had developed its new work flow without consulting
CONSER members fully about implications for the shared database. They
felt that insufficient information had been provided about the content of
lccopycat records and whether lccopycat records meet existing standards.
They also expressed concern about potential problems that might appear in
some unauthenticated records and about the level of authentication the
code lccopycat represented in the context of the CONSER
As comments were received, SRD began to incorporate changes to its
procedures, although the working drafts of its procedures have not
made available on the CONSER Web site yet.
An overview of the controversy was given to the PoCo in early October,
and the topic was added to the agenda for its November meeting. At that
meeting, Maureen Landry presented a summary s of the new SRD work flow.
She also talked about the training and mentoring SRD technicians
undergo and the safeguards put in place to assure that complicated or
problem material is handled by a professional cataloger.
PoCo voted to endorse SRD's new work flow and the inclusion of lccopycat
records in the CONSER database. PoCo members felt that adding these
records to the CONSER database would benefit libraries using the
utilities and CONSER database subscribers all over the world. It is
important to recognize that pressures on our cataloging environments and
budgets require experimentation with new approaches to our work. This
recognition was part of the foundations upon which the PCC has been
built. My view, which I believe was shared by the other PoCo members, was
that SRD's new serials cataloging work flow attempted to respond to
budget pressures in a responsible way that has potential to benefit the
entire cataloging community.
At our November meeting the PoCo did not discuss the specific
concerns raised on the CONSERlist. However, PoCo has had some
e-mail discussions about this topic since then. With the good vision of
hindsight, we regret that the new copycat work flow was introduced before
it could be vetted adequately by the CONSER community. Although we
continue to support the inclusion of lccopycat records in the CONSER
database, we also recognize that the concerns of CONSER catalogers about
the SRDís new copy cataloging work flow are important, and that those
concerns still need to be addressed. We cannot change history, but we
hope we can learn from it.
Les Hawkins, CONSER coordinator, has recommended a way to address the
concerns and also learn some lessons for the future. Les has recommended
a study that will allow CONSER members to be involved in evaluating
records that have been created in the new workflow and to make
recommendations to the SRD on the process. His recommendation is
available on the Web at
The PoCo leadership has endorsed this recommendation and we support this
effort. We feel confident that it will help renew the spirit of
cooperation that has long been the foundation of the CONSER
Chair, PCC Policy Committee