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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 (http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/new-docs/announceLCcopycat.pdf), 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
library.

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
database.

As comments were received, SRD began to incorporate changes to its procedures, although the working drafts of its procedures have not been
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 http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/study-lccopycat.pdf. 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 program.
 
Roxanne Sellberg
Chair, PCC Policy Committee

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