The list discussion about adding a 667 to an authority record that is to be deleted has been interesting, and has touched upon several topics.

A Sherman Clarke noted, the origins of this action by some NACO members seems to be in the CONSER editing guide, which gives us a good idea of the limitations of the practice. In an environment in which records are continually revised and re-distributed among several partners, it creates more troubles than it resolves.

Doing this involves a complete processing cycle of adding that note, transmitting the revised record to the Master File at LC, LC processing the change, and LC distributing the record through CDS. In many cases, if the cataloger has followed NACO procedure in reporting the duplicate to someone at LC, that record will have been deleted in the Master File and the delete action distributed through CDS before or possibly at the same time as the revision. This can cause remarkable error reports from the systems of various utilities, local networks, and national libraries.

In short, the cataloguer is revising an authority record that is going to be deleted. It is an action that is duplicative of NACO procedures for reporting duplicate authority records. It is wasteful of time, energies, and resources, and ought not be engaged in.

The delays in processing a delete that others have touched on, are, unfortunately, required by the distribution environment in which we work. As I periodically remind PCC members, deletes can only be done at LC in the Master File, from which they are distributed through CDS to, among others, OCLC. This automatically means that there will be a delay in seeing results if one is working in OCLC. If there are no other considerations, one should see the results in OCLC within a day or two: one record is deleted and another has been annotated with the LCCN of the deleted record.

Unfortunately, there are several considerations which delay processing a delete request at LC. The most common one is that the institution which has reported duplicate authority records and requested that one of the records be deleted has followed NACO procedure and revised the record to be retained by transferring 670s, appropriate cross references, and any other data from the record to be deleted into the record to be retained.

This means that the LC liaison cannot delete the one record and annotate the retained record with the 010 $z subfield until after the revised record to be retained has arrived at the Master File, has been processed, and then re-distributed. Performing any action before that occurrence results in the revised record being lost and in error reports from, among others, OCLC.

For example, this morning I received an e-mail from Trinity College Dublin asking me to delete no2007110148 as it is a duplicate of nr2007011450. I could not do so today, as the cataloguer transferred relevant data into nr2007011450 and I must wait until tomorrow morning, when the revised version of that record will have been processed and distributed. I shall do so first thing Friday morning, which means that the results of my action will not be seen in OCLC until Monday.

Anthony R.D. Franks
Team Leader, Cooperative Cataloging Team
Library of Congress
202-707-2822 (voice)
202-252-2082 (fax)