PCC creation of series authority records has been increasing lately (cf. PCC statistics), and with all of the passionate defense of series authority work, I don't expect the PCC Steering Committee's decision to make a big difference in the numbers.  And, does anyone know the optimal number of authority records?   Clearly, more is generally better.  But, since some are for very obscure series, in some cases the cost of creating the records may outweigh their benefit.

The new policy may prove to be exactly the right environment for series authority work to thrive.   Now that post-cataloging authority work is approved, I am planning to work through some backlogged lists of unverified series which should generate a good number of SARs.


Amy H. Turner
Monographic Cataloger & Authority Control Coordinator
Duke University Libraries
Durham, NC   27708-0190
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"D. Brooking" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>

08/26/2008 06:45 PM
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Program for Cooperative Cataloging <[log in to unmask]>

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Re: [PCCLIST] PCC Series Policy


Automation to convert series statements into controlled authority headings
won't continue to work very well if PCC libraries (including LC) are not
creating enough series authority records. Series come and go, titles
change, etc.  The fact that the LC decision has not significantly
increased workload will not remain true forever.

You are right, PCC members' contributions are small in comparison to LC.
But that's part of the problem in my view. The effort to improve WorldCat
through automated means will be increasingly hampered if authority record
creation decreases.

Diana Brooking             (206) 685-0389
Cataloging Librarian       (206) 685-8782 fax
Suzzallo Library           [log in to unmask]
University of Washington
Box 352900
Seattle WA  98195-2900

On Tue, 26 Aug 2008, Amy H Turner wrote:

> I was co-chair of the PCC Ad Hoc Series Review Task Force and part of a
> minority on that group advocating optional series tracing.   One of our
> arguments was that automation can covert series statements into controlled
> authority headings.   This has been done by Gary Strawn's programming, and
> commercially by LTI.   Several posters on this thread have argued that LC
> (and other PCC participants)  should check the authority file even if they
> don't contribute authority records.   But is it a good use of staff time
> to do something that can be automated?  Many libraries have catalogers
> check the authority file only for original cataloging, relying on
> automated processes (with some staff follow-up)  for copy, which is other
> institutions' original.   At Duke, LC's decision has not affected copy
> cataloging workflow, and has not significantly increased the work needed
> to control series tracings post-cataloging.
> John Wright wrote about international complaints of "LC-centric" practice.
>  LC did not demand central stage in US cataloging.   It was willingly
> given to them, with the tacit understanding that they would continue to
> maintain the complex standards that they set for themselves.   I agree
> that it would be great to simplify series practice, and that the task
> force did not accomplish much in this area.   It is easier said than done.
> Changes such as allowing the creation of post-cataloging authority records
> were the source of extensive and heated debate.   Our simplified
> guidelines were presented in our discussion paper as either a supplement
> to or a partial replacement for the full training.   People who commented
> were overwhelmingly in support of the first option, and of the full
> training.  It seems that "LC-centrism" does not need LC to continue, at
> least in the short run.
> In the long run, we need to realize that LC can't be what they used to be,
> and we can't take their place.  Although PCC members make significant
> contributions to the authority file, our collective BIBCO numbers are
> small in comparison to LC's output, and especially in comparison to the
> enormous growth of OCLC.  Recent posters voiced a popular opinion that
> they are not as authoritative as LC cataloging.
> I believe that the best way for PCC to promote quality cataloging is not
> to insist upon "LC-centric" standards for the few BIBCO records that we
> create, but to work to improve WorldCat as a whole.   Authority records
> are our most established way of doing this.  We could also lobby OCLC for
> things like better automated authority control, and be active Enhance
> participants whether or not the records are BIBCO.   Enhance is expanding,
> and WorldCat Local offers the possibility of a true union catalog, with
> cooperative catalog maintenance.
> And, perhaps there is a hope for simplified rules.  (Pause to duck
> incoming flames; consider whether to elaborate ...  No, this is long
> enough already.)
>            How many catalogers does it take to change a light bulb?    I
> don't know, we need to find out how LC does it.
>            How many catalogers does it take to change to less LC-centric
> outlook?      A lot, and we have to really WANT to change.
> Amy
> Amy H. Turner
> Monographic Cataloger & Authority Control Coordinator
> Duke University Libraries
> Durham, NC   27708-0190
> [log in to unmask]