Sherman Clarke, Head of Original Cataloging at New York University, moderated the discussion group.
The participants discussed how much refinement of copy cataloging is being done in individual institutions. The problem of cataloging mistakes showing up in everyone's catalog is one indication that many libraries are not thoroughly examining cataloging copy. Some participants mentioned that at their libraries, they are only allowed to get cataloging copy from OCLC, so they have no choice in which version of a record to import to their local system.
One participant asked how many institutions are using the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) core bibliographic standard and how many are doing minimal-level cataloging. Catalogers from the large university libraries reported that some core-level cataloging is being done, but the consensus was that it was not significantly faster than full-level cataloging if the library is required to do all the authority work required of BIBCO members.
Some catalogers mentioned that their local online systems are having problems with the new MARC subfield $v, which is used in Library of Congress (LC) Subject Heading strings to denote form subdivisions. Some systems file $v in a separate index. The problem of mixed databases, where form subdivisions are coded as both $x and $v, was mentioned, and it was noted that it was probably unlikely that any large library could ever retrospectively re-code all such headings.
The use of the LC subject heading string, "Photography, Artistic," was discussed. Several participants wanted to use this as a form/genre heading, as well as a topical heading. The group agreed that the preferred terminology of the heading would be "Artistic photography," but LC has not announced any plans to change this heading.
Another problem with LC subject headings that was discussed was the distinction between "Church buildings" and "Church architecture." Neither heading has a scope note. It was suggested that catalogers write to the Cataloging Policy and Support Office for clarification on such problematic headings. Examining LC cataloging copy to determine a pattern may not be useful, since it is never clear if the usage found in LC records is a trend or a mistake.
The group generally agreed that it was desirable to drop "Modern" from headings of the type, "Art, Modern," and instead use century subdivisions. It is not clear when LC will introduce a new subdivision for the 21st century. Although LC has indicated it would like to drop the qualifier "Modern" from certain headings, it has not yet done so.
A participant asked if any museum libraries had collection management systems integrated with the computerized book catalog. The Pierpont Morgan responded that it plans to implement an integrated system, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture noted that its two systems share a single platform and share authority control. Authority control over names of artists, architects, etc., is an important issue for integrated catalogs.
In response to a question about the usefulness of submitting name authority records without birth and death dates to the Name Authority File (NAF), it was stressed that contributing the record was useful to other catalogers, even without date information. The information can always be added to the record at a later date. Also, birth and death dates are not needed in headings where there is no conflict with another heading.
Daniel Starr, ARLIS/NA representative to ALA's Committee for Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA), reported on the committee's activities. The 1997 Toronto conference on issues relating to Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) has been an impetus for the committee to examine changes to the rules. Various revisions of AACR2 Chapter 9 (computer files) have been requested. The British Library has asked that titles of nobility and terms of honor be omitted from personal name headings when the entry element is a simple surname. There was general support in CC:DA, and among ARLIS catalogers, for this proposal, although Mr. Starr stressed that the rules have not changed until the Joint Steering Committee of AACR2 has accepted the proposals.
Elizabeth O'Keefe, ARLIS/NA representative to ALA's Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information (MARBI) committee, reported that the committee is currently looking at ways to code non-sorting characters in the MARC format. This would be helpful in fields where non-filing indicators cannot be used. MARBI is also examining ways to code Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) in authority records and at the end of fields in bibliographic records. The Library of Congress is said to be looking closely at the MARC format for holdings data as a result of its move to a new integrated library system, and changes to the holdings format may be made.
The final ALA report was from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of ALA. RBMS is looking at ways to establish unnamed persons with amorphous relationships to known persons, such as "widow of …" or "heirs of …" The work of RBMS will be of particular interest to ARLIS/NA's Cataloging Advisory Committee, which is involved in a similar discussion on anonymous artist relationships ("school of …," "follower of …," etc.). Elizabeth Robinson is the ARLIS/NA representative to RBMS.
Submitted by Kay Teel