30th / VRA 20th
Cataloging Section Business Meeting with Cataloging Problems Discussion Group
Sunday, March 24, 2002
Vice-Moderator: Lori A. Thorrat
Webpage Editor: Kay Teel
Update Column Editor: Mark Bresnan
Cataloging Problems Discussion Group moderator: Sherman Clarke
Moderator Rodica Preda called the Cataloging Section business meeting to order at 8am.
Candidates for the position of vice-moderator were solicited, and Ann Copeland of Pennsylvania State University volunteered.
Rodica noted that this year, due to a change in ARLIS/NA procedures, the Cataloging Section did not have to sponsor any sessions, but she called attention to the events related to cataloging. These included the Cataloging Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting (which anyone may attend), Seminar 6: Common Ground: Standards for Cataloging Images and Objects, and the SCIPIO users' group meeting.
Moderator's Report on Strategic Planning Action Items:
During her term as moderator, Rodica focused on two of ARLIS/NA's strategic plan action items:
1) Update the Cataloging Section roster. The last roster compiled in 1997 listed approximately 300 members; the updated roster lists approximately 160 members. The change may be due to different procedures. The only way to compile the information is to use the membership data supplied by headquarters. The section's roster will not appear on the ARLIS/NA web site. Kay Teel noted that the board is reviewing the association's web site and may create members' only portions of the site that could include rosters.
2) Compile a roster of library and visual resources collections that foster internships. There were 29 answers to Rodica's query on ARLIS-L regarding cataloging internships. 26 of the respondents offer internships and 3 do not. Rodica encouraged further responses to the query. Heidi Hass noted that the Education Development Committee was also doing a survey with an eye to the internship award and that she would add the cataloging internship responses to their responses.
Report of the Webpage Editor:
Kay Teel briefly reviewed the Cataloging Section web site, which is linked to the main ARLIS/NA web site. She noted that the section for new catalogers that she added to the site was well received and encouraged everyone to send additions and suggestions for the site to her (, there is also an email link on the site). Kay reiterated the fact that the Board is reviewing the ARLIS/NA web site and that it may decide to bring all the linked web pages under one rubric. Comments may be directed to the Cataloging Section's executive board liaison, Allen Townsend.
Kay also noted that the ARLIS/NA conference in Baltimore would probably continue the move away from group-sponsored sessions to individual proposals. Rodica added that proposals for the conference are due May 1, 2002.
Report from Cataloging Advisory Committee representative Liz O'Keefe:
Liz announced that the CAC was meeting later in the day in a joint session with its VRA counterpart. The CAC represents ARLIS/NA in cataloging with groups such as ALA, CCDA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access), and MARBI. This year CAC sent a proposal to the Library of Congress to change the rule interpretations for buildings. Whereas now buildings are treated as subject headings (and must follow LCSH rules for their establishment), the CAC proposed treating buildings as names, which would fall under ArtNACO. The proposal is under consideration. The upcoming CAC meeting was to focus on the committee's plans for the coming year.
After concluding her remarks as CAC representative, Liz anounced that she had been asked by LC to address catalogers at the conference and present Sherman Clarke with a certificate honoring his work as ArtNACO funnel coordinator. The announcement prepared by LC named Sherman a "valued friend of cooperative cataloging," noted his "significant contribution" to art databases, and praised his "outstanding leadership as funnel coordinator." LC also noted that during Sherman's tenure the ArtNACO funnel has contributed more than 30,000 authority records.
The Cataloging Section Business Meeting was concluded and the Cataloging Discussion Group began. Near the end of the session Lori Thoratt and Rodica asked attendees if they liked the merged business meeting and discussion group and the replies were generally favorable. However, some participants noted that they would like more time set aside for the session.
Cataloging Problems Discussion Group
Sunday, March 24, 2002
Moderator: Sherman Clarke
Liz O'Keefe reported that a Washington University librarian was in the process of translating AACR2 into German for use by librarians in Germany. Administrators there supported the adoption of AACR2 because it will allow them to make use of co-operative cataloging, but catalogers in Germany are not as enthusiastic.
QUESTION: How are geographic subdivisions used with the heading "Installations (Art)" and the new "Site-specific installations (Art)?" Do the subdivisions refer to the geographic origins of the artist or the site of the piece?
RESPONSE: LC (Library of Congress) precedence in this case is difficult to determine. There seem to be examples for both uses of the geographic subdivision. Sherman Clarke suggested that the New Art Roundtable sponsor a session for new art and include a cataloger to discuss subject headings and new art. Sherman also noted that this question had been raised at a New York Catalogers Discussion Group meeting where the consensus was that the geographic subdivision refers to nationality for moveable art and otherwise refers to the artist. It was agreed that the language of the item being cataloged should be taken into account, as should the standpoint of cataloging (are we cataloging the installation or the book about the installation). One of the problems with these headings and geographic qualifiers is that the same piece would receive different subject strings based on the exhibition venue.
QUESTION: Will there be some guidance for usage offered if the CAC's (Cataloging Advisory Committee) buildings proposal is accepted by the Library of Congress? Especially as there are more and more monographs devoted to buildings?
RESPONSE (from Liz O'Keefe): Yes.
QUESTION: How are geographic subdivisions and qualifiers used with LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) in general? Are the headings of the geographic area or in the area?
RESPONSE: The new rules for art LCSH make this clearer. The adjectival form (geographic qualifier) are of, the subdivision form are in. However, geography is still fuzzy in headings such as those for the decorative arts, which are treated both ways.
QUESTION: What about the issue of the headings for historic geographic entities that no longer exist? These headings may not be used as geographic subdivisions, and often there is no single current geographic heading that covers the historic place. For example: the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies or the Venetian Republic.
RESPONSE: It was suggested that the cataloger petition LC for a written explanation. These queries may be sent to the CPSO (Cataloging Policy and Support Office). In the past Sherman Clarke has been sought out to relay these types of queries to LC and he indicated his willingness to continue to do so. The response from LC in this case reiterated the rules and did not fully address the question. It was noted that the precedence in bibliographic records for the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire used multiple headings for modern geographic areas to cover the historic geographic entities.
During the discussion, Brett Carnell from LC urged catalogers to remember that LC is staffed by people who are as busy as everyone else. He encouraged catalogers to get answers by being personal, calling directly, and developing relationships with contacts at LC. He also noted that after last year's discussion at the conference, which included a large number of questions related to LC and especially LCSH, he suggested LC send a representative from cataloging. He will make the suggestion again this year.
QUESTION: Would anyone else find it useful to be able to use any geographic qualifier after the heading "Antiquities?"
RESPONSE: Yes, including no longer existing geographic headings. Unfortunately this is not the current practice.
QUESTION: How is the artist's name transcribed from the title page? As part of the title, or as author? For example, when the title page reads: Pablo Picasso, Drawings.
RESPONSE: It depends on the case, but generally it was agreed that the artist's name should be recorded as part of the title (unless it is clearly given as author) and the portion of the title without the artist's name recorded as an alternative title.
QUESTION: Heidi Hass from the Pierpont Morgan Library asked how others have treated auction catalogs in their library catalogs. She recently began a project to quickly add records for the library's limited collection of auction catalogs using AACR2 instead of SCIPIO guidelines and Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) terms instead of LCSH. These records are not contributed to RLIN and they do not receive a full Encoding Level.
RESPONSE: Several of those present urged Heidi to reconsider using SCIPIO especially now that the cataloging guidelines have been revised. Among the reasons cited: AACR2 was the model for the SCIPIO guidelines, the guidelines allow AAT terms, and entering holdings in SCIPIO lets others find the catalogs. Heidi noted that the catalogs would not be available not for public use, but for internal use by researchers. Liz O'Keefe added that older auction catalogs at the Morgan Library were cataloged as rare books by the library, so that there is access to their more unique auction catalog holdings.
QUESTION: Daniel Starr wondered if it would be possible to put together a session on national databases vs. local projects.
RESPONSE: This might pertain especially to special collections, but it could include universities. Examples include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is inputting articles from its Bulletin in the library catalog. Cleveland is inputting records for their pamphlet file, but find that the authority problems require their librarians' time and attention. It was suggested that the session might be a good time to address the rules for named works of art and hear from NACO participants.
COMMENT: Joan Benedetti reported on the results of her survey of solo museum art librarians. She will also be posting a message on ARLIS-L. 52% of the surveys she sent out were returned. Almost all stated that their card catalogs had been frozen and they were no longer contributing to them. Also, they did not have a shelf list in card form.
QUESTION: Is it possible for librarians to look at LC's authority files for free?
RESPONSE: LC plans on making the name authority file available with the implementation of the Voyager system, which will make more ports available later this year following the update. The authority file will be separate; eventually it will be interactive. It was noted that this is good news for visual resources librarians, who can now use the authority file for free if their institutions don't subscribe to the file.
QUESTION: A student asked those present to comment on the future of art catalogers. She had been advised that art cataloging positions were dwindling.
RESPONSE: There are jobs available. For example, many LC catalogers will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. At universities there is a trend towards cataloging consolidation, but this is not universally true. Some noted that in the future it is less likely that you will be just a cataloger. Others pointed out that there may be more of a change in cataloging training, or the lack thereof, than in the need for catalogers. It was suggested that an internship was a good idea for prospective catalogers and it was noted that there is much on-the-job training for new catalogers.
QUESTION: Is it possible to download records from the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (published by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)?
RESPONSE (from Brett Carnell of LC): It may be possible in the future.
QUESTION: Is anyone done updating art LCSH in their catalogs?
RESPONSE: Sherman Clarke reported that LC has made much progress in converting old headings to the new format. Of those present, some haven't started converting old headings in their catalogs, while others say they are finished with the project. Some have used global changes to update headings, but many find that headings must be treated on a record-by-record basis to eliminate doubling. The updated LC records are not being redistributed. It was noted that OCLC will remove redundant headings from a library's records for an additional fee, and other vendors would most likely offer the same service.
QUESTION: Do you use Cataloger's Desktop?
RESPONSE: Generally Cataloger's Desktop users were pleased with the product. LC Classweb will be available soon, but it will be different.
QUESTION: Does anyone have trouble retrieving in their catalogs geographic headings that have not been approved for subject use?
RESPONSE: Horizon and several other systems' users don't seem to have the problem. At Cleveland they use Dynix and have changed the record so it can be retrieved. They take out theLCCNs for these changed records.
COMMENT: Brett Carnell of LC solicited feedback for a new project using inventory-level records. They can be found in the Prints and Drawings online catalog (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html--search for photochroms). Brett may be contacted at
COMMENT: Christine Hennessey asked that anyone with experience inputting catalog and object information in records please contact her. The Smithsonian's American Museum of Art has begun inputting 127,000 exhibition catalog records.
QUESTION: Where do you put references to named collections in a record?
RESPONSE: MARC fields used include 710, title fields, 773, and 690. Some traced the individual donor if it was possible.
QUESTION: Are authority records involved in the SCIPIO conversion to NAF being treated properly?
RESPONSE: Lori Thorrat of the Cleveland Museum of Art reported that they had prepared authority records for Philips auction house based on the treatment of Sotheby's headings, but LC rejected the Philips headings and, citing AACR2, stated that each corporate unit must be established separately. This does not seem to be the best solution for auction houses that have many salesrooms, nor does it match the model for other businesses. Liz O'Keefe promised to bring the issue up with the CAC, especially as the problem affects more than auction houses, but carries over to art dealers as well.
Notes by Amy Trendler