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ALCTS Directors of Technical Services in Large Research Libraries
1999 Annual Convention

Friday, June 25, 1999
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
New Orleans Convention Center, Rooms 238 & 239

Recorded by Judith Hopkins, University at Buffalo

For the text of the Round Robin on issues of concern to these institutions, which was distributed via the Big Heads electronic discussion list in the weeks prior to the New Orleans, LA conference see


  1. Introductions; selection of new chair-elect. (Tierney)
  2. Impacts of LC ILS implementation. PLEASE REVIEW.
    Beacher welcomes questions missing or derived from the information on the web site.
  3. Pinyin conversion. Brief updates from LC (Philip Melzer), RLG (Karen Smith-Yoshimura), and OCLC (Lynn Kellar). Timetables and open issues will be presented. What are the commitments and opportunities for coordination of work across Big Heads institutions?
    RLG FORUM; Wade-Giles/Pinyin Conversion Planning; Sunday, June 27, 1999; 9:30 am - 12: 30 pm; Embassy Suites - Lafitte 1
  4. CORC. (Nadler) – Big Heads institutional updates. Princeton, Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, and others.
  5. Managing burgeoning electronic resources. What are some current staffing and workflow models for our sites– successes and failures? What has been learned so far? Models that hold promise? Any models of interest emerging from resource vendor community?
  6. Technical Services operations remote from "main library." (Tierney opens discussion topic). Strategies and tactics to make the best of a less than ideal situation. What have you talked about incorporating into your plans? Experiences with this as reality?
  7. Updates and other misc. topics
    1. Coop Technical Services Costs Project (Cornell)
    2. PCC items of interest?
    3. Local loading of vendor bibliographic files
    4. Others
  8. Questions, observations, suggestions from the audience.


  1. Introductions; selection of new chair-elect. (Tierney)

    Michael Kaplan (Indiana University) was nominated and chosen as the Chair-Elect. He will serve with Judith Nadler who takes over as Chair at the Midwinter 2000 meeting.

  2. Impacts of LC ILS implementation. PLEASE REVIEW.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) asked about the dates the LC Cataloging Distribution Service will start distributing records again. Beacher replied that LC will start cataloging in the new ILS (Endeavor) on August 16, 1999 and will load a gap period tape of both bibliographic and authority records on the preceding weekend. CDS will begin distributing these gap load records and newly created ILS records the week of August 16. [Per JH, a more detailed schedule can be found on the LC ILS web page ]

    Judith Nadler (Chicago) wondered if there is any expectation that other libraries will compensate for the slowdown in LC production that the implementation of the new ILS is expected to cause. Beacher Wiggins (LC) answered that there is no organized effort to have other PCC members ratchet up numbers (though PCC contributions for 1999 are up over earlier years.) LC is trying to raise consciousness, however, of the fact that a slowdown in LC's productivity will be part of life for the immediate future. LC will concentrate on current receipts and does not expect to make any dents in the backlog in fiscal year 2000. Brian Schottlaender (UCLA) noted that other PCC participants are introducing new systems of their own and will thus be faced with their own slowdowns in productivity.

    Karen Hsu (NYPL) asked about obsolete data elements when the LC database is moved into the new ILS. Beacher cited URL
    where information on the impact of the LC ILS on MARC Distribution Service subscribers will be found. To go directly to the appendix on obsolete data elements that will be removed or reset click on URL

    Michael Kaplan (Indiana) asked if the LC overseas offices will operate directly in Endeavor. The answer was, no, they will work on the utilities.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) noted that arrearages will be affected by the ILS implementation and asked if the Big Head libraries could do anything to help. The answer was, "No, not really." Should LC become aware of categories of material that won't be touched during implementation, Catherine Tierney) suggested that they pass the information to libraries so locally we can plan accordingly.

    Bob Wolven (Columbia) asked if there would be changes in LC cataloging priorities? Beacher said, No, that current priorities are based on research value rather on language. [For a description of the current LC cataloging priorities and levels of cataloging see Cataloging Service Bulletin, no. 84, Spring 1999. Note from JH]

    Duane Arenales (NLM): Are others planning to do more original cataloging to compensate for the LC slowdown. Arno Kastner (NYU) said he didn't foresee that being possible based on current staffing levels. Beacher said that staffing vacancies at LC will affect productivity in certain areas, such as Slavic. Judith Nadler (Chicago) said information about what NOT to expect from LC would be useful so they can reorganize their own cataloging priorities. Catherine Tierney said that Stanford doesn't differentiate between LC and cataloging records from other libraries, so such cataloging from Chicago would be as helpful as if it came from LC. Nods around the table indicated general agreement.

    Sally Sinn (NAL) asked about changes in levels of cataloging to compensate. Judith Nadler said Chicago does little BIBCO core cataloging; they don't see it as much of a time-saving over BIBCO full. Jim Stickman (Washington) said it might be a time saving when doing original cataloging but that catalogers at the University of Washington are still wresting with whether core level catalog records save time when they are doing copy cataloging.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) inquired about the availability of LC authority records via LC's Z39.50 server. Beacher Wiggins replied that access to LC's authority file via z39.50 will not be possible for a while; libraries can access copies of the records via the utilities' Z39.50 servers. Z39.50 access to bibliographic records is through the LC OPAC.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) asked if the utilities have tested loads of Endeavor records. Beacher Wiggins said that LC's Cataloging Distribution Service has offered to provide test files of Endeavor records to the utilities prior to August 16 but the test files are not yet ready.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) expressed the need to test local systems' Z39.50 access to the LC ILS source records via both utilities' interfaces. From the audience Marti Scheel , Head of the NLM Cataloging Section's Systems Unit, said they had been loading Endeavor records in OCLC for several months with no problem. The only difference possible is that LC will be using the RLG method of dealing with diacritics but OCLC can deal with that. Karen Smith-Yoshimura (RLG) commented that records from libraries using the same ILS can have differences. Tierney said that the handoffs between systems for diacritics and other special characters were precisely the reason for her request for testing all elements of the process. There was general agreement that the utilities needed sufficient lead time for iterations of test loading and subsequent exporting of LC ILS source records.

  3. Pinyin conversion

    Brief updates from LC (Philip Melzer), RLG (Karen Smith-Yoshimura), and OCLC (Lynn Kellar).

    Timetables and open issues will be presented. What are the commitments and opportunities for coordination of work across Big Heads institutions?

    Philip Melzer , Team Leader, Korean-Chinese Cataloging Team in LC's Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division, reported on this topic. He briefly discussed conversion specifications, LCSH (both authorities and headings), classification schedules, romanization guidelines, etc. Changes to name authority records for Chinese conventional place names have been completed. LC’s Chinese bibliographic records will be converted by RLIN in the 2d quarter of 2000. The LC Pinyin task group is considering with RLG and OCLC how best to convert name authorities; it hopes to have machine conversion of at least some NARs and it may seek help of NACO libraries in converting the rest. LC would appreciate input on when others think it would be a good time to convert NARs and whether it should be done before conversion of LC's bibliographic records or after? Other?

    Chinese headings on non-Chinese bibliographic records will also need to be converted. LC will try to keep other libraries informed of its progress on the Pinyin home page as well as in Cataloging Service Bulletin. [For an outline of the LC Pinyin Conversion Project click on URL: JH]

    Karen Smith-Yoshimura distributed handouts giving an overview of the RLG Pinyin Conversion Project. RLG has learned that a number of its basic planning assumptions are invalid. One had been that "Day 1" would represent a clean break, with all bibliographic records preceding Day 1 being in Wade-Giles and all new records in Pinyin. But what does Day 1 mean? Some libraries have already input some fields in Pinyin and others have given different dates for starting to use only Pinyin romanization. There will not be one same Day 1 for all libraries, but RLG needs to know when each library will adopt Pinyin. It is trying to build in as much flexibility as possible.

    RLG had thought that only Wade-Giles character strings would be converted; now there seems to be a need to convert non-Wade-Giles place names as well. Over one million bibliographic record headings will be affected. LC has agreed to assign staff to review converted records; other libraries will be asked if they wish to participate in reviewing their own converted test records.

    Karen asked if it was important to Big Heads to agree on a timeframe for "Day 1" corresponding to LC's, for when they would create all new Chinese-language records with Pinyin romanization. The Big Heads consensus was that everyone could commit to a "no earlier than March 1, 2000" date. She also asked if there was a need for RLG to communicate the internal flag it will be using to indicate that a record has been converted to Pinyin; the consensus was yes.

    Lynn Kellar , Director Database and Offline Products Division at OCLC, spoke next. OCLC plans to convert over 750,000 records in its WorldCat database. They are trying to identify records by Chinese authors in languages other than Chinese or English. They estimate that there may be about 171,000 or so such titles. They are also committed to helping to identify the authority records which may be affected by the conversion by possibly using the linked authorities capabilities of the OCLC/WLN Pacific NorthWest Service Center database. In general OCLC will make every effort to coordinate with LC and RLG on this project.

    Judith Nadler (Chicago) asked that the utilities work together and that flags be provided to identify records that have been converted. Karen Smith-Yoshimura replied that humans can tell Pinyin from Wade-Giles but the problem is with machines which cannot do the same. She is relying on RLG members to take care of authority records locally.

    Brian Schottlaender emphasized the importance of everyone (LC, utilities, vendors, libraries) "syncing up" to use Lynn’s term. He also urged that authority records be converted as early as possible.

    Karen Hsu (NYPL) asked Karen Smith-Yoshimura if all fields in a bibliographic record would be converted. Karen S-Y responded that the plan was to convert *all* variable fields in a Chinese-language record unless otherwise specified.

    Michael Kaplan (Indiana) asked Philip Melzer if there will be a list of the 4,500 headings that have been converted. Mr. Melzer said that it would be possible to provide such a list. LC's Cataloging Distribution Service has a limit on the number of changes it can do in a month: 10,000.

    Sally Sinn (NAL) asked if NACO libraries could help in converting heading. Mr. Melzer said it might be possible to ask for help with certain categories of headings, e.g. all Ministry of … headings.

    Brian Schottlaender said the Big Heads should revisit the question of Day 1 in six months to see if we can confirm a coordinated Day 1, not earlier than March 1, 2000 and no later than October 2000.

    Bob Wolven (Columbia) said we should expect some slippage in projected dates.

  4. CORC (Cooperative Online Resource Catalog)

    Big Heads institutional updates. Princeton, Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, and others.

    Don Thornbury said that all catalogers at Princeton are participating in the CORC Project but all work so far has been in the practice database. They are trying to reach consensus on various questions such as extent of description, should class numbers be used, the role of library selectors, etc.

    Judith Nadler distributed a document showing the status of the University of Chicago's CORC Project. CORC came at the right time for Chicago, just they were ready to experiment with methods of providing access and training catalogers. They do the work on CORC and then transfer records to their OPAC. They have not been too successful in getting bibliographers involved.

    Roxanne Sellberg said that Northwestern is using CORC to provide metadata for a project they are digitizing for an Ameritech grant. Only one cataloger is involved. He/she has created fewer than 50 records but Northwestern is not likely to convert them to MARC. They have been less involved in getting bibliographers involved.

    Lynn Kellar (OCLC) announced that she will be taking responsibility for OCLC's CORC production system.

    Barbara Henigman said the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just received CORC training. They want to use the Dublin Core side of CORC for two projects. Serials catalogers are also involved and are trying to use CORC for some electronic serials. UI-UC wants to get records converted into MARC for loading in their catalog

    LeighAnn Ayers that that the University of Michigan has involved public services staff from the beginning. Approximately 40 records have been created.

    Joan Swanekamp said that Yale has been involved in CORC for 5 months. They have found it easy to get MARC records from it into the catalog and have had no problems with serials records.

    Michael Kaplan said that Indiana has done about 50 records and 5 portals. He said he was glad to hear from Lynn that OCLC is planing to make CORC a production system.

    Stephen Hearn said that Minnesota is looking at CORC as a way of creating Dublin Core records, not as a way of creating MARC records for use in cataloging.

  5. Managing burgeoning electronic resources

    What are some current staffing and workflow models for our sites– successes and failures? What has been learned so far? Models that hold promise? Any models of interest emerging from resource vendor community?

    Roxanne Sellberg (Northwestern University) opened this discussion topic by saying that she was concerned about how the treatment of electronic resources is developing at her library, especially the treatment of electronic journals. Northwestern has about 400 electronic journals, most of which are duplicates of print titles. She is concerned that their present procedures will not be scalable as Northwestern increases the number of electronic serials. When asked: "What is the impact of electronic resources on the management of serials acquisitions and cataloging", candidates for their Head of Serials position recently concluded that dealing with electronic resources takes twice as much time and trouble as dealing with printed resources. Vendors have not yet been very helpful. She expressed the need for library-wide procedures rather than title-by-title procedures.

    As was predicted in the printed agenda, she sought discussion from the group about what staffing and workflow models were being used now, how they were working, and if anyone had ideas about other models of interest emerging from the resource vendor community.

    Sally Sinn (NAL) told Roxanne that she had gotten the answer to her question about the impact of electronic resources but not a solution to her problem. Sally asked Karen Calhoun to speak about her committee's work on dealing with aggregated full-text databases. Karen Calhoun (of Cornell) said from the audience that the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) Standing Committee on Automation Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases, which is working on the cataloging of full text journals in aggregator databases, has created definitions for the content of vendor records and demonstrated the feasibility of having a vendor machine-generate a set of records They are working with EBSCO which recently produced records for all items in its Academic Search Elite database. The Task Group will also be meeting with representatives of other vendors. An interim report on the Task Force report can be found on the PCC web-page at
    ; the final report is due in December 1999.

    Catherine Tierney said that staffing realities forced Stanford to divide the elements of acquisition of electronic materials among various people; not surprisingly, there are too many potential points for delay or failure. They hope to realign staff toward a model of a single point for acquisitions contact for the range of electronic materials.

    Brian Schottlaender (UCLA) said there is a University of California Task Force for Electronic Resources. This group had had considered the question of whether individual campuses should create records for electronic resources or should a central agency. They had decided on the latter approach and UC San Diego will catalog Elsevier items (the items will be acquired by the UC Davis campus). On the local level UCLA has appointed a single individual to serve as its licensing coordinator as of July 1. This person has both an MLS and a law degree and is working on a Ph.D. in information science. UCLA hopes to have a centralized database which will include all the licenses to which it is a party. The database could serve as a resource for other interested persons.

    LeighAnn Ayers said that the University of Michigan has created an electronic resources database which allows tracking of information relating to electronic resources, however the text of licenses is not included in it. The tracking information starts with selectors and ends with catalogers. To Brian's question about how information is passed along she said that it is done by e-mail (activated by buttons in the database). To Bob Wolven's question about who maintains the database, LeighAnn said it had been created by the Assistant to the Head of Digital Initiatives; she was not sure who will maintain it once it is out of test mode.

    Christian Boissonnas said Cornell has always believed in centralizing and that they too are building a database. Jeffrey Horrell said that Harvard has created a position similar to UCLA's as part of its Library Digital Initiative. They have also created a database and a system of stewards for various databases who review them on a regular basis. Irene Zimmerman said that the University of Wisconsin doesn’t have a database but does use an electronic form which has to be filled in for each electronic serial. It first goes to Systems staff to determine if it will fit on the server, etc. It then goes to Acquisitions for licensing points, etc.

    Duane Arenales (NLM) asked if it would be possible to share information located on the various databases with other institutions. Catherine Tierney agreed that it would be desirable to have knowledge of things such as most recent issue received, etc. Judith Nadler offered to take information that the Big Heads would provide and then to summarize and share it with the other members.

    Jim Stickman agreed that a centralized approach to electronic resources was the most efficient approach but said that the University of Washington has a mix of centralized and decentralized approaches. It is very idiosyncratic.

    Karen Hsu (NYPL) asked why libraries are using a separate database to track these resources rather than using the acquisitions model? Jeffrey Horrell (Harvard) said that licenses tend to expire and need an early warning system. Roxanne Sellberg said that at Northwestern they were often asked varied and unpredictable questions for which they needed lots of detail since they never knew what they were going to be asked. Jeffrey Horrell added that Harvard also places limits on ILL activity and document distribution of electronic serials; they use their database to keep track of them. Roxanne Sellberg said that Northwestern used its database to keep track of a variety of information about their electronic resources that ARL, CIC and other groups ask for from time to time.

    Carol Pitts Diedrichs (OSU) said that this is the kind of information that, in the long term, we should expect our local acquisition systems to monitor. Duane Arenales said that NLM had found a place in their Integrated Library System to record this type of information.

  6. Technical Services operations remote from "main library."

    Since time was becoming short, this topic was not discussed.

  7. Updates and other miscellaneous topics

    1. Cooperative Technical Services Costs Project

      Christian Boissonnas (Cornell) reported that:
      1. Each participating institution has collected a year's worth of time and cost data. The entry of time and cost data as well as production statistics is working well and is user friendly. Fuller instructions need to be developed. The structure of the data base is flexible and allows use by any shape or size of Technical Services. It is easily expandable to cover all library operations.

      2. The reports structure is under development but behind schedule. We do expect to have reports by the end of August. We have seen a weekly time report and mock-ups of a weekly cost report and a cataloging center report. The reports structure will support cumulative reports and analysis as defined by the user.

      3. Six sample weeks have been selected for fiscal year 1999-2000. We hope by mid-winter to be able to look at some comparative data between institutions.

      4. Once a satisfactory product is developed, it will be available for sale.

  8. Questions, observations, suggestions from the audience.

    John Attig (Penn State), speaking of systems migration, said that one common area for productivity slowdown is serials check-in because of the need to create patterns. Libraries should therefore consider doing that cooperatively. Sally Sinn (NAL) and outgoing Chair of the PCC Steering Committee said there would be a PCC meeting on Saturday that will discuss that topic. OCLC has defined a field for such data.

    Sally Sinn said that the PCC Steering Committee is interested in why many libraries become NACO members but do not join BIBCO; she wondered what barriers they see that keep them from participating in BIBCO.

    Catherine Tierney (Stanford) asked about local loading of vendor bibliographic files. There is interest at Stanford in building a single interface to multiple vendor files for selectors to do their approval and firm order work. No-one else had done so. She wants to use the Z39.50 protocol to access them all in same way. Brian Schottlaender (UCLA) commented that he thought a large proportion of the vendor records could be found in OCLC.

    Catherine Tierney asked those Big Heads who had not yet contributed updates on their libraries' technical services activities for the Big Heads Round Robin to please do so.

    The meeting was adjourned at 12:02 p.m.