ALCTS Advances LC Action Plan

Karen Calhoun, Chair, LC Action Plan Task Force

Through the work of four special task forces, ALCTS is enabling significant progress on the Library of Congress's ambitious action plan for organizing digital and Web resources. Commenting on the time three years ago when LC began drafting its action plan, Beacher Wiggins, Director, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate at LC, notes "we realized that our success would depend on the collaboration of other key groups, and we sought the participation of ALCTS as an initial partner."

In response to LC's invitation to participate, in June 2001 the ACLTS Board appointed the Task Force on the LC Action Plan to develop a support structure for moving a number of action items forward. This task force formed three groups to work on enriching metadata records to improve subject access (LC action item 2.3), assisting cataloging and metadata educators and trainers (LC action item 5.1), and addressing the continuing education needs of technical services practitioners (LC action item 5.3).

Metadata Enrichment Task Force (LC Action Item 2.3)
The task force's first action was to work with LC to hire Marcia Bates (Dept. of Information Studies, UCLA) as principal investigator to explore information seeking behavior, user access vocabulary, and tools for improving subject access. At the Orlando conference, the Metadata Enrichment Task Force, in collaboration with the SAC Subcommittee on Semantic Interoperability, sponsored a program introducing Bates' proposal for a clustering vocabulary to improve subject access. (Bates' report is available online at The Orlando program was the culmination of two years of work by the task force. The task force is now supporting and communicating with stakeholders about a "proof of concept" project led by Bates, to develop a subject-clustering tool that could be implemented in digital library interfaces.

ALCTS/ALISE Task Force for Preparing Metadata and Cataloging Educators and Trainers (LC Action Item 5.1)
A joint ALCTS/ALISE task force has been working since early 2002 to enhance support for LIS educators and continuing education trainers who must prepare 21st century cataloging professionals. As a first step, Ingrid Hsieh-Yee (SLIS, Catholic University), working on behalf of LC and a planning task force, developed a model curriculum. (Hsieh-Yee's report is available at

Following on Hsieh-Yee's recommendations, an implementation task force arranged and presented a full-day seminar at the 2004 ALA Midwinter conference, in which approximately eighty attendees heard seven presenters and engaged in discussions about the future of education for cataloging and metadata. Seminar attendees and presenters continue to communicate on a discussion list, Most recently the task force has engaged two consultants to work on the creation of a "metadata basics" package and a Web clearinghouse for pedagogical resources.

ALCTS Continuing Education Implementation Group (LC Action Item 5.3)
In mid-2003 a planning task force presented a proposal to address the continuing education needs of technical services practitioners. A second task force is implementing the report's recommendations to develop a series of five continuing education courses.

ALCTS and the LC Cataloging Distribution Service have now entered a partnership to develop the task force's recommended curriculum of core competencies for cataloging practitioners. The first course in the series, "Rules and tools for cataloging internet resources," will be offered September 13-14, 2004 in Chicago and again in November in Baltimore, MD. (Online registration and further information is available at Final plans are in process to present a second course-an overview of concepts for 21st century bibliographic control, including metadata standards and applications-in spring 2005.

Significant Outcomes
The results achieved by all four task forces have gained recognition. "The Library is delighted at the progress being made by each of task forces under ALCTS' strong leadership," says Wiggins, adding "their work promises even greater yield in the coming months and years."

"ALCTS is grateful to the Library of Congress for its support of the task forces and to them, in turn, for their substantive and substantial work," states Brian Schottlaender, 2003/04 ALCTS President and University Librarian at the University of California, San Diego. In particular, notes Schottlaender, "the work of the task forces on education is the very sort of concrete action the ALCTS Board is encouraging in advancing ALCTS' strategic objectives. Graduates appropriately educated in the whys and wherefores of cataloging and metadata creation are critically important to the profession, as are practitioners with up-to-date skills and knowledge."

For further information on the work of the four ALCTS task forces, please contact Judith Ahronheim, chair of the Metadata Enrichment Task Force; Diane Baden or C. Olivia Frost, co-chairs of the Task Force for Preparing Metadata and Cataloging Educators; Marty Kurth, chair of the Continuing Education Implementation Group; or Karen Calhoun, chair of the Task Force on the LC Action Plan.

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