Midwinter 2007 Reports

ALCTS Liaisons and Representatives Report on Midwinter 2007 Activities

Editor’s note: We are featuring reports on groups outside of ALCTS with whom we have formal liaisons in this separate article.

AALL | Decimal Classification EPC | Freedom to Read Foundation | RDA Joint Steering Committee | Legislative Assembly | NISO

American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)

Programs sponsored by AALL Technical Services Special Interest Section and held at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries were:

  1. Pioneering the transformation of technical services libraries into digital librarians
  2. Pioneering toward a new cataloging code: RDAResource Description and Access

Other programs presented during AALL 2006 which were of interest to technical services librarians:

  1. Developing foreign, comparative and international law collections: sources, strategies, and techniques
  2. Legal publishers and business practices: AALL’s ongoing role in monitoring the information industry
  3. Hot topic: Prepare for the worst, hope for the best: using a library disaster plan template to prepare the library’s disaster plan
  4. Retrieval that works: functional requirements for bibliographic records (FRBR) and OCLC
  5. Counting electronic resources: should we count them, and if so, what do we count?
  6. Up and down the career ladder: finding the right rung for you
  7. Blazing trails for our future: practical strategies for recruiting the next generation of law librarians
  8. The emotional intelligence of law librarians: successful leaders pioneer change
  9. Where the jobs are: locating law librarian job openings made easy
  10. Preservation of digital information: global trends in digital and analog archiving
  11. Technology scouts: how to keep your library and ILS current in the IT world
  12. Measuring impact: cost justification for information services
  13. Getting to know you: increase your visibility and value to firm management
  14. Managing beyond the library: successful management of IT departments for Law Librarians
  15. Covering the cost of information: time for change
  16. Do my statistics say what I want them to say?
  17. Blogs: technologies, ethics and trends
  18. Pioneer for change or vicious cycle: creating space for people, collections and technology in the finite library
  19. Copyright implications of digital archives
  20. Pioneering professionalism: the journey begins with ethics
  21. To market, to market: innovations in promoting library services
  22. And you thought gadgets were only for the kitchen –returns!: current gadgets
  23. And you thought gadgets were only for the kitchen –returns!: what’s in the future?

Workshops given during AALL 2006 impacting technical services:

  1. SCCTP (Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program): electronic serials cataloging workshop
  2. Building indexes and taxonomies for legal materials


Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC)

The EPC meeting 126 was held at the Library of Congress on October 11-13, 2006. Ia McIlwaine from University College London was present. Anne Robertson was voted in as Vice-Chair for a second term.

The following recommendations were approved:

  • 302-207, reversal of preference order
  • 150, Psychology
  • 003, Systems
  • Semantic web and Internet telephony
  • Parties of Austria and Switzerland (as a result of discussions with the German translation team)
  • Selected topics in 610
  • Fountains and cloisters
  • Table 5, multi-ethnic countries
  • Table 5, Italians (as a result of discussions with the Italian translation team)
  • Various topics in religion
  • Proposal for a 340 working group
  • Marital property (as a result of discussions with the Italian translation team)
  • Selected topics in 364.1, Crime
  • Table 2, Italian provinces and ancient Italy

EPC 127 was held as a follow up teleconference on December 5, again as a result of the Italian translation team, to define historical periods of Italy in 945.

It has been a pleasure to see Dewey expanded and recharged as a direct result of the global emphasis and input from other countries. The technological amplifications, such as WebDewey, have allowed much more user interaction. Jessica MacPhail has completed her six years as the ALCTS liaison to this group. The new liaison is Migell Acosta, Head of ILS Operations at County of Los Angeles Public Library, 7400 East Imperial Highway, Downey, CA 90242; (562) 940-8553; fax (562) 803-3499; email macosta@gw.colapl.org.


Freedom to Read Foundation

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) has joined in three new lawsuits aimed at protecting rights under the First Amendment:

The first lawsuit, The Local Church versus Harvest House Publishers, involves a religious group called the Local Church that filed a libel action against authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon and their publisher, Harvest House, after the Local Church was included in the authors’ work, The Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions. They claimed that their inclusion in a work about “cults and new religions” was defamatory. The Texas Court of Appeals dismissed the lawsuit after holding that the Local Church’s inclusion neither defamed the plaintiff nor provided grounds for a suit, as the determination that a group is a cult depends on an individual’s religious beliefs. The Local Church subsequently asked the Texas Supreme Court for review which was denied. They have petitioned for a rehearing, and the FTRF is waiting for the court’s decision on the motion.

The second lawsuit, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida versus Miami-Dade School Board addresses the decision of the Miami-Dade School Board to remove the books A Visit to Cuba and Vamos a Cuba and all the books in the “A Visit To” series on the grounds the books are educationally unsuitable and offensive to member of Miami’s Cuban community. When the district court ruled the removal was unconstitutionally motivated and entered a preliminary injunction ordering the school district to immediately replace the entire series on library shelves, the Miami-Dade School Board appealed the decision to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The FTRF is now waiting for the court’s decision.

The third lawsuit, Entertainment Software Association et al. versus Hatch, seeks to overturn Minnesota’s Restricted Video Games Act, which imposes civil penalties on minors who rent video games rated “AO” or “M” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The statute also requires retailers to post signs warning minors about the prohibition. The District Court of Minnesota ruled the law unconstitutional in July 2006. It held that there was no showing that a statute restricting minors’ access to violent video games alone would protect children. It also held the statute unconstitutionally delegated the state’s authority by using the ESRB’s ratings and unconstitutionally compelled speech by requiring retailers to post signs about the law. The state appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the FTRF is waiting for the court to schedule the oral arguments.

The FTRF is also monitoring two cases:

The first is Sarah Bradburn, et al. versus North Central Regional Library District. It is the first legal challenge to a library’s Internet filtering policies filed since the Supreme Court upheld the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The complaint, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State in November 2006, not only alleges that the library filters Internet content too broadly, but also that the library refuses to unblock its filters when requested to do so by Adult patrons. The library has denied the allegations and the case is now proceeding before the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington.

The second is Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries v. Glover. This lawsuit was filed in July 2004 after a local religious group was barred from using the Contra Costa County (CA) Public Library’s meeting room because the group wanted to hold religious services. After the district court ruled the group was likely to succeed on its First Amendment claims and entered a preliminary injunction enjoining the library not to enforce the meeting room policy, the county appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court reversed the district court’s finding of unconstitutionality on the grounds that the library’s policy was reasonable in light of the library’s intended use of its public forum. The plaintiffs asked for a rehearing and their motion is pending.

Other FTRF news: The Freedom to Read Foundation has a new organizational membership. We urge libraries to consider becoming organizational members and supporting the work of the Foundation.


RDA Joint Steering Committee

RDA Development Process:

ALA’s response to the draft of Chapters 6 and 7 during the summer of 2006 included five major concerns that ALA members expressed about the development process of RDA:

  • Adopt a top-down approach
  • Do not base RDA on AACR2 alone
  • Add review of the entire standard at once
  • Additional development support
  • Clarify decision-making authority and responsibility

During the October 2006 JSC meeting, the JSC discussed the ALA concerns and responded as follows:

  • The Editor prepared a Scope and Structure document www.collectionscanada.ca/jsc/docs/5rda-scope.pdf to clarify the conceptual basis of RDA including FRBR, FRAD, and the IME ICC Statement of International Principles.
  • The Scope and Structure document also serves to demonstrate how AACR2 is not the only basis for RDA. The document will also serve as the basis for ongoing discussions with other metadata communities, such as Dublin Core and IEEE-LOM.
  • The JSC added an additional review at the end of the project, which will move the initial release of RDA to early 2009.
  • The JSC confirmed that the final copy editing and development of the web product will be separately resourced.
  • The JSC also clarified the role of the various people and groups involved with RDA development.

The revised schedule for development of RDA is as follow:

  • March-June 2007: Review of revised chapter 3
  • July-September 2007: Review of revised chapters 6-7
  • December 2007-March 2008: Review of part B
  • July-September 2008: Review of complete draft of RDA

RDA is scheduled for release in early 2009.

A major focus of the October meeting was resolving issues related to Chapter 3, in preparation for the review of a revised chapter by the constituencies early in 2007. The JSC also discussed responses to the draft of Chapters 6 and 7 at a high level, reviewing the content of the chapters against the objectives and principles and discussing implementation scenarios. It was agreed that the order of the two chapters would be switched. The conventions for referencing related resources will be simplified, and more guidance given on when to apply particular conventions. The JSC asked the Editor to prepare alternative outlines for the chapter on related resources for JSC’s consideration and decision on the best arrangement. The concept of “primary access” will be removed from that chapter and will be addressed in chapter 13 in the context of naming works and expressions.

At the next meeting, the JSC will discuss the detailed constituency comments on the June 2006 draft of chapters 6 and 7.

Building on the successful discussions with the publishing community (ONIX), the JSC met with representatives of the Dublin Core (Diane Hillman) and IEEE-LOM (Robby Robson) communities during its October meeting. After these discussions, the JSC agreed that further talks could be beneficial to all concerned. To that end, plans are now underway for future meetings with these communities to discuss the various underlying conceptual data models that serve as the basis for our work.

A fuller report of the Outcomes of the October 2006 meeting is available at www.collectionscanada.ca/jsc/0610out.html. The JSC will meet next from April 16-20, 2007 in Ottawa, Canada.


Legislative Assembly

Duncan Stewart, University of Iowa Libraries, ALCTS representative to the Legislative Assembly attended the joint meeting of ALA’s Committee on Legislation and Legislative Assembly on Friday January 19, 2007. The meeting agenda included a legislative update on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, and the use of continuing resolutions by Congress to deal with the failure to construct a federal budget by October 2006.

Reauthorization of the LSTA and No Child Left Behind Laws, Copyright, Internet and Telecomm, and Civil Liberties were mentioned. The discussion of access to government information led to the issue that took the majority of the meeting time. Mike Flynn, director of the EPA Office of Information Analysis and Access and a number of other EPA staffers came to the meeting to defend the EPA closure of its libraries.

Flynn insisted that EPA was not cutting libraries for political or purely economic reasons. Rather, he said that EPA was repositioning itself to deal with the twenty-first century demands for information. Flynn faced a skeptical audience, especially for his claim that the only misstep that EPA had made was in not consulting librarians more extensively before carrying out the closings.

Stewart spoke with Flynn and a deputy the day after the meeting and Flynn continued to assert that the closings were only designed to rationalize and improve EPA library service. Administration moves to limit access to information throughout the federal government played no role Flynn said.

The Committee on Legislation report to ALA Council sums the topic up nicely:

In February 2006, President Bush introduced his FY2007 budget request that included a $2 million cut, initially proposed by EPA, that would reduce the 35-year-old EPA Library Network's budget by 80 percent and force closure of some regional libraries. In Fall 2006, EPA closed three EPA regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City, KS, as well as closing public access to the main EPA Library in Washington, DC before a FY2007 budget was passed.
EPA administrators have repeatedly alleged that these closings would not affect access to the important environmental and scientific collections and data sets since online functions will meet the needs of the EPA staff, researchers, and the public. However, many scientists, EPA staff, and librarians continue to dispute this contention. ALA and other critics have argued that the EPA library online services are not fully in place and are not adequate to meet the current as well as future demands of users.

COL sent three resolutions—one on immigrant rights, one on e-government, and one on orphan works—on to ALA Council and they were all passed.


National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

The following Standards activities have been discussed since the Annual Conference 2006:

NISO standards

Z39.87-200X – Data Dictionary for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images

This standard was approved.

Z39.71-200X – Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items

This was a maintenance revision ballot. The standard was revised using editorial comments received and approved by NISO in September 2006.

ISO standards

ISO/FDIS 3166-1 – Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions
– Part 1: Country Codes

This was the final draft of this standard prior to publication. The balloting period ended June 27, 2006.


  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • LITA Standards Interest Group
  • PLA Library Services Cluster Cataloging Needs of Public Libraries Committee

Comments and recommendations were due June 27, 2006.

Received comments/recommendations from:

  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee


ALA recommended a “no” vote.

ISO NWI 27729 - International Standard Party Identifier (ISPI)

This was a proposal for a new standard "to define specifications for the syntax, assignment, registration, and administration of an international standard identifier for parties (persons and corporate bodies) involved in the creation and production of content entities (e.g., authors, composers, performers, groups of performers such as orchestras, music publishers, music producers, book publishers, audiovisual producers, producers of sound recordings, broadcasters, etc.)."


  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • LITA Standards Interest Group
  • PLA Library Services Cluster Cataloging Needs of Public Libraries Committee

Comments and recommendations were due June 29, 2006.

Received comments/recommendations from:

  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee


ALA recommended a “yes” vote.

ISO/DIS 3297 - International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) revision

This was what turned out to be the final revised draft of the revision to the 1998 edition of ISO/CD 3297, the ISSN.

“"The terms "Medium-Neutral ISSN" and "MNI" have been replaced by "linking ISSN" and "ISSN-L" respectively, in order to clarify that the draft standard does not create a new identifier, but a new function for the ISSN. The terms "linking ISSN" and "ISSN-L" should be seen as tags labeling a new function; they are not the names of a new identifier. The linking ISSN will be a separate data element, identified in database structures such as the MARC formats either by a distinct tag or a subfield in a tag (different from the tag or subfield identifying the ISSN), therefore allowing the two functions to be distinguished."


  • ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group
  • ALCTS Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • ALCTS SS Committee to Study Serials Standards
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • LITA Standards Coordinator
  • LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group
  • RUSA MARS Local Systems and Services Committee
  • RUSA MARS User Access to Services Committee
  • RUSA STARS Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee

Comments and recommendations were due October 23, 2006.

Received comments/recommendations from:

  • ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group


ALA recommended a “yes” vote.

The standard was approved.

ISO/FDIS 9230, Information and documentation -- Determination of price indexes for print and electronic media purchased by libraries

This was the final ballot on the standard prior to publication and had an abbreviated ballot period, with comments due to NISO on January 31, 2007.


  • ALCTS Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations Interest Group
  • ALCTS Acquisitions Section Chair
  • ALCTS SS Acquisitions Committee
  • LITA Standards Coordinator
  • PLA Library Services Cluster Collection Management Committee

Received comments/recommendations from:

  • None.

ISO/CD 10957, Information and documentation - International Standard Music Number (ISMN)


  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • PLA Library Services Cluster Cataloging Needs of Public Libraries Committee

Comments and recommendations are due March 16, 2007.

Other NISO activity

Todd Carpenter, Director of Business Development with BioOne, was appointed NISO’s Managing Director effective September 1, 2006.

OCLC was designated the maintenance and registry agency for OpenURL.

An updated edition of the NISO Metasearch XML Gateway (MXG) Implementers Guide was published in August 2006. It is available at www.niso.org/standards/resources/MI-MXG_v1_0.pdf.

NISO held a workshop on Managing Electronic Collections: Strategies from Content to User in Denver on September 28-30, 2006.

NISO held a workshop on Discovery to Delivery: Solutions to Put Your Content Where the Users Are at the National Agricultural Library on November 2-3, 2006.

James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, was appointed Vice-Chair of the NISO Board of Directors.

The NISO voting membership was asked to vote on a proposed change to the NISO Bylaws. The current procedures are that a proposal to amend the Bylaws can be made by written petition of at least 20 percent of the voting members or by the Board of Directors, and voted on no sooner than sixty days or later than 120 days after the petition or proposal date. Copies of proposed amendments are to be sent to each voting member representative. Bylaws changes must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting members. The proposed changes were: proposals to amend the Bylaws can be made by written petition of 20 percent of the voting members or by any member of the Board of Directors; proposals will be referred to the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors, which will recommend appropriate action by the voting members or the Board of Directors; proposals received from the voting members will be voted on at the next annual meeting or at a meeting of the Board of Directors; Bylaws changes may be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting members or by a three-quarters majority of the Board of Directors.

ALA voted against the proposal, with the following comments:

The American Library Association believes that these changes would have a significant negative effect on the ability of those Voting Members that represent the library constituency to have a meaningful voice in NISO governance. Proposals put forward by Voting Members would only be voted upon at an in-person meeting, which would entail up to a year's delay and which is a forum which the representatives of library associations would be unlikely to be able to attend. Proposals put forward by the Board of Directors, on the other hand, would be handled immediately without necessarily involving input from the Voting Members. The NISO Board of Directors currently has quite a few members of the library community serving on it, but we cannot assume that that will always be the case.

NISO is a voluntary organization and as such depends on the cooperation of all of its constituencies. It needs to be willing and able to listen to comments from all of the membership. We understand the desire to allow NISO to be a more flexible organization that can respond quickly to changing standards needs. But we feel that this proposal would circumvent a large portion of NISO's membership and therefore we vote no.

Balloting closed on December 29, 2006. The proposal passed with sixty-five (77 percent) of NISO voting members supporting it, thirteen (15 percent) opposed, and two abstentions.

Karen Wetzel became NISO’s first Standards Program Manager on January 22, 2007.

Activities at Midwinter

Unlike at previous ALA conferences, NISO held no public programs. Instead, there were a series of small group “conversations” to discuss future directions and plans on Sunday, January 21, and Monday, January 22.