Annual Conference Reports

ALCTS Liaisons and Representatives Reports, Annual 2007

Editor's Note: The following reports were submitted by groups outside of ALCTS with whom we have formal liaisons.

Freedom to Read Foundation

Kay Ann Cassell, Rutgers University

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) has joined in two lawsuits dealing with the rights of young persons to exercise their First Amendment freedoms.

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

The first lawsuit is known as “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” which involved Joseph Frederick, a high school student, and his parents. Frederick was suspended from his high school after displaying a banner during the Olympic Torch relay that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.” Frederick was not on school property and was not participating in a school activity at the time he raised the sign (although the school district argued it was a school-sanctioned event by virtue of the fact that the students were dismissed from school and accompanied by teachers.) The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March and handed down the decision on June 25. The majority of the court decided against Frederick, overturning the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

ACLU of Florida v Miami-Dade School Board

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 Court heard the oral arguments, and the FTRF is now waiting for the court’s decision.


The federal district court has struck down the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a law that regulated and criminalized many kinds of Internet speech otherwise protected by the First Amendment. Following a four-week trial, Judge Lowell Reed of the United States District Court in Philadelphia permanently enjoined enforcement of COPA on March 22, ruling the law facially violates both the First and Fifth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. In doing so the Judge concluded that the regulations imposed by COPA on Constitutionally protected materials deemed “harmful to minors” were overly restrictive, given that parents can use Internet filtering software to block content in their homes.

The King’s English v Shurtleff and More Court Action

A most pressing lawsuit, The King’s English versus Shurtleff, challenges a Utah statute that extends the state’s “harmful to minors” provisions to the Internet and requires Internet service providers to block access to websites placed on a registry maintained by the state’s Attorney General, who is empowered to declare a website “harmful to minors” without judicial review. The attempts by the Utah legislature to amend the law did not offer sufficient protection for free expression on the Internet. Consequently, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint and the state has asked the court to dismiss the complaint. The parties are now briefing that motion.

The FTRF continues to watch the case of Sarah Bradburn, et al. versus North Central Regional Library District in Washington State which challenges a library’s restrictive use of Internet filters and its policy of refusing to honor adults’ requests to temporarily disable the filter for research and reading.

The FTRF met with Dan Mach from the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief. He discussed the case of Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries versus Glover. This lawsuit was filed 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, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s finding, upholding the library’s policy as a reasonable restriction in light of the library’s intended use of its space.

The issue of religion continues to bedevil libraries across the country. A library board in Colorado found itself defending its open display case policy after a library user objected to a conservative religious group’s display about homosexuality. Other libraries continue to grapple with religious groups’ use of meeting rooms or the use of labels to identify books with particular religious content.

The FTRF’s concern over the USA Patriot Act has born fruit in some states such as Connecticut and Oregon, which have revised their statutes to extend further privacy rights to library users. In Illinois, where conservative organizations mounted an attack on the library confidentiality statute, librarians worked hard to halt or limit the changes sought by local police officers. Unfortunately despite these efforts, local police in Illinois can now demand that libraries identify library users without presenting any court order.

Other FTRF news

FTRF has a new organizational membership. James G. Neal, Columbia University, reported that twenty-four ARL member libraries have become FTRF members, most at the $1,000 level. We urge libraries to consider becoming organizational members and supporting the Foundation’s work.

Lucille C. Thomas, immediate past president of the Brooklyn (New York) Public Library’s Board of Trustees and former assistant director of the New York City Department of Education, Office of Library, Media and Telecommunications, has been named to the 2007 FTRF Roll of Honor.

The new President of the FTRF is Judith Platt, the director of the Freedom to Read and Communications/Public Affairs at the Association of American Publishers.

Intellectual Freedom Committee

Michael Wright, University of Iowa

Major agenda items for the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) included work on the National Security Letter Resolution, which was later forwarded to ALA Council which endorsed it. Judith Krug, Director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) announced that the Intellectual Freedom Manual would be going into its 8th edition. Krug asked each IFC member/liaison present to volunteer to review several chapters and to suggest revisions/additions.

The Committee previewed the 2007 Banned Books Week materials as well as a literally hot-off-the-press copy of the 2007 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert Doyle, Executive Director, Illinois Library Association. Krug also provided an update on "The Many Faces of Privacy" meeting, to be held in September in Chicago. OIF was awarded a $25,000 seed grant from ALA for this event.

IFC discussed several proposals, including a proposed Q & A on self-service hold shelves and another proposed Q & A on "sniffer" software. The Committee appointed an ad-hoc subcommittee to study and prepare a resolution (if the subcommittee determined one was necessary) on religious materials in prison chapel libraries. The Committee reviewed a strategic thinking document prepared by OIF staff, which outlined ways that intellectual freedom issues can be integrated into library education, brought into the thinking of the ALA membership, and into the mindset of legislators and policy makers. The Committee spent some time discussing the Accelerated Reader Program, which is popular in many schools, in terms of the 2006 "Questions and Answers on Labels and Rating Systems." The possible, indeed often likely, intellectual freedom angle of these programs was examined.

Kent Oliver, IFC Chair, updated the committee on Library Day on the Hill, held on June 26. A number of IFC members were planning to attend and participate in this, and the ALA Washington Office provided briefing sheets which included key messages and issues. Judith Krug updated IFC on Federal legislation which could affect intellectual freedom, and we were updated by Deborah Caldwell-Stone on similar state-level legislation.

Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA

John Attig, Pennsylvania State University

John Attig replaced Jennifer Bowen as ALA Representative to the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on April 2, 2007. The three months since then have been particularly eventful for the development of RDA: Resource Description and Access. In addition to a week-long meeting of the JSC and the Committee of Principals for RDA in Ottawa, April 16–20, representatives of the JSC participated in a particularly significant meeting in London with representatives of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) and the IEEE Learning Objects Model community to discuss their respective data models.

London Data Model Meeting, April 30–May 1, 2007

RDA has been subject to severe criticisms for not having well formed metadata. The JSC has been interested in outreach to metadata communities, including the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Don Chatham of ALA Publishing attended last year’s DC meeting in Mexico, and was impressed by the people he met and the quality of the work being done; he saw the potential for collaboration and encouraged the JSC to meet with them, and funded the meeting in London.

At the same time, in response to the criticisms, the JSC and the RDA Editor had been documenting the metadata schema implicit in RDA and its relation to library standards like FRBR as well as to Internet standards for metadata, including the DC Abstract Model.

The two communities found much common ground at the meeting in London. The JSC found a partner willing to collaborate on a formal definition of the RDA Element Set using standard Internet conventions; they were also interested in formal definition and registration of some of the RDA internal vocabularies. For their part, the metadata communities agreed that they would benefit from complex metadata specifications based on FRBR model, provided that the specifications were presented in a standard format in order to promote interoperability; they agreed to collaborate on an application profile based on FRBR and FRAD. Finally, the wider Internet community will benefit from a rich stock of complex vocabularies, defined in a standard manner in order to support semantic web concepts.

The JSC and the Committee of Principals is still analyzing the recommendations of the London meeting. They are very positive, but are equally committed to complete the RDA project on schedule. This means that the projects will need to be carried on simultaneously with RDA development, and by different people; funding will also be needed. More broadly, these projects in effect move significant components of RDA into the public domain; this means that the RDA initiative, which is financially supported by sales of RDA products, may need to be reconceived with a different sort of support mechanism; and RDA products may need to justify themselves to their potential audience based on detailed content and functionality.

RDA Product News

ALA Publishing has sent out an RFP for software development to support an online editing environment for developing and maintaining RDA and for the RDA Online product. A vendor will be chosen and begin work in July; the first results are expected to be available for the JSC to review at their October 2007 meeting in Chicago.

RDA Implementation

The national libraries have begun to meet to discuss RDA implementation. An ALCTS task force on RDA orientation and implementation begins its work at the 2007 ALA Annual Conference.

The JSC has already begun talking to MARBI about MARC 21 implementation issues; by Midwinter 2008, a complete mapping and a set of recommendations will be ready for discussion.

RDA Content Development

Chapter 3 is out for comment; it covers the description of the carrier.

Chapters 6 and 7 were just released; they cover choice of access points and description of relationships.

Part B on form of access points is under development and will be out for review at the end of 2008.

The major issue with Part B is the extent of change in access points that the library community is willing to support. The position of the JSC is that there will be no changes to AACR2 rules that would require changing existing access points unless there are good reasons for the change. However, there are significant changes for which good, principal-based reasons can be advanced:

Changes in choice of primary access point (main entry), such as elimination of the Rule of Three;

Changes in the basis for uniform titles, following the draft Statement of International Cataloguing Principles (which prefers uniform titles based on titles commonly known in the language and script of the catalogue); Discontinuing the use of abbreviations. Such changes can be justified by principle, but would require a significant number of access points to be changed. The JSC is proceeding cautiously in dealing with such issues.


Betty Landesman, National Institutes of Health

Standards activities since Midwinter conference 2007:

NISO standards


ISO standards

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 were due March 16, 2007.
  • Received comments/recommendations from:
  • CC:DA


ALA recommended approval.

U.S. vote:

Yes with comments.

ISO 999:1996, Information and documentation–Guidelines for the content, organization and presentation of indexes

ISO 2788:1986, Documentation–Guidelines for the establishment and development of monolingual thesauri

ISO 5963:1985, Documentation–Methods for examining documents, determining their subjects, and selecting indexing terms

ISO 5964:1985, Documentation–Guidelines for the establishment and development of multilingual thesauri

ISO 15706:2002, Information and documentation–International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN)

These standards were issued for systematic review. The comment period ended June 11, 2007.


  • ACRL RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee
  • ACRL STS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee
  • ALCTS Networked Resources and Metadata Interest Group
  • ALCTS Catalog Form and Function Interest Group
  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Subject Analysis Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • LITA Standards Coordinator
  • PLA Library Services Cluster Cataloging Needs of Public Libraries Committee
  • RUSA MARS Local Systems and Services Committee

Received comments/recommendations from:



ALA abstained.

U.S. vote:

ISO 999:1996: Confirm

ISO 2788:1986: Revise

ISO 5963:1985: Revise

ISO 5964:1985: Revise

ISO 15706:2002: Confirm

ISO/CD 20775, Information and documentation - ISO holdings schema

Final draft standard issued for ballot. The recommendation and comment period ended June 21, 2007.


  • ALCTS/LITA MARBI Committee
  • ALCTS CCS Cataloging: Description and Access Committee
  • ALCTS SS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee
  • ALCTS SS Committee to Study Serials Standards
  • ALCTS SS Union Lists of Serials Committee
  • LAMA SASS Technical Services Systems Committee
  • LITA Standards Coordinator

Received comments/recommendations from:



ALA recommended approval.

ISO/NP27730, International StandardCollection Identifier (ISPI)

This was anew project proposalto develop an internationalstandard identifier for collections in libraries and related organizations such as archives, museums, and publishers.


  • 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 July 13, 2007.

Other NISO Activity

NISO moved its offices to Baltimore.

NISO announced the formation of a formal working group on Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) to develop a best practice document that will support a new license-free mechanism for buying and selling electronic resources.

NISO formed a new Education Committee, chaired by Karen Wetzel, to provide training and education programs for NISO’s constituency.

Onix for Serials, a joint working project between NISO and EDItEUR, published new User Guides for the Serials Online Holdings (SOH) and Serials Products and Subscriptions (SPS) message formats. Find copies of the specification and user guides on the EDItEUR web site.

NISO held a forum on Traversing the Licensing Terrain: Emerging Issues and Innovative Solutions in Philadelphia on June 11, 2007.

James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, was Chair of NISO.

NISO held two webinars on June 14 and 19, 2007 on the proposed changes to the Bylaws and Operating Procedures. Proposed changes include the following:

Program Structure

Current procedures–Standards Development Committee (SDC) responsible for both setting the direction of the standards program and managing the work of standards committees.

Proposed procedures–SDC eliminated; new Architecture Committee charged with maintaining the NISO framework and using it to direct the overall standards program; Architecture Committee recommends the creation of Topic Committees, which create detailed plans for an area of standards work, manage standards development and maintenance in those areas, and charter Working Groups to carry out the work.

Approval of Standards

Current Procedures

Consensus Body is the entire Voting Membership; creating a new standard, approving the revision of a standard, reaffirming a standard, and withdrawing a standard require approval by a majority of all members and two-thirds of those voting.

Proposed Procedure

NISO would create a Voting Pool for each potential action; NISO notifies all members of every action; all members may join the voting pool for any action; for new standards, the Topic Committee creates the initial voting pool as work begins; for five-year reviews, NISO creates the voting pools before work begins on evaluating the existing standard, the member designates the individual who will act as the voting representative, Working Groups provide regular updates to those voting representatives as work progresses.

Reaffirmation Process

Current Procedures

Members are asked to vote every five years on every standard; available ballot options are reaffirm, reaffirm and revise, withdraw, withdraw and revise, or abstain.

Proposed Procedures

NISO office notifies members of all standards up for reaffirmation in any year; Voting Members may join the voting pool for any standard scheduled for the reaffirmation process; when the voting pool is formed, a Topic Committee or the NISO Office will task an individual or group with reviewing the existing standard and making a specific recommendation to the voting pool; available ballot options are reaffirm, revise with specific revisions presented, revise (a working group will be formed), or withdraw.

Activities at ALA Annual 2007

NISO meetings/programs:

  • NISO/Book Industry Study Group forum–Friday, June 22, 1 pm-4:30 pm, Renaissance Washington, Grand Ballroom North
  • NISO update session–Sunday, June 24, 4 –5:30 pm, Mayflower, New York Room
  • Automation Vendors Information Advisory Committee (AVIAC)–Monday, June 25, 2 pm-3:30 pm, Renaissance Washington, Room 7