ALCTS Task Group on the LC Working Group Report

On the Record: Report of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control

Ten Actions for ALCTS

The ALCTS Task Group on the LC Working Group report, “On the Record,” has reviewed our overall analysis of the report, with the task of identifying up to ten actions which ALCTS and its various bodies might undertake. Our list of potential actions follows. They are grouped, not in order of priority, but approximately in the order in which the WG recommendations appear.

We have put the emphasis on ten actions for ALCTS, as compared with ten WG recommendations. In many instances, multiple WG recommendations may (and probably should) be addressed under one umbrella. We have suggested ALCTS bodies which may be involved in these actions, as well as potential collaborators from outside ALCTS. These suggestions are not intended to be exclusive, but simply to suggest the possibilities for collaboration. Representatives from other ALCTS/non-ALCTS groups may be involved.

Finally, the following list should also not be taken to preclude the possibility of other actions undertaken by ALCTS bodies on their own initiative.

1) 1.1.1 Make Use of More Bibliographic Data Available Earlier in the Supply Chain

The recommendations under 1.1.1 may be grouped together. Here, a division-level working group may be convened, to investigate the modification of cataloging standards so that metadata from other sources can be accepted. Representatives should include those from PCC, CC:DA, LC, MARBI, LITA, and OCLC.

2) Group the following one high-level activity

Convene a division-level working group, with the task of examining incentives and disincentives regarding more widespread creation and sharing of both bibliographic and authority metadata. This group should have representatives from multiple ALCTS bodies, as well as from PLA, LITA, AASL and ACRL. ALCTS groups may include the ALCTS, CCS and CRS Education Committees, CCS CC:DA, CCS SAC, CRS CRC, and the ALCTS Catalog Form and Function IG. Promote widespread discussion of barriers to sharing data. Share responsibility for creating original cataloging according to interest, use and ability. Actively promote participation in the PCC. Identify ways to promote wider participation in the distribution of responsibility for creating, enhancing, and maintaining authority data. Bring together other communities working on problems of identification of authors and other creators; map the issues; and investigate possibilities for cooperation. All: Examine financial and other incentives and disincentives to the sharing of records for rare and unique materials. Modify systems, practices, and agreements as necessary to increase incentives and decrease disincentives.

3) 3.1.1 Develop a more flexible, extensible metadata carrier. Work with vendors to raise awareness of the need to begin developing products that can accept input of data utilizing a variety of metadata formats.

The Harvard University Library Ad-Hoc Task Group advocated “[convening] one or more vendor/librarian forums” to address this recommendation.

A number of ALCTS bodies may be able to address this recommendation, including MARBI, CCS CC:DA, AS Technology Committee and Acquisitions Managers and Vendors IG, CRS Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee, and many of the ALCTS-level Interest Groups.

4) 3.2.2 Improve the Standards Development Process. All bodies involved in standards development processes: [... ] Aid the work of volunteer developers by hiring more paid consultants and assistants.

From Cheri Folkner, CC:DA chair: “from my perspective, I think the ALA rep to the JSC needs to have some kind of assistance—and not necessarily someone from CC:DA. From what I understand, the reps to the JSC from the national libraries have the resources to draw on assistants at their place of work [...]. Right now, members of CC:DA are helping John by drafting different documents and parts of documents. While this has been effective to an extent, the time frames are difficult to juggle with one’s day job responsibilities.”

We recommend that ALCTS investigate the possibility of providing some form of administrative support, not only for the ALA representative to the JSC, but for ALA representatives to other standards bodies such as NISO. This support may need to be sought at the ALA level.

5) 4.1.1 Link Appropriate External Information with Library Catalogs.

4.1.2 Integrate User-Contributed Data into Library Catalogs.

4.1.3 Conduct Research into the use of computationally derived data.

The ALCTS Education Committee stated that section 4.1 in general is highly relevant to its current activities and future plans. For sections 4.1.1 and 4.1.3, the Education Committee offered “Development of programs/continuing education sessions in methods for incorporating external information in library catalogs.” For section 4.2, the committee offered “Development of programs/continuing education sessions in methods for integrating user-contributed data into library catalogs.”

6) 4.2 Realization of FRBR.

The focus here can be on continuing education and active discussion. An ALCTS FRBR Interest Group has recently been established; its existence should be widely publicized and supported. The ALCTS Catalog Form and Function IG might also be able to collaborate with the LITA Next Generation Catalog group and system vendors to develop programming.

7) 4.3 Optimize LCSH for Use and Reuse.

SAC can take the recommendations under 4.3 as points for investigation, in collaboration with LC’’s CPSO and LITA/ACIG.

8) Bring key participants together.

Participants should agree to implement a set of measures of

  1. costs, benefits and value of bibliographic control for each group of participants, and
  2. interdependencies among participants.

This recommendation suggests the establishment of another division-level working group, representatives from PLA, OCLC, and AASL. The Harvard University Library Ad-Hoc Task Group mentioned the important role ALCTS can play in helping to “establish and vet” these measures.

9) Address two WG recommendations.

These recommendations may be addressed by a group with representatives from the CCS and CRS Research and Publications Committees and the ALCTS Education Committee, in collaboration with the OCLC Office of Research and OCLC regional affiliates. The focus of this group’s efforts may be to promote “a greater understanding of the need for research” and to help build “a cumulative research agenda and evidence base.” Through library and information science (LIS) and continuing education, foster a greater understanding of the need for research, both quantitative and qualitative, into issues of bibliographic control.

The ALCTS Education Committee noted that this recommendation was of particular interest to them:

“ Through library and information science and continuing education, foster a greater understanding of the need for research, both quantitative and qualitative, into issues of bibliographic control. (And through these sessions, encourage qualitative and quantitative research in bibliographic control in general [] and, in particular, concerning the correlation between user behavior and the content of bibliographic records [ and, to some extent, 3.2.4]).” Work to develop a stronger and more rigorous culture of formal evaluation, critique, and validation, and build a cumulative research agenda and evidence base. Encourage, highlight, reward, and share best research practices and results.

10) Convene a biennial meeting with LIS educators and trainers to discuss new and changing policies, procedures, processes, and practices in bibliographic control.

This recommendation is directed at “ALA” in the Working Group’s final report, but ALCTS is the clear home for this initiative, in collaboration with ALISE and other interested stakeholders.

submitted April 14, 2008 by Task Group members:

  • Diane Dates Casey (Governors State University)
  • John Chapman (University of Minnesota)
  • Kate Harcourt (Columbia University)
  • Meg Mering (University of Nebraska)
  • David Miller (Curry College)
  • Sally Smith (King County Library System)