PCC Statement on LC Series Authority Record Change

"The Program for Cooperative Cataloging is an international cooperative effort aimed at expanding access to library collections by providing useful, timely, and cost-effective cataloging that meets mutually-accepted standards of libraries around the world."

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) has been and continues to be a successful and dynamic program. Its achievements are based on the voluntary cooperation of member libraries that range from small to large to very large, including the Library of Congress. All of these libraries agree to adhere to established standards when creating records that will be stamped with the imprimatur of the PCC. While each member library is expected to meet a certain threshold of production each year, there is no expectation that every record produced will conform to PCC standards. This is a vital and important point. Each PCC library is accorded the freedom and the right to determine its own internal policies and procedures and the level to which its total cataloging output will conform to PCC conventions. There is nothing in the PCC guidelines to abrogate a member's flexibility to contribute nationally as well as to accommodate local needs and practices.

In recognition of this fundamental aspect of PCC participation, the PCC Policy Committee (PoCo) formally recognizes and supports the right of the Library of Congress (LC) to make cataloging decisions in its own best interest. In this regard, PoCo is treating LC the same as it would any other member library and is unwilling to take a stand against LC's decision to discontinue series authority control. Taking this position may sound strange to some given the consternation expressed by segments of the library community; however, the stance makes sense given the type of organization that PCC strives to be. Were a poll to be conducted, it would not be surprising to find nearly as many different opinions about the series decision as there are PCC trained catalogers. Therefore, if consensus exists, it does so only on the point that all PCC members participate at a level that works for them.

That said it is impossible to ignore the fact that this particular change in LC cataloging policy has widespread ramifications-especially in a context where, until now, there has been a one-to-one correspondence between LC and PCC standards. Over the past several weeks, many thoughtful documents have detailed the potential impacts of the decision, sparking debate about end-user interest in controlled series access, the cost/benefit of providing it, the amount of additional effort that may be required to perform series work that LC will no longer be doing as well as developing policy and maintaining needed documentation. These are issues that will continue to engage the PCC and the bibliographic community at large for some time to come. Several meetings at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans-the ALCTS Forum on the Library of Congress Series Authority Record Decision (Friday, 6/23, 4:00 p.m.) and the PCC Participants Meeting (Sunday, 6/25, 4:00 p.m.), will be devoted to continuing the dialogue on these topics.

For the moment, PoCo wants to make it clear that PCC series policy remains unchanged. Member libraries that believe value is derived from series authority control are encouraged to continue this work in accordance with established guidelines and procedures. The Policy and Operations groups, along with the three standing committees, will continue to work together with the PCC Steering Committee, including the Library of Congress as it executes its role as the PCC Secretariat, in order to facilitate this transition to a future without LC series control.

Submitted by Mark R. Watson, Policy Committee Chair, 2005/06 on behalf of PoCo(mrwatson@uoregon.edu).

posted on SERIALIST Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 12:43:32 -0700 From: Mark Watson