Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access

Library of Congress

Library of Congress Report to ALCTS/CCS/CC:DA
ALA Annual Conference, June 1999

Submitted by Barbara B. Tillett, CPSO

Library of Congress Bicentennial

The Library of Congress will celebrate its Bicentennial in the year 2000 and hopes to make its 200th birthday a national celebration of the important role libraries play in our democratic society. For the most complete and up-to-date Bicentennial plans, check the Web site at

National Digital Library: Digital Futures Group

At the Librarian’s request, Deputy Librarian Donald Scott established a task force in summer 1998 to consider the implications of integrating digital resources into the Library’s core activities. The work of the task force resulted in the formation of the Digital Futures Group, co-chaired by Associate Librarian for Library Services Winston Tabb and National Digital Library Director Laura Campbell. The Group has chartered three teams to address issues of content and collection development, infrastructure development, and access tools. The work of the three teams was presented to LC staff at a combined Cataloging Forum/Reference Forum on April 22. In its budget request for fiscal year 2001, the Library intends to include a substantial request and justification to support the digital library.

Integrated Library System

In May 1998 the Library of Congress awarded a contract to Endeavor Information Systems, Inc. for their Voyager integrated library system.

Since January 1999, over 400 people working on the 76 implementation teams have all made great progress, and we are still on target to have all the components up and running by our original target of October 1999. We are conducting several test loads of our records in preparation for the production load and the results have been very helpful in refining our preprocessing programs for loading bibliographic and authority records, as well as patron records, vendor records, circulation charge records, and open orders. Formal training began in April with classes on OPAC and staff searching taught by our cadre of excellent volunteer trainers from among LC staff. Starting June 1 we began cataloging training. Approximately 3,000 LC staff members will be trained through October in the various modules (cataloging, circulation, OPAC, and acquisitions/serials check-in). Cataloging, circulation, and OPAC are scheduled to go live in August, and acquisitions and serials check-in on the LC ILS will begin in October.

LC’s bibliographic and authority records will continue to be distributed during the transition. Please see the Cataloging Distribution Service announcement about the plans for the MARC Distribution Service. The official master CONSER database will remain on OCLC, and LC will continue to provide maintenance for those records. The LC ILS Local Database will reflect all records for materials in LC collections, as well as all authority records. A special database in the LC ILS will be established to continue the production of the Handbook of Latin American Studies, and a master database will be maintained for the production of the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Over 2,000 PCs have been replaced and loaded with the latest Voyager software – a huge effort accomplished by the Automation Planning and Liaison Office (APLO), the ILS Workstation Group, plus many volunteers from divisions library-wide and staff from the Information Technology Services (ITS). The Library installed its two new ILS servers during February, and a performance benchmark was conducted in April. The benchmark included documentation of the system’s Y2K compliance. The results from the benchmark will be used to optimize performance of the system.

As important steps in capturing our manual inventory information, the Library will have three Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) out for bid this year: 1) data transfer from the Library’s sheet shelflist to the Library’s card shelflist (announced in early June), 2) conversion of the card shelflist holdings information into the LC ILS (to be announced in late summer or early fall), and 3) conversion of holdings information from manual serials check-in files into the LC ILS (to be announced in late June or early July).

The Library introduced a public ILS home page on February 8, 1999 available at

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

In 1997, the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada harmonized the USMARC and CAN/MARC formats. They have now joined their MARC documentation to form MARC 21. Over the next several years, all USMARC products will be renamed MARC 21. The first of the new products to be published under the new name is MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data (1999), 2 vols., looseleaf. The Cataloging Distribution Service will distribute the English version of MARC 21 publications worldwide, except in Canada. The National Library of Canada will distribute the English version in Canada and the French version worldwide. MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data is scheduled for shipment by mid-July 1999; a display copy will be available at the LC exhibit booth. Next on the publishing schedule is MARC 21 Format for Authority Data, expected to be available by ALA Midwinter 2000.


Cataloging Policy

LC Classification. During the past six months the following schedules were published: A, KE, M, PR-PS, PZ, and the P Tables and the following were delivered to the Cataloging Distribution Service for publication: 1999 editions of K, KF, KJV-KJW, and PB-PH. CPSO staff are actively working on proofing the LCC database for probable publication this year of BL-BX, KDZ, KG-KH, and KJ-KKZ.

The revised subclass HM was published in Additions and Changes, List 273 (Jan./Mar. 1, 1999). LC catalogers began assigning numbers from this revised classification for sociology in February.

On May 17, 1999, LC began using the newly developed set of standardized form division tables for all of the law classification schedules except KD, KE, and KF. The tables, numbered K1-K24, are contained in a new publication K Tables: Form Division Tables for Law, now available for purchase from the Cataloging Distribution Service.

Draft classification schedules for KB, KBR, and KBS are nearing completion. Work on KBP has begun.

Subfield $v. LC monograph, serials, moving image, and sound recording catalogers began explicitly subfield coding form subject subdivisions with $v instead of $x on February 17.

Subject Authority Records. There is an ongoing project to re-code instances of form subdivisions as $v in existing authority records in LCSH. 781 fields for the subject subdivision forms of geographic names are being included in new and revised geographic subject authority records. LC plans to add this 781 field to all existing subject authority records for geographic headings as part of a special project to begin later this year. CDS began the distribution of subject subdivision authority records for free-floating form subdivisions in February. However, distribution of these records was suspended in mid-March because of a programming problem, but we are again in production.

PREMARC Heading Integration Plan for the LC ILS. In the Library’s existing local online systems, the PREMARC File includes about 4.7 million bibliographic records created prior to the adoption of AACR2. These records, since they reside in a separate physical file, have heretofore not been taken into account for daily cataloging activities such as headings maintenance. The descriptive and subject headings on these records may differ from current practice and for the most part have not been assessed with respect to accuracy or completeness. Under the LC ILS, the records from PREMARC will be included in the database along with all other bibliographic records for materials held by the Library. The Cataloging Directorate is responsible for maintaining the overall quality of the LC catalog and to this end has developed a plan for treatment of these records in the database. It basically proposes that the headings on these records will be assessed, heading by heading, and brought into conformity with current descriptive and subject cataloging practice. The content of the records (the bibliographic description) will not be assessed.

Excluded from the heading integration plan are about 1.47 million records which were replaced by external records and loaded into PREMARC to replace counterpart records in that file. These records in general are much closer to current cataloging practice and the headings generally meet AACR2 standards for accuracy and form. They will become subject to regular bibliographic heading maintenance by cataloging staff on Cataloging Day One of the ILS.

The Cataloging Directorate is currently forming a new database maintenance unit within the Cataloging Policy and Support Office to perform quality sampling, removal of duplicate records, and maintenance of holdings and item records; to handle necessary cleanup of records originating in PREMARC, shelflist conversion, and general bibliographic problem resolution; and to carry out PREMARC heading integration projects, perform global updates to headings, and generally maintain ILS authority records. It is anticipated that most of the heading integration plan will be accomplished within five years after Day One of the ILS. The very first headings to be assessed will be those, generally subject access points, which were established in earlier decades and now are considered offensive by contemporary standards (e.g., Yellow peril, Jewish question, Savages, etc.).

Until each heading has been assessed and brought into alignment with current practice, it will be identified by the addition of a character string, [from old catalog] at the end of the last subfield in the heading that will serve to mark it as originating from the MUMS PREMARC File. The addition of this label will result in split files for many headings, but it is essential to enable the CPSO maintenance unit to identify those access points which are candidates for the integration plan, as well as to alert end users of the LC catalog that the Library does not consider them to be current standard headings.

Although LC catalogers will now consider headings on PREMARC records as part of the universe when establishing headings in AACR2 form, this will NOT be a requirement for NACO participants.

Bib File Maintenance (BFM). In response to inquiries from PCC participants and the expectations raised by the implementation of the Library of Congress’ integrated library system (LC ILS) the Cataloging Policy and Support Office is issuing the following announcement regarding the NACO requirements for reporting of bibliographic file maintenance (BFM).

The Library will continue current policies for BFM while we evaluate new features of the ILS, namely global update. Changes to existing name authority records or newly created NARs that affect Library of Congress bibliographic records will continue to be reported according to the procedures and guidelines provided in NACO training classes. This allows us time at LC to work out new procedures within the Cooperative Cataloging Team We realize there are some maintenance reports that global update will not cover and we will probably want to work out arrangements for continuing some report.

We hope to centralize the Bib File Maintenance at LC to alleviate the workload on all the NACO libraries, and we will have announcements about this as soon as we complete our evaluations and design the new workflows.

Pinyin Romanization. The Library of Congress and RLG are working together to prepare for conversion of Chinese bibliographic records in the RLIN database to pinyin. LC is now identifying bibliographic records in the Chinese script which need to be loaded into RLIN for conversion. The target for their conversion is the spring of 2000. The Library has sent draft specifications to RLG. The draft will be used to write a computer program which will perform as much of the conversion as possible. The program should also be able to change headings for the most frequently used Chinese conventional names. A copy of the draft specifications was also sent to OCLC.

Changes to subject headings that contain Wade-Giles romanization are being evaluated in the Cataloging Policy and Support Office. Class numbers will be retained whenever possible, and the reference structure will be utilized in the classification schedule to lead the user to the proper location. Beginning later this year, probably around October 1, subject headings in the Subject Authority File will be converted to pinyin. Related changes to classification schedules will begin to initiated at the same time. Topical subject headings will either be converted just after subject authorities, or at the time bibliographic records are converted. After that date, new subject headings with romanized Chinese words will follow the new pinyin romanization guidelines.

In recent weeks, the Library has heard from librarians and automation experts from several institutions who have recommended conversion of Name Authority Records in advance of conversion of bibliographic records. The Library has held several strategy sessions in recent weeks and is attempting to rework its time-line to respond to these concerns. Possible scenarios for conversion of authorities will be presented during meetings to be held at ALA, and input will be widely sought.

The Library has also begun a related project to bring Chinese conventional place names into conformance with the forms currently recommended by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. CPSO changes headings for geographic locations, one province at a time, along with the cities therein. Then catalogers then change related authority records. As of June 1, 24 provinces and major cities (including Beijing) have been changed; only six more remain to be changed. Up-to-the-minute information about changes can be found on the CPSO home page at URL:

Further information regarding the pinyin conversion project is available on the Pinyin home page, which was recently mounted on the Library of Congress’s Web site to provide a vehicle for significant documentation and up-to-date news. The address is:

Arrearage Reduction Efforts

Music and Sound Recordings III Team (MSR III), Special Materials Cataloging Division, continued processing the materials of three main sound recording arrearages. The materials of each project are either being cataloged on or will be loaded to the Cuadra Star database in LC:

45s Project: The processing of the 125,000 discs that began in 1997 was completed in March 1999. The inventorying of 364 remaining items will require specific language expertise. The acquisition of 25,000 additional discs was received in late March and cataloging of the works began one month later. MSR III staff and summer temporary staff will work on this arrearage.

AFRTS: The cataloging of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Series discs continued in 1999. This year 4,490 items have been processed which brings the overall total to 66,734.

Cassettes: The processing of the cassettes in the collection continued in 1999. This year 983 items have been processed which brings the overall total to 43,947. The copyright cassette arrearage has been processed and the work now focuses on new receipts.

In March 1999, MSRIII began working on three new initiatives to help reduce the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division arrearages:

LPs Arrearage: In late March, processing of the discs began and 589 items have been cataloged. The discs are being inventoried on the Quadra Star database.

MOPIC Copyright paperwork: A backlog of 7,241 pieces of copyright paperwork in the Moving Images Section’s collection was processed. The material was sorted, boxed, labeled, and inter-shelved in the existing collection. As additional material is received it will be processed accordingly.

National Public Radio tapes: The processing of the 25,000 7" and 10" reel-to-reel tapes began in mid-March. To date, 318 items have been cataloged on the Quadra Star database.

Special Materials Cataloging Division

Computer Files/Microforms Team. The Computer Files/Microforms Team continues cataloging of Library of Congress online sites and cataloging of some Internet resources through the library’s BEOnline Project, as well as regular cataloging of tangible computer files. The first set of BEOnline records was released in February and distributed in April. We are investigating the feasibility of joining OCLC’s CORC project. With the distribution of the latest Library of Congress Rule Interpretations in April, we dropped the word ‘laser’ from the 300 field (physical description area). Meanwhile the tangible computer files continue to pour in. So far this fiscal year, the team has received over seventeen hundred, and the total of items awaiting cataloging has increased by close to 200 to a total of 6,002.

Music and Sound Recordings Cataloging. Phillip De Sellem was promoted to team leader of the Music and Sound Recordings II Team in April.

Progress continued with the joint project between LC and OCLC which enables LC to load copied records from the OCLC database. These copied records for the sound recording collections will be loaded into the ILS sometime after the ILS implementation. The successful loading of the records will have a positive impact on the recorded sound arrearage reduction efforts.

Music Cataloging Sabbatical. The Special Materials Cataloging Division continues to make its Music Cataloging Sabbatical available to qualified music catalogers. The sabbatical is an opportunity for working music catalogers to come to the Library of Congress for three to six months and receive one-on-one training with a senior music cataloger in cataloging sound recordings. The participants will also participate in various arrearage reduction projects. If you would like more information, please contact Susan Vita ( or Phillip De Sellem (

NUCMC. NUCMC was successful in gaining approval and support for the Montana manuscript repositories project which will be known as the Montana Union List Project (MULP). The cooperative pilot project explores the feasibility of making the archival holdings of Montana repositories more accessible to researchers via the NUCMC World Wide Web Gateway, and in the process, creating a union list of collections in Montana repositories.

The NUCMC Web Page continues to be a success, averaging more than five thousand hits per month. The WWW gateway hits normally total more than twice that amount per month.

Geography and Map Division

The position of chief remains vacant. The posting was closed on March 31 and the interviews are expected during the month of June.

Cataloging. Geography and Map Division staff are serving on several committees that are planning the conversion to the integrated library system. As one aspect of the conversion process there will be a bulk transfer of atlas records coded as type 'a' (language material) to type 'e' (cartographic material); revised versions of these records will be distributed by the MARC Distribution Service (deletes of the language material records and 'new' cartographic records).

Work continues on the revision of Cartographic Materials: A Manual of Interpretation for AACR2. The second edition will be expanded to cover the cataloging of remote-sensing images and electronic or digital cartographic resources. The guidelines for cataloging early cartographic material will also be expanded.

The Library’s American Memory website now includes more than 2,200 maps. Recent additions include Mapping the National Parks, the completion of 65% of the railroad maps, and the addition of the panoramic maps which were acquired since the second edition of Panoramic Maps of Cities in the United States and Canada in 1984. Scanning of the Civil War maps will begin this summer.

Geography and Map Division staff worked with the Cataloging Policy and Support Office to implement the use of subfield v for form/genre subdivisions. Implementation was scheduled for May 1st, but technical problems have resulted in a delay until August 16 when cataloging in the integrated library system begins. In the interim, changes are being made to the subject authority file for geographic form subdivisions and headings.

Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division

National Audiovisual Conservation Center. Planning continues for the construction of the National Audiovisual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. M/B/RS staff are meeting with architects, engineers, and other consultants to develop the requirements and draw up plans for the renovation of an existing building and construction of new nitrate vaults and motion picture conservation laboratory. A vital component of the Center will be a state-of-the-art digital audio preservation facility. Carl Fleischauer of the Library’s National Digital Library Program has come to M/B/RS and has begun the planning and testing of this operation

AMIM Revision. The comment period has ended for the draft revision of Archival Moving Image Materials: A Cataloging Manual. The purpose of this manual is to provide rules for the descriptive cataloging of archival film and video within the framework of AACR2. The LC AMIM Revision Committee is currently examining the comments received in order to consider them in the final revision process. Committee members are Arlene Balkansky (chair), Laurie Duncan, Pearline Hardy, Stephen Kharfen, Marzella Rhodes, and Betty Wilson, all M/B/RS Moving Image Processing Unit staff. Bob Ewald, CPSO senior cataloging policy specialist, is serving as CPSO liaison to the revision committee during this process. The following organizations were among those who reviewed the draft revision: ALCTS/CCS CC:DA, ALCTS Media Resources Committee, Association of Moving Image Archivists Cataloging and Documentation Committee, Music Library Association Bibliographic Control Committee, National Library of Medicine Cataloging Section, and Online Audiovisual Catalogers Cataloging Policy Committee.

M/B/RS Recorded Sound Section:
Cataloging. A key component of the M/B/RS recorded sound cataloging strategy has been the acquisition and use of external resource data. After several years of negotiation, the Section acquired compact disc data from MUZE, INC. The Division is in the process of completely revamping its procedures for the processing of CDs, utilizing MUZE, OCLC copy when available, and copyright data to create cataloging on the LC Integrated Library System.

The other major acquisition of data was the cataloging created by National Public Radio for the 25,000 audiotapes of cultural programming held by the Library. Technicians under the guidance of a cataloger have begun editing the data and adding shelf numbers, while M/B/RS Recording Engineers make preservation copies of the original tapes, many of which suffer from sticky-shed syndrome. It is hoped that the entire collection will be cataloged by the end of next year, though the preservation effort will take much longer.

Of the many changes that will be brought on with the August 1999 implementation of the Voyager Integrated Library System, one of the more significant new procedures will be the assignation of shelf-numbers for CDs. In the past CDs, like LPs, have been shelved by the manufacturer’s label and number. The new procedure will simplify shelving and space planning tasks, eliminate confusion in assigning label-name shelf locations, and make retrieval from the stacks easier as well. In addition, the new procedures call for putting 2nd copies into a separate shelf-number arrangement to allow them to be shelved in separate locations for security purposes.

Major Cataloging Projects of 1998/99.

  • Reviewing and cleaning the Cuadra STAR database of the Altschuler Collection of 78rpm discs (78,000 bibliographic records).
  • Joint SWAT Team project with the Special Materials Cataloging Division to sort, sleeve, label and input the 45 rpm disc collection (120,000 items) into Cuadra STAR. Complete except for the non-Roman labels, the project has resulted in 88,000 STAR records. Work is underway on an additional 25,000 discs acquired this year.
  • Input of the film synchronization disc collection (400 items) into the new Merged Audio Visual Information System (MAVIS) currently being utilized by the M/B/RS Moving Image Section. This database consists primarily of records for the Library’s nitrate film holdings and the safety copies produced by the M/B/RS Motion Picture Conservation Center in Dayton, Ohio. Film synchronization discs were produced in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s by companies like Vitaphone, Pathe, and Paramount, for synchronized playback with motion pictures. With the data for these rare recordings on MAVIS, both the audio and moving image elements for hundreds of early films have been united for the first time.
  • Creation of new Library-wide procedures for the processing and custody of books with accompanying sound recordings. The new procedure splits the physical items to insure proper storage for the sound recording, avoiding the need for expensive customized binding required to house them together. The bibliographic record will include additional 050 fields for the sound recording shelf-numbers, and a note indicating that the recording is shelved in the M/B/RS Division.
  • Some important collections cataloged this year include: the Library’s vast holdings of Andre Kostelanetz radio broadcasts; the Marine Corps Combat Collection of actuality, oral history, and interview recordings from the WWII Pacific theater; unpublished recordings from the Leonard Bernstein Collection; radio transcription discs produced by the Works Progress Administration; recordings made by the inventor of the disc record, Emil Berliner; 78rpm jazz test pressings; Voice of America recordings of the Newport Jazz Festival.

Acquisitions. Sound recording acquisitions included a collection of 25,000 45rpm discs, a complete run of 78s made by American violinist Maud Powell, unpublished recordings of Boyd Raeburn, and rare 78rpm discs on the Polish/American label, Polart. Considerable efforts were made during the year on future acquisitions, including the Bob Hope Collection, the Quincy Jones Collection, a major jazz LP collection and Malcolm Rockwell’s nearly-complete Hawaiian music archive.

Prints and Photographs Division

Ellen Hahn is acting chief following the resignation of Linda Ayres.

Several reference aids addressing topics frequently requested by researchers were added to the Prints and Photographs Reading Room home page. They include two illustrated lists offering selected images relating to women’s rights (Votes for Women: The Struggle for Women’s Suffrage: Selected images from the Library of Congress and Pictorial Americana: Women’s Rights, 1859-1913: Selected Images from the Library of Congress).

Also recently available from the reading room home page are new pages describing two projects administered by Prints and Photographs Division staff: the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon and the Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering Project.

SACO News will be given by Lynn El-Hoshy in the SAC meeting.