ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access


January 15, 1996

DATE: January 15, 1996
TO: American Library Association, ALCTS/CCS,
Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access
FROM: Glenn Patton
SUBJECT: OCLC Internet Resources Cataloging Project

Erik Jul, Project Manager, and I wanted to give you a brief update on the OCLC Internet Resources Cataloging Project at the 1996 Midwinter meeting with a fuller report to follow at the Annual Meeting.

There are currently 214 registered participants who have, thus far, created nearly 3000 records. These records are available to all OCLC members in the Online Union Catalog and are also accessible via the Internet in a separate database, Intercat. This database allows links in field 856 to be used to access the resource described.

The good news is that project participants seem to be successfully using AACR2r, combined with the OCLC guidelines, Cataloging Internet Resources: A Manual and Practical Guide, (prepared with the assistance of this committee) to create these records. There are not a large number of cataloging issues that have leapt out in discussions on the INTERCAT listserve or in individual conversations with participants.

Among general discussion topics have been collection development policies and how library staff (both public and technical services) are deciding what to catalog. Listserve readers have also been active participants in discussions about subject headings and subdivision practices, feeding into current SAC discussions. Participants have also sought advice from their colleagues on a number of local system issues, such as how to indicate "location" for items the institution doesn't physically own. They have also made good reviewers of each other's first attempts at creating bibliographic records for electronic resources.

Some issues specific to descriptive cataloging include:

GMD and Area 3: Several participants have expressed the desire for more specific GMDs and/or some other way, early in the record, of making it clearer to their users what the electronic object is. A summary of what the ISBD(CF) review group is proposing for Area 3 elicited positive reactions.

Notes: There have been lively discussions about the order of notes and, in particular, about the tendency of some local systems to rearrange the notes based on MARC tag order. How much information is needed in the Notes area (especially in fields 516, 520 and 538) in order to make clear what an item is and what is needed to access it has also been a topic of discussion.

Headings: Some participants with whom we've worked in answering specific questions seem to be having more difficulty in establishing headings since the names of organizations and people are, if anything, being presented even less consistently in WWW pages than in other unpublished or "semi-published" works. Several participants have regularly sent e-mail messages to web page creators asking "just what is your organization called?"

There have also been several broad areas of continuing discussion such as:

  • How to deal with hierarchies and other kinds of relationships that exist between and among WWW pages and Gophers

  • What MARC format and chapter of AACR2 are most appropriate for these electronic resources

  • The "multiple versions" implications of electronic resources simultaneously available in a variety of formats (ASCII text, HTML, Acrobat, etc.)

  • The "looseleaf" nature of many electronic resources that puts them into the "bibliographic hermaphrodite " category that Crystal Graham described at last summer's preconference.