The Association of Research Libraries, working with the Research Libraries Group, Inc., began the North American Collections Inventory Project in July 1983 as a cooperative effort to develop an online inventory of research library collections. During the years between 1983 and 1988, participation in the project has steadily increased. These years mark the passage through a crucial stage: development of tools and resources and establishment of the general requirements, policies, and procedures governing participation. They also set the stage for developing new strategies to strengthen North American research resources and for shaping future directions. This progress report looks at what was accomplished and explores the essential implications for the future of coordinated management of research collections.
During the 1970s, collection development librarians were beset by the combined impact of increased prices, new definitions of the words information and resources, and other factors they did not control. The use of computer technology can affect collection development importantly and enable selectors and other subject specialists to take advantage of new opportunities to become proactive participants in an information net-work as libraries move from the concept of ownership of resources to access to information. Implementation of a "Selector's Workstation," a microcomputer linked with a local computer center and external data-bases through telecommunications networks, provides a resourceful means for coping with the challenges of new information needs, including formats such as CD-ROM.
General explanatory see references (MARC tag 260), general explanatory see also references (MARC tag 360), and scope notes (MARC tag 680) are fields in LCSH-mr records that contain references to headings in bibliographic records. Such fields, when displayed to online catalog searchers, direct searchers to other established headings. These references are embedded in explanatory text, making it difficult for systems staff to apply the same or similar software to these three fields that is applied to see from and see also from tracings (MARC tags 4xx and Sxx) to determine automatically whether references are posted. When general references and scope notes are displayed to catalog searchers without first verifying if the headings referred to are posted, searchers pursuing the cited headings may be led down a blind alley. This article examines the effort required of library staff members to review these fields, delete unposted references and tracings, and to substitute posted ones in their place.