Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 23, Number 3/4


By Elizabeth N. Steinhagen, News Editor

It is the purpose of this column to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of cataloging and classification. I would like to include news concerning you, your research efforts, and your organization; in fact, it would be desirable to expand coverage to include information about cataloging activities all over the world. Thus, this column is not just intended for news items, but serves to document discussions of interest to the cataloging community at this challenging and changing time in our professional lives. Please send any pertinent materials, notes, minutes, reports to: Elizabeth N. Steinhagen, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-1466, e-mail: Phone: 505-277-5176. Also, visit our CCQ home page at:

We would appreciate receiving items having to do with

Research and Opinion




The following report was contributed from the ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section Executive Committee Meeting held during the American Library Association Annual Conference in New York, July 4-10, 1966.

Sue Neumeister, from SUNY Buffalo, talked about the training of copy catalogers in the Library Acquisitions Department. According to her, two-thirds of the currently received monographic copy cataloging activities performed in Central Technical Services was shifted from Cataloging to the Acquisitions Department in 1991. Among the issues she covered were the relationship of copy cataloging to the acquisitions function in a NOTIS environment and the interconnectedness between both departments. Ms. Neumeister discussed various parts of the SUNY Buffalo LC Resource file copy cataloging manual, which is now located on their library's home page, at the following address:

This home page also includes information about various MARC fields, location codes, etc. Some of the items covered are fixed fields, variable fields (020, 050, 090, 1xx, 245, 246, 250, 260, 300, series, 504, and 6xx fields). Ms. Neumeister also discussed SUNY Buffalo's copy holdings and barcodes and item record linkages.

David Williamson, of the Library of Congress, demonstrated ClipSearch, a quick searching utility. It operates under the OS/2 operating system and using IBM TCP/IP software to connect to the LC mainframe and the Internet over the Library's token ring network. ClipSearch is a software program that allows a user to view bibliographic records in one session and automatically search fields (1xx, 2xx, 4xx, 6xx, 7xx, and 8xx) in that record

in another session on the bibliographic workstation.

To start the program, the user needs to have both sessions already up and signed on. Once this is done, the user can click on the ClipSearch icon to start. Mr. Williamson demonstrated PPNK (LC command for searching personal names), NCOR (the LC command for calling up a record by LCCN), and NCRD (LC command for calling up a record by LC card number with full MARC tagging being displayed.

Beacher Wiggins, of the Library of Congress, gave an update on recent copy cataloging activities at LC. Mr. Wiggins also addressed such issues as LC subject headings and how libraries can contact LC's Cataloging Department.

Deborah Fritz, from OCLC, discussed record reviews at her organization, specifically quality control of MARC records. She emphasized that MARC records are seldom perfect and pointed out several issues: 1) how little checking does a cataloger have to do, and 2) the importance of checking vendor and copy cataloging records. For vendor records, it is necessary to check if the record is an exact match, whether call numbers or local holdings data are present, or if prefixes are standard. With member copy cataloging records, one needs to check for valid subject headings and filing indicators. She emphasized that computers look for patterns while humans make connections. In addition, Ms. Fritz stated that good catalogers add local information to MARC records. Batch reviews can relieve much of the drudgery of reviewing records for common cataloging and/or coding errors.


Bruce Chr. Johnson

Library of Congress

The following summary report was contributed from a Cataloging forum held at the Library of Congress, May 29, 1996.

The presentation was entitled "The Future of Cataloging as a Profession"and featured three speakers:

Dr. Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, of Catholic University,

Dr. Elaine Svenonius, of University of Maryland, and

Dr. Barbara Tillett, Library of Congress

Each spoke for about ten minutes and was followed by a question-and-answer period.

Ingrid Hsieh-Yee spoke of the technological advances in the library world, the opportunities and difficulties presented by those advances, and of the cataloging of Internet resources, and mentioned, specifically, Intercat. She also said that cataloging "has a bright future" as long as we take part in shaping that future," and that "quality cataloging is more important than ever."

Elaine Svenonius enumerated some of the challenges facing the cataloging profession today. In particular, she described the lessening of importance, and even availability, of cataloging courses in library schools today. She stated that there is a crisis in the profession, and suggested that a conference be convened, involving the Library of Congress, the American Library Association, library schools, and cataloging professionals.

Barbara Tillett stated that description and access will continue to be important, and shared her view that the Library of Congress will continue to be a major provider of cataloging records to the international library community. She also said, however, that the Library must reduce the cost of its cataloging operation. She noted significant progress, particularly in the areas of international cooperation and standardization, and said that continued progress, particularly in Germany and Russia, will greatly benefit cooperative cataloging.

Gene Kinnaly

Library of Congress

The following notes, dealing with serials cataloging, were contributed from a meeting of CC:DA and a meeting of the Committee to Study Serials Cataloging, both held during ALA in New York, July 1996.

At CC:DA there were several proposals from the Library of Congress that were introduced which directly affect serials cataloging. This is part of LC's attempt to reduce the amount of the AACR2 rules by moving the LC Rule Interpretations into the rules themselves; however, the serials cataloging community had, at that point, not been consulted about them.

These proposals are:

3JSC/LC/25, on Omission of titles from title proper (12.1B1)

3JSC/LC/26, on Omission of names, dates, and numbers from

title proper (12.1B7), and

3JSC/LC/27, on Words and phrases in title proper (12.1B3)

After hearing arguments from representatives of the serials community, CC:DA delayed a decision on these revisions until these proposals were brought to the attention of the Committee to Study Serials Cataloging for discussion and recommendations.

Proposal 3JSC/LC/28, on Relationships with other serials (12.7B7) was accepted by CC:DA, as it would not greatly affect the serials cataloging community.

Mitch Turitz

San Francisco State University Library

Report on the ALCTS Preconference on Outsourcing New York, July 5, 1996.

Titled "In or Out -- In-House Innovation and Outsourcing: Technical Services Alternatives for the 90's", this was a well-presented and timely full-day conference.

Attended by over 150 participants, this preconference attempted to answer many of the questions that have arisen recently, as interest in outsourcing continues to grow with the addition of PromptCat, Promptselect, and TechPro by OCLC, and cataloging services offered by utilities such as WLN, and book vendors. Simultaneously, there is great concern about the future of technical services personnel in light of increased highly-publicized outsourcing, mandated by library administrators. Thus, the presenters tried to respond to questions such as, "Should the technical services functions in MY library be outsourced?", and "What would it mean to the staff and workflow?", and "What other alternatives are there and what would work best for MY library and save the technical services budget?" The audience was offered some answers which outlined, for instance, major components of technical services budgets where savings might be realized through outsourcing, through in-house innovation, or a combination of such undertakings. At the end of the day, most participants felt they had indeed received much information on the various benefits and drawbacks of available alternatives and approaches to be able to make better-informed determinations on what is best for their library.

After introductions, Marsha Hamilton, Program Chair, of Ohio State U., spoke of the various new developments in libraries, such as efforts at centralization, teamwork, TQM, downsizing, etc. Given all these developments, she wondered how easy it is to separate fads from facts, and how to identify cost vs. workflow issues. In her opinion, present solutions and scenarios are different for each library, thus different decisions must be reached after a thorough evaluation of local resources and circumstances.

Karen Schmidt, of the U. of Illinois, gave an amusing presentation about the history of change in technical services as technology employed over the years has been evolving, from the handwritten (in "library hand") catalog cards, ledgers, rubber stamps, book snakes, magazine drills, cards produced by ditto machines, to computer-output microfiche catalogs (COMs), and to the online catalogs of today. She pointed out that librarians usually adopted these new technologies with an enthusiasm that now seems ridiculous to our generation -- but which might be a lesson to us today in that we should not rush out and adopt a new fad just so we do not miss the bandwagon!

Barbara Winters, of Wright State U., next spoke about evaluating in-house productivity and proceeded to impart "feeble" hints on evaluating this. She mentioned the rising costs, the need to redirect personnel and to increase productivity. She spoke of a 1985 cost-benefit analysis by Herbert White and stated that the benefits MUST be for the users. According to her, there are two ways to estimate these:

After a sampling of the cost between cataloging an average title in-house and outsourcing, she found that the difference between the two was approximately $10/title, assuming that the cataloging was done by a vendor and the in-house processing by students. Based on these rather broad figures, her library was able to reduce the in-house staff to four and the turn-around time to two weeks. When preparing to outsource, she advised that quality expectations must be specified in the contract, and cited several caveats:

According to Ms. Winters, the new concept in libraries, drawn from the business literature, is that of "servant leadership".

Dilys Morris, of Iowa State U. gave the next interesting presentation. Among her words of advice were those stating that to be effective, one must use staff wisely and that great benefits can be derived from regular time-cost analyses. She has done these periodically at her institution and takes into account the following cost factors: salaries and benefits; supplies; equipment and leases; maintenance and service contracts; charges by bibliographic utilities; systems support cost; staff development (such as research, continuing education, etc.). She regularly costs out individual activities, and estimated staff time spent on these. After seeking advice from a statistician, she samples workload/workflow, calculates effects of sick and annual leave, meeting time, staff development, which all affect cost. Staff complete time sheets for each activity anonymously and she uses a spreadsheet to analyze these. Thus she has found that support services (systems, etc.) is the most expensive component, i.e., a 28.3% of total cataloging costs at Iowa State. However, she has found that with more automation costs have gone down between 1990-1995 for support services by about 20%. They have also introduced the "no meeting" concept, as they have found that although professional costs in technical services have decreased because of the reduced number of positions, the time spent on professional activities has increased, as librarians are expected to be more involved in promotion and tenure-leading endeavors. She has found that time spent on cataloging is only 40% of a professional librarian's time!

According to her figures, the cost of cataloging/title is $6.30, whereas the cost/vol. of acquisitions is $7.38 (which includes selection and payment). Based on these figures, she concluded that libraries should make regular cost-benefit analyses for all services. She has found that productivity has increased in technical services through improved effectiveness and cost reduction. While information technology has benefited the individuals, the number of administrators has not been reduced, and in fact managerial staff has increased in all sectors. Thus, in her view, shifting technical services staff to other areas is not the answer to budget problems!

Next, Karen Wilson of Stanford U. spoke about evaluating outsourcing services, after the decision had been reached to outsource. She presented an up-to-date bibliography on the topic. According to her, the threat of outsourcing does produce the following benefits: it

The steps for planning and implementation should be as follows:

The time-frame for planning and implementation must never be underestimated and the average is about 2 yrs.!

After the steps for planning are done, the next ones are:

Ms. Wilson's tips for success are:

The two final presentations of the morning focused on in-house innovations that should lead to increased productivity in cataloging.

Deborah Silverman, of the U. of Pittsburgh talked about technical services organization and on contract services that are not a new idea in libraries. Outsourcing, according to her, is not the threat, the demon to technical services, but decreasing budgets are! In the past, contracting out has been used by administrators to augment services, not to replace them. Thus, with decreasing budgets, there are two choices left for managers: succumb to fiscal reality, or redesign library services. In order to redesign technical services, managers must understand its value, which is producing a quality product, good service, tight control, flexibility, communication and collaboration. She stated that at the U. of Pittsburgh acquisitions and "fastcat" have been integrated and the shelflist was frozen. This reduced the number of OCLC searches by 43% and the throughput time for LC copy was reduced from 1 month to 1 week.

Michael Kaplan, of Harvard U., spoke about technology and the "inhouse solution", which was a project to clean up a very large backlog at his institution. For the Harvard Depository Catalog Project personnel created a "paradox" database of records (172,000 titles, of which 92,000 had ISBNs) that were searched in OCLC using the MicroEnhancer+. Objectives were to upgrade provisional records, obtain cataloging copy, create item records and to solve inventory and other local problems. In 14 months, 92,000 records were searched, with a 55% unique match rate and 0.7% mismatch rate. Five percent had multiple hits, and 40% produced no hits; thus 60% of these titles were cataloged in 14 months, and using one FTE to do it, at a cost of about $2.00/record, without including overhead.

The afternoon sessions were devoted to management of outsourcing issues and vendor advice on the details of this activity.

Catherine Gibson, of Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library could not attend and her paper was read by Marsha Hamilton. It dealt with the need to assess the needs and once accomplished, how to deal with, or to fight, outsourcing. She encouraged participants to lead and not be lead, and to actively participate in information-gathering. This would include a candid assessment of needs, of weaknesses such as backlogs, making lists of strengths, gathering data on operational costs and outputs, reviewing bibliographic maintenance, of working with staff teams to brainstorm where each team gets a charge with well-defined outcomes and a time-line. Some repetitive tasks may thus be eliminated, but the savings might still not be enough and some technical services staff may be redeployed, or even eliminated. Thus job security does really not exist any more. Her final assessment of the problem was, "once you decide you do not want to be a virgin, the only problem is to decide how far from home do you want to sleep."

The vendor panel included Chris Larew, Kit Kennedy, Rick Lugg, Debra Wallace, and Cynthia Whitacre. Their theme covered the need for librarians to know all about outsourcing, since they are being "pushed" into it. They emphasized doing strategic planning and research, communication with managers about the big picture and about the costs involved. Vendors cannot answer questions about this latter without having defined clearly what needs to be done. Librarians need to know much more about their own operations and be able to communicate their objectives, their local practices, their own costs and, most importantly, decide why certain things are done a certain way.

Vendors determine costs by looking at personnel costs, including salaries and fringe benefits, at how much customization is needed, and include all factors into the contracts. For most of the contracts, legal counsel is needed, as nothing can be left to assumptions and everything needs to be spelled out in detail. Thus, extra time must be spent up front by libraries before negotiating. The process must include public services staff as well and expectations must be spelled out. In addition, quality control is a big issue, but since this is difficult to determine, an error rate is often used and their resolution spelled out. Since every activity has a price-tag attached to it, communication between the parties is essential, involving libraries, vendors, systems people and utility vendors. Performance testing is also important and plans must be made for acceptance tests, with adequate resources allocated to it. Trust is essential, but constant communication and feedback are also needed; with site visits being highly recommended to establish mutual trust, and remove the resentment or the emotion from the partnership and make outsourcing a win-win situation.

Ernie Ingles, of the U. of Alberta gave the last presentation. As director of the library, he talked about just having completed a large outsourcing project. He mentioned the reasons for having made the to outsource, and wanted to look ahead and determine where his library has headed. His reasons for outsourcing cataloging, which up to then had been difficult to budget for, were to be able to have predictable budgets. He stated that libraries are very inefficient, especially with professionals involved in other activities, thus most cost savings come when librarians are not doing outside activities. In addition, he wanted to focus on customer needs and on their use of the resources. He discovered that users tend to go to reference resources, such as CDROMs, online, etc. first, and to the online catalog only at the end of their search to see if the library owns the material needed. He thus wanted to mesh the changing nature of public services with the result of outsourcing in the online catalog. According to Mr. Ingles, public service is the library's goal, and moving people to this end will better serve the users. Obviously this transition must be managed and people given adequate training. He commented that he agreed with the vendor panel in that libraries must embark on partnerships with agencies, and not just buy their services. He added that although we have a very stubborn culture, change has arrived in the form of these partnerships and this will in turn produce and demand more professionalism from librarians.

The conference ended in an open forum with many questions and comments by the speakers and the audience. Some commented that since we have introduced many of the existing and inherent inefficiencies into the system it is very difficult and stressful to try and back out, as expectations of catalog librarians have not changed. Productivity and database quality are important issues but production quotas are not enough of a measure for either in-house or out-sourced cataloging. Training and up-to-date tools must be available to make catalogers accountable, both a the local level and with vendors. Great emphasis was made of the fact that some catalogers must remain in-house for the expertise, for accountability on the catalog and its quality, and for the history of local practices, the culture of the institution. Judging from comments from the audience, it appeared that more outsourcing initiatives are now coming from technical services than from directors. Where "outsourcing" has been done in-house, many of the administrative structures have been flattened, reclassifications have occurred, staff has been promoted and many formerly professional activities are being done by paraprofessionals, while their jobs are done by students.

Elizabeth N. Steinhagen
University of New Mexico

Back to Vol. 23 Nr. 3/4 | CCQ Homepage | Tables of Contents | Informaworld |