Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 28, Number 2


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

            *            Abstracts or reports of on-going or unpublished research

            *            Bibliographies of materials available on specific subjects

            *            Questions that you would like to have answered by this column's readers

            *            Analysis or description of new technologies

            *            Call for papers

            *            Comments or opinions on the art of cataloging


            *            Notes, minutes or summaries of meetings, etc., of interest to catalogers

            *            Publication announcements

            *            Description of grants

            *            Description of projects


            *            Announcements of changes in personnel

            *            Announcements of honors, offices, etc.



            The Central Washington University (CWU) Library has recently begun implementation of a project to provide patrons with guides to the Library of Congress Classification Schedules (LCCS) while the patrons are browsing the shelved collection.  These guides will be posted at the ends of appropriate ranges of shelving section.


            The goal behind this project is to facilitate retrieval of items by subject when patrons are physically in the stack area.  Open access to the general collection provides a benefit of subject access browsing for the patron.  Up until recently, patrons have needed to return to an OPAC or WebPAC terminal to gain some help with subject guidance to the collection, or to use their experience and the information that could be gleaned from the physical items.  While the physical items do in fact help indicate what subjects are covered by items that are shelved close by, those items do not give guidance to the shelving arrangement itself in a more comprehensive or comprehensible manner.  Browsing the DE section does not help indicate what might be covered by DG.  While a quick look in the DG section can help to reasonably ascertain what will be there, it would take considerable time to discern the shelving arrangement itself.  Also, it gives no indication where to turn for, say, Spanish history and not Italian history.

            A brief search in various web search engines will retrieve a number of online versions of guides that many libraries have produced for their patrons.  This demonstrates the concern that libraries across the country have in this area and supports CWU's concern as well.

            Production process: 

            a.  Brief statement of goal:  It is intended to produce subject oriented guides that are helpful, fairly quick to implement, and inexpensive.  This latter aspect is vital, as there is little in the way of budget and also as these guides will be revised on a continuous basis, based on patron and staff feedback.

            b.  Design and review:  A committee of four persons worked on the project, two from Cataloging and one each from Interlibrary Loans and Reference.  A number of different examples were created and posted in the staff lounge for review and comment.  After getting some suggestions, the guides were revised and later approved by the library administration.

            c.  Editing and production:  Each member of the committee reviews and edits a classification area per month and saves it online.  At the point, the primary editor reviews, formats, and prints out the guides on tabloid size paper.  The header and footer are standardized.  The level of detail within each classification are varies.  After printing the guides, the editor tapes them together and laminates them, which allows for some durability.

            Project guidelines -- summary: 

            Briefly, there are three distinct task areas for this project:

            -            General guides (overall LCCS and floor directions)

            -            Specific guides (individual classes or subclasses)

            -            End-of-range indicators (general topic guide per range).

            a.  General guides:  These include very brief guides to the overall LCCS.  Necessarily brief, their main purpose was to indicate very broadly the topic covered in each classification and also on which floors those items were shelved.

            b.  Specific guides:  The intent is to produce guides to each classification schedule.  As each is produced, it will be placed in the stacks, at a rate of 3 or 4 per month.  In addition, guides to specific subclasses will be produced, on an as-needed basis.  For example, the PN, PR, and PS subclassification will be treated only summarily in the general class guides, as specific guides will be developed for them.  Depending on patron and staff comments, additional subclasses will be considered for specific treatment.

            c.  End-of-range indicators:  To assist the browsers, each end-of-range sign will indicate not only the items that are shelved in that particular range, but will also provide some guidance as to broad topic that those items cover.  These signs have been designed by the primary editor in such a way as to fit onto the existing holders; thus there is no hardware or installation cost and only a minimal production cost. 

            Demonstration area:

            The music collection is shelved in a discrete section of the library.  Thus it was decided to use it as a demonstration, or lab, area.  Examples of the three types of signs were placed in the stacks, which now contrasts significantly from the adjacent general stacks areas that are representative of the rest of the library.  After a month of having access to these signs, patrons of the music collection have provided some very positive comments.


            As was probably inevitable, a project has been started to make these guides widely available on the web and new images of signs will be added as they are produced.  Address:


Daniel CannCasciato

Central Washington University Library

The following reports were submitted from the American Library Association Midwinter meeting, Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 1999.

            What is the Euro and how will if affect my library?  Presented at the ACRL Western European Specialists Section General Membership Meeting, February 1.

            All of us familiar to some degree with the changes taking place regarding the European Union and its implementation of the new currency, the euro.  This session dealt with this change and its effect upon acquisitions of materials here in the United States, which of course also affects the materials we catalog in Western European languages.  Although not really a cataloging and classification-oriented meeting, the audience proved that it was of ample interest and thus should be reported to all librarians.

            Four speakers dealt with various aspects of the euro:  Bill Burros, of the European Commission Delegation in Washington DC provided historical background; Jeffrey Wrase, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia discussed possible effects of the euro on the U.S. dollar and upon the U.S. economy as a whole; Gilles de La Rochefoucauld, President of Aux Amateurs de Livres, explained the impact of the euro on the French book trade and upon acquisitions of French books by North American libraries; and Geert Visscher, Director of Finance and Operations at Swets & Zeitlinger, a journal subscription agency, spoke on implications of the euro on European serials publishing and acquisitions of European serials by foreign libraries.

            Implementation of the new monetary union, officially the euro, began January 1, 1999.  Its symbol is described as follows: "The graphic symbol for the euro looks like an E with two clearly marked, horizontal parallel lines across it.  It was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon, in reference to the cradle of European civilization and to the first letter of the word 'Europe'.  The parallel lines represent the stability of the euro..."  (The European Union: a Guide for Americans, Washington, D.C., Delegation of the European Commission in the United States.  1998. p. 11).

            The three stage process to launch the euro was begun in 1990, when European Union (EU) members began to prepare for the 1992 single market.  The year 1994 saw the establishment of the European Monetary Institute in Frankfurt, and since January of 1999, eleven EU members are using the euro for all monetary transactions.  The eleven states are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.  Several states of the EU have opted not to participate at this point.  They are the UK, Denmark, and Sweden.  Greece was unable to join at this time because its economic condition did not meet the criteria required for joining.  It was felt that economic conditions and developments in those EU member countries which have not yet joined the European Monetary Union will nevertheless have an impact on the euro trading area since they do have input into the European banking system.

            To date, cash transactions cannot be made, but bank accounts are beginning to be quoted in euros, credit card transactions take place in euros, checks can be used, and anyone can open a euro bank account.  All public issues are quoted and transacted in euros.  By July 2002, all national currencies will be withdrawn and will be replaced with banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 100, 100, 500 euros, and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euro coins.  Until then, merchants are urged to use dual pricing displays to help users make the transition.  Switching ATMs, vending machines, public telephones that accept telephone cards issued in euros, etc., will be areas of priority during the interim period.

            Visscher explained the effect of the euro on macro and micro economics.  On the macro level, it will mean more currency stability and lower inflation.  The European Central Bank in Frankfurt will work to insure price stability and expects to keep inflation below 2%.  Internal trade between the member states of the EU will experience less currency fluctuations, which will also have a stabilizing effect on trade between the EU and countries outside of EU.  The euro trading area's share of the market is now approximately 25%, compared with the United States' 24%.  The euro area will continue to grow, especially after other EU countries join. 

            On the micro level, he mentioned that cost of production will not be much affected.  He estimates that transaction costs will probably fall, since costs associated with currency exchange will be eliminated.

            After considering such factors as costs to publishing houses, labor matters, distribution costs, economic growth overall and lower financing costs, Visscher came to the conclusion that the overall impact of the euro on American libraries will be negligent and that little downward effect on the prices of serials can be expected.

            What will be the impact on the book trade in general?  De La Rochefoucauld explained the three states of euro implementation in France.  As of now, invoices are still issued in local currencies, and for American customers, in dollars.  During 1999 and 2000, prices in catalogs and on book covers will continue to be quoted in French francs; during the second half of 1999 euro prices will appear as well but in smaller print.  As of Jan. 1, 2001, all book prices will be quoted in euros, with francs in smaller print; after Jan. 2002, prices will be exclusively in euros, without the franc.

            Other member countries will proceed in much the same way during the implementation phase.  Use of the euro will make price comparisons across all EU member states very easy.  This can have an effect on purchasing of European materials in American libraries.  It will simplify looking for the best price, because the pricing unit will be the same in all countries.  If a book costs EUR 200 in France, EUR 350 in the Netherlands, and EUR 400 in Italy, picking the best price will be easy, without having to convert three national currencies to US dollars for comparison.

            De La Rochefoucauld foresaw reduced business in the book trade during the transition period.  French national have generally a negative feeling toward the new currency.  Customers will still convert mentally from euro to local currency and new book prices will probably be somewhat higher to compensate for costs of conversion.  Computers will have to be refitted to display euros, and include them in their conversion programs.  Once the public has accepted and become used to the change, trade may increase again.

            There were surprisingly few questions from the audience.  One concerned the figure of 24% of the market for the US, which we were told included the NAFTA countries.  Another librarian asked if the euro implementation could fail, to which was a decided "no".  It might not go as smoothly as imagined, although the change has been planned for many years, and so far there have been no serious problems.  Considering that only one month had passed since its implementation by the time of the conference few problems would have surfaced in such a short time.  One member of the audience asked about the Y2K problem in connection with the euro change-over but the speakers were confident that all major implications had been addresses.

            In all, the presentations were very informative, there were good handouts, and it was a very worthwhile session.  Many websites were mentioned that contain information on all aspects of the EU and the euro.  One of the most inclusive:, and of the most informative which is the official EU website on the euro:

Margit J. Smith

University of San Diego Library

            The ALCTS LITA/ALCTS Retrospective Conversion Interest Group met January 31. 

            Since many of the larger academic libraries have not yet been able to complete retrospective conversion, the group's discussion centered on strategies to use in order to get the necessary funding to accomplish this task.  One of these strategies mentioned was to make the problem quite visible through emphasis on the discrepancy between headings in the OPAC for newer materials and those in the catalog for not yet converted titles.  If some funding is obtained, the use of student internships can be recommended, since that is cheaper than using outside vendors and quality control can be exercised in-house.  If funding allows, cataloging of new materials can be outsourced so that local staff can concentrate on quality control.  This should be preceded by judicious weeding.  Questions arose on whether or not to reclass from Dewey at the same time as the conversion proceeds and most discussion participants thought that it is difficult to combine various projects, as they can bog down when problems arise.  To the question on whether it is cheaper to convert in-house, there was agreement that the true in-house costs, i.e., conversion plus cleanup, must be compared with the vendor's conversion costs plus that of local cleanup, and often the in-house costs can be seen to be less. 

            Another area to be ignored during the main course of such a project is serials conversion; also, authorities should be ignored at that time.  Authority cleanup can be later outsourced to a vendor to run against a list and headings be reconciled against the local authority file.  Based on the saying "Perfect is the enemy of good," most participants agreed on the need to be realistic, or such a project would never be finished.  Compacting of shelf list and or card catalog can later be done by volunteers.

            To the question on whether conversion is worth it, the resounding answer was that we have no option, but to convert.  Especially from the public services perspective, having all titles owned accessible in a central OPAC is much preferred to having to direct users to several tools.  Also, since the volume of new titles acquired in most libraries has diminished, this is the time to accomplish this task.  Some participants expressed the view that customers are very thankful when records are more accessible through conversion, especially for more obscure materials.  Many of the remaining issues not quite resolved have to do with in-analytics, and analytics that are still only in the card catalog, and the fact that administrators rarely take the real costs into account, especially those of local cleanup, when requesting funding from outside donors. 

Elizabeth N. Steinhagen

University of New Mexico General Library

             At the ALCTS Role of the Professional in Academic Technical Services Interest Group meeting, also on January 31, the topic covered was whether library schools are adequately fulfilling the needs of libraries in the education of technical services professionals. 

            Issues discussed included were whether library schools were keeping pace with the needs of the workplace in technical services areas; what employers are looking for in technical services librarians at the entry and the higher levels; how can both educators and employers work together to help develop curricula that would lead to excellence in technical services librarians in the future; and, that we must keep administrators aware of the continued need for strong technical services backgrounds in the librarians of the future. 

            Three speakers from Southwest Missouri State University spoke of the "Essential Partnership: Library Education, Core Competencies, and Technical Services."  Dea Borneman, Karen Letarte, and Michelle Turvey surveyed library schools to determine whether they prepare people for professional jobs in cataloging.  Their initial questions were whether cataloging is being de-emphasized in library schools, and if new graduates were being adequately prepared to accept professional responsibilities upon graduation.  They started from the ALCTS Educational Policy Statement appendix on knowledge and skills that sates that a basic cataloging education is needed for all new librarians, as it opens more career paths, not just in technical services.  They found that the 1-year program is still the norm in library schools with a required 36 credit hours and that a higher percentage of schools now offer cataloging courses than was the case in a 1994/96 survey -- but fewer require a cataloging course for graduation.  Their basic observation was that there has been a significant drop in the percentage of programs that required either cataloging or organization of information courses: 79.63% now as opposed to 90% in 1996.  They further speculate that this may be due to additions to the curricula overall, with less room for requirements, as things are rapidly changing.  Further questions for the future have to do with the new trends in organizational changes within libraries and whether the former have affected the need for core cataloging competencies. 

            Rebecca Lubas, of Ball State University, spoke of the tools that the profession needs, as variety in technical services is the norm today.  She talked about a wish list for an ideal cataloging course.  Courses now include, among others, the history of cataloging, and some practice in monographic formats, with barely a mention of other, more difficult formats.  Students need more challenges, such as practice with serials and electronic resources, to inspire them to become catalogers, with the recognition that mastery will only happen on the job.  A way to get students interested might also include another cataloging approach based on how people look for information.  The situation is worse, when technical services courses are not required, but even when they are, these courses often ignore management of technical services.  Often, new professionals are thrust into management too soon, without having had any exposure.  In addition, internships should be encouraged in technical services, although it may not always be practical.  In sum, her wish list for an ideal course would include:

            -            history and background in cataloging;

            -            monographic cataloging and basic tools;

            -            serials cataloging, including e-resources;

            -            cataloging other formats, such as maps, videos, computer files, graphics, etc.;

            -            overview of classification schemes and subject headings;

            -            management of cataloging departments

            Last, it was Katherine Wilson, of UC Santa Barbara, who spoke of the future of technical services.  Among the questions she posed

were what goes in on technical services and what changes have been going on there.  According to Wilson, technical services provide the infrastructure of libraries, by acquiring, cataloging and indexing, and management records in the database, and the way that librarians got trained in the past was to go through the apprenticeship on the job.  So, what has changed?  To begin with, the cost of journals has frozen budgets and most libraries now only buy core materials.  Original cataloging is no longer needed, as we now have shared cataloging, of better quality.  Library systems have also forced some changes, including those in workflow and indexing; technical services products have become more public with the new integrated systems. 

            In her view, library schools must prepare technical services librarians to be more in the forefront, as their "product" is now up front.  They must be prepared for project management, and to understand how the systems work, as they must manage everything from files to databases, to electronic resources.  According to Wilson, we may be removing new librarians from the apprenticeship positions, and fewer are coming up through the ranks, as the few professionals are becoming managers much faster than in previous generations.  We may have done such a good job in training the non-MLS catalogers, that they have usurped our former jobs.  Thus, we need better marketing of technical services functions in order to attract good people; we may also need to change our terminology. 

             Wilson finished her presentation saying that we are at a critical juncture in cataloging, as there seems to be a greater awareness of the results of our activities.  We must be more critical of these as professionals and must do new things and adopt new leadership roles.  She sees this as an opportunity for technical services librarians to assume new roles, as even outsourcers need good cataloging and good catalogers.

Elizabeth N. Steinhagen

University of New Mexico General Library

OCLC and WLN agree to merge

            OCLC and WLN have merged, affective Jan. 1, 1999.  WLN, a nonprofit corporation, serves 550 libraries in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada from its office in Lacey, Washington.  OCLC, a nonprofit corporation based in Dublin, Ohio, serves over 33,000 libraries in 67 countries and territories.

            "We are very excited about the possibilities for WLN customers and staff as we join with OCLC in this merger.  WLN libraries will share in the strengths of OCLC, and the new OCLC/WLN Pacific Northwest Service Center will benefit by having several of its products and services marketed nationally and internationally through OCLC's strong sales force," said Paul McCarthy, executive director, OCLC/WLN Pacific Northwest Service Center.  "The benefits of these same products and services will now be more directly available to OCLC's many libraries.

            "Since the announcement of the Letter of Intent on Oct. 21, I have been immensely impressed by the energy, the focus and the commitment of staffs from both companies to put this merger together.  The fact that we were able to do it in less than 10 weeks is a tremendous tribute to the good will and professional commitment of all involved.  We look on this merger as truly a 'win-win' situation," said Mr. McCarthy.

            "We believe this merger will benefit member libraries of both organizations," said Jay Jordan, OCLC president and CEO.  "WLN libraries will join OCLC's digital, global community for cataloging, resource sharing and reference services, and OCLC member libraries will benefit from the inclusion of libraries in the Pacific Northwest in the OCLC network.  OCLC brings strong financial, technical, marketing and networking resources to WLN's expertise in authority control and collection analysis.  Working together, WLN and OCLC will eliminate duplicate services, introduce new and better products, and lower costs for member libraries."

            "We are very pleased to be able to leverage WLN's strengths in the Pacific Northwest and build on its uniqueness," said Donald J. Muccino, OCLC executive vice president and chief operating officer, who is leading the negotiation and transition teams.  "While both organizations have very similar missions, each brings different strengths to this new relationship." 

            More information is available at the WLN/OCLC Merger page on OCLC's Web site:

From: OCLC Newsletter no. 237, Jan./Feb. 1999, p. 4   

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