24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Preconference: SCCTP Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop

September 3, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Preconferences | Leave a comment


SCCTP Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop
Linda Geisler and Esther Simpson, Library of Congress
Reported by Jan Mayo

Ten librarians attended the NASIG preconference, “SCCTP Electronic Serials Cataloging,” offered by two presenters from the Library of Congress, Linda Geisler and Esther Simpson.  This informative day and a half-long preconference consisted of Geisler and Simpson taking turns explaining sections of the Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop Trainee Manual.  Many sections included group or individual exercises designed to help us understand the various concepts.  The presenters encouraged questions and welcomed discussion.

Linda and Esther introduced themselves as two members of the ISSN Publisher Liaison Section at the Library of Congress and told the attendees about their current work and backgrounds.  Then they asked attendees what they hoped to gain from the course.  Linda and Esther wrote our responses on a flip chart.  Responses included needing to learn how to catalog e-serials, plus various aspects of the actual cataloging, such as the difference between an e-serial and an integrating resource and the separate record versus single record approach.  They used this list as a touchstone throughout the course and referred back to it to ensure all our questions and concerns were addressed.

Linda began with Session 1, which was an overview of the course’s goals and included definitions for key terms.  The session ended with a more difficult than expected exercise on determining whether several titles were either serials or integrating resources.  The correct answer was sometimes unexpected and occasionally uncertain.

Session 2, “Cataloging an Online Serial,” followed a specific title through the AACR2 rules, CONSER guidelines, and MARC 21 fields required to create an original MARC record.  Even though Esther opted to cover some of the material in a later section, this session took up a large portion of the first day of the workshop.

Attendees began with the fixed fields and worked their way through the variable fields to the linking fields at the end.  Slides were used to illustrate each point and many questions were asked to ensure an understanding of the material.  At the end of the session, the attendees were split into three groups to work through cataloging an e-serial title together, an exercise that prompted a lot of questions and discussion that helped everyone to better understand the complex material.

Having decided to do Session 3 last, Linda skipped to Session 4, “Online Versions.”  This section looked extensively at the single record versus separate record approach to cataloging e-serials.  It ended with several slides showing how to create a single MARC record for both formats, as well as how to create a separate record for an e-serial title by using the record for the print title and what changes might need to be made to the print serial record.

The last session for the first day of the preconference was Session 5, “Changes that Affect Cataloging.”   Esther led this session, which covered the most common changes that can affect cataloging: change of the online location; change of format; and, as with print serials, title changes.  Perhaps the most difficult concept to understand about e-serials was title changes, because an earlier title can simply disappear when a later version of the e-serial is posted.  Finding these title changes and denoting them correctly was one of the hardest exercises the attendees worked on.

Linda opened with Session 6, “Case Studies,” on the second day of the preconference, detailing six problems catalogers may encounter when trying to catalog an e-serial:

  1. Serial lacks dedicated page – Possible solutions: catalog each title separately, giving directions for the serial’s url; identify an anchor url that can get the patron to a specific part of a list of titles; or use multiple urls;
  2. No back issues – article database – Is it is truly a serial?; if so, and it has no archive, base the description on the current issue;
  3. Multiple language editions –  catalog each title separately; or catalog them both on one record with a parallel title; or catalog only the language appropriate to your library;
  4. Online supplement to a print serial – determine if a print serial supplement deserves a separate record the same way you would determine if a serial needs a new record; if not, a note and a url can be added to the print record;
  5. Problematic urls – you should never put session or institution-specific urls into OCLC master records because they will not work for everyone; if possible, provide access to the home page so that the patron can search for the title from there.
  6. The Buried Title Change – Online publishers sometimes wrap the current title around older full-text articles; you must find and account for all title changes.

Esther wrapped up the workshop with Session 3, “Aggregations/Packages,” which covered the many ways e-serials can be accessed and discussed how an aggregator-neutral record can be used to collect all accesses to an e-serial in one place for ease of access by patrons.

While this was a dense-packed presentation, the participants seemed to agree that it was helpful that NASIG provided a day and a half for this preconference.  Even though attendees’ brains felt full, everyone was pleased with the presenters and what they had imparted about electronic serials cataloging.


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