Report to ALA ALCTS CCS Subject Analysis Committee (SAC)
Subcommittee on Form Headings/Subdivisions Implementation
January 9, 1998
During the six months since the LC update report at the 1997 ALA Conference in San Francisco, competing priorities for LC staff resources continue to limit significantly LC's ability to plan and implement form/genre subject access. These competing priorities include the continuing push to eliminate the LC monograph arrearage by the year 2000, planning for an Integrated Library system (ILS), digitization efforts, developing guidelines for the cataloging of electronic resources, and the increasing pressure to proof and edit the online Library of Congress classification schedules.
Staffing changes. CPSO staff changes have posed another challenge for form/genre implementation. On August 25, 1997, Tom Yee, assistant chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office (CPSO) and chair of the Working Group on Form/Genre, began serving as the acting chief of CPSO during chief Barbara Tillett's three-year appointment as ILS Program Director. On September 26, David Reser joined CPSO as a cataloging policy specialist. Most recently, he was an instructor and panelist along with Lynn El-Hoshy for the pre-conference workshop "Demystifying Subject Cataloging of Electronic Resources" at the 1997 Annual Conference. David is the leader of the "Friday Group" responsible for developing guidelines for the electronic aspects of form headings and form subdivisions for electronic resources. However, a large portion of David's time is spent on ILS work. In spite of these challenges, the following developments have occurred.
Data elements in authority records. CPSO continues to work with staff of LC's Automation Planning and Liaison Office and Information Technology Services on implementing some of the additional data elements approved by MARBI for name and subject authority records as part of updates 1 and 2 of the USMARC Authorities Format. Currently, CPSO expects that the new data elements for subject authority records will be implemented no earlier than this summer (with changes to name authorities to follow). Since there have been no changes to LC’s authority applications for about 10 years, the changes required at this time are numerous. The subject changes for the tags and subfield codes for form/genre terms and subject subdivision records are only part of this large package. Since there are so many changes being implemented, the system testing phase of the project will take considerably more time than it would if the changes were limited merely to form/genre issues. Unfortunately, the staff resources to test these changes must also come from CPSO, again limiting the resources available to further develop the policy aspects concurrent to the system changes.
Indexing of $v subfield in fields 600-657 in bibliographic records. In determining all of the aspects related to implementing the $v subfield, it should be noted that the system changes are not limited to the authority application. The indexing of that subfield in bibliographic records is another of the many system changes required for this implementation. Unlike the authority changes that are currently being coded, tested, and tentatively scheduled for production, LC Systems staff are only now beginning to review and analyze the changes needed for indexing the $v in the bibliographic files. We will be unable to estimate when these indexing changes will be in production until after this review and analysis is complete in the coming weeks. Clearly, the effective implementation of the authorities $v subfield is dependent upon indexing that subfield also in the bibliographic files, so the availability of the indexing changes will definitely impact the schedule for form/genre implementation.
Impact of form/genre changes on other LC products. Changes to the input/update systems for creating bibliographic and authority records are not the only ones that must be considered at this time. CPSO is also working closely with the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) to analyze the changes necessary to successfully incorporate form/genre elements into CDS products, including such issues as where subject subdivisions will print in LCSH, how 155 form headings will be labeled in LCSH, how heading/form subdivision combinations will sort in printed products, and many other issues. At a minimum, the following products will need to integrate form/genre changes:
Form/genre implementation and normalization/validation. The Library of Congress entered into a "heading normalization agreement" in the mid-1980's with its bibliographic utility partners as part of the Linked Systems Project to document certain conventions for normalizing data in our respective systems to facilitate inter-system searching and use of machine checks to determine uniqueness of headings. While this agreement was originally oriented to name authority headings, it now needs to be looked at in terms of subject authority headings as well. In the new form/genre world, it will be commonplace for a 150 topical heading to have the same character string as a 155 form heading and/or 18X subdivision heading (this phenomenon of duplicate strings was acknowledged in the original MARBI proposal 95-11, although the normalization agreement itself was not directly addressed). In view of this, CPSO has asked the Network Development/MARC Standards Office at LC to reassess normalization and validation conventions. (Note: a group working under the auspices of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging has also recently suggested that the normalization agreement needs to be revisited.)
UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES
In spite of the uncertainty about the timing of the implementation of subfield $v, LC is continuing work on developing guidelines, planning for the creation of subdivision records and 155 authority records, and experimenting with 655 fields.
1. Subdivision records. An important step in LC's implementation plan is the creation of authority records for approximately 3,000 free-floating form and topical subdivisions. We have started the testing of these 18X authority records for subdivisions. Initially we may have to create skeleton, stub authority records that we will build upon in the future. We plan to add references and scope notes to these records and information about usage with headings. This means that all information about free-floating subdivision would be available in the subject authority file and that various products, such as future editions of Free-floating Subdivisions: An Alphabetical Index could be generated from those authority records. At a meeting with Cataloging Distribution Service in December, it was decided that a printed list of these subdivision authority records would also be in a separate section of LCSH.
2. The British Library Fiction Indexing Group's The Application of Form Data to Works of Fiction: Discussion Paper. There have been several meetings to discuss the recommendations made in this discussion paper, especially as they relate to GSAFD and LC fiction cataloging practice. At the September 15, 1997 meeting, Pat Thomas, chair of the SAC Subcommittee to Revise Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama, Etc., CPSO policy specialists, and Cooperative Cataloging Team members met to discuss GSAFD and LCSH. In general, CPSO is in agreement with principles contained in the recommendations as they relate to LCSH. There are, however, some specific issues that will require further discussion and consultation. CPSO is deeply appreciative of the excellent, pioneering work of the British Library Fiction Indexing Group.
3. Moving Image Genre-Form Guide. At the beginning of October, 1997, the LC Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division began using the Moving Image Genre-Form Guide. The guide includes some 150 moving image genre and form terms, all fully defined and exemplified, and was created in consultation with scholars, archivists, and librarians representing the major organizations in the field. The Moving Image Genre-Form Guide is intended to be applicable to most library and archival collections and is easy to use; it required only a single hour-long training session. Since October, the terms in the Moving Image Genre-Form Guide have been applied to some 2000 cataloging and inventory level records, by a staff of nineteen moving image processing personnel. The source code used in the 655 subfield 2 is "migfg," the initials of the source work. The Guide will shortly be placed on the Library of Congress web site and will later be published in paper form. For additional information, contact Brian Taves, MBRS, Library of Congress, <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
4. Cartographic materials. There have not been any major decisions with regard to form/genre terms for cartographic materials. One recent development, however, is that the LC Geography & Map Division will be experimenting with the use of one term from a list of form/genre terms that is under study. When cataloging digital cartographic material, G&M staff will be using field 653 to bring out the form of material. The 653 will be constructed as follows:
653 - $a Maps--Digital
653 - $a Maps--Digital--Raster
653 - $a Maps--Digital--Vector
This 653 field is a temporary collocating device until formal decisions about form/genre access to cartographic materials are finalized.
The Map and Geography Round Table (MAGERT) is planning a program for ALA annual on Saturday, June 27, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The program is tentatively titled "Challenging Issues in Cataloging Cartographic Materials" and will address two issues: 1) cataloging digital materials and 2) form/genre terms for cartographic materials. Panelists will include staff from CPSO.