The Library of Congress Working Groupon the Future of Bibliographic ControlUpdate
Ohio Library CouncilTechnical Services RetreatApril 2, 2008Janet Swan HillAssociate Director for Technical ServicesUniversity of Colorado Libraries, Boulder
The Working Group Charge
Present findings on how bibliographic control and other descriptive practices can effectively support management of and access to library materials in the evolving information and technology environment;Recommend ways in which the library community can collectively move toward achieving this vision;Advise the Library of Congress on its role and priorities
The Final Report
On the RecordReport ofThe Library of Congress Working Groupon the Future ofBibliographic Controlhttp://www.loc.gov/bibliographic-future/news/lcwg-ontherecord-jan08-final.pdf
Brian E.C. Schottlaender, ed. The Future of the Descriptive Cataloging Rules: Papers from the ALCTS Preconference, AACR 2000 (Chicago: American Library Association, 1998).LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2000).Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium: Confronting the Challenges of Networked Resources and the Web (Washington, D.C.: Cataloging Directorate, Library of Congress. 2001).http://www.loc.gov/catdir/bibcontrol/conference.htmlBibliographic Control of Web Resources: A Library of Congress Action Plan.http://www.loc.gov/catdir/bibcontrol/actionplan.htmlUniversity of California Bibliographic Services Task Force. Rethinking How We Provide Bibliographic Services for the University (December 2005).http://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/sopag/BSTF/Final.pdfKaren Calhoun. The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools (March, 2006).http://www.loc.gove/catdir/calhoun-report-final.pdfJackie Byrd et al. A White Paper on the Future of Cataloging at Indiana University (2006).http://iub.edu/~libtserv/pub/Future of Cataloging White Paper.pdf
Redefine Bibliographic Control“ … a broad definition of bibliographic control that embraces all library materials, a diverse community of users, and a multiplicity of venues where information is sought ... view bibliographic control as a distributed activity, not a centralized one.”Redefine the Bibliographic Universe“Libraries of today need to recognize that they are but one group of players in a vast field, and that market conditions necessitate that libraries interact increasingly with the commercial sector … Rather than relying as heavily as it has on LC, the community needs to acknowledge that in at least some areas, LC may need to be able to rely on the work of others.”Redefine the Role of the Library of Congress“ … identify areas wherein it [LC] no longer need be the sole provider of bibliographic data and to create partnerships to distribute responsibility for data creation ... consider sharing the standards effort within the community and collaborating with other interested institutions to create a rational and efficient means of managing the standards needed for information exchange.”
Findings and Recommendations
Increase the Efficiency of Bibliographic Record Production and Maintenance“Because the incredible growth in information resources is not matched by a related growth in library funding, it is necessary to re-examine the efficiency with which the work of bibliographic control is performed.”Enhance Access to Rare, Unique, and Other Special HiddenMaterials“Processing has never kept up with the acquisition of unique and primary source materials. As a result, there are backlogs of unprocessed collections of these materials at libraries and repositories across the country that are not accessible through the libraries’ online discovery tools.”Position our Technology for the Future“Data that are stored in separate library databases often do not disclose themselves to Web applications, and thus do not appear in searches carried out through commonly used search engines. Such data are therefore invisible to information seekers using these Web applications, even though a library's catalog may itself be openly available for use on the Web.”Position our Community for the Future“Libraries have tended to equate bibliographic control with the production of metadata for use solely within the library catalog. This narrow focus is no longer suitable in an environment wherein data from diverse sources are used to create new and interesting information views.”Strengthen the Library and Information Science Profession“As in so many things, education will prove key to the profession's capability to address new challenges in bibliographic control.”
Organization of Recommendations
Three Tiers of Recommendations (example of third tier shown at 1.1.4)1.1 Eliminate Redundancies1.1.1. Make Use of More Bibliographic Data Available Earlier in the Supply Chain1.1.2. Re-purpose Existing Metadata for Greater Efficiency1.1.3. Fully Automate the CIP Process.1.1.4. Re-Examine the Current Economic Model for Data Sharing in the Networked Environment.LC: Convene a representative group consisting of libraries (large and small), vendors, and OCLC to address costs, barriers to change, and the value of potential gains arising from greater sharing of data, and to develop recommendations for change.LC: Promote widespread discussion of barriers to sharing data.LC: Reevaluate the pricing of LC's product line with a view to developing an economic model that enables more substantial cost recovery.1.1.5.Develop Evidence about Discovery Tools to Guide Decision-Makers.
What’s Happened So Far
LC has committed to respond in writing in time for the ALA Annual Conference.Three separate groups within LC are reviewing the report.An ALCTS group will review and respond to the report.Thomas Mann has published a response on behalf of the Library of Congress Professional Guild (see “On the Record” but Off the Track athttp://www.guild2910.org/WorkingGrpResponse2008.pdf_Some things are already underway in test or pilot mode.Working Group members are “making the rounds.”Collective holding of breath waiting for LC’s response.Joint Steering Committee intends to continue with RDA.LC’s Cataloging Policy and Support Office has issued decisions regarding LCSH (seehttp://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/pre_vs_post.pdf)Martha Yee continues work on an alternative to RDA (seehttp://myee.bol.ucla.edu)Some successor to the Working Group under consideration.
Controversial Recommendations - 1
3.1.1.Develop a More Flexible, Extensible Metadata CarrierLC: Recognizing that Z39.2/MARC are no longer fit for the purpose, work with the library and other interested communities to specify and implement a carrier for bibliographic information that is capable of representing the full range of data of interest to libraries, and of facilitating the exchange of such data both within the library community and with related communities.LC: Contribute resources to support the work of coordinating the definitions and linkages of data elements in nationally and internationally accepted bibliographic standards.All: Work with vendors to raise awareness of the need to begin developing products that can accept input of data utilizing a variety of metadata formats.4.3.Optimize LCSH for Use and Reuse1. Transform LCSH2. Pursue De-Coupling of Subject Strings3. Encourage Application of, and Cross-Referencing with, Other Controlled Subject Vocabularies4. Recognize the Potential of Computational Indexing in the Practice of Subject Analysis
Controversial Recommendations - 2
3.2.5.Suspend Work on RDAJSC: Suspend further new developmental work on RDA until a) the use and business cases for moving to RDA have been satisfactorily articulated, b) the presumed benefits of RDA have been convincingly demonstrated, and c) more, large-scale, comprehensive testing of FRBR as it relates to proposed provisions of RDA has been carried out against real cataloging data, and the results of those tests have been analyzed (see 4.2.1 below)JSC: Utilize the time afforded by the previous recommendation to revisit work already completed in light of the criticisms and concerns described above. Actions undertaken should include, but not necessarily be limited to: addressing issues of readability, including language, formatting of examples, and navigation; reconsidering variance from ISBD organization and conventions, articulating the case for variances retained; addressing issues of ease of use, including navigation; and addressing concerns about usability, training, etc.LC, JSC, and DCMI: Work jointly to specify and commission exploratory work to model and represent a Bibliographic Description Vocabulary, drawing on the work of FRBR and RDA, the Dublin Core Abstract Model, and appropriate semantic Web technologies (e.g., SKOS). Some preparation for this work has already been done in joint discussion of JSC and DCMI.
The Economic Axiom
Recommendations for All of Us - 1
18.104.22.168. All: Be more flexible in accepting bibliographic data from others (e.g., publishers, foreign libraries) that do not conform precisely to U.S. library standards.22.214.171.124.All: Use metadata supplied by sound recording, motion picture, and other audio-visual distribution sources.126.96.36.199. All: Use descriptive cataloging provided by book vendors and non-U.S. libraries whenever available.188.8.131.52. DevelopEvidence about Discovery Tools to Guide Decision-MakersAll: Make use of existing, and gather additional, evidence on user behavior to establish empirically the correlation between user behavior and the content of bibliographic records.184.108.40.206. LC, library and publishing communities: Share responsibility for creating original cataloging according to interest, use, and ability. Consider categories of materials for which responsibilities can be distributed and categories of metadata that can be appropriately provided by each of the participants.220.127.116.11. LC: For those aspects of operations that extend beyond the Library's immediate mission as the Library of Congress, identify other entities or groups with the interest and ability to assume responsibility for them.1.2.3. Expand Number of PCC Participants1.3.1 Increase Collaboration on Authority Data
Recommendations for All of Us - 2
2.1.1. Makethe Discovery of Rare, Unique, and other Special Hidden Materials a High Priority18.104.22.168. All: Direct resources to support the discovery of these materials, including resources freed by the institution from economies realized in other areas.22.214.171.124. All: Gather and share data on access paths that guide researchers to unique materials as a means to inform best practices for access in a Web environment.126.96.36.199. All: Make finding aids accessible via online catalogs and available on the Internet.2.1.2. StreamlineCataloging for Rare, Unique, and other Special Hidden Materials, Emphasizing Greater Coverage and Broader Access188.8.131.52. All: Adopt as a guiding principle that some level of access must be provided to all materials as a first step to comprehensive access, as appropriate. Allow for different cataloging levels depending on the types of documents, their nature, and richness.184.108.40.206. All: Establish cataloging practices that are practicable and flexible, and that reflect the needs of users and the reality of limited resources.
Recommendations for All of Us - 3
220.127.116.11. All: Consider different levels of cataloging and processing for all types of rare and unique materials, depending on institutional priorities and importance and potential use of materials, while still following national standards and practices.2.1.3. IntegrateAccess to Rare, Unique, and Other Special Hidden Materials with Other Library Materials18.104.22.168. All: Integrate access tools (finding aids, metadata records, databases, authority files, etc.) for unique and rare materials into the information access structures that serve the institution as a whole.2.1.4. EncourageDigitization to Allow BroaderAccess22.214.171.124. All: Study usage patterns to inform digitization priorities.2.1.5. ShareAccess to Rare, Unique, and other Special Hidden Materials126.96.36.199. All: Encourage inter-institutional collaboration for sharing metadata records and authority records for rare and unique materials.188.8.131.52. All: Encourage libraries and archives to submit records for rare and unique materials to shared databases such as OCLC.
Recommendations for All of Us - 4
3.1.1. Developa More Flexible, Extensible Metadata Carrier184.108.40.206. All: Work with vendors to raise awareness of the need to begin developing products that can accept input of data utilizing a variety of metadata formats.3.1.3. ExtendUse of Standard Identifiers220.127.116.11. All: Work to include standard identifiers for individual data elements in bibliographic records, both prospectively and retrospectively, wherever such identifiers are defined, and work to identify changes in metadata carrier standards necessary to incorporate and use such identifiers.4.1.1. LinkAppropriate External Information with Library Catalogs18.104.22.168. All: Encourage and support development of systems capable of relating evaluative data, such as reviews and ratings, to bibliographic records.22.214.171.124. All: Encourage the enhancement of library systems to provide the capability to link to appropriate user-added data available via the Internet (e.g., Amazon.com,LibraryThing, Wikipedia).4.1.2. IntegrateUser-Contributed Data into Library Catalogs126.96.36.199. All: Develop library systems that can accept user input and other non-library data without interfering with the integrity of library-created data.
Recommendations for All of Us - 5
4.1.3. ConductResearch into the Use of Computationally Derived Data188.8.131.52. All: Make use of holdings and circulation information to point users to items that are most used and that may potentially be of most interest.4.3.3. EncourageApplication of, and Cross-Referencing with, Other Controlled Subject Vocabularies184.108.40.206. All: Make use of any systems of controlled subject headings that are appropriate to augment subject access for one’s collections and users.
Recommendations for All of Us - 6
5.1.2. Support Ongoing Research220.127.116.11. All: Encourage ongoing qualitative and quantitative research (and its publication) about bibliographic control, for various types of libraries and over a protracted period of time.18.104.22.168. All: Through library and information science (LIS) and continuing education, foster a greater understanding of the need for research, both quantitative and qualitative, into issues of bibliographic control.22.214.171.124. All: Work to develop a stronger and more rigorous culture of formal evaluation, critique, and validation, and build a cumulative research agenda and evidence base. Encourage, highlight, reward, and share best research practices and results.126.96.36.199. All: Promote collaboration among academics, the practicing library community, and related communities, as appropriate, in the development of research agendas and research design, in order to assess research needs, profit from diverse perspectives, and foster acceptance from the broader information community.188.8.131.52. All: Improve mechanisms to publicize and distribute research efforts and results.
Some of what comes next is up to others, but they require our support and encouragement.Some of what comes next is up to us. Some will require changes in roles, outlook, expectations and processes, but we can make a difference.