LC Working Group – Structures and Standards, part 1 – Welcome

Note: Some commentary will be provided (by me) via notes from another attendee, Kathryn La Barre. I will do my best to give proper attribution when necessary, but if she is really just corroborating something I remember easily enough then probably not. I will give attribution to all folks as best I can from between Kathryn’s and my notes but I know I often did not catch who was asking a question. If someone notices any improper attributions please feel free to ask me to fix it. I will also attempt to [bracket] off any editorial comments, or make them explicit in other ways.

Not sure how many posts this will take—I have 13 pages of single-spaced typed notes from Kathryn and 21 pages of hand-written notes (mostly slide “reproductions”) in my notebook—but, I begin….

Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Control

The 2nd meeting of the Library of Congress’ Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control was held Wednesday, May 9 2007, at ALA Headquarters in Chicago. The topic was Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Control.

The meeting opened with Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA, welcoming us all. Both this meeting and the previous were videotaped for possible cybercast at the Library of Congress. No indication was made if they might be made publicly available.

[It also seems to be the case that the papers and public testimony from the 1st meeting, nor this one, are not publicly available. This would be an immense public service, and while perhaps not required by law it should be the case. As much information as possible from this process should be publicly available. One use of this material would be to guide those not able to attend as they submit written testimony to the Working Group.]

Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, provided another welcome and an overview of the public meeting process. The working group first met last November and had expected to meet a few times and issue a report. They quickly realized they needed input from outside the group and added 3 meetings around the country. The 1st was in Mountain View, CA (at Google) in March (Users and Uses of Bibliographic Data [brief summary]), the 2nd May 9th at ALA in Chicago (Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Data), and the 3rd will be July 9th in the DC area (Economics and Organization of Bibliographic Data).

The Library of Congress is working on their own strategic plan for the future. There are 38 groups, one of which is looking at bibliographic control. A report (treatise) from another group on the history of bibliographic control going back to 2000 BC will be released to the public. [When?]

José-Marie Griffiths, Dean of the UNC School of Information and Library Science, and Chair of this working group gave us a 3rd welcome and reminded us that the working group is at the “information gathering” stage, with a report due to Deanna Marcum in November.

She commented that this process is part of a larger question for those of us in the academic community (LIS education), i.e. what do we need to do to ensure graduates are equipped for the workforce? Traditional indexing and cataloging courses are declining in number. What are the implications for education? [from Kathryn’s notes]

She then read through the working group’s 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 [source]

She commented on the 2 user groups that were identified during the March meeting—consumers and managers—but noted that it is really a spectrum of users. Editorial aside: If so, then say so explicitly! That user “dichotomy” bothered me from the moment I saw it. What am I as a serials cataloger? Surely I am a consumer while I try to determine if a record exists, proper form of entries, etc. While at the same time, I am “managing” some information (functionally), although I do not think of myself as a manager by any stretch. This point was made by others during the day.

She then introduced the Working Group members who were present. [I find it rather telling that there is a small picture on the main Working Group page of the members [all of them?], but no easily available listing. Doing a web search turns up this page, but my point is that we should not have to search. That list should be prominently available from the main Working Group page. I am frequently sadly reminded that information/knowledge organizers are as bad at that as Signal Corps folks in the Army are at communicating. We can get the tech right, but not necessarily the communicative act.]

Brian Schottlaender, Working Group member and today’s moderator. Introduced the issues with the pull quote from Joe Janes’ column in the April 2007 American Libraries entitled “W(h)ither Print?”

If you’re being honest with yourself, you know something nontrivial is afoot.

Submitting written testimony

Several people reminded us throughout the day that the Working Group is taking written testimony. Marcum, perhaps, suggested that they would do so through at least the 3rd meeting on July 9th. The website states July 15th.

I highly encourage anyone and everyone to do so! All written testimony must be sent to Dr. José-Marie Griffiths. Contact info on this page.

There is also a Contact Page for the Working Group, but I am unsure of its purpose.

Remember, though, all testimony (such a fancy word, eh? Input, comments, concerns,…) needs to go to Dr. Griffiths. Please do so! Particularly those of you in the public, special and school libraries. As you will see (eventually), it was noted that there was little representation from, of, or by, these communities. Do not let your voices and concerns go unheard.

Next up, David Bade…

2 thoughts on “LC Working Group – Structures and Standards, part 1 – Welcome

  1. “The 1st was in Mountain View, CA (at Google) in March (Users and Uses of Bibliographic Data [brief summary])”

    Mark-The summary that you link to is useful for seeing what the committee took away. The best single link may be Christine Schwartz’s excellent round-up:

    The best source for what *happened* at the meeting is Karen Coyle’s blog, with 11 posts from March 7th-9th (via ).

    Thanks for sharing what you saw!

  2. Pingback: Notes on LC Working Group - Structures and Standards

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