Friday, January 23, 2009

Bibliographic Studies

The Library of Congress has announced they have appointed R2 Consulting to look into the current marketplace for cataloging records in MARC format. The deliverable from this engagement due June 30th will include current practices including a review of existing incentives and barriers to both contribution and availability. This project is considered a follow on phase in the library's review of the creation and distribution of bibliographic data. From the press release:
The Library has recognized that its role as a producer of bibliographic data is changing and that other libraries have options as they consider sources for cataloging records. The conclusions outlined in a report issued last year, "On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control," indicate that cataloging activity must be shared more broadly and equitably among all libraries. Before the Library considers any changes to its cataloging commitments or priorities, however, it is vital to understand the extent to which other libraries rely on its contributions. The study will examine cataloging production and practice across all library types, including cooperative activity through OCLC, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, library consortia, and other shared cataloging initiatives.

Under the general direction of Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, R2 will develop a description of the current economic model and will determine the extent of library participation in and reliance on existing structures and organizations. The study will show the degree to which sources other than the Library of Congress are supplying quality records in economically sufficient quantities, or whether most libraries use records created by the Library. This project is oriented toward fact-finding and reporting rather than solutions, and it is intended to produce a snapshot of the existing market. The project is scheduled for completion by June 30, 2009, with a written report and visual representation of the existing marketplace. Progress reports, along with various other data collection and communication tools, will be made available via the R2 Web site at and the Bibliographic Control Working Group site at

"I am very optimistic that the project will shed new light on the current cataloging supply and distribution environment," Marcum said, "in such a way that future opportunities and challenges can be promptly identified and evaluated. I am hopeful that librarians and all other participants in the distribution chain will be as forthcoming as possible during the investigative process. Our intention is to understand as fully as possible both the economic and workflow implications for the U.S. and Canadian marketplace prior to implementing any changes at the Library."

On a broadly related note, the Guardian reported this week on the spat over OCLC's revision of their data use provisions that all member OCLC libraries are expected to abide by. This report is slanted against OCLC but nevertheless the organization has handled the whole issue horribly, and management has now been forced to do what they should have done in the first place which is to hold a open forum (which will now be an open bitch session).

No comments: