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Special Interest Group Archive: Cataloging 7/10/2019

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

July 10th, 2019 meeting

The Cataloging SIG was held on July 10th at Vassar College. Amber Billey from Bard College was the facilitator. The group started by brainstorming some possible topics to discuss at the meeting. Topics included: an update on last meeting’s discussion on authorities, continuing education, changes to MARC, and updates from recent conferences (NETSL, ALA).

Updates from Conferences

Updates from conferences:


  • Adam Schiff recently presented at NYTSL (NY Technical Services Librarians) on demographic group terms and genre vocabularies.   
  • There has been slippage between subject headings and what the item actually is. Developing these genre / demographic terms has helped with that. There are some challenges with this however—to make retroactive changes would need to re-index field and catalog at a cost.
  • Some people at workshop working on making a distinction between 386 & authorities – 386 allows for different levels for specificity.  
  • The NYTSL slides are available here:


  • NETSL (New England Technical Services Librarians) meet every spring in early April.  Amber Billey discussed the sessions she attended. The theme this year was “Back to Basics.”
  • This year’s keynote was Rhonda Evans, the head of electronic resources at NYPL. She talked about diversity and technical services, and particularly the idea that classification assigns value. The LC schema was developed from a colonial gaze, and continues to be problematic.
  • One of the sessions was on a library inventory at Dartmouth, through which they gained over 1,000 feet of space.
  • The group discussed some of their methods for deleting missing items. One public library marks items missing at 1 month. They check for the item three times before deleting the item. One college doesn’t delete missing items until the 4th year, as they find seniors will often return missing items.
  • One benefit to not deleting missing items is that in Hathi trust you get credit for what you currently own and for what you’ve owned in the past. Instead of deleting, items can be suppressed with a withdrawn note.  
  • The second session was on RDA 2.0. It was presented by Dominique Bourassa from Yale University, who is the current rep for NARDAC. She provided a hands-on introduction to the redesigned RDA toolkit.
  • Amber Billey presented at NETSL on Open Cataloging Rules, a grassroots and collaborative effort to create an open cataloging code. This could be a potential alternative to the RDA toolkit. The problem with RDA is that is requires a costly yearly subscription, and libraries with smaller staffs are actually penalized price-wise.   


  • ALA is currently being re-structured to create a more streamlined organization. Several divisions are being merged, including LITA, LAMA, and ALCTS.
  • There was a big focus on EDI at this year's conference—not as much on linked data.   
  • The Mid-winter conference is going to be re-branded. It will be less focused on meetings and more on programming.
  • Might be a good time to start maintaining separate subject headings. LOC is not progressive (illegal aliens heading) and it is too difficult (and often political) to make changes. There are a lot of outdated or obscure subject headings.
  • Despite the recent focus on linked data there’s never been much interest in what the data actually is.

NJ/NY NACO funnel

Info from Cathy Weng, Baruch College Library

Information about joining NACO and the access of the form can be found here.  More helpful information about NACO can be found here.

Membership applications will be reviewed by PCC. Upon approval of the membership, each institution will placed in touch with an OCLC designated NACO contact to obtain an OCLC NACO authorization login. Using that login, the new member can create NACO records.

For funnel members, there is no minimum number of records required to contribute annually in order to maintain NACO membership. Funnel members contribute records collectively. It is up to local funnel members how much time you can commit. It also depends on the types of materials each institution acquires and the nature of institution’s collections.

Authorities Update

  • LTI’s closing has caused issues, as there aren’t many other options for good authorities vendors. Many are still comparing backstage and marchive.
  • Backstage was used for one local library’s project (dewey to LC), and they had a very positive experience working with them. They were very personal and less businesslike than some vendors-- “how are things going” vs. “do you need a specific service from us”
  • There is a NY NACO / SACO funnel. Funnels allow geographic locations to directly contribute to authorities files.
  • How to join the NY funnel – on the NACO page there is a list of regional funnels w/ the coordinator’s contact information.
  • One possibility for Continuing Ed would be to contact the funnel coordinator for NY and coordinate some kind of training. One of the benefits of adding to the funnel is that your authorities can be utilized by a wider community.   
  • Discovery layers have had an impact on the visibility of authorities. Some aren’t taking advantage of authority records as well (or as clearly) as the traditional ILS did. Another issue is that bad authority records are much more visible in ILS facets.   
  • Many are keeping an eye on FOLIO development. The 5 sister colleges are piloting it as of June. Their experiences, along with other early adopters, might provide insight into whether it’s a viable alternative to current system.    
  • Getting additional or better services from ILS / LSP providers is an ongoing challenge. Some libraries have had success when letting their vendor know they  have been considering other options for providers.  

Programming Ideas for Southeastern

  • T.R. could return and host a MARC edit workshop. It would be useful to have hands-on practice with ideas for how it could be used in day to day work. It would be possible to host this at Southeastern, or Vassar if more space is needed.
  • It might be useful to have the morning training and an afternoon SIG where the group can discuss the program. Separate registrations would allow people to choose which events they can attend.
  • Carolyn is going to reach out to Terry to see if he’s available for a date in October.
  •  Another possible training could be on BIBFRAME. It’s a complicated project because not every ILS will be able to handle it due to the uniqueness of the data.
  •  There is also an RDA introductory webinar series coming up. If they have group viewing rates Southeastern might be able to host a webinar.
  • NACO training for those interested in contributed—could contact coordinator and find out if that’s a possibility.


Facilitator Amber Billey at a whiteboard with a meeting agenda and an org chart for cataloging organizations

Meeting participants at the table at Vassar College

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065