Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > About CONSER > What is CONSER?


  • A cooperative online serials cataloging program
  • A source of high quality bibliographic records for serials
  • A source of high quality documentation and training materials for the cataloging of serials and the input of serial records
  • A group of serial experts who work together in an atmosphere of collegiality and trust
  • A promulgator of standards related to serials
  • A voice for serials in the library community
  • A component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging

CONSER began in the early 1970s as a project to convert manual serial cataloging into machine-readable records and has evolved into an ongoing program to create and maintain high quality bibliographic records for serials. In keeping with its evolution, the name was changed in 1986 from the CONSER (CONversion of SERials) Project to the CONSER (Cooperative ONline SERials) Program. In October 1997, CONSER became a bibliographic component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

The CONSER database resides within the OCLC Online Union Catalog. CONSER members input, authenticate, and modify serial cataloging records on OCLC or contribute original records via FTP. Authentication is the process of approving the bibliographic elements in the record and providing for the record's availability through distribution services and bibliographic products.

Membership in the CONSER Program includes—

  • The national libraries of the United States and Canada (and their respective International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) centers)
  • Selected university, government, research, special, and public libraries
  • Participants in the United States Newspaper Program (USNP)
  • Selected library associations
  • Subscription agencies and abstracting & indexing services

The need for CONSER stems from the dynamic nature of serial publications. Unlike most monographs, serials are constantly changing in a variety of ways. Modifications to CONSER records accommodate the changes in the serials themselves and in the rules for their cataloging. Through the CONSER Program, members are given the authority to modify the master serial record on OCLC. To ensure uniformity, the participants agree to follow policies and procedures documented in the CONSER Editing Guide and the CONSER Cataloging Manual.

How can CONSER Benefit my Library?

CONSER records are used in support of--

  • Serials cataloging
  • Collection development
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Union listing
  • Serial check-in

In the words of Suzanne Striedieck, "CONSER's most direct benefit to libraries is the cost savings in having high quality records to use in creating local databases for library public access catalogs, union lists, or serials check-in-files. Its greatest legacy may be the resource it offers the serial world's transition to machine-readable access and delivery of the serial literature."

Related Projects

United States Newspaper Program

The United States Newspaper Program (USNP) is a national program established to catalog, preserve, and make available U.S. newspapers. The National Endowment for the Humanities and LC jointly administer the USNP. Bibliographic records entered by USNP participants are part of the CONSER database.

CONSER Abstracting and Indexing Coverage Project

This was a cooperative project during the 1980s designed to enrich the CONSER database with information about title coverage by key abstracting and indexing services.

CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative

This is an experimental cooperative project begun in 2000 to add publication pattern and related holdings data to CONSER records.

The Publication Patterns Initiative web site provides further information.

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