The Policy and Standards Division (formerly called the Cataloging Policy and Support Office, or CPSO) provides guidance in the application of cataloging rules, develops documentation to support cataloging policies and practices, monitors cataloging trends, develops new policies to match innovations in cataloging, and contributes to the national and international library community discussions on such matters. The division receives over 12,000 queries, requests for information, reports of errors, as well as authority and bibliographic file maintenance messages through its e-mail account every year. As communication is made easier and the Library of Congress OPAC is more visible, these numbers have been increasing.
While it is the goal of the Library of Congress (LC) to create cataloging that is as accurate as possible in all aspects, efforts are concentrated in the fields that help users to find, identify, select, and obtain cataloging data. In 2005, LC's Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) began to distribute a 1.5 million subset of its PREMARC records, some of which continue to exhibit characteristics not in keeping with current cataloging practices (see the CDS announcement at http://www.loc.gov/cds/notices/premarc.html). LC also continues to make available through its OPAC over 4 million bibliographic records from the PREMARC file that may contain a myriad of "errors" and anachronisms.
As the division begins to revise documentation, streamline guidelines, and issue new policies that respond to the new cataloging instructions RDA: Resources, Description, and Access, revisions to subject cataloging manuals, etc., it expects the number of reports for bibliographic file maintenance and requests for clarification of policies, etc., to grow. In addition, collaboration with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) has resulted in recommendations from several task groups that will impact the LC/NACO authority file as well as the LC database of bibliographic records. While we continue to use the method for easily and quickly correcting large numbers of bibliographic records, called "BatchCat" LC will not be making change to those NARs with the 667 note: "THIS 1XX FIELD CANNOT BE USED UNDER RDA UNTIL THIS RECORD HAS BEEN REVIEWED AND/OR UPDATED" other than on an as encountered basis. PSD will not respond to error reports for these NARs as the presence of the 667 note is the notification that a LC/PCC cataloger will need to update that NAR when used for current cataloging - if an institution is not a member of PCC, changes can be made locally as needed.
The division appreciates and values the help offered in achieving quality cataloging records. To facilitate the management of its query files and to provide senders with timely assurance that their concerns are being met, the division has devised a priorities list. The following will be handled as quickly as possible in this order:
- Responses to queries on LC cataloging policy and practices.
- Follow-up on suggestions for improvements to cataloging documentation and training.
- Resolution of authority record problems and the correction of corresponding headings in bibliographic records related to current cataloging.
- Consolidation/deletion of duplicate name, series, or subject authority records.
Note that queries in the above categories, especially in non-Roman scripts, may be forwarded to the appropriate LC language specialists whose priorities may vary from those of the Policy and Standards division.
In most cases a message acknowledging receipt of the correspondence will be sent without elaboration or subsequent follow-up with the expectation that the sender can search the appropriate database or the LC OPAC to ascertain that the correction has been made. The following categories of reports will be handled on an "as time and resources permit" basis without any follow-up response:
- Errors in subject analysis (subject headings or classification).
- Typographical errors and errors in content designation that do not affect access (in either a bibliographic or an authority record).
PCC members are reminded that LC's Cooperative Cataloging Team and CONSER staff provide support to contributors of the NACO, SACO, BIBCO, and CONSER Programs and notices may be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queries may be sent to the division as follows:
Telephone: (202) 707-4380
Fax: (202) 707-6629
Acquistions and Bibliographic Access Directorate
Policy and Standards Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4305