In this topic:

A3.1.  Definitions


A3.2.  Background


A3.3.  CONSER records


A3.4.  Unauthenticated records


A3.5.  Processing and distribution

A3.1.  Definitions

Authentication.  The process of 1) reviewing a serial or integrating resource bibliographic record for data content and content designation to ensure that it conforms to CONSER bibliographic practices and agreed-upon conventions, and 2) adding identifying elements to the record to indicate the degree of authoritativeness of data or the extent to which the record has been reviewed.  As a result of authentication, the record is made available through distribution in bibliographic products distributed by CDS.

CONSER record.  A bibliographic record for a serial or integrating resource that has been authenticated by at least one participant in the CONSER Program.

CONSER database.  The set of serial and integrating resource records input/created or otherwise introduced to the OCLC database that are authenticated by CONSER participants.  Although some or all CONSER records reside in the local databases of CONSER institutions, maintenance is performed on CONSER records residing on OCLC, making that the authoritative set of CONSER records.

A3.2.  Background

Until November 1987, a CONSER record was defined as any record carrying the symbol of one or more CONSER institutions in field 040.  Changes in the definition of a CONSER record and changes in the authentication process to a great extent reflect the overall evolution of the CONSER Program.

The original concept of CONSER authentication was developed during the time when cooperative cataloging in an automated environment was a new development.  It was felt that CONSER records would benefit from review by an "authoritative" body–a Center of Responsibility (CR).  To maintain the quality of the records once authenticated, it was planned that certain fields would be locked so that only the CR could change them.  Field-level locking was never attained, however, and only the CR (or OCLC) could make even minor changes to a record.

Originally, all CONSER participants input new records or modified existing records on the OCLC database and sent surrogates of the serials cataloged to the Library of Congress or the National Library of Canada (Canadian imprints only) as supporting documentation for the authentication process.  The Center of Responsibility, using the surrogate, reviewed the descriptive elements, established name headings as necessary, and added the appropriate control number (field 010 and/or 016) and authentication center code (field 042) to the record.  Changes to records already authenticated were submitted to the CR in the form of modification requests.

With time it became apparent that an untenable workload was being placed on the Library of Congress.  The resulting backlog of surrogates, and the inability of participants to make even minor changes to an authenticated record, undermined goals within the CONSER Program.

The responsibilities for both authentication and record maintenance are now shared, to varying degrees, by all of the participants in the CONSER Program.

Four developments–the cooperative creation of name authority records within NACO, the ability of participants to authenticate, the unlocking of LC-authenticated records, and the ability of participants to make changes to NLC records–have played an important role in decentralizing the authentication process.  A complete description of each of these activities is given in Section C of the CEG.

A3.3.  CONSER records

A3.3.1.  Online creation of CONSER records

CONSER participants online to OCLC input new records or adapt existing records on the OCLC database.  Records are authenticated by the participant.

Like most CONSER participants, the Library of Congress catalogs its serials directly on OCLC.  Records created or authenticated by LC are distributed to LC's internal ILS database on a daily basis.  When CONSER members make changes to LC authenticated records on OCLC, these changes are reflected in the records in LC's ILS.

A3.3.2.  Batchloading of CONSER records

Original CONSER records created by the National Library of Canada and National Library of Medicine are batchloaded to OCLC via FTP.  This method of contribution became available to CONSER libraries in June 1997.  For details, contact OCLC.

A3.4.  Unauthenticated records

Unauthenticated records are those that have been created or altered by OCLC members and have not been authenticated.  They range from fully scrutinized records to those that have merely had a linking entry field added.  The common feature of the records is that they all carry the symbol of a CONSER institution in the 040 field, but lack an 042 field.

A3.4.1.  Records created by a CONSER participant that are yet to be authenticated

Prior to 1984, CONSER participants submitted all of their records to a Center of Responsibility for authentication.  Due to the burden placed on the Library of Congress to authenticate the majority of the records, many remain unauthenticated.  While these records were created according to the agreed-upon practices of the Program, there is no way to identify them as CONSER records or to distinguish them from two other categories of records, described below, that also carry a CONSER institution's symbol.

A3.4.2.  Records created by an institution before it joined CONSER

Records input to OCLC by an institution prior to its becoming a CONSER participant carry the symbol of that institution in field 040.  However, these are not considered CONSER records because they were not necessarily created following the policies and procedures mandated by the Program.  Included in this category are resource records that were tape-loaded from union list tapes (e.g., the Minnesota Union List of Serials records).

A3.4.3.  Records modified by a CONSER participant

CONSER institutions modify related records as part of the cataloging process (e.g., by closing off an entry, adding linking entry fields, or changing name headings; see CEG B4).  Modifying an existing OCLC record results in the presence of the institution's symbol in field 040.  If the record has not been reviewed and subsequently authenticated, however, it is not a CONSER record.

A3.5.  Processing and distribution

CONSER records are available on OCLC, magnetic tape, and electronically via FTP.  For a complete list of products, see A7.

A3.5.1.  OCLC processing

CONSER records are distributed to the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada from OCLC.  Before the records are sent, however, elements in the record that are not defined in the MARC 21 Format are removed from the records (e.g., OCLC-defined local fields, etc.).

A3.5.2.  Library of Congress processing

Distributed CONSER records are processed by LC's Information Technology Services (ITS), whereupon all CONSER records are loaded into different LC databases:  records for titles held by LC are loaded into the LC ILS while non-LC CONSER records reside in a separate file.  The records are also transferred to the Cataloging Distribution Service for distribution in the MARC 21 Format as part of the MARC Distribution Service.  CDS also prepares a tape of NSDP's records in the ISDS format for distribution to the ISDS International Center.

A3.5.3.  National Library of Canada processing

OCLC also converts the CONSER records to the MARC 21 Format for the NLC tape.

See also:

Section A.  The CONSER Program: Background and Organization

CONSER Editing Guide:  Contents