In this topic:

A6.1.  United States Newspaper Program


A6.2.  CONSER Abstracting and Indexing Coverage Project


A6.3.  NSDP-coordinated use of the ISSN by the USPS

A6.1.  United States Newspaper Program

The United States Newspaper Program (USNP) is a coordinated national effort to identify, to preserve, and to make available to researchers a significant portion of the newspapers published in this country since the seventeenth century.  Integral to this preservation effort is the construction of a comprehensive national newspaper data base containing bibliographic and holdings records for more than 200,000 titles.  USNP activities are primarily conducted through collaborative projects organized on a state-wide basis.  In each state and territory, many agencies and institutions will share in the work of the state newspaper project, coordinated in most cases through the single institution in the state that maintains the most comprehensive newspaper collection and has staff skilled in serials cataloging and union listing procedures and in the preservation microfilming of newspapers.  In addition to the creation of a national data base containing bibliographic and holdings information for newspapers, it is expected that each state will produce and distribute a union list of newspapers published within the state.  It is also expected that cataloging and preservation of a state's newspaper holdings will become a continuing commitment beyond the term of the project.

Program management and technical coordination functions for USNP are shared by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.  OCLC makes the OCLC Online Union Catalog available for USNP participants to record bibliographic, location, and holdings information, and, both directly and through its participating networks, provides data base support, assistance with training, online quality control, and union list offline product availability.

The bibliographic and union listing components of USNP are conducted through the facilities of the CONSER Program.  State and repository projects are granted CONSER membership status for the term of the project.  All USNP projects are self-authenticating, and records authenticated by participants are distributed as part of the Library of Congress' MARC Distribution Service.

A6.2.  CONSER Abstracting and Indexing Coverage Project

This cooperative project was designed to enrich the CONSER database with information about title coverage by abstracting and indexing (A&I) services.  The project has provided a needed link between A&I services' citations and library catalogs, enabling researchers to learn where serials of interest are indexed, and facilitating access to high demand serials (i.e., those that are indexed).  In addition, by making standardized data about cited publications more widely available, the project has improved related operations in the participating A&I services and in the many libraries that use CONSER bibliographic records.

The goals of the project included:

1.   Ensuring that the CONSER data base contains records for all serial titles covered by a selected core group of the most widely used A&I services in the U.S. and Canada.

2.   Adding to those records information describing where each serial is indexed or abstracted.

3.   Providing to the participating A&I services standardized bibliographic data (e.g., ISSN, key titles, library entries) for each serial title they cover, enabling them to cite the serials they index in standardized library form.

4.   Developing the capability to produce machine-readable serials lists for use by participating A&I services.

5.   Keeping the A&I information in the CONSER database up-to-date.

Each A&I service that covers a particular title is represented by a separate 510 (Citation Note) field in the record for that title.  In addition, the project assures the presence of ISDS data elements (ISSN, key title, abbreviated title) in each record.  Included are services that produce printed products as well as online databases.

The project was developed by five major institutions or organizations–the Library of Congress, the National Library of Canada, OCLC, NFAIS (National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services), and ARL (Association of Research Libraries)–and was supported by a planning grant from the Council on Library Resources.

Maintenance of the project was handled by NSDP, NLC, NAL and NLM.

In November 2002, the Policy Committee of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging voted to remove most of the abstracting and indexing coverage fields (field 510) from CONSER records.  This decision was based on a recognition that the data has served its purpose well, is now readily available online from other sources, and can never be actively maintained in CONSER records.

OCLC began the systematic removal of 510 fields from CONSER records at the end of February 2003.  By spring 2003, most of the abstracting and indexing coverage fields were removed from CONSER records.

A6.3.  NSDP-coordinated use of the ISSN by the USPS

In the Federal Register of July 12, 1978, the United States Postal Service announced a final ruling for "Identification Statements in Second-Class and Controlled Circulation Publications."  Included in the ruling was a requirement that publishers print an in-house identification number developed by the USPS.  As a result of the public comments on the ruling, the USPS agreed to permit publishers to use the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) rather than the USPS number if the ISSN had been provided to the USPS for entry into its own database.  Since that time, the National Serials Data Program (NSDP), the U.S. national center responsible for administration of the ISSN, has provided ISSNs to the Postal Service on an ongoing basis.

NSDP provides ISSNs to the USPS as an integral part of the processing of applications for second-class mailing permits.  Re-entry applications filed when publishers change titles, frequencies, or places of publication, and notes of changes in mailing permit status are also routed through NSDP.

If it has not previously done so, NSDP assigns an ISSN and authenticates the CONSER record for those serials likely to be collected or processed by other users with large files of serials.  The assignment process includes entering the USPS control number in field 032 of the record for titles with authorized second class permits.  The ISSNs are reported to the USPS for both new and existing assignments.

USPS personnel include the ISSN in the authorizations to mail at second-class rates that are transmitted to the post offices where the serials are mailed.  The local postmasters communicate the ISSN to the serial publishers, who are then required to print the ISSN in order to fulfill the requirements of their second-class mailing permits.

See also:

Section A.  The CONSER Program: Background and Organization

CONSER Editing Guide:  Contents