Following are definitions of terms used frequently throughout the CEG.

- A -

Access point - A name, term, or code under which a bibliographic record may be searched and retrieved.

Authentication - The process of 1) reviewing a serial 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 tape distribution and publication in bibliographic products.

- C -

Centers of Responsibility - The institutions that have the ultimate authority for CONSER records.  The Library of Congress is the Center of Responsibility for all non-Canadian imprints.  The National Library of Canada is the Center of Responsibility for Canadian imprints.

Character position - A set number of alphabetic or numeric codes that constitute part of a fixed field.  Each character position is preceded by an alphabetic or numeric code which defines it.

CONSER database - The set of serial records input/created or otherwise introduced to the OCLC database that is authenticated by CONSER members.  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.

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

Content designator - A collective term used to include tags, indicators, subfield codes, and delimiters.  Content designators explicitly define the parts of each field in a machine-readable bibliographic record.

- D -

Data element - An identifiable unit of information.

Delimiter - A special character that serves as an initiator, a separator, or a terminator of individual data elements within a variable field.  On OCLC the delimiter displays as a double dagger ($).

Display constant - Word(s) and/or symbol(s) that are produced by a program from encoded data in a record to make the meaning of the data in the field apparent to a user.

Duplicate records - Two or more bibliographic records describing the same bibliographic item, ostensibly in the same manner.

- E -

Entry - 1) The name and/or title that identifies an item in the cataloging record for the item per se and the item as represented in related records.  (Also referred to as "cataloging entry".)  2) A bibliographic record for an item in a data base.

- F -

Field - A defined character string that may contain one or more data elements.  Each field is assigned a name which represents the contents of that field and a three-character tag which identifies the field.

Field terminator - A character used to terminate each variable field within a record.  In OCLC records the field terminator is the paragraph sign (¶).

Fixed field - A field that contains a prescribed sequence of data elements, each of which is always expressed by a fixed position and length within the field.

- H -

Heading - A name, uniform title, subject term, or series title in its established form.

-  I  -

Indicator - A one-character data element conveying information that interprets or supplements the data in the associated field.

- L -

Leader - A fixed-length field with 24 characters that occurs at the beginning of each bibliographic record and provides parameters for processing the record.

- R -

Record consolidation - The merging of information from multiple serial records into fewer records, and the deletion of records no longer needed to describe a serial.  The records to be deleted are called superseded records.  Record consolidation involves selecting a record to retain, modifying that record, and reporting superseded records for deletion.

Record maintenance - The process of ensuring the continued authoritativeness of a CONSER record through additions, changes, or deletions:  1) to correct obvious errors, 2) to reflect changes in the publication, or 3) to reflect changes to policies and practices used within CONSER for the bibliographic control of the publication.

Record separation - The breaking up of one record into two or more records, as required by AACR2.

Retrospective conversion - The online input of records (generally without piece in hand) for serial titles that have been previously cataloged by a CONSER institution.

- S -

Subfield - A component of a field containing a defined data element and identified by a subfield code preceded by a delimiter.

Subfield code - A lowercase alphabetic or numeric character used with a delimiter to identify each subfield present within a variable field.  Within a field, a subfield code always identifies the same type of data.

Surrogate - A substitute for the issue of a serial on which a cataloging record is based.  The surrogate consists of a copy of the title page or the title page substitute, and any other pages providing additional information on which cataloging is based.  Surrogates are used when authenticating member cataloging, resolving problems, or performing authority work.

- T -

Tag - A three-character label which identifies a field.  Numeric tags are used in CONSER records.

Tagging - The process of assigning machine readable content designation to bibliographic information.

- V -

Value - A term used to identify the content of indicators (e.g., 1st indicator, value "0").

Variable field - A field made up of variable length alphanumeric data.

See also:

Section A.  The CONSER Program: Background and Organization

CONSER Editing Guide:  Contents