Report of the Local Headings Task Group

Yale University Library Catalog Department

Presented to Joan Swanekamp, 21 November 1997; amended 15 January 1998

This is the final report of the Task Group to Examine Local Practices for Headings, appointed on 26 September 1997. Our charge was to:

We believe we have identified most of the current Yale cataloging practices involving non-standard USMARC. We have purposely excluded non-standard practices that are no longer in current use, given that the third part of our charge specifies that we are to focus on prospective cataloging.

We have identified the following categories of non-standard MARC usage:

We do not claim to have uncovered every example of local non-standard use of the MARC format. We do believe, however, that any other types of non-standard headings that surface will fit into one of the categories listed above.

We recognize that the non-standard practices exist to fulfill an indexing need for which standard MARC usage or local implementation may not have been available at the time they were formulated. We have kept in mind these particular needs of access, requiring that the alternatives we suggest fulfill in some way the indexing need insofar as we understand it. In addition to drawing on the knowledge of task group members regarding non-standard MARC usage, we have consulted Helen Bartlett and Michelle Koth of the Music Library, Elisabeth Fairman of the British Art Center, George Miles of the Beinecke Library, SML curators Simon Samoeil, Tatiana Lorkovic and Cesar Rodriguez, Andrea Lamb of the Divinity Library, and Joanne Rudof of the Video Archive.

For each category, some of which have several parts, we have given one or two, and in some cases three, alternatives to the present non-standard practice. (Third alternatives are merely variants of other alternatives). Fully standard alternatives when available are presented as Alternative 1. It may seem curious that we are including non-standard alternatives when it is non-standard practice that gave rise to this task group. The task group considers the non-standard alternatives we have given--nearly always using MARC fields 69x (locally-defined fields not available in earlier implementations of Orbis)--although perhaps not as preferable as standard use, certainly preferable to current non-standard use of MARC, usually of general 6xx fields.

We have listed advantages and disadvantages for current practice and for each alternative. Recognizing that change of any sort will involve some small amount of retraining and updating of documentation, we have included as an advantage of all present practice the fact that it is in current use. Some alternatives would require only a minimal change, and thus change is listed as both an advantage (i.e., the fact that it is only a minimal change) and a disadvantage (i.e., the fact there is any change at all).

We strongly recommend that non-cataloging staff with an interest in indexing practice, especially collection curators throughout the system, be given a chance to review and comment on any proposed alterations to cataloging practice.
Deborah J. Leslie, Chair
Valentina Chudowsky
Martha Conway
Ellen Ellickson
Patrick G. Salmon
Susan Tucker

Introduction  Collection tracings  Imprint tracings   Subject tracing of non-subject names  Chronology tracings  Non-standard subject headings  Form/genre headings  Hybrid headings

Prepared by DJ Leslie on 16 January 1998
For comment, reply to Deborah J. Leslie,
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