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On April 14 and 15, Linda Ziglar and I attended a workshop at PCL that addressed the basic elements of cataloging serial materials. Developed in 1999, it is sponsored by the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) as part of the Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER) and offered around the country several times each year. The presenter for this workshop was Marsha Seamans of the University of Kentucky Libraries, and the 15 attendees came from institutions across North Carolina, including Duke, Elon, the New Hanover County Library (Wilmington), NC School of the Arts, UNCG, UNCC, as well as PCL and ZSR. The following is a summary of what we covered in the workshop- my apologies for it being so heavy on cataloging terminology, but that was what it was all about, eh?

Day One began with the basic definition of what serials are (in brief, numbered works issued in successive parts with no set endpoint). Then, the session moved into a discussion of original cataloging (creating records from scratch). We learned about the CONSER standards for current serial records and took an in-depth look at MARC records. We had a series of practice exercises with examples of several types of records including print and electronic.

For Day Two, we started with subject headings and the strategies involved for assigning them, since they are important for classification purposes as well as cutters for call numbers. We then discussed electronic serials and how they differ for integrated resources (such as databases) in terms of cataloging style, and the importance of the 856 field as well as notes-specific fields. The value of copy cataloging was next, which included the need for appropriate, authoritative records (the CONSER standard once again). The value of starting dates, authorities and place of publication are also important for distinguishing similar records. We also covered title changes, including the criteria of a major title change versus a minor one, when MARC records should be closed following a major change, and proper linking between preceding and succeeding records. A short session about the criteria for editing records closed the day.

Finally, we had three overall remarks about the workshop. The experience level for the group ranged from the seasoned to the novice. Discussion was common during both days of the workshop and often enhanced the notes we received. In fact, several mistakes were found in the PowerPoint slides that were recommended for revision before they are used again in future workshops!