SAC: Core Midwinter Report 2021

Virtual meetings held February 26, 2021 and March 19, 2021
Report by Rebecca Belford, Chair, CMC Vocabularies Subcommittee and MLA liaison to SAC

New business follows highlight of liaison reports, below. Technical difficulties with the ALA Core Connect Space means that access to liaisons’ written reports has been unintentionally restricted; these are available on request. 

SAC Chair Brian Stearns welcomed new associate members Margaret Joyce and Adrian Williams; new liaison organizations and their liaisons Getty (Jonathan Ward), OCLC (Robert Bremer), and LC Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program (Stacey Devine); and new liaisons for LC Editorial (Michele Zwierski) and FAST (Heidy Berthoud).

Library of Congress Policy, Training, and Cooperative Programs Division (Janis Young)

  • Young thanked SAC members for SAC’s comments on the LC tentative lists and for their help with literary author numbers and the multiples cancellations projects. SAC participants contributed 258 of the author class numbers added to authority records so far, and have sent over 500 more proposals to PTCP for review. SAC has been assisting with the multiples project since August 2020. To date, participants have helped PTCP cancel multiples and create 757 authority records; cancelled (among others) are Names, Geographical—English, [Celtic, Latin, etc.] and Selling—Agricultural machinery, [Floor coverings, etc.]. They have also returned Information storage and retrieval systems—Accounting, [China, Electronics, Korea, etc.] to PTCP for processing; cancellation of that multiple alone will result in over 1,100 new authority records. PTCP heartily thanks the participants for their help with this important project. 
  • Young asked if SAC wanted to continue with the authors/multiples. Yes! Many members commented on how enjoyable and rewarding both projects were. Q: Would additional participants would be welcome? A: Yes, under SAC auspices. Young has sole responsibility for checking and reviewing proposals, meaning practical limits to how many of submissions can be reviewed. Submissions for multiples still save LC significant time, and the benefit for the literary authors far outweighs time spent reviewing. Maxwell noted the immediate benefit for catalogers is likely having the numbers present in authority records. Stearns will send a reminder to SAC and attendees. Young will provide training for additional participants. Participants do not need access to ClassWeb proposals for multiples; literary authors require access to proposal system but catalogers can work with a “buddy” at a SACO library. 
  • Q: Multiples project resulted in 353 validation records designated as regular authority records. Is there any way to identify these from the resulting records once they are redistributed? A: The only indication in the distributed record is that there used to be a 667 and now there is not. LC staff can see that a record was moved from the validation database, but that info is not distributed. There is no master list. As an FYI, records may change from validation records to regular for various reasons along the way. 
  • FYI: Beginning in February 2021, all authority records distributed for LC subject headings, genre/form terms, medium of performance terms, and demographic group terms will have the fill character ( | ) in the cataloging source byte of the fixed field (008/39). 
  • Comprehensive LCSH and LC Classification online training is freely available through Catalogers Learning Workshop. 
  • Q: Please expand on authorized headings in BIBFRAME where it is a link instead of a text string or cluster. A: This was set up to get away from the label.
  • Comment (A. Schiff): Thought piece by Judith Canaan at the PCC meeting is recommend viewing. Beacher Wiggins (LC) noted that these discussions are at their very beginnings and not any official policy yet.
  • Q: Any updates on Illegal aliens heading? A: No.
  • Q: Any update on demographic terms and submission process? A: No. 
  • Young welcomes any additional questions by email.

Library and Archives Canada (Annie Wolfe)

  • Update and Q&A on Canadian Subject Headings (CHS) related to Indigenous Peoples.
  • Removing terms Native, Indian, and Aboriginal. No longer using “Indians of North America” as an umbrella term. If needed, they will assign Indigenous peoples–Place. Assigned headings will be First Nations or Inuit or Métis, and the name of the specific group of people if appropriate. This project is independent from the Library of Congress. 
  • So far, out of 240 CSH terms, they have revised 40, removed 34 in favor of using existing LCSH, and will be changing 68 additional pending input from Indigenous communities. 
  • From LAC report: “Because the language describing Indigenous materials in CSH is often not reflective of the terminology preferred by First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nation communities in Canada, in 2019, LAC started a review of CSH headings. LAC is developing replacements using the term “Indigenous” for occurrences of the word “Indian”, “aboriginal”, or “native” in preferred headings. LAC is a participant of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) and their Indigenous Matters Committee (IMC) and is consulting with this group on changes to CSH to ensure a culturally appropriate and respectful approach is taken. LAC is also consulting with LAC Indigenous colleagues, the LAC Indigenous Advisory Circle, the IMC Red Team on Naming and Classification, and the broader library community…. Many organizations have created their own ontologies and lists of subject headings, like the Manitoba Archival Information Network (MAIN), the X̱wi7x̱wa Library, the red team’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit – Indigenous Ontologies (CFLA), and the Greater Victoria Public Library. These provided examples from other organizations doing similar work to help inform our own.”
  • FYI, the complete CSH file in MARC21 freely available via SFTP to libraries and other organizations on request. LAC also periodically posts file versions to the website, where you can download the full CSH list or the list of CSH related to Indigenous Peoples.
  • Q: Were there disagreements among members of a community about the name by which they should be known? A: CSH work is using the First Nations Metis and Inuit Indigenous Ontology, which has already complied names reflecting preference. C. Riley noted that there is an online searchable database of Indigenous-related subject headings through the Manitoba Archival Information Network (MAIN), supported by the Association for Manitoba Archives. 

Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access (Robert Maxwell)

  • No questions.

SAC Representative to MARC Advisory Committee (Adam Schiff) 

  • Highlights: Proposal No. 2021-06: Accommodating Work and Expression Dates, and Related Elements, in Bibliographic and Authority Field 046, from the SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies, was approved with option 1 (indicator value for type of entity)

PCC Subject Authority Cooperative Program (Paul Frank) 

  • Thank you to Janis Young for SACO workshop for CJK funnel members.
  • SACO African American Funnel: Deborah Tomaras (Marist College), coordinator from January 2020 through February 2021, passed the coordinator duties to Staci Ross (University of Pittsburgh) and Michelle Cronquist (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • SACO Judaica Funnel: When Heidi Lerner (Stanford University) retires this spring, the funnel will be coordinated by Jasmin Shinohara (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Planning an online meeting for all SACO coordinators to inform a draft of “Guidelines for SACO Funnel Coordinators” document.
  • Q: Might there be a “SACO light” similar to the “NACO light” that was mentioned during a meeting? A (Young): Not likely.

OCLC (Robert Bremer) 

  • MARC format change, to accommodate FAST coding change. Named events will now be tagged in x47 instead of x11. The FAST authority file has been updated. 
  • Looking at FAST chronology headings. Previously ranges of years only; currently working on named timed periods that can coexist with year ranges e.g. “Colonial period.” Should be complete later this year. A. Schiff noted that could be a good source for MARC 388. 

Music Library Association (Rebecca Belford)

  • Will re-send request for SAC to consider the hierarchy in which the LCSH for “Medium of performance thesaurus for music, Library of Congress” was placed when established last year. Written report erroneously refers to the “Subject headings”; this should be “Authority files (Information retrieval)”
  • Q (S. Clarke): Noting MLA decision not to pursue LCGFT for Binders volumes music because the RMBS term applies. ALRIS find clusters of artists’ books in different vocabularies–are others using multiple overlapping vocabs? A (A. Schiff): Orbis-Cascade only uses LCSH/LCGFT/FAST in central catalog

Art Libraries Society of North America (Sherman Clarke)

  • ARLIS/NA annual conference for 2021 will be held virtually on 11-13 May 2021 
  • ARLIS/NA CAC (Cataloging Advisory Committee) received and is reviewing a second draft of the art memo (J 210) for the LCGFT manual
  • J. Young: Art Genre/Form open for new terms in the near future

Getty Vocabulary Program (Jonathan Ward) 

  • Introduction to Getty program: small team of four people; process terms in bulk; OpenRefine format available. Current projects: Built Works Registry (BWR) and database part of Avery Library at Columbia, previously handled by ARTStor, now will be in Cultural Objects Name Authority database (CONA). Named people file to be added to ULAN (Union List of Artist Names), places to TGN (Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names), works to CONA. 74,000 records total, estimate one year to complete.
  • CIDOC (ICOM International Committee for Documentation) group 
  • Q (A. Schiff): Are there URIs for iconography authority records? Q (S. Clarke): Having language-independent URI will be useful, such as CONA example, Jiko-bō (anime character). A: Not sure use case of records; committed but also looking at how they will be using linked open data.

Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. (Rosemary Groenwald) 

  • Groenwald retires April 2 (congratulations!). OLAC seeks a new liaison and someone who will maintain the video game genre vocabulary. They are discussing possibility of opening the vocabulary for new terms, or easier display of authority records. 

American Association of Law Libraries (Cate Kellett)

  • No questions. 

National Library of Medicine (Barbara Bushman)

  • Highlights: Many new MeSH headings related to COVID-19 and SARS -CoV-2. Q: Why MeSH change from Social Distance to Psychological Distance? A: To help distinguish that previously existing concept from the new concept of Physical Distancing, which has a cross reference of Social Distancing. 
  • NLM classification has a new interface
  • NLM Technical Bulletins on NLM website included the latest, issue no. 438 (Jan/Feb 2021))

FAST Policy and Outreach Committee (Heidy Berthoud)

  • Their webinar in October, “21st Century Indexing,” had 592 attendees; the recording is on OCLC’s website. Jessie Lambertson is working on FAST training for PCC. 
  • In August 2020, FAST SACO funnel approved. Seeking members; contact Berthoud with interest. 

Sears List of Subject Headings

  • No liaison. SAC has reached out to the publisher (Grey House).

Library of Congress Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program (CYAC) (Stacey Devine)

  • CYAC is pronounced “kayak”. 
  • Background. Five librarians in section. Primarily CIP cataloging, materials received from publishers. Also books that need original children’s cataloging. Provide subject headings and summaries for teachers/librarians (“but we don’t give away the ending”). Project – still paper files, working at LC policy group, some memos for children’s programs. First one distributed was on how to write summaries. Testing BIBFRAME with SH. Turns out many headings are still in paper card file. 
  • Q: Any EDI-related evaluation of subject headings? A: Yes, monthly meetings include looking at old and new headings for appropriateness. They are working to ensure that independent publications, which tend to reflect works by underrepresented authors, get full treatment, not just the big publishers.
  • Q: Mechanism for change proposals? A: Anyone can email suggestions. ( Monthly meetings, in coordination with J. Young. No proposals received from outside LC so far. Currently, only 900 headings are discoverable in; another 20,000 approved (LCSH usable by CYAC) headings remain in a card file only. They are open to collaboration. 
  • Q: Will there be a large number of CYAC going out through distribution service? When they are distributed together with LCSH, vendors cannot always sort out. Can you publicize when there will be a large number of records distributed? A: They are discussing options, including sending out through BIBFRAME. 

Library of Congress Dewey Program (Caroline Saccucci) 

Dewey Decimal Classification and OCLC Dewey Services (Michele Zwierski)

  • Looking for EPC (Editorial Policy Committee) member from ALA. EPC itself is seeking clarification on appointment process. Contact Zwierski; names will be sent to ALA (Core?) for consideration. 

International Federation of Library Associations (Judy Jeng)

  • C. Saccucci noted that training for subject analysis group is collecting competencies and standards for training; automated subject analysis

SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies (Casey Mullin) 

  • Highlights: close to next version of Chronological BPs (v.1.0), which in response to feedback including definitions of aggregate. Future BPs to follow once their MARC proposal is fully implemented. Version 1.1 will account for expression dates.
  • Retrospective toolkit is designed to be modular. Two ready plus summary document. For individual modules, exploring possibility of continuous updates. The ability to be dynamic for mappings would be helpful as they work through very detailed solutions.
  • Future need: version control through ALA.

Report of the chair of SAC (Brian Stearns)

  • Committee has been engaged with monthly review of tentative lists, literary author numbers, and multiples subdivisions. The work has been rewarding and enjoyable.
  • SAC encourages liaisons to tell communities SAC might be willing to help with projects or questions. 
  • Stearns’s second one-year term ends Annual 2021 (Chairs are limited to two one-year terms).

New business: SAC business and review of committee work

  • ALA transitions ALCTS to CORE ALA Connect space; sympa email list to Connect. Result: nonmembers who were able to subscribed to the email list of access the ALCTS space now being unable to access either. This was not SAC’s intention. 
  • For the next meeting, liaisons will submit reports in Connect, and associate members of Chair will also add them to Core-provided SAC Google Drive for wider access (noted that LC cannot use Drive for official business). A working group organized by Rose Krause will issue recommendations by May on how public to make SAC’s Connect space and how to address archiving and internal communication needs. 
  • Clarification of committee structure and committee planning: 12 regular members including SAC liaisons to CC:DA and MAC, and 2 associate members (formerly interns); liaisons who are appointed by other organizations (e.g. MLA) are now all “liaison.” 
  • Noted that the eligibility criteria on ALCTS website are outdated. 
  • V. Fox suggested that a written list of any remaining action items be passed to the next chair. 

LCSH to MeSH mapping (Barbara Bushman and guest Joelen Pastva (Northwestern))

Northwestern reached out to NLM. The LCSH to MeSH mapping Project at Northwestern University was started by Gary Strawn in 1990 and is now under their Health Sciences Library staff. The project addressed having multiple vocabularies in the catalog, mapping each to each other, focusing on topical LCSH–MeSH and recording mappings in MARC 7xx fields. This is done internally, and they publish mapping files in their IR. Uses: see also references; cataloging tool for assigning headings when cataloger familiar with one or the other; NLM using in medical text indexer; interoperability in some systems. Following retirement of the primary cataloger at Northwestern working on this, they are considering what to do with the project. A poll was sent out; most respondents were not familiar with the project or comfortable with secondary vocabulary. They are working to promote awareness and to identify collaborators, tools, workflows, and use cases. They will start testing a new workflow March 2021.The poll resulted in a good roster of volunteers. B. Bushman offered that NLM can let the project know when they make proposals. A. Schiff noted that the Linked Data Service at LC would be a great place to use this.

Further work for “Illegal aliens” subject heading 

This was the first agenda item of the second meeting, to allow ample discussion time, for next steps following the “Report of the SAC Working Group on Alternatives to LCSH ‘Illegal aliens’” (June 19, 2020)

  • Discussion on a resolution made to ALA Council at Midwinter 2021 that was withdrawn; it seems the resolution was made without an awareness of SAC’s recommendations. If the resolution returns to Council in June, SAC may want to present their earlier report accompanied by a statement of current support for its content.
  • Discussion of difference between SAC’s recommendations and LC’s original revision proposals. SAC’s recommendations—issued after LC’s—stand. If LC later makes changes (which may or may not be the same as they were in 2016), it will be up to institutions to determine their own practices. One member suggested that if LC produces an acceptable heading that we should us it, even if not the same as the SAC recommendations; in the meantime, libraries want to make changes should follow SAC’s recommendation.
  • Tina Gross noted that ALA has already passed a resolution directed at Congress (not Library of).
  • FYIs, local approaches in current use: normalization rules (Alma/Primo) (MARC record unchanged; different display generated to end users), outsourced authority processing to add additional alternative terms in local field (Marcive), local automated authority processing (III) using locally modified authority records to generated changes in bibliographic record 650s.
  • Next steps: The working group’s plan is still to create a clearinghouse of step-by-step procedures for use in a local ILS. Things remain status quo at LC, so the group will proceed. ALA has set up a Connect site, but the clearinghouse needs to be more accessible and editable. 
  • Clearinghouse focus: Discussion of whether to focus it specifically on Illegal aliens or make it a more general resource for any local LCSH changes. General agreement that a site that focuses on technical issues would be of wide benefit for libraries making any local subject headings changes, whether to ameliorate offensive terms or to perform in-house bibliographic file maintenance. Illegal aliens could serve as a case study. Upkeep of the website could be incorporated into regular work of SAC. 
  • Discussion of whether clearinghouse should address specific terms: not preferable. V. Fox offered to continue maintaining the Cataloging Lab sit with its list of terms. That would encourage discussion at local levels and free SAC from having to officially vet each term. 
  • Violet Fox (Chair of the SAC WG) thanked the group and discussion participants. 

Wikidata for subject work (Adam Schiff)

Adam Schiff gave a presentation on a project at University of Washington (UW) to create or edit Wikidata entries for UW-affiliated persons, corporate bodies, buildings, theses, and subjects (field, occupation, degrees, thesis topics). Schiff began with a basic overview of Wikidata, and then moved on to discuss examples of UW’s contribution. Classes with significant contribution included Field of work (wind conducting; mental health research), Occupation (orchestral musician; writing teacher; speech scientist; many additional music-related occupations), Position (associate chair; graduate advisor), Degree (Master of City Planning; Physik-Diplo), subjects (nickel nanoparticle; atom interferometry; many additional sciences subjects). The UW API for subjects is posted on Wikidata. 

Schiff then discussed Wikidata in MARC. Catalogers can use the Wikidata label and URI in 3xx/6xx in bib records and 3xx in authority records if a term in a controlled vocabulary is not available. For example, the book Seattle Poets and Photographers has 386 “Seattleites” from Wikidata, because LCDGT does not contain city-level demonyms. Wikidata does not have a $2 MARC source code. Maintenance can be an issue for text strings, which can change frequently and must be manually updated (URLs stay the same). For use in MARC 650, if they propose a term through SACO they use 650_0 [Term] $1, and go back and control heading if approved. If they do not make a SACO proposal, they use 650_4 [Term] $1. Q: When do they propose terms? A: If they have already done the work needed for a SACO proposal. Q: Do URIs display? A: Orbis Cascade does not show the URI in the public Primo interface. 

Core SAC Subcommittee on Faceted Vocabularies

Summarized from MW21 report to SAC by Casey Mullin, SSFV Chair. The Vocabularies Chair regrets being unable to attend the meeting. 

Genre/Form Task Group

  • The group continues to polish two mapping spreadsheets, which can be used in machine-assisted retrospective applications: 1) LCSH form subdivisions (and select topical subdivisions) to LCGFT equivalents as well as demographic term equivalents as applicable, and 2) MARC fixed field codes to LCGFT equivalents. 
  • Next steps: The group will finalize mapping spreadsheets and write an introductory narrative to forthcoming retrospective implementation toolkit, and submit to SAC for feedback. 

Demographic/Geographic Task Group

  • The Demographic and Geographic task groups have merged, in order to benefit from a larger talent pool, and in recognition of the significant overlap between these two areas in the facet-verse (e.g., demonyms in 386 and their corresponding geographic places in 370). 
  • Work plan for coming year: Continue work on LCSH demographic mappings 
  • Coordinate with Genre/form group where overlap exists (e.g., LCSH form subdivisions)
  • Look at 370 semantics, including possibility of vocabulary for $i/$4 to specify nature of place (creation, setting, etc.)
  • Develop narratives that can be incorporated into the SSFV retrospective implementation toolkit or published as separate white papers, etc.
  • Compile list of lacunae in LCDGT

Chronological Task Group

Best Practices for Recording Faceted Chronological Data in Bibliographic Records, version 1.0 nearly finished [sent to SAC February 26, 2021]. Updates include abundant clarifications, explanatory captions for examples, etc.

MARC Proposal 2021-06 submitted and approved

The chronological best practices will be further revised to incorporate these MARC changes after they are fully implemented.

Other Events in Lieu of Midwinter

  • Core: Core opened the Midwinter 2021 virtual interest group week to all, with sessions freely accessible live and recorded for later viewing. The following sessions (linked below) contained material of particular interest to vocabularies/subject cataloging:
  • OCLC: The OCLC Cataloging Community Meeting was held January 15, 2021, open to all. Subject-related content included a session on subject headings for indigenous peoples/First Nations: “Subject headings for First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation” (Stacy Allison-Cassin) and “Authority Work, Names, and Vocabulary: An Indigenous Centered Approach” (Adolfo R. Tarango).
  • PCC: PCC Virtual Meeting (combined PCC at large and PCC participants programs) was held February 19, 2021, open to all. The meeting agenda includes link to recording and written versions of opening statements by Amber Billey, Violet Fox, and Tina Gross. The thought piece, “Emerging thoughts on LCSH” (Judith Canaan) is only available through the recording (first segment).