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OCLC Expert Cataloging Community Sharing Session minutes, January 2020

Minutes of the OCLC Expert Cataloging Community Sharing Session
ALA Midwinter Meeting
Friday, 2020 January 24
10:30 a.m.-12:00 noon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The ALA Midwinter 2020 Edition of Breaking Through: What’s New and Next from OCLC and the compilation of News From OCLC were distributed. The following items were highlighted:

The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) Authority File is now available for searching and browsing in WorldShare Record Manager. In Record Manager you can verify and link to AAT vocabulary terms in your catalog records.

OCLC Products and Services Release Notes: Find the most current release notes for many OCLC products and services as well as links to data updates and to dynamic collection lists at OCLC has recently made WorldCat Matching release notes available for the first time. These are mainly relatively small improvements to Duplicate Detection and Resolution (DDR) and/or Data Sync matching. WorldCat Validation release notes have been made available on a regular basis for some time. Sixteen additional bibliographic fields (mostly 3XXs) are now eligible for addition and/or correction in non-CONSER records as part of Expert Community capabilities. In February 2020, the MARC Bibliographic and Holdings Update Number 29 validation changes will be implemented, including all new MARC Codes announced between November 2019 and January 2020. Coming up soon thereafter are the long-anticipated updates to the validation rules for MARC Authorities, which await coordination among Library of Congress (LC) and all of the Name Authority Cooperative (NACO) nodes, including OCLC. This covers most MARC authority updates going back to 2014.

Nathan Putnam (Director, Metadata Quality) spoke about the Shared Entity Management Infrastructure (SEMI), a two-year, $2.4 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that will be matched by OCLC, focusing on works and persons. It will work with multiple descriptive and encoding standards and is intended to be a collaboration with the wider scholarly and library communities, making use of persistent identifiers. OCLC will partner with members of the cooperative, the Linked Data For Production (LD4P) project, Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), Big Heads, and others to provide feedback and testing. Included will be consideration of what entity quality means and the creation of workflows. Interested institutions may send a message to The press release is available at A wide range of options for making this infrastructure available to the library community and others is anticipated.

Cynthia Whitacre (Senior Metadata Operations Manager, Metadata Quality) spoke about OCLC’s plans for expanding the Expert Cataloging Community Sharing Session beginning at ALA Annual in June 2020. A survey for the tentatively renamed “OCLC Cataloging Community Meeting” was distributed, asking for reactions to some possible changes and requesting additional suggestions. The revamped session might begin with refreshments from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m., then move on to business from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The meeting room might be set up with tables for small group discussions. The scope of the program may include presentations from members of the cooperative and others at OCLC, possibly lightning talks and hot topics.

Robert Bremer (Senior Consulting Database Specialist, Metadata Policy) discussed cataloging updates regarding CONSER records. In Bibliographic field 588 (Source of Description Note), CONSER participants can now use First Indicators 0 (Source of Description) and 1 (Latest Issue Consulted) in CONSER records instead of keying in the corresponding text. OCLC will work with LC to convert CONSER records to match the changes already made to non-CONSER records.

Robert Bremer also discussed the updated “OCLC Macrobook 2019,” now available for download at Cataloging software downloads. It includes revised versions of the GenerateAuthorityRecord and Generate043 macros, as well as two new macros, PunctuationAdd and PunctuationDelete, designed to accommodate either practice in accord with the new PCC Guidelines for Minimally Punctuated MARC Bibliographic Records (

A project is underway, in close cooperation with UCLA, to add Cyrillic text to bibliographic records that lack Cyrillic, based upon the transliterated Cyrillic that is present. The automated process works well with accurately transliterated text. According to our testing, it is expected that roughly two-thirds of the added fields will be properly added, benefiting WorldCat users who want to search using Cyrillic characters. The first phase of this project will be limited to the relatively simpler cases of:

  • Russian language resources published in Russia, in an attempt to avoid records that might include descriptive elements that appear only in the Latin alphabet; and,
  • Russian language resources cataloged in English, to increase the likelihood that the transliterated text follows ALA/LC transliteration practices.

Bibliographic records representing resources in Cyrillic languages other than Russian (such as Bulgarian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) will not be part of this project. More complex records will have to wait for later stages of the project, by which time OCLC will have gained more knowledge about which circumstances may and which may not be safely and accurately processed.

Hayley Moreno (Database Specialist II) discussed the recent schedule changes to the Virtual AskQC Office Hours (VAOH).  Starting in January 2020, OCLC has been presenting the sessions twice a month, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on the first Tuesday of the month, and at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on the Thursday of the following week. The intention is to try to accommodate as many time zones as possible. Details on upcoming sessions are at, along with links to previous sessions. The best-attended session was August 2019, an overview of Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) (, with 220 attendees. On average, the sessions have had 141 attendees. There was a tie for most questions asked, 46 questions at the October 2018 session on parallel records and language of cataloging and at the first VAOH in January 2018 on the conversion of field 260 to 264. Academic institutions accounted for 59% of attendees, public institutions for 24%, government agencies for 12%, and corporate/vendor/other institutions for 5%. OCLC is always happy to entertain suggestions for future VAOH topics; please submit your ideas to

Nathan Putnam presented statistics on bibliographic enrichment activities among the Expert Community, roughly 85,000 to 95,000 bibliographic records enriched per month during the first half of the 2020 Fiscal Year. As of the end of December 2019, there were over 469 million bibliographic records in WorldCat, 279 million work clusters. Participants in the Member Merge Project (MMP) merged 3041 sets of records in October 2019 (when a new MMP cohort began work) and an average of around 1500 in the other months of the first half of Fiscal Year 2020. Special recognition was given to Casey Mullin (Western Washington University), who has been an MMP participant since 2017 and was the first to serve also as a reviewer. He is currently independent on merging bibliographic records for print/electronic books, scores, visual materials, maps, and sound recordings.

Laura Ramsey (Senior Metadata Operations Manager, Metadata Quality) hosted the OCLC Trivia Quiz, which included the following questions:

How many countries does OCLC have members in?


In what year did OCLC begin the Expert Community?


What field can members with full-level authorization or cataloging role change in a CIP record?

Fixed field Dates.

What field is used to record a note about binding information for rare books and special collections? 


The floor was then opened to general questions.

May users continue to spell out the display constants in field 588, or are we required to use the First Indicators 0 for “Source of Description” and 1 for “Latest Issue Consulted?

You may continue to spell them out, but OCLC will convert them to the corresponding indicators.  Most users have adopted the indicators.

On the Cyrillic project, what about Ukrainian and Bulgarian?

This is the just the first step. UCLA was working on Russian, so we traded notes. To reduce concerns about messing records up, the materials are required to be published in Russia, so that the 260/264 fields are more likely to be correct. If this first step is successful, we can refine it to handle more problematic records and complex situations. At that point, other Cyrillic script languages may be possible.

Comment: Mongolian would be nice.

If the record has both Russian and Ukrainian, what will be done?

If field 245 contains an equal sign, or if field 041 is present, or if there are non-Latin characters other than Cyrillic, then the record will be skipped. Only the easy cases will be done at first.

Why are there some scripts that still won’t display in Connexion?

Such instances are usually related to the font rather than to the script. In most cases, the characters are actually there even if they do not display properly.

Within the Shared Entity Management Infrastructure (SEMI), how is a “work” being defined?

OCLC Research compares various standards for “work.” Within SEMI, it isn’t exactly a BIBFRAME Work, but is closer to that than to a strict FRBR Work. It takes format into account, rather than combining expressions.

Is the OCLC concept of “work” usable outside of OCLC?

OCLC’s intention is to create an infrastructure that will allow data transfer back and forth. The wide community participation and cooperation – LC, PCC, LD4P, and so on – will ensure this interoperability. 

On the WorldCat Matching Release Notes, will these help us understand why the former PromptCat delivers Encoding Level M records when an older ELvl I record is available? Or to whom should we talk about that?

The Matching Release Notes will cover mostly small changes to matching, usually fixing things that have been reported to us or that we’ve discovered in our testing and other work on matching. As far as any problems you are having with WorldCat Cataloging Partners through Record Manager, please contact OCLC Customer Service with examples. The product people will look into whatever issues you’re having and try to address both the specific problems and any broader implications that might be involved.

Our institution was a Project Passage participant, and liked the examples created there. What impact will the new infrastructure being “schema agnostic” have on things?

The back end will be schema agnostic. The cataloger's interface would reflect the schema of the cataloger's choice. Currently, the backend format of WorldCat is what might be called "MARC on steroids," but it’s still MARC-based and limited by MARC. The schema agnosticism means that the future infrastructure will not be confined by MARC.

What is the current status of Record Manger versus Connexion?

There continues to be no end-of-life date for Connexion. If such a date is ever determined, Connexion users will be given ample advance notice. New functions are being added to Record Manager, and currently only to Record Manager, all the time. Whether you choose to use Record Manager or Connexion remains your choice.

With new vocabularies such as AAT, will they get controlled by automated processes?

If you add a correctly formulated AAT heading to a WorldCat record using Connexion, an offline process will later come along and update it. In Connexion, the heading would appear followed by the corresponding subfield $0.

We would like to be able to add the title to a specific collection from Record Manager after it has been cataloged without going into the Knowledge Base. Is this possible?

Although this is not currently possible, it is among the enhancements we will be considering after some significant work-in-progress on the Knowledge Base is completed late in the 2020 calendar year.

Is there a plan for dealing with Application Profiles with the new RDA?

OCLC hasn't really talked about Application Profiles in much detail at this point, but once the new RDA Toolkit is published at the end of 2020, we will need to ensure that it's in place.


Additional questions may be addressed to

Authority record change requests and duplicate reports may be sent to

Respectfully submitted by
Doris Seely
University of Minnesota
2020 January 29

With contributions and edits from Bryan Baldus, John Chapman, Nathan Putnam, Laura Ramsey, Cynthia Whitacre, and Jay Weitz.

2020 February 20