Issues in Map Cataloging: Form/Genre and Digital Materials

Report on the program presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by ALA Map and Geography Round Table Cataloging and Classification Committee and ALCTS Cataloging and Classification Section. The program took place on Saturday, June 27, 1998 in the Washington Hilton Lincoln Room West. Six speakers talked on the cataloging aspects of form/genre headings and digital cartographic materials.

David Reser of the Cataloging and Support Office of the Library of Congress began by giving an update on activities relating to electronic resources cataloging and LCSH form/genre headings at LC. The first subject is covered by Draft Interim Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources (DCM B19), a document that has been developed by LC. This may be old news to many, as the document had been available for several months before the ALA program. Since the document is available on the CPSO web site, I give only a brief summary of Reser's remarks here. After pointing out why the guidelines are needed and why they are interim guidelines, he reviewed some of the terminology used in the guidelines. The issue of coding for content rather than carrier was reviewed, along with the constraints on LC's implementation of the change to content-oriented cataloging. The concept of manifestations was explained and the one- versus two-record approaches to cataloging multiple versions was briefly discussed.

Reser then listed a few ongoing efforts which will be watched by the library community: metadata issues, a current "hot topic;" the new ISBD(ER) and AACR2R harmonization; the impact of the redefinition of code "m" in the Leader/06 and changes in the fixed field for electronic resources, not soon to be implemented at LC (mainly due to the current lull in activity with ongoing projects in advance of the implementation of the new integrated library system (ILS)); working groups on seriality issues and rule 0.24 brought about by the results of last October's Toronto conference; and LC-specific projects (BEOnline and the Electronic Resources Project). Information about many if not all of these topics can be found on the Library of Congress web site, which is searchable.

On the form/genre problem, the speaker pointed out that the changes required to authority records to accommodate form/genre are only a subset of the new authority record elements. Indexing of the form/genre headings is a problem: subfield ‡v is not currently indexed in the LC system. There are normalization issues involving heading comparisons and duplicate detection. And form/genre will have an impact on other LC products.

As part of the LC implementation strategy, subdivision authority records will be created to control the approximately 3,000 form, topical, and chronological subheadings. These records will initially be skeletal and there will need to be two records created for subdivisions that can be used as both form and topical headings. Also, form subdivisions will have to be recoded in many existing authority records. CPSO will draft guidelines and update documentation on form subdivisions, to be included in 1998 update number 2 to Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. At the time of the presentation LC was intending to begin coding subfield ‡v in bibliographic records by November 1. The creation of subheading authority records will probably be phased in by format area, possibly after the implementation of the new ILS. One important note concerning the addition of form/genre authorities for headings also used as topical headings: some systems do not currently allow identical character strings in two different authority records.

For Draft Interim Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources, for information on subdivision authority records, and for current information about other cataloging issues, the CPSO web site can be accessed at http://lcweb.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/.

The second presenter was Paige Andrew, who talked about use of form and
genre terms in bibliographic records for cartographic materials. He began by giving credit to Barbara Story for a paper she had written from which much of the material in his talk had been drawn. After looking at some basic definitions, he talked about the application of the terms "form" and "genre" to maps. For example, "map" is a form, while "topographic map" would be regarded as a genre. Other groups had been working on the form/genre problem before map catalogers got into it. In fact, the history of this work goes back to 1979, when MARBI approved MARC fields 655 and 755 for forms and genres, respectively, for use with thesauri other than LCSH. In 1991 LC's "Subject Subdivision Conference" resulted in a request being submitted for subfield ‡v. In 1994, the 755 field was dropped due to the inability to unambiguously define the difference between form and genre. And in 1995, MARBI approved subfield ‡v for use in 6XX fields.

The map cataloging community is now working on the problems that other groups have encountered previously of how to use form/genre in subject analysis. Perhaps the most basic problem is when to use the 655 field and when to use subfield ‡v. Both techniques offer advantages to the searcher. Using subfield ‡v helps to prevent false drops, while recording form/genre in the 655 field enables the user to separately search for a particular form or genre. Many lean toward using both 655 and subfield ‡v: 655 if the form applies to the entirety of the material covered by the bibliographic record and subfield ‡v to link a form to a specific topical subject heading where not all subjects receive the form subheading.

Paige Andrew is a member of the Cartographic Form/Genre Working Group that has been working on these questions. The other members are Barbara Story, Elizabeth Mangan, and Mary Larsgaard. They began work in 1996. The goals of the group are to identify cartographic form/genre terms, to determine how to incorporate form/genre terms into the bibliographic record, and to get feedback from the cartographic community. After the initial meeting at the 1996 ALA Annual Conference in New York, they developed a set of principles for developing the headings list, then sought input from experts in the cartographic community. A year, later, at the 1997 meeting in San Francisco, they realized they needed to start over. The list needed to be re-drafted and made into a hierarchical thesaurus. The group wanted to wait until the LC-wide form/genre group had finished its work and also felt a need to consider the needs of local libraries.

Where are we now? The survey results did not provide much guidance. There was a very mixed response concerning the value of form/genre headings for maps. The group issued a report after the San Francisco meeting. Since then work has been delayed due to the situation at LC, where a lot of projects are on hold pending the implementation of the new system. The group is still welcoming any and all comments.

Ellen Caplan was next up, talking about OCLC's involvement in the documentation of electronic cataloging issues. She reported on a number of documents that have been produced by OCLC. Coding guidelines are dealt with in Cataloging Electronic Resources: OCLC-MARC Coding Guidelines and March 1998 Changes to Tagging by Rich Greene and OCLC Guidelines on the Choice of Type and BLvl for Electronic Resources by Jay Weitz. The OCLC coding guidelines cover topics including the change in definition of type "m," use of separate versus single records for different manifestations, use of the 006 and 007 fields, and 856 field changes.

Ellen commented on the use of existing records, emphasizing that OCLC members are not to input duplicate records and should report duplicates, records requiring type code changes, and errors. Policies on replacing existing records were also reviewed. To search for currently available documents visit the OCLC web site at http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/home1.htm.

The next speaker was Pat McGlamery, whose topic was Federal Geographic Data Committee metadata and how to make cartographic data accessible. He described some of the work being done by the University of Connecticut Center for Geographic Information and Analysis Metadata Project. The data processing project begins with USMARC data in maps format records. The starting point is paper maps because most digitized data are captured from maps. Most users are looking for spatial information and are not as concerned about the format. Sheet level metadata are compiled in the form of lat/long "footprints" needed to break out sets to generate FGDC compliant data. Several examples of products were shown.

One example involved information not in the University of Connecticut Library. A format was developed whereby data could be input by town clerks, for example. The system remembers who is inputting the data and can thus pinpoint the data geographically. This may be accomplished by entering bounding boxes for the town. The types of problems that can be anticipated with such a system were discussed.

Mary Larsgaard next talked about digital materials at the Map and Imagery Laboratory, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara. The Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) project grant was due to end in September 1998, but an extension of the grant had been applied for. Mary talked about the evolution of the cataloging of digital cartographic materials in the ADL. NSF in the original grant was interested in the user interface, so the cataloging interface was primitive. Some of the cataloging at ADL has been decidedly nonstandard as compared to the cataloging at the Davidson Library, which has always followed standard practice.

In the prototype catalog (October 1994-Spring 1995), they used new FGDC fields for metadata for items originally issued in digital form, and for scans of data originally issued in hard copy they cataloged both versions on one record. Back then in the early days of electronic resource cataloging, this meant they had to, in Larsgaard's words, "pray no one noticed" the oddities of this mode of cataloging. The first web version appeared in the summer of 1995, and was in use for three years. By this time the FGDC fields were provisionally available in USMARC, and they were entering a separate record for scanned versions of hard copy items. These were not standard records, however, as they included only the information that was unique to the electronic version and was linked to the record for the original using field 776 (Other Physical Form). The second edition of the web version was in the process of being implemented in the summer of 1998. The FGDC fields are now standard USMARC fare, and the cataloging at ADL has gone back to a two record approach for paper and electronic versions. They have gone back to standard cataloging because of other problems with the system. A relational database with multiple table joins had been used in earlier versions, which resulted in very slow access times.

Larsgaard announced that ADL would become part of the California Digital Library that was scheduled to be up by the end of the year. She also offered a note about how form and genre are handled in ADL. Genres are placed in an area of the record called "type," while form is given in a note beginning "Available as."

The final presenter was Elizabeth Mangan who talked about digital materials at the Library of Congress's Geography and Map Division (G&M). The division has been involved in the preparation of the geospatial metadata standard in FGDC. MARBI proposals were made to allow the MARC format to contain cartographic data. In 1995, a group of U.S. and Canadian catalogers met to discuss how to incorporate this information in the rules for cartographic cataloging, and work has been proceeding toward the proposal of new rules agreeable to both countries.

Also on the electronic cartographic materials front, a move to challenge the age-old rule of carrier over content has developed. This has given rise to the document titled Guidelines for Distinguishing Cartographic Materials on Computer File Carriers from Other Materials on Computer File Carriers and document DCM B19 mentioned above. As the cataloging of electronic cartographic materials evolves, the expectation is that FGDC data will eventually be incorporated into the MARC record. Mangan also touched on the practice that LC is calling delineation, a one-record approach for dealing with multiple formats, the equivalent of the dashed-on entry of days past.

A short question and answer period followed the presentations. The issue of
scale statement for digital items was brought up. American catalogers mostly feel that scale does not make sense in this context, while Canadians want the scale of the original to be part of the record. This is one of the important areas of discussion that has been going on between map librarians in the two countries to find a compromise that can be accommodated in rules acceptable to both countries. The Americans came up with the option of using the phrase "Scale not appropriate" in the 255 subfield ‡a. David Allen, the editor of the MAGERT web page, mentioned that he is working on a page of metadata. Finally, Ellen Caplan offered a clarification of a statement she had made earlier that the 006 and 007 fields are mandatory on computer file records; the fields are not on records for the originals of scanned items.

That's it for this report. For the February column, I intend to look at some interesting map cataloging questions that have come through the Internet, and I look forward to seeing some of my readers at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia.

Mark Crotteau