ALA Notes: Have Metadata, Can Collaborate: Putting the MARC21 583 Field to Use in Cooperative Preservation Efforts

PDA Documentation
Debbie Funkhouser – Head of Collection Services, Published Materials, Schlesinger Library, Harvard University

  • Debbie provided a wonderful primer on the 583 field to which bullet point notes here just won’t do justice, laying the foundation with a bit of a crash course on MARC for those of us who did not pay attention in our cataloging grad courses (or who instead took archival arrangement and description, like me!).
  • Preservation & Digitization Actions: Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583  (this “serves both as instructional guidelines and as data dictionary”)
  • four required subfields:
    • action
    • time/date of action
    • souorce of term (pda)
    • Institutiion to which field applies (institutional code)
  • other fields that are not required but useful:
    • materials specified (describes the part of the collection or item on which you took action)
  • some fields require standard terminology (see PDF above), others do not
  • you can have multiple or “sequential” 583 fields to cover, for example, the reference desk requesting review, the conservator then performing the review, then the conservator performing the conservation work.  Each event would be documented through a sequential 583 entry
  • use macros to allow the non-cataloging-specialist to record preservation events into a MARC record
  • once you enter information into the 583 field, you can then harvest that data via reports — how many items have been identified as brittle?  how many items have been repaired with heat-set tissue in 2008?  Great potential to be used for statistics keeping

Development of local terminology at Harvard
Heather Caldwell – Head, Conservation Services, Harvard College Library, Harvard University

  • choose not to use the word “repair” as defined in the PDA — felt that the definition did not do justice to the expertise of the collections conservation program (used conserve instead)
  • other term of note: “mold damaged” — not going there (not going to use it @ Harvard) due to implications of long-term or ongoing damage / hazard
  • Used Etherington & Robert’s Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology and developed in-house set of terminology
  • a few examples of the terms developed: damaged, defaced, mutilated, flattened, guarded, hinge tightening, interleaved, pages cut, pages opened, recased, sewn, resewn, etc.
  • not all labs at Harvard are using the 583 field (Widener is not yet) — matter of staffing and resources.  Weissman using ACORN (to store written and photographic documentation).

Demonstration of macros used at Schlesinger
Amy Benson – Librarian/Archivist for Digital Initiatives, Schlesinger Library, Harvard University

  • Pretty cool!  Video forthcoming (permission of the presenter pending), and don’t even try to read what’s on the screen — just know that the macro selector is on the right, and you can watch the 583 field being “built” on the left.  (~2:00 minutes)

583 used with WorldCat Local Holdings
Jacob Nadal – Preservation Officer, UCLA Library

  • In 2010, Mellon Foundation supported the UCs and partners in WA, CA, and OR to start to plan for journal archiving — Western Storage Trust (WEST).  Archives Builders aggregate complete journal runs for a designated time period so that WEST member feel ok de-duping and withdrawing their print collections.
    • important to know about condition for these ‘master’ copies held by Archives Builders — that’s where the 583 and condition notes comes into play
    • Various rankings (bronze, silver, gold — there is a WEST platinum level, but it exists only on paper) are based on:
      • validation (shelf checking the item (bound volume) for presence (silver) vs. verifying the volume and issue (gold).  No validation required for bronze.
      • risk level
      • optimal copies eligible
      • environmental condition requirements (for example, for silver, preference expressed for storage facility over open library stacks and TWPI (time weighted preservation index) of 50-75 years; for gold, annual TWPI of 70 or better, 100 preferred)
  • WEST includes in the Local Holdings Record (LHR) condition, completeness, and commitment
  • completeness — if materials circulate, WEST members re-validate
  • commitment — lingo: “committed to retain” instead of “to preserve” or “to archive”
  • condition — ad hoc group of PARS working of this — let Jacob know if you want to get involved!
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