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Library Council
University of Toronto Central Library System

Annual Report of the Cataloguing and Authorities Users Group
Submitted by Alastair Boyd
Chair, Cataloguing and Authorities User Group


Assessor members
Elizabeth Black (Campus Database Co-ordinator)
Susan Cozzi (ITS)

Designated Members
Sherry Smugler (DMGIS)
Stephen Qiao (East Asian)
Joe Cox (FIS)
Len Ferstman (Innis)
Chris Tucker (Knox)
H. Rashid (Law)
P. J. MacDougall (Massey)
Carmen Garcia (Mt. Sinai)
John Fodi (Music)
Stephanie Swift (OISE/UT)
Astrida Ezergailis (Regis)
Alastair Boyd (Robarts)
Steve Greiner (Robarts)
Mary Ruscillo (Robarts)
Josy Visscher (Robarts)
Arthur Smith (ROM)
Michael Bramah (St. Michaels)
Sarah Sung (Thomas Fisher)
Sirpa Ruotsalainen (Trinity)
Mary Canning (UTM)
Diana Liang (UTSC)
Carmen Socknat (Victoria)

Members are appointed from any interested campus library that catalogues and contributes records directly to the on-line union catalogue. While there are a few libraries which do not participate, many others frequently send more than one person to meetings. Meetings are open to everyone.

Terms of Reference

  1. To assist contributors, both as a group and individually, in the utilization of all local system services and functions relating to cataloguing and authorities.
  2. To contribute to the maintenance and development of local policies for cataloguing and coding which are based on international standards.
  3. To advise UTL on database cleanup.
  4. To provide ongoing training and orientation for contributors in the proper use of local system cataloguing and authorities services and functions.
  5. To advise UTL on matters relating to automation which have an impact on the on-line catalogue.
  6. To advise UTL on matters relating to the local system cataloguing module and to recommend improvements and enhancements.
  7. To ensure consistent application of agreed standards so that the integrity of both bibliographic and authority records is maintained.
  8. To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas to improve access to information in the on-line union catalogue environment.
  9. To meet from time to time as required, but not less than 6 times per year. To report to Library Council once a year in October.
  10. To report to the Campus Union Catalogue Group meetings and send minutes of the Cataloguing and Authorities Users Group to all campus libraries regardless of representation in the Committee.

Note: the group met six times last year (November 2003, January, March, May, July and September 2004). Minutes of all meetings from December 2002 onwards are posted on the Robarts Cataloguing Department website (http://www.library.utoronto.ca/robarts/cataloguing/). Not just group members but all subscribers to the CatInfo distribution list are notified by e-mail as soon as the latest minutes are posted. The CatInfo list remains an essential forum for asking questions, circulating information, reporting system problems, etc.


Two years after the migration from DRA to Sirsi we are still cleaning up and fixing numerous database errors and inconsistencies. The work is being performed and supervised by Elizabeth Black, the Campus Database Coordinator, whose efforts are a focal point of all the Group's meetings. These ongoing projects have emphasized the importance of following standards and adhering to codes, in order to avoid such time-consuming and costly problems (where foreseeable) in the future. Now that group members are all reasonably familiar with the system, our focus is increasingly on sharing knowledge and achieving a mutually acceptable and reasonably consistent approach to cataloguing and coding practice.

Main Issues Considered

  • Access to source records through SmartPort: the CANMARC and CANAUTH files used to be available through DRANET, and the group felt it was important to continue to have access to these National Library records. After about a year Sirsi said they were unable to create a local database to load the authority file. Maks Okrasa (Robarts)and Tom Chan (ITS) worked on creating a local Z39.50 server and loading both CANMARC and CANAUTH files there to make them available through SmartPORT; loading and indexing problems were finally ironed out as of September 2004. At the group's request the U of A catalogue was also added.
  • Vendor records: loading begin in September 2003; after consultation with Collection Development a group consensus was reached by January 2004 on how to deal with them.
  • MARC-format Holdings and Sirsi Holding Codes for Serials: Elizabeth Black (CDC) has done a lot of work eliminating discrepancies between locations as given in MARC holdings records versus those in item records. (These discrepancies gave catalogue users confusing and incorrect information). Progress in this was discussed at Group meetings from November 2003 to May 2004.
  • Sirsi Reports training: At the request of many group members Tom Chan (ITS) provided several training sessions in running Sirsi reports, for which we are grateful.
  • Local bibliographic notes: although cataloguing principles (and Sirsi's record structure) discourage the addition of library-specific notes in the shared bibliographic record, there is still an occasional need to do this at some libraries. The group has discussed ways of making such notes clear and unambiguous to catalogue users.
  • Cataloguing electronic resources: in response to questions from several members, and in consultation with the group, Sian Meikle (ITS) has proposed some new guidelines for libraries wishing to create or load records for electronic resources. The process of adding such resources to the EIR list is to be automated, based on the catalogue record; hence the need for consistency concerning notes on access, URLs, etc.
  • MARC holdings record coding for non-serials: several libraries have begun using Sirsi's MARC holdings format to describe non-circulating multi-volume sets for monographs. Elizabeth Black (CDC) has provided some documentation to help us achieve code these consistently and correctly: not just for the sake of the current OPAC display, but also with an eye on any future data migration. This and other documentation is available to all cataloguers from the Robarts Cataloguing website.


Over the next few months we expect to deal with both some perennial and some new issues:

  • Migration of old serials holding information (090 subfield |d to Holdings 866 field)
  • Sirsi bug affecting copy record notes
  • 13-digit ISBNs
  • Authority clean-up
  • The upgrade to Unicorn 2004

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