College & Research Libraries News

Sixty-Ninth Meeting of the Association of Research Libraries

The 69th meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in New Orleans, was opened by the chairman, Foster E. Mohrhardt of the National Agricultural Library, at 2:15 p.m. on January 8.

Seven new members, recommended by a committee of the Board of Directors, were elected. They are the libraries of the University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of British Columbia, University of Georgia, State University of New York at Buffalo, Southern Illinois University, and Tulane University. This brings ARL’s membership to eighty.

The afternoon session was devoted almost entirely to a discussion of the organization of the ARL and its present and foreseeable needs and how they can be met. The resignation of James E. Skipper, who was appointed in 1962 as ARL’s first executive secretary, occasioned an extensive review by ARL’s policy-making body, the elected officers and Board of Directors. During the last four years, much legislation of significance to research libraries, such as the Higher Education Act, the International Education Act of 1966, the Medical Library Assistance Act, and the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, has been passed. Such important programs as the National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging (NPAC), with its international shared cataloging features, have been started and the nucleus of a national preservation program will soon get under way at LC. There has been substantial progress in automating library activities at LC, including the experimental distribution of machine-readable catalog data on tapes (MARC), at MIT, at the University of Chicago and elsewhere. Research libraries have given increased attention to and have gained a voice in planning for national information systems.

To maintain a position of leadership—to carry on the necessary liaison with Congress and government agencies, with professional and learned organizations, including international bodies, and with ARL committees and the member libraries and to provide essential staff work—ARL must have adequate financing for its secretariat and its programs. To recruit a mature, highly qualified executive officer, ARL will have to provide a salary competitive with those offered by research libraries and, to give adequate staff assistance, an additional professional position will be needed. It was the Board’s opinion that this support should come mainly from membership dues, although since ARL’s incorporation in 1962 it has been permitted to receive grants. Accordingly, the Board recommended that the dues for each member library be raised to $1,500 annually, beginning with 1967. After much discussion from the floor, the membership approved this.

Consideration was also given at the Sunday afternoon meeting to the name of the organization and the titles of the chief elected officers (chairman and vice chairman) and of the chief executive officer, who is appointed. The Board recommended that the name. Association of Research Libraries, be retained, so that was not a point at issue. After extensive discussion from the floor, it was voted that the title of the Executive Secretary should be changed to Executive Director to reflect better the status and responsibility of this position as the organization’s chief executive officer. It was decided that the titles of the elected head and assistant head of the organization should be changed to President and to Vice President and President-elect and the Bylaws were amended accordingly.

A policy statement on attendance at ARL meetings was adopted. Essentially, it provided that attendance be limited to the chief librarian (director) of each member library; that if he could not attend, he could designate an official representative, with full responsibility to act for the member library; and that attendance by others must be requested by the head of a member library and approved by the executive director or the president on an individual basis. Program participants and, as required, chairman of ARL committees who are not official representatives will continue to receive invitations.

Jerrold Orne (University of North Carolina), chairman of the Committee on Non-GPO Publications, submitted “A Proposed Program to Improve Bibliographic Control and Distribution of Government Publications” and commented briefly on it. His committee felt, he said, that the ARL had to take a stand on the acquisition of non-GPO produced documents regardless of what steps other groups may take to insure full implementation of the Depository Library Act. He pointed out that it is estimated that “departmental” and “field” printing offices operated by federal agencies produce as many publications as are printed at the main GPO. Most of the non-GPO publications do not get into the depository library distribution system administered by the Superintendent of Documents, and there is but fragmentary bibliographical control over them. Report literature resulting from government-supported research and commercial printing done on contract directly with federal agencies also do not get into depository library channels. Formerly the committee took the position that technical literature could be obtained through the Commerce Department’s Clearinghouse for Science and Technical Information, but the Federal Regional Technical Report Centers were discontinued when National Science Foundation funds for their support were withdrawn. Now, therefore, the committee proposes that one record copy of all non-GPO publications go to a central office, either the GPO or LC, preferably the latter. Dr. Orne said, because it is in a better position to select the publications of research value; that the publications selected be listed in the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications; and that microcopies be made and distributed free of charge to the depository libraries requesting such materials. The Congressional Joint Committee on Printing and/or the Bureau of the Budget should take action. Dr. Orne felt, to get full compliance with the legislation already enacted which is designed to supply LC and the depository libraries with government publications wherever and however published.

Edmon Low (Oklahoma State University) urged joint action with other library groups on the depository situation, pointing out that although about 70 per cent of the depository libraries are in academic institutions they are not all ARL members. The Librarian of Congress reported on a conference he and the deputy librarian and the assistant librarian had recently had with the Public Printer, James L. Harrison, who assured them that the GPO wanted to implement the Depository Library Act as fully and as rapidly as funds, staff, and space permit. Mr. Harrison pointed out the difficulty of acquiring sufficient copies of non-GPO publications for depository distribution, the enormous number of titles, and their frequent application to local situations only, as well as the danger of a breakdown in the depository library distribution system if it is overloaded.

There would have to be legislation to authorize the furnishing of free microcopies, of course, and funds for this would have to be appropriated. The ad hoc Joint Committee on the Depository Library Program, on which ARL is represented and of which Benjamin Powell (Duke University) is chairman, and ALA’s American Association of State Libraries, which proposes a survey of federal and state documents programs, will continue to give attention to ways and means of full implementation of the Depository Library Act. There was general agreement that this is a national need that should be called to the attention of the National Advisory Commission on Libraries with full supporting data.

Authur T. Hamlin (University of Cincinnati) was the closing speaker of the afternoon session, giving a vivid, eye-witness account of the ravages to libraries in Florence caused by the early November flood. Mr. Hamlin, who was in England as a Fulbright Research Scholar, was sent to Italy by the American Library Association to report on the situation.

When the flood struck, it came with such force and suddenness that not only were books inundated but many were swept off the shelves and buried in a mixture of silt and sewage and fuel oil. Those left on the shelves soon swelled into an immovable mass and could be liberated only by demolishing the shelves.

More than a million of the estimated one million seven hundred thousand volumes damaged by the flood were in Florence’s Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, which is on the banks of the Amo. Manuscripts and incunabula largely escaped because they were on upper floors, but two great collections of 16th-18th century books, a large, unique collection of newspapers, and all the journals were buried in the sludge. It also covered the card catalogs, but they were packed tight enough, fortunately, so that it did not penetrate between the cards. The Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana, which is published by the BNC in Florence, lost its computer and other machinery and its stock of 1958-61 annual volumes. The cards for 1962- 66 were watersoaked but can be reproduced; and the 1966 volume will be completed. (Work will be continued in Rome: Centro Nazionale per il Catalogo Unico, c/o Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele H, via del Collegio Romano, 27.)

The enormous courage and leadership of the Itahan librarians, led by Emanule Casamassima, director of the BNC, the mobilization of government assistance, and the spontaneous response of college students, both Italian and foreign, who flocked to help in the rescue work, greatly impressed Mr. Hamlin. Initially, the books had to be dug out, cleaned as best they could be, and trucked to drying centers as far south as Rome, where they will be given further restorative treatment. But repair and replacement will take years and a great deal of money. Individual contributions to the Committee to Rescue Italian Art will help, and it is expected that American groups will seek foundation support. (Further information about the flood damage will be published in an article by Mr. Hamlin, “The Libraries of Florence, November 1966,” in the ALA Bulletin for February 1967.)

The business meeting of the ARL, which followed dinner, was called to order at 7:10 p.m., with President Mohrhardt in the chair. The ARL Liaison Committee with the National Advisory Commission on Libraries was announced; it is composed of Douglas W. Bryant (Harvard University), Warren J. Haas (University of Pennsylvania), Frederick H. Wagman (University of Michigan), Stanley L. West (University of Florida) and Mr. Skipper, with incoming ARL President Rutherford D. Rogers (Stanford University) as chairman.

Herman H. Fussier (University of Chicago) described his institution’s automation project, an effort partially financed by the National Science Foundation, to create “an integrated, computer-based, bibliographical data system for a large university library.” The identification of the basic data required by the library for its own operation and its services to readers is of primary concern in the project, rather than the current library administrative structure that creates or uses such data. The library, in cooperation with the Institute for Computer Research at the University of Chicago, took delivery of an IBM 360/30 computer with two complete 1050 terminal sets and a variety of equipment. It is being used almost entirely for library applications and as an input/output device to a large experimental computer called the “Maniac.”

Dr. Fussier acknowledged the many contributions others have made in the field, but said that he believed that the system being designed at Chicago goes beyond prior efforts in the following respects:

1. The concept of the on-line storage of an extremely comprehensive package of full bibliographical and full processing data, parts or all of which are capable of being extended, altered, deleted, reformatted, or differentially selected for a wide variety of library operations or objectives. For example, the stored information will be used for searching to determine holdings; acquisition-order preparation; fiscal, dealer, and order control files; administrative and other performance reports; the preparation of manual or machine-readable charge cards; the generation of a variety of acquisition lists; book-pocket labels, spine labels, and bindery tickets; the printing of complete arrays of catalog cards, printed approximately in alphabetical order, with added entries and subject headings added in the proper location, and with catalog card runs divided for the various departmental and other catalogs of the library, as well as the catalogs into which they are to be filed. Later, it is expected that book circulation data, serial, fiscal, title and holdings data, will be handled.

2. The effort to develop programing that will permit use of the computer for a variety of different purposes more or less simultaneously via remote terminal equipment.

3. The expectation of handling, where required, either input or output on a real-time basis for either single items or a series of items, or, where indicated, for batch processing, e.g., catalog card production or cataloging data input.

4. The potential of an exceptionally large character font capability with moderate—but not unsatisfactory—output speeds on equipment of relatively low cost.

Initial efforts have been directed toward the system design and the programing required to handle the central bibliographical and processing data. Dr. Fussier said that they are very near to being able to handle the production of catalog cards on a routine basis, with all the basic software implied. The next major objective is an on-line circulation control system. Some phases of serials work will probably come next.

Chief problems are those encountered by all who have been trying to utilize computers in the solution of major library operations. Initial schedules have not been maintained in part because of early hardware “downtime,” the almost total initial absence of satisfactorily tested machine-operating software, the lack of programers with 360 system experience, and the fact that programing difficulties were underestimated.

Recognizing the desirability of keeping the library community fully informed, his staff is now preparing descriptions of key and subsidiary system elements, and Dr. Fussier hopes to have some of them ready for distribution by spring along with adequate documentation on the computer programs, which presently require between twelve and fifteen thousand punched cards. Surely, Dr. Fussier concluded, “eighty to one hundred college libraries ought not to have to go through this process, but I am not persuaded that I can send you a deck of fifty thousand punched cards and you can push a button and be in business. These systems have to be dynamic. If we spend very much of our time telling you what we are trying to do, however, we risk delaying development and actual production, which could jeopardize NSF funding for the second year of the project, which, in turn, would certainly jeopardize the project.”

President Mohrhardt and Executive Director Skipper then reported on the Board’s recommendations and other developments, most of which were discussed and acted upon in the afternoon session. Because graduate support costs libraries more than undergraduate support, ARL hopes to gain acceptance for a weighted factor for graduate support, rather than the flat $10 now provided for under the supplemental grant provision of Title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Mr. Skipper pointed out the difficulty of obtaining multiple copies of Congressional bills and documents; the executive director will therefore distribute information about them and he urged that library directors seek copies directly from Congress. He also announced that a cut-off date for the receipt of statistics from member libraries will have to be established, after which an interim report on the statistics will be published and a final report will be issued after all the figures are received. Noting that this was his last ARL meeting as its chief executive officer, Mr. Skipper thanked the ARL for his experience and valuable and pleasant associations.

Mr. Bryant, chairman of the Preservation Committee, who had filed his report, called attention to the proposal for a pilot project, drafted by and to be administered by LC as the first phase in a national preservation program. The committee has approved this proposal and the Council on Library Resources, Inc., has made a grant to the ARL of $26,800 for it.

Dr. Wagman reported on the serials inventory, summarizing NSF’s interest in a world inventory of scientific and technical journals and the feasibility study it had made. When NSF queried LC on its interest in the project, LC responded that it felt that the inventory should cover the humanities as well as the sciences and social sciences, that, because of the broad data base already existing in LC, it was undoubtedly the best equipped to undertake a world inventory provided adequate financing could be furnished, but that it felt that a survey of potential uses should first be made. ARL’s committee on the inventory, appointed last year, became a subcommittee of the already existing Joint Committee on the Union List of Serials. The subcommittee asked LC to prepare a proposal for a National Serials Data Program. “It did a fantastic job,” Dr. Wagman reported, “presenting a carefully thought out four-phase program,” which when fully implemented would continuously collect data about serials, file and update information about them, and make such information available to the research community in useful form. The central file would be in machine-language, and information would be available in list and in manipulatable form. Phase I, which should be undertaken this year, would consist of three tasks; (1) To develop a standardized comprehensive set of data elements needed to control serials; (2) to conduct a survey to determine user requirements for the potential products and services of the program; and (3) to do the analyses and predesign work. The Joint Committee was to consider the detailed proposal and possible financing at the January 10 meeting in New Orleans.

David Kaser (Joint University Libraries, Nashville), chairman of the ARL Committee on Training for Research Librarianship, reported that the committee has decided that a comprehensive study is needed, that a draft outline of such a study has been made, and that discussions with appropriate agencies, organizations, and foundations have been held. An eighteen-month study by three persons, to begin as soon as financing is available, is contemplated. ARL members were asked to examine the draft outline and to submit suggestions as soon as possible.

William S. Dix (Princeton University), as chairman of the Shared Cataloging Committee, pointed to the “great progress” made at LC on the Title II-C National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging and by LC in developing cooperative arrangements with other national libraries and producers of national bibliographies. There are some technical problems to be solved, he said, but the greatest need is for catalogers with foreign-language capabilities. He urged all possible cooperation, for “if we have more at LC, we should need fewer.” He urged that arrangements to protect the status of university employees be worked out and that their services be somehow made available to LC. Money for the program could he a problem, he said, unless the full amount authorized for Title II-C is appropriated to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for transfer to LC.

Philip J. McNiff (Boston public library), chairman of the Farmington Plan Subcommittee on the Far East, submitted a report and commented briefly on it. The Chinese Material and Research Aids Service Center in Taipei reported a growing volume of business, with orders for some twenty-five thousand volumes handled during the year. Libraries were urged to expedite payments for these orders in order to insure the financial stability of the center. Among several publications and projects mentioned, it was reported that the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago and the East Asian Studies Center at the University of Kansas plan to microfilm the Western-language newspapers listed in Frank H. H. King’s and Prescott Clarke’s A Research Guide to China- Coast Newspapers, 1822-1911 (Harvard, 1965).

Mr. Haas, speaking for Stephen A. McCarthy (Cornell University), chairman of the Committee on Library Overhead Costs, commented on that committee’s final report. In some cases library costs are so clear and substantial that they can be separately itemized as a direct cost of a Government-supported research program. In most cases, however, library costs are considered part of the overhead. Then it is more difficult to determine the fair reimbursement for library expenditures. Three methods of doing so where analyzed in the report, which did not attempt to recommend one rather than another.

Marion A. Milczewski (University of Washington) reported on the Foreign Newspaper Microfilm Project. There are now one hundred forty newspapers on microfilm and sixty subscribers. The committee is studying the feasibility of transferring title for this operation from the ARL to the Center for Research Libraries, which is now the agent.

Gordon Williams (Center for Research Libraries), chairman of the Committee on National Library Information Systems (CONLIS), said that a policy statement is being drafted and should be completed in about a month. CONLIS is expected to recommend a central coordinating agency, with a governing body of librarians and other citizens and with fiscal authority to finance parts of the system which cannot finance themselves.

Mr. Williams, as chairman of the ARL Automation Committee, submitted its report, which mentioned the significance of LC’s automation effort, including the MARC Project, and the committee’s interest in having in machine-readable form the catalog records in other major library collections, but the problems and costs of converting such records are formidable. Conversion of the existing National Union Catalog seems to be the reasonable course, but it is not known whether the absence of many local call numbers and of subject headings for an unknown percentage of entries, and other factors, would be serious drawbacks. The CLR has expressed a willingness to support at least initial research to find some answers, and the committee is outlining a program for this.

John H. Berthel (Johns Hopkins University), described DIS, the Dissertation Inquiry Service of the Xerox Corporation. It is a computerbased, keyword indexing system that will give access to the U.S. and Canadian doctoral dissertations from 1938 to the present that are held by University Microfilms, Inc. The file totals one hundred ten thousand titles and is growing at the rate of 17 per cent annually. The Committee on Microfilming Dissertations believes DIS has the potential for valuable service to scholars.

Among several other reports submitted were those of Cecil K. Byrd (Indiana University) for the Coordinating Committee for Slavic and East European Library Resources; Howard Rovelstad (University of Maryland) on the Consumer Survey of New Serial Titles, which LC requested and CLR is financing; Richard E. Chapin (Michigan State University) for the Committee on Availability of Resources, which is presently concerned with simplified forms for ordering and paying for photocopies and with revision of the present Interlibrary Loan Code; Dr. Orne on the activities of the Z39 Committee on Library Work and Documentation, United States of America Standards Institute; and Dr. McCarthy for the Farmington Plan Committee’s South Asia Subcommittee and Labib Zuwiyya Yamak (Harvard) for the Middle East Subcommittee.

The three national libraries, NAL, NLM, and LC, submitted detailed reports, which were not discussed. Louis Kaplan (University of Wisconsin), however, commented with approval on LC’s suggestions for legislation broadening the scope of the programs authorized by Title II-C of the Higher Education Act.

Results of the afternoon balloting showed that Andrew J. Eaton (Washington University) was elected vice president and president-elect and that Mr. Haas and Mr. McNiff were elected to the Board.

A resolution of appreciation to Mr. Skipper for his services as the first chief executive officer of ARL was presented by Mr. Bryant and was passed with prolonged applause.

Noting the “lamentable trend among our sister organizations to have inaugural addresses,” Mr. Rogers, vice chairman for the last year, stated—to enthusiastic cries of “Hear! Hear!” and “Now! Now!”—that he was going to put a stop to this; in taking office as ARL president, however, he read two letters received by the Stanford alumni office that left his audience drowned in laughter and ended the 69th meeting in great good humor. The ARL will meet on June 24 in San Francisco preceding the annual conference of the American Library Association.—Elizabeth E. Hamer. ■■






Scientific Information Consultants Ltd

661 Finchley Road London N W 2

Copyright © American Library Association

Article Views (Last 12 Months)

No data available

Contact ACRL for article usage statistics from 2010-April 2017.

Article Views (By Year/Month)

January: 5
February: 5
March: 2
April: 3
May: 0
June: 2
January: 3
February: 2
March: 4
April: 0
May: 1
June: 0
July: 4
August: 3
September: 1
October: 1
November: 0
December: 5
January: 0
February: 0
March: 0
April: 0
May: 0
June: 0
July: 1
August: 10
September: 2
October: 3
November: 0
December: 2