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College & Research Libraries News

Seventy-First Meeting of the Association of Research Libraries

Rutherford D. Rogers (Stanford University libraries), President of the Association of Research Libraries, opened its program session at 2 p.m. by introducing Frederick Burkhardt, president of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and recently acting chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Libraries (NACOL), who spoke on “Problems and Prospects of the Research Library.” He intended to summarize the comprehensive report, “On Research Libraries,” that ACLS had made to NACOL, Dr. Burkhardt said. When he accepted ARL’s invitation, he had supposed that the report would be public information by January. Since it had not yet been released by the commission, however, his remarks would have to be considered “privileged information.” He pointed out that he was not a librarian and was not speaking as one. He also emphasized that ACLS’s report differs from the commissions report. It is expected that the commission will publish the ACLS report, but it will bear a NACOL disclaimer to the effect that while it is a valuable report, the commission does not necessarily subscribe to all of it.

Dr. Burkhardt recalled briefly some of the history of the move for a national commission on libraries, including ACLS’s interest in such a body. After the National Advisory Commission on Libraries was established by President Johnson in September 1966, Dr. Burkhardt suggested to the commission’s chairman, Douglas Knight, president of Duke University, that ACLS might help by preparing a report on research libraries. This offer was later accepted, because NACOL decided to work by commissioning reports on broad areas of concern, and the proposed ACLS study was one of the areas of the commission’s interest.

Members of the ACLS Committee on Research Libraries, of which Dr. Burkhardt was chairman, were William O. Baker, Bell Telephone Laboratories; Kingman Brewster, president, Yale University; T. Robert S. Broughton, Paddison professor of classics, University of North Carolina; Douglas W. Bryant, university librarian, Harvard University; Lyman H. Butterfield, editor-in-chief of The Adams Papers; William Dix, librarian of the university, Princeton University; Herman Fussier, director of the library, University of Chicago; Warren Haas, director of libraries, University of Pennsylvania; Chauncy D. Harris, professor of geography, University of Chicago; James D. Hart, professor of English, University of California,

Berkeley; H. Field Haviland, Jr., director of Foreign Policy Studies, Brookings Institution; Gordon N. Ray, president, John Simon Guggenheim memorial foundation; Robert G. Vosper, university librarian, University of California, Los Angeles; Herman B Wells, chancellor, Indiana University; Walter Muir Whitehill, director and librarian, Boston Athenaeum; Gordon R. Williams, director, Center for Research Libraries, Chicago; Edwin Wolf 2nd, librarian, Library Company of Philadelphia; Louis B. Wright, director, Folger Shakespeare library; and staff director, Thomas P. Brockway, ACLS, former professor of history and dean of the faculty of Bennington College. Several small groups within the committee dealt with major problems and prepared drafts of reports, which were worked over by the committee. Some of the subjects studied, and on which reports were made, were the growth in publication, scope of research-library services, increase in demand for services, control of publications—acquisitions and cataloging, speed of communications, lack of staff, rising costs, and especially the application of computer technology to research library problems.

The time available for the study was short —March-November 1967—but, if there were to be any solutions to national library problems, the ACLS committee was convinced that there had to be greater participation by the federal government. It made eleven recommendations, which Dr. Burkhardt summarized, but like LC’s 63-page report to NACOL, the content must be held confidential until released by the commission.

In the discussion that followed, Vemer W. Clapp (consultant to the Council on Library Resources and a member of NACOL) complimented Dr. Burkhardt on the quality of the supporting studies, including that on the new technology, which he termed “permanent/ durable.” Dr. Fussier, also a member of NACOL and of the ACLS committee, pointed out that some of the committee studies overlapped some commissioned by NACOL; this, he said, was done deliberately to obtain various points of view. W. Stanley Hoole (University of Alabama library) spoke of hearings on public libraries held around the country by members of NACOL and of the recommendations repeatedly received—the needs, for example, for training, adequate funding, and publicity. Sir Frank Francis, director and principal librarian of the British Museum, who was a special guest, commented on the similarity of the United Kingdom’s research library problems and raised the question of form— the hind of service research libraries are giving. “Is it adequate to the new demands being made upon libraries,” he asked, “or is there the chance that we as librarians think that we know what the new users need, whereas we may not?” This was kept in mind, Dr. Burkhardt responded, and “felt needs” were often discussed by the committee, especially the information system concept and what it, as well as traditional library services, have to offer.

The question was also raised as to whether NACOL identified on the part of scientists any special disenchantment with libraries. If all they want are serials and abstracts, is not the need for the large research library overstated? Dr. Burkhardt said that he personally doubted that the research library is outdated or not needed by the scientist, but rather that scientists may be having a kind of “cliche reaction.” But, he said, “We actually do not know the facts about research-users of libraries.” Dr. Martin M. Cummings (National Library of Medicine) felt that there was no data to support the allegation that scientists do not use general research libraries. As past-president of of Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Ralph Ellsworth (University of Colorado libraries) inquired whether there was a “feeling of guilt” on the part of college presidents because there is “no planning for centralized service to avoid duplication.” Dr. Burkhardt said that, expecially in area studies, thought is being given to such matters as centralized acquisitions and cataloging and the use of cataloging data prepared in other countries, and that there are, for example, national musicology and national language programs.

Reports on the intensified cooperative programs undertaken by the three national libraries were also on the afternoon program. Dr. Cummings gave an over-all report on the Task Force on Automation and Other Cooperative Services announced by the three national libraries on June 26, 1967, during the San Francisco Conference of ALA. Mindful of the need of research libraries for improved bibliographic control, the Task Force and its working groups have concentrated on machinereadable data formats, character sets, compatible subject headings, main entry and authority file problems, descriptive cataloging practices, and the cooperative National Serials Data Program, Dr. Cummings said.

Under the chairmanship of Stephen R. Salmon of LC’s processing department, the Task Force, with Bella E. Shachtman representing NAL and James P. Riley representing NLM, held seventeen meetings during the first six months of its existence. (A progress report was published in the Information Bulletin of November 30, 1967, and the report is an attachment to LC’s processed report to ARL of January 7, 1968, which was distributed to members.) When Mr. Salmon was required full-time for work on the mechanization of LC’s catalog card distribution service, he was succeeded by Samuel Lazerow, chief of LC’s serial record division, who, Dr. Cummings pointed out, has had the unique advantage of serving in all three national libraries. Before the ARL meeting, a total of twenty-one working sessions of the Task Force had been held, reports and interim recommendations to the heads of the three national libraries had been made, and a number of desirable products and services had been identified, such as off-line book catalogs and catalog cards, machinereadable catalog data on tape, off-line and on-line bibliographies, and on-line information on specific materials.

The concept of a central data bank versus other possibilities is being examined and within the next few months there should be a formal statement of the system’s objectives, Dr. Cummings said. There are many research areas to be identified and there is much work to be done. Not even the three national libraries have the funds to do all that is necessary; a full-time head of the Task Force may be necessary; and an able, cooperative successor to Foster Mohrhardt, who retired from his position as NAL Director to become program officer of the Council on Library Resources is essential. [Since the ARL meeting, John Sherrod, assistant director for systems development at the Atomic Energy Commission, has been named to succeed Dr. Mohrhardt.] Dr. Cummings asked for ARL’s continuing suggestions and criticisms and invited the association to name a representative to the formal advisory group, representing five major library associations, that is being formed. The “real significance of the effort is that we are working effectively together” to improve bibliographical control and that “we are committed” to this, Dr. Cummings concluded.

L. Quincy Mumford, Librarian of Congress, assured ARL that LC would release the chairman of the Task Force for full-time work on it whenever this proves desirable. Meanwhile, LC is devoting much staff time to the Task Force and its working groups.

In reporting on MARC II, Dr. Mumford emphasized that the design of the new format has been based on the experience gained in the MARC Pilot Project. Because of the recognition of the need for a standard to transfer bibliographic information in machine-readable form, the new design places primary emphasis on the concept of communications. The format is structured to be an efficient means of representing all forms of bibliographic description and to transfer data between libraries and information centers. If a receiving institution must retain its own local format, the communications format can easily be converted for local use.

The result of the acceptance of a communications standard is that each institution need concern itself with only two translation programs, one to convert from the communications format to the local format on receiving data and one to convert from the local format to the communications format when transmitting data. If all bibliographic information is structured in one format, the costs of computer software will be minimized and one basic requirement for effective networks will be achieved.

Recognizing the importance of standards, the Library of Congress has been working closely with a number of groups, in addition to the Task Force of the three national libraries, to have MARC II accepted as such a standard, Dr. Mumford reported. On November 28 the American Library Association’s Information Science and Automation Division convened a committee, made up of representatives from ISAD, the Resources and Technical Services Division, and the Reference Services Division, to study the MARC II format for acceptance as an ALA standard. James E. Skipper (Princeton) represented ARL. The committee unanimously agreed to recommend to their respective divisional boards that the MARC II format be accepted by ALA as an American library standard.

Under the leadership of the British National Bibliography, a United Kingdom MARC Pilot Project is being planned. LC staff members have worked with BNB staff and the MARC II format will be adopted for the UK project. The MARC II format has also been coordinated with the Committee on Scientific and Technical Information, Sub Panel on Transfer of Bibliographic Description by Magnetic Tape, and a proposed COSATI standard is in draft form. The United States of America Standards Institute Committee Z-39, Subcommittee on Machine Input Records, is presently drafting its proposed standard based on the MARC II format. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna during December 1967 considered the MARC II format for the International Nuclear Information System (INIS). The National Agricultural Library and the National Library of Medicine have also studied the format and LC’s published report on MARC II, expected to be available from the Government Printing Office in March, will reflect their requirements.

By July of 1968, LC expects to make available to all interested libraries, through sale by the Card Division, tapes in the MARC II format of its entire cataloging output on Englishlanguage monographs. French and German will be included as soon as it is possible to do so, Dr. Mumford announced.

Another major area of cooperation among the three national libraries is the Serials Data Program. Dr. Mumford reported that, under the supervision of Mrs. Elaine Woods, three others in LC’s Information Systems Office are working full-time on this program; they also have assistance from Mrs. Henriette Avram of ISO and from the staff of the serial record division.

The first task was to compile a comprehensive list of data elements that could be used in the Serials Data Program. To accomplish this, existing work was first reviewed. This included analyzing other automated serials systems, traditional methods of serials cataloging, and work being done on special projects relating to serials control. Approximately two hundred formats from institutions involved in some stage of serials automation were analyzed, particularly for data elements used. To these data elements, those used in serials cataloging were added. This yielded a base of data elements which was then augmented by others deemed necessary for serials control. The data elements were structured to include a definition of each, examples or codes to clarify the definition, problems associated with the use of each data element, and alternative ways of handling the data elements.

On November 30, this material was turned over to Nelson Associates, which will conduct the user survey, the second task in the program. Nelson Associates was also supplied with a list of forty institutions where in-depth interviews are to be conducted. A report of this task is due on May 31.

In the initial stage, the gathering of data elements was predicated on what seemed desirable for serials. Therefore, the Working Group took the approach that it did not want to be constrained by the MARC II format until all elements needed for serials were identified. Studies are now in progress to see how these serials data elements can be fitted into the MARC format. In concluding, Dr. Mumford pointed out that the Serials Data Program has a much larger and complicated problem to solve than did MARC, because it has to develop the basic record itself, while MARC built on an existing record, the LC catalog card.

Douglas W. Bryant, chairman of ARL’s Committee on the Preservation of Research Library Materials, summarized his report, outlining the history of the committee. It came into being at the June I960 meeting of ARL in Montreal. Its major contributions to date have been three studies, which it proposed and monitored and which the CLR supported with grants. The first was an attempt by the Research Triangle Institute to estimate the magnitude of the problem by a sampling of the National Union Catalog; the Revised Final Report on this study was issued on May 25, 1962, and a summary of it appeared in CRL, November 1962. The second study, made by Gordon R. Williams, was entitled The Preservation of Deteriorating Books: An Examination of the Problem with Recommendations for a Solution, September 1964; its approach was adopted in principle at ARL’s January 1965 meeting. The third study is the Pilot Preservation Project conducted by LC, which has undertaken a leadership role in a national program, to (1) develop routines for comparing titles in the LC brittle book collection with the same titles in other libraries; (2) obtain an estimate of the work (and thus of the costs) required for LC to identify such “best” copies and for the libraries participating in the program to locate the volumes requested and to prepare the necessary reports of their physical conditions; (3) collect data during the course of the project, as a basis for estimating the usefulness of the National Union Catalog in identifying the location of a deteriorating book; and (4) determine the extent to which libraries may have discarded their brittle or deteriorated books.

These are substantial contributions, Mr. Bryant pointed out, and current research at the University of Chicago may point the way to practicable methods for the large-scale deacidification of books. But additional research on several other problems, such as storage conditions, will be necessary; administrative problems, such as who will store the preservation copies and where, must be resolved; and, most important of all, substantial funds will be required for a national program.

Mr. Bryant proposed that ARL adopt a resolution supporting LC in its negotiations with the Government Printing Office to advocate the use of permanent/durable paper for the most important Government publications. This was adopted. Warren J. Haas succeeded Mr. Bryant as chairman of the Preservation Committee.

Only a brief discussion of the preservation problem was possible before adjournment for dinner, but the possibility was suggested of compiling a list of research books that have deteriorated. There was objection to this because such a list would be “a sitting duck” for reprinters and for reproduction in microform, and, unfortunately, the editorial standards, the quality of the paper, and the methods of reproduction do not always meet the standards necessary for research libraries.

The business session was opened by ARL President Rogers at about 7:30 p.m. As a result of ballots cast by members at this meeting, Thomas R. Buckman (University of Kansas libraries), Martin M. Cummings (NLM), and Edward B. Stanford (University of Minnesota libraries), were elected to the Board of Directors. [In accordance with a change previously made in the bylaws, the Board now elects the Vice President and President-Elect of ARL, and, at its January 8 meeting, Douglas W. Bryant was selected for the post.]

David Kaser (Joint University Libraries), chairman of the Committee on Training for Research Librarianship, announced that Neal Harlow, dean of the graduate school of library service at Rutgers would direct a study of the future personnel and training requirements of research (university rather than college) libraries and that a project proposal was being presented to the U.S. Office of Education. The objective would be to analyze existing services and personnel and to “state the steps necessary to take us from where we are to where we should be ten years from now,” Dr. Kaser said. The Association formally approved the project.

President Rogers summarized the actions of the Board at its January 6 evening and January 7 morning meetings. He announced that ARL would participate with ACRL in a Joint Committee on University Library Standards; CLR had made a grant for a study on lighting, to be conducted by Keyes D. Metcalf (librarian emeritus, Harvard University); ARL members should report all microform masters to the National Register; a review in respect to new members would be made every two years, next in 1969; members should check on the quality of the microfilm of the New York Times received recently; the next survey of salaries (July 1968) would cover all professionals, subject specialists as well as technical librarians, and would be divided into three categories—academic libraries, federal government, and all others; report forms for Academic Library Statistics would be sent out in August and the data would be published in December; the executive director was authorized to engage legal counsel; a project proposal for an East European Bibliographic and Documentation Center, prepared with COCOSEERS, was reviewed, revised, and approved; a new Committee on Federal Relations was established, with Robert Vosper (UCLA) later being named as chairman, and William S. Dix, Stuart Forth, Benjamin E. Powell, and Rutherford D. Rogers as members; a resolution of thanks was voted for the services performed by Donald F. Cameron as interim executive director; and a resolution calling upon Congress to vote the necessary funds to proceed with a third building for the Library of Congress was approved.

The text of the resolution as transmitted by President Rogers to the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee on the Madison Building, Senator B. Everett Jordan, and to Representative George H. Mahon and to Senator Carl Hayden, the Chairmen, respectively, of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, is as follows:

Resolved,That the Association of Research Libraries urge the United States Congress to take action at the earliest possible opportunity to appropriate funds for the next necessary steps leading to the construction of the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building. In view of constantly rising construction costs and the cost of rental space, it seems in the interest of economy to move forward on the third building at the earliest possible date in order that services to the nation’s libraries and their users, especially the scholarly community, not be impeded.

Stephen A. McCarthy, who took office as executive director of ARL on November 1 expressed his thanks to his predecessors, Messrs. Skipper and Cameron, who had been very helpful to him. He reported that during the short time he had been in Washington he had been engaged on problems in connection with the Center for Chinese Research Materials and the East European Center, support of the extension of the Higher Education Act, the revision of the interlibrary loan code to be sent to members before next June, and the report on statistics, which was not published in November because changes kept being received. More staff and more space will be needed as ARL’s programs expand, he warned, and he urged that topics for study be suggested to him at any time. After thanking CLR for the grant that made possible the Pilot Preservation Project at LC, Dr. McCarthy noted that 1967 was the last year of the National Science Foundation grant for the establishment of a Washington office of ARL and he expressed the association’s great appreciation for this assistance, appreciation that was then voted by the Association in a resolution of thanks to NSF.

William S. Dix, chairman of the Shared Cataloging Committee reported briefly, referring to LC’s report to ARL. Despite lack of full funding for Title II-C, LC, he said, has managed to get a great deal done and he complimented those in charge of the program. He stressed LC’s continued need for cataloged, as well as the necessity—for ARL’s use in seeking extension of the program and adequate funding—of full and accurate statistics from cooperating libraries. Richard H. Logsdon (Columbia University libraries) succeeded Dr. Dix as chairman of this committee.

Philip J. McNiff (Boston public library) reported that P. K. Yu, professor of Chinese History at the University of Hong Kong, has been selected as director of the Center for Chinese Research. It is hoped that he can assume his duties in the spring. An Advisory Committee has been named, consisting of three teacher-scholars and three librarians, including LC’s Warren Tsuneishi, and with Mr. McNiff as chairman.

Written reports had been submitted by chairmen of other committees and these were not discussed.

Under new business, James Skipper, ARL’s representative on the Joint Committee on National Library-Information Systems (CONLIS), said that its report had been sent to the National Advisory Commission on Libraries. Robert Blackburn reported that the Center for Research Libraries has amended its bylaws to permit associate membership of all United States and other North American libraries; the Center now has thirty-two members and its budget for acquisitions has doubled. Mr. Clapp reported that one of ARL’s members, Frederick H. Wagman (University of Michigan libraries), had been named a member of a Commission on Obscenity. Dr. Wagman promised that he would do his best to represent ARL’s interest in subject.

As outgoing president, Mr. Rogers remarked modestly that he was impressed with the unimportance of the president of ARL and with the importance of member participation and the crucial nature of the position of executive director, “which can make or break us.” He felt that ARL was “exceedingly fortunate to have Scotty Cameron to fill in after Jim Skipper left and to have Steve McCarthy accept the position.” A motion of thanks to Scotty was unanimously adopted. With that, Mr. Rogers turned over the gavel to Andrew J. Eaton (Washington University libraries, St. Louis), incoming president, who quickly brought the meeting to a close with the remark that if there ever had been an ARL tradition for inaugural addresses, it had effectively and finally been laid to rest by Rudy Rodgers’ nonaddress at the New Orleans meeting in January 1967.

The next meeting of ARL will be held in Kansas City on Saturday, June 22, at the Linda Hall library. The next Midwinter meeting of ARL, which will be in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, January 26, 1969, will be preceded by an all-day visit to LC on Saturday, January 25.—Elizabeth E. Hamer.

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