|OBS OCLC COMMITTEE|
It seems like it has been such a long time since my last column. In fact, it has—almost six months. When I wrote my last column, the Orlando conference had just ended and I had just started my sabbatical leave. Now, as I write this in late January, it is a very cold Midwestern winter day with snow on the way, and my sabbatical leave is over.
OCLC Committee Open Discussion—Seattle
The Seattle meeting is still a number of months away. However, I have been working on our open discussion meeting, and a program on Connexion. The open discussion is currently scheduled for Sunday morning, July 13, and the Connexion program will be on Wednesday afternoon, July 16. Our speaker at both sessions will be Mr. Rick Newell of OCLC's Western Service Center office. There will be more about these two meetings in the next issue of Technical Services Law Librarian.
Connexion and the End of Support for Passport for Cataloging
OCLC ended its support for Passport for cataloging on December 31, 2002. Passport will continue to work for cataloging through 2003, but now we are faced with the final countdown to its demise. As of December 31, 2003, users will be required to have migrated off Passport, except for the ILL, Union List, and Name Address Directory services. These will continue to use Passport until OCLC implements a replacement system.
OCLC continues to enhance and develop Connexion. The OCLC webpage for Connexion (www.oclc.org/connexion) lists the most recent enhancements and what enhancements are coming next. As of this writing, the webpage lists the enhancements that were completed in November 2002, and what is coming for February 2003 and beyond. In addition, OCLC is planning the release of a Windows client to Connexion. The initial release is planned for the 2nd quarter of 2003 and "includes interactive online functionality along with macros and labels in a Microsoft Windows-based interface" (www.oclc.org/connexion/features/client). Release 2, which is planned for the 3rd quarter of 2003 "will include additional online functionality for cataloging electronic resources and performing NACO activities." There will be a 3rd release at the end of 2003 with offline cataloging, local files, batch processing, spell check, text settings, label enhancements, and local accessions list. OCLC states that they will continue to "add enhancements to the client on a quarterly basis."
My university is waiting for the Windows client before making the switch to Connexion. We will probably switch sometime in the 4th quarter of 2003. The Main Library here at Indiana University, Bloomington collects heavily in Russian, Slavic, and East Asian languages, so the issue with diacritics and special characters is critical. OCLC has continued to enhance the input of diacritics and special characters with the current version of Connexion, but the general opinion of the librarians here is that it is still easier and better in Passport and CatME.
Speaking of diacritics in Connexion, beginning February 16, 2003, diacritics are entered following the character they modify. This change conforms to Unicode standards and general worldwide practice. In addition, those who use Internet Explorer are now able to enter diacritics from a pop-up dialog box, similar to the character box in Passport and CatME.
Technical Bulletins 246 and 247
OCLC's two latest technical bulletins have direct implications for catalogers. Technical Bulletin 246 details changes to OCLC's database enrichment, expanding the number of fields that can be added to enrich a record. Technical Bulletin 247 is a collection of bibliographic record changes, MARC code list changes, and initial article changes. But the most significant section discusses coding practices for integrating resources. These changes are being done in two phases, with the Phase 1 changes having taken effect on December 1, 2002. Phase 2, which involves the activation of code i in the fixed-field element Bibliographic Level (BLvl) to indicate an integrating resource, will not be implemented until July 2003 at the earliest. The technical bulletin details what catalogers are suppose to do during the interim period. Basically we continue to code integrating resources as monographs, but we are to add a serial 006 field. A new frequency code, k for continuously updated, has been defined, along with other specific instructions for the use of serial 006 fields with integrating resources.
Technical Bulletin 247 is a significant bulletin for catalogers, and one that deserves carefully reading.
In closing, I cannot emphasize enough how vital the OCLC website has become for the most up-to-date information about OCLC. It is the first place to go if you have a question. As always, I look forward to hearing from any of you with questions or comments.