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About the PCC

An international cooperative program coordinated jointly by the Library of Congress & PCC participants around the world.

Message from the PCC Chair - What is the PCC - Membership beneifts - History of the PCC - Growth chart - Organization structure - Accomplishments - Ongoing activities

Components in brief: NACO - BIBCO - CONSER - SACO

PCC Training - PCC Manuals - Who to contact - How to subscribe to the PCClist

At a Glance

A bold initiative in cooperative cataloging....

Here is a brief synopsis of the most successful and dynamic program in the history of bibliographic control. Gaining in momentum, the PCC expands its benefits to all cataloging professionals who strive to provide wider and deeper access to library collections. We urge you to become a participant in this important program.

What is the PCC?

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging is an international cooperative effort aimed at expanding access to library collections by providing useful, timely, and cost-effective cataloging that meets mutually-accepted standards of libraries around the world.


  1. Cooperatively enhance the timely availability of bibliographic and authority records by cataloging more items, producing cataloging that is widely available for sharing and use by others, and performing cataloging in a more cost-effective manner.
  2. Develop and maintain mutually acceptable standards for records.
  3. Promote the values of timely access and cost-effectiveness in cataloging, and expand the pool of catalogers who catalog using the mutually-accepted standards.
  4. Increase the sharing and use of foreign bibliographic and authority records.
  5. Provide for ongoing discussion, planning, and operations among participants in order to further the program's mission.

On the PCC Homepage read the PCC's Five-Year Strategic Plan (an in-depth presentation of the goals above) to learn how the Program will achieve these goals.

Membership benefits of the PCC

  1. Participate in the programs of the largest cooperative cataloging operations in the world and help to shape the future of cataloging practice.
  2. Participate in the development and review of national and international cataloging standards designed to create more reliable and cost-efficient cataloging copy.
  3. Reduce the cost of cataloging operations by increasing the number of cataloging records that can be used with little or no local editing.
  4. Reduce the amount of authority creation and maintenance that must be done locally by increasing the number of authority records contributed through NACO and SACO.
  5. Update and enhance monographic, serial, and authority records, including those created by national libraries.
  6. Receive staff training by experienced PCC trainers.
  7. Interact with colleagues at national libraries and other institutions.
  8. Receive free-of-charge training and cataloging documentation provided to NACO, BIBCO, and CONSER participants.
  9. Reduce the cataloging burden on a local scale through collective efforts on a global scale.
  10. Influence the Program's objectives, policies, and standards through service on its standing committees and task forces.
"Perhaps the greatest significance of the PCC is the foundation it provides for moving from a unidimensional, rules-centered definition of bibliographic 'quality' to one that is multidimensional and user-centered. Today's library administrations expect technical service departments to do more with less and to be accountable, flexible, and both aware of and responsive to user needs. The PCC not only takes the notion and practice of cooperative cataloging to a new level its philosophy is the key to technical services departments' having a chance of meeting these expectations."
-- Karen Calhoun,
Director, Central Technical Services,
Cornell University

History of the PCC

The Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) was initiated in February 1995, building on the success of the NACO and CONSER programs which originated in the 1970s. The PCC was a product of deliberations of the Cooperative Cataloging Council (CCC), which began its work in April 1993. The CCC itself was conceived at a meeting of various participants in cooperative library programs that was held at the Library of Congress in November 1992. The Council envisioned a program that by the year 2000 would annually produce significant numbers of authority and bibliographic records created by an ever increasing membership of program participants. In November 1996, the CONSER Policy Committee and the PCC Executive Council met to discuss the merging of the two cooperative cataloging programs. The consolidation became effective in October 1997. Today, the PCC has four components:

NACO--the name authority program
SACO--the subject authority program
BIBCO--the monographic bibliographic record program
CONSER--the cooperative online serials program

Growth chart
The table below demonstrates the steady growth of the PCC from its inception in 1992 through 2003.

GROWTH OF THE PCC FROM 1992 - - 2003
  1992 2003
NACO participants 91 419
SACO participants 18 127 (*37)
BIBCO participants 0 46
CONSER participants 20 41**
Name authority records added 66,318 167,163
Series authority records added 1,427 9,324
Subject authority records added 678 3,509
Monographic bibliographic records added 9,460 74,793
Growth of CONSER database 653,000 984,301

* 37 libraries contribute only to the SACO Program. ** Includes CONSER Enhance members

"The PCC offers catalogers an opportunity to contribute high quality bibliographic and authority records...catalogers correct their weaknesses and build on their strengths. This is a win-win situation!"
-- Andrea Stamm, Head, Catalog Department
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Organization of the PCC

The POLICY COMMITTEE is responsible for guiding the governance of the Program as a whole: to develop, review, and approve long term strategies, plans, goals, and objectives. Its membership is drawn from diverse library constituencies, including five permanent representatives: British Library, Library of Congress, National Library of Canada, OCLC and RLG.

Eight rotating PCC partners are elected by program members from full, active participants in BIBCO (3), CONSER (3), and NACO (2).

The STEERING COMMITTEE is composed of five permanent members: three Library of Congress representatives, and one representative each from OCLC, and RLG. Rounding out the Committee are the Chair and Chair-Elect of the Policy Committee. The Steering Committee approves PCC membership applications, directs the strategic planning process for the Program, seeks and manages resources.

Completing the PCC governance structure are two OPERATIONS and three STANDING COMMITTEES:

BIBCO OPERATIONS COMMITTEE--maintains efficient and effective BIBCO activity locally and across the Program. It establishes operational procedures, suggests changes to policies and practices, develops and maintains documentation, and contributes to the development of standards for monographic publications and integrating resources in all formats.

CONSER OPERATIONS COMMITTEE--maintains efficient and effective CONSER activity locally and across the Program. It establishes operational procedures, suggests changes to policies and practices, helps develop and maintain documentation, and contributes to the development of standards for serial publications and integrating resources.

STANDING COMMITTEE on AUTOMATION--identifies automation issues to be resolved in order to implement the mission of the Program, formulates plans to present PCC requirements to vendors, and facilitates cooperation among Program participants and the bibliographic utilities.

STANDING COMMITTEE on STANDARDS--develops and promotes use of mutually acceptable standards that support creation and wide use of records in a cost- effective manner. This committee also maintains representation on the ALCTS Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access.

STANDING COMMITTEE on TRAINING--establishes cataloger training programs, workshops, and institutes aimed at developing cataloging skills of PCC members through continuing education.

Accomplishments of the PCC
  1. Established standards for core records for books, music, sound recordings, non-roman languages, audiovisual materials, computer files, collections, rare books, and serials in all formats.
  2. Simplified and streamlined documentation for the contribution of name and series authorities as well as the development of the SACO Participants' Manual.
  3. Streamlined the editorial process for the contribution of subject heading proposals to LCSH, classification numbers to LCC and cutter numbers for literary authors through the creation of a World Wide Web form.
  4. Implemented standardized training programs.
  5. Expanded participation of national libraries, research libraries, and cataloging agencies in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.
  6. Fostered initiatives to align and harmonize USMARC, CAN/MARC, and UKMARC into MARC21.
  7. Developed and continue to maintain standardized documentation for the cataloging of serials.
  8. Formulated guidelines and persuaded vendors to make available MARC record sets to describe the full text resources in selected aggregator databases.
  9. Facilitated cooperation among LC, Program participants, and the bibliographic utilities to support the Program's automation goals and requirements.
  10. Defined and implemented procedures for the national default treatment of series publications.
  11. Recommended changes to AACR2 to allow for greater efficiency in series tracing when form of numbering is the only variant.
  12. Established task groups to make recommendations for streamlining cross references, to define the function of authority files, to prepare catalogers for implementation of integrating resources, to identify the training needs of the library community at large, and to recommend mechanisms to assure broader and more efficient dissemination of training documentation.
  13. Participated in the revision/correction project of undifferentiated personal names during the Library of Congress conversion to pinyin from Wade-Giles.

In today's developing global bibliographic network, shared authority work is an absolute requirement. Since libraries began implementing AACR2 on a worldwide scale, the creation, updating, and maintenance of standardized and consistent authority files has provided major challenges to catalogers. In addition, the ever-increasing number of publications in a wide variety of languages, scripts, and formats has renewed the need for and interest in cooperative bibliographic initiatives.

More detailed information can be found on the World Wide Web

NACO: the name authority program (
SACO: the subject authority program (
BIBCO: the bibliographic record program (
CONSER: the cooperative online serials program (

Ongoing Activities of the PCC
  1. Promoting efforts to provide access and control to electronic materials, including the development of the CONSER single record option for online versions.
  2. Publishing the NACO Participants' Manual, NACO Trainer's Manual, BIBCO Trainer's Manual, BIBCO Participant's Manual, and the SACO Participant's Manual.
  3. Producing the CONSER database for distribution through the Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada. Publishing regular updates of the CONSER Editing Guide and the CONSER Cataloging Manual; semiannual issues of CONSERline.
  4. Publishing serials cataloging documents on the World Wide Web through the CONSER homepage.
  5. Developing standardized training materials and training instructors through the SCCTP and the Standing Committee on Training.
  6. Creating and maintaining the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Website.

Program for Cooperative Cataloging
Components of the Program



Through this program, participants contribute new and updated authority records for names, uniform titles, and series to the national authority file. An individual institution may join this program, or a group of libraries with a common interest may form a "funnel project" to contribute records via a coordinator who assumes responsibility in the joint effort.


Participants agree to follow a common set of standards and guidelines when creating or changing authority records in order to maintain the integrity of an internationally shared authority file.


A week of specialized > NACO training is undertaken by participants, optionally at their home institutions or at LC. During the training, guidelines are discussed and expanded upon with an ever-growing awareness of the need to streamline cataloging efforts while building a consistent and predictable file. This file will help the global library community >work more efficiently and effectively, allowing it to >maximize its resources.


NACO participants may contribute new name authority records and make changes to existing records within established guidelines. In addition, participants may contribute authority records for series and uniform title.


Visit the NACO World Wide Web site for the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the program, a checklist of training materials, the training outline and much more at:

"NACO is a lifesaver for me knowing that once I create an authority record, I know what the heading will be. Considering all the database maintenance I have to do, NACO saves me tons of time. One does not have to re-invent the wheel."
--Robert C.W. Hall, Jr.
Technical Services Associate Librarian
Concord Free Public Library



Through this program participants propose subject headings for inclusion in Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and classification number proposals or changes for inclusion in the Library of Congress classification (LCC) schedules.


SACO libraries propose new subject headings and classification numbers that contribute to the development of LCSH and LC classification schedules so that these cataloging tools better reflect users' needs throughout the library community. Changes to existing subject authority records may also be proposed.


Participants attend subject cataloging workshops offered by the Library of Congress -- either in conjunction with library-related meetings and conferences, or as part of the PCC.


Detailed guidelines are provided for submitting proposals using either an online proposal form available on the PCC Web site, or by using printed forms available from the Library of Congress.


Visit the PCC Home Page for in-depth information about all of the SACO topics mentioned above at:

"The ability to propose new subject headings and to develop LCSH beyond the confines of US libraries' collection development policies is of immense benefit to us - - it means that concepts reflected in our collections and cultural traditions can quickly and easily be supported by authority records made available to the whole community. The alternative - local authority records - would benefit nobody except ourselves."
--Hugh Taylor, Head of Cataloguing
Cambridge University Library, Cambridge England



Through this program participants that are already NACO members contribute bibliographic records to the national databases. BIBCO members are responsible for contributing full or core level bibliographic records. These records are identified as PCC records and notable for their complete authority work (both descriptive and subject), a national level call number (such as LC classification or NLM classification), and one or more subject access points drawn from nationally recognized thesauri such as LCSH, MeSH, etc., as appropriate.


Participating librarians attend a training session designed specifically for their needs held at their own institution. The course focuses on the core bibliographic record and the values and decision-making skills necessary to catalogers in producing quality cataloging data. Training is provided by expert staff from PCC libraries.

Comments on experiences from training evaluation forms: "Given insights into the flexibility of the program"; "the information was concise and specific, repeated and summarized for clarification"; "I've come away from the training ready to participate!"; "balanced, professional, and included humor"; "Excellent!...Informative and enjoyable."


Visit the PCC Home Page for BIBCO news, documentation, training and other information at:

"It is nice to belong to an umbrella organization that actually values, in fact encourages, the development of catalogers' professional judgment. BIBCO offers a well- organized, ready-trained force of professional catalogers who will knock the socks off any vendor-driven outsourcing effort. We create dependable records for you - - you create dependable records for us. It is cooperative cataloging at its best... Standards should be the bedrock on which to build... 'core', as a floor standard, allows me to build firmly on bibliographic records that contain mutually-valued and proven variable fields, authorized access points, and a reliable classification number. I appreciate the fact that with the core standard I know what to expect. I don't have to wonder, like Forrest Gump, what I will get when I reach into and choose from the bibliographic box of chocolates."
--John B. Wright
Foreign Languages Team Leader, Spanish Language Cataloger
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

The CONSERProgram



CONSER began in the early 1970s as a project to convert manual serial cataloging into machine-readable records and has evolved into an ongoing program to create and maintain high quality bibliographic records for serials. In keeping with its evolution, the name was changed in 1986 from the CONSER (CONversion of SERials) Project to the CONSER (Cooperative ONline Serials) Program.


CONSER's goals today are twofold: 1) to produce and maintain a widely-available database of authoritative records for serials in all media, and 2) to contribute to serials cataloging and technical services by working to set standards, creating authoritative documentation and training materials, and addressing major issues related to serials through study, international discussion, and innovative projects.


The CONSER database resides within the OCLC Online Union Catalog. CONSER members authenticate, input, and modify serial cataloging records on OCLC or contribute original records via FTP. Authentication is the process of approving the descriptive and subject elements in the record and providing for the record's availability through distribution services and bibliographic products. Different membership levels have been created to accommodate a variety of record contributions. The four categories of CONSER membership are Full, Associate, CONSER Enhance, and Affiliate. Associate Level membership includes cooperative projects as well as single institutions.


New CONSER members are trained by experienced serials catalogers from the Library of Congress or other CONSER institutions. The training generally lasts 3 to 5 days, and is followed by a review period.

"CONSER produces high quality, accurate serial records for what are all-too-often incredibly complicated publications. Because CONSER participants genuinely care about doing an outstanding job, everyone - - serials acquisitions librarians, union listing agents, collection development and reference librarians, serials vendors, and library patrons - - benefits. CONSER's commitment to cooperation, to quality, to standards, and to the education of serials catalogers is exemplary." -- Cindy Hepfer
Health Sciences Library
State University of New York at Buffalo, New York


The CONSER Program commissions the production of authoritative training materials in serials cataloging or related subjects, such as serials holdings, and provides training for instructors in each course offered. The course materials are available from the Library of Congress' Cataloging Distribution Service. Institutional sponsors plan and schedule the training workshops.


Visit theCONSER World Wide Web site at:

CONSER is a model of leadership, action, and results. It provides a venue for participants to develop solutions to common problems, create new approaches to serials management, and to be actively involved in shaping the future of serials cataloging."
--Sally Sinn,
Associate Director, Technical Services Division
National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland


CONSER pursues the enrichment of the serial bibliographic environment through projects and the work of task forces. Past CONSER-led efforts have added abstracting and indexing data to serial bibliographic records and launched the development of record sets for publications included in electronic aggregators. Currently, the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative is developing technical capabilities and a cooperative program for creating and sharing serial publication pattern and holdings data in the MARC 21 holdings format.

About PCC Training

In support of its mission and goals, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging conducts specialized training for participants in conjunction with professional meetings and conferences, or as part of the Program itself with training held at the Library of Congress or PCC libraries around the world.

Intensive courses are offered in three PCC programs: >NACO, SACO, and BIBCO. In addition to providing training for its members, CONSER has developed the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program, a cooperative endeavor to produce standardized training materials and to train experienced serials catalogers to be trainers. These workshops, which are sponsored by other organizations, are open to all.

For an overview of skills training, visit NACO at and view the "NACO Training Outline."

The Value of PCC Manuals

Another added benefit of PCC training is the practical, every-day value of the PCC training manuals and materials. The NACO Participants' Manual, CONSER Editing Guide, CONSER Cataloging Manual, and BIBCO Training Manual--each manual is unique to the library community for offering specialized and comprehensive guidelines on a host of cataloging topics applicable to a cataloger's daily work.

The manuals are valuable to all catalogers--not only PCC participants--who seek professional development. They are also suitable for courses in library schools.

"Our participation as BIBCO contributors has resulted in a sharpening of our skills, an increase in our authority record contributions, and an overall boost in cataloger morale."
--Jimmie Lundgren,
Head, Science Cataloging Unit
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida


Who to contact to find out more

If you would like to learn more about the Program for Cooperative Cataloging or about participating in BIBCO, NACO, SACO, please contact the Cooperative Cataloging Team.

For an application to join the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, use the available form at: or contact the

Cooperative Cataloging Team
Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4382
Tel.: 202.707.2822
Fax: 202.252.2082
Carolyn Sturtevant, BIBCO coordinator e-mail:

If you would like to learn more about CONSER and its programs, please contact:

Leslie Hawkins
CONSER Coordinator
Serial Record Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4160
Tel.: 202.707.5947
Fax: 202.707.1778

"Cooperative cataloging is spreading beyond the bibliographic record; and the only way to justify our existence in this age of heightened budget consciousness is to find ways of cooperating further, to spread the benefits of our work further than our individual databases."
--Frieda Rosenberg
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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  January 3, 2008
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