Issue 48   Fall 1998


To the Members--Barbara L. Bell

From the Editor--Karen Kimber

Cataloging Historical Documents in a Consortial Environment--Mary Prophet

Ohio Tax Forms--Coleen Parmer

Learn About Your Ohio Neighbors on the Web--Heidi Good

Around the State

Letter Sent to Senators DeWine and Glenn--Barbara Kussow

Changes at the State Library of Ohio

Docs Prescriptions

To the Members:
Barbara L. Bell, President
The College of Wooster

Autumn is the busiest time of the year at our library. Because we are an academic institution it is the beginning of the school year when we make special efforts to connect with our first year students and new faculty members as well as continue to meet the needs of the returning faculty and upper level students who are about to embark on their independent study projects. Whether you are in a public library, an academic library, or a special library, this is a busy season when creative opportunities and familiar routines are a part of our daily lives.

I want to congratulate Barbara Kussow in her new appointment as the State of Ohio Documents Coordinator. Barbara has worked in the State of Ohio Library Documents Department for several years. We are fortunate to have someone in this newly defined position with her enthusiasm and interest. She is eager to hear from you and know how it is she can be supportive to the Ohio depository libraries. As many of you know, she wrote on behalf of Ohio GODORT to the appropriate Congressional delegates urging their support for S. 2288, the "Wendell H. Ford (A copy appears elsewhere in this newsletter.) Government Publications Reform Act of 1998." As of the writing of this column the outcome of S. 2288 is not known but it looks bleak. A last minute opposition push has not allowed the bill to move forward. This bill needs to be presented to Congress before its adjournment which has been extended from the original date of Oct. 9. Without passage of this bill there is no reform to Title 44. Thank you to all of you who contacted key Congressional members urging them to support this issue. In addition, Dan O'Mahony, Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy chair, tells us in an Oct. 8, 1998 GovDoc-L message that the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill has defunded the Joint Committee on Printing.

I am sure that this will be one topic of many that will be discussed at the Federal Depository Library Conference and Council Meeting to be held in San Diego, CA during Oct. 19-22, 1998. I hope that Ohio will have a good representation at this important meeting. Those of you who have attended this conference in the past know the valuable information and contacts available to delegates. It is an excellent way to learn about the latest issues in the government publications world. If you can not make this upcoming meeting, think about attending the Federal Depository Library Conference to be held in Arlington, VA during April 12-15, 1999. There is no registration fee for these valuable conferences.

Speaking of meetings, please mark your calendar for the upcoming fall Ohio GODORT meeting which is to be at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio on Nov. 6, 1998. We wanted this meeting to be held after the Depository Conference so that we could update everyone on issues discussed there. Mark Gooch, vice president, has organized a good program for us in the morning. Nan Myers, University Libraries at Wichita State University, will inform us about the Documents Data Miner. Elizabeth Zuelke of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will also be presenting a program describing their Patent and Trademark Depository. In the afternoon we will have a business meeting and discussion. I hope that many of you will be able to attend this meeting.

The Executive Board of Ohio GODORT met at The College of Wooster Aug. 28, 1998 to make the transition of responsibilities between last year's officers and this year's, and to work through plans for the upcoming year. I think we have some good ideas and we look forward to seeing you in Cincinnati on Nov. 6.


From the Editor
Karen Kimber
Wright State University

My thanks go out to all the contributors to this issue of Docs Prescriptions. I know everyone will be interested in Mary Prophet's description of the cataloging project at the Five Colleges. I especially thank her for taking the time to write it, since she is currently serving as Acting Director of the Denison University Library in addition to her usual duties.

Heidi Good's article will be useful to anyone who hasn't yet learned about the two valuable Ohio web sites that she reviews. I'd like to encourage other members to write up something on a favorite web site. It would be especially useful to highlight Ohio sites, since they often don't get the publicity of the federal ones. If you know of a web site you would like to write about, just let me know.

We all appreciate Coleen Parmer's looking into the tax form issue. A slightly revised version of the report that she sent out on the listserv is included here for anyone who missed it.

Remember to take a look at the electronic version of Docs Prescriptions on the GODORT of Ohio Web site. We'll be discussing the future of the newsletter at the November meeting. See you there!


Cataloging Historical Documents In A Consortial Environment
Mary Prophet
Denison University

Mary would like to include a thank you to Margie Powell (College of Wooster) and Ann Watson (Denison University) for their editorial assistance.

As reported in the Summer 1998 issue of Docs Prescriptions, the Five Colleges of Ohio Government Documents Departments have begun a project to catalog their historical documents collections. This project is the realization of an old dream. In July 1976, the Government Printing Office began producing the Monthly Catalog from machine-readable records. The depository library community was energized by the potential which the GPO tapes had for the cataloging of government publications in libraries.

General goals for strengthening service through active and close cooperation among depository libraries had been continually promoted by documents personnel at Denison University. Suddenly the Ohio discussions became focused on the possibility of achieving equal treatment for documents in public catalogs. At the April 1986 meeting of Ohio GODORT in Columbus, personnel from documents departments at Denison, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University and The College of Wooster met to discuss the possibility of a joint project to catalog the documents collections in the four institutions. The College of Wooster had just been given the green light to begin cataloging their depository collection, following a three year fesibility study. In July 1986 they began a project using OCLC and student workers to catalog both their current acquisitions and their retrospective depository collection.

Early in 1994 work began on the grant proposal which resulted in the Five Colleges of Ohio Consortium. During the planning period, the documents committee proposed using a vendor such as MARCIVE for cataloging current government publications. We were concerned, however by the problems which could arise in constructing an accurate joint profile for the current selections of four separate institutions. We also lacked clearly definable ways to profile for post-1976 materials in institutions which are not only selective depository libraries but which have also weeded their collections on a regular basis. At that time there was also no way to expedite the cataloging of pre-1976 materials. Because of these factors and the success of The College of Wooster's in-house cataloging efforts we decided to attempt a combined and cooperative local cataloging effort, which would first focus on the current selections of the four depositories. The Consortium's project would be based, in large part, on the presence of Wooster's records in the shared online catalog, on their comprehensive cataloging manual, and on their experience.

Efforts to set up a procedure for distributed cataloging began in the spring of 1996. Congressional committee hearings were chosen as a test group because the direct relationship between committee, classification stem, item numbers, and subject matter made decisions more precise than might have been possible with publications of the various departments of the executive branch. The process for division of cataloging responsibilities involved several steps:

  1. A list of current item selections within the class stem was created for each institution.

  2. Each depository reviewed its selections. Ranking every selected item as belonging to one of four categories.
    Category 1. Materials considered essential for the local collection.
    Category 2. Materials desired for the Consortium which the library would prefer to house.
    Category 3. Materials desired for the Consortium which the library would prefer to have housed elsewhere.
    Category 4. Materials which the library would like to drop. It would be sufficient for the consortium if these materials were available from the regional depository.

  3. Based on the rankings supplied by the individual libraries and on the volume of publication in each class stem or item number over the past several years, responsibility for cataloging was assigned to each institution.

A trial period of several months followed. During this time, an informal review of cataloging quality and timeliness was conducted. When the institutions were comfortable with the progress of the hearings cataloging, work began on assigning cataloging for the executive agencies.

The first lists were hand typed into spreadsheets. Item number selection was verified using a UNION LIST OF ITEM SELECTIONS initially complied by Denison in 1982 for Denison, Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyan, Otterbein and the College of Wooster. This list had been updated each year following the annual update cycle. As the project continued and GPO began to place electronic versions of the List of Classes and the selection profiles on the GPO Web Site, the process of creating lists for review became easier. At present the List of Classes is downloaded in a delimited format and imported into the spread-sheet. Current selections are downloaded for each depository using GPO's Item Lister. The selections are then marked on individual worksheets and sent to each institution for review. The depositories rank their selections using the same categories listed above, and any items no longer wanted are dropped. Using these rankings, cataloging responsibility is assigned to institutions. The institution selecting the most items which overlap with the selections of other institutions receives primary responsibility for cataloging the agency. Any items not selected by the institution receiving primary cataloging responsibility for an agency are assigned based on how each depository ranked its selection and on the cataloging burden the institution already carries. At the end of this process we expect to reassign some cataloging areas in order to even the cataloging load.

With the system for cataloging current receipts in place, we have turned our attention to the large number of historical documents in our collections which are not cataloged. Once again we hope to use a distributed cataloging arrangement to work through our holdings efficiently. The Mellon Foundation has graciously allowed us to use funds originally allotted for the development of profiles for the Marcive tape loads and funds originally set aside for a database server project to begin this retrospective cataloging project.

Cataloging the older documents presents several interesting problems especially in a shared catalog.

  1. Since the College of Wooster has already cataloged their collection, many of the older documents in the other documents collections may already have a record in the merged catalog, CONSORT. Wooster became a depository in 1966 and, while they have acquired an excellent back run of many historical documents, their collection is by no means complete. Ohio Wesleyan is the oldest depository (1845) in the state of Ohio. Kenyon became a depository in 1973. Both Denison and Oberlin became depositories in the 1880's.

  2. Many documents owned will have no records in CONSORT but may have records in OCLC. To identify these records, searches will have to be made of the OCLC data base and the records downloaded into CONSORT or OBERLIN catalog. While OBERLIN does not participate in the shared OPAC, it is a member of the Five Colleges of Ohio consortium and has a substantial historical collection of historical documents.

  3. Some of the older documents will have no records in OCLC and will require original cataloging.

    The problem is to identify which documents fit into each of these categories.

  4. Most documents will be held in the collections of more than one institution.

    We need to determine how to design this project to minimize handling of potentially fragile materials, to coordinate the work of five different libraries, to prevent the downloading of more than one record for each title, to catalog the most documents for the amount of money available in the grant, and to avoid staff burnout or a decrease in normal services which could result from the added burden of the project on employees.

  5. This project could also be potentially useful to the broader documents community if we are able to enhance or upgrade existing records on OCLC by the addition of SuDoc numbers, subject headings, or other important fields.

  6. The grant funds will not be sufficient to catalog the complete historical holdings of all five libraries. We must develop criteria for choosing which materials to catalog? How recent can materials be and still be included in this project? Since some of the CONSORT colleges began cataloging current documents as recently as 1994, we need to set parameters for a historical retrocon project by determining a suitable imprint date for cut-off.

After much discussion, it became obvious that a project coordinator was needed. Because salary and benefits for a project coordinator for three years could take most of the grant, it was decided that a coordinator would be hired for only the first year of the project. To save money for the actual cataloging of materials, much of the preliminary searching and copy cataloging work will be done by student workers hired and paid by each college. Each local library will also supply work space and computer access for the project.

The position description developed for a project coordinator included the following duties. The coordinator will be responsible for negotiating with OCLC for retrocon authorizations and record enhancement status. The coordinator will work with system mangers for both the CONSORT and OBERLIN OPACs on FTP transfer of records. The coordinator will study various options for accomplishing the original cataloging of documents when records are not currently available on OCLC. Student job descriptions, training requirements, and some supervision of students will developed and provided by the project coordinator. During the first year, the project coordinator will also be responsible for quality control, establishing quality standards for records and designing mechanisms for monitoring the quality of student work. The coordinator will also be responsible for identifying, investigating and bringing before the five Colleges Documents Subcommittee questions or problems which arise during the course of the project. Such a position requires someone with good organizational skills and a significant knowledge of federal documents processing. We were fortunate that Ellen Conrad, former documents assistant at the College of Wooster, was willing to accept the assignment. Ellen had played a major role in Wooster's original feasibility study and participated in the first critical years of the project. In the course of training and supervising student workers on the project, she and the students developed a detailed cataloging manual. Then next decade was marked by the end of th card catalog, rapidly changing technology, shifting procedure, and the founding of the Consrotium, which made possible the merger of the online catalogs of four of the five colleges.

During 1997-98 each library reviewed its holdings and made a list of agencies whose publications are considered very important to include in the catalog. These lists were brought together and priorities for cataloging them were established from the combined list. Since documents published after 1976 tend to be well covered in online catalogs and electronic data bases, it was decided that 1976 would be the cutoff date for inclusion in this project.

To move materials safely through the cataloging process and to avoid the possibility of duplicate records, each library has been assigned two or more agencies. Current agency assignments are:

Denison: Office of the President and non-current Depression Era/New Deal agencies
Kenyon: War Department and the Office of War Relocation
Ohio Weseylan: Women's Bureau, American Archives and Washington's Papers
Oberlin: Children's Bureau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs

The College of Wooster will continue to work on cleaning up their historical cataloging project with emphasis on those agencies not assigned to any of the other libraries.

The plan calls for each library to review documents from their assigned agencies. The first step is to check and evaluate records already in the catalogs. Item or check-in records can be attached to good quality records already in local systems. Documents which have no cataloging or sub-standard records in the local catalog will be searched on OCLC; records found will be downloaded into the CONSORT or Oberlin catalogs for use by the holding libraries. If new or better records are found and downloaded, institutions having item or check-in records attached to an existing bib record will be notified of the availability of the enhanced or new record. It will be up to each of these libraries to review the enhanced records and decide if their holdings can be moved and the older bib records deleted. Finally, if a document has no record on the local system and no record on OCLC, it will be designated for original cataloging. When an institution has completed the work for an assigned agency, that agency will be reassigned to another library. This process will continue through each library until all participants have completed the cataloging for their documents in the agencies selected. Libraries which complete an agency assignment will be given another agency to work on from the list of priorities. As each library reviews an agency it will consider several other issues. Is the document in hand in good condition? Should it be sent out on inter-library loan or is it too fragile for circulation? Does it require some preservation procedure before it can be circulated, such as a phase box? For documents in need of preservation care the local institution has the option of initiating preservation procedures immediately or coding the record to indicate that some preservation effort is needed later. Does the library have a significant number of the of the publications of this agency? Is it possible that another consortium library has a more complete collection of the agency's publications or of this title? If the holdings of one library are spotty, would consolidation of holdings at another institution build a stronger collection for the benefit of the entire consortium? Is the local library willing to arrange for the transfer of materials to a stronger collection in the consortium? Is the library with the stronger collection willing to accept, process and integrate these additional materials and serve as the repository for the consortium?

The long anticipated project to catalog the historical documents in our depository collections is just beginning. Students have been hired. Students and staff are beginning their training and the first documents are being added to the existing records in the catalog. Some OCLC records have been identified and downloaded. We do not as yet have retrocon logins and we still must apply for enhance status. How successful the Five Colleges Historical Documents Cataloging Project will be is still unknown. The problems and obstacles we may encounter are only now beginning to surface. What is left to discover and enjoy are the benefits this project will bring to the members of this consortium in Ohio, to the documents community beyond, and to the users of government information in general.


Ohio Tax Forms
Coleen Parmer
Bowling Green State University

The Access to State Government Information and Publications Committee was charged with asking the state to provide reproducible tax forms to libraries. As chair, I talked with several helpful people at the Ohio Department of Taxation. I learned that they had tried publishing an Ohio reproducible forms booklet several times, the first time in 1978. The problem is that by the time they get all the tax forms revised - just a week or two before they have to go to the printer - it is too late to create and publish a reproducible publication that will reflect all the revisions.

They also explained that the mailing list they used last year was faulty and dropped a lot of addresses, which caused a much higher than normal demand for forms from libraries and other distributors. That will not be the case this year. They are employing several strategies to make sure this crunch does not occur again, and they are printing many more forms than they did last year.

Another good piece of news is that they are going to publish the 1040 and 1040 EZ instructions in one booklet, so that this information will be readily available.

If we want to pursue the question of the reproducible forms, we should try again next January, when a new Tax Commissioner may be in office. It is too late to request changes for the coming year, but in any case, it appears that changes already in place will solve some of the problems we have had in the past.

It is encouraging to report that everyone I talked with at the Tax Department was helpful and willing to listen. If we need to contact them, I think we'll get an open mind.


Learn about Your Ohio Neighbors on the Web
Heidi Good
University of Dayton

Do you have students looking for local demographic and business information? Must it be "off the computer" and more recent than the 1990 Census? Help is here (with assistance from Adobe Acrobat) in the form of two websites: Ohio County Profiles, from the Ohio Department of Development; and Extension County Profiles, from the Ohio State University Extension. Both provide state and individual county statistical information. Although there is overlap, each one contains materials not found in the other, making both useful complementary resources.

The 1997 Ohio County Profiles ( provides a four-page summary for each of the 88 counties in the state. Each county profile includes selected demographic and economic characteristics associated with business, industry, amenities, and services for the county. Updated every two years, this document is supplemented by Ohio County Indicators, an annual update of key items contained within the Profiles. In addition to basic population and business statistics, each profile lists average weekly earnings by sector, major employers within the county, employment projections through the year 2040, and residential construction information. Basic information about climate, crime, health care, communications, finance, taxes, and education rounds out the summary. In general, these profiles furnish an economic snapshot of the community.

The 1997 Extension County Profiles ( is also a synopsis of demographic and business information for each county, but in greater detail. Each 20-page profile often provides longer trends for selecteds tatistics, such as poverty rates, business establishments by sector, and annual payroll by sector. Moreover, the Extension series contains agricultural data--a component missing in the ODOD set--and it includes additional demographic information. Not only does the Extension series chart county population estimates by age and race and sex in one matrix, but it also provides population distributions for minor civil divisions (townships, villages, cities) with numbers from the 1990 Census as well as 1994 estimates. The Extension County Profiles complement and expand the county data provided in the ODOD Ohio County Profiles.

Paper issues of both profiles are available. Call the Office of Strategic Research for information regarding the 1997 Ohio County Profiles, and see the catalog at about ordering the entire set of Extension County Profiles.


Around the State

Barbara Bell's revision of her book An Annotated Guide to Current National Bibliographies was published this past spring. The rest of the publication information is: Munchen: K. G. Saur, 1998. ISBN 3-598-11376-5 .

George Barnum was missed here in Ohio last year while he was in Washington, D.C., on a one-year appointment to the Electronic Transition Staff at the Government Printing Office. This year he is continuing on a second one-year appointment there. However, he will be teaching the Government Documents course for the Kent State Library School on a weekend schedule beginning in January.


Letter Sent to Senators DeWine and Glenn
Barbara Kussow
State Library of Ohio

Dear Senator _____________:

I represent the State Library of Ohio, a regional federal depository library, and the Ohio Government Documents Roundtable (Ohio GODORT) in asking for your support of Senate Bill 2288, the Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998. As librarians in federal depositories, we help people locate government information on a daily basis. We know the importance of access to government publications and the frustration when information is not readily available.

S.2288 seeks to reform Title 44 of the United States Code to ensure that government information created at taxpayer expense will remain in the public domain and be permanently available at no fee through depository libraries.

Today, we are witnessing a revolution in information delivery. The internet has made it possible to distribute information rapidly, but, along with the benefits of electronic delivery, there are also troubling issues of access and preservation. People come to our libraries on a daily basis seeking documents to do research projects. It is disturbing to think that many current documents may not be available to tomorrow's researchers. S. 2288 seeks to remedy that situation by establishing and maintaining a system of permanent public access for government publications in all forms and formats and to close the loopholes in the current law that lead to "fugitive documents."

It is important that S. 2288 be given immediate attention and enacted before the end of this Congress to ensure continuous and permanent access to government information for future generations. As a member of Congress, you hold the key to equitable access for your constituents. We ask for your support and leadership in sponsoring S. 2288.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

Barbara Kussow Documents Consultant


Changes at the State Library of Ohio

The Government Documents Department at the State Library of Ohio is changing its name and will now be known as Government Information Services to the world at large. For state budget purposes though, it will still be called Government Documents for 2-3 years.

The newest member of the newly named Government Information Services division is Nicole Berendsen, who will replace Barbara Kussow as reference librarian. Nicole comes to the division from the State Library's Automation/Networking Help Desk. Previously, she worked in Automated Loan Services at the State Library and has held various jobs at public and academic libraries. Nicole received her M.L.S. degree from Kent State University in 1998.


Docs Prescriptions
The Newsletter of the Government
Documents Round Table of Ohio

Issue 48 Fall 1998

Barbara Bell, President
Andrews Library
The College of Wooster
Wooster, OH 44691

Mark Gooch, Program Chair/President Elect
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library
Cleveland State University
1801 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115-2403

Nicole Eby, Secretary/Treasurer
Dayton & Montgomery County Public Library
Magazines/Government Documents
215 E. Third St.
Dayton, OH 45402
937-227-9500 x306

Karen Kimber, Editor
Dunbar Library
Wright State University
Dayton, OH 45435

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Last revised 10/31/98