ISSN 0308-7284
New Series No. 50
Lent Term 2002

Edited by Aidan Baker, Kathryn McKee, Sheila Cameron



This is our 50th issue in the New Series, and if jubilees are at all significant this one is especially so, in that 2002 marks the end of one era and the beginning of another in Cambridge librarianship. By the autumn, a new library management system will have gathered the University’s libraries into its (hopefully) benevolent embrace, bringing us into a closer bibliographic union, or at least offering the possibility of sharing resources in true union catalogue fashion and providing services to readers in forward-looking and consistent ways.

This issue’s theme of collaboration is timely in view of the approaching implementation of Voyager, and Lesley Gray leads off by looking at the challenge and the opportunity facing the 97 members of the Union Catalogue. As far as libraries’ individual needs are concerned, co-operation is vital not only for large research collections like the UL that need to prioritise in conjunction with others simply to survive; it is also a lifeline for smaller institutions. Heather Lane and Karen Begg of Sidney Sussex write about the recently constituted Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) and its usefulness as a means of raising member libraries’ profiles, sharing problems and expertise and assisting in the professional development of staff.

Widening our horizons, Linda Berube describes Co-East and Co-East Plus, two projects supported by the British Library and the RLSP, and set up to share electronic resources in the East Anglia region. Moving yet further afield, Paul Ayris guides us around some major national initiatives and also describes London Region’s M25 Consortium. Taking a global view, Nancy Elkington of RLG describes some major international efforts. Finally, Aidan Baker surveys the work of RSLP and raises a question about the future.


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The Union Catalogue database currently has just over 2 million bibliographic records. There are currently 97 contributing member libraries, and each creates and maintains its own records within the system. The records from the Union Catalogue database will be migrated into six Voyager databases. There will be three databases for the departmental and faculty libraries, two for college libraries, and one database for the "other" or affiliated member institutions. The records from the Dependent libraries that are currently part of the Union Catalogue will be loaded in to the same database as those of the University Library.

When the Voyager system is fully implemented by Michaelmas Term 2002, the user will be able to search the resources of the University via a single search. A physical union catalogue of the holdings of the libraries of the University of Cambridge will be created from the Union Catalogue and University Library databases.

Endeavor’s Universal Catalog (UC) software allows the resources of several databases (or a consortium) to be combined in to a single unified catalogue. The UC software creates the catalogue by identifying duplicate bibliographic records, deduplicating them, and then creating the real-time links to the holdings and item information in the contributing databases.

The Universal Catalog will contain the bibliographic records and links to holdings (and item records) from the University Library and the Dependent Libraries as well as all members of the Union Catalogue. It is impossible at this stage to say how many records there will be in the UC as we have no information on the number of duplicate titles across the databases at this stage, or on the success of the `matching’ and deduplication of the records.

The UC will present a single bibliographic record for a single title to users. This record will be linked to the holdings and item records for each of the copies held in the libraries across University. The detection of duplicate records depends on ‘match points’ defined in a duplicate detection profile. Within this profile, a hierarchy of these match points (data in various fields and subfields that can be used to identify a duplicate record) is defined. The use of standard numbers (e.g ISBN and ISSN) gives us important match points in such a hierarchy.

The Union Catalogue databases contain many short records – most of which are records that were created from data input of catalogue card entries, and in many cases contain very few fields. They typically contain a classmark, a title, and place and date of publication. The UC software may not be able to match these short records with any degree of certainty against other records in the system and so there will still be multiple records for a single title.

The members of CULAG – the "steering" committee of the Union Catalogue – have proposed and will shortly convene a working group to consider minimum bibliographic standards for records being added to the new Voyager system. They see the implementation of the new system and conversion to MARC21 as an opportunity for Union Catalogue libraries to discuss and work towards developing an agreed minimum cataloguing standard for bibliographic records for Union Catalogue libraries, while still accommodating member libraries requirements and local practices.

The Cambridge Union List of Serials (CULoS) is a holdings catalogue of journals held in contributing libraries across the University of Cambridge. Within Voyager, the CULoS database will not be maintained as a single separate centrally managed database. Each Voyager database will contain a single copy of a CULoS record with the holdings for each of the libraries that share the database. In effect, there will be multiple copies of a record for a single journal title across the system. The libraries within a database will be able to add and amend their holdings, and use serials check-in function. Editorial control of the journal title entries will no longer be centrally done, and libraries will be able to create and amend these records. For the UC to present a single record for a journal title to the users, the journal records need to contain the required match points.

A working group consisting of members from the Periodicals and Cataloguing departments in the University Library as well as representatives from several Union Catalogue libraries - has been convened to discuss serials cataloguing issues and to investigate standards and conventions to be agreed and used by libraries across the system. By working together, libraries will be able to contribute to and maintain the journals listing of titles to retain the benefits of a single "union" listing of journal titles to the users of the system.

In Cambridge, the name "Union Catalogue" refers to more than the online catalogue of its member libraries. It is also used to refer to the group of libraries that use the library management system developed, maintained and run centrally in the University Library. At present, there are 22 libraries across the University using the circulation control system, 27 using the periodical receipt system, and 3 libraries outside the UL using the accession system.

Within the Voyager system, these libraries will be able to implement their own policies for acquisitions, serials and circulation within the Voyager database. Several College libraries, and one affiliated institution library be using the Voyager system for circulation and acquisitions

From the WebOPAC, users will be able to view and manage their library accounts in those libraries where the Voyager system will be in use. Users of the University Card that are registered in more than one of these libraries will be presented with a single library "record" that will aggregate their library accounts from across the system. Through a secure login, users will be able to view what they have on loan, and renew items if permitted to do so. They will also be able to view their requests as well as the status of these requests, and cancel them if required.

Union Catalogue librarians have been involved in the Voyager Project from the outset and have had considerable input in to the Project. Librarians from Union Catalogue libraries sat on the Task Groups that drafted the system requirements for the University, and were involved in system evaluation and system selection. The Union Catalogue is represented on the Project Team, and several representatives are sitting on working groups that are involved in system configuration. The Cataloguing Working Group is currently looking at the system-wide cataloguing configuration, while the OPAC Working Group are working on the configuration of the public interface to the system.

The year ahead will be busy. It is now only three months away from the first of the Union Catalogue databases going live, and six from the final one. The implementation phase will be a challenging time for all libraries and staff across the University as they become familiar with a new system and a new MARC format.

Lesley Gray
Union Catalogue Project Administrator
IT Services, Cambridge University Library
Tel.: 01223 339942; email:

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When I first arrived in Cambridge in 1983, I wondered whether working as a sole professional librarian might be a fairly lonely existence. I need not have worried – the Cambridge Colleges provide a wealth of professional contact. I was fortunate in having Elizabeth Russell, then Assistant Librarian at King’s, as a mentor during my Library Association licentiateship. Liz made sure that I met librarians from other colleges and arranged visits to a wide range of libraries throughout the University. Having colleagues that I could call on for advice was a lifeline, and I soon became involved with the Cambridge Colleges Assistant Librarians’ Group (CCALG) and helped to organise regular meetings. The group met two or three times a year to discuss mutual concerns and usually included a chance to visit a college library or special collection. The CCALG produced a survey of college staffing, working conditions, systems and services in 1986.1

Returning to college libraries in 1994 after an absence of almost five years, I discovered that the CCALG was in the doldrums. However, as a sole professional librarian I still needed that lifeline to help combat professional isolation. Following a discussion with a few like-minded individuals after a Union Catalogue AGM, the Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) was born. We felt that, although the UC project was important, it didn’t address all of the matters affecting college libraries. Nor did we feel it necessary to restrict membership of the group to Assistant Librarians – anyone working in a college library would be welcome to attend.

Staff and Fellows from Cambridge College libraries now meet regularly, about once a term, to discuss topics of common concern. Up to forty members attend Forum sessions. The CCLF provides a formal framework for making contacts and a means of self-help. In 1996, Forum members helped to complete an updated version2,3 of the survey carried out ten years earlier, providing member libraries with useful statistics for comparison. Recent meetings have covered preparing for Voyager, collection development policies, security systems and a seminar on the Data Protection Act. The Forum is also divided into five disaster planning groups, geographically arranged to enable sharing of resources and expertise. These groups organise their own training sessions, orientation visits and, in some cases, pool equipment.

In December 2000, the CCLF adopted a formal constitution. The objects of the Forum are to:

The CCLF has a representative on the Cambridge University Libraries Automation Group and, since 2001, on the General Board Committee on Libraries. Information can now be channelled directly to CCLF, and members’ opinions can be fed back to these committees for wider discussion. A representative of the Senior Tutors’ Committee is also invited to CCLF meetings to promote closer co-operation. Topics for the coming year will include MARC21 training, the design of the Voyager OPAC and co-operative collection building across the University.

It may be that the advent of the Voyager system may promote similar co-operative ventures amongst other groups of librarians in Cambridge. The General Board Committee is actively looking for ways to bring UL, college, departmental and faculty librarians together, based on the idea of "brown bag lunches" already operating successfully in Oxford. To anyone thinking of setting up a group along the same lines as CCLF, I would offer every encouragement – the benefits of sharing experiences and concerns far outweighs the effort of arranging meetings. The Forum elects a convenor and a steering committee for a two-year term. Minutes are kept of each discussion meeting, but the duties of secretary are usually shared amongst members. The CCLF has no funds, but all correspondence is carried out by email and, thanks to the goodwill of the Colleges, venues are easily arranged.

In practice, the CCLF allows members to share expertise and to develop professional skills. It helps raise the profile of member libraries within the Colleges and the University. New members find mentors and a ready-made network of associates; an awareness of what other members are doing benefits us all. Knowing that someone else is in the same boat, professionally speaking, and is only a phone call or an email away is the surest cure for isolation. As a colleague once confided, "I’m nosy about other people’s libraries and like a bit of a gossip, but at least I can now call it networking!"

Heather Lane
CCLF Convenor
Sidney Sussex College Library
Tel.: 01223 33885; email:

1 Owen, Heather, et al. (1986) The CCALG report: a survey of staffing, working conditions, systems and services in Cambridge college libraries. Cambridge: Cambridge Colleges' Assistant Librarians Group.

2 Lane, Heather (1995) Quo vadis? A review of changes since the 1986 CCALG report. In Cambridge University Libraries Information Bulletin. New series, no. 36

3 Lane, Heather, co-editor (1996) The CCLF 1996 report: a survey of staffing, working conditions, systems and services in Cambridge college libraries. Cambridge: Cambridge College Libraries Forum

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The Cambridge College Libraries Forum (CCLF) recently discussed the group's potential to assist in the training and professional development of library staff. There was much interest in sharing members' expertise but it was recognised that, because the Colleges are independent, any forum would inevitably rely on informal contact.

Members were keen to share information and some practical suggestions were made, including asking the UL to include more information in the University Libraries handbook. There is also a lot of interest in professional issues, and I'm sure we could come up with an interesting training programme. So, for what it's worth, I'm offering to co-ordinate our efforts. Let's see whether enough people are available to develop local training opportunities and enhance the professional development of College library staff. If you are interested in discussing particular issue or have a specific skill or interest to share, please contact me on In the short term we may be preoccupied with learning about MARC21; in the longer term we can widen our horizons.

Karen Begg
Library Assistant
Sidney Sussex College
Tel.:01223 338852; email:

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Jorge Luis Borges, in The Library of Babel, talks about the search for "a catalog of catalogs."* "The Library is endless," he says, in a declaration not unlike some we hear nowadays, and which can provoke equal measures of fright and enthusiasm. For who would not give anything now for a "catalog of catalogs", something, anything to give shape and structure to the wealth of electronic information? Librarians are among those who wish for the super-catalogue, but, at the same time, are called upon to make sense of it all. We are charged with the responsibility from central government, regional and local authorities, academic administrations, and most of all from our many and varied customers.

But the impetus for translating this babel into a form that makes sense to our users also comes from librarians, major clients of electronic information themselves. Not only are librarians participating in top-down major national initiatives, such as the People’s Network (, the New Opportunities Digitisation of Learning Resources Programme (, and the Distributed National Electronic Resource (, National Electronic Library for Health (http://www.nelh., NHS Direct (, but from the bottom up in local and regional programmes as well, such as Inform25 (

In the East of England, public libraries have created an electronic resource-sharing network, Co-East (, and out of this network has arisen a proposal for more localised sharing of resources across HE, FE, public and health library domains: Co-East Plus (http://www. has not only supplied the software to facilitate single integrated searching and interlending, but has developed a technical model which will allow a choice for either accessing the resources of the entire region or targeting only those of a specific geographic cluster. The VDX software has been enhanced by the development outcomes of the UEA-led Project Agora ( Each partner organisation in the project needs to have a Z39.50 compliant library system that facilitates cross searching of catalogues, while the ILL/ISO compliant VDX software will handle interlending transactions. The software also has the potential for cross-searching electronic resources, such as commercial databases and the Internet. Libraries with Z39.50 and ISO/ILL compliant systems already in place are also able to participate in interlending.

In its development of a resource-sharing service, Co-East Plus is building on the experience of other similar projects, such as the Riding Gateway ( In addition, from consultation with major regional initiatives, such as NOF’s Sense of Place East and EECLAIM’s portal project (, a collaborative approach to the presentation of content in the region can be developed. Moreover, partnership with the British Library and the Open University extends the project’s goal of establishing co-operative services in defined communities or geographic areas for learners across domains, a recommendation expressed in Empowering the Learning Community (LIC 1999). The Plus project will expand on these services by including health information appropriate to health professionals, as well as information crucial to the lifelong and independent learner, currently inhibited by distance and institutional barriers. Indeed, the Plus project will strengthen regional partnerships and infrastructure in its pursuit of building a cohesive gateway for local and regional resources.

The progress towards a catalog of catalogs may seem a slow one, in the face of exponential growth of electronic information. Co-East Plus is taking a step in this direction by using the building blocks of local and regional resources. From this perspective, the Library is not endless in an overwhelming sense, but in a way which will continue to enrich and challenge us.

*Borges, Jorge Luis. The Library of Babel. Trans. Andrew Hurley. Boston: Godine, 2000. I must confess to an utter lack of originality in comparing this source to technology and libraries. With a Google search, you’ll find quite a few references making the connection between Library of Babel and the Internet and digital libraries, for example I would hazard a guess that this particular edition might be a result of a renewed interest in the work.

For further information about Co-East and Co-East Plus, please contact:

Linda Berube
Co-East Plus Project Manager
Library HQ, Rm B104
Castle Court, Shire Hall
Cambridge CB3 0AP
Tel.: 01223 718 170; email: uk

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It is a great pleasure to be invited to write a small piece in this newsletter on library collaborations. As a former Head of IT Services in Cambridge University Library, I have happy memories of successful collaborations between the University Library, the Computing Service and Faculty, Departmental and College Libraries on a range of electronic information services. This was in itself a fine example of collaboration in practice. What I have been asked to do in this small article is to look more widely at examples of national and Regional library collaborations as they affect me in my present post as Director of Library Services at UCL (University College London). I am happy to do this and to draw out one or two conclusions at the end of this short piece.

National Collaborations

CURL, the Consortium of University Research Libraries, is a principal focus for national collaboration ( , and I am currently privileged to be a member of the CURL Board. CURL acts both in the interests of its own member libraries and institutions and, increasingly, is taking a national lead on behalf of the community in terms of services, projects and research.

COPAC ( is well -known as the combined public catalogue of the CURL libraries. Whatever the future of the National Union Catalogues of monographs and serials, it is hoped that COPAC will be an important contributor to these developments. CURL also offers a record retrieval service for its member libraries, who can download records to their own catalogues from the CURL database. I remember, when I was in Cambridge, teaching Departmental, College and Faculty librarians to use this facility to construct their own catalogues. I know that this service is valued by Cambridge libraries.

CURL also operates through a number of Task Forces, one of which I chair. This is the CURL Task Force on Scholarly Communication, which has a lively membership drawn from across CURL libraries ( GroupsSC.html). The Task Force has negotiated advantageous deals for e-journals with commercial publishers; represented CURL and the wider information community in discussions which led to the creation of SPARC Europe; has helped CURL libraries to mount advocacy campaigns in their institutions in spring 2002; and has co-sponsored national meetings on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI).

In terms of projects, CURL has established an international reputation through CEDARS ( CEDARS has developed a model for a distributed archive for electronic materials, based on a demonstrator sited in Leeds, Cambridge and Oxford. I am currently a member of the CEDARS Management Committee and the project has made substantial contributions to the development of metadata for electronic archiving and to the study of emulation, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, as a technique for archiving electronic materials.

Regional collaborations

The main focus for regional collaboration in London is the M25 Consortium ( ). I have served for one term of office as a member of the Consortium’s Steering Group and have been privileged to see how the work and confidence of the Consortium has grown. Historically, the Consortium membership has consisted of the libraries of the 39 Higher Education Institutions contained within the orbital M25 motorway; membership is now expanding to include libraries in institutions further afield. The Consortium is engaged in a large number of activities in response to a new government emphasis on Regionalism. The Consortium has developed a Z39.50-compliant Union Catalogue called InforM25, which allows users to search any number of catalogues from amongst the Consortium membership through a web interface ( This is an interesting distributed model for a Union Catalogue. The records are not housed centrally in one database, but reside in the library OPACs of each contributing member in their own institution. The technical development for InforM25 has been undertaken by a Team in the Library of the London School of Economics.

The M25 has also developed the M25 Access Scheme, which embraces all academic members of staff and research postgraduates in M25 institutions (http://www.M25lib. The point of the scheme is obvious – eligible users from any M25 institution can use any other member institution’s library free of charge for access and borrowing; the level of borrowing can be set by the host institution. The Consortium sees this formal scheme as an important deliverable of the new Regional agenda. Levels of activity are being monitored and the take-up is relatively low. Nonetheless, it is a scheme much valued by those who use it. The next step is for the Consortium to develop an Automated Eligibility Tool (AET). Within London and the South-East there is a plethora of access agreements between libraries and institutions – so many that it can be difficult for a library Admissions Officer to know which scheme to apply. The purpose of the AET will be to make it easier for Admissions staff to know which scheme to use.

Let me talk briefly about two further M25 activities. The M25 Steering Group makes determined efforts to liaise with other libraries, museums, archives and galleries in London, of which there are lots – the London Library Development Agency (LLDA), the Association of London Chief Librarians (ALCL) for public libraries and Re:source are just some of the bodies with whom the M25 Consortium has engaged in discussions. There are also London-wide collaborations between Higher Education institutions and central and local government and businesses. In these fora, the M25 Consortium has tried to make sure that the voice of libraries and their users is heard.

The final M25 initiative which I would like to describe is one in which I have been closely involved. This is the M25 Staff Development Group, which I currently chair. The Group organises 10-12 training courses each year and the M25 is particularly known for its innovative 3-day Management Training course for line managers new to management. The University of London (through the University Libraries Committee, of which I am Deputy Chair) has its own successful Staff Training Group. Both Training Groups currently share the services of a 0.8FTE Administrator. From August 2002, it is planned that these two Groups should be discontinued in favour of a new Regional Training Group called CPD25: Training and development for HE libraries in the London Region. If this development goes ahead, it will be a bold and exciting move to offer high quality staff training events to all Higher Education libraries in the Region.


It is certainly true that collaboration is high on the national political agenda. There are issues which libraries should consider before entering any collaboration. What are the intended outcomes? What resources are required to achieve the collaboration? What will the effect of any such collaboration be on your institution? Will your institution be happy with the intended collaboration? Collaboration is not a matter of compliance to an external agenda. For it to be successful, collaboration has to be at the heart of a Library’s Mission Statement as a real strategic objective. In the examples cited above, there is clear evidence of benefit to all parties concerned in the collaborations, at both national and regional level. Where collaboration is successful all participating institutions should be enriched, for the sum of the whole is greater than the individual constituent parts. In particular, development work is often best performed as part of a wider collaborative partnership. There are also benefits to our users in opening up access to the wealth of collections which collaborative partnership schemes can deliver. Collaboration is firmly part of the Higher Education agenda and libraries can be at the forefront in defining at a practical level what collaboration really means.

Paul Ayris
Director of Library Services
UCL (University College London)

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On 8 February the University Library hosted ‘RLG Day’, led by Nancy Elkington. Cambridge has been a member of the Research Libraries Group since 1994 and has benefited from access to RLIN and Eureka, while contributing consultative expertise to the development of the Group. The following is an abridged version of a paper written in January 2002 for the HEFC Research Support Libraries Group.

RLG is a not-for-profit membership organization of over 160 universities, national libraries, archives, historical societies, and other institutions with outstanding collections for research and learning. Rooted in collaborative work that addresses members' shared goals for these collections, RLG develops and operates information resources used by members and nonmembers around the world. (See the RLG home page at:


RLG was founded in 1974 by the chief librarians of four major US research libraries: the universities of Yale, Harvard, Columbia and the New York Public Library. The four librarians were interested in forging an organization optimized for effective resource sharing among institutions with a common mission to support the needs of research. Among the first initiatives to be pursued was interlibrary lending, followed closely by shared cataloging, preservation and cooperative collection development. As the membership grew in size, so did the organization’s collective ability to make significant headway against common barriers. (See "Who We Are" at

Within the first few years of its existence, RLG and its members succeeded in establishing a new model for cooperation in the US. Over the last 25 years, cooperation – under the leadership of RLG and its members -- in a wide range of areas has amplified the value that all research-supporting repositories can provide to their primary user communities by strengthening the tools and opportunities available to all. (See for a listing of key achievements 1989- 2001.)


James Michalko is RLG’s President. RLG is governed by an elected Board of Directors and staffed by about 100 employees, based in Mountain View, California (with an office in London). It is an international leader in providing access to unique cultural resources, assisting members to preserve their collections (in any form), supporting multi-lingual resource description and in creating effective discovery mechanisms for researchers. RLG’s operating budget derives from annual subscriptions from its members and usage fees for accessing its online resources (payable by both members and non-members). RLG receives no public funding other than that which is available on a competitive basis from US federal agencies that fund special projects and initiatives in areas of RLG focus. Gifts solicited from private foundations supplement the operating budget in key priority areas.

Membership in RLG has expanded from a handful of US research libraries in 1974 to a highly diverse and international community of 164 public and private libraries (many of which are in universities), archives and museums that come together in order to improve their ability to fulfill their own missions through consortial interworking. Members of RLG are located in: the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, Egypt, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UK (28), Australia and New Zealand. (See the current member list at html)

RLG consults with peer organizations to avoid duplication of effort and enhance collaboration through joint activities. For instance, RLG has a memorandum of understanding with JISC that focuses on digital preservation, access to cultural resources and improving the shared interlending and document supply environments. RLG works with the Digital Library Federation (US), the Consortium of University and Research Libraries (UK), the Consortium of European Research Libraries (Europe), the Association of Research Libraries (US), the Society of American Archivists (US) and many other peer organizations around the world. RLG does not lobby for government action (the Association of Research Libraries functions as the primary lobbying voice for research libraries in the US) nor engage in joint purchasing activities, which are more appropriately addressed by local and regional consortia in the US, by JISC in the UK, and by similar organizations in other countries where RLG members are located. Instead, RLG identifies and makes available a range of specialized bibliographic, citation and research resources within its unified online research environment. (For more details about RLG’s online resources, see:;; , and

Techniques & Methods for Collaboration, 1974-2001

RLG techniques and methods for collaboration include: development of tools, support of a shared information environment, sharing of experience and expertise (in projects and working groups), agreement on common practices, direct investment in the creation, promulgation and implementation of relevant national and international standards, central fundraising for targeted consortial initiatives and projects, selective partnering with other organizations when appropriate, and wide dissemination (via web and print publications) of the concrete results of cooperation.