ASSOCIATES (vol. 1, no. 2, November 1994) -

Table of Contents

                             OF THE
                       LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
                          Gene Kinnaly
                    Senior Technical Advisor
              Arts and Sciences Cataloging Division
                       Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has embarked on an ambitious program
to replace hundreds of "dumb" computer terminals (Comterms) with
PC-based workstations.  These Bibliographic WorkStations (BWS)
are very rapidly  changing the way in which catalogers,
technicians, and other LC staff are performing their jobs.  The
BWS utilizes an impressive combination of hardware and software
to offer the user many features which can increase both the
quantity and quality of cataloging performed by LC staff.
There are 3 or 4 configurations, based on a 386 or 486 platform,
but the "typical" BWS is an IBM PS/2 Model 77, a 486DX2, 66MHz PC
with a 210 MB hard drive, a high-density 3-and-a-half inch floppy
drive, and a whopping 16 MB  of RAM.  It has an enhanced 101-key
keyboard, modified with special characters and diacritics for
input/update  functions.  The monitor is a 15-, 16- or even 17-inch
high-resolution color monitor.
The printer is an IBM laser printer using PostScript.  It provides
a very sharp image, includes diacritics and special characters, and
the noise level with the printer in operation is very low.  The BWS
is equipped with a mouse, making the movement and placement of  the
cursor within a bibliographic record fast and easy.  The BWS is
also configured to accept input via a barcode reader.  At the
present time, however, this option is not being used.
Various features of the BWS hardware package make the ergonomic
environment for the user far superior to that of the Comterms.  The
keycaps on the keyboard have anti-glare surfaces.  One of the
special keys is the "zoom line" key, enlarging text one line at  a
time and making text, including special characters and diacritics,
more easily seen and understood.  And the monitor has
non-reflective surfaces and a "tilt-and-swivel" base for greater
The BWS is loaded with high-powered software including not one but
two operating systems.  DOS 5.0 is installed and used in some
limited applications,  but the real workhorse is OS/2, version 2.1.
Unless a user specifically boots into DOS, it is OS/2 that manages
all the application software on the BWS.  A major component of the
BWS software is the 3270 Terminal Emulator.  This software handles
the display of bibliographic records, input/update functions, and
printing.  It makes the BWS "look" like a Comterm (but act like a
PC).  Also, the BWS has TCP/IP software installed, allowing the
user to communicate with LC's mainframe, other "outside" mainframes
including OCLC and RLIN, and other BWSs on a local network.  This
is the software that provides the user at LC with an Internet
connection, giving access through email, telnet and File Transfer
Protocol (FTP) to computers world-wide.
Additionally, a variety of off-the-shelf application software such
as WordPerfect or LOTUS 1-2-3 can  be installed on the BWS,
depending on the needs of the individual user.
One of the major features of the BWS that makes it clearly superior
to the Comterm is the built-in flexibility (thanks to OS/2) which
allows the user to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.  First,
there is the "multiple sessions" feature, which allows up to three
separate sessions in LC's online catalog (up to two input/update
sessions at the same time).  For example, a cataloger may be in
the name authority file, the MARC Books input/update file, and
email, all at the same time.
Another  aspect of the flexibility of the BWS is "multi-tasking."
This feature enables a user to move quickly among several "open"
applications.  For example, I may check my email, switch to
WordPerfect to edit a document, and then access and search OCLC,
all without having to sign off from, and on to, each application
each time I perform each task.
Basic features:
In addition to the flexibility afforded by multiple sessions
and multi-tasking, macros are used extensively by BWS users.
Each BWS comes with a basic "whole book cataloger" package of
macros.  These include a macro to insert the note "Includes
bibliographical references and index", another to add the subject
subdivision "Bibliography" while at the same time inserting a "b"
in fixed field box 26, and yet another macro to facilitate the
processing of bibliographic records by cataloging technicians.
While the basic package of macros contains many useful macros, each
BWS user can also customize existing macros or create additional
macros.  This is particularly handy for subject catalogers dealing
with specific and repeated subject headings, or descriptive
catalogers working with words, letter combinations and diacritics
in languages other than English.
The other major feature of the BWS is the "copy and paste" feature.
A typical use of this feature is a descriptive cataloger creating
a heading for a personal author on a bibliographic record, copying
the heading into temporary memory, switching to the name authority
file via multiple sessions, and pasting the heading into the new
name authority record.
Clearly, both macros and "copy and paste" are powerful tools for
BWS users.  Both significantly reduce the total number of
keystrokes needed to catalog a book at LC, improving the ergonomic
environment tremendously.  And both improve the quantity *and*
quality of LC cataloging -- we can do it faster, and if the data in
a macro or copied and pasted from  one record to another is
correct, the data in the new record must also be correct.
Bells and whistles:
LC staff are currently experimenting with several Text Capture  and
Electronic Conversion (TCEC) projects.  The most visible of these
projects is the Electronic CIP Project.  This is a process by which
publishers submit entire galleys of to-be-published works to LC
electronically via the Internet.  The electronic text is then
manipulated using the OS/2 system editor, and a MARC record can be
created with no re-keying of bibliographic data.  The process is
so quick that LC is also experimenting with adding table of
contents information to these records, thus providing more
information in less time.
The CDS Catalogers Desktop and IBM BookManager software packages
have been tested by LC staff and will provide BWS users with a
wide variety of online documentation.  This documentation will
include subject and descriptive cataloging policies, rule
interpretations, and various USMARC documents.  In addition,
online classification schedules are being developed, and AACR2
online is a possibility.
The Future:
LC staff, particularly those in the Automation Planning and
Liaison Office (APLO) are constantly exploring new ways in which
to more fully utilize the technological advances the BWS
represents.  OS/2 version 3.0 is being tested and evaluated for
possible installation.  Various "front end" system enhancements
are being investigated.  Current testing also includes running
RLIN software for searching and input/update on the BWS.
While it is uncertain exactly what kind of BWS enhancements are in
our future, it is clear that LC will continue to explore new ways
in which to make the BWS an even more powerful tool for LC staff.
The BWS has already had a profound and very positive impact on LC's
cataloging operation.  As the features and uses of the BWS continue
to evolve, the cataloging staff at LC -- and the many users of our
cataloging records -- will continue to benefit from the BWS.
The author has worked at  the Library of Congress for  more  than
twenty years.  Currently, he is a Senior Technical Advisor in the
Arts and Sciences Cataloging Division.  The opinions expressed in
this article are those of  the author, and do not necessarily
reflect those of the Library of Congress.