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The small collection of CD-ROMs integrated into library's collection since the end of 1991 ("Public section" and the "Didacthèque") have been expanded in October 1996. Presently more than 800 titles are available for viewing on site or for circulation. After the brief background of CD-ROM installation and collections in French public librairies this paper discusses the problems of describing CD-ROMs in the online catalog. It mostly concentrates on the collection for circulation.
The rules of bibliographic description correspond to the draft of the French national standard, which follows the ISBD (ER) principles. The format used for cataloguing in the library is UNIMARC and the automated system - GEAC GLIS.
Cataloguing have been done locally since the national bibliographic description of electronic documents was not available at the time when the first collection was constituted. Since April 1997 the "Bibliographie nationale française" on CD- ROM provides the description for electronic documents whose downloading is now possible.
This paper analyses the benefits of downloading of bibliographic records for ER and concludes that some local adaptation (updating) is necessary for satisfysing end user needs.
With an average of 3 500 000 visitors per year the CSI is one of the most visited places in France and in Paris, after the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum (and before the Rocher de Monaco and the Château de Versailles). The multi-media library, la Mediathèque, is one of the permanent services of the CSI : its open stacks are presenting the different media on 12 000 m².
The library attracts a quarter of visitors of the CSI : nearly 4000 a day. The collection comprises not only the traditional formats, but also the audiovisual materials, computer programs (mostly educational software) and the CD-ROMs. Almost all formats, including CD-ROMs are available for circulation.
After several years experience of the usage of the computer programs and some CD-ROMs within the section called "Didacthèque" (ca 1200 titles of electronic documents in 1995) and the small CD-ROM reference collection (some twenty titles in 1995), the CD-ROM collection has been expanded in October 1996. At this time several copies of one hundred new titles have been acquired for the circulation. The general subscription conditons have not been changed : for the annual fee of 300 FF, the user can borrow one CD-ROM per loan period (3 weeks). The child subscription card, sold for the symbolic price of 10 FF does not allow to borrow any CD-ROM.
In 1994, in some libraries the CD-ROMs could be used through networking : e.g. in the Public Library of Lyon Part-Dieu and the Dauphine University Library in Paris.
Following the developpement of new technologies and a growing number of published titles, the CD-ROM collections have been expanded to other libraries and information centres, including those from the educational fields (centres de documentation pédagogique).
As for the Mediathèque of the CSI, the public demand made the liraty to decide to develop its CD-ROM collection for circulation.
The bibliographic description of ER has been included to the BNF on CD-ROM since April 1997 and the 1998/2 edition contains 1700 works2.
The entries are provided to libraries in two formats, INTERMARC on tape and UNIMARC on CD-ROM. The "BNF DSAM" (database on CD-ROM for audio-visual and multimedia documents) includes multimedia resources added to the collection in March 1997, some of which are in CD-ROM format. These two databases would eventually merge into one database.
ELECTRE contains 8000 ER descriptions in its 'multimedia' sub-division consultable but not yet downloadable.
It must however be stressed that the more advanced establishments got together as an AFNOR group of experts and circulated information on an informal basis.
One outstanding difficulty is the growing number of different formats and processing software, which is not conducive to easy exchanges or uniform data presentation. Everyone is making his own rules to suit individual habits and different audiences. Some libraries are beginning to download the BNF descriptions but at the present time, we have no reliable data on the number of users of this procedure4.
From the very beginning , we decided not to use the general material designation (ISBD area 1, UNIMARC field 200 subfield b) because it would have duplicated the term displayed for the public (UNIMARC field 204)5. The term selected at the time to indicate electronic educational material on OPAC was "LOGIC".
At the same time, an abstract was defined as mandatory for all non-print material, including educational ER material.
While the public can browse books and periodicals on the shelves, the situation was different with audio-visual and educational ER material. The item could be consulted on a special terminal but no physical carrier or packaging was on view. In addition, many educational resources were designed for training, and users appreciated the content information .
Although we are concerned here chiefly with CD-ROM cataloguing, we have mentioned a few facts about how educational material is dealt with because some of the arrangements adopted for CD-ROMs stem from this background.
Drafting was well advanced by the time IFLA undertook its review of ISBD(CF), then it was decided to concentrate more on the international aspects and await issue of the revised ISBD before completing the French project.
The French Standard is now nearing completion and the enquiry should take place shortly. Issue of the Standard in its final form is expected by the end of 1998.
When the first CD-ROMs appeared in our reference collection and the titles for circulation were added to the Didacthèque, we had to specify cataloguing rules for this new carrier. We thought of referring to the rules for cataloguing educational resources.
The first difficulty was the typology of CD-ROMs : should they be classified by carrier or content ? We had CD-ROMs in our collection with different content: programs, dictionaries, monographs, serial publications (eg. Myriade bibliographic CD-ROM).
The first cataloguing rules for CD-ROMs on UNIMARC date back 1994. The first items were catalogued according to the content. In the field 204, we created the term "CD-ROM" so that users would know from the OPAC screens what type of carrier was involved. This term appeared explicitly for serials. However, for monographs the OPAC displayed the date of publication rather than mentioning the carrier.
It was than decided to catalogue all ER together under a single table. In October 1996, when the Médiathèque puts its CD-ROM collection in circualation 6, the bibliographic descriptions were not yet available from BNF.
The collection was therefore catalogued locally on the basis of forthcoming French Standard. We updated the 1994 temporary UNIMARC cataloguing table. The designation used for the carrier in field 204 - DOC.EL - was then used for all electronic documents7.
Our UNIMARC tables are now in theory in line with BNF descriptions. In future, we shall be downloading descriptions for cataloguing new titles.
In order to compare our cataloguing methods (because there might still be differences in interpretation), in February 1998, we downloaded and analysed 40 CD-ROM descriptions from the public collection.
The descriptions of CD-ROMs catalogued at La Villette with UNIMARC and GEAC GLIS contain the essential data : title proper with parallel and other title information, authors, publishers and distributors, mandatory notes like the systems requirements notes and others like abstract and audience.
BNF transcriptions of parallel titles and other title information are more detailed than those at La Villette. We have not always recorded parallel titles in foreign languages, our public being primarily French (e.g... "David le dauphin" in the series "The Crazy Wild Animals", "Le défi de l'univers"). But the information on languages available of the document was given. The language codes entered in UNIMARC field 101 allow searching by language in OPAC.
Area 6 (series) causes no problems, the recommendations being very similar to those of other standards. The problem is deciding whether it is a true series, a preliminary title or an other title chosen by the publisher. What we recorded in describing "Louvre: peintures et palais" as a series, the BNF described it with note ("'J'imagine le monde' which is a name copyrighted by Montparnasse Multimédia and which could become the title of a series").
ISBN or ISSN are noted in the appropriate UNIMARC fields. They had to be added to the original UNIMARC tables because they did not appear in the educational software cataloguing tables. When all electronic resources were grouped together in 1996, these fields were added in the UNIMARC data entry tables in order to be able to handle monographs and periodicals in CD-ROM format.
Besides the abstract (UNIMARC field 330) already discussed in para. 3.1 above and the audience type (333), for practical reasons, we inform our users about the technical assistance. This information is given in a general note (field 300).
Since this workshop deals with the descriptive part of ER cataloguing, we shall end our discussion of CD-ROM data here. If we had the time we could have given examples of the variant titles and talk about author access or series descriptions, multi-volume sets or mention OPAC issues. As for series access and cross-references to series descriptions, we have not yet solved the vital problem of whether to describe such series as ER or serials. Here again, we come up against the format/content conflict.
Concerning this problem "Decisions must be taken with reference to the library collection and intended audience. A music library must focus on the phonographic and musical aspects of the resource. Other libraries will be more inclined to show 'electronic resource' in the general description of document type for a multimedia item, even if it deals with the works of a musician and contains recorded music or musical transcriptions."12
To sum up, downloading forty descriptions last February was a means of comparing and updating the UNIMARC entries. It was a conclusive experiment and we decided to download BNF descriptions in future for cataloguing new CD-ROMs.
Our present problem is not with applying the standard - we follow the same general rules at La Villette and BNF - but in coverage. Too few CD-ROMs are deposited as required by law. We shall be cooperating with BNF to put pressure on publishers. Another way of cooperation is through ADDNB which is insufficiently used in connection with ER bibliographic processing.
We shall end with a few suggestions. At national level, we must pool our cataloguing practices, we must strengthen and participate in professional training, we must publicise the description sources and standards and encourage professionals to follow them.
At local level, in La Villette Médiathèque, we shall have to update the OPAC data and consider future developments in our system. The work of the new IFLA group on OPACs will be extremely valuable.