Start of Message :

The Newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group
January 2001

Date: January 30, 2001

From: Mary J. Holt, President-elect

Recap of 2001 issues, New Business and Old Business

New Business

  1. Proposal to the OCLC Users Council

    The resolution for OCLC to mount MeSH MARC made at the 1995 HSOCLCUG was renewed by a offical proposal from the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group to the OCLC Users Council, October 9, 2000. The proposal requested that the MeSH authority file be loaded into the Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC). The MeSH MARC Committee Chair, Dan Knisner and the CORC Liason, Betsy Friesen worked along with Mary Holt, President-elect on the proposal. Joan Gregory joined the effort to further define the needs of librarians using MeSH in CORC. A survey was designed by the MeSH/CORC Working Group and mounted by Joan Gregory at the following website:

    The Collections and Technical Services Interest Group agenda of February 2001 was to include an update on the progress on loading MeSH files into CORC. [Postponed] The Chairperson of Collections and Technical Services Interest Group is Kristin Senecal of Waidner - Spahr Library at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. Contact information for Users Council representatives are availiable at the Users Council website:

    Related to this effort, a special interest group within the CORC User Group has begun. Members of this group are working in conjunction with Health Sciences OCLC Users Group. An article by Kay Covert, CORC Users Form Health Sciences Special Interest Group gives an update on this related activity in the OCLC Newsletter (November/December 2000), p. 15. Available online:

  2. MARC21 Format for Holdings Data in OCLC

    HSOCLCUG submitted an email letter to OCLC Users Council in support of an OCLC serial holdings proposal from Susan Barnes, SERHOLD coordinator and network librarian of the Pacific Northwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. The proposal was favorably received and acted upon at the October 22nd-24th, 2000, Users Council meeting.

    HSOCLCUG needs to continue to work to address the issues that impact medical libraries using both SERHOLD and OCLC Union Listing. A better understanding of the issues that The National Library of Medicine faces with their new ILS (Endeavor Voyager), and the current SERHOLD, is required. We need to explore how current SERHOLD data may effect the readiness for a cooperative project with OCLC using MARC21 for holdings format. The Group needs to consider providing additional educational information on the MARC21 format for holdings. HSOCLCUG will contine to work with Susan Barnes and other interested groups to encourage the cooperative effort.


Old Business

  1. OCLC's Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) - Build locally, Share globally

    HSOCLCUG will contine to encourage the cooperative description of health science electronic resources via, OCLC's Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) or OCLC's WorldCat. The books, tapes and other materials that health science librarians make available to our patrons using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and National Library of Medicine Classification are easy to find on our shelves because they are organized appropriately by subject matter, content and author according to the medical community standards. Using this same model, the Health Science OCLC User's Group is committed to continue to work with other librarians to identify appropriate electronic health science resources and to create a catalog of electronic resources that will make it easy to locate relevant medical and public health information on the internet.

  2. OCLC continues to diversify its line of products and services. HSOCLCUG needs to improve efforts to educate its members on the issues and problems that may occur as we move to the use of new OCLC interfaces in the next three years. HSOCLCUG will continue to inform OCLC of medical OCLC users unique needs along with the specific issues that impact all OCLC libraries.
  3. The membership must be surveyed on the future of HSOCLCUG. This includes defining the relationship as an independent group or as a group with formal or informal relationships with other professional groups, such as the Medical Library Association (MLA). The bylaws should be amendmended as needed.

    HSOCLCUG is not formally affiliated with the Medical Library Association; however, the immediate past meeting and the next future meeting have been held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the regional chapters of MLA, and many (but not all) of HSOCLCUG members are also members of MLA (Medical Library Association). HSOCLCUG is particularly interested in reaching all those involved in the cataloging, classification of health science resources and all those trying to locate and utilize the literature of the Heath Sciences in all formats. The Group has worked to form liasions to professional associations that are working have similar interests to the members of this group, which include the Technical Services Section of MLA and appropriate interest sections of the American Library Association, and other professional groups such as OLAC (Online Audiovisual Cataloger's, Inc) and the CORC Users Group. HSOCLCUG will continue to investigate the possible formal or informal relationship with the Medical Library Association (MLA) and/or the CORC Users Group. This effort is underway.

  4. MEDCAT e-list, Official HSOCLCUG website, SOM: Start of Message and the offical electronic communication of the group.

    HSOCLCUG will contine to work to define the official role of MEDCAT and the Official HSOCLCUG website and the role of electronic educational resources to the group. An electronic version of SOM: Start of Message is needed. Work needs to continue to make all official announcements available to the membership via the MEDCAT list and on the website. The bylaws need to be reviewed and amended as appropriate.

  5. Bylaws revision

    A revision and review of the Bylaws continue to be necessary to met the needs of the current membership numbers and new communication technologies. The HSOCLCUG Bylaws, as amended in May 1998 require an annual meeting which includes a business meeting, and other as deemed necessary, shall be held as arranged by the Executive Board. Notice of any meeting must be given at least one month in advance. The Chairman of the Bylaws Committee, Bruce Abbott, will be preparing a draft of suggested bylaw changes. Discussion will be held via MEDCAT and revisions for review will be posted on the HSOCLCUG web site. The amendments will be voted upon at the next business meeting.

    • Elected Officers seciton, Aritcle IV.(p.2) requires revision. Elections are currently required for President, Vice President (President-elect) and the Recording Secretary. There was no roster of candidates at the past meeting and currently all post are held by the past officer or by a volunteer approved by the membership at the last meeting in Norman, Oklahoma.
    • Define the role of electronic list or other types of professional communication and the official communication of the group which has traditionally been an independent annual meeting. An alternate type of meeting such as a Round Table Luncheon or SIG of MLA may be considered as an way to handle executive board and business of the group on an annual basis. Another option would be to meet at MLA as a outside group by paying the required fee to MLA and having the meeting added to the Official Meeting Program. All options need to be discussed and any change in the current must be approved by the membership at the next meeting.
    • Define the relationship to MLA and its chapters and the relationship to other professional associations. Set up liasons with related professional associations and organizational bodies that are involved in creating library standards and post reports to the membership concerning issues of interest to the members.
    • Consider making the Bylaws less specific, since many of the requirements that were necessary when the membership was much larger and are no longer needed. Contact other OCLC user's groups that have less structured bylaws or none and make recommendations for the changes in the formal bylaws. A similar group that has maintained an active and productive mission is the Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG). The Theological OCLC Users Group meets informally at their national association meeting, and they have no bylaws or dues. The next HSOCLCUG meeting on should make a definitive decision on the future of the group.

  6. Medical Subject Headings in MARC format(MeSH MARC)

    The MeSH structure change and the 2001 MeSH, continues to be an issue of importance. The processing of MeSH authority in the OCLC Worldcat is important for the retrospective cataloging for libraries using MeSH subject headings. The group is commmitted to continue the work to make the MeSH MARC file available via OCLC's services and to work with OCLC to make the MeSH headings accurate and allow for authority outsourcing for MeSH via OCLC authority services.

  7. Membership Revival

    The Group needs to expand its membership base. The immediate issues at hand should help to revitalize interest in membership from people interested in the current work of the organization. We also need to work to expand the institutional memberships and encourage active participation of both the institutional representatives and individual members.

Send your comments and concerns about these issues to:
Mary J. Holt, HSOCLCUG President-elect
Tulane Medical Library
Tulane University Medical Center.

Excerpt from a Past issues and Trends:
1997 -- Health Sciences OCLC Users' Group, Issues for OCLC User's Council -- by Connie K. Machado, 25 September 1997

Networking Pays

It's imperative for HSOCLCUG members to contact the voting members of the OCLC Users Council and the group representatives on the executive board with input and comments on the issues.

What We Do Best

The objectives of the group from the bylaws: "To establish and maintain at OCLC... a voice that will be heard and recognized as that of a large group of users with specific needs; to be in close contact with OCLC operations staff. To provide means for the exchange of information among the members of the Group, from the Group to OCLC, and from OCLC to the Group. To establish and to maintain close relations with the National Library of Medicine. To establish and maintain in the Regional Medical Libraries awareness of OCLC and its impact, and to seek their support and participation. To maintain close contact with, and support for, the Technical Services Section of the Medical Library Association." At last year's meeting attendees signed up to contact OCLC Users Council members.


The HSOCLCUG has a strong past with regard to its relationship both with NLM and OCLC. A major goal of the group was accomplished when NLM records were added into the OCLC OLUC. These issues are the mission of the group. Because the HSOCLCUG president may attend the OCLC Users Council, HSOCLCUG has an excellent opportunity to send a message to OCLC. NLM and OCLC have graciously provided contacts and have sent knowledgable representatives on specific topical subjects that have met with the organization each year during the annual meeting.



Start of Message is the newsletter of the Health Sciences OCLC Users Group, an independent group composed of health sciences libraries and individuals who either use or are interested in the use of the services of OCLC, Inc. in health sciences libraries.

Created January 4, 2001, Updated March 15, 2001