Professional Development

Author Archive

Chris at NCLA

Monday, October 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Last Thursday, I attended NCLA as a presenter for the first time. Dr. Anthony Chow, who was one of my professors when I was in library school, asked me if I could present two sessions with him that day. I agreed, suited up (literally) and made the journey to Hickory early that morning.

Our first presentation was called “To Fine or Not to Fine? This is the Question” and took place at 9 a.m. While I was I school, I served as a research assistant with Dr. Chow on this project, which investigated the use of positive reinforcement methods (rewards) as an alternative to negative reinforcement methods (fines) in order to encourage library patrons to return their materials in a timely manner. We had used one academic library in our study, and the results supported our initial hypotheses in somewhat surprising ways. This presentation was attended by thirty people who represented a mixture of libraries; each person was interested in learning more about how to implement a rewards program at their respective location. Further, there were several people who wanted to find out of the study would continue and if their library could participate. Dr. Chow was encouraged by this possibility, as we had hoped to use different libraries in our study initially but were forced to scale back because of a lack of interest. This project has the potential to grow, so there may be a revised presentation at a future conference.

“What Does a Typical Library Website Look Like?” was not only our second presentation for the day but it was also one of the last set of presentations for the day itself. Dr. Chow and his research assistants analyzed over 1,400 websites for this study, using a combination of checklists and surveys to determine a standard design layout, common features and content, responsibilities for design and maintenance, and the extent that these websites follow recommended guidelines for overall design. A set of nine usability testing criteria was applied, with the resulting data being notable for what was found (contact information for the library) as well as what was not (a space for feedback from patrons). My role was to facilitate this session; Dr. Chow had returned to Greensboro for personal business and planned to use Skype to present his PowerPoint slides, while I was to drive the presentation in person from Hickory. This was the first time that I had participated in a “long distance” presentation, and Murphy ‘s Law came to bear when Skype failed to connect at the start of the session, leaving me to open the session without Dr. Chow. Fortunately, Dr. Chow was able to connect after the fifth slide and we were able to co-present until he had to leave for personal business leaving me to close the session. Even though I didn’t have an intricate understanding of the material in this presentation, I was able to use some of my experience on the ZSR Web Committee to answer questions and stimulate discussion at the end of the presentation.

NCLA has been a different experience every time for me every time I have been involved, and this year was no exception. Now that I have been a presenter at the conference, I would like to have the opportunity to do it again in the future. Two presentations in one day was one way to increase my personal understanding!

Chris at NASIG 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011 3:18 pm

This year, the 26th Annual NASIG Conference was held in St Louis, Missouri. Sessions were devoted to several trends that have emerged for serials and other continuing resources, such as e-books, RDA, and the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Also, there were many sessions that highlighted a specific workflow that a library was doing well in terms of serials management. So, without further ado…

Vision Session 1: Science Re-Imagined. Adam Bly of Seed Media Group spoke in favor of a new set of policies that needed to be created to address the growth of new areas of research. Because scientific advancements have been made across the world, a culture shift has begun to look beyond the West for innovation and discovery. He postulated that today’s model of “open access” would become the norm in society within a few years: it would happen as the public become more scientifically literate. This would help science become more widely understood both as a tool and a lens for understanding.

Vision Session 2: Books in Chains. This presentation was given by Paul Duguid of the UC Berkeley School of Information about the supply chain between the authors of various works and their respective readers. Even in today’s world of Apple’s iTunes and the smartphone apps, this is a paradigm that has continued to endure since the early days of the printed word. Along with the supply chain, knowledge certification has remained dominant as people must understand how specific items such as format changes and compatibility would make a difference as they interact with media. The actual replacement of tools has been a rare circumstance; rather, they evolve into new products (example: blogs leading to Twitter, yet both currently exist). To sum up, the chain endures but the links that create it will inevitably change.

Strategy Session: Continuing Resources and the RDA Test. Since Steve covered this topic in his report, I won’t rehash what he has already said. It’s worth noting that RDA has not yet been a settled format for the three primary libraries in the United States and that there will still be a measure of time before it is fully adopted on a wide scale.

Strategy Session: Leaving the Big Deal. Presenters Jonathan Nabe (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) and David Fowler (University of Oregon) described how their respective institutions decided to pull out of the “Big Deal” for journal packages. Because of the economic downturn, both libraries faced shortfalls in their budgets due to a lack of state funding, and they were forced to make the decision of leaving specific packages. To compensate for the loss of several titles, they introduced several options such as pay-per-view for articles along with a heavy push of ILL. The result was little resistance from either students or faculty, as the results were mostly invisible to their users. One school, however, did have trouble with the initial refusal by one publisher to adhere to their LOCKSS contract.

Strategy Session: Polishing the Crystal Ball – Using Historical Data to Project Serials Trends and Pricing. The authors of the annual serials pricing article in Library Journal- Steve Bosch (University of Arizona); Kittie Henderson and Heather Klusendorf (both of EBSCO Information Services)- described the resources they used to write it. By comparing the Library Journal Periodical Price Survey and the U.S. Periodical Price Index, the authors were able to draw on a standing price list, which has been composed of print journals with pricing data from EBSCO. Both resources used different approaches to deliver their data, but they came to similar conclusions: they showed that journals inflated between six percent and nine percent each year. The authors emphasized that libraries would have to determine which resource would be needed in conjunction with their own budget planning.

Tactics Session: Managing E-book Acquisition: The Coordination of “P” and “E” Publication Dates. Gabrielle Wiersma of the University of Colorado at Boulder gave a presentation on her experiences with establishing e-book services at her library. She established an approval plan for e-books with their primary vendor Coutts (represented by Sarah Forzetting) with the goal of addressing the problem with delays in e-book publishing patterns. On the front of public service, additional notes were used in their catalog to inform patrons of the availability of an e-book. In technical services, Ms. Wiersma added a condition to their e-book approval plan to ship a print version of a specific book if its electronic counterpart were not available after a specific number of days. The approval profile was also adjusted at the request of each academic department for the number of e-books they wanted to receive. Additionally, invoices that were paid in acquisitions were passed to catalogers to assist with MARC overlays. Interestingly, Boulder uses a demand-driven acquisition model that is similar to what is used at ZSR.

Tactics Session: On Beyond E-Journals – Integrating E-books, Streaming Video, and Digital Collections at the HELIN Library Consortium. Martha Rice Sanders of the HELIN Consortium and Bob McQuillan of Innovative Interfaces, Inc. reported on the trend among contemporary collection development librarians to determine whether to acquire materials as single purchases or to acquire in groups/bundles. The outgrowth of this has been to determine how users will find these resources by way of the library’s discovery layers. The HELIN Consortium introduced features such as allowing users to tag records in their respective catalogs. Additionally, records for streaming media resources as well as traditional media resources are listed in their catalog, identified using additional MARC tags in their bibliographic records. Records also had links to licensing information, stored externally. Finally, the catalog was modified to include reviews for books and audio-visual materials. HELIN was clearly finding the limits of their catalog to deliver more tools to their patrons.

Tactics Session: One Academic Library – One Year of Web Scale Discovery. Tonia Graves of Old Dominion University described the experiences of her library following an article by Marshall Breeding about library discovery tools. In the article, Mr. Breeding encouraged libraries to evaluate all of their discovery tools and focus their efforts on improving those services that would have the greatest appeal to users. Ms. Graves explained that after a review by several committees, the decision was made to leave their ILS in place (they are running Innovative’s Millennium), but efforts were made on a redesign of the library website, the development of a mobile app for the library, and incorporating WorldCat Local into their array of discovery tools. All of these efforts were favorably received by library users.

Tactics Session: Preparing for New Degree Plans – Finding the Essential Titles in an Interdisciplinary World. Following a directive by their incoming president, the University of Texas at Dallas dramatically expanded its focus on an interdisciplinary curriculum for its students. Ellen Safley explained the process that was taken at the library: the library director gives permission to begin collecting in these new areas of research, multiple resources (similar programs at other institutions, indexes, etc.) are searched for journals information, and incoming faculty are consulted about the journals that should also be included. Journals are re-evaluated between the first three and five years of the introduction of a new program in order to determine their continued relevance and their impact on the overall budget. Other factors that tied into the evaluation included database coverage, ILL usage, the demand for articles versus complete journals, and the question of purchasing back issues /backfiles.

Tactics Session: Using Drupal to Track Licenses and Organize Database Information. Drupal is an open source content management system and Amanda Yesilbas of the Florida Center for Library Automation demonstrated how she had adapted it into a de facto ERM. It became a depository for licenses, contact information for vendors, login-password information, and so forth. They were also able to use Drupal as a shared resource with other members of their consortium by modifying user permissions for each potential user. Although it was not a perfect replacement for an actual ERM, it was able to perform as one for this institution.

One other sidebar about technology: last year, I saw one iPad at the conference. This year, they were all over the place! They easily outnumbered laptops by 3-1.

Once again, the NASIG conference left me with several things to consider about serials management. This was my second visit to St. Louis (the first was in December 1990) so I made sure to capture the occasion. I have a gallery of photos from this trip on Flickr, and here’s a photo that says it all!

Phone Pics #142

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 3

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:42 pm

Due to the departure time of my flight back to North Carolina, I was unable to attend the final vision session. However, I did get to one last tactics session before it was time to leave.

Tactics- One Identifier: Find Your Oasis with NISO’s I2 (Institutional Identifier) Standard

For years, libraries vendors, publishers, and other agencies have had a series of numbers to identify a single institution in their records. However, these numbers do not transfer from one agency to another, nor do they have similar value from an international standpoint. A NISO working group has been developing a strategy of creating an institutional identifier, or I2 (for I-squared) since early 2008 to fulfill this goal based on existing standards as well as one metadata structure. By partnering with libraries, publishers and vendors from around the world, NISO has slowly developed a schema and an implementation process.

The results of the study and subsequent reports have been posted to the website for the working group, with institutional feedback requested by August 2, 2010. Presentations about the I2 standard have begun at national conferences and will continue through the end of the year.

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The last photo was taken on the way back to the airport. If you would like to see the rest of my pictures, please visit the set on Flickr!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 2

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

These are observations from the second day of the conference.

Vision Session #2: Kent Anderson of JBJS, Inc. on Publishing 2.0: How the Internet Changes Publications in Society

Mr. Anderson is the CEO/Publisher of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery who also maintains “The Scholarly Kitchen” blog. His talk centered on the concept of users increasingly seeking knowledge by using non-linear methods. As the Web shifts to 2.0 and beyond, the culture surrounding it has also shifted towards a platform to bring together in a single medium. This has led to a heterarchy, rather than a hierarchy, that is only made possible by the ever-increasing bandwidth that makes the transfer of knowledge faster over time.

The role of librarians returns to the discussion, and Mr. Anderson suggested the term apomediation. This is another way of saying librarians serve as guides to the abundant economy; in this case the exchange of information and ideas. As the real-time aspects of the Web continue to increase, notably through sites such as Facebook and Twitter, librarians can help users separate the useful from the useless in order to get the results they were seeking. Serialists, like other members of the library field, attempt to solve puzzles in their work; this is nothing new, but these should be continuous reminders for those who would attempt to put libraries in a framework of growing irrelevance.

Strategy Session- When Jobs Disappear: The Staffing Implications of the Elimination of Print Serials Management Tasks

The title of this presentation touches on another real concern for serials personnel as the number of print serials continues to dwindle in many libraries. The presenter, Sarah Glasser of Hofstra University, was inspired by an informal program at the 2009 NASIG conference and developed a survey to determine how other libraries were attempting to address this situation. What she discovered was that although the number of tasks such as check-in and claiming have decreased, most of the responses indicated that libraries have not eliminated staff positions altogether. Rather, those existing positions were reclassified and rewritten to include additional duties, whether shifted into the maintenance of electronic subscriptions or to address gaps that had resulted in other areas of workflow.

One of the most interesting portions of the session occurred during the discussion. One attendee asked whether the skills needed for paraprofessional positions could be adequately rewritten as the needs of positions in libraries continue to change. There was no definite answer to the question, but several members of the group proposed that libraries had to keep their position descriptions as current and flexible as possible to adjust for the changes. As the technologies change, the positions of those who manage them, librarians and support staff alike, must also remain current.

Strategy Session- What to Withdraw? Grappling with Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization

ITHAKA, responsible for services such as JSTOR and Portico, has a third branch of service known as ITHAKA S+R that focuses on strategies and research initiatives that, according to their website, serves to report on the influence of digital media on academic libraries. “What to Withdraw” is one of its latest projects to assist libraries in reducing the size of their print collections as digital counterparts replace them. By analyzing a set of criteria based on preservation factors and a scientific framework, ITHAKA S+R has developed a tool that can be used to aid libraries based on their individual withdrawal needs. The Center of Research Libraries (CRL) was a collaborator on many aspects of this project.

Although the tool has been available for download at the ITHAKA S+R website since late 2009, it was not widely publicized until ALA’s 2010 Midwinter Meeting. Promotion has continued at other conferences and through a series of webinars since that time. Details of the report, along with the tool itself, can be found here.

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Today’s picture is from the terrace of the Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the site of conference. As Steve indicated in his report, there are no pics from the dancing that took place that evening!

Chris at the 2010 NASIG Conference- Day 1

Sunday, June 27, 2010 8:41 pm

This year, NASIG celebrated its 25th anniversary at its conference in Palm Springs, California. Since I was not part of the conference planning committee, I was able to be an “attendee” once again and learn more about the latest challenges for serials and other continuing resources. These are the highlights for the sessions I attended on the first day.

Vision Session #1: Eric Miller of Zepheira, LLC on Linked Data and Librarians

With linked data becoming the latest trend in computing, I was glad that I attended Erik‘s session before going to the conference! Linked data allows users to pull information that had been previously inaccessible on the “front end” of websites and makes it available for users to connect it to other data points across the Internet. Miller went further to explain that this does not involve bringing this data together into one database: rather, applications and similar programs would manipulate the data without harvesting it locally.

Where does this leave libraries? Miller suggested that libraries can participate by contributing their expertise in specific areas such as controlled vocabulary and data portability. Sites such as the BBC and The New York Times have made their information available to users on the back end, but creating standards for that data would be the next possible step. As with so many other emerging technologies, libraries may have an advantage in bringing eventual order to the initial chaos.

Strategy Session- Not for the Faint of Heart! A New Approach to “Serials” Management

This session was presented by two members of OCLC about developing new approaches to managing the workflows required to serials in electronic format. Working as a partner with several libraries, OCLC has begun to develop a user-driven product that can respond to the specific needs of a particular institution. Core portions of the electronic management workflow have been outlined already: selecting and ordering, negotiation and licensing, receiving and maintenance, and payment and invoicing. Combining these with several “pain points” that can create potential bottlenecks in the workflow, OCLC hopes to aid libraries by making this process as routine and painless as possible.

The results for this study by OCLC are expected to be released later this year, and the presenters sought feedback from the audience as to any information that they may have missed. Although the title and description of this presentation did not correspond with what was presented, it was interesting nonetheless. It demonstrated that others are attempting the grapple with the issues associated with the concerns of electronic serials management.

Tactics Session- Don’t Pay Twice! Leveraging Licenses to Lower Student Costs

UCLA relies heavily on printed course readers that supplement the textbooks that students are required to purchase for their classes. In 2008, several student organizations approached the library about how to reduce the costs for these readers, which were usually assembled using articles and other materials that had been licensed by the library. Two librarians approached this dilemma by examining every aspect of a course pack, from the license negotiations for journals all the way to the costs of with the campus copy center. As a result, the library was able to reduce the costs for the readers by as much as $42,000 over three quarters (depending on the discipline, emphasis on journals over monographs, and so forth) as well as hundreds of dollars in copying fees. In the end, the library was not only able to gain more from its license negotiations, but it was able to leverage its campus connections to create successful partnerships with student organizations.

Moving forward, the librarians considered other possibilities: developing potential partnerships with the bookstore, analyzing the pros and cons of an annual license with the Copyright Clearance Center, assessing whether the potential risk of fair use would be viable and sustainable, examining other options such as the public domain and Creative Commons, and support for license portals. The question of developing electronic course readers that could be placed behind course management software has also emerged, and that may reduce costs further. By successfully marketing this program through student organizations, its continued growth and success seems assured. This library service can be progressive as the licensing process will evolve in the coming years.

Tactics Session- Licensing Electronic Journals through Non-Subscription-Agent “Go Betweens”

Subscription agents have long served an essential function in serials management, serving as intermediaries between libraries and publishers. However, there are areas around the world where subscription agents neither have a significant presence nor a relationship with the local publishers. This is where non-agents can play a role. Non-agents function as either for-profit or non-profit entities that work between libraries and publishing agencies- particularly society presses and small agencies- in foreign countries. The cost of their business is not passed to libraries, and the invoices for purchased items come directly from those publishers.

This is a business model of which I was unaware before the conference. As the curriculum of the university continues to build an international focus, the usefulness of these non-agents becomes clear. I believe that it could have possibilities for subscriptions that cannot be secured by any other method, and it could have a similar benefit for monographs. Two organizations that serve in this capacity are Accucoms and FASEB.

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Here is a photo taken from the flight on the way to Palm Springs. More to come in Day 2!

NASIG 2009- Behind the Scenes

Friday, July 31, 2009 4:17 pm

My professional development experience at the NASIG Annual Conference in Asheville, North Carolina was a different one this year. I was involved in the operation of the conference as a member of the Conference Planning Committee (CPC), which was jointly chaired by Eleanor Cook of East Carolina University and ZSR’s own Steve Kelley. I served as the audio-visual coordinator for the conference, and while it was a rewarding experience, there was a lot of work involved.

Planning for the conference began over a year before anyone arrived in Asheville. The CPC met as a group for the first time during the 2008 conference in Phoenix, Arizona and assigned all of the tasks and responsibilities necessary to operate the conference: food, registration, transportation, and so forth. Meetings continued during the year with monthly conference calls to keep all areas on target as well as to resolve any issues that developed. Along the way, the Program Planning Committee (PPC) was meeting independently to line up all of the sessions and speakers who would appear.

My role began to take shape earlier this year, as the PPC started to send details about the schedule to the CPC. Steve forwarded them to me as soon as he had received them and included room assignments as they became known as well. Using that information, I created a series of spreadsheets that evolved over time. They broke down the details for each session in three different categories: by each day of the conference, a summary of equipment needs, and a list of needs for sessions happening concurrently. (Please let me know if you would like to see an example!) From there, I sent the various incarnations to the event technology manager for the conference hotel. We worked closely to lay out the needs for each presenter and the equipment required in each room. Steve, Eleanor, and I also traveled to Asheville for site visits at the conference hotel, familiarizing ourselves with the facility and getting acquainted with the staff who would be working with us.

When the conference began in June, I became the primary contact for all AV needs. As the event technology manager set up rooms, he would check with me to make certain that everything was in place. Conversely, I served as the point person for any last minute situations that developed during the conference itself. These included:

  • A printer for the registration desk
  • A lapel microphone and Mac connection cables for the last Vision Speaker
  • Feedback from several microphones
  • Recording the Vision Sessions on cassette for conference reporters
  • Display stands for the poster sessions

As Steve indicated in his report, the conference was a success. For me, the conference was a chance to expand my professional growth by giving me experience in areas that were not part of my normal responsibilities. I have worked with conference preparation in the past, but the preparation and effort that was needed to put on this conference was truly astonishing. Effective leadership made a significant difference (thank you Steve), but I had to be on point with my own contributions to guarantee a smooth operation.

And there’s always the most valuable lesson: never underestimate the value of comfortable shoes.

ONIX for Serials Webinar

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:09 pm

On September 25, I took part in an hour-long webinar that detailed the new ONIX for Serials standard (ONIX is an abbreviation for ONline Information eXchange). It is a joint project developed by EDItEUR from the UK and the NISO from the United States, and is the latest in a series of standards to create a uniform method of information exchange. Earlier standards, such as ONIX for Books, have been well received by participants across the industry.

ONIX for Serials is a new metadata standard that was designed for communications regarding serials subscriptions between all or some of the following: libraries, publishers, subscription agents, hosting servers, consortia, aggregators, content providers (Serials Solutions, for example), and link resolvers. Based on the ONIX for Books standard, it relates information dealing with subscription data and all of its sources and formats and presents it in an XML message that would be readable across these control systems.

Three primary formats have been developed for the ONIX for Serials standard.

  1. SPS (Serials Products and Subscriptions). These are standard messages to help distribute information to evaluate packages, titles a library is currently receiving in its catalog, and product lists from publishers and agents.
  2. SOH (Serials Online Holdings). This standard pushes information about available issues directly into library systems without using link resolvers, populates A-Z lists, and generates online holdings for consortia arrangements.
  3. SRN (Serials Release Notification). This format can become a method to know when issues are published for e-journals in the catalog and link resolvers; to remove doubt about delays in print issue delivery; and to announce the publication of an article before their respective journals are completely published.

In addition, there is an ONIX Serials Coverage Statement that displays complete enumeration and chronology data for all serial formats, regardless of format or type. Because of its nature, this is a complex data set.

As each format of ONIX for Serials has become available, they have been incorporated into the regular processes of various companies. Early adopters of the SOH format have been TDNet, Serials Solutions, EBSCO, Innovative and OCLC. The SPS and SRN formats are currently in the pilot stage, and compatibility with companies like SirsiDynix and Ex Libris are still on the proverbial drawing board. Further, compatibility with open source catalogs has not yet been addressed, but the nature of open source could change this in the near future.

ONIX for Serials could have tremendous implications across the library community. The key to expanding its growth, mentioned by the webinar’s presenters, was to encourage more companies to sign on as partners.

Please visit www.editeur.org for more information.

Chris at 2008 NASIG Conference

Friday, June 20, 2008 3:57 pm

This year, the North American Serials Interest Group met in Phoenix, Arizona for its annual conference. Steve Kelley and I represented ZSR at the conference, and the weather became It may have been a “dry heat”, but 103 degrees Fahrenheit was still hot in every sense. Thankfully, the conference was mostly held indoors and away from the warming rays.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Taking the Sting out of Serials”, and there were strategy sessions, tactics sessions, and vision sessions where ideas were presented to address this issue. In the midst of these, however, were three concepts that were on the minds of many conference attendees.

• Integrated library systems- the next generation. With the aging of current library systems, questions are being asked about how an upcoming ILS will handle the next generation of library resources. Further, the market for the open source ILS (such as Evergreen, Koha and OPALS) continues to grow in relation to the current players.
• ERM systems. The open source ERM is also taking off, with libraries considering a stand-alone model (GoldRush and HERMES, for example) rather than an interconnected model with the ILS. Still, many libraries are facing how to fully incorporate an ERM into established workflows while creating new procedures around its operation.
• Staff resources toward e-resources. Electronic resource require a workflow all of their in order to guarantee access from the point of order to ongoing maintenance. Library staff is being tapped to deal with the fine points of the process, and libraries are determining the best procedures to commit librarians and support staff toward effective management. From reorganization to outsourcing, solutions are being explored to make up for the changes in personnel.

The session I attended covered a wide range of issues. The standouts for me were:
• “Taking the Sting out of Multiple Format Serials Displays”. This session, presented by two librarians at the University of Kentucky, described how they used bib linking to “join” records of differing formats together on a single OPAC display. For example, if one were searching for Library Journal and arrived at the record for the print journal, the link to the electronic version would be available within the same display. UK also used this procedure for print titles that had been canceled and linked them to their online counterparts, and they said that it had great success with the understanding of patrons. Also, UK is a Voyager site too.
• “Marketing Library Database Services”. Elsevier is developing a student training program in which graduate students are instructed on how to use Elsevier products (such as SCOPUS) as well as online services that are specific to individual libraries. When they return to their home institutions, these graduate students would become trainers for faculty and students alike about databases and journal products. I found this to be an interesting approach, although the application would definitely vary from one library to another.
• “Managing Divergence of Print and Online Journals”. The National Library of Medicine charged a working group that would investigate the differences in content between the print and online versions of its journal subscriptions. The implications included the available content between print and online, but it also involved interlibrary loan requests for content that may be restricted by the terms of a license agreement. The working group reached several conclusions but these in turn led to other questions such as article-level access and workflow reorganization.

Like Steve said in his post, I don’t see Phoenix on my short list of retirement hot spots for the future (though it is a hot spot of another kind). However, I did take some pictures from the trip, and they can be viewed at this link.

Basic Serials Cataloging Workshop

Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:29 pm

On April 14 and 15, Linda Ziglar and I attended a workshop at PCL that addressed the basic elements of cataloging serial materials. Developed in 1999, it is sponsored by the Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (SCCTP) as part of the Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER) and offered around the country several times each year. The presenter for this workshop was Marsha Seamans of the University of Kentucky Libraries, and the 15 attendees came from institutions across North Carolina, including Duke, Elon, the New Hanover County Library (Wilmington), NC School of the Arts, UNCG, UNCC, as well as PCL and ZSR. The following is a summary of what we covered in the workshop- my apologies for it being so heavy on cataloging terminology, but that was what it was all about, eh?

Day One began with the basic definition of what serials are (in brief, numbered works issued in successive parts with no set endpoint). Then, the session moved into a discussion of original cataloging (creating records from scratch). We learned about the CONSER standards for current serial records and took an in-depth look at MARC records. We had a series of practice exercises with examples of several types of records including print and electronic.

For Day Two, we started with subject headings and the strategies involved for assigning them, since they are important for classification purposes as well as cutters for call numbers. We then discussed electronic serials and how they differ for integrated resources (such as databases) in terms of cataloging style, and the importance of the 856 field as well as notes-specific fields. The value of copy cataloging was next, which included the need for appropriate, authoritative records (the CONSER standard once again). The value of starting dates, authorities and place of publication are also important for distinguishing similar records. We also covered title changes, including the criteria of a major title change versus a minor one, when MARC records should be closed following a major change, and proper linking between preceding and succeeding records. A short session about the criteria for editing records closed the day.

Finally, we had three overall remarks about the workshop. The experience level for the group ranged from the seasoned to the novice. Discussion was common during both days of the workshop and often enhanced the notes we received. In fact, several mistakes were found in the PowerPoint slides that were recommended for revision before they are used again in future workshops!


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