Since I am still serving on the ALCTS Standards Committee, I’ll start my ALA report talking about one standard (sort of) that you’ve probably heard of, and two you’re probably less familiar with.
BIBFRAME (heard of it?) – I attended a presentation describing results from converting serials catalog records from MARC into BIBFRAME. I didn’t catch the name of the conversion software, but the presenter was from UC-Davis. Disclaimer: This session reminded me that my cataloging skills have gotten rusty, so I’m not sure I can describe this very well. First of all, she pointed out that most libraries will have MARC records following several different sets of cataloging rules—for example, pre-AACR2, AACR2, & RDA. If I understood correctly, the ISSN, title fields (210, 222, 245), and previous/subsequent title fields (780/785) all transferred fairly well into BIBFRAME. The converter ran into trouble with the older “latest entry” catalog records, which list a serial’s entire title-change history on a single record, because RDA considers each separate title to be a Work, but the conversion software migrated them as Instances. The older date range format also caused problems, because the software interpreted the first issue’s volume number (correctly) as the first issue, but then it interpreted the first issue’s date as the last issue. The speaker also raised the question of how to handle local adaptations when converting to BIBFRAME. The work of analysis and evaluation continues.
ODI – I heard Marshall Breeding speak about NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), which lays out ways to improve interoperability of discovery systems with other database products. Breeding discussed the history of “discovery” products (like Summon) and some of the associated challenges. ODI seeks to alleviate some of the problems by providing a recommended structure for data exchange, covering data formats, method of delivery, usage reporting, updates, etc. Breeding acknowledged that index-based systems will never be “done,” but the ODI standard will help add some needed transparency and will provide a framework for evaluating discovery systems. His final thought was that “we need discovery systems that both users and librarians will love … but that’s not going to be easy.”
PESC – The Protocol for Exchanging Serial Content (PESC) is a very newly-published NISO Recommended Practice (published less than a week ago). It provides a recommended structure for transmitting serial content. The speaker pointed out that sending and receiving files is not very complex when it’s one sender and one receiver. But PESC aims to bring order to the chaos of many senders and many receivers. For example, a publisher may send content to EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR, Portico, and other receivers, all of whom receive content from multiple publishers. The recommendations cover things like including a manifest (list of files), contents of the manifest, file naming conventions, etc.
Speaking of receiving content from multiple sources, I went to a session on data cleanup that included a presentation by Amy Rudersdorf of the Digital Public Library of America. She described a new ingestion system the DPLA is using, aptly called Heiðrún. Rudersdorf explained that “Heiðrún” refers to a mythical goat who would eat anything and produce mead.
I attended a good presentation on leadership by Susan Massey from the University of North Florida. Massey said to think of the organization chart as a hanging mobile, and when one piece is out of balance it affects all the other pieces above and below it. She discussed some of the character traits of a good leader: trustworthiness, fairness, integrity, loyalty. She said leaders should be real & transparent, communicate openly, model mature response to crises, etc. She also encouraged service leadership, seeing that those you supervise have the resources necessary for their jobs, helping them excel in their jobs, and knowing and helping them achieve their goals.
In the exhibit hall I met a few vendor reps face-to-face for the first time. I also joined Lauren and Jeff in meeting with two vendors at the same time to try to iron out some e-book data problems. I think we may have finally gotten through to at least one of the people we needed to get through to. I also got some questions answered, learned about some upcoming database enhancements, etc.