Professional Development

Author Archive

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:24 pm

At this year’s Annual conference, most of my time was spent attending various committee meetings and fulfilling my duties as Secretary of the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL by taking minutes at said meetings. After serving on the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee for the past five years in some capacity (e.g. member, Co-Chair, Chair), I chaired my last meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee. Additionally, I attended the Anthropology Librarians’ Discussion Group where Dr. Richard Freeman, who is a librarian at the University of Florida at Gainesville, presented on the topic of visual anthropology in which he provided historical background on the topic and shared information about his own personal work in this area.

I was able to attend a few cataloging programs. At the Copy Cataloging Interest Group (CCIG), I heard Philip Schreur discuss Stanford University’s involvement with Linked Data for Production (LD4P), a project funded for 2 years by the Mellon Foundation that involves 5 other institutions (Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Library of Congress, and Princeton). Schreur reported the goals of LD4P are to redefine technical services workflows (acquisition to discovery) to ones based in Linked Open Data (LOD), produce metadata as LOD communally, enhance BIBFRAME (BF) to encompass multiple formats, and engage the broader academic community. Stanford has looked at their vendor supplied records from Casalini and have utilized tracer bullets in redefining their workflows. Stanford is working with Backstage so that they will become familiar in receiving BF records, and they’re also working with OCLC to be able to send them BF records instead of MARC. Also at CCIG, Dianne Hillman spoke on the benefits using Open Metadata Registry (OMR) to develop specialized vocabulary for specialized collection needs. Inclusion in OMR can help prevent the abandonment of good vocabulary. Catherine Oliver spoke about the issues she’s faced in cataloging Holocaust denial literature at Northern Michigan University. Having these works included in a library’s collection is challenging. They promote hate and often appear scholarly which in turn makes it difficult to know what to do with it. Ms. Oliver pointed out that the Library Bill of Rights provides guidance on avoiding prejudicial labeling of materials. Library of Congress does separate out Holocaust denial literature with 2 subject headings (Holocaust denial and Holocaust denial literature). Determining which of the 2 headings to apply can at times be tricky. She decided to examine cataloging records in OCLC of every English expression of 6 specific Holocaust denial titles, looking specifically at the records call numbers and subject headings. When cataloging Holocaust denial works, she made the decision to not include other subject headings (e.g. Anne Frank, Auschwitz) in the records because she did not want these titles collocated together. She does include additional access points for Holocaust denial literature presses so that people can search for works by a publisher’s name.

“It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN: Migrating to a Next Generation ILS” was the title of the program hosted by the Catalog Management Interest Group that I attended. Library staff from the University of Minnesota Libraries and University Miami Libraries both spoke about their individual experiences transitioning from Aleph and III’s Millennium respectively to Ex Libris Alma, and a librarian from Rutgers University Law Library spoke about her institution’s experience going from Millennium to Koha’s open-source system.

Steve Kelly and I both attended a program on open editorial and peer review that we heard about at the Technical Services Quarterly editorial board meeting/dinner. Cesar Berrios-Otero, Outreach Director for Faculty of 1000 (F1000), spoke about fixing scientific publishing’s archaic model and speeding up discovery. Per Mr. Berrios-Otero, the anonymity of peer review have caused journal retractions to skyrocket. At F1000, the publishing process has been flipped. Once a author submits their paper and open data, a cursory review takes place, and within 7 days or less, the paper is then published. Peer reviews by invited reviewers, which lends transparency to the publishing process, commences. Authors can resubmit revised versions of their paper after addressing reviewers’ comments. Referees and their affiliations are named, and their reports and comments are visible to anyone. The benefits of this new model include:

  • Publishing process has sped up.
  • There is visible discussion between referees, authors, and editors which aids in putting the paper in context.
  • Authors can demonstrate that their papers were reviewed by top people in their field.
  • Reviewers can take credit for their hard work as well as their experience as a reviewer.

Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at CUNY, Graduate Center, wants to see a hybrid publishing model utilized (i.e. a peer review stage with community feedback that then moves to a more traditional editorial mediated process with substantive comments). He outlined the benefits and dangers of a completely open peer review model tied to open access.

Benefits include:

  • Building a community around a text before it it’s published as well as an audience.
  • Enlarging the diversity and the number of perspectives brought to bear upon a text under review.
  • Connecting scholarship with public at an earlier stage of publishing process.

Dangers include:

  • Superficial comments rather than comprehensive, structural feedback or lack of feedback.
  • Reluctance to offer strong critique in public venue.
  • Opening up authors to abuse and mistreatment. Moderation must be considered.
  • Open review exhaustion. It takes time to build a community of reviewers.

Karen Estlund, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies and Technology at Penn State University Libraries, discussed the open peer reviewed journal with which she is involved publishing, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. The journal’s origins came out of a conference and began publication in 2012 by Fembot and the University of Oregon. Experts in the field were recruited to set the journal’s standards. Experts in the field review submissions and provide authors 1-2 page reviews with suggestions on how to make their paper publishable elsewhere or suggestions for resubmission. Interactive works that the journal publishes also go through an open peer review process as well. Pizza and soda are served at the journal’s peer review editing parties.




Carolyn at ALA Annual 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015 7:51 am

When I first heard ALA Annual 2015 was going to be held in San Francisco, I knew this was one ALA I did not want to skip. Having been once before with my husband at one of his conferences, I was excited to return to this beautiful, historic, and exciting city. Those three adjectives could not have rung truer than on June 26, 2015, the day the SCOTUS declared marriage equality for all to be the law of the land! Such a beautiful day!

Moscone Convention Center


Annual 2015 began with me attending my first ever all-day preconference, which was sponsored by ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services), OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers), and the Video Round Table. Video Demystified: Cataloging with Best Practices Guides presented attendees with an overview on cataloging video recordings using RDA (Resource Description and Access), MARC21, and the recently published (January 2015) best practices cataloging guides for DVD/Blu-ray discs and streaming media. Because most of my work is DVD cataloging, I found the preconference especially worthwhile and informative as this was the first officially (i.e. ALA, OCLC, Library of Congress) sponsored face-to-face training I’ve received on RDA cataloging. Most of my DVD cataloging with RDA education has been through watching webinars (not the most useful), utilizing an online guide developed by Stanford University’s metadata department (very helpful) and the RDA Toolkit, and review of the ZSR RDA Workshop LibGuide created by Leslie McCall as well as consultation with her and Steve Kelley to clarify issues with RDA. Attendees participated in guided exercises and took home a workbook that contained all of the day’s presented PowerPoint slides.

While at ALA, I attended 4 ACRL Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) sponsored meetings/sessions: the Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee (SBAC) of which I chair; the Executive Committee meeting; the Libraries behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners program that was co-sponsored with ACRL’s Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) and Literatures in English Section (LES); and the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I was unable to attend the ANSS Social due to having to attend the editorial board dinner for Technical Services Quarterly (TSQ); Steve Kelley and I are the new co-editors of the journal’s book reviews column. We dined at the Stinking Rose: a Garlic Restaurant, where I got to try delicious garlic ice-cream (another first).

Social Justice Librarianship: Focus on Ferguson & Black Lives Matter was the topic discussed at the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. Librarians Makiba Foster (Washington University in St. Louis) and Niamh Wallace (University of Arizona) spoke about their roles as academic librarians in helping the Black Lives Matter movement.

Observing a lack of quality information and misinformation pertaining to the police shooting of Michael Brown and the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, Ms. Foster created the FaceBook page Resource List on Policing and Community Protest which contains specific categorized lists for a variety of topics (e.g. policing, grief & trauma, community protest & unrest, personal rights, and local community organizations). Two weeks after its posting, the university gave the green light to post it as a LibGuide. The digital repository Documenting Ferguson (DF) followed. The DF project team was comprised of members from several library units (e.g. special collections, copyright, reference, etc.) who wanted to assist in the preservation of their regional and national history. Ms. Foster’s role was to seek out community engagement for content. She partnered with an African American Women’s History professor whose sophomore seminar students (1/2 her class) developed interview questions and conducted oral histories of individuals living in Ferguson or the areas particularly affected by the protests and unrest, many of whom worked at the university. Specific community activists were interviewed also. Interviewees were selected based on their response to a faculty call out by the library, each signed a participant consent form. The oral histories captured in the digital repository include the interviewees’ names so that researchers would know that all persons interviewed actually lived in Ferguson. Ms. Foster admitted that content from the oral histories was one-sided as individuals with opposing views (i.e. supporters of Darren Wilson) were not interviewed for the project. She also stated that some people wanted no association with the DF project due to potential backlash, although they were proud to be working on the project. The digital repository for this particular project is semi-anonymous as some participant uploaded content is traceable only by an email address. Digital stations are being set up to capture images. There is a need to employ one person working solely on this large project, and grant funding is being investigated She closed by saying that the library will soon be preparing for 1 year memorials and commemorative events; a regional meeting is in the works to discuss collecting efforts; and marketing strategies to increase participation will be reassessed.

At Ms. Wallace’s institution, she also created a LibGuide to Ferguson resources for instructional purposes. Consent from the university’s IRB was unnecessary. Liaisons whose subject areas were relevant to the creation of this resource were asked to solicit feedback from their faculty. The LibGuide was used as a resource listing for a Black Life Matters Conference held on campus this past January. No negative feedback was received, and Ms. Wallace stated that she is not trying to capture opposing viewpoints in this research guide. More work is being done to update the guide with information about the recent June 17th church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Other sessions I attended included

  • Maryanne Wolf’s Lessons from the Reading Brain: 3 Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age, which Lauren so aptly covered in her blog post
  • 2 sessions on linked data: Getting Started with Library Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU, on which Lauren again reported, and the Linked Library Data Interest Group. The interest group session was comprised of a panel of 2 speakers. Kristi Holmes (Northwestern Medicine) provided an overview on the Cornell-developed open source semantic web application, VIVO, was presented. VIVO harvests data from verified institution data sources, and allows institutions to showcase their researchers’ credentials, expertise, and skills. A VIVO institution’s library can provide its faculty product education, training, and adoption utilizing liaison outreach, ontology and controlled vocabulary expertise, negotiating with data providers, programming and technical expertise. Cornell’s Steven Folsom reported on the Linked Data 4 Libraries Mellon funded grant between Cornell, Stanford and Harvard. One can search for works by individuals and discover additional works of interest based on connections to other people. Utilization of URIs in MARC records that align with VIVO can enhance an academic library’s catalog. Cornell has rolled out an authority browse in their Blacklight catalog. Using 3xx field data in his authority file generates data and provides context about him and what what he does professionally. Theses advisors’ names appearing in a MARC 700 Personal Name field can now be enhanced with VIVO URIs. A post-processor to provide entity resolution of URIs is required for the evolving BIBFRAME. A limit of its ontology, this means that linked data within the BIBFRAME platform cannot have multiple URIs for an individual. BIBFRAME RDF still makes heavy use of strings which are a dead end for linked data.
  • Resource Discovery in the Age of Wikipedia: Jake Orbwitz and Alex Stinson, both of The Wikipedia Library, shared reasons why Wikipedia matters for librarians and various ways in which librarians can become involved in Wikipedia. In addition to adding information and citations from a library’s collections, librarians can teach “Wikipedia as a Starting Point” workshops, run an editathon, and donate images. Libraries can also sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar to create quality content for Wikipedia using their individual institution’s resources.

After my last Monday session at ALA, Lauren, Derrik and I took a bus to tour the Internet Archive (IA) founded by Brewster Kahle. Housed in a former Christian Science church, the IA’s mission and purpose is to provide free access to collections of digital materials. The Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, was created by the IA. Such an impressive place and leader.

Brewster Kahle stands in front of the Internet Archive’s server, which is housed in the church sanctuary.

Touring the basement of the IA with Brewster. In the background, IA employees digitize video materials

Clock in IA basement.

Hanging in the IA's basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

Hanging in the IA’s basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful dinner organized by Susan of past and present ZSR colleagues. It was great catching up with Lauren Pressley and Erik Mitchell, and Erik’s partner Jeff Loo. Also worth mentioning is the fabulous final dinner in San Francisco that Susan and I had at Burma Superstar. All in all this was a great ALA, and I hope I get another chance to visit San Francisco in the near future.







Carolyn at ALA Midwinter 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 11:18 am

The first session I attended at ALA Midwinter 2015 was the ERT (Exhibits Round Table)/Booklist Author Forum which was a panel discussion featuring graphic novel artists, Cece Bell (author of El Deafo, a 2015 Newbery Honor Book), Jeff Smith (creator of the BONE comic book series), Gene Luen Yang (author of American Born Chinese), and Francoise Mouly who is the art director at The New Yorker as well as the publisher and editorial director of TOON Books. All discussed the important role comics played in their lives growing up. Today’s comics and graphic novel artists are willing to tell stories that we as a society may be uncomfortable discussing, and this in turn can contribute to kids’ understanding of diversity. Some comics are now being read in middle school classrooms where teachers are able to lead thoughtful discussions on issues such as stereotypes.

Francoise Mouly, who was born in Paris, shared her thoughts on the terrorist attack which killed 11 individuals and injured 11 others at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. Are we going to skirt the issues because we’re afraid of reactions? The world’s reaction to this event demonstrates the recommitment of faith in the power of cartoons. With cartoons being a part of society’s visual culture, cartoonists have to go to the essence of things (e.g. stereotypes) in their art so as to visually communicate ideas, but cartoonists also have the ability to deconstruct these ideas as well. Cartoonists have the ability and a duty to bring to the table things/issues that are difficult to understand. They must be concise in words and back up whatever they draw on a page to communicate their thoughts.

Other sessions/events attended included:

  • Cataloging Management Interest Group – Two universities shared their experiences on having Backstage Library Works (BSLW) enrich their cataloging records’ data with RDA 33x fields. (Note: RDA enrichment of ZSR’s catalog data was performed by BSLW over the 2014 winter holiday.)
  • ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) social held at MingHin Cuisine.
  • MARC Formats Transition Interest Group – Librarians from the University of California at Davis and the National Library of Medicine discussed their library’s experiments with BIBFRAME, a new data encoding format that is supposed to replace the MARC record. Development of modular core vocabulary, mapping and conversion of legacy data to core vocabulary, and technical services workflow were issues touched upon by the presenters.
  • Cataloging Research Interest Group – Presenters discussed their individual cataloging research projects with which they are involved. Two Library of Congress (LC) librarians discussed LC’s Cataloging in Publication (CIP) E-books program. A Binghamton University librarian discussed cataloging of original screenplays using RDA and the challenges she faced such as lack of guidelines or examples, differences in librarian interpretation as to what is considered published and non-published which in turn affects the coding of a catalog record, and consistency in descriptive information.
  • OCLC’s WorldShare Metadata Users Group – McGill University librarians discussed their use of OCLC’s WorldShare Collection Manager and Knowledge Base to manage their library’s collections. Per an OCLC representative, Connexion (software in which catalog records are created and retrieved) will be replaced by WorldShare Record Manager, but no date has been officially given.

Additionally, I got a chance to catch up with my friend and former ZSR colleague Erik Mitchell; have breakfast with members of the editorial board of Technical Services Quarterly (Steve Kelley and I recently got appointed as co-editors of their book review column); speak with publishing representatives about receiving review copies of library monographs; and last but not least, enjoy watching the last half of the Super Bowl in my hotel’s Irish pub, Kitty O’Sheas, with Susan Smith.

2014 ALA Annual in Las Vegas

Monday, July 7, 2014 4:31 pm

This year’s ALA Annual meeting marked my first visit to the very hot, colorful, and sensory-overloaded city of Las Vegas. After arriving Friday afternoon, I headed to the Las Vegas Hotel to attend an OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) meeting to hear about the upcoming publication of best practices for DVD-Blu ray cataloging. While I have yet to catalog many Blu-ray discs, I know this information will come in handy the next time I do so. Afterwards, I met up with Hu at the convention center to hear Jane McGonigal, game designer and opening keynote speaker, talk about the power and positive aspects of games/gaming. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Hu in hosting McGonigal’s game creation, “Find the Future”, at ZSR. Following the talk, Hu and I attended the ANSS social at Tamba Indian Cuisine.

On Saturday, I attended a session on international developments in library linked data that featured a panel of 3 speakers: Richard Wallis, Technology Evangelist at OCLC; Jodi Schneider of the Centre de Recherche, and Neil Wilson, Head of Collection Metadata at the British Library. Linked data is a popular conference topic and one that I need to study more in depth. Per, Mr. Wallis discussed the importance of using structured data on the web using markup as seen on tries to infer meaning from strings of data. In April 2014, WorldCat Entities was released. It is a database of 197+ million linked Work descriptions (i.e. a high-level description of a resource that contains information such as author, name, descriptions, subjects, etc., common to all editions of a work) and URIs (uniform resource identifier). Linked data:

  • takes one across the web and is navigated by a graph of knowledge
  • is standard on the web
  • identifies and links resources on the web
  • is a technology (i.e. entity based data architecture powered by linked data).

Wallis used the phrase “syndication of libraries.” Unlike the web, libraries don’t want to sell stuff, we want people to use our stuff. Libraries’ information is aggregated to a central site (e.g. National Library, consortia, WorldCat) and the details are then published to syndicate partners (e.g. Google). Syndication moves to linking users back directly to libraries. Individual libraries publish resource data. Utilizing linked data from authoritative hubs (e.g. Library of Congress, WorldCat Works, VIAF) in our records assists in the discovery of these resources as it makes them recognizable and identifiable on the web. Users will then be referred to available library resources.

What can libraries/librarians do in the area of linked data?

  1. Contribute to WorldCat.
  2. Apply across one’s library’s web site.
  3. Select systems that will link to entities on the web. We are “on the cusp of a wave”, says Wallis.
  4. Add URIs to cataloging records. The web will aggregate like information.

Jodi Schneider’s talk focused on linked data developments from Europe (i.e. Belgium, Norway, Ireland and France). The British Library’s Neil Wilson stated that better web integration of library resources increases a libraries’ visibility to new groups which can bring about wider utility and relevance libraries. During the Q&A, an individual posed a question about the stability of URIs, a topic that has come up in a recent ZSR discussion of which I was a part. The panel responded that URI stability depends upon who’s publishing them. An organization does saddle itself with the responsibility of making sure that URIs are persistent. It’s up to the reputation of organizations creating URIs to make sure they remain persistent. Libraries can add authority to URIs. One needs to realize that some outlying sources may go away, and for this very reason, preservation of linked data is becoming an emerging issue.

In addition to the session on linked data, I attended the following sessions:

  • becoming a community-engaged academic library which was co-sponsored by ANSS and EBSS
  • meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee which I will be chairing 2014-2015
  • consulting and collaborating with faculty, staff, and students about metadata used in Digital Humanities projects
  • e-book backlogs
  • anthropology librarians discussion group
  • “Quiet Strengths of Introverts”

All in all, it was a great conference. I went to a couple of vendor parties, visited the Hoover Dam in 119 degree heat, and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Oscar’s with my coworkers, but I was very eager to get back home and in a quiet environment.

ALA Midwinter 2014 with Carolyn

Thursday, February 6, 2014 7:35 pm

Unlike last year’s flight out to ALA’s Midwinter meeting, my Friday morning flight to Philadelphia was uneventful, and that plus having Mary Beth as my traveling companion once again was a great thing! On Saturday, I attended ACRL’s Western European Studies Section’s (WESS) because they were sponsoring a romance languages and cataloging issues discussion group. It began with a 45 minute discussion about what RDA means to the non-catalogers of the group and why certain data no longer displays in online catalogs (e.g. |h [GMDs], and publication dates). The conversation next turned to display issues with utilizing Summon in catalogs, and from the statements made, it is apparent that Summon’s performance does not always meet librarians’ expectations (e.g. the language limit function does not always limit properly). One librarian from a university 1 1/2 hours away from WFU piped up and said, “I’m just so tired of being fed the propaganda of Summon.” I chuckled at that one. Following this session, I participated in my committee meeting, the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee, where we generated a list of cataloging questions and topics for the upcoming months. Some of the questions and topics included: subject headings for social work; how is the relationship between a person or corporate body now labeled in RDA bibliographic records; what is FRSAD; and subject headings for food deserts and community gardening. In the afternoon, I attended the Catalog Management Interest Group where one individual from Kent State spoke about catalog and display issues with RDA implementation at his library. The removal of the GMD (general material designator) that is found in the subfield h of the 245 field (e.g. [videorecording], [microform]) was problematic for both the librarians and public. After writing a letter to Millenium, their ILS vendor, they eventually decided to display a visual icon by each title in a results list that is based on the type of record that is found in a cataloging record’s leader 06 position and the carrier type term found in RDA’s 338 field. I’ve heard comments from ZSR staff that they miss having the GMD display in a results list, especially when looking for a videorecording. At the Catalog Form and Function Interest Group, a librarian from Stephen F. Austin State University talked about her university’s experience utilizing VuFind and Summon together in their catalog. After performing a search in the library’s catalog, results are displayed split-screen style with books and more on one side and articles and more on the other.

Sunday morning at the Alexander Street Press breakfast, I heard psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo speak about his Stanford Prison Experiment which was conducted in 1971 and continues to be one of the most discussed and studied psychological studies today. At the Cataloging and Classification Research Interest Group, a librarian from the University of Central Florida Libraries discussed workflow tips and tricks to add table of contents (TOC) information based on RDA standards to cataloging records. These access points aid record discovery and adds patron value to cataloging records. If one chooses to use publishers’ TOC information on a web site to copy and paste into a record, make sure one compares that to the book in hand. He has found erroneous book chapters listed on the web site that were not listed in the actual book. At the Authority Control Interest Group, Janis Young from the Library of Congress (LC) reported on two big vocabulary developments: LC medium performance terms for music and the LC demographic group terms. The first set of terms is a cooperative effort of the LC and the Subject Access Subcommittee of the Music Library Association. The 802 proposed terms are available on a tentative list, and they will be approved on February 10, 2014. The second set will be used to describe the demographic characteristics of creators and contributors and audiences. New MARC fields 385 and 386 will accommodate audience characteristics and creator/contributor characteristics respectively. These terms will be full faceted and are scheduled for late 2014. My last session of the day was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. Dr. Janet Monge of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Anthropology and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, was our guest speaker. Dr. Monge discussed the Open Research Scan Archive (ORSA) with which she has been involved. With the assistance of the local hospital’s CT lab, the museum has scanned over 5200 human and nonhuman specimens of its collection (e.g. objects, bones, mummies) for use by researchers in anthropology, biology, and medicine.

In addition to all the meetings I attended, I did manage time to squeeze in some fun by attending with colleagues two great receptions, one at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and the other at the National Constitution Center. Mary Beth and I also checked out Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which came highly recommended by Susan Smith, on Sunday during lunchtime.




Carolyn at ALA Annual 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013 9:11 pm

My time at ALA was spent going to sessions on cataloging/technical services along with sessions and a committee meeting sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL. Below are recaps of some of the sessions I found most meaningful this ALA.

RDA & Audiovisual Cataloging was the first session I attended at ALA in Chicago. This particular session was sponsored by the ALCTS Copy Cataloging Interest Group. Susan Morris, Special Assistant to the Director for Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access at Library of Congress (LC), reported about reductions in LC budgets and staff as well as RDA training for copy catalogers. Tricia Mackenzie, Metadata Librarian at George Mason University, explained and presented differences between cataloging AV materials using AACR2 vs. RDA. Ms. Mackenzie stated that the OLAC group (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) is currently working on best practices for DVD cataloging. Additionally, two librarians from Troy University spoke about their experiences cataloging AV materials in RDA for a multi-campus library and maintaining consistency in the process. Procedures were documented using a wiki. RDA training was provided not only to catalogers and acquisitions staff but to staff in public services because they are the ones who interact daily with patrons and will have to explain changes in the way resources are being displayed in the OPAC. Comparison documents of records cataloged in AACR2 and RDA were provided to help explain the differences.

Next-generation Technical Services: Improving Access and Discovery through Collaboration featured speakers from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and from the Orbis Cascade Alliance which is comprised of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Martha Hruska of UCSD briefly described UC’s ten campus system and its culture. She stated that funding cuts in the last five years averaged 20% and were not expected to be restored. Backlogs in cataloging and archival processing were growing (100,000+ items and 13.5 miles respectively), and for example in 2011, 1.8 trillion GB of data was created. The UC system needed to find a better, more efficient way to make their growing resources more discoverable as well as reduce work redundancy. In response to a question from the audience, the speaker indicated that centralization of services is not practiced in the UC culture, but collaboration is. Collaboration in collection development, technical services, and digital initiatives along with seeking financial and technical infrastructure for collaboration were established as goals by the UC system. Defining cataloging record standards served as the basis for collaborative cataloging work among campuses. Inventoried backlogs and examination of technical services staff members’ expertise helped in the development of a system-wide collections services staff. Building versus acquiring digital asset management systems software was investigated by members of the UC system. To accelerate processing of archival and manuscript collections, the Archivists’ Toolkit was deployed system-wide, minimal collection record specifications were defined, and “more product, less process” practices were implemented. Representatives from the Orbis Cascade Alliance discussed their experience with DDA ebooks collaboration. They identified challenges in the areas of workflow development, staffing, and levels of expertise. Foreign language materials catalogers provided assistance in cataloging select consortial libraries’ foreign language materials, but sustainability in this assistance was found to be problematic. Collaboration is slow and not always the answer. A safe environment is needed to expose one’s ignorance and allows others to query one’s processes.

Studying Ourselves: Libraries and the User Experience panel program was presented by ACRL’s ANSS in collaboration with the University Library Section. The room was packed with attendees. The first speaker was Dr. Andrew Abbott, sociology professor at the University of Chicago, who stated scholars do not use libraries the way librarians think they do or should do. “Aimless behavior” is the term he used, and librarians’ problem is to discover the logic in this behavior. What are the routines and strategies of researchers? Surveys have indicated that observation and interviews do not work, but self ethnography can be a discovery tool. He has taught classes in library methods in the social sciences. Moving away from exercises, the course is about project management, not in how to manage things. Library research is about finding something for which you ought to have been looking. Students are good at finding things, but they don’t know what to ignore. No student’s research project ends up being about the thing in which they came into the library to research initially. We (i.e. librarians) need to figure out how we do research in order to teach others. We should ethnographize ourselves and keep an accurate documented account of our habits. Expert library users don’t have an idea of how they do what they do. Having to think about and document our own processes would greatly assist in our teaching students how to conduct research and become expert researchers themselves. In 2011, Dr. Abbott published the article “Library research infrastructure for humanistic and social scientific scholarship in the twentieth century,” in Social Knowledge in the Making, Charles Camic et al., eds., University of Chicago Press.

Dr. Andrew Asher, Assessment Librarian at Indiana University, Bloomington, began his talk discussing how anthropological studies in libraries have expanded over the last several years. With most of the research being conducted in the 70’s, few books have been published on the studies of college students. Titles mentioned included:

  • Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture (1989) by Michael Moffatt
  • Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and College Culture (1990) by Dorothy Holland & Margaret Eisenhart
  • My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student (2005) by Rebekah Nathan
  • My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture (2009) by Susan Blum
  • Studying Students: the Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester (2007) edited by Nancy Foster and Susan Gibbons

And yes, ZSR has all in its collection!

Dr. Asher proceeded to discuss the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (i.e ERIAL Project) that was conducted to determine how students find and use information for their academic assignments and to determine the social context of these assignments. Dr. Asher holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and was the Lead Research Anthropologist for the project. Methods utilized include interviewing, observation, visual, and mapping (e.g. time use, drawing library maps). Filmed interviews were conducted for a research process assignment and revealed things that would likely not be assessed in an information literacy test. To discover the context of why people come to the library and spaces where they did work, students were asked to keep mapping diaries. Using a six-minute time frame, cognitive maps were drawn by students using three different colors of ink (red, blue, and green) with changes in ink color every two minutes. From the drawings it was discovered that librarians were invisible; students did not know where the librarians’ offices were located. In addition, books often didn’t appear in the maps, Books appeared to be secondary to other functions which the library serves. The library was seen as a social space. Results of the study were published in 2011 by the American Library Association in College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, edited by Dr. Asher and Lynda Duke. ZSR has this title too! A toolkit for doing an ethnographic research project in one’s library is available on the ERIAL Project web site.

Diane Wahl, User Experience Librarian at the University of North Texas, headed up an ethnographic research study at her university. She attended a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) workshop conducted by Nancy Foster from the University of Rochester. She stated there was no charge for the workshop; her only expense was for travel. Following the workshop, Ms. Wahl reached out to her universities anthropology and sociology departments’ faculty because they are always looking for projects in which their students can be involved. Review of LibQual responses from dissatisfied online students, graduate students, and new faculty provided a starting point for the research study. Recruitment for student researchers was handled through various channels (i.e. Blackboard, announcements to faculty). Some faculty gave extra credit for participating students. Methods utilized in the study included observations, focus groups and interviews. The sampling of individuals studied was one of convenience and purposeful; Ms. Wahl specifically wanted to hear from a specific segment of the university student population. Challenges encountered during the study included time zones, non-traditional student schedules, and technology. From the data collected, she found that students wanted access to library services through Blackboard. Additionally from the perspectives shared by students with disabilities, the library now has a disability training awareness program for library employees along with a brochure listing available services for library users with disabilities.

This particular session was the most interesting of the ones I attended at this ALA. I now have several books to add to my professional reading list. One more thing to add about the greatness of this session, a Good Humor ice cream freezer with various treats was provided to attendees, and my favorite Good Humor treat was available: the Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar. Yum yum!




Carolyn at ALA Midwinter 2013 in Seattle

Monday, February 18, 2013 9:29 pm

Eight days prior to flying out to ALA Midwinter with my coworkers, I sat in a medical examination room being told by a doctor that I did indeed had the flu as well as now having pneumonia based on my chest x-ray. When asked about traveling to Seattle, her response was as long as you feel up to it there’s no reason why you can’t go. A week later feeling somewhat better, I was on the plane and my nightmarish trip to Seattle is one I won’t soon forget!

Boarding plane in GSO at 6 am Friday, Jan. 25…sitting on a grounded plane in GSO for close to an hour due to a wiring issue…running through the Atlanta airport to catch a connecting flight….missing my connecting flight to Seattle…coughing fits…being put on standby multiple times and waiting for my name to be called along with Mary Beth’s…more coughing…finally leaving ATL around 6 pm. I am very grateful to have had Mary Beth with me. She was a wonderful traveling companion and stayed with me even though she had an opportunity to get a seat on a 2:30 pm standby, and she also scored us some dinner vouchers as well. We finally got to our destination around 8:30 pm, and I was exhausted.

On Saturday, I attended the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee of which I am co-chair. The committee developed a list of cataloging questions and topics to be answered in the upcoming months. Questions and topics include: treatment of sexual minorities, alternative genders, and queer studies in subject headings; implementation of RDA bibliographic records; what is FRAD and FRSAD; subject headings of the form “Psychology & …”; ethnomusicology. In the afternoon, I attended the Catalog Management Interest Group where panelists discussed gaining control of e-resources cataloging and using Google Refine for clean-up and reuse of one’s cataloging data when working on special cataloging projects. During the MARC Formats Transition Interest Group, OCLC’s Roy Tennant spoke on the problems with MARC’s 856 field (Electronic Location/Access). Does the URL in the 856 actually lead a user to the full text of an item? Public notes and materials specified are included subfields z and 3 respectively, but there are multiple of ways to indicate something is full text. Users need a clear understanding if something is full text and if it is accessible to all (i.e. access vs. gated access).

Sunday morning, I heard Dr. Temple Grandin speak at the Alexander Street Press breakfast. After seeing actress Claire Danes portray her in a movie, I was excited to hear her speak. She is an amazing individual. Following breakfast, I attended a discussion group on digital humanities (DH). Recently, I have been hearing this phrase used often, and I wanted to learn more about it. We broke into small groups to discuss what our individual institutions are doing. Some of the issues brought up in my group included:

  • support provided to faculty and how much support–how much should be invested in a professor’s research interest when there is the chance he/she may retire or move on
  • is there a faculty need or is it administrative posturing
  • what alliances are there on campus
  • more staff are needed to handle DH if there is a huge interest from faculty
  • retraining for librarians due to a lack of specific skills in this area; skills may not be applicable or transferable from one project to another–There was a current library school student in my group who said there were no DH classes in her school’s curriculum. However, she was taking classes in XML, linked data, relational database, metadata design.
  • space vs. service
  • what is DH’s definition–no real consensus on this
  • various models–who is doing the actual work

Monday morning I attended the Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group Forum where a group of panelists discussed enhanced e-books. Enhanced e-books have additional content that comes bundled with the e-book (e.g. videos, slide shows, skills assessments). These add-ons can be delivered separately or integrated into core texts.

Despite all the coughing and feeling tired more quickly than usual, I did have a nice time in Seattle, but I was very glad to get back home to NC and grateful that the flight home was uneventful and trouble free.

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012 7:29 pm

Early Saturday morning, I attended a 4 hour panel discussion on linked data (LD) and next generation catalogs. I wanted to gain a better understanding of what exactly linked data is since that term is batted about frequently in the literature. I will try to explain it to the best of my ability, but I still have much to learn. So here it goes.

Uniform resource identifiers (URI) is a string of characters used to identify names for “things”. Specifically, HTTP URIs should be used so that people are able to look up those names. Useful information should be provided with URIs, as well as, links to other URIs so that individuals can discover even more useful things.Per Corey Harper, NYU’s Metadata Services Librarian, we need to start thinking about metadata as a graph instead of string based as is most of our data currently. Typed “things” are named by URIs, and relationships between “things” are also built on URIs. LD allows users to move back and forth between information sources where the focus is on identification rather than description.

Mr. Harper provided several examples of LD sites available on the Web, some of which individuals and institutions may contribute data. Google owned Freebase is a community curated collection of RDF data of about 21 million “things”. Freebase provides a link to Google Refine that allows individuals to dump their metadata, clean it up, and then link it back to Freebase. Thinkbase displays the contents of Freebase utilizing mindmap to explore millions of interconnected topics.

Phil Schreur, who is the head of the Metadata Department for Stanford University libraries, talked about shattering the catalog, freeing the data, and linking the pieces. Today’s library catalogs are experiencing increased stressors such as:

  • Pressure to be inclusive–the more is better approach as seen with Google
  • Loss of cataloging–the acceptance and use of vendor bulk records; by genericizing our catalogs, we are weakening our ties to our user/collection community
  • Variations in metadata quality
  • Supplementary data–should the catalog just be an endless supply of links
  • Bibliographic records–catalogers spend lots of time tinkering with them
  • Need for a relational database for discovery–catalogs are domain silos that are unlinked to anything else
  • Missing or hidden metadata–universities are data creation powerhouses (e.g. reading lists, course descriptions, student research/data sets, faculty collaborations/lectures); these are often left out of catalog, and it would be costly to include them

Linked open data is the solution along with some reasons why:

  • It puts information on the Web and eliminates Google as our users’ first choice
  • Expands discoverability
  • Opens opportunities for creative innovation
  • Continuous improvement of data
  • Creates a store of machine-actionable data–semantic meaning in MARC record is unintelligible to machines
  • Breaks down silos
  • Provides direct access to data based in statements and not in records–less maintenance of catalog records
  • Frees ourselves from a parochial metadata model to a more universal one

Schreur proceeded to discuss 4 paradigm shifts involving data.

  1. Data is something that is shared and is built upon, not commodified. Move to open data, not restricted records.
  2. Move from bibliographic records to statements linked by RDF. One can reach into documents at chapter and document level.
  3. Capture data at point of creation. The model of creating individual bibliographic records cannot stand. New means of automated data will need to be developed.
  4. Manage triplestores; not adding more records to catalog. The amount of data is overwhelming. Applications will need to be developed to bring in data.

He closed by stating the notion of authoritative is going to get turned on its head. The Web is already doing that. Sometimes Joe Blow knows more than the national library. This may prove difficult for librarians and catalogers to accept since our work has revolved around authoritative sources and data.

OCLC’s Ted Fons spoke about”s June 20, 2012 adoption of descriptive mark-up to its database. is a collaboration between Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Russian search index Yandex and is an agreed ontology for harvesting structured data from the web. The reasons behind doing this includes:

  • Makes library data appear more relevant in search engine results
  • Gain position of authority in data modeling in a post-MARC era
  • Promote internal efficiency and new services

Jennifer Bowen, Chair of the eXtensible Catalog Organization, believes LD can help libraries assist and fulfill new roles in the information needs of our users. Scholars want their research to be findable by others, and they want to connect with others. Libraries are being bypassed not only by Google and the Web, but users are also going to tailored desktops, mobile, and Web apps. Libraries need to push their collections to mobile apps and LD allows us to do just that. Hands-on experience with LD to understand its potential and to develop LD best practices is needed. We need to create LD for our local resources (e.g. Institutional Repository) to showcase special collections. Vendors need to be encouraged to implement LD now! Opportunities for creative innovation in digital scholarship and participation can be fostered by utilizing LD.

A tool that will enable libraries to move from its legacy data to LD is needed. The eXtensible Catalog (XC) is open source software for libraries and provides a discovery system and set of tools available for download. It provides a platform for risk-free experimentation with metadata transformation/reuse. RDF/XML, RDFa, and SPARQL are 3 methods of bulk creating metadata. XC converts MARC data to FRBR entities and enables us to produce more meaningful LD. Reasons to use FRBR for LD include:

  • User research shows that users want to see the relationships between resources, etc. Users care about relationships.
  • Allows scholars to create LD statements as part of the scholarly process. Vocabularies are created and managed. Scholars’ works become more discoverable.
  • Augments metadata.

The old model of bibliographic data creation will continue for some time. We are at the beginning of the age of data, and the amount of work is crushing. Skills in cataloging is what is needed in this new age, but a recasting of what we do and use is required. We are no longer the Cataloging Department but the Metadata Department. The tools needed to create data and make libraries’ unique collections available on the Web will change, and catalogers should start caring more about the context and curation of metadata and learning LD vocabulary.

While this was my second visit to Anaheim, CA to attend ALA’s Annual Conference, it was my first time ever presenting at a national conference. On Sunday morning starting at 8 am, Erik Mitchell and I hosted and convened the panel discussion, Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries. The title of our individual presentation was FRBRizing Mark Twain.

We began the session with a quick exploration of some of the metadata issues that libraries are encountering as we explore new models including FRBR and linked open data. Erik and I discussed our research which explored metadata quality issues that arose when we applied the FRBR model to a selected set of records in ZSR’s catalog. The questions to our research were two-fold:

  1. What metadata quality problems arise in application of FRBRization algorithms?
  2. How do computational and expert approaches compare with regards to FRBRization?

So in a nutshell, this is how we did it:

  1. Erik extracted 848 catalog records on books either by or about Mark Twain.
  2. He extracted data from the record set and normalized text keys from elements of the metadata.
  3. Data was written to a spreadsheet and loaded into Google Refine to assist with analysis.
  4. Carolyn grouped records into work-sets and created a matrix of unique identifiers.
  5. Because of metadata variation, Carolyn performed a secondary analysis using book-in-hand approach for 5 titles (approx. 100 books).
  6. Expert review found 410 records grouped in 147 work-sets with 2 or more expressions and 420 records grouped into 420 single expression work sets. Lost/missing or checked out books were not looked at and account for the numbers not adding up to the 848 records in the record set.
  7. Metadata issues encountered included the need to represent whole/part or manifestation to multiple work relationships, metadata inconsistency (i.e. differences in record length, composition, invalid unique identifiers), and determining work boundaries.
  8. Utilizing algorithms, Erik performed a computational assessment to identify and group work-sets.
  9. Computational and expert assessments were compared to each other.

Erik and I were really excited to see that computational techniques were largely as successful as expert techniques. We found, for example, that normalized author/title strings created highly accurate keys for identifying unique works. On the other hand, we also found that MARC metadata did not always contain the metadata needed to identify works entirely. Our detailed findings will be presented at the ASIS&T conference in October. Here are our slides:

Current Research on and Use of FRBR in Libraries

Our other invited speakers included:

  • OCLC’s Chief Scientist Thom Hickey who spoke about clustering at the FRBR entity 1 work level OCLC’s database, which is under 300 million records, and clustering within work-sets by expression using algorithm keys; FRBR algorithm creation and development; and the fall release of GLIMIR which attempts to cluster WorldCat’s records and holdings for the same work at the manifestation level.
  • Kent State’s School of Information and Library Science professors Drs. Athena Salaba and Yin Zhang discussed their IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) funded project, a FRBR prototype catalog. Library of Congress cataloging records were extracted from WorldCat to create a FRBRized catalog. Users were tested to see if they could complete a set of user tasks in the library’s current catalog and in the prototype.
  • Jennifer Bowen, Chair of XC organization and Assistant Dean for Information Management Services at the University of Rochester, demonstrated the XC catalog to the audience. The XC project didn’t set out to see if people liked FRBR, but what are our users trying to do with the catalog’s data. According to Ms. Bowen, libraries are/should be moving away from thinking we know what users need to what do users need to do in their research. How do users keep current in their field? In regards to library data, we need to ask our users, “What would they do with a magic wand?” and continue to ponder “What will the user needs of the future be?

Following our session, I attended a packed room of librarians eager to hear more about Library of Congress’ (LC) Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative (BFI) which is looking to translate the MARC21 format, a 40 year old standard, to a LD model. LC has contracted with Zepheira to help accelerate the launch of BFI. By August/September, an LD working draft will hopefully be ready to present to the broader library community.

Carolyn at 2012 ALA Midwinter in Dallas

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 10:38 am

I realize this posting is somewhat late, but I too traveled to Dallas for ALA’s Midwinter meeting.

My first evening there was spent dining and talking with fellow members of ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) at the Mexican restaurant Sol Irlandes. For me, the ANSS social has always been a fun time, and it’s a great way to meet new people and hear about what’s going on in other academic libraries.

The following day was filled with meetings. Early in the morning, Erik Mitchell and I met with the ALCTS programming committee to discuss the program that he and I are coordinating and will be convening at the 2012 Annual meeting in Anaheim. Our program is a panel discussion that will focus on the current research on and use of FRBR (i.e. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) in libraries. Later, I attended a meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee meeting of which I am a member. The committee developed a list of cataloging topics/questions to be answered in the upcoming months. Some of these topics include: searching for exhibition catalogs on a topic; how authorized forms of authors names are established; implementation of RDA; what is FRBR and FRAD; and subject headings that express social structure, status, or power and subject headings for traditional justice. The committee discussed the possibility of having a virtual meeting before Annual in June as opposed to an in-person meeting. My final meeting of the day was with the Recruiting and Mentoring Committee of ALCTS Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS). Our goal in the upcoming months is to match the individuals who responded to our online application seeking to be a cataloging mentor or mentee for a yearlong one-to-one mentoring experience. Committee members will act as liaisons to will introduce the matches online and following up with them to see how they are doing.

My remaining time at Midwinter was spent attending sessions sponsored by interest and discussion groups. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was a panel discussion sponsored by CaMMS Heads of Cataloging Departments Interest Group. The session’s theme was “Developing Service-Oriented Models for Cataloging and Metadata,” and one of the panel speakers was former WFU colleague Jennifer Roper. One speaker from U. of Texas at Austin described the restructuring of the cataloging and metadata services (CMS) department at her institution. Before the restructuring, individual units (e.g. monographs, serials, music) were responsible for only cataloging their materials, whereas now all units are participating in non-MARC metadata creation. By defining who CMS’ users are helped to prioritize projects, assignments, and responsibilities. Some of the challenges in managing CMS included:

1. Declining budgets and fewer staff — workflows need to be assessed, reassessed and redesigned.

2. Demands in user-centered catalogs (i.e. next-gen catalogs) — software changes are frequent; catalogers need to be involved in the decision-making process of ILS selection.

3. Dealing with increasing digital resources and understanding various non-MARC metadata — this calls for staff training design.

4. Outsourcing — know your staff and assess in-house capability, and always consider our users’ needs.

5. RDA — take a breath and begin planning for it.

Other points/suggestions made by panel members:

1. Develop a culture of assessment (i.e. data driven storytelling); demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) on the work that is done.

2. In regards to digital scholarship, data management collaborations among stakeholders is key to success in building institutional infrastructure for research data.

3. CMS departments need to demonstrate their value and expertise to the university. Public service librarians should not be the only ones involved in university projects. Although this may involve getting out of our comfort zones and taking risks, CMS personnel needs to be represented on task forces and advisory teams for university initiatives and projects.

4. Create a charter of values by department and revisit it periodically.

5. Be visible outside of departments and be vocal participants in conversations about library services.

6. Take a leadership role in the development of user interfaces.

7. Foster a culture of learning, inquiry, and risk-taking –set aside STATS!

8. As new roles are identified and new strategic goals are set, determine if some processes and services can be eliminated.

Carolyn at ALA in New Orleans

Monday, July 4, 2011 4:48 pm

As a member of ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS), I attended several ANSS sponsored events in New Orleans. The ANSS social was held at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant where I met and dined with other anthropology and sociology librarians. I also went to the Anthropology Discussion Librarians Group where such topics as institutional repositories, open access projects, communications technology for anthropology (i.e. social networks, blogs, etc.), and ordering e-books were discussed. Many of the librarians in attendance stated that while e-books are popular with the students they serve, faculty requests for e-books are not forthcoming. Possible reasons given include some e-books don’t contain graphics and there is a lack of e-book publishing in the discipline. I have really benefited from being a member of ANSS in learning more about the discipline of anthropology, its resources and issues, and networking with other anthropology librarians.

This ALA, I also began my 2-year appointment as a member of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee. Each month a committee member answers a different question on cataloging issues (e.g. subject headings, name authorities, etc.) and policies, and a list of new LC subject headings in the social sciences is posted. For October, I will be writing on social tagging, their use, and whether they enhance searching in library catalogs. I am very excited to be on this committee as it is directly related to my primary work responsibility, cataloging, and that it will enhance my work and knowledge as the liaison to Wake’s anthropology department. My fellow committee members seemed excited that I am now a part of this committee as well.

RDA, Cataloging and Classification Research, Value of Grey Literature, and 21st Century Scholarly Communication were some of the other topical ALA sessions that I attended.

“Will RDA Kill MARC?” was the title of a panel discussion put together by ZSR’s Steve Kelley. Panel speakers Karen Coyle and Dianne Hill made some very philosophical and thought-provoking statements as to the benefits for catalogers and the library world to abandon MARC and embrace RDA.

Coyle stated, “RDA is a savior and an opportunity to save library data. We can’t redeem MARC, but we can rescue its content.” She pointed out that MARC contains mixed data, administrative (e.g. OCLC record number) and nonadministrative (e.g. bibliographic fields) and that the rules in MARC are not coordinated with cataloging rules. Some MARC data is in more that one place which demonstrates librarians’ ingenuity of getting around MARC’s inflexible structure by making nonreapeatable fields repeatable. The goal for library data should be data independent of its structure. We should be able to code once and display many times.

In regards to library data, Hill believes, “We need to stop trying to control it all!” We should let others do what they want to our data, but they will not be messing with the data’s integrity.

At the Cataloging and Classification Research Interest Group, UNC SILS professor Jane Greenberg discussed research blitzing as a way to share and motivate cataloging research. Her UNC SILS students meet together in a social setting and each gives a five minute presentation on their research. Afterwards, students are able to dialog with their peers about the research that is currently being conducted in the SILS program.

Because I give a lecture on grey literature in LIB210, I chose to attend the “Grey Literature in the Digital Age” session with speakers Richard Huffine, Director of the Libraries Program at the U.S. Geological Survey and Wayne Strickland of the National Technical Information Service, an agency of the Department of Commerce.

Grey Literature is information produced by government, academics, business, and industries, but it is not controlled by commercial publishing interests and publishing is not the primary activity of the organization.

Today findability is no longer the driving challenge, but reputation is the key. Is the info trustworthy, citable, peer reviewed? Is access persistent? The digital age has thrown the definition of “published” into chaos. Will what’s available today be here tomorrow? Examples of grey literature whose persistent access is questionable include: pre-prints, blogs, preliminary research results (open files), project web sites (schedules), IRs and data archives. Findability relies on cited references in journal articles, IRs, authors’ CVs, and good aggregators (of which there are few) seek it out.

Copyright of grey literature can be even more complex. Some creators want their materials used. Some sources are inherently in the public domain like materials from the U.S. federal government. If unknown, copyright should be assumed. Both authors and the organizations for whom they work can claim copyright of works. Creative Commons licenses are being used by some domains.

Grey Literature has its place, and it’s here to stay. It may not stand alone, but it can contribute substantially to understanding scientific challenges. Every source should be considered in the exploration of an issue. In some domains, the best source of information may be grey. Some grey literature goes through as stringent (or more) of a review as commercially published content. It’s value will always be a mixed bag, and there are risks involved in citing it. Libraries have to be involved in identifying and defining its value. Social tagging could be used to help people assess the validity of grey literature.

Mr. Huffine stated that HathiTrust is considering open membership. LC is a partner in the HathiTrust and is trying to get other federal agencies included. He said the USGS wants to get involved, but they also want to raise the quality of images, dpi, etc. as well. Many of their maps are multi-page foldouts and that line widths on maps are very important to geologists.

The final session I attended was a panel discussion on 21st century scholarly communication. One of the panelists discussed the role of subject liaison librarians in this area. She recommended “keeping your ear to the ground”–know your faculty, their interests and projects, tenure/promotion process at one’s university, open access policies of faculty’s professional associations and organizations. It is also important to know what one’s individual library is trying to accomplish in the area of scholarly communication. One continuing challenge pointed out by Marty Brennan of UCLA’s Copyright Office is convincing scholars that the virtue of OA publishing should outweigh their need to submit to the highest impact journal in their field. The last speaker was a grad student who talked about starting a transdisciplinary OA journal and the difficulties encountered in finding good reviewers and in receiving good scholarly paper submissions.

ALA in New Orleans was fabulous! Informative sessions, delicious food, and a great time exploring the city by bicycle and hanging out with colleagues.

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Society of North Carolina Archivists
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Sun Webinar Series
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UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
University Libraries Group
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
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