On November 3-5 I attended an online class on rare book cataloging offered by Midwest Collaborative for Library Services. The class was taught by Patrick Olson, rare books cataloger from Michigan State University. Megan Mulder also joined me as well as Steve Kelly, Carolyn McCallum, and Leslie McCall from resource services. I won’t go into detail about how rare book cataloging is different than general cataloging, but suffice it to say that in rare book cataloging, the more specific the better. We tend to put more information in records and the class did a great job of breaking down the type of information we need to include. Signatures, bookplates, printing mistakes in the text, binding differences, editions, and handwritten notes in the margins are all things we like to include in records. Patrick covered how and what to include in the record such as the MARC fields to include, for instance 246, 500s, 655, 700s are the most added fields for rare books. He also covered the reasons to create a new record, or when you can use one already created and then just add on information that relates to your copy. Also covered was the differences in format, signatures (the small letters and numbers at the bottom of some pages in a copy), and the use of RBMS controlled vocabularies and relationship designators. While I have learned many things about rare book cataloging just by doing the work and asking questions of Megan, this class cleared up some questions I have had about what information to include and where it needs to go in the record. All in all this was a great class and I learned a lot more about why rare book catalogers do what we do and why it needs to be done.
Last week for 3 days I took a class on assigning LC call numbers. The class was one of the many OCLC offers throughout the year. This class was offered through them by the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services in Michigan. The instructor was Dawn Swanson, a technical services librarian at Kettering University. Because Kettering is largely a engineering & science university, many of the examples & exercises dealt with scientific title cataloging. I found this somewhat frustrating because special collections doesn’t have many titles in these area. There were about 15 of us in the class. Tuesday we covered the history of the LC classification system, the breakdown of the LC classes, the uses the Classification Web program, and the Cutter number table. Exercises at the end of the day included giving us a title & having us come up with the class number, the other exercise we did was to practice assigning the cutter number to authors & titles. Wednesday started off with exercises where we had to come up with the entire call number using classification web & OCLC authority records. This got somewhat frustrating for me because all the exercises were for scientific titles. While I understand that the philosophy is the same for cataloging all subjects, having some literature titles would have been more helpful to my work. Thursday we started working with corporate headings and did some exercises related to them. We also had some subject headings that we had to assign call numbers. We then used that exercise to help with using OCLC records & assigning numbers to specific records. These specific records didn’t have call numbers so we were to assign them using the previous exercise. I felt I did solid B work on all the exercises. While the exercises & examples might have been in subjects I wasn’t familiar with, I felt that I got a good understanding & grasp of the workings of call numbers. My main reason for taking the class was to learn how to create call numbers for some backlog titles. Some of the titles have OCLC records but because the only holding may be in an European library, they have no LC call number. After this class, I now feel confident that I can go through these titles & catalog them so they can be accessible.
Day 2 at the Zotero workshop
We began the second day talking about how to get the word out about Zotero to different areas of our universities. We started talking about the Zotero community & how we can use it for support, both as users and as developers. We talked about how to use the forums on their website for troubleshooting, and sharing ideas.
The next topic we covered included the documentation that not only Zotero has on its’ website but also how other universities have done their own documentation. Examples were shown of different types of documentation such as something really basic such as the University of California at Berkeley up to the 14 page user guide at University of Michigan. I was very happy to see that the ZSR technology wiki on Zotero was listed as one of the best of the 1 page documentation. People at the workshop really liked the fact that the icons on the examples were circled so they can be easily seen. George Mason’s library page was also discussed because it used LibGuides for their example. After lunch we talked about how each library can do their own documentation to tailor it to the users. All the videos on the Zotero site can be used for documentation, which would work well with our Toolkit feature.
Another topic we discussed in the afternoon was how to convince the decision makers to use Zotero as a replacement for other bibliographic programs. There were two lists that were looked at: The first is from the Zotero people: the 10 reasons your institution should adopt Zotero http://www.zotero.org/blog/2009/03/
Educause also has 7 things you should know about Zotero that can be found here http://www.zotero.org/support/adopt . Both of these can be used in presentations to IT people & others to teach them of the benefits of adding Zotero to the campus computers.
Next discussion was about how to spread the word about Zotero. Some of the issues covered were how to partner with other departments on campus (writing center, the teaching & learning center for example) and how faculty can integrate Zotero in their teaching.
The rest of the afternoon was left for discussions about how to customize Zotero to individual campuses through CSL styles among others. We were shown how to go in to change the code so that MLA & APA among others can be changed for each campus. We also talked about the underlying technology, translators & metadata standards (things that Eric & Kevin would understand).
It ended with a discussion on where Zotero is going both with the new upgrade, but also with future upgrades. One change will be with their webpage. It will be changed to look more like igoogle where information can be customized. RSS feeds for groups, new plugins, ability for more social networking, and many others were talked about. They will start work in the fall on a project with the Internet Archive on collecting data on Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
On the whole I thought the workshop was a great learning experience & once the new upgrade is released, then I hope to do a presentation on the new features for the library.
I went down to Emory University this Thursday & Friday to participate in a workshop on the open source software program Zotero. Zotero is a citation management program developed at the Center for History & New Media at George Mason University. A graduate student in reference first introduced us to it and I started using it for a way to manage the Liam Miller personal library. The ease of use & the ability to organize the material make me a fan. The workshop was geared to the teaching not only how it works but also how to explain it to others such as faculty and administrators on why it is such a good & inexpensive answer to EndNote. There were about 20 of us at the workshop, mostly librarians, but had one person from the CDC & and another from the command & general staff school in Virginia. We all had different experiences on how we were using it and how we wanted to use it in the future. According to Trevor from the CHNM the full release of 2.0 should be ready in a couple of weeks.
The first part of Thursday morning was spent in 4 groups each with a different aspect of Zotero.
1.Getting stuff into Zotero- talked about the icons, PDFs, snapshots, etc.
2.Organizing/Annotating your library- group I was in, talked about the notes feature, the collections & subcollections, tags, (using these as maybe cross references for subcollections), the search feature, talked about the use of advanced searches & search history as a way to create new collections.
3.Creating bibliographies- ways to drag & drop small bibliographies if it is just one or two items, creating reports, use of the Word Zotero toolbar, how to export information from Zotero to Word via the clipboard.
4.Sharing/Collaborating- talked about the new features coming up in the 2.0 release, groups which can be either public or private, groups show up as a collection, only things in that folder will be posted to the group folder, syncing which will allow users to use their library from any computer by logging in to the Zotero website.
The next part of the morning was spent talking about the different types of users that might use Zotero. Different types included the high school student who needs just one or two sources for a short paper, a chemistry student who might use it for a 30 page paper, a faculty member writing a book, and a chairman of a department tracking faculty productivity, and a faculty member who wants to use it as part of his syllabus. Questions about what benefit can Zotero provide, which of Zotero features matter, & how we can reach the particular type of user were asked and discussed. Other questions involved what were the users goals, what type of software skill do they have, and what are they currently using was also discussed.
After lunch we discussed how Zotero is being used by the different people at the workshop. The most relevant discussions were about how librarians can use it to communicate with students & faculty. Both by letting users know about it and then using it in classes & bib sessions. One idea I thought of was with the liaisons and their faculty members. Liaisons can set up faculty groups, invite your faculty members and then have a way that the faculty can communicate with you about books, or journals that they are using in their research. If there is a journal we don’t have but a faculty member is finding useful articles in it, then maybe it would be something to look into subscribing. It also maybe easier to keep track of books that are they might be interested in if they see it mentioned on a website then maybe they may save it to their Zotero group and you would have access it to. I don’t know if this would be a quicker way to communicate between faculty but it might be nice to have all the information about faculty members interests in one place.
Other uses mentioned included syllabus integration, faculty productivity, projects across different campuses as well as on campus, teaching it in English composition classes, use in writing centers, teaching & learning centers, and many other uses.
Many other ideas were floated & more information on what the 2.0 upgrade will include were talked about.