Professional Development

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 11:58 pm

Although the weather was hot and sweltering in DC during ALA, I still had a great time attending informative sessions on cataloging and metadata, going to socials, catching up with friends, and hanging out with Susan and Erik. I was one of the five who rode up and back in the library’s new van.

After dropping off our luggage in our hotel room, Susan, Erik and I walked to the convention center to pick up our conference materials. I tagged along with Susan and Erik to the LITA Happy Hour, the first of two socials that Friday evening. Following social number one, we all three then headed to the Capital City Brewing Company where the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) librarians were having their social.

On Saturday, I attended a session, “Converging Metadata Standards in Cultural Institutions: Apples and Oranges” where librarians from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Smithsonian discussed digital projects that their institutions have created. Daniele Plumer, Coordinator of the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative (THDI), discussed the necessity of educating metadata specialists who work in various institutions (i.e. libraries, archives, museums, state and local government agencies) on content standards, encoding syntaxes, project management and digital library systems and applications. In preparation of the THDI, Amigos Library Services held a series of workshops in five locations across the state as well as online. Some observations from this project by Ms. Plumer included most libraries chose Dublin Core instead of MARC as a metadata scheme, LC subject headings is the most commonly used controlled vocabulary, and overall metadata decisions are driven largely by the design of existing digital asset management systems. Ching-Hsien Wang spoke about the creation of a one-stop discovery center for the 4.6 million records and 445,000 images of the Smithsonian’s museum, archives, library and research holdings and collections. Ms. Wang described this database as a conjoined collaboration, not an individual silo of information. The database has various vocabulary features, facet types from controlled vocabularies, and sharing capability with social media options.

Next, I attended the Copy Cataloging Interest Group’s program where two librarians from the University of Colorado at Boulder described how they developed and implemented a FRBR and FRAD training program for all of their libraries’ professional and copy catalogers. Participants read the entire FRBR document, and at monthly cataloging meetings, discussed the readings and participated in group exercises to reinforce concepts learned. A blog was created for questions and comments on the readings. My last meeting of the day was the ALCTS CCS Recruitment and Mentoring Committee of which I am a member. We are looking into using Google Forms to create a questionnaire for interested mentor and mentee participants in the area of cataloging. Mentors and mentees will be paired based on the the information we collect.

“Cataloging and Beyond: the Year of Cataloging Research” was my first session on Sunday. It was a panel discussion and the room was packed and many were sitting on the floor in the back of the room, including myself. Panelists, one of which was Jane Greenburg, Erik’s Ph.D. advisor, discussed how the data catalogers create provides various areas of research for catalogers to explore. Catalogers’ research can impact and assist in making decisions about cataloging data and catalog design. Are we able and how can we measure usefulness? Per Ms. Greenburg, there are three areas that need researching: automatic metadata generation, creator or author generated metadata, and metadata theory.

Following this session, I attended another panel discussion on the “Strategic Future of Print Collections in Research Libraries.” Print on demand, the impact of scanning on physical books, and preservation were discussed in this session. My final meeting for this ALA was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I always learn much from attending this session. Topics included print and online bibliographic tools for Africa for which I collected several useful handouts that were distributed. It was proposed to request the ANSS Committee develop a list of core academic library journals for anthropology.

Sunday was also a day for catching up with friends. Lauren C. and I had lunch with a graduate school classmate who is the business and economics reference librarian at Clemson. As mentioned in one of Susan’s posts, she, Erik and I had a lovely dinner with Waits and Christian.

It’s been awhile since I attended a conference with both Susan and Erik. Hanging out with them at conferences, I am assured of three things occurring: exploring the sites of the city, exercising (i.e. a lot of walking around) and having fun.


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