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.

Carolyn’s Sunday and Monday at ALA

Friday, July 17, 2009 7:12 am

Sunday at ALA was a busy day for me. It started off with me attending a program sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL titled “Chicago’s Ethnic Mosaic: Cultural Identity and Neighborhood Change”. Although I only stayed two of the four hours program, I heard and learned much on the history of European immigration and in-migration of African Americans and Mexican Americans to Chicago as well as the history of Chicago’s public housing.

Next, I went to the exhibits to attend Lauren Pressley’s book signing and to visit vendors’ booths to pick up any interesting free stuff. I stopped by the Library of Congress’ booth and picked up several informational booklets on MARC and FRBR records. Afterwards, I went to Au Bon Pain in the conference center to purchase something for lunch ($6 for a small bag of chips and a bottled water–outrageous) and spotted an escorted Judy Blume trying to make a decision about lunch. I loved her books as a young girl.

The afternoon session I attended was called “New Selectors and Selecting in New Subjects: Meeting the Challenges”. Linda Phillips, Head of Scholarly Communication at the University of Tennessee, began the panel session by likening selectors to entrepreneurs. We need to be client-centered in providing content and services to faculty and students. She said selectors must:

  • approach collection development in a digital library framework
  • take an active role in creating scholarly publications
  • assert professional principles for free and unbiased access to knowledge
  • understand and fully exploit the potential of the local and the immediate

She went on to say libraries need to complete the migration from print to electronic collections. Her library embarked on a reorganization where the emphasis is on liaisons and their academic departments, the expansion of unique local digital publications, and adding freely accessible web content to collection (e.g. Directory of Open Access Journals and OAIster). Her advice for new selectors is:

  • learn the library’s explicit and implied collection policies and practices
  • talk with colleagues
  • know the library’s budget and expectations; understand recordkeeping and encumbrances/expenditures for accountability
  • learn library’s strategy for managing cost increases
  • get to know clietele (i.e. faculty) and their search preferences; build trust; collaborate with faculty–this is the key to enhancing research and instruction on campus
  • get acquainted with vendor materials
  • be knowledgeable in intellectual property issues, creative commons, SPARC, NIH open access–this will increase your credibility with scholars
  • learn about your faculty’s discipline–how are they involving students
  • participate in at least two disciplinary related programs each semester
  • encourage researchers to consider open access publishing

Supervisors should lead discussions about research practices and discipline culture and encourage liaisons to include these things in yearly goals.

TRACE (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange) is the University of Tennessee’s digital repository.

Arro Smith of the San Marcos Public Library spoke on and showed attendees resources on the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) web site for new selectors. By clicking on “Conferences & Events” which appears on the lefthand side of the web page, one can discover webinars, workshops and web courses available. The Collection and Management and Development Section (CMDS) of ALCTS has recently started publishing a new series of monographs called the Sudden Selectors Guide and they are available through the ALA Store. These monographs are designed to address niche topics. Business resources is the only guide so far to be published. Mr. Smith said forthcoming discipline guides to be published include biology, English, art, chemistry and GLBITQ.

Next on the panel to speak was Jeff Kosokoff of Tufts University. He feels libraries shouldn’t take possession of things not needed. We should think about information in terms of having access not about having it sitting on shelves or owning it. Information, as a service, becomes ever more dominant from a user perspective and needs to be delivered in a way people would use it, otherwise it won’t be used.

My last session of the day was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. At our meeting there was an Alexander Street Press representative who reported that the vendor is looking to develop a streaming video database of anthropology films that would be transcribed and text searchable. He was seeking input on what types of films should be included in the proposed database. One person suggested to the rep. that the product should be marketed to anthropology and area studies. Serials cancellations was another topic on the agenda. Several attendees said they were having to make decisions about cutting dual formats of journals and expressed concerns over how some electronic anthropological journals sometimes don’t contain illustrations that accompany the print format. From this discussion, I felt that Wake is ahead of the curve in eliminating dual formats of anthropological journal titles. I really enjoyed going to this session and talking with other anthropology librarians. I believe I was the only cataloger in the room.

On Monday, I attended “Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant” which Kaeley has already summarized in her ALA Annual 2009 day 4 post. I also went to the ALCTS sponsored “President’s Program: Who owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage” in which James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, discussed whether museums should return ancient artifacts to their country of origin. Mr. Cuno has written and published a book with the same title as his talk. At the conclusion of his talk, it was time to make my way to O’Hare Airport to go home.


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