Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Next Phase of Quick T.S.

Quick T.S. was started as one of a series of blogs of the Central Mass. Regional Library System. I've kept the focus on things that I thought would be of interest to technical services staff in central Massachusetts.

But today is the last day of CMRLS. Due to budget cuts, we have merged with the other Mass. Regional Library Systems into one single Massachusetts Library System (MLS). The building at 8 Flagg Rd. in Shrewsbury is emply, although there will be a few people here for a few days to finish up some details.

At the moment, there is no staff member at MLS whose primary focus is Technical Services, so I've decided to continue this blog and broaden its perspective a bit. I'm doing this as much for myself as for all of the other Tech Services people in Massachusetts. My career as a cataloger is not yet over even though I don't have a specific place of employment. Maintaining this blog will be a good way for me to keep up with TS issues and, more importantly, to think about them and expound upon them. Maybe I'll even post more often.

Not only am I available for full-time cataloging or metadata positions (with I hope with a shorter commute from my home in western Mass than I've had the last several years), but I can work on projects. If you know of a library that needs retrospective conversion or wants to become part of Digital Treasures, please keep me in mind.

As much as I love being a cataloger, I have a whole other life and beginning tomorrow I'll have more time to spend on it - at least for a while. I'm also planning to create a new, non-cataloging blog to help me navigate this new phase. I think I will call it Cataloger in Transition.
After having a link sitting in my e-mail inbox since February, I finally watched the webinar Cataloging: Where are we now? Where are we going? with Karen Coyle and Renee Register. It was 90 minutes well spent.

If you follow Karen's blog or have heard her speak, there was nothing new or different in this webinar, but it was a nice summary of her position on library data. Karen is an advocate of sharing library data with other entities. She can also explain the semantic web and linked data in a way that I can almost understand. I've seen Renee's name, but have not heard her speak before. While her perspective may be a little different from Karen's, they are pretty much on the same side of the issue.

There is one (only one?) thing I'm still not totally clear about. I keep hearing (and not just from Karen) that other organizations are practically drooling over all of the data in libraries and if that data were more accessible it would be used - a lot. I'm all for sharing - after all I'm a librarian. However, I'm curious as to how library data would/could be used. I guess I don't have much of an imagination when it comes to things like this.

Karen has described research that maps when an author's work was published and compares that with when works about that author were published. Kind of neat, but not something I can see myself using on a day-to-day basis.

At the NETSL conference in April, one of the keynote speakers was Jon Orwant, Engineering Manager for Google Books, Google Magazines, and Google Patents. He talked about research in the area of language. The words in books can be mined to see word patterns, when a particular word first appeard, how often it appeared and frequency of appearance. This was another of the specific examples of how library data can be used. Linguists use this sort of information and, I expect, those who compile dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Still, I'd like to know of more examples of how library data could be used since I personally can't think of any. Regardless, I have no problem sharing and I'm happy to adapt library practices to facilitate sharing. After all, won't such sharing help raise the status of libraries in the eyes of the non-library world?

A byproduct of the webinar was that I learned about the Library Learning Network of the College of DuPage. During the academic year they offer a series of webinars on library issues. Unfortunately, there are no more scheduled until sometime in the fall, but the 5 they've offered since November are all available to view. I look forward to seeing what they offer next.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Digital Treasures in the Real World

Fame is coming to Digital Treasures. And I'll be an author so I guess fame is coming to me, too.

Several months ago, Dr. Kwong Bor Ng, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at New York City's Queens College and Jason Kucsma, Emerging Technologies Manager, METRO posted to a discusion list. They were seeking chapters about actual digitization projects - real life experiences of real life libraries and librarians.

Well, Digital Treasures is a real digitization project and the things we've learned would definitely be of interest to others considering taking a similar step. And the fact that it is a collaborative project including many institutions gives Digital Treasures an unusual slant. So Kristi Chadwick of C/W MARS, Jan Resnick of WMRLS and I co-wrote a description of the project tentatively titled "Digital Treasures: The Evolution of a Digital Repository in Massachusetts". It is now in the editing stages and will soon become part of a book tentatively titled Digitization in the Real World.

I believe the book is due to be published later this year - December maybe. Watch for it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Call for NETSL officers

It's that time of year when YOU have the opportunity to expand your professional horizon and volunteer to serve on the Executive Board of NETSL.

I cannot stress the benefits enough. If you are elected to the NETSL Board, you can add that fact to your resume, you get to meet many interesting people who are active in the Technical Services world, you have a chance to develop organizational and leadership skills, and you can attend the annual spring conference for free.

I spent three happy years on the NETSL Board, one year each as Vice-President/President-Elect, President, and Past President. In my beginning librarian days, I was in awe of the people on the NETSL Board. But I can now say with absolute conviction that they are all warm and welcoming people. They enjoy working both with experienced librarians and newbies.

Where ever you are in your Technical Services career, please consider becoming more active via NETSL.

Here's the notice that was just posted to the various Tech Services discussion lists:

The New England Technical Services Librarians (NETSL) Executive Board is committed to promoting and supporting technical services activities in New England. Board members plan and present the annual NETSL Spring Conference. The Board also develops programs for the New England Library Association (NELA) Annual Conference, presents the annual NETSL Award for Excellence in Technical Services, and promotes technical services throughout New England and beyond through partnerships with other similar organizations.

Each year NETSL holds elections to fill open positions on the Board. If you are enthusiastic about innovations in technical services, are interested in contributing to regional technical services programming, and would like to have direct input into the direction of NETSL as an organization, consider running for a position on the NETSL Executive Board. Candidates must be NETSL members (via membership in NELA) to serve on the board.The following positions on NETSL's 2010-2011 Executive Board are open:
* Corresponding Secretary (one-year term)
* Recording Secretary (one-year term)
* Treasurer (one-year term)
* Vice President/President-Elect (three-year term)

After serving as VP for one year, the VP succeeds to the office of President, then remains a third year on the Board as Past President. The VP must be, or become, a member of the ALCTS division of the American Library Association in addition to being a NETSL member. VP candidates write a personal statement (approximately 150 words) outlining their background and interests, which will be included on the ballot.

Terms of office officially begin at the end of NETSL's annual business meeting, held during the NELA Annual Conference (this year, October 17-19, 2010). The NETSL Board will hold a transition meeting with both current members and incoming members on September 17, 2010 at the LYRASIS offices in Southborough, MA.

For additional details about NETSL and the duties of the offices of the Board, visit the NETSL web site: If you are interested in running for a Board office, please contact Amy Hart at, or 508-655-8008 x222 by July 9th. Election ballots will go out to the membership in late July.

Amy Hart
President, NETSL
508-655-8008 x222

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Library Science terminology

Every profession has its lingo and Libraries are no differnt. Even those who have been in the field a while don't always know the meaning of a particular term, even if they know the term itself.

Thanks to AUTOCAT, I've added 3 sites to the CMRLS Cataloger's Pages under Miscellaneous Helpful Sites. They all contain definitions of Library Science terms and are very handy to have bookmarked.

I've been concerned about the fate of my pages since last fall when I learned that CMRLS was to be merged with the other 5 Regional Library Systems into one statewide Massachusetts Library System. I still don't know the ultimate destination of my pages, but for the immediate future they will be available in two different places. CMRLS will have a static website at so that CMRLS information will still be accessible until things settle down and people see what needs to be forwarded to the Mass. Library System's website.

The second place is at my delicious account. I've tagged every site Catalogers_Pages. I've also tagged each site with it's specific page name such as Cataloger's_Sites, Discussion_Lists, Professional_Organizations, Tutorials&Games, Blogs and Lighter_Side.

I have a workshop called "Must-See Sites for Tech. Services" and I've used my pages from CMRLS website to show people all of the nifty sources I've found over the years. I need to have the pages available to conduct the workshop regardless of what happens with my association with the Mass. Library System. (I should find out in the next day or two if I am one of the regional consultants "moving forward" with the "new entity".)

This is a good opportunity for me to develop my delicious skills. I'm hoping delicious allows hierarchies so that I can reconstruct my pages more like they are on the CMRLS site.

Do I sound like a cataloger?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Technical Service is Customer Service

Last week was the Mass. Library Association's annual conference in Hyannis. All of the Tech. Services programs were held on Thursday; that is the day I was there.

The MLA/TSS Executive Board organized 4 programs. All were very different and all were full of really good information. I hope to blog about the other programs (especially about the eXtensible Catalog), but my favorite program was Improving Communication Between Technical and Public Services.

Sara Simpson is the Technical Services Manager for the Tulsa City-County Library. Tulsa is one of those large systems where the library in a town is a branch of the county library. The Tech Services functions (Acquisitions, Cataloging, Processing) are centralized in the main facility. The traditional Public Services occur in every branch. The communication project began about 8 years ago and the situation has finally gotten to the point where TS people no longer consider every PS request an interruption and PS people no longer view TS staff as people who say "no" to every request.

Lots of things happened during those 8 years including TSers working with PSers and vice versa to see what it was like to be one of "them" and PS staff being able to make some of the changes they once forwarded on to TS (and didn't get returned for a long time). Something that really struck me was the revised attitude that the staff in Public Services are the customers of Technical Services. When someone in Public Services has a request, it is not an interruption for Tech Services staff, but part of the job. That alone makes a difference.

If you have a less than wonderful relationship with the Public Services staff in your library, perhaps you should evaluate your view of PS. Do you consider the people in Public Services your customers?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Upcoming T.S. programs

Thursdays will be busy for the next couple of months. The conferences I usually attend all fall on a Thursday this year.

On March 25, Digital Commonwealth will be holding its annual conference at Holy Cross College. I'll be giving a presentation on Metadata and focusing on Dublin Core. (I'll be giving a similar workshop at the Metrowest Regional Library System on Monday, March 29 from 1-3 p.m.)

April 15 is the day of the NETSL annual conference, also at Holy Cross. This year I'll be relaxing and letting others do all the work - no speaking; no organizing. For the 3 previous years of this conference, I was on the NETSL Executive Board and helped plan the annual conference.

MLA's annual conference will be held April 28-30 at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center. The Technical Services section of MLA has scheduled all of their programs on Thursday, April 29. Titles of the programs are The Extensible Catalog; The Future of Publishing Digital vs Print; Improving Communication Between Technical and Public Services; and Library Stacks Management: System A Practical Approach for Libraries Large and Small. Only the titles are available right now. Descriptions will follow.

If you go to one or more of these conferences, be sure to say "hello".