Monday, December 29, 2008

Cataloging and Classification Mini-Courses coming soon!

The CMRLS Continuing Education catalog is now out! There are lots of great programs and a full schedule for Tech Services people.

It's CMRLS’ turn to offer the Cataloging and Classification BLT. BLT stands for Basic Library Training which is a series of mini-courses (Administration, Cataloging & Classification, Collection Development and Reference) required by all Massachusetts public library directors in towns of under 10,000 who do not have a Masters degree in Library Science.

However, many different people take these courses. Some are not currently directors, but are planning for the future. Some want training more formal than OTJ (on the job). Some have an MLS (or MLIS) and want a practical refresher. Regardless, the C&C mini-course is always overenrolled and we have to turn people away.

That’s why I’ve scheduled two sessions in slightly different formats in two different places to try to meet the needs of as many people as possible.

The first session will be held at CMRLS on Thursdays, February 5 and 12. If either of those days is snowed out, I’ve also reserved February 19. The class will run from 10:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch break.

For the second session, I’ve reserved the meeting room at the Lunenburg Public Library (if you haven’t been there, it’s beautiful; be sure to visit the Children’s Room and look up at the ceiling) on Tuesdays: March 24, March 31 and April 7 from 1:00 till 4:30.

Both courses will cover the exact same topics in the same order: some history, Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC), and Resource Description and Access (RDA - the new AACR2). As we cover each topic, we’ll actually be creating bibliographic records from scratch. I’ve been a cataloger for many years, and I’ll have lots of anecdotes to share. I expect some of you do, too.

Each session is limited to 20 people so that everyone will get some personal attention. Be sure to register soon for either the February or March session. This will be THE place to talk all things cataloging.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

OLAC and Its Newsletter

Yesterday, I received my print version of the OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers) Newsletter. As usual, it’s chock full of stuff that’s incredibly interesting to catalogers.

This is the first issue since OLAC’s conference in Cleveland and there are minutes of meetings plus reports of the conference programs. Conference coverage doesn’t fit into one issue, so the remainder will be included in the next Newsletter.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an OLAC member to read all about the Conference, book reviews, and other OLAC news. The Newsletters are available to everyone on the OLAC website.

While reading the Newsletter, I learned that the OLAC website had been moved, so I updated the link on the CMRLS Catalogers’ Professional Organizations page. I also learned that CAPC (OLAC’s Cataloging Policy Committee) has just completed its Guide to Cataloging Playaway Devices, so I added a link to it on the CMRLS Catalogers Sites page.

In fact, I revised the page slightly since CAPC has produced lots of useful training materials. I included a link to their entire page.

One of the real treats of the OLAC Newsletter is the section called Cataloger’s Judgment: Questions and Answers compiled by Jay Weitz of OCLC. These are the questions that catalogers have every day as they go about their work of trying to organize the world’s output so that people can find what they're looking for. If you catalog non-book materials, Jay’s column is a “must read”.

But then, so is the entire OLAC Newsletter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Technical Services Blogs

I’ve added a couple more links to the list of Technical Services Blogs on the CMRLS Cataloging pages.

Metadata Matters is a new blog created by Diane Hillmann. Diane is Director of Metadata Initiatives and the Information Institute of Syracuse and a major figure in the Metadata world. She’s a proponent of RDA and has given several presentations explaining how it is intended to work.

A few weeks ago I received an email suggesting that I add a blog called TSLL TechScans. While the primary audience of the blog is Law Librarians, the posts contain information useful to all people involved in Technical Services.

If you know of any Technical Services blogs (or sites) useful to TSers, please let me know. I want the cataloger’s pages to be “the” place to go for up-to-date information.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How Soon RDA?

A week ago Friday (was it really that long ago?) I attended a program given by Diane Hillmann at NELINET. This was a more detailed version of the one she presented at MLA in May. Diane’s handouts are available here.

Diane’s talk was entitled The Future of Catalogers and Cataloging but was really an explanation of RDA (Resource Description and Access) and how it is intended to work.

However, before you read through the handouts, I recommend reading Everything is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger. David’s book sets the stage for Diane’s talk.

It’s difficult to appreciate RDA’s potential unless you are thinking “World Wide Web”. The difference between AACR2 and RDA is similar to the difference between a book and a website. In many ways, they look the same. Both generally have text and images. Websites have “pages” and you can look at a web page and then look at another web page similar to looking at different pages of a book. However, when reading a book, if you want to follow up on a reference you’ve seen, you need to find another book, and that book may or may not be handy. With a web page, you merely click on the reference to get to its source.

RDA is meant to be used online. Like a website, its order doesn’t matter; you click to where you want to go. However, RDA is not yet in online form and is only available as several PDFs. It’s difficult to judge the usefulness of something if it’s in a different form – like looking at a two-dimensional picture of a three-dimensional object.

RDA’s shortfall, however in addition to its software not being available, it that the infrastructure on which it depends is also not available. Instead of having an author’s (or illustrator’s or composer’s) name listed in its authorized form on a bibliographic record, there is a URI (Universal Resource Identifier) that links to a database of authorized names like the Library of Congress Name Authority File. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names can be used for cities and countries. Both LCNAF and the TGN offer far more information than a single name (so that users could search on “Big Apple” and still find New York City, for example). But equivalent databases do not exist for much of the information in a bibliographic record. Without these databases to which to link, the new RDA bib record is almost exactly like the current AACR2 bib record.

There’s an amazing new world out there on the World Wide Web, but we don’t yet have the tools to take advantage of it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Books

CMRLS has received 2 new Technical Services books in the RCO (aka Professional) Collection. They are now cataloged and ready for use.

Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials and Other Special Materials: A Manual Based on AACR2 and MARC21 by Nancy B. Olson with the assistance of Robert L. Bothmann and Jessica J. Schomberg. I'm so glad this classic title has been updated. It is a vital resource for all non-book catalogers. There are lots of examples and I've always loved Nancy's chatty narratives chronicling her decision making process.

Metadata by Marcia Lei Zeng and Jian Qin has received good reviews. I haven't read it myself, but I figure there's no way a library can have too many books on this hot topic.

All new books (not just Technical Services) are highlighted on the CMRLS website on the "New Books" page. Each title has a direct link to the bibliographic record in C/W MARS for easy requesting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Latest on RDA

I found this notice in my inbox today:

"Due to complications in software development, the Committee of Principals has determined that the full draft of RDA will be issued in PDF files. It will be available on November 17, 2008. We will provide the appropriate URL for accessing the full draft at this time. We will also provide an update on the software as soon as possible.

Nathalie Schulz, Secretary, JSC
for the
Committee of Principals"

I sometimes wonder if RDA will really happen. I'll be teaching a cataloging mini-course this coming spring and I'm glad that, for the moment, I can still use all of my material from AACR2/MARC. Of course I'll introduce RDA, but at least I have more time before I have to teach it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The NELA Conference

Wow! It’s been a busy month since I last posted.

I attended the New England Library Association Conference in Manchester, New Hampshire on October 19-21. There were lots of good programs including 3 organized by NETSL. I want to thank NASIG (North American Serials Interest Group) for sponsoring one of the programs. They paid for Victoria Reich of Stanford University to fly to Manchester to talk about the CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) program on Monday morning.

Monday afternoon, Danny Joudry , Assistant Professor at Simmons College GSLIS and Diane Baden, of Boston College Libraries discussed some Hot Topics in Tech Services. Diane reviewed RDA and Dan talked about the education (or in some cases lack of education) of catalogers. This panel was followed by the first-ever reception for NETSL members. Good food, stimulating company and a free drink. What more could you ask?

On Tuesday, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Research Scientist at OCLC, presented Why not the Library First? and suggested ways to return our libraries to prime source status.

Another fantastic program that I attended was sponsored by the Information Technology Section called The Internet is NOT Flat with Ethan Zuckermann, cofounder of Global Voices. Ethan is one of the best speakers I have ever seen. His presentation was incredibly well-organized, thought-provoking and fun. His topics flowed smoothly from one to the next. If you ever have a chance to see him in person, I strongly recommend it.

Blogs posts of all NELA programs, along with links to presentations and handouts, are available at the NELA website. What a great way to catch up on programs that you missed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Incredible Success

I traveled to Cleveland a couple of weeks ago to attend the OLAC/MOUG Conference. Even though I went through my pre-travel jitters (What am I going to pack? How will I find everything? Why don’t I just stay home and sleep in my own bed and stick with my routines?), everything went smoothly and the conference was great.

My plane didn’t land in time for me to take the scheduled tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I did, however, manage to attend the OLAC Executive Board meeting (which is open to all members) and learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.

The Conference began on Friday morning with a Continental Breakfast (all of the food was really good) and an opening keynote address by Lynne Howarth of the University of Toronto. Then came the breakout sessions and I headed to listen to Joseph Hinger of St. John’s University talk about Integrating Resources. His presentation was packed, but easily understood and there were handouts with lots of great examples.

The conference hotel was attached to a shopping mall. I had lunch in the food court and ended up sitting at a table with another OLAC attendee. My choice of afternoon breakout was Metadata for Audiovisual Materials and Its Role in Digital Projects by Jenn Riley of Indiana University/Bloomington. The more I learn about the various schemas, the more fascinated I become with them. There are some that I’d never heard of that are used for very specific projects.

Friday evening, we were treated to a reception at the Cleveland Museum of Art where I met some other people from Massachusetts and shared information about colleagues-in-common.

Saturday morning was the time for the poster sessions. People put a lot of work into describing their projects. However, none applied to my job so I didn’t linger. I attended a breakout session on Form/Genre Headings presented by Janis Young of the Library of Congress.

Lunch was the banquet and business meeting. I had heard much of the information at the board meeting, but there was some some new information. The final breakout session was Advanced Sound Recordings with Robert Freeborn from Penn State University. I can say that AV materials have become much more complicated over the years making AV cataloging much more complicated.

The real treats came on Sunday morning beginning with a program on RDA. Speakers were Glenn Patton of OCLC and Heidi Hoerman of the University of South Carolina. Heidi gave an especially provocative talk on her perspective of RDA. After much research she thinks RDA will die a quiet death and AACR will be revised. Next came a panel of presenters ready to answer audience questions and then Janet Swan Hill of the University of Colorado at Boulder summed up her reactions to the conference.

It was a very full two-and-a-half days. Handouts for all sessions are on the OLAC conference site.

And now I’m back at work, thinking about the different ways I’ll use everything I learned.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The ABCs of TS

All professions have their acronyms, initialisms and abbreviations and libraries are no different.

Here are some that you are likely to see as you read through library literature with a focus on Technical Services.

AACR2 – Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules – 2nd edition. Published in 1978 by the American Library Association, the Canadian Library Association, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (in the UK), AACR2 contains the guidelines for cataloging (or cataloguing) library materials.
RDA – Resource Description and Access. Built on foundations established by the AACR, RDA is being developed as a new standard for resource description and access designed for the digital world.
FRBR – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records. A conceptual entity-relationship model developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) that relates user tasks of retrieval and access in online library catalogues and bibliographic databases from a user’s perspective.

Okay, I’ll bet those were easy. You probably see them a lot. Now, how about these?
OLAC – Online Audiovisual Catalogers. An organization for media catalogers.
CAPC – OLAC’s Cataloging Policy Committee. CAPC represents the concerns of AV catalogers in matters relating to the formation, interpretation and implementation of national and international cataloging standards and related matters.
ALCTS – Association for Library Collections & Technical Services. Pronounced (uh-lex), ALCTS is a division of ALA (American Library Association) that specifically addresses Technical Services issues.
CC:DA – Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access. The body within the American Library Association responsible for developing official ALA positions on additions to and revisions of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules.
MARBI - Machine Readable Bibliographic Information. A committee within the American Library Association responsible for developing official ALA positions on standards for the representation in machine-readable form of bibliographic information. MARBI focuses its attention on the development of the MARC format.

If you encounter an acronym (in any field) and want to find out what it stands for, a handy source is a specialized online dictionary called Acronym finder.

The Library of Congress has a long list of acronyms. I'll save them for a separate post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

“Introduction to Library Digitization” - All the Details

If you haven't yet registered for this day-long conference, this is your chance. It looks like a great combination of speakers and topics. There's even a registration form at the end.

MLA Technical Services Section proudly presents “Introduction to Library Digitization”, a one day program on Tuesday October 28th, 2008, at the Worcester Public Library. This program will cover what libraries need to consider before starting a digitization project.

The speakers will be Massachusetts librarians who have successfully implemented digitization projects at their libraries.

The sessions will be:
Virtual Archives: Preparing to Create a Digital Collection Speaker: Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, M.A.L.S., C.A., F.S.A. Scot Preservation Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners 9:15 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.

Digitizing Dissertations at UMass Worcester Speakers, Mary Piorun, MLS, AHIP Associate Director for Technology Initiatives and Resource Management, Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts, Worcester
Lisa Palmer, MLS Catalog Librarian, Lamar Soutter Library, University of Massachusetts, Worcester 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Digital Copyright in the 21st Century Speaker: Andrew D. Epstein, J.D. Barker, Epstein & Loscocco Copyright and Trademark Law; General Civil Litigation; Photography and Visual Art Law; Publishing and Licensing Agreements; General Business, Corporate and Real Estate Law
1:00 p.m. -2:15 p.m.

Panel Discussion: The day will end with a panel discussion with Massachusetts & Connecticut librarians on: * How libraries actually began their digitization project * The issues faced by librarians doing real projects * Project planning and management * Hardware needs * Copyright considerations * Metadata Standards used for data creation 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Panel Members:
Dodie Gaudet, Consultant for Bibliographic & Technical Services, Central Mass. Regional Library System; Kristi Chadwick, Access Services Supervisor, C/WMARS; Jeffrey Monseau, Archivist, Springfield College speaking on Central Mass Memory Project to increase the holdings of Digital Treasures (

Kathy Foulke, Connecticut History Online project director.

Leone E. Cole, Library Director, Watertown Free Public Library on Watertown’s Online Image Collection.

Date/time: October 28. 9:00a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Location: Worcester Public Library, Saxe Room 3 Salem Sq Worcester, MA 01608
(508) 799-1655
Map and directions:
Metered parking at 50 cents per hour.
Cost: Early bird registration: (before Oct 1st) $40.00 per person $30.00 for MLA members
After October 1st: $45.00 per person $35.00 for MLA members

Deadline to register: October 14, 2008 Early bird deadline is October 1, 2008

Catering by: by Eric's LaPatisserie Café ____________________________________________________________________
To register:
1. Please send your check made payable to the Massachusetts Library Association to:
Lois Bacon Attn: MLA-TSS program 29 Harding Rd Needham MA 02492

Or register online at

2. Please fill out the information below and send it with your check

Full name: _______________________
Address: _______________________
If you would like a vegetarian meal, please check here ___
For registration questions, please contact: LBacon@EBSCO.COM

Monday, September 8, 2008


The Technical Services Division of the Ohio Library Council publishes a quarterly newsletter for Technical Services Librarians called TechKNOW. The August edition has just been released.

It includes practical information on OCLC’s Enhance Program, the imminent obsolescence of the 440 tag, the report of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, and the review of two books that Tech Services Librarians will want to know about and might want to purchase.

Some of the articles apply only to Ohio librarians, but I like to know what’s going on outside of New England. Who know what good ideas I might be able to "borrow"?

TechKNOW is freely available at Kent State University Libraries and Media Services. Check it out!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Introduction to Library Digitization - a program from MLA/TSS

The Technical Services Section of the Massachusetts Library Association has organized a day-long program on the practical aspects of digitization in libraries. I'll be one of the afternoon panelists.

Here are the essentials:
Date: Tuesday October 28th, 2008
Location: Saxe Room, Worcester Public Library
Deadline to register: October 14, 2008

Cost: Early bird registration: (before Oct 1st) $40.00 per person
$30.00 for MLA members
After October 1st: $45.00 per person
$35.00 for MLA members

For registration questions, contact: Lois Bacon at LBacon@EBSCO.COM

This is a hot topic in libraries right now. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CE for TS

The Fall Continuing Education Catalog is out! Be sure to browse through it and register for some of the great workshops the CMRLS staff has organized.

For Technical Services people, there will be a Roundtable on Tuesday, September 23 at the Gale Free Library in Holden. Here's a chance to visit another Tech Services department and see how they do things.

There are no prerequisites to attend a Roundtable. Just bring along any questions you might have and a willingness to share ideas and solutions.

See you there!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Always Moving Forward

I’ve made some changes (as I do periodically) to the Cataloger’s pages on the CMRLS website.

Lois Reibach recently announced her new blog Collocate and Disambiguate on the AUTOCAT discussion list. The blog discusses issues of authority control and authority data. I really like her title. I expect it's one only a cataloger would think of.

When I first began compiling the Cataloger’s pages three years ago, there were very few Technical Services oriented blogs. Now I have 16 listed and I know there are a lot more. Please feel free to tell me if you know of one I have not yet discovered.

At the Serials Roundtable earlier this week, a participant mentioned something she had read on the discussion list SERIALIST. I am embarrassed to say I had neglected to add SERIALIST to the page on Electronic Discussion Lists and I remedied the oversight as soon as I returned to my office.

Most of my career has been spent with monographs, primarily cataloging, but also acquisitions in my early professional years. Serials are not the first things that come to my mind when I think Technical Services, but I promise to pay more attention from now on.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Book on MARC

Just added to the CMRLS Professional Collection: Easy MARC, 5th edition, by Scott Piepenburg.
ISBN: 978-1-933170-31-2; CMRLS Classification Number: RCO 025.3 Piepenburg.

Lots of explanations and examples and much more readable than the documentation from Library of Congress or OCLC. Integration of cataloging rules and ISBD punctuation.

I'll have the book with me on Wednesday, July 9, when I teach a workshop on reading a MARC record at the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster. There's still time to register if you want to join us.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Last week, I received an announcement from the Cataloging Distribution Service News and Announcements list. It read


Due to production problems, the 31st edition of the five-volume printed edition of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, commonly referred to as the Red Books, will not be available until the spring of 2009. The data cutoff date for the 31st edition will now be December 31, 2008.

Customers who have already placed a paid order for the 31st edition have the option of leaving their payments in their deposit accounts or requesting a refund.”

When the Red Books became available online back in 2001 or 2002, I began to use them in that format. I was a contract cataloger at the time, working at a variety of different libraries, and I didn’t always have access to the (then) 4-volume print edition. It is often easier to scan the printed version and one gets a different perspective of the subject headings on paper than from the digital version, but I’ve grown accustomed to searching for subject headings with my computer and that is my preferred method of access.

For one thing, there are now 5 – count ‘em 5 – Red Books to browse through looking for that authorized word or phrase. If I want to keep the books close enough that I don’t have to leave my computer, I’d have to get an additional desk! And like the electronic version of anything, the list is easy to revise and is updated nightly. While the print version saves paper and ink by using Pattern Headings, the electronic version can include all subdivisions for every topic. It also includes names and free-floating subdivisions which the print version cannot do without turning into a 10-volume set.

Newcomers to cataloging can benefit from the print version, though, because it includes a very valuable introduction – definitely worth reading – with instructions for how to navigate the Red Books plus the history and background of subject headings. The explanation on the Authorities web site focuses on how to search effectively. That’s important, but it assumes the cataloger already knows all about LCSH and needs only information about what’s different on the web site from the Red Books.

If you haven’t used the online version of LCSH, it’s available at the Library of Congress web site. LC has lots of interesting things on their site, so it’s worth a trip regardless of Subject Headings.

If you’d like to sign up for News and Announcements from the LC’s Cataloging Distribution Service, you can do that here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Technical Services Blogs

I’ve had to update the Blogs page in the Cataloging section of the CMRLS website because I recently discovered two more Blogs that address Technical Services issues.

Metalogue, with the tag line “new directions in cataloging and metadata from around the world”, is hosted by Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services for OCLC. In the box labeled “About this Blog” is written: “Metalogue is a forum for sharing thoughts on all things related to knowledge organization by and for libraries”. It appears that others will be joining Karen periodically to “contribute perspectives and experiences about the current and future state of cataloguing and metadata.”

On Descript is a Blog I gladly recommend to new catalogers. So far, the posts consist of basic descriptions of Folksonomy, Metadata, and the Cataloging process with sources cited for more detailed information. The content is not surprising given that the writer is a student at the University of South Florida working towards his Masters in Library and Information Science. Good luck to you, Ken Matthews. I look forward to your joining the ranks of professional Catalogers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tech Services Video

There aren't many (any?) videos about Technical Services, but this one is a beauty.

It's a parody of a hospital emergency room (ER), using library Technical Services (TS). While accuracy sometimes suffers for the sake of the performance (as in the scene of two people rushing to repair a book so that it can get back into circulation) the video is a quick, fun look at what goes on in the library that not many know about.

"Thanks" to Illinois' Arlington Heights Memorial Library for producing this little gem.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Rocking the Metaverse with OLAC

Registration for the OLAC-MOUG 2008 Conference is now open!

Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) and Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) are holding a joint conference. The conference, called Rocking the Metaverse:A/V Cataloging in a Web X.0 Environment, will be held Friday, September 26 through Sunday, September 28, 2008 in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is my favorite conference. Imagine 200 people talking in MARC codes! It’s the perfect place for a cataloger to be.

In addition to plenary sessions with Lynne Howarth (former Dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto), Janet Swan Hill (Associate Director for Technical Services, University of Colorado), and another on RDA, there are also four breakout workshops on cataloging various non-book materials.

The conference is not all work. Tours of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and University Circle are planned for Thursday afternoon and there will be a Friday evening reception at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

There is a Map Cataloging preconference on Thursday September 25 given by Paige Andrew, Faculty Maps Cataloging Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries.

Detailed information as well as the conference registration form is available, so register now.

I’ll be there. Will you?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Call for NETSL officers for next year

The following was just posted by the NETSL Corresponding Secretary Barry Hennessey on the NETSL discussion list. Please consider running for the NETSL Executive Board. It's a great educational and professional experience. Additional perks are that you get to meet wonderful people and attend the NETSL Spring Conference for no charge.

If you want to talk about the benefits and responsibilities before making a commitment, feel free to contact me via email or telephone 508-757-4110 x307.


We are looking for a few enthusiastic individuals to run for positions on NETSL’s 2008-2009 Executive Board. Participating on the Board will allow you to have direct input into the conference programs that NETSL sponsors throughout the year as well as into the direction of NETSL as an organization.

We are seeking candidates for the following positions:

· Vice President/President-Elect (a three-year commitment: the VP succeeds to the office of President, and 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.)
· Recording Secretary
· Corresponding Secretary
· Treasurer

You can find out more about the duties of the officers from NETSL’s bylaws at Terms begin at the end of NETSL’s fall meeting, held during the NELA annual conference (October 19-21, 2008). With the exception of the Vice President/President-Elect, officers serve one-year terms with the possibility of re-election for a second term.

If you are interested in running or would like more information, please contact Dodie Gaudet at; 508-757-4110 x307.

Ballots will go out by the first week in August, so we will need to hear from you by July 11, 2008 to prepare the slate.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CE for TS

There are lots of Continuing Education workshops for Technical Services people at all levels scheduled for the summer. Here’s a quick list. You can register for these or any other CE programs by going to the CMRLS website and clicking on "Continuing Education Classes" on the right-hand side under the word EVENTS.

Thursday, June 12, 10 a.m. at CMRLS. Digital Treasures in your Library: Overview & Update – Whether or not your library is participating in Digital Treasures, you can learn more about the project and the multiple ways it can benefit your library.

Wednesday, July 9, 10 a.m. at the Thayer Library in Lancaster. Read Along with MARC: How to read a MARC record – Intended for copy catalogers and new catalogers who want a better understanding of what all those numbers and symbols mean.

Thursday, July 17, 1:30 p.m. at CMRLS. Cataloging Electronic Resources – Every day, catalogers in academic and research libraries are faced with new and complicated media. Here’s a way to cope.

Wednesday, August 6, 10:00 a.m. at the Learning Resources Center at Worcester State College, The Ever-Evolving World of Serials: Serials Roundtable - The chance for Serials Catalogers to share their joys and sorrows with each other.

Thursday, August 14, 10:00 a.m. at CMRLS. Must-See Sites for Technical Services – An exploration of websites geared to Technical Services librarians and staff and a chance to share your favorites with others.

So get out your calendar and plan to spend some time honing your Tech Services knowledge and skills.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

MLA, RDA and the Future

I spent four stimulating days in Falmouth at the Mass Library Association Conference from May 6-9 which included a Pre-Conference on The Future of the ILS (Integrated Library System). My two favorite programs were the Keynote Speaker David Weinberger of Everything is Miscellaneous fame and Diane Hillmann who spoke on The Emerging Cataloging Future: RDA, DCMI, and the Semantic Web. I actually skipped a program called Learn, Laugh and Let Go: A Comic Stress Management Program with mime Robert Rivest to listen to Diane Hillmann. While I’m sorry I missed the mime, I’m not at all sorry I heard Ms Hillmann explain how RDA (Resource Description and Access) is intended to work.

The key to my enlightenment during the RDA program was first listening to David Weinberger. I read Everything is Miscellaneous last summer and really enjoyed it. Mr. Weinberger does not bash traditional library classification. His point is that organizing digital objects is different from organizing physical objects which can only be in one place at any one time. When people are meandering through the web, the path is not linear. We can begin at one place, click on a link to an entirely different place and, from there, go somewhere unrelated to where we began. Blogs and websites are good examples of how people navigate on the web. Think of all of the additional information “contained” on a blog via its links. While a book may have footnotes and citations, the material cited is not actually in the book.

With that image in mind, consider RDA, the successor to AACR2. RDA is meant to be digital, so it is not linear like AARC2 or any print resource. Most of the discussion I’ve been following on AUTOCAT and other lists has focused on the rules themselves. The larger picture of RDA creates bibliographic records with links instead of actual text. The links display as text, so the end result is the same at what we’re used to seeing.

For those of you who have a name authority file embedded in your OPAC, your main (and other) entries are linked to the records in that authority file. If you change the authority record, you globally change every name attached to it. This makes life a lot easier when adding a death date, for example and also links together all titles by one specific author.

RDA goes much further. Many (most?) terms can actually be linked to an authority record which contains much more information than the term. For example, while you might see the phrase “New York”, in actuality the place of publication would be a URI to the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. Where ever there is some sort of authority file such as LC name or subject authorities or the previously mentioned Getty Thesaurus, the person creating the bibliographic record could insert a URI rather than keying in a phrase. Then, if the viewer chose, he/she could follow that link and see the extensive information about New York contained in the authority record.

While many authority files exist, many more need to be created. An infrastructure must be built in order for RDA to work well. What a fascinating future we have ahead of us!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thoughts on FRBR and RDA

A couple of weeks ago I attended a program at CMRLS on AACR2, RDA and FRBR. It was presented by Amy Benson, formerly of NELINET and now Archivist for Digital Initiatives at the Schlesinger Library. Amy always does a very good job. She researches her topic thoroughly and presents it with lots of humor and interesting anecdotes. This presentation was no exception.

Amy spent a lot of time laying the foundation by explaining that FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) is a conceptual model that identifies entities, relationships, and attributes. A bibliographic entity has 4 attributes: Work, Expression, Manifestation (the equivalent of a bibliographic record) and Item (one specific, physical piece). A work entity has a reciprocal relationship with a person entity when the work was created by a person and the person created the work. There are a lot more details which were carefully mapped out with the aid of diagrams.

There has been lots of discussion on AUTOCAT and other electronic discussion lists about FRBR and RDA (Resource Description and Access). Listening to Amy’s presentation helped me solidify my own feelings towards these ideas. I strongly agree with the FRBR principles. While it may seem strange at first, FRBR is really the way we organize books and other works. We want to know if a movie with a particular title is related to a book with the same title or if an audio version of a book is exactly the book word-for-word or if it has been modified. I like the way AquaBrowser and Endeca make use of the FRBR relationships in our online catalogs. I also think it’s easier for patrons when they know that a library has a title and don’t care which edition they borrow.

However, I am really ambivalent about RDA which is intended to replace AACR2 using FRBR principles. As someone who has cataloged art objects and other non-book materials, I am well aware of AACR2’s shortcomings. Yet, it works really well for books and other print material. Can a one-size-fits-all product like RDA really do both books and websites justice? As things stand now, no one is happy with RDA. Some think is goes too far and others not far enough.

I wonder how this will all shake out. We’ll begin to find out in the spring of 2009 when RDA is due to be published. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 11, 2008

OLAC Conference Scholarship

OLAC (OnLine Audiovisual Catalogers) organizes a biennial conference for catalogers who work with – what else? – audiovisual materials. This is the place where people speak MARCese (“In 245 subfield c … “) and everyone knows exactly what they mean.

The 2008 conference will be held September 26-28 at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland Ohio and scholarships are available for first time attendees. The application and supporting materials must be received no later than May 15, 2008. The award will be announced no later than July 30, 2008.

Eligibility:Any personal member of OLAC who has never attended an OLAC Conference is eligible for the OLAC Conference Scholarship.Award Description:The award amount will be determined by the OLAC Board; it will be sufficient to cover reasonable estimated costs for registration, lodging, travel, and meals.Conditions/Requirements: The recipient must confirm in writing that he or she will attend. The recipient must attend the full conference, including the business meeting where the award will be announced, and the recipient must write a brief report for the OLAC Board indicating what he or she gained and found to be most helpful in his or her work.
Applicants must include the completed application form below, current resume, and a cover letter describing why the applicant wishes to attend the Conference, how the receipt/non-receipt of the scholarship will influence his or her ability to attend the conference, and potential applications to his or her present and future job responsibilities.

2008 OLAC CONFERENCE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM(Please enter information and print the form or type/print neatly)

Name: (First MI Last)
Mailing Address:
Daytime telephone:
Email address:
Place of employment:
Position title:
Personal member of Online Audiovisual Catalogers since:
Brief description of job responsibilities/related non-print involvement/experience:

Send the application (printed or electronic) and supporting materials to:Pam Skittino
OLAC Conference Scholarship CommitteeCook Memorial Public Library District413 N. Milwaukee Ave. Libertyville, IL 60048
For further information, please contact Pam Skittino at (847) 362-2352 x157 or

OLAC has great conferences. Every time I’ve attended I’ve learned a lot, met some really interesting people, and visited wonderful places. As part of the conferences’ programs, I’ve toured a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Oak Park, IL as well as the National Geographic Society in Washington DC.

I encourage catalogers to apply for this scholarship. Good luck to all applicants.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Another NETSL Success

On Friday, April 4, the Hogan Campus Center at Holy Cross College was packed as 280 Librarians attended the annual NETSL (New England Technical Services Librarians) conference. This year’s title was Cohabiting and Colliding: Print and Electronic resources.

If you weren’t there, you missed some great presentations and discussions (as well as a good meal). But all is not lost. PowerPoints and handouts are available to see on the NETSL website.

And congratulations to David Miller of the Levin Library at Currey College. David was the recipient of the NETSL Award for Excellence in Technical Services.

Don’t miss the fun next year. The conference will be held on a Friday in April in 2009. We don’t have a specific date yet, but when we do, it will be posted on the website. Information will be updated as we select a title and begin lining up speakers, so visit the site regularly.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get Involved with MLA/TSS

Back in the 1980s when I was a relatively new staff member at the Western Mass Regional Library System, someone asked me if I'd like to run for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Technical Services Section of the Massachusetts Library Association. Saying "Yes" was one of the best moves I ever made professionally, socially, and intellectually.

Now you have an opportunity to meet new friends, develop leadership skills, serve others, and gain increased personal and professional satisfaction. As of July 1, there are two vacant positions on the MLA/TSS Executive Board. One is Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect (one-year term) and the other is Member-at-Large (two-year term).

If you would like to serve in either of these positions please contact Chair Wei Jeng-Chu at or Vice-Chair Cecile Bianco at The slate will be presented and voted on at the TSS Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 8th at the MLA Annual Conference.

There are no extra dues to be a TSS member. Simply check off TSS on your MLA member application or renewal. It could be the best move you've ever made.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

MLA has a lot to offer Technical Services staff

I hope you’re planning to spend some time at the Mass Library Association conference in Falmouth. Dates: May 6-9, 2008. The Technical Services Section has put together a dazzling array of programs.

First, on Tuesday, May 6 and the morning of May 7, there will be a pre-conference devoted entirely to The Future of the ILS (Integrated Library System). Speakers are Marshall Breeding, Director of Innovative Technologies and Research at Vanderbilt University Libraries and Eric Lease Morgan, Head of Digital Access and Information Architecture at University Libraries of Notre Dame. Also speaking will be representatives from new and innovative ILSs like Georgia PINES, Koha, Endeca, VUFind, Scriblio, and WorldCat Local.

The rest of the schedule is just as exciting

Wednesday, May 7th, 1:15pm – 2:30pm. The Emerging Cataloging Future: RDA, DCMI, and the Semantic Web. Speaker: Diane L. Hillmann, Research Librarian, Cornell University Library.

Thursday, May 8th, 9:30am - 10:45am. The Future of Bibliographic Control: Predictions, Pratfalls, Dread or Delight? Speaker: Janet Swan Hill, Professor, Associate Director for Technical Services, University of Colorado Libraries.

Thursday, May 8th, 11:30am - 12:45am. UR Research at the University of Rochester: an Institutional Repository case study. Speaker: Suzanne Bell, Economics/Data Librarian and UR Research Projects Coordinator, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester.

Registrations must be postmarked before April 18, 2008 or you can also register at the Conference.

I'll be there and I hope to see you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Book Review: Cataloging Without Tears

Cataloging without tears: managing knowledge in the information society by Jane M. Read. Oxford, England : Chandos Publishing, 2003. ISBN: 1843340437 (pbk)

There are lots of things I like about this book beyond its intriguing title. I like the chatty, informal tone. It’s a book that constantly reassures readers that cataloging doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, cataloging can be a lot of fun for those “who enjoy intellectual challenges for their own sake.” Even the layout of the book is reassuring and easy to read. There is lots of white space so the book reads fairly quickly.

It contains a lot of good background and good general information including a section on Dublin Core and ONIX. In fact, I had an “aha” moment since I learned the precise place for a piece of information that I was never sure how to include in a Dublin Core record. It was like finding a missing link. There is a very informative comparison and contrast of AACR2/MARC and DC, XML, ONIX.

The book is divided into two parts. All of the above are included in Part I or “The Big Picture”. Part II is called “The Nitty-Gritty” and covers just that – in a way. In discussing the specific parts of a bib records, Ms Read describes the thought process involved when choosing what to include and how. There is a very good chapter on cataloging items in different languages, something I’ve faced many times and, fortunately, survived. Another chapter covers the details of cataloging archives and rare books.

While this book is well worth reading, it has some shortcomings. The first is that the British orientation can sometimes be distracting for U.S. readers. Cataloging Without Tears is definitely not a reference book. One cannot learn much by skimming the book; an entire chapter (or the book) must be read to get any value out of it.

While Ms. Read uses a lot of humor, it is sometimes a little too cute for my taste. There are many cartoon, few of which I thought were funny. Humor can be culture specific, though, so maybe a British reader would react differently.

While Part II is entitled “The Nitty-Gritty”, no actual rules are cited. In talking about dates, Ms Read says “AACR gives rules for determining which date to use.” Examples of bib records do not use the format of Library of Congress Subject Headings which may be confusing for U.S. readers trying to learn how to catalog. Many libraries in central Massachusetts and throughout the state are a part of an automated network such as C/W MARS, yet the book assumes a standalone catalog and never addresses shared catalogs. The book was published in 2003, so is slightly out-of-date. Ms Read states that AACR3 will be published in 2005 or 2006. AACR3 was abandoned a few years ago for RDA which is (optimistically) due to arrive in the spring of 2009.

Don’t be turned off by these few negative comments. Overall, I think this book is well worth the time of a new (or newish) cataloger to gain a lot of insight into the history, background and thought process of cataloging. Even a veteran cataloger like me can – and did – learn a few things.

Monday, March 3, 2008

NETSL Spring Conference – Registration is Open

If you’re not a subscriber to one of the myriad cataloging-related electronic discussion lists (NETSL, Autocat, OLAC, NELINET, etc.) you might not have heard that registration is now open for the Absolutely Very Best conference for Technical Services Librarians.

Every year, usually on a Friday in April, NETSL – New England Technical Services Librarians – organizes a conference so great that it draws over 200 librarians from all over the northeast. The two featured speakers are Janet Swan Hill and Jay Weitz – both well know and well respected names in the cataloging field. In addition, there are 4 breakout sessions scheduled on a variety of topics relating to managing the traditional print resources AND the newer electronic resources.

For more details, visit the NETSL website. You can register with a credit card or by mail. Registrations are pouring in, so act fast.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What! Working in libraries can be stressful?

Even though we work in libraries because we believe in them and want to work there, there are some stressful situations. There is the occasional irate patron and office politics do not happen only in profit making organizations.

There is physical stress, too. For those of us who work at a computer most of the day, carpel tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injury are, unfortunately, too frequent. Just plain sore and stiff muscles are common regardless of the type of job.

Here are two aids – one for each kind of stress.

Managing Stress and Conflict in Libraries by Sheila Pantry has just been added to our professional collection. Request it via the C/W MARS catalog.

StretchWare is a program that you can download to your computer. It reminds you to stretch and gives you some simple exercises, most of which you can do at your desk. You can try it free for 30 days. I’ve been using it a mere 24 hours and so far I am favorably impressed.

Oops! The little Zen bell just rang. Gotta go relieve some stress!

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Books

We’ve added several new books to the RCO (aka Professional ) Collection at CMRLS. Here are the titles that pertain to Technical Services.

Fundamentals of Technical Services Management / Sheila S. Intner, with Peggy Johnson. Chicago : ALA, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8389-0953-9. Call no.: RCO025.02 Intner.

FRBR a Guide for the Perplexed / Robert L. Maxwell. Chicago : ALA, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-8389-0950-8. Call no. RCO 025.3 Maxwell.

Understanding FRBR : What it is and How it will Affect our Retrieval Tools / edited by Arlene G. Taylor. Westport, CT : Libraries Unlimited, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-59158-509-1. Call no.: RCO 025.3 Understanding.

Sheila Intner, Robert Maxwell and Arlene Taylor are all very respected names in the cataloging arena.

All of these titles are in the C/W MARS catalog. To borrow any of them, follow the same procedure that you would for any other item: Locate the title in the CMARS section of the catalog and click on the “Request” button.

We have lots of other titles in our RCO collection. We’ve purchased them for you to borrow. If you discover a useful title that we don’t own, please let us know. We’ll likely order it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Share your history. Be a part of Digital Treasures

Have you explored Digital Treasures? If not, you’re in for a treat.

Click here and then click on “Browse” along the top of the page.
You can do it right now. I’ll wait….

Did you see the image of that great Grout steam automobile for $800? It’s part of the collection at the Wheeler Memorial Library in Orange. Did you see the images of Calvin Coolidge in the Forbes Library’s collection? Or the one of the Great Fire on School Street in Worcester in 1838? The Bancroft Memorial Library in Hopedale has scanned historic, one-of a kind newspapers as well as photographs. In all, 26 libraries are participants in this fantastic resource and you can be, too.

I have received a grant from the Greater Worcester Community Foundation to help libraries in central Massachusetts add their treasured photographs, postcards, pamphlets and other materials to Digital Treasures. Don’t have the time to choose items? Don’t know how to create metadata in Dublin Core? Not to worry. The grant includes a professional librarian that will work with you on those tasks.

Not a member of C/W MARS? Not a problem. The grant includes scanning fees for both members and non-members of C/W MARS.

Don’t delay! Contact me right away to get more information. Contact me right away to begin the process of adding your images to Digital Treasures. Contact me right away at or 508-757-4110 x307.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What’s in store for DDC

The Decimal Classification Editorial Policy Committee (EPC) is a ten-member international advisory board for the Dewey Decimal Classification system. The EPC held its most recent meeting (called Meeting 128) on November 13 and 14, 2007 at the Library of Congress.

EPC is the group that revises DDC and at this meeting they approved a complete overhaul of the treatment of groups of people, a project that has been under discussion since fall 2005. EPC also approved changes in 004-006 (Computer science); 010-090 (Information and general works); 100 (Philosophy, parapsychology and occultism, psychology); 320 (Political science); 380 (Commerce, communications, transportation); 390 (Customs and etiquette, except folklore); 520-550 (Astronomy, physics, chemistry, earth sciences); 610 (Medicine and health); 630 (Agriculture and related technologies); 780 (Music); 790 (Recreational and performing arts); 800 (Literature and rhetoric).

Also planned are changes in topics such as philosophical counseling; alternative therapies; volleyball; abortion; cytology and histology; and wine.

How did I find all of this out? I subscribe to the online newsletter LC CATALOGING NEWSLINE. It’s published irregularly by the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate, Library Services, Library of Congress, and contains news of cataloging activities throughout the Library of Congress.

LC CATALOGING NEWSLINE is available in electronic form only and is free of charge. To subscribe, send a mail message to listserv with the text: subscribe lccn [firstname lastname]. Back issues of LCCN are available through the LCCN home page at

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cataloging Again

Because of a shifting of responsibilities at CMRLS, I’m now copy cataloging again. Since CMRLS doesn’t have a very large collection, there’s not a lot to catalog, but we do have a very good professional collection used by lots of librarians.

Much of what we purchase is already in the C/W MARS catalog. If it isn’t in C/W MARS, it’s likely in OCLC just waiting for me to export to C/W MARS. The work isn’t difficult, but it’s nice to look at MARC records. I’m also learning the intricacies of MillCat (from Innovative Interfaces, Inc.) and the myriad ways one can produce spine labels. Maybe someday there will be an Integrated Library System (ILS) that allows easy printing of spine labels. I haven’t seen one yet. There are many ways, none of them easy.

We did recently purchase a book with an accompanying CD for which I found no copy in OCLC. I’ll search it again next week, but if there is still no bibliographic record, I’ll have to create one. I haven’t created an original record in over two years, and I hope I’m not too rusty. In the days when I cataloged every day, all day, I could whip out bib records pretty quickly complete with subject headings and classification numbers in both LC and Dewey. Now, I expect I’ll be a little slower, but I’m glad for the practice. I’ve been feeling as if I’m growing further and further away from knowing how to catalog all of the new media being developed. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

(Almost) last chance to apply for NETSL scholarship

For NETSL members:

The deadline to apply to NELLS (New England Library Leadership Symposium) is drawing near. The NETSL Executive Board wants to encourage Technical Services Librarians to become Library Leaders by offering a scholarship of $250 to attend NELLS.

NELLS is a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and connect with other "up and coming" library leaders from throughout New England. These connections will be invaluable for your entire career.

More information about NELLS and an application form are available at If you are a NETSL member and want to take advantage of the scholarship, add a note to your application form stating such.

The last date to apply for both NELLS and the NETSL scholarship is January 28, 2008, so GET GOING!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Get in (Technical Services) Shape

CMRLS has just release the Spring Continuing Education Catalog. As usual, there is a great selection of programs for all library staff regardless of area of responsibility.

There’s a plethora of workshops for Technical Services devotees, so mark your calendars and plan to attend at least some of these events. I’ve described the ones for January and February. Watch this space for more information on workshops to be held in March, April and May.

Wednesday, January 30 (snow date February 1) at the Auburn Public Library, I’ll be teaching a workshop on Dewey Decimal Classification. Even though most bibliographic records include a DDC to use, some don’t. Sometimes the supplied number just doesn’t fit well with the rest of the items in a library’s collection. Sometime the number is wrong; I’ve found many a transposed DDC in my years of copy cataloging.

This workshop includes lots of hands on practice and practical advice for applying Dewey. We’ll see how numbers are built and learn how to shorten long numbers. And don’t forget all the opportunity for sharing tips and techniques with other Technical Services staff. Bring a recent edition (20th or 21st unabridged; 13th or 14th abridged) of DDC and items that need classifying. Please note that this workshop begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 26 (snow date February 28) at the Paxton Public Library, I’m presenting a brand-new workshop on Authority Files. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make a bibliographic record useful and an Authority File is one of those things.

Several years ago, I worked on a Name Authority Project and found it fascinating. I have a lot of respect for the librarians who have researched the forms of personal and corporate names. There’s a lot of information to be gleaned from an Authority Record, but it can take a little practice to learn to read it. So take this tour with me. It begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs till noon.

You can see a list of upcoming workshops on the right hand side of the CMRLS home page. Click on the title of the workshop to be taken to a description and the opportunity to register. Want to register for something that’s not yet listed? Click on Continuing Education Classes at the top of the list for the complete schedule.

I hope to see many of you at one or more of these programs. Do they still say "be there or be square"?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Tech. Services Titles

CMRLS has something called an RCO collection. It’s a term left over from pre-incorporation days when CMRLS was a department within the Worcester Public Library and stands for Regional Consultants Office.

The RCO collection consists primarily of books (and some audiovisual materials) of use to library staff. The items include such topics as library management, supervising staff, writing grants, planning, social networking, storytelling, collection development and lots of other important topics.

Just like in your libraries, new books are arriving all the time. To see if CMRLS owns a book on a particular subject or has a specific title, search the C/W MARS catalog under Central Mass. Libraries. You can use the drop-down menu to select only CMRLS.

Three new Technical Services titles that just arrived are

Cataloging and Classification: An Introduction by Lois Mai Chan – 3rd. ed.

Maxwell’s Guide to Authority Work by Robert L. Maxwell.

Learn Library of Congress Classification by Helena Dittmann

There are lots of up-to-date Tech. Services books in the collection. Need to learn more about MARC? Dewey Decimal Classification? Metadata? We’ve got it! And coming soon: two books about FRBR.