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