Put on your “thinking cap” for the Technical Services retreat

Librarianship is all about providing access to information. Getting caught up in the day-to-day tasks of Technical Services, it can be easy to lose track of that “bigger picture” concept.

So I’m excited that this year’s OLC Technical Services retreat (March 28-29, 2018 at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio) delves not only into topics related to our daily duties, but some philosophical concepts that impact our work on a deeper level. In addition to presentations on project management, acquisitions modules, vendor relationships, the NACO authority portal and cataloging realia, there are sessions on the ethical implications of decisions made in Technical Services, generational learning styles, and the important technical services/public services relationship.

Several sessions are also slanted toward special and local heritage collections–materials unique to their individual libraries. Programs explore creating and maintaining such collections, circulating those materials, and discuss digital forms of access via the Ohio Digital Network and the Ohio Memory Project. Opening keynote speaker Eboni Johnson will speak about her work as a field archivist in the Africatown area of Mobile, Alabama, empowering that community to tell its own story for future generations.

Terry Reese will close the programming with his presentation “Making the Choice to Be Relevant: Open Systems, Open Communications” about our reluctance to adopt the open source materials we often promote to our patrons and the consequences of that attitude.

The theme of the 2018 retreat is “Wearing Many Hats” but it’s also about exploring new perspectives about our daily routines. It promises to be a fun and informative few days and we hope you’ll join us.


— Barbara Satow


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RDA, LRM, and Agents in Wonderland

Illustration by John Tenniel

RDA Toolkit, the paid online portal to the Resource Description & Access standard, is undergoing its first major redesign and enhancement since the website debuted in 2010.  The RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign (3R) Project was first announced in October 2016, with rollout of the revamped site originally slated for April 2018.  But as can happen, “unexpected obstacles” have pushed the target date back to June 13, 2018, at the time of this post.

Beyond retooling the look and feel of the site, the 3R project is also expected to incorporate elements of IFLA’s Library Reference Model (LRM) into RDA standards.  One proposed LRM change gleefully anticipated by catalogers at my public library concerns the treatment of fictional characters.  Since 2013, RDA has permitted the names of fictitious and legendary characters to be used as “creator” access points in bibliographic records, a practice patently discouraged under AACR2 “main entry” guidelines.  In addition, under current RDA guidelines new and existing fictitious characters are established (or can be converted) in the name authority file in the same manner as real persons, using MARC 100 field rather than 150 with no special qualifier, to facilitate use of their names as descriptive access points.

While a welcome change in certain cases—think Geronimo Stilton—this has also resulted in lots of inconsistent copy cataloging and massive amounts of bibliographic and authority file maintenance to change entries.  One recent, dubious example was a change to author tracings for the popular “Dear Dumb Diary” series:

100  Benton, Jim [real guy]
650  Kelly, Jamie (Fictitious character)

was changed to:

100  Kelly, Jamie
700  Benton, Jim [despite the fact that Benton is still named prominently in the works]

In a nutshell, our best understanding in LRM-speak is that, come 2018, only “agents” may be authorized as creators, and only real human beings/persons can be agents.  (This relates to concepts such as “nomen,” “res,” and other Latin terms I swear we were trying to stop using…. )  There’s also speculation that authority records modified under RDA may need to be updated yet again, to ensure that a fictitious character is clearly identified as such somewhere in the authority record if they’re not a real human being.  Job security!

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to look forward to unwrapping the shiny new RDA Toolkit promised in 2018, and trying to figure out whether Bain or Fletcher really authored the “Murder, She Wrote” books.  Happy solstice!

– Michael Christian-Budd

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It’s Finally Fall and I’m Thinking Spring

The pumpkins are on our doorsteps, the kids are shuffling through the leaves to get to school, and here I am thinking about springtime.
Not for the reasons you’d think though.
Every other year OLC’s Technical Services Division offers a 2 day retreat filled with great food, exceptional keynote speakers, cutting edge programs, and lots of networking opportunities and March of 2018 is shaping up to be a stellar year.
The theme is centered around all the different hats we wear in Tech Services, and our focus will be on ethics, diversity, adaptability and resourcefulness in today’s library culture. Digitization, special collections maintenance, vendor relationships, project management, and productivity tools are just a few of the many offerings you’ll be seeing at the retreat.

So, now you know why I am so excited to be thinking spring while the pumpkin on my stoop is still (reasonably) intact.

There’s much more info to come on the OLC’s Tech Services Retreat, so stay tuned, but there’s nothing wrong with a little “forward thinking” right now.

Happy Spring!

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Speak Up, Speak Out!

purpose-open-door-policy_b8f0dbef670b2e6dIt may seem like we’re trying hard to encourage readers of this blog to “get involved”—and that’s exactly right. The Ohio Library Council depends on its members to bring their best ideas and skills forward, in order to help prepare and present the OLC’s nationally recognized programming content.  And that’s where you come in.

OLC educational opportunities to present come in many forms:

Convention and Expo – the premier annual event, covering the “big picture” in library issues across the state and around the world. Breakouts sessions range from one-hour programs and panel discussions to “un-programs,” rapid-fire LIBChats, and graphical poster sessions illustrating a concept.

Specialized Conferences – more subject-specific educational programming developed by Committees and Divisions and presented at locations throughout the state. These events may be targeted at different regional or size/service-based library groups; it’s a relatively new format, so think creatively.

Workshops & Retreats – including the 2018 OLC Technical Services Retreat. Focused in scope and targeted to specialty groups within the library, these events can include peer-to-peer training by recognized experts in a particular field.  We’ll be looking for your TS Retreat program submissions this summer!

Webinars – sixty- to ninety-minute, focused online presentations dealing with a single topic, such as RDA, patron-driven acquisitions, managing digital collections, and so on. Save funds and reach more participants with your knowledge.

Do you have experience to share? Do you want to connect with your peers and advance your skills in technical services?  We know you do, and OLC programming is the best way to do so in Ohio libraries!  Feel free to contact a TS Division Action Council member to learn how to get started.

— Michael Christian-Budd

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Becoming More Engaged

Around the beginning of each year, we start thinking about resolutions and create a to do list that we will hopefully complete within the next 300+ days.  A few years ago, before I was on the Technical Services Action Council, “Become more involved with the Ohio Library Council” made my list.  At that time I reached out to the names I could find associated with the Technical Services Division.  I did not immediately become a member on the Action Council, but I was provided recommendations of how I could increase my involvement.

With the recommendations provided, I have been able to find more ways to be involved which has included having the honor to serve on the actual Action Council.  And now, as a current Action Council member, I see that there are others reaching out in hopes to become more involved and to help the larger library community.  Instead of limiting our responses back to just the individuals that have contacted the Action Council directly, we have decided to extend a response out to everyone via our blog.  Hopefully this will help others with this yearning to find ways to become more engaged.

So… how can you become more involved with the Ohio Library Council, Technical Services Division?  How can you help other librarians?  Well, let me count the ways…

  1. Contribute to the Technical Services Blog (aka, this blog)!

You do not need to have been a journalism major or have groundbreaking ideas.  This blog is to foster communication and sharing of professional observations, lessons, and research.  It actually helps the Action Council better serve members by knowing what the members want to talk about.  Contributing to the blog is probably one of the easiest ways to be involved.  Share something your library is doing; a resource that you have found useful; or an article you read and what you think about it or why you think others might benefit from reading it.

If you are intimidated by writing a full post, you can still contribute by commenting or asking questions on posts made by others.  This can help engage others by breaking the ice.  Others may be waiting for someone else to begin the conversation.  Additionally, comments and questions are another way to spawn future posts because it helps to identify topics that are relevant and immediately impacting our membership.

  1. Attend an OLC conference/convention/retreat/training.

By attending conferences you get to meet other librarians and staff from all areas in library service.  You get to contribute with other OLC members and the larger professional community of librarians; engage in conversations; provide feedback in the surveys; and recharge your professional batteries.

  1. Present at an OLC conference/convention/retreat/training.

This might be a little out of your comfort zone, but do not think you are the first person that has questioned their ability to get up there or are unsure if their ideas are “good enough” to present.  There is a range of ways to present.  You do not have to do it alone nor do you have to be up in the front talking for 60 minutes about a single topic.  One of our upcoming blog posts will outline different types of presentations.

In contrast to those that are nervous to be in front of people, you may be a person that is willing to get up there, but you do not have a topic or know how to get started.  For starters, if you are reading this blog, then you are likely involved in TechServices one way or another.  We are a division organized to provide opportunities to help each other.  I am positive there is another individual within this division or another division that would be interested in pairing up to provide multiple perspectives on a topic.

  1. Run for a seat on the Action Council.

As an Action Council member you get to help develop programs and events, inform division members about trends in TechServices, and keep membership engaged.  If this is heightens your senses and what has been described is in line with your passions, just make your interest known!  You do not need to put out press statements or participate in debates to run for a seat on the Action Council.  To communicate your interest, you can fill out the Get Involved! Membership Participation form on the OLC Website, or you can contact one of the active Action Council members directly.  You can find the list of active Action Council members and their contact information on the Technical Services Division page.

I hope some of you feel inspired to make the next step towards fulfilling your goal.  If something listed sounds interesting to you or you have an idea for another way you can contribute, please contact one of us!  We are friendly and eager to help the library community.  That is one of the many reasons each of us have chosen to be a part of this Action Council.  You can find the list of current Action Council members by visiting the Technical Services Division page.  We hope to hear from you soon!

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