The Fine Art of Tweaking not Twerking Your Catalog

I don’t know about you, but I find it very frustrating when we run reports on books that are not circulating in our collection. Somehow, certain items never make the report but are always on the shelf. My “OCD” or “CDO” as I like to call it at times, sent me on a seek and find mission in our catalog. Oh what a fun challenge that was!

I wasn’t even sure where to begin. There are many reasons why our catalogs can become a real challenge. First of all, changing from the Galaxy system to the Polaris system caused issues because we were going from old school technology to new and improved online cataloging, which was a huge upgrade. Secondly, throughout the years there have been a few different catalogers working on records which can be like having too many cooks in the kitchen. In our defense, we are always striving to meet the needs of our patrons and staff. Sometimes that includes making new call numbers to satisfy new areas of interest or displays we are using.  Another issue occurs when people make changes to call numbers without going back and updating old ones. Without unification across the board, it causes confusion when running reports. I would like to share a couple of the things I am working on to update our catalog and make it more patron- as well as work-friendly.

The first thing I did was to check what call numbers were being used and do a lot of item bulk changes as well as adjusting bibliographic records to match each other. For example, we had holiday books two ways (E HOL FIC and E FIC HOL). These differences can make such a difference when running reports.

Sometimes that space bar can be a tricky little devil! If you bump it one time too many ….oh no! There’s an extra space added to the call number. I found this extra space will also throw off the reports.

Remember our job as catalogers not only entails entering the items, it also includes keeping the catalog current and easily accessible for our patrons! So I would like to challenge you to put on your headphones, twerk to some good jams, and tweak your catalog! See if you can find a way to improve your catalog!

-Kristi White, CPLS

Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

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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.

http://olc.org/blog/event/technical-services-retreat/

— 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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