ALCTS Annual Report, 1998–99

Sheila S. Intner, President


The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) is responsible for activities that include acquisitions, identification, cataloging, classification, and preservation of library materials; the development and coordination of the country's library resources; and those areas of selection and evaluation involved in the acquisition of library materials and pertinent to the development of library resources. ALCTS serves its constituency through continuous study and review of the areas of activity assigned to the division; conducting projects within these areas; monitoring units within ALA whose activities bear on ALCTS' areas of activity; representing and interpreting its areas of responsibility to those outside the profession; stimulating the development of librarians engaged in relevant areas of activity; and planning and developing programs of study and research for relevant areas of activity. ALCTS accomplishes this agenda through volunteer service by members, assisted by executive director Karen Muller and an expert staff.

Goals and Achievements

At the time I took office, my personal goals focused on clarifying how librarians working in the areas of activity for which ALCTS is responsible serve the public, raising the visibility of ALCTS within the American Library Association (ALA), and drawing attention to the value of our work among the public at large. Toward this end, I have worked with member-colleagues and ALCTS staff to sieze every opportunity to participate in the larger arena of ALA and beyond. These efforts are outlined below.

Promoting Library & Information Science in Our Area of the Field: Leadership and Visibility

ALCTS commitment to intellectual freedom is substantial, translated daily in practical terms in the work of ALCTS members responsible for the collection managment and development, the acquisition of monographs and serials, their organization through cataloging and classification, and their maintenance and preservation. In honor of the Intellectual Freedom Office's 30th anniversary this year, ALCTS took a full-page advertisement in the souvenir journal celebrating that landmark. The advertisement displayed a series of relevant quotations on the theme of intellectual freedom and technical services.

The ALCTS board of directors endorsed "Libraries: An American Value," affirming the division's solidarity with its sister divisions and parent organization.

In keeping with our commitment to diversity, the ALCTS executive director and president each have contacted every Spectrum Scholar who identified any of the areas of technical services as within their interest areas. Several responded and expressed a desire to work with us. We want to involve them directly in the division's committees and help them develop their full potential for leadership.

Responding to questions on the Council discussion list from councillors wanting to help international colleagues respond to disasters, ALCTS created a "Disaster-Preparedness Claringhouse" website at The clearinghouse is a selective resource on library disasters of all kinds and orders of magnitude. It contains links to disaster preparedness and response sites of agencies whose primary role is emergency response and conservation, information on available education for preservation and conservation, and a bibliography of relevant materials. The site was mounted by ALCTS staff within days of the initial call for help.

In keeping with its commitment to global participation and leadership, ALCTS funded thirteen members to represent ALCTS and ALA at meetings of the International Federation of Library Associations and Organizations (IFLA), as well as other international professional activities.

In 1998, the Association of American Publishers (AAP)-ALCTS Joint Committee, led by Robert Holley (ALCTS) and Rebecca Seger (AAP), completed its periodic survey of how libraries purchase materials, conducted at ten-year intervals. The results will be reported in a day-long program at annual conference in New Orleans; the findings will be used to improve the functioning of library collecting and publishing operations.

Managing the Association

Achieve Financial Stability. Final review of the 1997-98 ALCTS budget, which closed in August, 1998, showed ALCTS is back on a solid financial footing with the largest net revenue in more than a decade (since 1985-86). This strong showing could not have been achieved without the careful stewardship of the budget committee and the efforts of many to increase membership, conduct events, and solicit support from many sources.

Provide High-quality Services to Members through the ALCTS Office. ALCTS has been short-staffed all year, having lost deputy executive director Karen Whittlesey on July 10, 1998, and administrative assistant Loretta Reed on December 11, 1998. Both left for positions that advanced their careers. Suzanne Koceyan filled in on an interim basis from December 1, 1998 to May 21, 1999, and Tanga Morris started just before the Midwinter Meeting, and continues to serve both ALCTS and our companion division, LAMA, in the position of administrative assistant.

Executive director Karen Muller took this opportunity to reconfigure the ALCTS Office's administrative organization, in consultation with the executive board, to provide for more effective management of programs and events in the field—the membership's most important activities. Thus, ALCTS has just hired Linda Damitz to fill the newly created position of ALCTS/LAMA Events Manager. Damitz has extensive experience, most recently in the Convention and Meeting Services Department of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. She starts on June 2, 1999. The search for a new deputy executive director, to be shared with LAMA, has a fine pool of candidates.

Despite the changes and the loss to LAMA of Elizabeth Dreazen, its deputy executive director, who became director of the newly established ALA Office of Governance on March 1, 1999, and the loss to division staff of many hours of attention of executive director Karen Muller, who led the training for ALA's implementation of a new automated management system, no visible slowdown was evident in delivery of services to members. Given the high level of activity, this was a major feat.

Membership and Organizational Issues

The ALCTS membership stands at 5,072.

In the last year, name changes for two division committees were approved that reflect their areas of involvement better: the Audiovisual Committee is now called the Media Resources Committee, and the Digital Resources Committee is now called the Networked Resources & Metadata Committee. These name changes are not merely cosmetic, but illustrate the evolution of the areas of concern within ALCTS and the greater complexity of technical services in general. Two new committees, the Electronic Communications Committee and the Fundraising Committee, were brought up to full strength and began work during the year.

The Bylaws & Organization Committee continued their ongoing review of our organizational units. The Committee also is examining the way divisional committee assignments, which now number as many as 200 each year, are made. The goal of their study is to insure broad and appropriate member representation without rigid interlocking assignments that stymie effective appointment of divisional and section committees.

Educational Programs & Professional Development

ALCTS went to many parts of the nation with programs for professional development and continuing education, jointly sponsored with peer organizations. More than 500 librarians participated. One planned "Cataloging Now!" Institute, cosponsored by the Southeastern Library Information Network (SOLINET) and scheduled for October 23, 1998, was canceled due to low registration, possibly because those interested were able to attend other presentations. Successful programs were presented as follows:

  • "Cataloging Now!", co-sponsored by the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and the American Association of Law Librarians, in Anaheim, California, on July 10 1998. (40 registrants)
  • "Cataloging Now!", co-sponsored by the PCC and the New England Library Information Network (NELINET), presented in Worcester, Massachusetts, on September 18, 1998. (110 registrants)
  • "Cataloging Now!", co-sponsored by the PCC and the AMIGOS library network, presented in Dallas, Texas, on October 22, 1998. (74 registrants)
  • "Cataloging Now!", co-sponsored by the PCC, SUNY/OCLC Network (now Nylink), and the Queens Borough Public Library, presented on April 19, 1999, in Jamaica, New York. (50 registrants)
  • "New Directions in Library Binding Institute," one and one-half days, chaired by Kay Walter and Julie Page, presented in Los Angeles, California, March 11-13, 1999. (69 registrants)
  • "Collection Management and Development Institute," two and one-half days, planning committee chaired by Julia Gelfand, presented at the Kellogg West Conference Center in Pomona, California, March 25-27, 1999. (115 registrants)
  • "Blazing the Trail: Electronic Serials from Acquisition to Access," third in a series of one and one-half day institutes, chaired by Christa Easton and Beth Weston, presented in Portland, Oregon, April 16-17, 1999. (67 registrants)

In addition to these offerings, two preconferences are planned for the New Orleans Annual Conference:

  • The Business of Acquisitions
  • Bringing e-Monographs into the Digital Library

Research & Publication

Library Resources & Technical Services, the scholarly journal of the division, was restored to a timely schedule. The last paper issue of the ALCTS Newsletter was mailed in fall 1998, and, on December 10, 1998, it began its existence as a Web-based e-newsletter, right on schedule. The third number is to be posted soon.

In addition, the following monographs have been issued or their manuscripts prepared for publication during the year:

  • What In the World? edited by Daniel W. Kinney, based on the 1998 preconference covering international issues in cataloging, was submitted to ALA Editions and is in press.
  • Standardized Handling of Digital Resources: An Annotated Bibliography, prepared by a subcommittee of the Networked Resources & Metadata Committee, is available in paper or via at
  • Book and Serials Vendors for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, edited by Barbara Hall, is available in paper or at
  • Virtually Yours, edited by Peggy Johnson and Bonnie MacEwan, the proceedings of the 1997 Joint Institute with the Reference and Adult Services Division, has been published by ALA Editions, just 14 months after the event.

Awards: Recognizing Outstanding Colleagues

The following colleagues have been honored for their special contributions to professional practice, to our body of professional knowledge, and innovation in the field:

  • Best of LRTS Award: Lois Mai Chan and Diane Vizine-Goetz, for their article "Toward a Computer-Generated Subject Validation File: Feasability and Usefulness," published in the January issue of Library Resources & Technical Services, scholarly journal of the division.
  • Blackwell's Scholarship Award: Ross Atkinson, Deputy University Librarian, Olin Library, Cornell University, for his article "Managing Traditional Materials in an Online Environment: Some Definitions and Distinctions for a Future Collection Management," published in the January issue of Library Resources & Technical Services.
  • Bowker/Ulrich's Serials Librarianship Award: Regina Romano Reynolds, for her leadership as head, National Serials Data Program, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
  • Esther J. Piercy Award: Stephen Chapman, for his innovative work as Preservation Librarian for Digital Initiatives, Harvard University Libraries Preservation Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • First Step Award-Wiley Professional Development Grant: Charity K. Stokes, Assistant Professor, Serials Department, University Libraries, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Leadership in Library Acquisitions Award: Carol Pitts Diedrichs, Assistant Director of Technical Services, University Libraries, Ohio State University, Columbus.
  • Margaret Mann Citation Award: Nancy B. Olson, Professor, University Library, Mankato State University, Mankato, Minnesota.

Honorees and representatives of organizations supporting the awards will be recognized at ceremonies on June 28, 1999, during Annual Conference in New Orleans.

President's Program: Culmination of the Year's Work

The 1999 ALCTS President's Program at the New Orleans annual conference will take place on Monday, June 28, 1999, and is titled "Collections, Access and Preservation in Our Digital Future." Ann J. Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Head and Chairman of the Board of MIT Press, will moderate a panel of experts examining how technical services may function in an electronic world. Issues they will cover include the purchase and lending of electronic resources; the book as a metaphor for the electronic book; legal implications of electronic access including copyright, fair use, and licensing; and libraries working together to gain access to electronic resources. Pat Schroeder, former Congresswoman and current President and Executive Director of the Association of American Publishers will address electronic resources and publishing. Richard Hoskins, Partner in the Intellectual Property Group of Schiff Hardin & Waite, a Chicago law firm, will explain the legal implications of the digital future. Kate Nevins, Executive Director, Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), will address issues in networking and the impact of technical capacities likely in the digital future. Patricia G. Oyler served as Chair of the 1999 Program Planning Committee.