Annual Conference Reports

Volunteer Reporters Cover ALCTS Continuing Education Events in Anaheim

ALCTS members who attended the ALA Annual Conference 2008 in Anaheim provided these summary reports. We thank the volunteers who covered a program or preconference sponsored by ALCTS or one of its units. Their efforts enable the rest of us to benefit from their presentations. We regret that volunteers were not available to report on all the preconferences and programs.




Electronic Serials Cataloging (SCCTP)

Tyler Rogers, San Diego State University

Since serials have long led the way to the electronic form, “Electronic Serials Cataloging,” taught by Margaret Mering of the University of Nebraska, was a valuable experience for all in attendance. Mering demonstrated the rules of both the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2nd edition (AACR2), and the Cooperative Online Serials (CONSER), reminding the attendees that the second is a “floor, not a ceiling,” which is something that can both simplify and complicate matters for newer catalogers (like your reporter).

The preconference was divided into six sections, each dealing with separate issues surrounding this type of cataloging:

1. Introduction. In the first section of the course, Mering and the attendees explored the definition of a serial as opposed to an integrating resource. Serials are publications with no set ending dates and discrete parts, while integrating resources are constantly being revised (such as loose-leaf publications). One attendee asked if the New York Times Online is considered to be a serial. The attendees came to the agreement that it is an integrating resource because the updates to the website do not remain discrete.

2. Cataloging an Online Serial. This section provided instruction on the fields required for electronic serials and an explanation of each field. Since there has been so much evolution in how libraries catalog online content, it was helpful to listen to the history of online serials records. Catalogers have to deal with myriad issues surrounding the storage and access of this content.

3. Aggregators and Packages. Formerly, catalogers would sometimes use different records for each aggregator, but now most electronic records are aggregator neutral (meaning the aggregator data is stored someplace outside the bibliographic record). Mering taught that there are two kinds of aggregators: those which are stable, well-maintained, and browsable (such as Project Muse and JSTOR) and the “tutti frutti surprise” (think LexisNexis and ProQuest). It is important to understand these differences since a cataloger could otherwise steer users toward what really is an integrating resource rather than a true serial.

4. Online Versions. This section covered the issues surrounding the need to distinguish between the online version and the print counterpart. While it is possible to store data on the electronic version in the print bibliographic record, libraries will usually use separate (usually cloned) records for the electronic versions.

5. Resource Changes that Affect Cataloging. Many in attendance at this preconference shared experiences with Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) that did not work in the library catalog. During this section, there was great discussion about the need for more catalogers and more appreciation for their work. Mering covered Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs), and stressed PURLs need to be maintained by a corporate body and are not automatic solutions to constant URL changes. Other common changes include format and title changes.

6. Case Studies. The final section dealt with the thorniest issues in e-serials cataloging. What if a publication is included on a webpage among many other publications? What about online supplements? How do we account for different titles on the same page?

The session concluded with a thought-provoking discussion about the changing world of cataloging. Many in attendance noted how user needs and expectations have evolved over time (most users know a hyperlink when they see one, so there is no need to include many “click here for…” type of notes).

Electronic Serials 101: What I Wished I’d Known Before I Got in Over My Head

Tyler Rogers, San Diego State University

In his opening remarks and keynote address, Dan Tonkery, Vice President of Business Development at EBSCO, used the classic spaghetti western “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” to represent three types of trends in the world of serials.

First, Tonkery suggested that the audience take a look at how serials are viewed from the user’s perspective and consider how much easier access has become over time (the Good). Next, he noted events that resulted from the shift from print to online that have had undesirable effects on the community as a whole. These include: pricing models that do not work for libraries, Electronic Resource Management systems (ERMs) that are too complex, and licenses that take too much time to negotiate (the Bad).

Finally, Tonkery mentioned the just plain Ugly aspects of the world of electronic serials today. Access and management requires more work than print subscriptions (which many administrators do not understand), sudden and unexpected loss of access has become endemic to e-serials, and publishers platforms are always changing (and not always for the better).

Robert Boissy, Director of Network Sales at Springer Publishing, prescribed “A Publisher’s Twelve Step Program for Electronic Serials.” Each step involved utilizing more metadata and collaboration. Boissy’s perspective was especially illuminating since he has extensive experience with the electronic environment and has been at the forefront many important developments in metadata. It was interesting to hear that while some librarians may find marketing and legal costs excessive, publishers find that authors expect those services and are thus unable to do without them.

Tina Feick, Director of Sales and Marketing for Harrassowitz, used the analogy of space exploration to speak on behalf of all subscription agents with her presentation “Lost in E-Space.” According to Feick, subscription agents have become vital operators in the gathering and organization of information from all the different publisher packages and license agreements (she mentioned one she had seen with 1,000 different prices).

Finally, not to be outdone by Boissy, Jill Emory, President of the North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG), presented “The Librarian’s Twelve-Step Program for Electronic Serials.” According to Emory, one of the most important roles of the librarian in the electronic environment is to serve as an information conduit. Librarians need to communicate and record all the information they receive from vendors and publishers, and be very careful about how they organize their time.

There is a scene in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” where the character Tuco (the Ugly) says to Blondie (the Good), “There are two kinds of spurs my friend, those that come in by the door and those that come in by the window.” The message your reporter took home from this conference is that publishers, vendors and librarians alike must find more ways to be the second kind of spur so they may help each other better in this complicated and exciting environment.


Cataloging and Classification Section Forum: Authority Control

Kristen Blake, Library Fellow, North Carolina State University

Authority control was the topic at hand as CCS Forum panelists described a number of projects designed to extend authority files across international lines.

Barbara Tillett of the Library of Congress described the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF), a collaborative effort between the Library of Congress, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and OCLC to virtually unite three authority files in a single service with a common search interface. The authority files currently included are those of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, the Library of Congress, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Tillett said the collaborators soon hope to include geographic names, to extend the project across all authority files, and to share VIAF data with services like WorldCat Identities.

OCLC’s Robert Bremer presented an update to the decision, effective July 13, 2008, to allow the addition of non-Latin script data to the reference fields in Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) authority records. He addressed changes to OCLC’s Connexion client to accommodate the non-Latin references and described the process by which OCLC will prepopulate existing authority records with non-Latin references harvested from WorldCat bibliographic records.

Diana Brooking of the University of Washington provided additional context for the non-Latin headings project by examining the effect of the decision on local systems. She described display problems that may result from non-Latin references existing simultaneously in bibliographic records and authority records. More broadly, Brooking introduced the issue of systems, such as WorldCat Local, that do not take advantage of authority work.

Finally, Celine Chung of Hong Kong City University and Maria Lau of the Chinese University of Hong Kong shared information about the Hong Kong Chinese Authority (Name) Workgroup (HKCAN), which has established a union database of authority records. The project represents a desire by the Chinese bilingual community to supplement the Library of Congress Name Authority File with references using Chinese characters. The HKCAN database is supported in the seven member libraries’ catalogs using a 7xx redirection function developed in conjunction with Innovative Interfaces, Inc.

A limited amount of time was available for audience questions and the issues that arose centered around redefining cataloging practices to accommodate the anticipated drop in need for 880 non-Latin cross references in bibliographic records.

Creating the Future of the Catalog and Cataloging

Iris Wolley, Columbia University

Robert Wolven, Associate University Librarian for Bibliographic Services and Collection Development at Columbia University Libraries, served as the program moderator.

The panelists and presentation titles follow:

  • Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer for OCLC Programs and Research. “Library Catalogs at the Network Level”
  • Jennifer Bowen, Head of Cataloging, University of Rochester, NY. “eXtensible Cataloging: Opportunities Presented by the eXtensible Catalog (XC) Project”
  • Martha Yee, Cataloging Supervisor, UCLA Film & Television Archive. “What I Have Found Out From an Attempt to Build an RDF Model of FRBR-ized Cataloging Rules”
  • Tim Spalding, founder of LibraryThing in 2005. “UGC: The Next Sharp Stick?”
  • Diane Hillmann, Director of Metadata Initiatives at the Information Institute of Syracuse, NY. “A Has-Been Cataloger Looks at What Cataloging Will Be”

This four-hour program was attended by a standing room only audience. In his introduction, moderator Robert Wolven provided panelists and attendees with two views: “Get rid of the catalog” and “The catalog is the last bastion of intellect.” The presentations addressed both the views and the program scope with very diverse information. However, running under the text of all were some similar themes: catalogs designed around user needs; useful metadata standards; and shareable metadata. The floor was opened several times during the program so panelists could respond to each other’s presentations and so the audience could ask questions of the panelists.

Roy Tennant spoke to the need for libraries to do an about face and build services around user workflows rather than to continue to build workflows around the needs of libraries. He explained how, at a network level, concentration of enhanced library data is held in a union catalog. WorldCat is as an example of a union catalog that could contain content that is shared, made better and redirect users to other information outside the catalog. And at the Web-scale level, diffusion allows syndication of data to be present in places other than libraries or library catalogs—Google is as an example. These two concepts can allow for end users to find library holdings and content no matter from where they search.

In addition to being the Head of Cataloging at the University of Rochester, Jennifer Bowen is the software development project leader for the eXtensible Catalog (XC) project. Her presentation provided an overview of XC, which she described as a set of open source tools which catalogers and libraries can use to design local workflows and content that can then be shared at the larger network level. The work of integrating library content into various Web environments, the sharing of metadata and software, and the new role of libraries are enabled by use of the XC along with network level applications. And, as with other presentations at this program, user needs were the focus for providing library data. New roles for cataloger and cataloging were discussed as well as how library content can be shaped for use at the network level.

Martha Yee took the audience into a more theoretical world as she described her work toward a resource description framework (RDF). She said to think of the Web as a “shared database” rather than a “shared document store.” Yee gave definitions for RDF, the semantic Web, Web Ontology Language (OWL), and Simple Knowledge Organisation Systems (SKOS). However, the presentation focused not so much on understanding the definitions as it did about understanding the “experiment,” and its attendant problems. Yee wondered if libraries can continue to use a high level of granularity for discovery of information. It is labor intensive and expensive to apply. In addition, RDF could not accommodate the hierarchical relationships of our current bibliographic data and the complexity of this standard could make it less likely to be interoperable. One of her remarks was that she does not expect anyone to use this model. It is intended to be an exercise in order to understand what we need, what we can use, and who might do the work.

LibraryThing (LT) is a social network started by Tim Spalding in 2005. He stressed that the idea of user-generated content (UGC) is one whose time has come. He understands and appreciates the data that catalog librarians provide, but told us that there are many competitors that do not necessarily think about the value of that data or the processes that create it. He shared his ladder of cataloging: personal cataloging, social networking, and social cataloging. One type of UGC on LT is “common knowledge” where members can catalog/describe their own collections. The data includes many things that would not normally be in the “usual” library catalog record. In his world, the tag war is over. Tags are here to stay and some work better than others. Spalding asserted that ideas are complex and do not fit well into the hierarchical world of catalog records. He concluded that there are two possible worlds for catalogers. In the first, our world ends and while we grapple with open data, we are paid less than programmers; in the second, we move up the stack and become more valued.

Diane Hillmann’s presentation took a look at what is behind two doors from which catalogers can chose with regard to their future. Behind door one is extinction: if catalogers keep working as they currently do, door one will automatically open. The remodeling tool behind door two can help catalogers to find a new job description, get metadata training, and be supported by their institutions. Catalogers can be metadata librarians by redefining what they do. Catalogers currently use detailed standards, predefined formats, complex granularity, predetermined vocabulary, one-item-at-a-time description, and patterns of items. They tend to ignore the rest of the information world. Metadata catalogers work without preconceptions of resources, assess issues around sets or collections of materials, and consider uses beyond an individual service. With new skill sets, catalogers can work in the new information environment where there will be no integrated library systems, no OCLC as a central node for all data sets, and no centralized “place” for creation of metadata. Metadata will not be managed in and delivered to one central store. Metadata catalogers will go from being solely the creators of metadata to managing, improving, and distributing metadata. She emphasized the importance of open data and use of multiple data sources.

Getting Ready for RDA and FRBR: What You Need to Know

Melanie Wacker, Columbia University

This session, sponsored by the Cataloging and Classification Section of ALCTS, was very well attended. Barbara Bushman, Head Unit IV Cataloging Section, National Library of Medicine and PCC Liaison to the RDA Implementation Task Force, introduced the speakers. Filling in for Shawne D. Miksa, she also gave an overview on the work of the RDA Implementation Task Force.

Barbara Tillett, Chief of the Cataloging Policy and Support Office, Library of Congress, spoke about the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and how they relate to the current draft of Resource Description and Access. Her presentation was followed by an introduction to the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD) by Glenn Patton.

The first part of Barbara Tillett’s talk “The Influence of FRBR on RDA: Resource Description and Access” focused on explaining the FRBR model. She reviewed the group 1 entities (work, expression, manifestation and item) and their relationships. This was followed by overviews of the group 2 and 3 entities. Tillett pointed out that “family,”an entity often used in the archival community, was recently added to the group 2 entities in addition to “person” and “corporate body.”

Tillett showed slides of an 1841 catalog card from the British Museum as well as a current bibliographic record from the Library of Congress online catalog. She used these examples to point out that FRBR is a conceptual model for a different way to view information that is already contained in existing bibliographic information. Finally, Tillett stated that the RDA structure has moved closer to the FRBR model, and that RDA directly relates the user tasks identified in FRBR to the particular elements. The release of RDA is scheduled for early or mid 2009.

Glenn Patton of OCLC reported on the work of the Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records (FRANAR) and introduced the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD). The group was charged to “extend the FRBR model to authority data” by defining how authority data currently functions and by clarifying the underlying concepts to facilitate improvements for future usages.

FRAD is still a work in progress. A final draft report should be available shortly for approval by IFLA.

Barbara Bushman completed this session by speaking on the work of the RDA Implementation Task Force, which is charged with preparing the cataloging community for the implementation of RDA. The educational activities developed will be aimed at a broad audience.

Communication with OCLC and Library of Congress is also part of the task force’s charge. The Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library issued a joint statement that a period of testing and evaluation of RDA will precede any decision to implement. The implementation could therefore be delayed until end of 2009.

The slides for this session are available on the RDA: Resource Description and Access website.

Institutional Repositories: New Roles for Acquisitions

Michael Wright, The University of Iowa Libraries

Moderator Katharine Farrell introduced speakers Peter Gorman, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Maureen Walsh, Ohio State University, and Terry Owens, University of Maryland. Farrell noted that the title of the program was deceptive: the focus was on institutional repositories in general, not just in terms of acquisitions.

Peter Gorman began, noting that institutional repositories (IRs) are usually defined by their content: typically the intellectual output of the university. Gorman questioned the difference between IRs and digital library content, noting that users do not care from where items come, or about platforms. Since most objects have similar rights management, preservation, and access needs, differences appear minor. This challenges some assumptions underlying typical IR infrastructure. Emphasizing copyright/rights management issues, Gorman highlighted the useful Stanford Copyright Renewal Database.

Maureen Walsh, spoke about Ohio State’s DSpace-based IR, Knowledge Bank, which has grown steadily since its 2004 inception. Containing numerous communities and many self-archivers, technical services assists by creating metadata, providing a base set of Dublin Core elements available from the Knowledge Bank site. Self-archiving means variable quality metadata, and to help improve this, library staff have created profiles with submission guidelines for individual communities. This has allowed a degree of standardization, as has creating templates to prepopulate certain data elements. She noted that items may be added individually, or in batch. OSU has repurposed some MARC legacy metadata into the IR.

Speaking last, Terry Owen described DRUM (Digital Repository at University of Maryland,) a DSpace archive containing electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs.) At UM, graduate students must upload their research to the IR. The Graduate School manages submissions, while the libraries process the ETDs, providing metadata and making them available via DRUM and the OPAC. This greatly increase visibility of students’ research and improves the chance for it to be cited. Students may request an embargo on research, achieved by restricting access only to UM-affiliated users.

Numerous questions, running the gamut from embargoes to copyright to data-mapping, and directed at all three speakers, rounded out the session.

Succession Planning: The Future of Your Library Depends on It

Betsy Simpson, University of Florida

Tremendous turnover due to retirements and concern about the preparation of new librarians, coupled with fundamental shifts in "business as usual" have contributed to a general unease that libraries are not well-positioned to address current and future needs. Equipping libraries with a blueprint to face these challenges was the subject of the ALCTS Leadership Development Committee's 2008 Annual program held Saturday, June 28, "Succession Planning: The Future of Your Library Depends on It." Co-sponsored by the Association for College and Research Libraries, the Library Administration and Management Association, and the Public Library Association, the program offered approximately seventy-five attendees the opportunity to hear from Vicki Whitmell, Director of the Ontario Legislative Library and an expert in succession planning and retention strategies, about the importance of documenting key positions within the context of the library's strategic objectives and mobilizing the library to mentor and train existing staff as well as actively recruit based on future needs. Whitmell likened it to building a baseball or hockey farm team, where the best players are identified and groomed to move into the big league. As with sports, it is necessary to identify the critical competencies needed for future success and take concrete steps to retool the organization. Central to the process are the following actions:

  • Broaden job descriptions to allow for greater flexibility in assignments
  • Fund and support staff development and training programs
  • Utilize job rotations and temporary assignments to build competencies
  • Establish a mentoring program
  • Proactively seek new hires based on future needs and offer competitive compensation packages

LeRoy LaFleur, Head of George Mason University’s Arlington Campus Library, and Nanette Donohue, Technical Services Librarian at the Champaign (Illinois) Public Library, offered helpful insights from a mid-career viewpoint. Outlining their career paths, LaFleur and Donohue highlighted the extent to which formal and informal mentoring, including leadership training programs, empowered them to assume greater responsibility. They urged libraries to create an environment that encourages diverse perspectives and rewards the accomplishments of new librarians. Program handouts are available online.

Making the Switch from Print to Online: Why, When and How?

Kristen Blake, Library Fellow, North Carolina State University

The benefits of electronic books and serials, including popularity among users and decreased processing costs, weighed in against challenges such as licensing and archiving, as four panelists explored the logistics of switching to a primarily online collection.

Throughout the session, user preference for e-resources emerged as a primary factor influencing libraries that have begun building strong electronic collections. Tim Bucknall, assistant dean of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, described a 2001-2002 study by Brian Schottlaender reporting that use of electronic resources outnumbered print use by more than 90,000. Noella Owen, academic licensing manager at Springer Science and Business Media, laid out other advantages of e-resources, including savings on shipping and binding costs, efficient processing and cataloging, and convenience in interlibrary loan and reserves work.

The panelists’ commentary suggested that the time to move to electronic collections is now. Jill Emery, head of acquisitions at The University of Texas at Austin, described her library’s current implementation of an e-only collection policy, and Kim Steinle, library relations manager at Duke University Press, recounted her company’s recent experiences of offering electronic books and journals to customers. Bucknall agreed that libraries need to move forward from past practices and embrace e-only collections, figuring out solutions to problems as they go.

Emery’s experience implementing an e-only program provided useful insight into how the switch to electronic resources might be made. She described how her library began the process by switching its big package deals throughout the University of Texas system. The UT-Austin library then began to move its unique titles to publishers on secure platforms, and later licensed Portico and implemented Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe (LOCKSS). Emery also described how her library enforces its e-only policy by requiring bibliographers to justify all print purchases, while rewarding them with credits for each print title canceled.

Discussion among the panelists and questions posed by the audiences suggested that librarians are not unaware of the challenges posed by e-resources. Steinle described how a survey of Duke University Press customers who had purposely selected print-only options revealed concerns about price, user preferences, and archival strategies. Audience comments echoed those reservations and also addressed the time-consuming nature of license negotiations, difficulties arising from interlibrary loan restrictions, and the challenges of dividing electronic resources work between traditional serialists and information technology staff.

Metadata Mashup: Creating and Publishing Application Profiles

Joanna Burgess, Reed College Library

An application profile is outlined by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative as “a set of metadata elements, policies, and guidelines defined for a particular application.” Three librarians presented local implementations of application profiles. Following these speakers, Diane Hillman provided concluding remarks on the current state of digital library development and ideal future directions.

Jennifer O’Brien Roper (now with University of Virginia) discussed a project she had undertaken for the University of Maryland’s Digital Repository (UMDM), which blended Dublin Core, VRA Core, and other local metadata elements into an application profile to enable collection-specific metadata plus robust cross-collection searching. Roper also demonstrated a number of accompanying locally developed components, such as customized data entry or input standards, local term lists, and a specialized DTD schema for validating XML records. The need for appropriate documentation was emphasized. Find slides online.

Melanie Felter-Reichert, University of Tennessee, discussed the development of the application profile as well as the various mechanisms required to implement and adhere to it. These included documented user-friendly policies and guidelines, training, and custom tools such as standardized term lists, and a scripted web form to facilitate standards-compliant data input. Find slides online.

Sounding the over-riding theme of the session, Arwen Hutt of the University of California San Diego also emphasized documentation. Moving beyond traditional concepts such as text documents, html, and wikis, Hutt pointed to emerging methods of documentation, such as the METS encoding standard and the new Singapore Framework for documenting Dublin Core Application Profiles.

Lastly, Diane Hillman urged the library community to move toward a standards-reliant model of community digital library development. Coming from the “aggregator” perspective, she emphasized that interoperability is just as important among institutions as within institutions, and that librarians need to strive to make the use of application profiles more streamlined to facilitate reuse. Find slides online.

Ebook Workflows: Selection to Access

Kristin Martin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The ALCTS Acquisitions Section sponsored an interesting session examining the growing impact of e-books on how libraries select materials for their collections. Aline Soules, California State University-East Bay, began the session by examining the definition of an ebook. The simple definition of an ebook is a monograph that now appears on the web, but the more flexible nature of electronic publishing blurs the lines between ebooks, databases, and interactive multimedia, creating a much more fluid product. Surveys show that users have come to appreciate ebooks’ flexibility, particularly when it comes to searching and being able to find the exact text to fit their assignments. Notes for Soule’s complete presentation are available online.

Laura Wrubel, University of Maryland-College, spoke about acquiring ebooks through consortia in the state of Maryland. The success of consortial purchasing has only been modest so far. Factors limiting participation include: the buyer’s club model for purchasing rather than having a shared pool of fund; figuring out the discounting options; handling access restrictions across different libraries; and trying to develop workflows for libraries using multiple different vendors and subscription agents. To improve consortial use of ebooks, there needs to be a consistent model for consortial savings and better ability to bring ebook content into the mainstream with other library materials.

Mike Walmsely, YPB Library Services, discussed how a library book vendor can help libraries keep or modify their existing workflows for acquisitions and apply them to ebooks. The book vendor can provide one-stop shopping for titles, regardless of publisher or platform; provide for duplicate detection and control, and provide access to ebooks through a MARC record service.

The session ended with Carolyn Morris of Coutts Information Services. Morris examined the strategies libraries are taking in regards to ebooks acquisition. While some libraries are doing nothing, many libraries have formed committees to wrestle with how to manage ebooks. Libraries have purchased ebooks directly from the publisher, through a subscription agent, through an ebook aggregator, and from an approval vendor. As there are advantages and disadvantages to each method, now is the time to experiment as libraries transition further into acquiring electronic material.

P(l)anning for Gold: Preservation Models in California and the West

Karen Mokrzycki, University of California Santa Cruz

This program featured a panel of four speakers moderated by Tom Clareson, Director for New Initiatives at PALINET. Clareson noted that this was a turbulent time for cultural heritage, with competition for resources for both traditional and digital preservation occurring against a backdrop of numerous natural disasters, from major flooding in the Midwest to hurricanes, to hundreds of wildfires in California. Clareson described the California Preservation Program (CPP) and WESTPAS as offering a sustainable model for reaching more institutions in a more meaningful way to meet these challenges.

Gary Kurutz, Curator of Special Collections at the California State Library, opened the program with an entertaining and encyclopedic presentation of the vast riches that constitute California’s unique cultural heritage. From artists, authors and actors, to filmmakers, musicians, politicians, outlaws and rebels, scientists, entrepreneurs, cartoonists and winemakers, important movements such as the Free Speech Movement, and important historical events such as the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, collecting and preserving California culture and history is a daunting undertaking with a staggering amount of material. While esteemed institutions in the state and elsewhere hold significant material on California and the West, much material is also bought and sold by private collectors and acquired by smaller institutions. Kurutz urged local communities to take responsibility for collecting the continuously growing body of material but noted that not all have the means to provide adequate care for the material. Kurutz described the California Preservation Program founders and leaders as the “Biblio Moses” leading the effort to preserve California’s heritage, joined in those efforts by other institutions, corporations and initiatives such as the California Newspaper Digitization Project.

California State Librarian Susan Hildreth highlighted several significant aspects of CPP history, describing CPP development as one of true collaboration. She noted the strong support of the two preceding California State Librarians, the series of grassroots meetings and efforts of the early 1990’s, the use of the CALIPR survey tool in the statewide preservation needs assessments and priority setting, and she paid special tribute to the support and efforts of individuals, most notably State Library Programs Consultant Barbara Will. The CPP is funded by LSTA. While state funding continues to be a goal, LSTA funding has allowed continued program development in the face of changes in state administrations and in state budgets. Hildreth pointed to recent related initiatives, such as the State Library collaboration on the statewide audio-visual preservation needs survey, and the IMLS Connecting to Collections planning grant awarded to California in 2008.

Julie Page and Barclay Ogden, co-coordinators and managers of CPP and WESTPAS, addressed CPP and WESTPAS organization, services and sustainability. WESTPAS is an NEH project providing free disaster training workshops in fourteen Western states and territories. Thirty-eight workshops reaching 300 institutions are being conducted. Page cited a twenty-year history of informal regional networks in California, which grew out of major events such as the disastrous Los Angeles Public Library fire. As a result of the networks, thirteen cargo containers of disaster supplies are now stored around the state. CPP end-user services include preservation education and training; a 24/7 disaster hotline (calls are handled through a low-cost answering service and the service is also available for WESTPAS members); email and phone reference service and development of mutual aid networks. CPP also provides consultation services for institutions within California. The website - - provides a link to CALIPR, a free web-based assessment instrument which generates a management report outlining the scope, scale and priorities for preservation program planning and decision-making. CALIPR has been modified for use for audio-visual preservation assessment, and with the support of the State Librarian, was used to survey California library and archive audio-visual needs (see link below.) Page cited the essential role of the California State Library to the development of the CPP and the many cross-agency partnerships and relationships that CPP has formed with other state, city and county agencies and first responders such as the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Historic Monterey.

Key elements of the CPP and WESTPAS organizational model cited by Ogden include: distributed part-time program staff; information and training available on the website, by phone and by email; trust gained by using local trainers; and an emphasis on providing “just in time” as-needed assistance. One benefit of this approach is low central overhead costs. In addition, the CPP and WESTPAS approach to disaster training emphasizes (1) a commitment to action: administrators must sign a letter of approval in order for the attendees to participate, committing the institution to writing the plan; (2) outcomes: participants complete a disaster plan and a two-sided easily transportable template to record contact information, priorities and other essential information, a “less is more approach;” and (3) a goal to change the behaviors of the institution being trained. WESTPAS has a high success rate with disaster plan completion. Participants attend two training sessions two months apart and have time in the sessions to talk with other participants about their experiences and problems encountered in writing the plans.

In an economy of limited resources, Ogden noted that CPP and WESTPAS program success could be re-defined in terms of its ability to foster behavioral change within the institution. This approach shifts the emphasis from finding funds to sustain a program, to growing an institutional culture of preservation management. To the extent that this institutional cultural and behavioral change occurs, the programs themselves might not need to continue. Ogden indicated that under development are new workshops that will build on the WESTPAS training and teach participants how to collaborate effectively with other libraries and institutions in their immediate geographic region. In ending, Ogden pointed to the importance of the staffing continuity provided originally by the University of California, and to the administrative support provided by the Peninsula Library System, a regional library system in California. Ogden encouraged the audience to look for similar ways to develop preservation programs in other areas and regions.

Additional resources:

ALCTS President's Program: From Here to Eternity: The Challenge of Managing Oscar's Very Special Collections

Karen Mokrzycki, University of California Santa Cruz

The ALCTS President’s Program was the jewel in the crown and a visually stunning treat among the rich array of ALCTS programs at the ALA 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim. Speaking to a large capacity crowd, Director Linda Harris Mehr informed, entertained and inspired the audience with a well-organized and comprehensive look into the workings of the Margaret Herrick Library of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the pre-eminent motion picture study and research center. Harris Mehr has served as Director since 1982 and has had a prolific career that includes publications, teaching, workshop presentations and professional service. The Herrick Library is named after Margaret Herrick ( whose dedicated efforts as the Academy’s first librarian, and unique collecting strategies such as soliciting screenplays and other material directly from the studios, helped build a premier research collection that is open to the public and which also provides email and telephone reference service.

Harris Mehr began her presentation with the founding of the Academy as a nonprofit organization in 1927, which was influenced by the popular success of adding sound to movies (“The Jazz Singer”). The Academy’s first annual report spoke of an issue familiar to the ALCTS audience: more room was needed for the Library, a need which remained steady as the movie industry flourished and the Library’s collections grew. Harris Mehr described the progression of space planning and building moves which occurred throughout the Library’s history and the strategies employed to appropriately and safely house the growing collection, including off-site storage. (Additional details on the buildings and locations are at

Harris Mehr next addressed the four activities of acquiring, organizing, preserving, and making materials accessible. This format wonderfully demonstrated how the ALCTS functions of acquisitions, cataloging and processing and preservation work together in support of sustained access to materials. The Herrick Library acquires what is historically important for research purposes. The collection supports research of motion pictures as an art, as an industry and as a scientific and technical medium. Harris Mehr emphasized that their goal is to try to not get more material then they can make accessible, given their limited budget. Funded as the Library is by the Academy, Harris Mehr lightheartedly encouraged the audience to watch the Oscars, a key source of revenue for the Academy since the early 1950’s.

The breadth of the collection is astonishing, with virtually every format imaginable included: books, pamphlets, periodicals, clipping files, screenplays, sheet music, scores, sound tracks, costume sketches, movie posters, correspondence and other unique material. With thousands of photographs in the collection, Harris Mehr spoke to the challenges of images today being received on disk from the studios, with little consistency in format, and with uncertainty about the longevity of the CD format. Numerous databases have been developed for accessing the collections, both text and image, such as a Graphic Arts Database, and a Music and Recorded Sound Database. Information about the Library’s holdings, and their organization is at

Harris Mehr described preservation, access and security measures for the collections, indicating that they are very hands on with conservation and preservation. She gave high praise to the dedicated and talented Library staff of about seventy, which includes several conservators, for their hard work and creativity in developing storage solutions for materials that are large, or in unusual formats. Strategies for other materials include microfilming onto microfiche for the clipping files, and digitization of posters to reduce handling, as the poster collection is considered fragile and most in danger of loss. The Library maintains appropriate environmental settings for the collections and routinely re-houses materials. Special Collection materials are viewed in a dedicated reading room. As librarians and archivists everywhere can appreciate, Harris Mehr indicated that while open to the public, the Herrick Library collection is “non-circulating to the best of our ability.” For copyright, the Library provides low-resolution images for access and includes a clear notice to researchers, also stated on their Special Collections website, of the researcher’s responsibility to obtain all necessary rights and permissions for use of images and other material.

The program concluded with a lively question and answer session.

Serving the Whole Community: Multilingual Access in Public Libraries

Ngoc-My Guidarelli, Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Commonwealth University

With the rapid growth of immigrants hailing from all corners of the world in major cities in the United States, public libraries are faced with the challenges of meeting these newcomers’ needs through the provision of multilingual materials which are accessible through their catalogs.

Lisa Elliott from OCLC spoke about the company’s language sets, available in fifteen languages. With these sets, OCLC will help libraries start a multicultural collection, from ordering to acquiring, and cataloging. Libraries will be spared of the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors. The books selected are classics or best sellers, and they will arrive shelf-ready at the library.

Shelley Ekeroth, Collection Development Coordinator, County of Los Angeles Public Library, gave an overview of this large library system with eighty-four branches and four bookmobiles. In addition to English, the system collects in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hindi, Hebrew, Russian, Farsi, Arabic, and Tagalog. The acquisitions of non-English materials take up only six percent of the total budget, yet the system is confronted with several issues in building its multicultural collection: the staff’s insufficient language expertise, outreach to immigrant populations, capability of the interface to handle non-Latin scripts, and lack of shelf space. Some of the languages are only needed for one generation as the second generation becomes integrated into the mainstream. Accurate figures of immigrant populations are also hard to come by as the latter are “invisible” to library staff.

Difficulties in selecting and acquiring non-English materials were discussed. With regards to selection, non-English collections often contain popular resources such as fiction, consumer-type information, information for immigrants, health, DVDs, and music. However, selection tools like bibliographies (except for Spanish materials) are hard to obtain. In terms of acquisitions, non-English materials are not handled by vendors like Baker and Taylor. They are purchased at retail bookstores which cannot meet large orders of multiple copies. The order process to overseas vendors can be extremely slow. DVDs offer the possibility to view in various languages but the format is sometimes not compatible with the United States’ region. The paper quality of printed materials overseas is sometimes substandard. Selection and acquisition problems can be solved with OCLC language sets, but this service can be expensive for small libraries. The latter can enter into partnership with larger libraries who have staff with language expertise to obtain non-English materials. Finding and retaining vendors remains an ongoing problem.

Pat Fahrenthold, Chief of Technical Services, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), spoke next of her library system which comprises twenty-seven branches. San Francisco has the fourth largest Asian population in the United States. The population of Russian-born Americans is significant beside the Hispanics. The libraries collect in English, and also in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese. The main library has the largest collection of non-English books and audiovisual materials. SFPL tries to match the linguistic skills of its staff with the prevalent non-English language in use in its community. The library’s website showcases language expertise available in the system. A twenty-member committee selects non-English materials which uses 10 percent of the budget. The use of Unicode allows the support for all types of scripts. Fifty percent of Chinese materials require original cataloging. The San Francisco library system has a remarkable outreach program thanks to its bookmobiles which reach out to children and seniors. A large collection in Russian serves the needs of many Russian retirees. Bookmobiles are present at various ethnic community festivals such as the Vietnamese New Year or Tet. Children’s librarians go to schools to offer story time in Chinese or in Spanish. The system keeps a close tab of the population growth to see whether needs are appropriately identified and met. Staff are sensitive to regional differences, i.e., Spanish is not the same in Mexico as in Spain. Not all topics are available in all languages.

Mary Catherine Little concluded the program with a report on the Queens Borough Public Library in New York City. For her, library patrons have a discovery experience through the library catalog. It contains links to numerous newspapers in various languages throughout the world. The system has a demographer on its staff to track the clientele it serves. In half of the homes in Queens, people speak a language other than English. In the past three years, the number of immigrants from Mexico has shot up by 500 percent. Librarians go to book fairs in places like Guadalajara to select and order multicultural materials. Everything that is added to the collection is cataloged. The Cataloging Department enjoys a large staff who catalogs 100,000 new titles each year. The cataloging is speeded up through batch loading and manipulation of records with the PERL script. Records are touched as little as possible. Most the materials are popular and brief records are accepted. The libraries have a partnership with the National Library of China. Records are available in the vernacular for Chinese and Korean materials. The libraries started a Spanish language access program with the collaboration of Pennsylvania State University. SFPL is always looking for new ways to feed discovery.

A question and answer session ensued. Concerns revolved around the hiring of bilingual staff, how to obtain book reviews for non-English materials, how to select language to support, e.g. Armenian, how rural libraries can collect in multicultural materials, how to provide subject access in foreign languages such as Vietnamese, and the display of non-Latin scripts with public keyboards.

Serials Standards Update Forum: ISSN and Institutional Identifiers

Cecilia Genereux, University of Minnesota

The focus of the Standards Update Forum, sponsored by Swets, was on the ISSN and institutional identifiers. The three presenters, introduced by Jose Luis Andrade, President, Swets, were Steve Shadle, University of Washington; Françoise Pellé, International ISSN Centre; and Don Chvatal, Ringgold, Inc.

Filling in for the scheduled speaker Regina Reynolds, Shadle provided background information on the linking ISSN (International Serials Standard Number) and how it was developed. The ISSN has several functions. Some of the functions are to identify a title’s various mediums; OpenURL linking; searching in databases, library OPACs, and electronic resource management systems; and as an identifier by the Postal Service.

Shadle outlined some of the complications that have arisen with the use of medium specific ISSNs. Despite the complications, when the ISSN was revised in 2007, the use of medium specific ISSNs was affirmed and the linking ISSN was created to collocate all ISSNs belonging to a title.

Following Shadle’s presentation, Pellé spoke about the implementation of the linking ISSN. The ISSN Registry is retrospectively adding linking ISSNs to titles in the database. The linking ISSN will automatically be assigned and it will be the lowest ISSN related to a title. Once the Registry has been populated with linking ISSNs, correspondence tables containing linking ISSNs with their associated medium specific ISSNs will be made freely available on the ISSN website. Going forward, the linking ISSN for new titles will be the first medium format number to be assigned to a title.

Finally, Chvatal spoke about institutional identifiers. Content providers use institutional identifiers to identify licensing units. Using Harvard as an example, Chvatal indicated it has around 100 different identifiers. With so many licensing units in an institution, it is important for content providers to have a method for identifying the units in order to efficiently provide content to the appropriate licensing unit.

Building off the findings of the Journal Supply Chain Efficiency Improvement Pilot, a NISO working group is looking to establish a standard for institutional identifiers and to define the data collected with an identifier. The standard would be used by content providers and libraries. Currently, working group is gathering data and developing scenarios.

The forum concluded with a question and answer period.

CRG Forum: Technical Services Careers in Public Libraries: Getting Started, Building Your Career, or Making the Switch"

Elaine Yontz, Valdosta State University

Technical services specialists in public libraries want you to know, with apologies to Mark Twain, that the reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. Marlene Harris, Division Chief for Technical Services, Chicago Public Library, and Carolyn Goolsby, Technical Services Manager, Tacoma Public Library, were panelists at the Council of Regional Groups’ (CRG) forum “Technical Services Careers in Public Libraries: Getting Started, Building Your Career, or Making the Switch.”

Technical services librarian positions in public libraries often go through several postings and remain vacant for months or even years since there are few in the applicant pools who possess the requisite combination of technical services knowledge and management skills. To help fill this gap, efforts are needed to attract people who like management to technical services and to mentor technical services librarians to become managers.

Harris and Goolsby agreed that outsourcing has not eliminated the need for technical services librarians in public libraries. Though Chicago Public uses outsourcing, much cataloging and processing continues to be done in-house. Outsourcing is neither employed nor being considered at Tacoma Public; studies indicated that doing the work locally is less expensive, and outsourcing violates the local culture.

Coursework and continuing education in technical services areas, information architecture, database design, accounting, and foreign language expertise are important for technical services work in public libraries. Any kind of relevant experience, including an internship, technical services work in an academic library, or substantive volunteer work, can be a valuable “leg up” for an applicant. Job ads for public library technical services positions are available on PUBLIB, AUTOCAT, OCLC CAT, regional and state job lists, and the ALA job board.

PVLR Forum: Branding: Claiming the Reader’s Mind Space

Katharine Farrell, Princeton University

The following panelists participated in the PVRL Forum “Branding: Claiming the Reader’s Mind Space”:

  • Emily Alford, Michigan State University
  • Evelyn Elias, Taylor and & Francis
  • Scott Bernier, EBSCO Publishing
  • Jenny Walker, Credo Reference
  • J. Michael Williams, SOLINET.

The session was moderated by Beth Bernhardt, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Outgoing chair Amy McColl introduced the session, which had been organized by Ruth Fischer, Beth Bernhardt, and Ann-Marie Breaux.

Alford, who is the public relations and marketing chair at Michigan State University, began by defining branding. Branding consists of three components:

  • marketing: telling how it is
  • public relations: telling others how it is
  • branding: knowing how it is.

A brand is not always positive; it is a perception in the mind of the consumer. How does this translate into libraries? Alford proceeded to engage the audience in a game of jeopardy to illustrate brands, including unwise partnerships. You need to decide who you or your organization wants to be when defining your brand.

Elias discussed branding from the focus of acquisition of a brand. How does an organization decide whether or not to keep the brand of the company it has acquired? It depends on the strength of the brand and contractual obligations, and whether the brand competes with the parent company. She discussed co-branding, using the example of HBO on iTunes. In relating that to libraries, Elias noted that a patron using library services online sees nothing familiar, no apparent connection with the library. Libraries need to redefine their brand.

Bernier also offered a definition of brand: a way to establish a position in the market. It encompasses a plan to guide how your audience views your organization. Using EBSCOhost as an example, he pointed out that the brand attracted users, potential employees, and partners. He noted that EBSCOhost also facilitates co-branding with the library and showed several examples. He pointed out that the issues are the same for all segments of the industry: so many products to promote, too much competition for the readers’ attention.

Walker described a brand as a short-hand way to convey information that affects critical decisions. She talked about the process of changing a brand using the example of Xrefer, now Credo Reference. A brand needs to be something with which people want to associate. In re-branding, define the target market; assess where it is now, and where you want to move that market before developing a brand identity.

Williams defined branding as recognition and expectation of received value. Using the example of SOLINET, he noted that the network brand was initially associated only with OCLC. Later it was known more broadly as a broker of electronic resources and a source of expertise to apply to library problems. The brand defines unique value as a non-profit, member owned, trusted source for libraries, publishers, and vendors to whom it offers services.

A question and answer session followed the presentations.

October Ivins noted that SSP (Society for Scholarly Publishing) is engaged in re-branding and is receiving conflicting advice regarding single or multiple tag lines.

Arthur Miller asked how libraries can push their brand to users who do not think they need to come to the library.

The responses noted a reluctance to change even an unsatisfactory brand. A key aspect of branding for libraries is finding a way to make the target audience feel comfortable. How do libraries get the word out about their services and their role in delivering content?

Ann-Marie Breaux noted the Yankee Book Peddler to YBP name change, pointing out that history is important when changing a brand. Books are our brand; books are part of the ALA logo. She asked how successful libraries are in adding their logo to an online resource. The response was to negotiate with the provider. Walker also pointed out that NISO could consider this as a potential standard. She also suggested that the OCLC institutional registry could serve as a place to embed the library logo, and that this information could appear in multiple layers. She noted the importance of a consistent user experience.

Incoming chair Ann-Marie Breaux announced that the Midwinter forum would be on patron-driven acquisitions.

You Know FRBR, But Have You Ever Met FRAD?

Glenda B. Claborne, MLIS

The first hour and a half of this program dealt with updates on activities at the Library of Congress by Dave Reser ( program) and at OCLC by Robert Bremer ( program). Another ninety minutes were devoted to the main program topic and the last hour was for a meeting of the LITA/ALCTS Authority Control Interest Group

Getting to Know FRAD

Glenn Patton, OCLC, Inc., Chair, IFLA FRANAR Working Group; program

Patton gave an overview of Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), from its creation in response to authorities-related activities in 1998 to an upcoming final draft and publication of the model. His presentation focused on the working group’s first charge: to continue the work initiated in FRBR to define functional requirements for authority records.

FRAD: A Personal View

Ed Jones, National University Library , San Diego, California; program

Jones explored new ways of recording and displaying authority data through an exploration of how others, particularly the Germans and the French, are using authorities. Earlier in his presentation, he reviewed how authority records work in the card catalog and several prior initiatives from which FRAD draws on, particularly Guidelines for Authority Records and References, or GARR.

An Introduction to FRSAR

Athena Salaba, Kent State U assisted by Lois Mai Chan, University of Kentucky; program

Salaba introduced the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records (FRSAR) as focusing on the Group 3 entities defined in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) as a conceptual model dealing mainly with the aboutness of works. She shared the results of a survey on the ways that controlled vocabulary information is used by users which shows how data in subject authority records are related to user tasks.