Transitioning Technical Services: Training Staff to Meet Evolving Needs: 2017 Annual Conference

The program on “Transitioning Technical Services: Training Staff to Meet Evolving Needs” was held on Sunday, June 25 in McCormick Place. It was co-sponsored by the CaMMS Competencies and Education for a Career in Cataloging Interest Group, the Heads of Cataloging Departments Interest Group, and the Linked Library Data Interest Group.

The program featured three speakers and provided strategies for designing and implementing training programs, and how to build upon the traditional cataloging expertise to bring library staff into a linked data environment.

Erick Hanson (Digital Content Metadata Librarian, John Hopkins University, Sheridan Library) presented remotely on his work enhancing metadata, ensuring consistency across various systems, and using a digital service that collects, preserves, and distributes digital material. According to Hanson, the work remains largely unchanged, but technical services needs to build on MARC cataloging skills with new terminology and tools. He argued in favor of using Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST) over Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) because the work can be done automatically and the data is more in line with linked data. He then discussed the challenge of identifying the best presentation for information, whether spreadsheets or JSON, XML or PDF; and on providing links to necessary information instead of creating documentation.

Jacob Shelby (Metadata Technologies Librarian, North Carolina State University Library) also gave his presentation remotely on the work he did while still at Iowa State University’s Metadata and Cataloging Department on developing strategies for evaluating and adapting the program to meet staff needs and to identify potential training opportunities. Shelby shared that brainstorming is good for exploring a wide variety of topics and potential skills gaps. He noted that needs assessment is good for assessing the specific skills needed by a group. He stated that projects are a backwards approach to identifying needed skills, and that it’s important to maintain communication to touch base. Other methods to increase and maintain skills include one-on-one training, mentoring, lectures, hands on exercises, and workshops.    

Maggie Dull (Metadata and Digital Curation Librarian, University of Baltimore, Langsdale Library) presented a case study on moving from print to electronic theses. Dull determined that new tasks associated with the electronic theses pose challenges and require different skills. She shared her experience on how to simplify the workflow and train staff with archival as well as metadata skills.

Reported by Jessalyn Zoom