Reports from Midwinter 2010

Interest Groups Report on Activities

The following reports summarize the activities that took place during meetings of ALCTS interest groups held during the 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Included are groups whose reports were received by the editor as of February 15, 2010. For information on groups not shown here, see the interest groups page on the ALCTS web site.    

Division | Acquisitions Section | Cataloging and Classification Section | Collection Management and Development Section | Continuing Resources | Preservation and Reformatting Section



Creative Ideas in Technical Services

The chair welcomed attendees, who chose topic-based tables as they entered the session discussed one of the following five themes:

  • Economic Instability: It is more than just acquisitions Themes from the discussion included hiring freezes, maintaining flexibility, and preparing for additional cuts. The group found a bright side to the economic situation by discussing the opportunities it provides to re-evaluate workflows and departmental needs.
  • Up in the Clouds: Using Internet based applications in technical services Themes from the discussion included tools currently being used in libraries, security implications, and the potential for using cloud applications to improve information retrieval.
  • E-Everything: It is not just journals anymore Themes from the discussion included the usefulness of various material types in electronic formats, the best ways to provide access to electronic materials, and how to gather statistics on their use.
  • Automation: Batch-loads, macros, and more Themes from the discussion included the challenges of loading e-book records and the role of vendors in facilitating batchloads.
  • Pride and Joy, or Trial and Tribulation Attendees discussed their current projects and provided suggestions for improving and streamlining them. Overarching themes included the importance of maintaining one's perspective and keeping lines of communication open.

Volunteers at each table facilitated and recorded the discussions. The chair and vice-chair provided each table with proposed discussion questions but encouraged attendees to take the conversations in any direction that seemed most useful to them. The chair and vice-chair circulated between the various tables to participate in the conversations and to gather ideas for future sessions. During the final twenty minutes of the session, the recorder from each table gave a brief presentation to the full group, summarizing his table's conversation.

Emily Prather-Rodgers and Tony Fang will continue in their respective roles as chair and vice-chair through the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. A new vice-chair will be selected from among attendees at the Annual Conference.

Electronic Resources

The well-attended meeting was chaired by Amira Aaron. The theme of the meeting was “In the ‘Know’: E-Resource Knowledge Base Management and Best Practices.” The speakers’ presentations were right on topic as planned and summaries of their presentations follow.

Users Love It But It Sure Is a Lot of Work!

By Charlotte Keys, Director, University Library Technology Services, Tufts University.

Keys discussed the day-to-day issues of dealing with e-resource systems and databases as they currently exist. She raised the possibility of how a collaborative knowledgebase help could help reduce the labor necessary to keep everything up to date. Keys also described how Innovative's ERM product is used in conjunction with the TDNet KnowledgeBase at Tufts.

Call Number, Please!

By Sarah Tusa, Coordinator of Collection Development and Acquisitions, Lamar University.

At the top of Tusa’s wish-list for Knowledge Base (KB) products is the inclusion of Library of Congress Classification Numbers for the purpose of sorting titles by academic discipline. Accreditation reviews generally require a statement of support from the supporting library. As more and more resources, particularly journals, are available electronically, it becomes increasingly difficult to generate the required lists of resources without the Library of Congress call numbers. If a library does not have the financial resources to purchase or license MARC records, the LC classification number must be entered manually into the KB by library staff, rendering the task almost insurmountable and potentially riddled with errors.

KBART: Improving the Data Supply to Knowledge Bases and OpenURL Link Resolvers

By Jason Price, Member, NISO/UKSG KBART Working Group and Head, Collections and Acquisitions, Claremont Colleges Library, e-Resource Package Analyst, Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium.

As the UKSG/NISO KBART recommended practice is released, its core will be examined, and its implications for electronic resource librarians and knowledge base management will be discussed.

Processes, Successes and Challenges with Building and Maintaining a Central E-Resource KnowledgeBase: A Vendor’s Perspective

By Christine Stohn, SFX Product Manager, Ex Libris.

KnowledgeBases are a central part of systems dealing with e-resources such as OpenURL link resolvers and electronic resource management systems (ERM). They should be generic enough to serve a broad base of system users, and specific enough to mirror each institution’s local holdings. The presentation described, using the example of the SFX KnowledgeBase, the work involved in dealing with publisher relations; obtaining new and updated data that describe packages and their content; correcting, cleaning, loading and distributing of data and responding to individual customer’s requests. It will address the workflows and procedures involved in updating and maintaining the data and the challenges involved with data accuracy and currency.


Petition for Renewal

The chair reported on the interest group’s petition for renewal. The notification that the IG was up for renewal was received from the ALCTS Organization and Bylaws Committee (O&B) about a month before the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting. Discussions regarding whether the IG should be renewed and on the currency of its charge were conducted via email and ALA Connect; membership is strongly in favor of renewal. One difficulty is that no IG reports are available for the time period prior to 2008 (not even at the ALCTS Division Office.) The renewal petition was submitted via email prior to Midwinter, as required, with all available documentation attached. The chair will report to the group membership on the renewal decision when it becomes available.

Connect Space

The group also discussed its ALA Connect space. The meeting reports for 2008 and 2009, as well as the text of the renewal petition have been posted there, and the decision on renewal will also be posted there. This should assist future chairs when the next renewal petition is due. The space is not necessarily easy to find, since it resides under the “Communities” heading rather than “ALA Groups.” ( Managing Ed’s Note: The direct link to the space is The interest group comes up in the top three results when “FRBR interest group” is searched.)

eXtensible Catalog

Jennifer Bowen gave a brief presentation on the eXtensible Catalog project, and issues encountered in working with FRBR as part of its development. She has agreed to make the slides from her presentation available.

The majority of the IG meeting time consisted of an open discussion of IG business and FRBR issues. Discussion topics included:

Outreach to Other Groups and Communities in ALA and ALCTS

This suggestion was made at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference and again during the online renewal discussion. One idea for outreach was to compile a list of projects working on FRBR, posted to ALA Connect, with three categories: implementations, experimental/research projects, and projects not using FRBR that might benefit from more knowledge about it. The Chair agreed to take on this project, and Matthew Beacom volunteered to assist.

Year of Cataloging Research announcement

The LRTS Editorial Board welcomes any articles on FRBR that members of the IG would like to submit as part of the Year of Cataloging Research.

RDA Preconference at Annual 2010

There will be a major preconference on RDA at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. The emphasis will be on hands on experience with using RDA, but an overview of FRBR will also be presented as background. This preconference is scheduled for Friday, and conflicts with the FRBR IG’s usual meeting time. Several options were discussed several options to try to resolve this conflict. Since the IG meeting has already been scheduled and will be difficult to change, that was eliminated as an option for the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. This decision may be revisited in the future. The IG membership did not want to cancel the meeting, for several reasons. Suggestions for topics included user interface design and implementation, FRBRoo, data modeling (in general, not just the particular FRBR data model), and FRAD and FRSAD. A panel discussion covering one or more of these topics will be considered for the IG’s meeting during the 2010 ALA Annual Conference.


The Metadata Interest Group’s Midwinter program was very well attended—seventy-eight people signed the group’s attendance sheet. The meeting was set up as a round-table discussion in a small room, but many attendees had to sit on the floor.


Chair Brad Eden introduced the speakers.

Jennifer Bowen, University of Rochester, “eXtensible Catalog: Metadata Services Toolkit”

The eXtensible Catalog (XC) Project is working to design and develop a set of open-source applications to provide easy access to all resources across different databases, metadata schemas and standards, and to enable library content to be exposed through other services. The Metadata Services Toolkit (MST) is one of three modules under development by the University of Rochester as part of the eXtensible Catalog. The other two modules are a user interface and connectivity. Bowen described the architecture of XC and the different tools designed for various functions including an XC OAI toolkit for harvesting, a NCIP toolkit for circulation data and a Drupal toolkit for the user interface. She showed XC’s interfaces and explained its main functions, including adding a repository, scheduling harvest, orchestrating services and browsing records. The main services were also covered, including metadata normalization, metadata transformation, data aggregation and authority control. The program can be downloaded from the project web site.

Roy Tennant, OCLC Research, “Massive Metadata Mash-up”

The mash-up project he has been working on involves three different types of metadata: MARC, storage data, and HathiTrust metadata. Tennant transformed HathiTrust metadata into XML and created a simple search interface in his own server. He has continued to add new data to the system and the prototype search interface is online. By January 1, 2010, 5.2 million records were in his system. His presentation illustrated the selected processes such as downloading Hathi metadata, enhancing it with more OCLC numbers, extracting OCLC numbers and running against the OCLC snapshot, merging MARC records with Hathi and storage data, and running program to extract information from the mashed data. The tools he used include Perl (for text processing), XML, Swish-e (for indexing), XSLT and XSLTproc (for XSLT parsing). He also presented some statistics, discussed the challenges faced, and shared lessons learned about how to mash-up several metadata resources effectively. Detailed program information can be found in the MIG blog at under the date January 19, 2010.

Business Meeting

IG group members introduced themselves. Eden distributed minutes from the meeting that took place during the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago to the group in advance and additional copies were available at the meeting. The minutes were approved as written.

Program Planning (Kevin Clair and Rhonda J. Marker)

Clair reported that all preconferences were set up the same as last year. Christine Ruotolo from University of Virginia Library will again teach the workshop “Manipulating Metadata: XSLT for Librarians”. Patrick Yott from Brown University will serve as her co-facilitator.

Two speakers have been selected for the main metadata session, which addresses merging metadata standards from archives and museums. Danielle Cunniff Plumer from Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative will discuss a collaborative project among different cultural institutions in the state of Texas. A second speaker (the name and affiliation were not identified) will discuss converging metadata from separate collections within a single institution. He will also discuss cross collection search. A third speaker will be sought to address usability and user services. Marker stated that they are seeking a speaker to address user’s perspective on metadata from different resources and experiences using federated search and user interfaces. The program time will be on Saturday 8–10 a.m. The program will be co-sponsored by the Joint Committee on Libraries, Archives & Museums from ALA, the Society of American Archivists and the American Association of Museums.

Eden asked the group to brainstorm more ideas for future program planning. Possible topics include automated metadata tools, annotation tools, institutional repository metadata auto-processing practices and tools, RDF and the Semantic Web, metadata editor interfaces and datasets, mash-up of metadata from different resources in big as well as medium and small sized libraries.

Blog Update (Kristin Martin)

The blog was updated prior to the 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting. Selected sessions of interest were compiled, a list of metadata related blogs was added to the blog and a call for blog volunteers was also posted. Due to the low response rate in bloggers request and the dormant period between Annual and Midwinter, Martin suggested developing a rotating list of people to contribute to the blog. Some suggested expanding the blog coverage to include sharing information on reading, reports from other conferences, reports on projects, and linking other blogs to the IG blog. Martin reported that there are about twenty current registered bloggers. Other suggestions included making the blog more open and casual to attract bloggers. However, security and registration still need to be imposed to protect the blog from spam. Martin will distribute a blog update after Midwinter.

Publications Update (Joanna Burgess)

ALA is migrating committee and IG web sites to a new design and architecture, which will make things more standardized. ALCTS may provide some guidelines on this soon. Burgess recommended posting IG documents to the group’s ALA Connect space. She also asked attendees to participate in the newly created ACRL interest group on Image Resources.

CC:DA Update (Steven Miller)

Miller reported on CC:DA activities, including an RDA update Forum. The publication of the RDA online tool is scheduled for this summer. CC:DA met once already and will have one more meeting during Midwinter. CC:DA is seeking more comments; all comments on the draft of RDA will go to Joint Steering Committee for the Development of RDA via CC:DA. He also mentioned that Dianna Hillman was giving a presentation on application profiles during the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

LITA (Holley Long)

Long reported that LITA National Forum will be in Atlanta September-October 3, 2010. The theme is the “Cloud and the Crowd” (social networking and cloud computing). Program proposals will be accepted through February 19, 2010. She added that LITA has established a new interest group “Mobile Computing”.

Music Library Association (Jenn Riley)

The Music Library Association Metadata Subcommittee of Bibliographic Control Committee is collaborating with an ALA task force coordinated through the ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS). The group will develop audio metadata standards. The Music Library Association Annual Meeting will take place March 23–24, 2010 in San Diego. The group will have two sessions. One session is titled “FRBR, FRAD, and Music: Theory and Practice,” and Caitlin Hunter, Library of Congress, will address non-western music in FRBR. Jenn Riley, Indiana University, will discuss a FRBRized search interface for music data at her institution. The second session is titled “Workflow Design for Metadata Creation,” and will cover how to set up tools that communicate with each other, and how to train and select people to work with metadata creation. It will be moderated by Jenn Riley. Renée McBride, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will discuss legacy metadata, Hunter will address LC projects, Amanda Harlan, Baylor University, will discuss a METS project.

Request for Vice Chair volunteers (Brad Eden)

Eden made a request for volunteers to serve as Vice Chair. The term is two years (the first year is as a vice-Chair and the second year as Chair). Volunteers for other officers, including Secretary, Publication Co-Chairs and a Program Co-Chair, are also sought. Interested individuals should email MIG Chair Brad Eden.

New Members (ANMIG)

The ANMIG meeting was moderated by Keisha Manning (Chair) and Dina Giambi (Interest Group Mentor). The meeting commenced with an outreach to attendees, from Shelby Harkin, Ginger Williams, and Louise Ratliff. They introduced their sections, and educated the attendees on the volunteer opportunities available within their section.

Establishing an Official Mission

Following the introduction, attendees spoke at length regarding the interest group’s charge in an effort to establish ANMIG’s official mission. Members expressed the need to understand the inner workings of ALCTS in an effort to capitalize on the value the organization offers. A number of ALCTS leaders attended the meeting, including former ALCTS President Pamela Bluh, ALCTS President Mary Case, ALCTS Past President Dina Giambi, Deborah Ryszka (chair of the ALCTS Membership Committee), Melinda Flannery (chair of the ALCTS Leadership Committee), and former ALCTS Emerging Leader Keri Cascio, to name a few. They chimed in regarding how they could help new members, offering ideas regarding the many opportunities of volunteering and mentoring within ALCTS.

ALCTS 101 at Annual

The discussion turned to the 2010 ALA Annual Conference, and the ALCTS 101 event that will take place during the conference. ANMIG will host the ALCTS 101 this year during the Annual Conference. Ideas were solicited from attendees regarding the event, its structure, and what people would like to see happen at the event. Many members expressed the need for a buddy system. Members engaging in the program will have the opportunity to pair up with an ALCTS veteran who could show them the inner workings of the organization, help them decide what events to attend at conferences, and introduce them to key people within their area of interest. ANMIG will be using the next few months prior to the 2010 ALA Annual Conference to facilitate this system within the ANMIG.

ALA Connect

The ALA Connect platform was introduced, and ANMIG members discovered some interesting information. New members who attended the meeting expressed that they do not use the ALA Connect platform, and were not familiar with Mentor Connect. Jenny Levine, ALA Connect Administrator, was present to answer questions about the platform, and to discuss what ALA is planning for the future of the platform.

The meeting adjourned with the election of the ANMIG Co-Chair/Chair Elect Amy Jackson. Jackson will assume the role of ANMIG Chair immediately following the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in June. Erica Findley was elected as ANMIG’s secretary, and Raik Zaghloul will serve as web coordinator.


Three presentations took place during the meeting.

  • “The Future of News: Archives” from Leigh Montgomery, Librarian, The Christian Science Monitor
  • “Chasing the Dumpster” by Vincent Golden, Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, American Antiquarian Society
  • “What's Happening with Born Digital Newspapers” by Frederick Zarndt, Planman Consulting North America

Montgomery discussed The Christian Science Monitor's online presence and how a variety of personalized updates are issued via email. News is published first on the web and followed by a weekly print copy. As librarian, Leigh reported that the Monitor has had a library as part of its organization since 1908. Leigh is responsible for supporting the editors, conducts research, manages the subscriptions and site licenses for e-resources, and is responsible for archiving pages from the weekly print copy, the web site and from the photograph files. Historic archived content is considered very valuable—one of the three most valuable assets in the newspaper business (the other two being the newspaper's brand and knowledge of the newsroom staff). Older content is frequently consulted and repurposed for current news coverage. In 2008, the newspaper celebrated its centennial year.

Golden presented an overview of the mission and holdings of the American Antiquarian Society, in Worcester, Massachusetts. He delighted the IG audience with a slide show of rare titles held by the Society and told of his heroic attempts to locate, transport and preserve original pre-1876 American newspapers.

Zarndt discussed the nature of born digital newspapers from a global perspective. Born digital newspapers are being collected at such institutions as the British Library, the National Library of Finland, the Singapore National Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. He also noted that born digital newspapers file formats vary wildly (PDFs, JPEG 2000, ALTO files, METS files, etc.) making digital preservation a challenge.

Amber Paranick, reference specialist, Serials and Government Publication Division, presented an update on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America database. To date 1.72 million newspaper image pages from fifteen states are represented in the repository. The next scheduled update to Chronicling America is set for March 2010. Look online for more information on LC’s Chronicling America.

Walter Cybulski announced that Bob Harriman and Jeffrey Field are the recipients of the Cunha Swartzburg Award for 2010. The award jury selected Harriman and Field to receive the award in recognition of their outstanding efforts to promote, coordinate and manage the United States Newspaper Project (USNP).

Out of Print

James Lee, Brandeis University, reported on his library’s work and the Boston Library Consortium’s Digitization on Demand Project. He distributed best practices worksheets and answered questions. Michael Cooper, President of Busca, Inc. reported on his experience searching for out of print and Print On Demand books. The committee left open the election of new officers until the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Role of the Professional in Academic Research Technical Services Departments

The theme of the meeting was “What Is Technical Services?” Attendees were asked to introduce themselves and to describe briefly how technical services operations are organized in their respective libraries. There was considerable variation among the institutions represented. Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Serials were typically included in Technical Services, though not always in separate departments. Some institutions also include any or all of Systems/Information Technology, Collection Development, Preservation, and Access Services within Technical Services. The theme sparked a lively discussion, with attendees describing not only their library’s organizational structure, but also workflows and the issues and challenges encountered in their institutions arising from the organization of technical services.

The discussion also included the question of the shifting roles of professionals and support staff in technical services in a constantly evolving work environment. Attendees emphasized the need for professionals to set and monitor standards for quality, to articulate the value of technical services to library administration and the parent institution, and to take responsibility for leadership, project management, and “thinking outside the box.”

The remainder of the session was devoted to the business meeting. Co-chairs Sandra Macke and Robert Rendall invited suggestions for future topics, and they will keep in contact with everyone who attended this session as they develop plans for the next IG meeting in Washington, D.C.

Scholarly Communications

Guest speaker, Dan Hazen, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Development, provided an overview of the open access policies recently passed at Harvard. He concentrated on how the first policy in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) was developed, how the process works, and how things are progressing. In addition to FAS, policies have been adopted by the Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Graduate School of Education. The Harvard Medical School is on a separate, but similar, track and could be adopting a policy soon. Since the majority of the research from the Harvard Business School consists of highly profitable case studies, which they are not eager to share, it is highly unlikely that they will adopt an open access policy.

Following adoption of the policies, Harvard has launched DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard) to house and archive faculty research. DASH uses DSpace and currently contains over 2,000 articles. “Open Access Fellows” are available to assist faculty in depositing their research in the repository. To ease some of the workload, they are working with publishers to obtain blanket permissions to deposit Harvard authors’ research in DASH.

As a participant in the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity with Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, and the University California, Berkeley, Harvard has formed the Harvard Open-Access Publishing Equity (HOPE) fund. The fund underwrites author fees for articles written by Harvard faculty in open access publications. The fund contains approximately $50,000 and researchers are limited to $3,000 per year. Very few applications have been received to date.

Hazen also addressed broader open access issues such as the moral hazard associated with seamless, free access to research. He pointed out that faculty are unaware of the cost of journal subscriptions to libraries. One option would be to have a notice with costs pop up when someone tries to access an article. Some institutions (Cal Tech and University of Washington) have implemented systems that associate a cost with each access. Harvard is investigating co-pay systems. Hazen’s remarks were followed by a lively Q&A and general discussion session with the sixty-three attendees.

Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries

Shifting Technical Services Priorities to Meet Evolving Needs of the Institution

Library technical services have been undergoing radical changes and are facing new challenges due to shrinking budgets, reduced positions, new e-formats and technology. Shifting priorities and seeking innovative approaches and workflows are critical in meeting these challenges.

The meeting was called to order by chair, Annie Wu. Approximately sixty-two people attended. The discussion was organized around six tables with five different topics and five discussion leaders.

Table topics included:

  1. Aligning technical services with library initiatives
  2. Applying new technologies to improve workflows
  3. Leveraging cooperation across institutions
  4. Retooling technical services staff to meet evolving needs
  5. Collaborating with other departments within the library

The table leaders were members of the group’s steering committee, including Linda Lomker, Annie Wu, Jack Hall, Roberta Winjum and Betsy Simpson. Each table also had a volunteer recorder. Discussion at each table was reported to the audience at the end of the program. The report of each table discussion below has deliberately been left long for the benefit of those unable to attend our session.

The Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group Steering Committee hosted an ALCTS e-forum January 26–28, 2010 to continue the discussion of our program topic. Ninety-four people participated in our e-forum discussion. The discussion generated many good ideas that will benefit technical services operations of all types of libraries. The e-forum discussion report is available on our interest group’s web site via ALA Connect:

Table Topic 1: Aligning Technical Services with Library Initiatives (Facilitator: Roberta Winjum)

1. Listed some initiatives that include a technical services component.

  • Closing a library
  • Digitization
  • Shifting items to a depository

2. Establishing new services.

  • If you find the technical services component is often forgotten, you need to make sure you are always at the table and have a good relationship with reference services. Make every project a library-wide project.
  • Is the line between technical and public services blurred? Not yet, we decided. Technical services staff feel threatened by cuts. We need to find ways to involve staff in projects. It is the responsibility of leadership to sponsor this involvement.
  • One participant mentioned cross-training. When cross-training is provided, many people see what other people’s jobs involve and it fosters appreciation across individuals and departments. It is important for everyone to feel that they are part of the organization.
  • Technical services staff can present new ideas, but it requires vision and leadership to recognize and nurture new ideas. Is it easy to get library-wide support for them?

3. How do we add new initiatives to regular workflows?

  • Work has been shifting due to changes in budgeting. Staff need to work together in new areas based on what work exists. One participant discussed the need to find things for acquisitions staff to do. It is hard to know how much time people have as work lessens/changes. One librarian suggested doing a workflow analysis, which would involve letting people describe their priorities and identify stumbling blocks. This exercise in her library has streamlined workflow and helped everyone to reprioritize. Cross-training is a plus because it provides backup for everyone.
  • Theme of shifting work and work realignment: one must be present at the table and be assertive to let librarians in other divisions know your department is available for new types of work.

4. The challenge of getting existing staff to do something new.

  • There are a lot of people who refuse to learn new things. Work must be divided into parts that can be distributed to a number of different people. There are also ethical issues related to compensation. We need more flexible staff structures.
  • The table agreed that we cannot have people who have only one responsibility. It is important to establish expectations of staff to meet the needs of students and faculty. There is less sensitivity now to retaining people who fail to meet the needs of the department’s work. Human Resources can get involved for support. This is also a problem for younger librarians, who take on more work or are presented with less opportunity because the organization fails to restructure workflow.
  • People are finding work to protect themselves when there is a lack of vision from administration to redeploy people. People cling to traditional work, but in this they are doing themselves a disservice: they may be downsized. There are also generational differences in how peak-career librarians (around age 55) feel about their work and its importance and how work should be done (doing things right the first time, being thorough, etc.). It can seem like some of the things that were formerly viewed as important are now viewed negatively. This is a mindset that needs to change to meet the demands and expectations of a different kind of patron base and different information environment. Discovery layers, for example, muck up authority control in the catalog. Going that direction requires a change in values, which is why it is hard for some to accept.

5. How do we involve others in our new initiatives?

  • We need to discuss values and goals instead of what do we do now and how can we do it better/more. What is the purpose of the catalog now and what do we want it to do? Is the ILS holding us back?
  • Technical services departments are in the perfect position to innovate by forming consortia, collectives, streamlining with other institutions.

Table Topic 2: Applying New Technologies to Improve Workflows (Facilitator: Annie Wu)

1. What new or emerging tools, software, systems or services has your technical services department adopted to improve workflows in cataloging, acquisitions or serials?

  • Cataloger’s Desktop. Fairly substantial changes that required some adjustment by staff.
  • MarcEdit. Generate records from spreadsheets and editing. Pull records from OCLC. For example, one might need to process MARC records from group of records such as JSTOR. Acquisitions order information from a database can be dumped into comma delimited format and uploaded to MarcEdit to create brief records. It may also used to modify vendor records. Additionally, it can be used to maintain/manage the records for ebrary collection and done as monthly updates. It is especially useful if you need to make global changes/updates.
  • PURL OCLC Software. Used for URL maintenance. It is great when cataloging for groups or consortiums.
  • ERM. Used to generate database pages, A to Z list, etc.
  • YBP Gobi and Gobi Alert. It is challenging to share alerts with faculty.
  • YBP Shelf Ready. Several participants reported that they are using. The records do not need to be perfect. Instead, they need to be accessible. Access points are important for discovery. Phase cataloging approach is being used by some libraries. We trust our colleagues to do a good job. Some level 3 quick-and-dirty records are used and these can be uploaded to OCLC.
  • Brodart Compleat Book Service. One attended reported that using the company’s service was like having an extended cataloging department. They did everything that the local cataloging librarian would do.
  • Word macros may also be used to clean up records.
  • Purchase on demand. This service enables libraries to load records into their catalog and provide a purchase button. This service is available from YBP. They have less than 200 titles available.
  • Purchase on demand for e-books is available through ebrary.
  • Dual monitors are marvelous because catalogers can bring resources up on one and records on the other.

2. How did you inform your staff about the new technology and changes in workflow? What reactions did they have? How did you help your staff learn and apply the new technology?

  • The staff are often the ones to offer the information. They appreciate the tools that make their jobs easier.
  • The hardest barrier is accepting records that are not “pretty”.
  • One participant described how staff may suffer from “newness fatigue” when many major changes have been implemented at the same time.
  • A suggestion was made to bring a trainer in to assist with the new technology. Vendors often provide this service.
  • Staff will handle changes differently. Try a variety of methods: hand holding, encouragement, and give them time to learn.
  • Document the new procedures with step by step instructions. Provide it on wikis, intranets, portals, etc. You may use chat or forums for questions/answers.
  • BaseCamp is project management software that can be used for this.
  • SnagIt is a good screen capture program. TechSmith is the company and it has a free trial version. It is good for syncing files, too.

3. With shrinking budgets, how did you gain the support of your institution (library) for the new technology or system?

  • Pose the benefits and better efficiencies that will occur. Technology is easier to request than newer staff.

4. How do you get staff positions?

  • Start them out as part-time.
  • Offer education initiatives for MLS training and then they might stay for positions that open.

5. How do you train yourself?

  • Help screens and self-learning are used mostly. Sometimes playing with the product may occur on your own time. Continuing/staff education are also great times to get this done.
  • Remember that the manager does not need to know everything. Train the person using the technologies to be the expert.
  • Webinars are popular for new technology.
  • Staff may think they do not know something but they really do.
  • Vendors may not know how to accommodate for your institution. Tap resources such as others that also use the product and/or sister campuses. This will essentially grow your resources even if it isn't physical staff.

6. What new technologies are you aware of that are used by other institutions or vendors which can benefit technical services in libraries?

  • Macro Express is used to program macros for repetitive key strokes. It works across programs.
  • NotePad ++ works with XML to present better tags and includes color coding.
  • RightSphere from CCC might help with clearing copyrights.
  • Consult the Sherpa/Romeo collection of journals for copyright clearance; it does not include every journal and it does not include book publishers.
  • Serial Solutions discussion
  • Do you correct inaccuracies?

Table Topic 3: Leveraging Cooperation across Institutions (Facilitator: Betsy Simpson)

1. In which crossinstitutional partnerships and consortia does your library participate?

  • Libraries are involved in numerous cross-institutional partnerships and consortia at the community, state, regional, national, and international levels. Among the groups cited: the Phoenix Group (Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area university libraries with Texas Tech and Baylor Universities), the State University Libraries of Florida, Amigos Library Services, the Greater Western Library Alliance, and the Association of Research Libraries.

2. What are the benefits for your library?

3. What are the disadvantages?

  • There are disadvantages to consortial arrangements as well. Institutions are sometimes forced to compromise local interests for the greater good, divert FTE away from local needs, and incur costs associated with the management of consortial efforts.
  • Deans and directors tend to overlook the potential pitfalls of shared projects, and when problems or delays are encountered, they expect staff to succeed in spite of the complexities. To push in new directions often requires the strong determination of one or more leaders in the face of competing demands and both valid and misguided criticism.

Table Topic 4: Retooling technical services staff to meet evolving needs (Facilitator: Linda Lomker)

1. What new expectations are being placed?

  • System skills often are required to work with e-resources, and staff members need to be able to learn. It can be difficult to teach the skills, but it is important to be proactive, creating programs and classes for those who need to learn. Trouble shooting can be complex and involve working with vendors, systems staff, etc.
  • Technical services functions are not just “clerk work” and a lot of the easier tasks are being outsourced. Some traditional functions are not necessary for e-resources, such as check-in for serials or marking for books, etc. Some libraries have given up some clerical positions to raise others to have the level of positions required for the type of work that needs to be done. The fact that the work is getting harder and takes longer should be expressed to others in the libraries including the dean/administration.

2. How do you set priorities for the staff assignment?

  • Setting priorities is an important aspect of managing the changes. A strategic plan determines institutional priorities. Agreement on priorities with collection development staff, especially when e-resources, new print resources and projects to catalog “hidden collections” compete for technical services staff time.
  • Technical services staff need to plan carefully for and present the value of the projects undertaken. Give realistic timeframes for projects, inform administration about what is needed to work on them and what the priorities are. Negotiation may be necessary. Statistics can be useful for making a case. Staff often can see the value of the projects and understand the time commitment. Value-added work such as form/genre subject headings can be appreciated as better service for library users.
  • It is important to evaluate workflows to reduce redundancies among different technical services staff members and even among technical services staff and staff members of other units. Sometimes the elimination of such redundancies allows more staff time for e-resources and metadata work. Staff members who are willing can be tapped to learn the new skills and take on new duties.

3. How do you identify staff to take on new skills?

  • As much as possible, staff members selected for dealing with new materials should be those who are interested, even enthusiastic, about learning something different. Interest/skills assessments can help to determine who is suited to taking on any new assignments.

4. How do you present and explain the need to develop new skills?

  • There are ways that staff members can understand what is happening and why there is a need for change. Working on service desks can help people “see” the library users’ needs more clearly. Encouraging staff members to read professional literature, join lists, attend state library conferences or other meetings can help broaden understanding. Staff meetings and posting notes from the meetings can be useful for keeping everyone informed.
  • Sometimes reluctant staff members can come around if supervisors deal with the fears such as learning slows their productivity; they already have a heavy workload, etc. Writing training for new responsibilities into the job expectations, setting aside time for training as part of the work week for employees learning something new, adjusting job descriptions to include the new tasks and reducing the time spent on other tasks where possible can help them embrace learning something new.
  • Learning new skills and approaches can be difficult for long-term employees who are proud of their knowledge of and ability to handle print and other types of materials. It is not always the long-term people who resist working with electronic resources; it is more about a positive attitude toward learning and doing new tasks than longevity or age.

5. What about staff members who are resistant to change?

  • It is important to communicate to staff how technical services work is changing and that their jobs need to change with it. Staff members need to learn new skills, especially when the work that requires the new skills is growing while the work requiring the old skills is not. (Thinking you could lose your job can be a good motivator.) Sometimes shifting the role slightly, easing people into it, works. Blaming it on new technology can direct people to the reasons for the change and away from blaming the supervisors asking them to accept change. Training can go a long way although it is labor intensive and finding time can be hard.
  • Rewards and incentives can help keep the staff engaged and motivated. Suggestions included conferences, lunches, special days, gifts, staff appreciation events, large gold stars, contests and theme parties.
  • Other points were made. One was the importance of making a point to mention technical services activities, stats, etc. at department meetings to tout achievements and demystify technical services work to the rest of the library. Regarding consultants, make sure they are geared toward your library’s needs and realize that it can be useful for someone neutral to look at the whole operation.

6. What kind of training develops those skills?

  • Training is a big issue. It is essential that staff members learn how to do the different required tasks. Sometimes the training is done in-house. If technical understanding is needed to load batch records, for example, the library systems staff may participate in training. Training offered through web courses, OCLC, state library associations and library networks can be useful staff learning opportunities. Once staff have been adequately trained and have experience, they can trouble shoot electronic resources, fixing what they can and referring other types of problems to those who can fix them, such as systems staff.

Table Topic 5: Collaborating with Other Departments within the Library (Facilitator: Jack Hall)

1. What organizational divisions does your library have? (public services, technical services, other divisions, other ways of organizing the institution?)

  • The consensus seemed to be that public and technical services are the typical divisions in most medium-sized libraries. Reference is sometimes part of public services and circulation is sometimes part of reference. Technical services (TS) is often cataloging, acquisitions, physical processing, and serials. Interlibrary loan is sometimes included, too.
  • Changes in collections and budgets are having a huge impact in TS. Job assignments are being modified or completely changing.
  • One library reported a physical challenge in its library. TS is physically isolated; they are located in the library’s sub-basement and require a separate elevator for access. This isolation promotes the “us versus them” from all perspectives.
  • Much of the early library budget “cost efficiencies” are happening in TS. TS staff are being encouraged to actively seek ways to work smarter and get things done with less staff.

2. Does administration promote good communication and cooperation in your library? If so, how have they done that? If not, why do you think that is?

  • A lack of interdepartmental communication was noted in many of the libraries. Library size did not seem to matter as both small and big libraries feel that communication could be better.
  • Technical services librarians and staff need to do a better job of explaining exactly what we do and why it is important. Public services simply do not know, and therefore may not respect, the TS contributions to library operations. Any narrative communication should be clear and understandable.
  • Some noted that monthly meetings in which the department or unit head reports on their activities is a way to begin sharing the value TS brings to the table. Others thought that real listening may not be happening during this type of meeting.
  • One library mentioned regular attendance of public services staff at the monthly TS all staff meeting and TS staff going to the public services/reference meetings as well. This opens up a possible line of communication.
  • Librarian meetings (regular and irregular) are also a means of sharing what is happening in different parts of the library.
  • Librarians participating in annual peer reviews provide an opportunity to share how teaching happens in TS.
  • Library units meet and minutes are posted but if the minutes do not include comprehensive explanations of the discussions, there is no framework in which to place the comments. This increases rather than reduces confusion between departments or units.
  • TS staff need to do a better job of communicating what they do and its value to the library’s mission.
  • For some, the small size of their library makes communication difficult; for others the large size of their library presents the challenge.
  • Some libraries have peer review in evaluations, which promotes communication.

3. How well do divisions and departments collaborate in your library? How necessary do you feel it is to improve collaboration? How well do librarians and support staff communication and cooperate?

  • Some of the collaboration challenges could be related to public services (PS) having more professionals (librarians), while technical services is often primarily staffed with library assistants.
  • TS staff are often seen as unnecessary by public services. This is reinforced by the fact that many TS staff positions have been lost as library staffing has been downsized.
  • Many libraries reported that TS and PS staff work together on task forces, projects, and committees. This is positive as it gives a personal face to TS staff and actively involves them in library activities and decision-making. At least one library reported that TS staff are seldom asked to sit on committees outside of the TS department.
  • Almost everyone reported a move towards more librarian publications. This is seen as an opportunity for collaboration between librarians. This coincides with a move towards increased expectations for librarians with faculty status.
  • Catalogers who are willing to make changes in catalog records at the request of PS staff promotes good will and collaboration.

4. What are examples of collaboration among your departments in recent years? What are some cases in which collaboration was not so good, and why do you think that was? In what ways could they have been better?

  • TS staff working on the PS desks is seen as a collaboration opportunity. PS staff was at first resistant but the TS paraprofessionals with their collection knowledge are able to provide good user services. One librarian pushed for this and made it happen. The TS staff was solicited for interest and not everyone is good at the reference desk.
  • One library reported on Project Search. Kids with special needs are learning job skills and working in TS. They are doing routine jobs such as checking in serials, alphabetizing, and physical processing. The TS paraprofessional staff are becoming mentors to the kids. This is great community outreach and a great staff benefit since everyone wins.
  • The institutional repository is a TS responsibility but PS staff are selecting and recommending materials for inclusion. Digital projects are seen as a wonderful place for collaboration among different library units and with the wider campus community.
  • TS catalogers catalog Special Collections (SC)/Archives materials, and records are reviewed by special collections librarians for content, editing, and additional notes before records are added to OCLC. Working together, the two units are providing quality cataloging for SC materials.
  • Electronic thesis access is a natural collaboration point. PS is collaborating on copyright questions (copyright questions different for e-resources). Sometimes copyright expertise is in TS. Copyright is an institutional problem and “all-hands-on-deck” is a good strategy.
  • There was brief mention that a unionized library may promote collaboration. Although represented by different unions, the union concept provides common ground and the opportunity to share information between groups.
  • TS staff in one library are helping with ILL searching since their OCLC searching skills might be superior. When ILL staff are inundated, TS staff step up and help.

5. How could collaboration in your library be improved? How could you and others in the library go about improving collaboration?

  • Some libraries reported taking on nonlibrary functions. Campus IT is sometimes part of the library. One library reported taking on campus HR activities and another that all campus work-study employment is coordinated by the library.
  • Campus IT and computer services are seen as a natural library/non-library collaboration conduit. There was an interesting report of combining the IT and Library phone help services and IT administration recognizing the high quality customer service skills brought by library staff. Library staff have taken over primary responsibility for the telephone help.
  • Much of what happens is on the personal level. One librarian approaches another and they work together on a project.
  • Committees, working groups, and task forces with a variety of staff (TS and PS) and members (librarians and paraprofessionals) and possible community members are good ways to promote collaboration and working together.
  • TS has been actively collaborating with vendors for a long time. Yankee’s shelf-ready process was offered as an example.
  • TS collaboration in acquisitions and cataloging is being widely discussed and considered in some libraries for consortial participation.

6. Miscellaneous

  • There was discussion of the catalogers’ need to make perfect records and the movement towards creating a good record that may later be enhanced by someone else. Cataloging needs to make things findable and useful. Moving beyond the “p-word” (perfect) is seen as necessary outside of TS and gaining momentum inside of TS.
  • Some interlibrary collaboration on collection development is at least being discussed and considered. Trying to find a way to optimize budgets and more closely share resources is the goal.

Technical Services Directors in Large Research Libraries

The Future of Bibliographic Control

The Future of Bibliographic Control was the first topic on the Big Heads agenda. Ruth Fischer (R2 Consulting) reported on the recent publication of “ Study of the North American MARC Records Marketplace.”

R2 was commissioned by the Library of Congress (LC) to study the marketplace as a follow up to the “On the Record” report. Major findings of the report include: economic confusion about the cost/value of MARC records due to LC’s subsidy; there are insufficient incentives for cataloging; and there are conflicts between community values and commercial values.

Beacher Wiggins (LC) reported on “ On the Record Report Recommendations the Library of Congress Should Pursue Over the Next Four Years.”

LC has a number of projects underway, including: an ONIX-CIP pilot; adding controlled vocabularies from academic societies to bibliographic records; expanding; creating of database of hidden collections; and linking classification schedules to web resources.

Erin Stalberg (North Carolina State) presented the interim report of the Task Force on Cost/Value Assessment of Bibliographic Control. They are working on a methodology of assessment. The group approved an extension of the task force until annual 2010 to complete their work.


The second major discussion topic was Resource Description and Access ( RDA).

Diane Hillmann (Director of Metadata Initiatives, Information Institute of Syracuse) gave a presentation on “ RDA Vocabularies”--a joint development by JSC and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI). The registry is online and includes Classes, Elements and Concepts. The goal is to move library data beyond MARC, and to tap into linked data on the web.

Chris Cole (NAL), Dianne McCutcheon (NLM), and Beacher Wiggins (LC) gave an update on the RDA release date (June 2010), which will be followed by nine months of testing.

Evidence-Based Management

The final discussion topic, evidence-based management, was led by Peggy Johnson (University of Minnesota). Technical services are good at counting things, but weak on impacts. We need to automate data collection as much as possible. Some libraries are using benchmarking and sampling as techniques for data gathering. Data can highlight problems areas—can we redeploy staff to make things happen? There was some interest in sharing of both data and techniques for data gathering.

Technical Services in Public Libraries

The meeting consisted of three major parts. Two representatives from Overdrive discussed the process for establishing digital collections, and the problems that libraries face in starting up and maintaining digital download collections. This is an issue that many public libraries face. The discussion focused on how to budget for the expense of the collection, how to handle cataloging of the materials, how to present the material in the ILS, how to promote the collection, and how to get staff involved in the new endeavor. This was a lively discussion of interest to the attendees.

The second part of the meeting was a discussion of what the group members want. This was only the second meeting of this IG. This discussion centered on whether the group should be a program sponsoring body, or whether it should continue as it had the first two meetings with presentations on topics of current interest. Attendees favored continuing with discussions and the topical presentations rather than going through the formal process of planning programs.

The third part of the meeting centered on to topics of general interest to the group, including budgets, RDA, ILS systems and open source, budget, patron notices for holds, collection development, and plans for the next meeting during the 2010 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.    




Uncovering the True Cost of Gift Books: Are They Worth It?

Joe Badics, Acquisitions Librarian, Eastern Michigan University, presented the results of an analysis that he conducted of the book donations received during 2001. Jennifer Paustenbaugh, Associate Dean of Libraries for Planning and Assessment, Oklahoma State University, presented the results of her study, “Uncovering the True Cost of Gift Books: Are They Worth It?” She was able to identify necessary processing changes for OSU.

A good discussion followed the presentations. A new gifts librarian asked for advice about gift processing at his institution. A publisher asked for a librarian’s opinions in receiving donations from companies.    


Cataloging and Classification

Authority Control (LITA/ALCTS)

Past-chair Mary Mastraccio, MARCIVE, welcomed those attending. She was presiding on behalf of Amy McNeely, ACIG chair, and Lynnette Fields, chair-elect, neither of whom were able to attend the conference. She made introductory remarks and then proceeded with the first report.

Authority File Maintenance: To Do or Not To Do? (Mary Mastraccio, MARCIVE)

The first question to answer in making the decision named in the title is whether authority maintenance is a necessity or an extravagance, Mastraccio asserted. She defined the term and cited the benefits—adding “hooks” to aid user retrieval, and promoting order and resisting chaos in the catalog through providing regular oversight of data and keeping it current. Authority maintenance helps to remedy human errors, keep pace with changing terminology and technology, and improves the end-user experience. If authority maintenance is deemed necessary, the next question is whether it will be a manual or an automated process. Each has its place. Manual maintenance employs human judgment and intelligence to analyze data and create cooperative metadata such as NACO authority records or respond to flags set by automation when an action requires further judgment; automated processes have the capacity to perform mass reviews and updates quickly and consistently.

Mastraccio likened it to using a dishwasher: it is ideal for large amounts of dishes and general cleaning, but someone still needs to load and unload it. Hand washing is necessary for the fine china or crystal. She noted the massive numbers of new and changed authority records (LC distribution averaging over 17,000 a week in 2009) as a daunting challenge to manual maintenance. She described some of the specialized work that automated authority service vendors provide such as maintaining copies of a library’s authority file to identify updated or new records to be distributed, ongoing headings correction in bibliographic records, custom changes, and providing reports. Her conclusion was that “A current and consistent catalog is a necessity for improved user access, not an extravagance!”

The eXtensible Catalog and Authority/Vocabulary Services (Jennifer Bowen, University of Rochester)

The eXtensible Catalog (hereafter XC) is a suite of open-source software for metadata and resource management in development at the University of Rochester, with funding from the Mellon Foundation. It includes a customizable user interface, metadata-management software, harvester software, and NCIP-compliant circulation and authentication software. The Metadata Services Toolkit software suite enables libraries to automatically process batches of metadata through a set of services, makes the processed metadata available for harvest by other applications, and propagates changes in source metadata through services and on to other applications.

The software performs some transformation and cleanup (e.g., normalization) and aggregates metadata from various sources, but is not a metadata editor. An authority-control component is in development; this software would match record elements against a local MARCXML authority resource file, and populate the incoming records with authority control identifiers (either a MARC $0 or an XC schema attribute). The prototype has been developed by students from the Rochester Institute of Technology. The use of authority control identifiers can enable mergers, facilitate linking to external services such as OCLC’s WorldCat Identities, and be a flag (through its absence) for manual review and authority work. Some of the challenges to overcome are the need to validate fields with multiple elements to match (e.g., a name-title heading, LCSH with subdivisions), difficulties in matching in non-MARC records (e.g., personal names entered in direct order), and incorporating maintenance capabilities. This service is slated for development later this calendar year

Library of Congress Update (Janis Young)

Young organized her report around three different types of authority records: name, subject, and form/genre.

Name (“descriptive authorities”)

The RDA testing program is slated to begin after the anticipated June publication date. The three national libraries and twenty-three test partners will undertake a period of training, production, and evaluation that is expected to last about nine months. Part of the test will involve the creation of authority records using RDA. Forty-eight LC staff will participate in the test; those that do not use AACR2 to create bibliographic records will use RDA only to create authority records. In preparation for the test, LC staff have evaluated the 545 Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI) for their utility in an RDA context. Approximately 420 will be cancelled; most of these are explanations of past practice, bridges between pre- AACR2 and AACR2 practices, and instructions for situations requiring cataloger’s judgment. The 125 being retained center around making pre-cataloging decisions (e.g., monograph vs. serial), corporate-body status, CIP, names of places, special instructions for musical, legal, and theological works, and instructions developed in consultation with specialized communities (e.g., named works of art).

In other news, NACO participants can now add coordinates to geographic name-authority records. LC and OCLC are investigating ways to populate existing records with data. Young reminded the group that the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is public and available for use in authority work, albeit with a justifying 670 citation and in the context of current Anglo-American practice.


The big news was the change of the heading “Cookery” to “Cooking.” Young mentioned some of the challenges and choices made in this process, in particular the application of the heading to food-preparation that does not involve heat. LC is considering a project to create validation records (records for subdivided headings that would not routinely be established) for a subset of children’s subject records; input from users is welcome. Also on the table are projects to add field 053 (LC Classification Number) and field 072 (Subject Headings Manual instruction sheet numbers) to records. The latter addition would be a step toward being able to publish subsets of LCSH. The SKOS interface for LCSH ( has been improved, in particular offering access to deleted headings.


Work is proceeding on many fronts. Form/genre headings for moving image material are being evaluated as to whether they apply to both fictional and non-fictional works, to only one or the other, or to neither. Hierarchical references would be added as appropriate to authority records. The current practice of requiring an additional “Fictional” or “Non-fictional” heading to each bibliographic record would be made optional since in many cases the main heading implies one or the other. A position paper is available at

Qualifying form/genre terms for cartographic materials will be removed from the form subdivision “$v Maps” in favor of adding form/genre headings to bring out the type of map being described (e.g., $v Maps and 655 Topographical maps instead of $v Maps, Topographical). The first group of such changes should appear in late spring or early summer of 2010.

The Music Library Association is working with LC on form/genre headings for music. A major step was the decision to “deconstruct” those headings that contain both form/genre and medium-of-performance elements (e.g., Sonatas (Piano)). Approximately 1,000 form/genre terms have been identified thus far; medium of performance terms will not be part of the thesaurus, and form/genre terms will not be qualified by language. The community’s preference is to implement these changes all at once. Unresolved issues include form subdivisions for music, particularly when the main heading does not denote a musical item (e.g., “Lincoln, Abraham, 1809–1865 $v Songs and music”); how to handle musical settings of the Psalms; and how to treat the concept of sacred music.

The Law Project (with the Association of American Law Libraries) is underway, and proposals and approved headings are expected to appear around the middle of 2010. The Religion project will be a joint venture with the American Theological Library Association, and is expected to begin in earnest after the ATLA conference in June 2010.

MeSH Update (Diane Boehr, National Library of Medicine)

Since MeSH is a specialized vocabulary unfamiliar to many, Boehr described it, in particular its status as a thesaurus used not only in cataloging, but in indexing medical journals in MEDLINE/PubMed. The hierarchical structure (called “trees”) allows for an “explode” search capacity in the NLM catalog. She described the types of authority-records in MeSH and correlated them to LCSH—descriptors (main headings), Publication Characteristics (publication types/Form-Genre), Geographics, Qualifiers (subdivisions). The entire file is updated annually. Boehr noted that MeSH could be consulted through an online browser (, and may also be downloaded. She described the faceted approach to subject analysis that differentiates MeSH from current LC practice; it was implemented in 1998 in part to provide a closer correlation with indexing practices and improve searching across NLM’s databases.

Data that would normally be in subfields in LCSH ($v, $z) are instead in discrete fields (655, and 651, respectively). When NLM distributes bibliographic records, it programmatically attaches these fields as subfields to the Descriptor fields. Subfield $9 is used to prevent the publication characteristics from being inappropriately attached to Descriptors, although there is no way to keep geographics from attaching. Boehr described some of the changes that have been made for 2010—new descriptors, changes to reflect new terminology, and deletions. In particular, major revisions occurred in the trees for Organisms, reflecting the shift in classification of organisms from their modes of nutrition and locomotion to their structural, biochemical, and genetic traits. New terms for Rare Diseases were incorporated from a National Institutes of Health list. She detailed some of the work that goes into NLM’s annual updating of its files, which involves automated procedures as well as manual intervention. The 2011–2012 changes are expected to reflect further work on rare-disease terms, a review of headings for disasters, and the appearance of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The update program was followed by a business meeting. Approximately fifty-three people attended the program and fourteen attended the business meeting. Lynnette Fields accepted the invitation to finish out Amy McNeely's term. Melanie McGurr was elected as Vice-Chair. Both will continue in their elected positions for the next full year 2010–2011.

Cartographic Materials

Ed.’s note: This group did not meet at the ALA Midwinter Meeting so that interested parties could attend the SACO at-large session, which largely dealt with cartographic materials.

Catalog Management

The Catalog Management Interest Group meeting featured four presentations with time for questions after each.

Magda El-Sherbini, Head of Cataloging, The Ohio State University, discussed “Cooperative Cataloging Expertise: New Concepts and New Models” and provides three scenarios for direct sharing of expertise between libraries, sometimes including cost recovery. She offered examples from OhioLink and at Ohio State.

Allison O’Dell, Special Collections Cataloger, Goucher College, gave a presentation titled “’It wasn't old when we bought it’: Techniques and Tips for Expanding Catalog Records with Elements of Descriptive Bibliography.” Physical descriptions such as binding, illustration, and signature were added to older collections, and included genre terms and a tag cloud of material types.

Suzanne Graham, Cataloger a cataloger at the University of Georgia’s law library, discussed “Cataloging Staff Participation in Community Tagging.” Her project utilized staff to help identify items needing genre terms, such as casebooks and formbooks that are very useful in law. Items were then reviewed and globally updated to contain the term, which were then automatically harvested for a tag cloud.

Connie McGuire, Electronic Resources Cataloger, and Vicki Dillon, Systems Librarian, both from the University of Michigan, presented “Batch Loading MARC Records for Electronic Resources.” Michigan has a single-record approach that requires merging when the print version is held. A detailed workflow was developed, requiring close cooperation between cataloging and systems in the identification and correction of errors.

All of the presentations are available on the group’s ALA Connect space.

Cataloging Norms

Attendance at the meeting, estimated at about seventy, was down considerably from 2009—a fact that the chair attributes to decreased travel budgets as a result of the national recession.

The meeting was chaired by Rebecca Routh and the vice-chairs. Michael Kim, co-chair, was unable to attend due to a family emergency. The program consisted of three presentations on a variety of timely topics.

Morphing ETD Metadata

The first presentation, by Sevim McCutcheon, Catalog Librarian, Kent State University Libraries, was titled “Morphing ETD Metadata: A Highly Automated Method of Cataloging Electronic Theses and Dissertations.” She explained how Kent State University has created a highly automated process to load preliminary records for ETDs into its KentLINK catalog as soon as the ETD is available at the OhioLINK EDT Center. A discovery tool to these resources is provided almost instantly. A Perl program uses the OAI-PMH protocol to extract metadata, modifies and enhances the data, and inserts it into her institution’s Innovative Interfaces, Inc. catalog. Significant effort was made to map the data from ETD-MS to MARC. Catalogers are notified by email when a preliminary MARC record for an ETD has been created. Using state-wide standards developed by OhioLINK member libraries, catalogers upgrade the record and contribute the full bibliographic records to OCLC WorldCat, in addition to the local and consortial catalogs. By exploiting technology to input the routine descriptive portion of bibliographic records, staff time is freed to concentrate on the intellectually challenging portion, full subject analysis and classification. This efficiency maximizes user access to Kent State University's intellectual contribution of graduate student research.

See also: Next Generation Catalogs

The second topic, “See also: Next Generation Catalogs,” was co-presented by Martha Rice Sanders, Knowledge Management Librarian for the HELIN Library Consortium (, and Rice Majors, Product Manager, Innovative Interfaces Incorporation. As a beta partner library for Innovative’s Encore discovery services platform, the HELIN Library Consortium has played an important role in refining the tight integration of local authority data to power a “next generation” version of cross references, with authority data leveraged in Encore as related searches. Sanders and Majors discussed several aspects of their collaboration, including aspects of discovery that are empowered by the inclusion of local authority data, the changing role of discovery services platforms, and the experience of being a beta partner and working closely with a vendor.

A Study of Catalogers’ Perception of Quality Cataloging

The third presentation, “A Study of Catalogers’ Perception of Quality Cataloging, Past and Present” was presented by Karen Snow, Ph.D. Candidate in Library and Information Sciences at the University of North Texas. She explained how “quality cataloging” is a concept whose meaning is often assumed to be universally understood, although a survey of library science literature shows that not to be the case. Snow summarized the history of “quality cataloging” in library science literature, the reasons for differing perceptions of “quality cataloging” among catalogers, and how we can gain a better understanding of cataloger expectations and motivations by studying these differing perceptions.

A fourth presentation had been planned on “The Changing Terms in Sears: The Impact of Societal and Cultural Changes on Subject Headings” by Sara Rofofsky Marcus (Queensborough Community College). As the speaker was unable to present, this portion of the program was cancelled.    


Collection Management and Development

Collection Management in Public Libraries

The group held a lively and engaging discussion of several trends and major issues (Strategic Plan Goal Area 1, #1) related to collection development and management. The trends discussed included floating collections, with particular focus on distribution issues and impact of circulation patterns, as well as standing orders in these economically difficult times. Relationships with publishers and other vendors were also discussed. A brief overview of Oak Park Public Library's groundbreaking transgender collection was given, as part of Strategic Plan Goal Area 2, # 3.    


Continuing Resources

Cost of Continuing Resources

Three speakers addressed the topic: Open Access: Entitlement, Opportunity, or Peril?

Alex Christoforou, Membership Accounts Manager, BioMed Central (BMC), gave an overview of Open Access from the publisher’s perspective. Highlights included the growth of access publishing, dispelling the myths, and how libraries can partner with BMC to make the shift towards open access (OA) publishing and fulfill OA mandates. Recent years have seen rapid growth in article submissions and an improvement in Impact Factors. OA publishing is now mainstream. Through participation in Simple Web Service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD) institutional repositories can accept deposits without concerns about formatting and metadata.

Terry Owen, Coordinator for the Digital Repository, University of Maryland (DRUM), discussed the lessons he learned during recent attempts to pass a statement in support of Open Access on his campus. While the statement was ultimately voted down, the larger process has resulted in wide and productive conversations throughout the university. For universities considering such a statement, he recommends ensuring that the message is clear, focusing on one aspect (such as self-archiving), educating faculty on OA, and building support from the ground up.

Ellen Finnie Duranceau, Scholarly Publishing and Licensing Consultant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), addressed the origins and details of MIT’s recent Faculty Open Access policy, the first unanimous, university-wide faculty vote of its kind. After extensive discussions about deeply held values within the faculty to share their work as widely as possible, a mechanism was developed to allow faculty to speak with one voice with the university acting on their behalf.

College and Research Libraries

Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization Presenters

The first presentation was titled “What to Withdraw? Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization Presenters” and was given by Roger C. Schonfeld, Manager of Research, Ithaka S+R (Strategy and Research); and Ross Housewright, Analyst, Ithaka S+R.

The two speakers presented a report recently released by Ithaka S+R examining criteria for evaluating which print journal titles can safely be withdrawn from library collections, considering the fact that these journals are stored in archives elsewhere and are digitized by trusted institutions. Schonfeld and Housewright indicated that Ithaka is working to create an online tool to help institutions determine which titles may be safe to withdraw. They also emphasized that this tool should not be the only source of evaluative information for librarians; the politics of local institutions may require that certain materials be kept, even if it is “safe” to withdraw them according to the Ithaka criteria.

MARC Format Holdings Data Presenter

The second presentation was made by Sandy Chen, Electronic Resources and Serials Management Librarian, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and was titled “To Have and to Hold: MARC Format Holdings Data Presenter.” Chen described the Z39.71 MFHD standard and gave examples of some of challenges her library experienced during the implementation of these standards. This included checking the stacks to verify the holdings, then inputting them into various different systems on the library’s end. She concluded with a request for libraries and vendors all to adhere to the MFHD standard in order to communicate holdings information more efficiently and accurately.

Pay-Per-Use Article Delivery

The third presentation, “Pay-Per-Use Article Delivery at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point” was given by Mindy King, Serials Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Library and Aaron Nichols, Access Services Librarian, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Library. King and Nichols described a pay-per-use pilot project undertaken at UW-Stevens Point. Over a period of three months, patrons submitted pay-per-use article requests through normal Interlibrary Loan requests, followed by a SurveyMonkey survey regarding their opinion of the service. Patrons responded very favorably to the project, indicating the ease of use of the request system. UW-Stevens Point identified $50,000 of journal cancellations as a result of the pay-per-use project. Librarians plan to poll users again regarding the cancellations to ensure that patrons are satisfied with the pay-per-use service.    


Preservation and Reformatting

Book and Paper

The meeting opened with announcements:

The announcements were followed by reports.

LC Recycled Paper Research, Pilot Project (Holly Robertson, LC)

The United States government has mandated the purchase of 30 percent recycled paper. The study will determine the strength and longevity of copy paper made of recycled fiber. Accelerated aging techniques will be used to simulate effects of natural degradation. Recycled fibers at 30 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent will be tested. The testing is looking for physical, chemical and optical changes. See web site for more information.

PUR Adhesives (Brian Baird, Bridgeport Bindery)

Samples of bindings that were bound with Polyurethane adhesives were passed around. Seventy books were sent for testing, half with PVA and half with PUR bound to LBI standards. A variety of materials and paper types were tested. It was found that PUR tests were equal to or better than PVA testing. It was also noted that PUR bindings are more flexible, lay flatter. Lastly, PUR holds multiple-type materials and is a better alternative to over sewing.

UT iSchool

Andrew Dillon, UT iSchool was a surprise guest. He reported that the school was left with a financial hole that the university needed to address; they also need to address recurring funding issues. Further reductions are requested by February 15. Dillon wants to bring preservation and conservation more into regular curriculum. The Certificates of Advance Study for Preservation Administration and Conservation as they existed will no longer be available, but students will be able to develop their own advance certificates (the curricular structure is much more fluid). The reasoning is to allow for more of the iSchool students to get knowledge in preservation and conservation.

The iSchool cannot sustain the original structure of graduating eight to ten students a year. The costs are too high, and the school’s role is to try to sustain what they can. The change will not alleviate the budget pressures. The school needs to reach the point where they can operate without external funding. Course offerings will be dynamic.

Training archivists and preservation assistants is one thing, but training conservators is another. People are concerned that the bar has now been lowered. How will the faculty handle the transmission of cultural material? A list of classes is available online; many of the original classes will still be available. Conservation and preservation specialties will have to be done on an individual basis. Further discussion will be hosted on PCAN.

Ahead to Annual Conference

Ideas for the 2010 ALA Annual Conference were discussed. The following topics were suggested:

  • Budget impacts on workflows, sharing creative ideas
  • Preservation Week and May Day events, sharing ideas
  • Using Social Media and Web 2.0 for outreach and education

Digital Conversion


  • Chris Lacinak, Founder and President of AudioVisual Preservation Solutions
  • Jon Shaw, Head, Research, Training and Quality Management, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
  • Lotfi Belkhir, CEO and Founder of Kirtas Technologies

The challenges and solutions of born-digital audio/video formats conversion to modern formats were addressed. The University of Pennsylvania Libraries partnership with Kirtas Technologies resulted in making over 200,000 titles available for scan-on-demand and purchase was presented. Lotfi discussed his products and the process of Digitizing on Demand (DOD) from beginning to end. A brief Q&A session followed.

Digital Preservation

The program consisted of presentations on recent Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC) audits and concluded with digital preservation conference updates and a call for future program topics.

Matt Schultz, Collaborative Services Librarian, MetaArchive Cooperative, provided an overview of the MetaArchive self audit. Schultz discussed background information on the MetaArchive and LOCKSS infrastructure and mission, his work as an auditor, information on the TRAC criteria, the TRAC audit process, and the preparation and investigation phase.

Martha Brogan, Director of Collection Development and Management, University of Pennsylvania, provided an update on the Center for Research Libraries’ preservation audit of Portico. Brogan, serving as CRL Chair of the Certification Advisory Panel (CAP), reported that the Panel's TRAC audit findings certified Portico as a trustworthy digital repository. For a full report on the 2010 Portico Audit see the CRL's web site.

Brogan reported that in early December 2009, the CRL Certification Advisory Panel began its preliminary TRAC assessment of HathiTrust. The Panel's findings are accepted by spring 2010. It was also noted that the CCSDS Working Group on Digital Repository Audit and Certification is attempting to create an ISO standard for the audit and certification of digital repositories. Note: The CCSDS Working Group is a voluntary working group engaged in developing a new standard based on the TRAC criteria for submission to the International Standards Organization (ISO) for approval.

Conference Updates

Mary Molinaro, University of Kentucky, reported on the Fifth International Digital Curation Conference “Moving to Multi-Scale Science: Managing Complexity and Diversity, London, December 2–4, 2009. Other conference updates from the floor were on the Forth International Conference on Open Repositories in Atlanta, Georgia, May 18–21, 2009 and the Sun Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group meeting held in San Francisco, October 7–9, 2009.

Two future program topics were suggested:

  1. Web 2.0 archiving
  2. How to deal with video preservation; file formats to use and archiving files

Intellectual Access to Preservation Data

The first hour of the meeting consisted of a presentation given by Lisa Schmidt, Electronic Records Archivist and team lead for the Michigan State University (MSU) Digital Curation Planning Project.

The program was scheduled with an eye to three objectives from the ALCTS strategic plan:

  1. Sponsor programs and open forums to encourage collaboration and discussion of practices and problems.
  2. Evaluate and document practices.
  3. Encourage and recognize innovation and motivate practitioners to adopt new and improved practices.

Like other research universities, MSU has amassed a growing body of digital information—some of which only exists in digital form. Without an active, well-considered plan for managing and preserving these resources, they will eventually become inaccessible due to the ever changing nature of technology. The MSU Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC) recently embarked on a digital curation planning project designed to help ensure the trustworthy preservation, management, and stewardship of the university’s digital assets and intellectual property. Project activities will include a campus-wide survey followed up by in-depth interviews of select units that may be accompanied by inventorying and appraisal of digital assets. Schmidt’s presentation was followed a question-and-answer period.

Audio Metadata Task Force Report

The meeting was concluded by Janet Gertz, chair of the Audio Metadata Task Force formed by this interest group, who gave a progress report. The group is working to document the actual implementation of the various metadata standards used in working with sound recordings. The work being done is in accordance with three objectives from the ALCTS strategic plan:

  1. Sponsor programs and open forums to encourage collaboration and discussion of practices and problems.
  2. Evaluate and document practices.
  3. Encourage and recognize innovation and motivate practitioners to adopt new and improved practices.

The task force has reviewed the information collected so far on the wiki it is using to compile the content for the audio metadata listing it intends to produce. To date, the task force has divided up the work of finding examples of institutions that are using each of the metadata standards/guidelines it has previously identified.

The group is in the process of determining which reporting formats are acceptable for posting on the PARS web site and what is involved in making it available there. The NEH would like to be able to refer to this work in giving guidance to people writing proposals, and that it would be helpful for them if it can be made available by March.