ALCTS Division Committees and Interest Groups

Affiliate Relations Committee

Louise Ratliff announced that she will be winning an ALCTS Presidential citation for her role in the ALCTS reorganization. The award will be given June 24 at 5:30 during the ALCTS awards ceremony.

Louise Ratliff reported that the Affiliates Showcase program, held Saturday afternoon at Annual Conference, went very well. There were approximately 50 attendees, and the programs were well-received and kept to time. The presentations will be put up on ALA Connect. Unfortunately Susan Mueller, the guiding spirit behind the showcase, was unable to attend due to a family illness. In summary, the showcase was a success.

Continuing Education Committee

Overview of 2011–2012:

  • Eleven e-forums were held between August 2011 and May 2012. There are approximately 3,200 subscribers on the e-forum list. Analysis of surveys at the conclusion of each discussion indicates that the e-forums reach a wide audience, but that only about 15 percent of subscribers are active participants. Although some participants have indicated a desire to use a medium other than e-mail, after consideration it was decided that for the time being the e-forum would continue as an e-mail discussion.
  • Web courses on five different topics continue to be well attended. The long awaited Fundamentals of Cataloging web course will be completed by August 15. Assuming that testing will go smoothly, the course will be offered in spring 2013. Development of a new course on Fundamentals of Digital Preservation will commence very soon.
  • ALCTS webinars attracted 3,062 registrations in FY2012. RDA continues to generate a great deal of interest. The fall 2012 webinar schedule is nearly complete. Members of the CE committee’s technical support subcommittee provided technical support for webinars, as well as for other virtual events. The CE and Program Committees collaborated on a report for the ALCTS Board and recommended that a division level committee be created to support the full scope of the division’s virtual programmatic offerings.
  • Publicity and marketing for ALCTS continuing education offerings continues to be refined and improved. Quarterly announcements are augmented by individual announcements about web courses five weeks before the start of each course. Webinars are publicized two weeks in advance.
  • As of June 2012, net revenue from continuing education for FY2012 is $96,287. Although less than FY2011, it is enough to support a half-time staff member in the ALCTS office.

Looking ahead to 2012–2013:

  • Expand marketing of continuing education to an international audience
  • Coordinate with the Membership Committee for marketing continuing education
  • Foster the development of webinars based on publications
  • Systematize technical support for virtual events


The committee reviewed sponsorships achieved between Midwinter 2012 and Annual 2012:

  • Annual Program Brittle Book Strategies for the 21st Century (WAS Brittle Books Policies: Digital Reformatting and Retention of the Originals) HathiTrust $500 Beth Callahan
  • Web Course Fundamentals of Acquisitions April 16–May 11 Ingram/Coutts $250 Steven Carrico
  • Web Course Fundamentals of Collection Development/Management May 7–June 1 Ingram/Coutts $250 Steven Carrico
  • Web Course Fundamentals of Electronic Resources Acquisitions Harrassowitz $1,500 Lenore England
  • Preservation Week Webinar Taking Care: Family Textiles April 24, 2012 Gaylord $750 (Plus $100 Gift Certificate) Julie Mosbo
  • Preservation Week Webinar Preserving Your Personal Digital Photographs April 26, 2012 The HF Group $1,000 Julie Mosbo

The group also considered a draft of sponsorship opportunities and advertising opportunities prepared by Charles Wilt. We want to prepare a single, double-sided sheet that allows potential sponsors and advertisers to understand their options at a glance. Given the laws that apply to 501(c)(3) organizations like ALCTS, however, we must be careful to keep sponsorships separate from advertising. Incoming chair Lenore A. England is organizing the draft into categories and giving levels and will continue to work on it with the committee in the coming year.

Lenore is the Digital Resources Librarian at the University of Maryland University College. She works in an exclusively virtual environment and plans to hold monthly meetings for the group via WebEx. Lenore is familiar with fundraising through her own family foundation and is eager to explore the option of more general donations to ALCTS in addition to individual program or course sponsorships. Webinars may benefit from this general approach. This year, webinars were often specific enough that it was difficult to find an individual sponsor that was a good fit.

The committee also reviewed a self-assessment tool for asking styles and a piece on Fundraising Strategies for Libraries. Finally, incoming member Robin Champieux reviewed her experiences on the vendor side of the fundraising experience, noting how the timing of asks and the perceived exposure/return on investment are important factors in the answers given.

International Relations Committee

The ALCTS International Relations Committee (IRC) did not meet in person in Anaheim. During the scheduled meeting period, we presented the program RDA Worldwide, cosponsored by the ALCTS CaMMS RDA Conference Forums and Programs Task Force, and the ALCTS CaMMS Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA). The program was well-attended, with an estimated 200 audience members at the peak. IRC Chair David Miller, who was to have chaired the panel discussion, was called away from Anaheim on short notice. Committee member Birdie MacLennan ably chaired the discussion in his stead, and other IRC committee members provided invaluable assistance.

In lieu of an in-person meeting, the IRC discussed and reviewed current projects via e-mail prior to Annual. Chief among these are the committee’s participation in the ALA IRO 2015 International Strategic Plan, and the ongoing 2012 Online Course Grant Awards. The chair has also contacted current and incoming ALCTS section chairs, regarding the 2012 nominations to IFLA Section standing committees.

Leadership Development Committee

The committee discussed the ALCTS Chair Orientation Webinar offered in May and June 2012. Feedback from the post-webinar survey indicated that no significant changes need to be made to the program next year. Potential topics for additional webinars include orientation focused on interest group chairs (Miranda will follow up with Dale Swensen, IG coordinator, on this); ALCTS Budget 101 (suggested by Charles Wilt); Standing for office in ALCTS; “Virtual Leadership” (could make a good Emerging Leaders project; Miranda will follow up with the committee about this once the Emerging Leaders proposal form is available); and using ALA Connect (probably not the committee’s responsibility, but we could pass on the suggestion).

As usual, the committee will contribute to the ALA Emerging Leaders program by publicizing the opportunity to propose Emerging Leaders projects (and perhaps proposing a project of its own—the “Virtual Leadership” webinar mentioned above) and selecting the Emerging Leader to receive ALCTS sponsorship. That process will take place in mid-August.

The committee is putting together a program for Annual 2013 on succession planning. The next steps in the process are to come up with an attention-grabbing title, rewrite the description to be more enticing, and select panel speakers.

After an update from ALCTS leadership and thank yous to departing members, the meeting adjourned.

Library Materials Price Index (LMPI) Editorial Board

The members of the Board had reviewed and approved the minutes of the 2012 Midwinter meeting prior to this meeting.

Narda Tafuri announced that Brenda Dingley and Judy Jeng have stepped down as compilers. George Aulisio will replace Judy as compiler of the British Academic Book index and will attend the ALA Midwinter meeting.

The members of the Board discussed the possibility/feasibility of reestablishing the U.S. Periodical Price Index (USPPI) formerly compiled by Brenda Dingley.

Kittie Henderson, EBSCO got the last title file for the index from Brenda and loaded the information to establish a list. She pulled two title files, one print preferred and the other electronic. The profile used was based on a medium-size ARL library.

Kittie will have the office re-run the ISSN list that she had given to Brenda and distribute it to the board. Kittie will also send that was sent to Brenda last year. There were no e-journal packages or database packages in this list.

Kittie will run the data from last year for the e-only packages. Once we get a stable title list we can get the past list price for the titles. The hardest part will be the title changeouts.

The Board will review the data and Kittie will set up a conference call. Steve Bosch said that the thing to do is to set up a reasonable process to deal with titles that drop off, etc. This process needs to become more automated in order to make continuing this index viable.

Kittie will start to send the files on Tuesday, June 26.

LRTS Editorial Board

1. Mary Case (chair, ALCTS Publishing Review Task Force) reported on the work of the task force and recommendations that will be in the final report.

2. Peggy Johnson (LRTS editor) reviewed her previously distributed midyear report and noted that several papers were submitted in June.

3. Norm Medeiros (LRTS book review editor) summarized his previously distributed report and noted that he maintains a list of books reviewed, being reviewed, and available for review on the LRTS Editorial Board Connect site.

4. Board members spent time brainstorming topics appropriate for papers, including:

  • transforming collections
  • assessment in technical services
  • demand-driven acquisitions
  • future of linked data if bibliographic records are no longer created
  • data sets and the emerging role of librarians in managing them
  • cloud-based systems
  • undifferentiated personal name authority records
  • dynamic content and the challenge of managing digital publications that are not discrete monographs and are constantly changing
  • comparison of e-book and print book use
  • course adoption of books and a survey of how many university press books are adopted for courses
  • publisher relations
  • media conservation
  • survey of selector needs during the acquisitions life cycle

5. Board members reported on their activities to solicit LRTS submissions.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee approved its minutes from its Midwinter meeting in Dallas. The minutes of that meeting have been posted in the committee’s space in ALA Connect.

Committee members Charles McElroy, Gina Minks, and Lynda Wright ended their terms on the committee. The chair thanked them for their years of service on the committee and for the work that they have done for the committee over the years. Committee members Tamera Hanken and Emily Dust Nimsakont have been re-appointed to terms on the committee. Their new terms expire in 2014. Intern Kady Ferris has been appointed as a member of the committee. Her new term runs from 2012-2014. The chair of the committee has been re-appointed for another year, with a term that now expires at the end of the conference in Chicago next year.

New committee members appointed to the committee: Ann Mitchell will be the committee’s new CRS representative. Ruth Elder will serve as the committee’s new intern.

ALCTS Board liaison Tim Strawn updated the committee on the recent discussions and actions of the ALCTS Board. He discussed with the committee: the ALCTS Advocacy Task Force and its report, ALA’s “Roadmap to change” document and what the outcomes of that will mean for scheduling at annual conference in Chicago in 2013, the formation of an institutional repository for ALCTS, and the status of MARBI.

The Committee discussed this year’s ALCTS 101, held on Friday, June 22, 2012, in the Avila Room of the Hilton Anaheim. This year’s event was a collaborative effort between the Membership Committee and the ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG), and was deemed a success by the Membership Committee and others. The committee was pleased with the turnout at the event and the content of the program. Members of the committee, along with ALCTS colleagues, manned the tables during the speed-dating portion of the evening. Ten tables were set up and attendees rotated from table-to-table every five or six minutes during the program portion of the evening.

Thinking ahead to next year’s ALCTS 101 in Chicago, the members of the committee offered suggestions for how to improve and enhance the ALCTS 101 experience. These ideas were recorded by the chair and were included in the committee’s formal minutes. The committee expressed concern over the time and potential location for next year’s 101 in Chicago. The Committee would like to see the event held at one of the hotels in town, and not at the McCormick Place. Having the event at McCormick Place at 7:30–9:30 pm of the Friday night of conference might limit the number of attendees at the event.

After the committee finished its scheduled business, some of its members joined the Leadership Development for a discussion of the projects and activities they are currently working on. The Leadership Development Committee reported that it will be organizing and hosting a program at annual conference in Chicago next year on the topic of succession planning.

Due to time constraints, the chair was not able to report on the meetings she attended on behalf of the committee and ALCTS. She agreed to follow up electronically with notes from the ALCTS All Division Chairs meeting and the ALA Membership Promotion Task Force meeting.

Organization & Bylaws Committee

At the Annual committee meeting, the updated version of the Review/Renewal Schedule for ALCTS Committees, Interest Groups and Sections was confirmed.

The committee also confirmed the renewal of the Membership Committee. They also discussed the status of the MARBI committee. The committee had confirmed the MARBI previously, so no further action was needed to keep MARBI active.

The committee also confirmed its decision to confirm the renewals of the Interest Groups: Creative Ideas in Technical Services and the Library Code Year.

Maintenance duties for the coming year (specifically the Review/Renewal Schedule) were discussed. Arthur F. Miller introduced Marie Waltz as the incoming chair. ALCTS President Betsy Simpson and Incoming ALCTS President Carolynne Myall also paid the committee a visit.

Papers Series Editorial Board

The ALCTS Papers Series Editorial Board met to discuss topics for future publications, and to review a current proposal for publication. Discussion included how best to work with CE courses within ALCTS to have follow on publications after webinar and workshop training. In addition there was discussion on how to market publications and the options that might be offered of PDF and down load in addition to hard copy. The committee discussed how best to do work between Midwinter and Annual, and agreed that conference calls helped. Connect space is of course used as well. Various board members agreed to work on the various topic areas for publications and Christine McConnell joined the group shortly before the end to provide needed office support information. Currently there are five topics in discussion for publication and one approved proposal.

Planning Committee

The committee discussed its report to the Board, with emphasis on areas that need to be discussed in person during the Board meeting on Monday. The group discussed how to assess when the actions towards a critical issue are sufficient. The group also discussed the need for version control, and how to manage the tracking system as the Plan grows.

Program Committee

Outgoing ALCTS President Betsy Simpson gave an update on ALCTS Board activities and discussions. Incoming President Carolynne Myall provided an update on the work of the President’s Program Committee, which plans a Midwinter Symposium on big-picture issues on ALCTS-related topics in addition to the President’s Program at Annual. Charles Wilt led a discussion about the changes ALA has made to the conference planning and scheduling process for 2013. The new process requires significant changes to the committee’s work, especially working with shorter program time slots, increasing our emphasis on topics that will be timely at the time of conference, and considering possibilities for more interactive programs. Many questions remain about ALA’s changes, such as deadlines and timelines for program planning, the decision making process for slotting programs, and others, but in general the changes should help us shape our programming according to the desires of the ALA membership reflected in recent surveys.

In Anaheim, the Program Committee met with twelve planners working on programs or preconferences for ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago. Much of the discussion with planners centered around the changes to the conference planning and scheduling process, and the information that planners and speakers would need to know in the new structure.

By the end of Annual, the committee had considered a total of fourteen topics for programs and preconferences, aside from the President’s Program. The committee is excited about the proposals and ideas currently in hand, including topics such as advocacy in technical services; succession planning; best practices for the lifecycle of electronic resources; and RDF, ontologies and the Semantic Web. Most of the 2013 program slate will be set in October 2012, with a small number of additional program time slots reserved for late-breaking topics or ideas developing around Midwinter or after.

Susan Wynne and Lila (Angie) Ohler rotated off as co-chairs following Annual, succeeded by co-chairs Catherine Gardiner and Mary Page.

In addition to the Saturday morning meeting, the committee met on Monday afternoon from 1:30–4:30 p.m.

Publications Committee

Reports were presented from the section representatives, the editors of the various ALCTS publications, staff liaison Christine McConnell, and so on, as identified below.

Some publications are being issued/posted only on the ALCTS web site and do not have a print counterpart. As reported by Paul Weiss (Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS), two examples of these that will be available soon are Bibliographic Essay on Linked Data (CaMMS, Research and Publications Committee) and Procedures for CaMMS Description & Access Committee. These will both be on the CaMMS website in the Organization Resources section.

Mavis Molto, representing the Continuing Resources Section (CRS), stated that two syllabi are in the process of being revised and will be on the CRS website: Syllabus for Serials Cataloging and Syllabus for Serials Collection Management and Acquisitions.

eLRTS was launched in April 2012. Usage statistics are not yet available.

Two new print publications, numbers three and four, in the ALCTS/CMS (Collection Management Section) Sudden Selector’s Series, were passed around by Christine McConnell. They are: Sudden Selector’s Guide to Chemistry Resources by Elizabeth Brown and Sudden Selector’s Guide to Biology Resources by Flora G. Shrode. Also newly available are: ALCTS Acquisitions Guides Series, number 16, Guide to Patron-Driven Acquisitions by Suzanne M. Ward and Planning and Constructing Book and Paper Conservation Laboratories: A Guidebook, edited by Jennifer Hain Teper and Eric Alstrom.

Sudden Selector’s Series Editor Helene Williams reported that in addition to the chemistry and biology guides, 12 additional volumes are in progress. Three are expected to be published later in 2012 on physics, geography, and children’s literature.

According to PARS representative Mary Miller, PARS is working with LITA (Library Information and Technology Association) on the development of a joint guide on digital preservation.

The update from LRTS Editor Peggy Johnson included news that there was a boom in submissions in May. The acceptance rate is 45 percent. As part of the transition to Mary Beth Weber as the new LRTS editor, Peggy and Mary Beth will spend two days in Chicago in July.

Since the Anaheim conference was Peggy’s last one as LRTS Editor, Peggy’s long-term service, dedication, and leadership were acknowledged with a round of applause.

ALCTS Newsletter Online (ANO) Editor, Alice Platt has identified three people to serve as section liaisons for ANO and will shortly confirm liaisons for the other two sections. A redesigned version of ANO is expected to be available later this year.

Library Materials Price Index (LMPI) Editor Narda Tafuri reported that LMPI offprints are now available. There is a new tab for e-books and data on the average price of serials will be continued.

Mary Case, Publishing Review Task Force Chair, reported on the Task Force’s work over the past year to develop a set of strategic directions for the ALCTS publishing program. After approval of the recommendations by the ALCTS Board, the report will be available later this year. Several members of the ALCTS Publications Committee are on the task force.

A Public Relations Subcommittee was formed by Dina Giambi to promote the value of publishing with ALCTS. Efforts should occur on an ongoing basis. Mary Miller volunteered to co-chair the subcommittee.

A program proposal, promoting ALCTS as a publisher, will be submitted for the 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago. Erica Findley volunteered to be the co-chair of the Chicago Program Subcommittee. The editors of the various ALCTS publications will be asked to speak along with Christine.

ALCTS Division Interest Groups

FRBR Interest Group

We had two speakers. The first was Jennifer Bowen, who spoke on the progress of the eXtensible catalog. This is an open-source system that provides a discovery system and tools. They can put in a FRBR interface.

After a lot of research with users, the group came up with Extensible Catalog (XC) as a discovery interface. Display is driven by linked records for FRBR levels including work, expression, manifestation, etc. They parse MARCXML records into linked FRBR-based XC schema.

Problems identified include:

  • Some MARC fields, etc., are difficult to match
  • MARC bib records can refer to multiple FRBR entities, thus creating lots of links
  • 880 fields can have data that really belongs in auth records (different forms of names, etc.)
  • Lots of data that is really hard to make links for
  • Records change, get deleted, relationships change, new records are added, etc., so links are really hard to maintain and keep up to date

They determined to use FRBR for linked data for the following reasons:

  • Users want relationships among entities
  • FRBR is the underlying model for RDA
  • XC can explore how FRBR can be useful for linked data
  • Other data models can also be explored for linked data (XC can handle more than one model)

Second speaker was Scott Piepenburg. He spoke on the theory behind FRBR and it impacts cataloging and an ILS.

FRBR is a theory about concepts that are not new. RDA is a set of rules for implementing this theory with library data. The ILS system has the responsibility for displaying the data held in the information records. The records should only contain data and should leave the display up to the ILS.

The real challenge is to bring a legacy data center and ILS systems up to date to handle RDA records and the FRBR linked data model. This model will help create catalogs that everyone can use, not just catalogers/librarians/programmers. The model provides a means to convey more information faster and clearer.

LITA/ALCTS Library Code Year Interest Group

At our inaugural meeting we began with an open discussion about the challenges of keeping up with the weekly Code Year lessons. Challenges identified by attendees included: problems you can’t figure out how to solve on your own; feeling stupid/not confident; new way of thinking—don’t have tools for dealing with this independently; math phobia; without a project to apply the lessons to, it’s not as interesting (i.e. making stuff work is more fun); feeling guilty because learning code isn’t really your job so it is hard to devote and justify time; need examples of ways to apply it in real life to justify the investment of time; sometimes there are bugs in the lessons and you think it’s your fault when it’s not (helpful tip: sometimes the lessons work better in Firefox than in Chrome). Several solutions identified by attendees were: having an answer key helps some people, but it feels like cheating to others; hand -holding/having someone to talk to or talk through the challenge with; find a time every week to devote to learning code, no exceptions; but some prefer to code for hours when you happen to be interested; reading someone else’s code and adapting it, meaning you don’t have to know how to write it from scratch; you can do really useful things with existing code.

After the discussion, we had two attendees give lightening talks about how they’ve applied code. Eric Phetteplace talked about using bookmarklets in JavaScript. Carli Spina (co-chair) provided a list of resources to help attendees continue Code Year lessons as well as branch out into other code languages.

The group brainstormed what the interest group could do next that would be useful for attendees. Individuals also volunteered to be the point person for various IG projects. There are projects for people at all levels of coding skill, and they’ll need lots of non-code skills as well, so no matter your skill-set there are places people can be helpful and learn more.

  • Python preconference (to be run at a conference next year, based on the Boston Python Users Group’s highly successful Python workshop for beginners) -- Shana, Margaret
  • A code project using OCLC’s APIs -- Nick, Jason, Violeta
  • Pull together training & resources for people wanting to conduct a hackathon -- Jen, Margaret
  • Github how-to -- Andromeda, Eric
  • IRC how-to – Jen

Finally, attendees indicated it would be helpful to have a running list of people’s areas of expertise/experience so we know whom to go to for help.

MARC Formats Interest Group

The MARC Formats Interest Group held a discussion meeting attended by around 120 people. Robert Pillow from VTLS gave a vendor’s perspective on current developments and described a linked data project being developed by VTLS. UCLA’s John Riemer discussed the potential for an expanded role for library authority data in a linked data environment and argued for changes in practice (including those concerned with undifferentiated names) that would help it play this role. Reinhold Heuvelmann, DNB, described the recently completed Gemeinsame Normdatei project, which merged existing German and Austrian authority files into a common file guided by the Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), with an emphasis on coding relationships. The presentation slides are available at

The group also held a business meeting at 8 a.m. the following Monday. Attendees were Sarah Weeks, St Olaf, Chew Chiat Naun, University of Minnesota, Michele Seikel, Oklahoma State, Valerie Bross, UCLA, Mar Hernandez, National Library of Spain, and Reinhold Heuvelmann, DNB. The group discussed Sunday's Bibliographic Transition Framework meeting, and the timeline and objectives of the Zepheira project. The group went on to consider possible topics and speakers for the 2013 Midwinter meeting. The focus was again on the bibliographic transition, and consideration was given to applied topics that would be of interest to front line practitioners. The group also discussed ways to gauge and sustain interest in its activities.

Metadata Interest Group

Approximately 65 people attended the Metadata Interest Group meeting, which featured four presentations focused on the changing role of the cataloger. Rebecca Lubas of the University of New Mexico presented “Cataloging Partners: Collaboration Across the Library”; Debra G. Skinner of Georgia Southern University presented “The Ever Changing Role of the Cataloger and How Catalogers Manage the Changes”; Anna Craft and David Gwynn of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro presented “Thinking Outside the Search Box: Redefining the Roles for Catalogers in an Academic Library”; and Julie Swann and Pat Headlee of Northern Arizona University presented “21st Century Cataloging, Changing Priorities.” All four presentations are available at our ALA Connect site:

The business meeting included liaison updates from Music Library Association, the Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access (CC:DA) and LITA. With time running short, the group chair, one of the program co-chairs, and the blog coordinator briefly discussed ideas for sponsored programs at next year’s Annual Conference, and made arrangements to continue discussing later Sunday and early Monday. The 2012 program, cosponsored by LITA, was scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday. The program, “Data Management: What is the library’s role?” was anticipated to be well-attended; materials from this program are now linked to this session's space in ALA Connect,

Elections were held for new officers, who are:

  • Chair - Teressa Keenan, University of Montana (ascending to Chair after being elected Vice-Chair last year)
  • Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect - Maureen P. Walsh, Ohio State University
  • Program Co-Chair - Ivey Glendon, University of Virginia
  • Blog Coordinator - Jason Kovari, Cornell University

The viability of the position of Publications Chair, which has recently been vacant, is under consideration.

New Members Interest Group

ALCTS New Members Interest Group and the Membership Committee worked together on ALCTS 101, a program to provide new members and possible new members information about ALCTS. The night started with short speeches from ALCTS officers, Membership Chair Debbie Ryszka, ALCTS President Betsy Simpson and President-Elect Carolynne Myall. The evening then moved on to the main event, speed networking with ALCTS colleagues. We had tables staffed with ALCTS veterans for each ALCTS section as well as tables on networking, how to get involved and resume help. The attendees had six minutes to visit each table to discuss a particular section or topic with ALCTS veterans. In addition to the speed networking, the new members were given a bingo card with various tasks to complete. The first two new members to get to bingo received a free ALCTS webinar. We then collected the bingo cards and raffled off four more ALCTS webinars and two membership renewals. Overall we were able to provide valuable information to our new members about our organization and hopefully picked up some new members along the way.

Public Libraries in Technical Services Interest Group

The Public Libraries in Technical Services Interest Group met Saturday morning after the OCLC Dewey breakfast, as in the past. Ten attendees were present. Our timing was unfortunate, as the presentation topic was overshadowed by a major Library of Congress session on RDA implementation at the exact same time. The group’s vice-chair/chair-elect, Megan Dazey, commented on a list of free resources on training for RDA that she had developed for training in Washington State, and the group discussed their expectations for training and implementation. One person mentioned that there was a program scheduled for the next day on how different ILS vendors expect to implement RDA. For many, this is the crux of the matter. Bryan Baldus, from Quality Books, who usually attends the meeting, was asked about Quality’s plans for cutover. He stated that Quality continues to edit copy records in AACR2 only, and has not decided on an implementation date for beginning or original cataloging in RDA. The meeting then segued into a discussion of fulfillment rates for bibliographic records from the various book vendor that provide records and processing as well as the items themselves.

Megan Dazey, Puyallup Public Library (WA), is the incoming chair. Michelle Zwierski, Nassau Library System (NY), volunteered to be vice-chair. The group chairs, especially myself at this time, have been very appreciative of the fact that Bryan takes detailed notes at our meetings, thus assisting in our report writing for these sessions.

Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group (PVLR)

PVLR has long been one of the few places for publishers, librarians, and vendors to get together for a conversation on a topic of mutual interest. This year’s topic, the quality of publisher/vendor supplied MARC records, proved to be fodder for quite a bit of discussion, despite the prosaic description.

Approximately 50 people attended to respond to presentations by Product and Metadata Manager Noah Levin, Springer; Content Development Manager Liz Brown, Project Muse; Director for Library Enterprise Operations Betsy Friesen, and Technical Services/Specialized Cataloging Librarian Stacie Traill, both from the University of Minnesota. Discussion was lively and there were many questions after the three presenters all shared their perspectives on the topic. After hearing the various viewpoints presented all agreed that we gained an understanding of the issues involved in improving the quality and delivery of MARC records from the vendor and publisher perspectives as well as why this issue is so important to libraries. The goal of communicating perspectives on a topic of shared interest was certainly met with this engaging panel.

Role of the Professional Librarian in Technical Services Interest Group

Co-chair Shoko Tokoro welcomed everyone, introduced her fellow IG officers and the panelists, then introduced the discussion topic of “Life in Technical Services After the Great Restructure: Stories of Survival.”

Susan Massey, Head of Discovery Enhancement at the University of North Florida (UNF) spoke first. UNF decided internally to reorganize, and did not bring in an outside consultant. Over a period of time there had been a reduction of staff due to attrition and a change in the library’s budget due to reductions in state funding. The reorganization focused on several things, including providing support for both digitization projects and the increase in electronic resources, highlighting unique materials, merging Acquisitions & Serials (with check-in moving to Public Services), and overall, realigning positions in technical services to better address the future. After the reorganization, they now have a new Electronic Resource Librarian in Acquisitions, a new Metadata Cataloger in Discovery Enhancement, and a new digital projects team. Now there are three heads of units instead of four, and one staff position was moved to systems support. Massey related that the restructuring has worked extremely well for them, but was not easy to enact, as there were many changes in a short time frame.

Martha Whittaker, Director of Content Management at George Washington University, spoke next. She has worked for a number of libraries and vendors where reorganizations have taken place. She observed that reorganizations happens very quickly in the corporate sector (sometimes with lay-offs with very little notice), while library reorganizations often take more time but are usually more humane. Based on her experience with restructuring, she shared some advice: 1) try not to inherit someone else’s reorganization; 2) take charge and own the process; 3) seek advice from colleagues in other departments (surveys & discussions); 4) don’t be afraid to back track; 5) don’t expect to please everybody; 6) hire people with strong technical skills; 7) before starting, have a good idea of your goals and how you will measure success (even though the goals can change later in the process); 8) support people with training, lots of communication, and patience; and 9) celebrate successes.

Arneice Bowen, Head of Cataloging at North Carolina A&T State University, was the next panelist to speak. The university adopted a new vision plan, so the head of Technical Services (TS) wanted her area to change to fit with the new vision. Additionally, she wanted TS to adapt so they could continue to function in the changing environment, as well as eliminate duplicative services. As a result, a task analysis/review process was undertaken, as management desired everyone’s participation. Later a new dean introduced the concept of “Staff Share,” where each person could apply/volunteer for an unfilled task or position. Through “Staff Share”: 1) employees were able to gain both new skills and increased confidence; 2) Technical Services ended up growing by two librarians and one staff position; 3) and the institutional repository has grown. Bowen recommended setting clear goals and supporting your staff by providing training.

Next Sylvia Hall-Ellis, Interim Director of the Westminster Law Library at the University of Denver, talked about her experience with restructuring the entire library, focusing on the technical services aspects. Because of a number of factors, including the new Dean’s desire to reduce library personnel costs, the library embarked on reorganization in 2011 as part of the “turnaround process.” After the restructuring was completed, there were no budget cuts, and the library gained new technology/equipment, as well as a new professional position in TS. Hall-Ellis detailed the following lessons learned from the reorganization: 1) innovation is absolutely necessary for sustained success; 2) you have to re-define and re-determine operations (for example, at the Law Library they used job design techniques and made the librarians re-apply for their revised positions); 3) the library can’t survive through reorganizations and cost reductions alone, a s innovations are needed; and 4) manage up by having regular conversations with the administrators, providing “Library 101” information, and being accountable.

Erica Olivier, a cataloger for Douglas County Libraries, described how a new head of Technical Services in 2005 inspired TS to rethink, so they identified a “stop list” of tasks that were done out of habit instead of necessity, and brainstormed how to better serve their users. As a result of this and other little tweaks, they were able to get materials out of TS in seven days instead of 30 days. In 2010 the head of TS retired, and an interim was brought in. Around the same time, the library director wanted to outsource several TS functions in favor of creating original content. A task force comprised of primarily non-TS employees was formed to analyze the department to see what could be eliminated and who could be repositioned. The task force reported that the department was currently running very efficiently, but did not have any recommendations on how to transition to the new tasks/purposes the director desired. So it was decided to not hire a new department head, and instead the department was separated into two groups: Collection Development (including Acquisitions and Receiving) and Bibliographic Services, which is comprised of Cataloging and Processing. Currently the staff is working together to fill-in the gap in lost leadership and professional positions, as three professional catalogers were lost through attrition. Olivier recommended staff help bring about their own change, because they can be innovative and thoughtful when empowered.

After the panelists finished speaking, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. The session concluded with a brief business meeting. The new co-chairs elect for 2012-2013 are Betsy Appleton from George Mason University and Stephanie Gehring from the University of Houston.

Scholarly Communications Interest Group

The ALCTS Scholarly Communications Interest Group had an open discussion designed to allow members to talk about areas of interest and to learn from their colleagues. Areas discussed included:

  • How do we get subject librarians involved in scholarly communication outreach and advocacy?
  • Membership in open access publishers. Is this a good step for libraries to take?
  • Open access funds. Do they support hybrid articles? Undergraduate publishing?
  • Embargo, copyright issues, and relationship with ProQuest for electronic dissertations and theses.
  • Steps libraries are taking to support data management.

It was a lively discussion that filled the hour and a half. We also solicited interest for the vice-chair position for the next year.

Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Interest Group

The purpose of the interest group is to promote discussion of topics of interest to directors of technical services in large research libraries.

The meeting began with a report on batch loading for e-books and other resources by Rebecca Mugridge. She summarized the results of a survey on this topic completed by members of the interest group. Next, Jane Penner led a discussion of how decisions are made about metadata for digital collections and institutional repositories. James Mouw gave a presentation on how user stories have been used to define the features of the next next-gen catalog at the University of Chicago.

After the break, Robert Wolven led a discussion of how values in technical services have begun to move away from a quantitative focus to the need for collaboration and flexibility. This was followed by a discussion of organizational change and reorganization, led by Betsy Friesen, where several libraries described organizational changes that have taken place in the last few years up through reorganizations that are underway at the present time.

The meeting closed with housekeeping matters and election of a vice-chair/chair elect.

Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries

The Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group program drew 27 participants. The roundtable discussions were led by members of the IG’s steering committee. The general theme of the meeting, “Technical Services in Evolution: The Discussion Continues,” was organized around the following topics: Redefining What ‘Technical’ Is: involving TS in New Services; Vendor MARC Records: Are They Good Enough for Our Online Catalogs?; Acquisitions and Serials in Evolution; New Trends and Outlook for Cataloging; and Radical Change/Balkanization/Breaking Apart to Cataloging Standards: The Emerging Reality of a Multistandard Environment in Cataloging, Multiple and Fluid Metadata Standards.

Redefining What ‘Technical’ Is: Involving TS in New Services
Moderator: Roberta Winjum

The participants discussed what Technical Services areas are currently named, whether the name should change, what advantages or disadvantages name changes present; the new work taking place in Technical Services as e-resources and PDA become more prevalent; the new skills staff need with regard to metadata and the loading of vendor-supplied cataloging records.

Vendor MARC Records: Are They Good Enough for Our Online Catalogs?
Moderator: Anne Liebst

The discussion covered the following topics: problems with inconsistency of records among vendors; lack of following cataloging standards and the need to make local customizations to the records; problems with authority control; the workflow changes needed with batch loading records and the collaborative effort between cataloging and IT to create batch import rules The bottom line among the participants was that vendor MARC records are good enough because users find information faster and usage increases.

Acquisitions and Serials in Evolution
Moderator: Judy Garrison

The group discussed the continued evolution within these areas, particularly in light of the budgetary constraints libraries are facing, as more e-resources are purchased, PDA is more widely embraced, and more vendor services are utilized. The group also talked about modifications in workflows, changes in staffing levels and changing relationships with other library departments, including library administration.

Radical Change/Balkanization/Breaking Apart of Cataloging Standards: The Emerging Reality of a Multistandard Environment in Cataloging, Multiple and Fluid Metadata
Moderator: Bruce Evans

The group discussed that multiple cataloging standards already co-exist in local catalogs and OCLC, and that while some institutions might delay RDA implementation, most recognize that RDA is not as radical as it first appeared. Catalogers will be adding information for the users and will be thinking about what information the user needs and how that information will appear in online catalogs and other discovery tools. Catalogers will need to know at least one or two non-MARC metadata schema; most of which are XML-based, which are designed for use with different types of objects (mostly digital) and contexts. Catalogers, most of whom are still in departments organized along a traditional structure for tangible resources, will have to adapt to workflow changes and structural reorganization. The semantic web with Linked Data will likely happen relatively soon and if current vendors do not adapt, open source tools that meet institution needs might well play a more dominant role.

New Trends and Future Outlook for Cataloging
Moderator: Annie Wu

Annie Wu conducted a survey on new trends and the future outlook for cataloging and provided a selection of her top survey findings to the participants of this discussion. Topics of discussion were: Involvement in new technology projects/tasks; Other new trends practices; Next Gen catalog/discovery systems: WorldCat Local, Primo, Summon, EDS, Encore, Vu-Find; Top Non-MARC Metadata Schemas Used: DC, EAD, MODS, METS, PREMIS; Changed Department Names; Top Competencies for Future Catalogers; other new trends practices.

Technical Workflow Efficiency Interest Group

Two speakers from Kent State University, Collection Management Librarian Kay Downey and Libraries System Programmer Rick Wiggins, gave a presentation about Kent State University’s new automated system, Selection Manager.

Selection Manager is a centralized system that manages the communication and work related to the review and selection of electronic resources. It provides selectors with price and trial information, provides a record of the review process and compiles reviewers’ scores and product commentary. It also tracks and manages technical services workflow for product inquiries, price quotes, and vendor communications, and dispenses product and trial information to targeted selectors. The primary advantages of the system are:

  1. the reclamation of costly staff time by streamlining the workflow and eliminating numerous inefficient email communications;
  2. the application of standard methodology for coordinating discovery, review and selection of new resources, and
  3. the provision of a record of past reviews to assist with the prioritization for new purchases.