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Cataloging and Technical Services Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of cataloging and technical services.

09/2017 - Inaugural Meeting

At the inaugural meeting, attendees discussed topics they wanted to explore in the future.

11/2017 - Dublin Core

At the November 29, 2017 meeting, Jessica Ernye, from the University at Albany, will share some experiences with creating Dublin Core metadata for digital archives in the University’s Special Collections.

04/2018 - WorldShare Management Services

On April 25th, Kate Wantuch, Systems and Metadata Librarian at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, will showcase the college's new OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS) platform.

Additional Resources - Patron History

One question that was addressed was the retention of patron's borrowing history. 

Libraries can choose whether or not they wish to store circulation transaction history. This video reviews where to configure history settings, as well as where to view patron transaction history and item transaction history.

OCLCTraining. Circulation: Transaction History. YouTube, YouTube, 16 Jan. 2015

10/2018 - Authority Control

At the October 23, 2018 meeting, attendees participated in a conversation about Authority Control, if they are doing it, and what companies they use.

12/2018 - The Community College Perspective: RDA Conversion in a Small Academic Library

At the December 4, 2018 meeting, attendees viewed part of am Amigos webinar conference: The Community College Perspective: RDA Conversion in a Small Academic Library and had a follow up discussion.

03/2019 - MarcEdit Overview

On March 5th, Kate Wantuch, Systems and Metadata Librarian at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, presented on MarcEdit.

05/2019 - Primo Discovery Layer

At the May 14, 2019 meeting, attendees listened as Rebecca Nous, Discovery Services Librarian, University at Albany and Brenden McCarthy, Electronic Resources Librarian, Hudson Valley Community College demonstrated their library's Ex Libris Primo discovery layer. This was followed by a conversation among participants about vendor supplied metadata and relevant configuration choices in our respective discovery systems.

12/2019 - MarcEdit Follow Up

At the December 3, 2019 meeting, the attendees had a general discussion about MarcEdit as a follow up to CDLC's October event where they hosted Terry Reese at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library for a full-day workshop.

08/2020 - Change the Subject

At the August 26, 2020 meeting, attendees discussed the documentary Change the Subject. Nancy Poehlmann, Special Collections Cataloging Coordinator at the Universitity of Albany, talked specifically about The SUNY Library Consortia Local Subject Heading Initiative. This was followed by a conversation among participants about what and when sujbect headings should be changed and the implications of such projects and work.

Additional Resources

11/2020 - Troublesome Cataloging Records

8 people attended the November 2020 CATS meeting. Nancy Poehlmann, Special Collections Cataloging Coordinator at the University of Albany, led the discussion concerning troublesome cataloging records sharing an example of where a record transfer stripped out identifying information on a number of bound with titles.  Kari Kakeh shared a few records she had done for a local historical society including some bound withs, detached copies, and photocopy reproductions.  There was a discussion on what constitutes an "offprint' with John Meyers of Union College sharing his invaluable knowledge.

03/2021 - Library Carpentry Program

Emily Sherwood, Director of Digital Scholarship at the University of Rochester Libraries, began with an overview of the Library Carpentry program.

The program is relatively new and still developing. It began because librarians saw that the use of data and the need for digital literacies is increasing across all types of libraries. Library Carpentry is a model developed for librarians to help, train, and support each other in this rapidly changing environment. The program is currently gathering information on the types of skills needed in the library world and developing a set of workshops and instructors to teach those skills. 

A group of universities - the University of Rochester, Colgate, Cornell, and Syracuse - received an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Planning Grant to explore how to move library carpentries beyond academic libraries and to learn more about the data needs of all types of libraries. They partnered with several ESLN councils to collect information. 

So far, they have done environmental scans and surveys to learn more about what to focus on and have conducted hands-on workshops for about 100 librarians. However, most of this was done with academic libraries. They were starting to do work with public and school libraries when the pandemic interrupted their work. They would like to assemble focus groups of public and school librarians to learn more. 

The group is now trying to determine which skills pertain to library workers’ day-to-day work so they can create targeted workshops. The hope is to create useful workshops on skills that people will continue to use after the workshop, which means they will be more likely to retain what they have learned and build on those skills. 

Mary Ann Warner of Schenectady County Public Library then spoke on her experience as a participant in Library Carpentry workshops. She has been part of the program for 1.5 years. It has been useful to her because it has allowed her to concentrate on her data skills. This can often be difficult during the normal workday because patrons get first priority. Public libraries could definitely benefit from looking at data more closely. Getting involved in the program has been a big undertaking, and she has only picked up the basics so far, but she is learning more with each step and sees lots of potential. Another benefit of training was hearing about how other libraries are using data. 

She has mostly used Open Refine so far, which provides a lot more granularity than reports from the ILS. Some things she has tried include: comparing the circulation of certain types of items between branches to help them decide where to move materials, and matching content from Overdrive and Hoople when changing platforms. 

The staff at SCPL is focusing on one small piece at a time to keep from being overwhelmed. Emily said that is one of the goals of Library Carpentry - to provide people with information and skills in useful, small chunks. You do not need to understand all or even most of a program, software or skill to effectively use it in your job. They are trying to demystify it and remove some of the scary jargon and language so people will not be intimidated to try them. The Carpentries breaks skills into chunks so it is easier to learn, and from the beginning they discuss how particular tools might be applied so people can decide which tools to focus on learning. 

Carpentries focus on open source software, which can be an issue for public and school libraries. The other issue for these sorts of libraries is that they don’t have as much autonomy as academic libraries. They need to ask systems for reports. Also, they tend to have smaller staffs than academic libraries, so it is hard to find time to work on this. 

Mary Ann said a great benefit of the Carpentries was learning about ways to make the data more useful when presenting it to administrators, boards, etc. She is learning how to create a data set so less clean-up is needed. 

Question: What role can ESLN Councils play? 

Emily: Help collect information on what kinds of data various types of libraries use. What is the end goal - what are libraries trying to figure out? Once Data Carpentries has a better idea of this, especially for non-academic libraries, they will be able to create workshops that meet libraries’ needs. 

John Myers of Union College also participated in some Data Carpentries workshops. He said that it is important to focus on tools that you will use so that you will retain and improve your skill set. It is too much information to retain if you don’t use the skills frequently. Alma (ILS) has prestaged reports that aren’t necessarily what the staff wants. At the Carpentries program, he learned that different programs deal with data on different scales. This helps determine what to use to get the data that is most useful in a given situation. 

Some libraries may want to look at the changes in the use of virtual library vs physical library resources over the past year and coming months as we emerge from the pandemic. 

Stephanie Anderson, Albany Public Library - The library wants to look at patron-driven usage, especially now that they are likely facing tight budgets in the next few years. Want to get data quickly, in a very visual format (not long Excel spreadsheets!) for the director, board, and other decision-makers to show why they are shifting money. Don’t want to buy expensive products to do this, so learning the skills will be very helpful. 

Emily - Carpentries would love to get sample data sets from libraries and use them as part of a workshop to show how the tools can be used and applied. 

For smaller libraries that don’t have the resources to take full part in the program, it would be helpful to teach the basics of using the tools to answer a specific question that most libraries deal with and/or create documentation for this and distribute to all libraries in the system. 

Mary Ann noted that much of what she is learning could be used to help patrons - e.g. how to use data to get information that will help market your business in Schenectady. Emily said they had received requests on how to make visuals and maps from US Census data so they may be developing programs on that.

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