Thursday, May 3, 2007

On competittion for catalogs and catalogers

Karen Calhoun - how cool it is that MLA Tech. Services got Karen here to speak. I went to the NETSL annual conpsyched ference in April and her report was a main topic of conversation. I'm really psyched to be able to hear her talk. I'll try to do it justice here

Karen's presentation will be on the MLA web site after the conference - go look at it - it's been great!

Report name: Changing nature of the catalog and its integration with other discovery tools

Report has been controversial. KC will talk about why
Users are anot getting what they need from online libraries and catalogs
contect has changed
users have changed
library service model must change
catalog itself MUST change
implication - Cataloging MUST change

KC is doing a review of how we used to work - very divided among types of jobs. No longer relevant.

Being a 21st century librarian:
Technology driven research, teaching and learning
Disinntermediation (decrease in guided access to content)
Global 'infosphere'
Accelerating shift in information seekers' preferences for web-based information and multimedia formats.

Our current service mode is Geocentric - local catalog is the sun. New model is Heliocentric - local catalog is a planet. New is a use centered view rather than a library centered view.

Social networks - competition to catalogs. Next widespread network is "linked in" for business communities. These are not compatible with library catalogs. in april there were 5.8 million second life users. second life library and info island are 2 library related worlds within second life.

what we think of as cataloging has to change. Catalogers must change, too.
KC says that catalogers are the most flexible folks in the library profession - downsizing, local systems, constant rebuilding of serials checkins, batcholads, macros, etc. metadata, moving to offsite storage. Continue through all this to crank out the books and othermaterials that users demand.
Are we ready for the NEXT phase???????

A new kind of cataloger:
Examines assumptions
Be involved with information objects of all types
Move to next generation systems and services
Make info (inc. but not limted to library collections) more visible and easier to use
Metadata and beyond

Talking about Vivo at Cornel.
Metadata pushed to the limit and even further

2% of students begin their information searches on their library web sites! the other 98% start with a web browser. Is this a crisis or an opportunity for librarians?

digitization projects are becomming more and more important - archival collections are becomming more important. Many libarians will begin to spend money on these. Catalogers need to learn about archives to reposnd to this.

A new way to work - Instead of being a hoarder of contations, the library muyst become the facilitator of retrieval and dissemination - William Wulf, 2003

Save the time of the reader - 4th law of Ranganathan, 1931.
Metadata - Cooperative cataloging - great time saver but geting more and more expensive. Metadata is a strategic issue for libraries. Library type metadata needs to be changed and this cannot be ignored.

Please see slides 24, 25 on the MLA web site - lots of info - too much to get down here.

Catalogers have accomplished much in the past successfully, but there is a danger of myopia in
the profession now. The catalog is not the only valid way to describe collections.

Slides 26, 27 talk about the future of the job of 'cataloging'. May not be called catalogers anymore - maybe metadata specialists. Lots of bluring of lines between public and technical services. Lots of team work that cross traditional lines. Great need for info technology knowledge.

See Library Hi Tech, v. 25, no2. Preprint 17 December 2004
Being a librarian: metadata and metadata specialists in the twenty-first century.

Karen's remarks today taken from this article.

Questions -
Is VIVO a public site?
Answer - Yes

Interesting that only 2% of students start with the library web site. However, it has been observed that 95% of librarians begin with a search engine, too.

Answer Karen agrees - important to look in the 'personalities' why people search how they search.

Question about metadata standards and what other kinds of skills and knowledge to future catalogers need.

Answer Reuse of metadata - stuf that comes from outside the library that we reuse - need to know how to do that. Workflow analysis and quality improvement (see slide 17 on the right hand side for an example) . People who can look at the big picture

Question about controlled headings - where is it going
LCSH - we can do better. If we can create tools that would link with LCSH and create an algorithmic approach that would be more creative. Move our approach away from one record at a time. Cataloging theory is becomming more relevant now that our 'tools' are expanding. Tradtional forms need to connect with new forms.

Comment - please get rid of 'Cookery'!

Question - What can Karen suggest as to how to train people who are working in cataloging right now to use metadata.

Answer - there are classes to be taken, but if you do that and come back and not use it of course you forget it. See article - Digital Collections on a shoestring. Try to find something in your library that you can digitize. try to figure out how to do something!

Comment: The mindset of metadata specialists - want to do the absolute best job - too often using blinkers and not looking at the process from beginning to end. Start at the beginning and work up to the 'handcrafted' best. Think of the process as a continuum to build up your skills. This is often a team based project - metadata specialst, librarian, IT.

Comments - we still are going to have to run the back end of things - ILL, patron links, all that functionality of the ILS, the behind the scenes management back ends. How will we link up to allthese back end workings?

This was a GREAT program. Thanks to MLA Tech.Services Section for getting it together.

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