Thursday, March 16, 2017

Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Librarians

The CaMMS Competencies and Education for a Career in Cataloging Interest Group presented Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians at ALA Midwinter in Atlanta. The document supplements the American Library Association's Core Competencies in Librarianship. The document outlines Knowledge, Skill & Ability, and Behavioral Competencies and is meant to define a "baseline of core competencies for LIS professionals in the cataloging and metadata field."

Knowledge competencies are those providing understanding of conceptual models upon which cataloging standards are based. Skill & ability competencies include not just the application of particular skills and frameworks, but the also the ability to "synthesize these principles and skills to create cohesive, compliant bibliographic data that function within local and international metadata ecosystems. Behavioral competencies are those "personal attributes that contribute to success in the profession and ways of thinking that can be developed through coursework and employment experience."

Of particular note is emphasis on cultural awareness in the introductory section.  "Metadata creators must possess awareness of their own historical, cultural, racial, gendered, and religious worldviews ... Understanding inherent bias in metadata standards is considered a core competency for all metadata work."

Full text of the competencies document is available via ALA's institutional repository. Slides from the presentation at ALA Midwinter are also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Linked Data Catalog at Oslo Public Library

The Oslo Public Library, Deichmanske bibliotek, has developed a library services platform based on linked data. It can be seen in action at the library's website, and the source code is available on GitHub.

The platform uses a work-based model for its public-facing catalog; for an example of this "FRBR-ized" interface, see the display for the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The display provides prominently positioned work-level information, and then shows information for two different DVD versions of the movie, as well as a Blu-Ray version. It also very nicely highlights the film's position in the Harry Potter series, by providing "continues" and "continued in" links to the appropriate films. It also includes a "based on" link to the book of the same name. Following this link brings you to an even more impressive display of various print and audiobook holdings for this title.

More information about the behind-the-scenes cataloging work can be found in this post from 2014 on the library's blog.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New BIBFRAME Components Available from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has made available new BIBFRAME 2.0 components. Developed during the Library of Congress' own MARC to BIBFRAME conversion project, these components are being released for public use to assist other libraries with their own BIBFRAME projects.

The new components include:

  • BIBFRAME 2.0 Vocabulary Update
    The BIBFRAME Vocabulary has been updated to meet the needs of the Library of Congress project. It also includes suggestions from other members of the BIBFRAME community. Other new elements were added for testing and possible permanent inclusion.  
  • MARC to BIBFRAME 2.0 Specifications 
    Written from the MARC side so that all MARC tags are considered for inclusion in BIBFRAME, this specification consists of series of spreadsheets covering each MARC tag field group. MS Word explanatory documents are also included on the site.
  • MARC to BIBFRAME Conversion Programs
    Developed by Index Data for the Library of Congress, these conversion programs will be updated as the BIBFRAME projrect progresses. 

For more details, see the full Library of Congress press release.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Top IT Challenges for Higher Education

In January of 2017, EDUCAUSE released its Top 10 IT Issues report for 2017. This year’s report focuses on issues that affect student success at higher education institutions. Academic IT organizations support a wide array of users with drastically varying demands and needs. As colleges and universities are increasingly forced to do more with less, student success is a key indicator to measure the cost and value of higher education. The top IT issues identified were broken into four separate themes: (1) IT foundations; (2) data foundations; (3) effective leadership; and (4) successful students. The full list of issues and their descriptions are posted below:

  1. Information Security: Developing a holistic, agile approach to reduce institutional exposure to information security threats
  2. Student Success and Completion: Effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion
  3. Data-Informed Decision Making: Ensuring that business intelligence, reporting, and analytics are relevant, convenient, and used by administrators, faculty, and students
  4. Strategic Leadership: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as a strategic partner with institutional leadership
  5. Sustainable Funding: Developing IT funding models that sustain core services, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  6. Data Management and Governance: Improving the management of institutional data through data standards, integration, protection, and governance
  7. Higher Education Affordability: Prioritizing IT investments and resources in the context of increasing demand and limited resources
  8. Sustainable Staffing: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention as budgets shrink or remain flat and as external competition grows
  9. Next-Gen Enterprise IT: Developing and implementing enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and effective analytics
  10. Digital Transformation of Learning: Collaborating with faculty and academic leadership to apply technology to teaching and learning in ways that reflect innovations in pedagogy and the institutional mission

The EDUCAUSE “Top 10 IT Issues” website can be found at https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/research/top-10-it-issues. The full article is available at http://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/1/top-10-it-issues-2017-foundations-for-student-success.

Monday, March 6, 2017

ALCTS Webinar Series: Re-envisioning Technical Services

I've been watching the webinar series from ALA's ALCTS, "Re-envisioning Technical Services," for the last few weeks.  As a manager of a technical services department, I've come to realize that skills are vital and difficult at the same time: I have to ensure the people I hire have the right skills, keep up with skills training for the department, and maintain my own skillset while functioning as a manager.  In the second webinar, "New Resources on Staff and Leadership Development in Technical Services,"  Cory Tucker discussed a survey he had done with colleagues that included information about what skills are most needed for essential technical services functions, and whether new graduates are coming out of library school with those skills.  Overall, the findings indicated that new hires did have the skills necessary to work in technical services; however, there are always areas in which people can improve.  The next webinar, "Case studies: residencies, peer training, and succession planning" offered concrete suggestions for skills training.  The residency model is intriguing but probably not practical for many libraries.  In this model, recent graduates spend a year as a "resident" working on discrete projects.  Peer to peer training is more practical and probably already happening, at least informally, at most libraries.  We use it at Boston University to help train our public services staff on back end systems so they can see more information about resources; we also use it to help staff who are currently in library school learn more about different library functions.

It isn't too late to register for this webinar series and I would recommend it to anyone trying to think strategically about their technical services departments.  As presenter Jacob Nadal noted, technical services managers need to be managers, experts in our fields, and inspiring leaders.  This webinar series is one way to help with that.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Getting to Know TS Law Librarians: Karen Selden



1. Introduce yourself.

I’m Karen Selden, the Metadata Services Librarian at the University of Colorado’s William A. Wise Law Library.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?

When I joined the University of Colorado’s Law Library in 1998, my job title was Catalog Librarian. However, in 2013 I changed my title to Metadata Services Librarian to better reflect my work with both traditional cataloging and creating metadata for digital collections. From a librarians’ viewpoint, I think my updated title accurately reflects my primary job duties: responsible for the cataloging, classification, and metadata creation for all library materials and digital collections created by the library; responsible for authority control and database maintenance; participate in creating the library's digital archives collections; and supervise the Metadata Services Assistant. However, I suspect that the average patron might not agree that my job title is very descriptive or intuitive.  J

3. What are you reading right now?

I belong to a book group in the small town that I live in, and I love it for many reasons. I’m a slow reader, so the monthly meetings give me a target date to finish a book (or at least giving it a good try  J ). I also like the variety of nonfiction and fiction books that my group chooses to read; I’ve been introduced to many good books I wouldn’t have selected or discovered on my own. And, of course, I love the great discussions that we have and friendships that I’ve made. I’m currently reading my book group’s February selection, Mink River by Brian Doyle, as well as American Absurd by Pierre Schlag. Pierre is a long-time faculty member at the University of Colorado Law School, and this is his first novel. He’ll attend a book group meeting this fall to discuss his book with us.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?

I started my library career (nearly 30 year ago!) as a paraprofessional in a public library. Last summer I was recruited to work very part-time (2-5 hours most Saturdays) in the tiny, spunky, positive, enthusiastic, and fun public library in my small town of Lyons, Colorado. While my detail-oriented, academic law library job suits me well, I’ve rediscovered how much fun it is to see and hear both kids and adults exploring and enjoying books and reading. Even though I’m not ready to retire from my full-time job, when that time comes, I think I’d like to continue working part-time in a small public library.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review of the Recommended Formats Statement

The Library of Congress has initiated its annual review of the Recommended Formats Statement and is again calling for feedback. The Statement was initially written in 2014 and after several years of updates this year the process will take on a more focused approach.


Concerns about file formats have dominated the conversation in the past, so there is a specific request for the review of metadata including the potential incorporation of the work of Federal Agencies’ DigitalGuidelines Initiative (FADGI) and the Library of Congress' archiving of podcasts. An additional focus this year is to review the coverage of Websites, as this was the first year for inclusion, and Software and Electronic Gaming and Learning. If you have feedback on any of these topics, or a different aspect of the Statement, please send your comments to the appropriate party by March 31 as revisions will begin in April.