“Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip its been.”…06.11.08

11 06 2008

Interesting how things turn out.  I googled a few friends from my first undergrad years in the 1970’s recently and discovered that currently one is Dean of Libraries at a major state university in the Midwest, another is Reference Librarian & Coordinator of Informantion Literacy in another state university in the Northwest, and yet another is Director of Research Services at a major university in New England.  30+ years ago, only one was on the track for a library/info. science career.  To the others and myself, it was the furthest thing from our minds. 

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” (Abraham Lincoln)

What’s next…playing “musical offices” and more…06.10.08

10 06 2008

As I began this chronicle, I mentioned my arrival to the position in January 2006.  The librarian/historian’s office has changed physical locations 4 times since that time.  Hopefully, I will be allowed to remain in the current office for a while longer this time as having to be uprooted is distracting, takes time away from duties, and makes keeping up with daily functions more difficult as you can imagine.

My current office has a separated, large area which I have designated as the new video archive processing area.  The space is necessary due to the thousands of video and video-related items from our off-site and out-of-state facility yet to be cataloged.  These items are to be shipped to the main office for cataloging and eventually returned for storage as previously discussed. Since my next trip for this purpose has been postponed until September 2008, I am trying to arrange for our personnel off-site to prepare and ship to me several pallets of boxes of items from our video archive collections to keep the cataloging process moving forward.  The challenge has been to get management attention and support focused to expeditiously get the materials organized and shipped.  Departmental priorities other than library resources has hindered progress to date.  Having a tenacious approach, however, will eventually prevail to get this accomplished.

Relative to the discussion at hand regarding stored materials is our need to institute a program of preservation and conservation.  Environmental storage conditions are far from ideal so steps should be taken to assure that the collections are properly stored, that damaged items are restored professionally, that repairs are scheduled, and that a digitization program is planned to maintain the usefulness of the content of items stored on obsolete media.  Additionally, a written and management-supported disaster plan needs to be formulated and implemented as soon as possible.

Hopefully, the above issues will be addressed soon to preserve the original investment of the organization.

Recalibrating purpose…06.10.08

10 06 2008

To reiterate, the purpose of the Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian blog primarily is for self reflection and as a compass for moving forward, secondarily for others who may be interested or helped, and thirdly for the posterity of my library’s organization though they may not necessarily see it that way initially.  Occasionally returning to focus on my purpose will help any readers understand why things are posted and help me stay on course. I will try not to stray into off-topic tangents but at times it probably adds flavor to the discourse and helps me keep the ball rolling.  By definition as a solo librarian, things can become a little lonely and stressful at times so blogging can be a little like self-occupational therapy to avoid becoming THE SCHIZOPHRENIC LIBRARIAN!!!!!.

Coincidentally, the “It’s All Good” blog by Alice at OCLC reported today that “…this new article from Scientific American reveals the truth we in the blogosphere have known all along–blogging is good for you. It boosts dopamine, helps people make connections with other like-minded people, and yes, even fosters a sense of placebo catharsis that someone else is listening to my troubles…”

Twitter explained and examined for library usage…06.09.08

9 06 2008

There has been much blogged about Twitter by librarians for personal and professional use.  I found the post by Christina Laun at the College at Home blog entitled Twitter for Librarians: The Ultimate Guide at http://www.collegeathome.com/blog/2008/05/27/twitter-for-librarians-the-ultimate-guide/ very useful.  At the present time, this tool would be beneficial to neither me nor my patrons although I can see how it may be helpful in the future.  Of course, by the time I would desire and/or be able to use Twitter, it may have gone by the way of the Dodo and been replaced with something even more advanced since the tech changes so rapidly.

Duties not directly related to librarianship…06.09.08

9 06 2008

Other than standard librarian duties, I was given an additional workload starting in March 2007 ostensibly as a temporary measure until a new person could be hired to perform the duties.  This supposedly ancillary work is product production project management.  Some of the duties related to the job are loosely library-related for our organization and all were not unfamiliar to me when I began since I had performed similar work in past careers. 

An overview of this additional work is listed below:

  • Review dub-masters of all new audio & video products prior to final production
  • Have audio & video product packaging, book cover, and relevant gift item copy created, edited, approved, posted, and filed electronically
  • Have art for all products created, edited, approved, posted to printer, proofs edited, proofs approved, and filed electronically
  • Manufacture and ship product mock-ups or materials to create mock-ups for television deadlines as needed–usually on a rush basis with a 6-48 hour turn-around time.
  • Track product production process and deadlines on hard copy and electronically
  • Store gift product samples
  • Communicate with writers, graphic designers, printers, duplicators/replicators, television production, inventory control, publishers, vendors, and management

Recently, I have also been given responsibilities in regard to our organization’s constituent response area.  These duties have yet to be clearly defined.

My librarian duties remain the same and are performed concurrently with my product production project management duties.  I can do both but I have had to become much more efficient in time management and in communicating priorities.  Receiving management direction for product production, however, is similar to the struggle to getting input regarding library resources.

I sincerely believe I can do both functions of my job well.  Time devoted to non-library resources work though will impede more rapid progress in my librarian duties and requires more vigilance to maintain accuracy despite distractions.

Keeping perspective personally, I relate to some of the last words of Solomon-the wisest man who ever lived: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”  And of course, Jesus summarized “His commandments” in Matthew 22: “…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Library 2.0 webinars and tutorials listed…06.08.08

8 06 2008

Like most librarians in the 21st century, I have read much about Library 2.0 and its importance to the field.  Implementing many of the aspects of these concepts, however, depends upon manangement support.  The following link–http://www.collegeathome.com/blog/2008/05/29/100-free-library-20-webinars-and-tutorials/–to a “College at Home” post lists “100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials” where you can find reources “…designed to help you take your library to the next level…”

In 2007, I personally benefited from auditing or “lurking” in the the “Five Weeks to a Social Library” course  (http://www.sociallibraries.com/course/) began by Meredith Farkas along with others.

Professional Development/Continuing education…06.07.08

7 06 2008

Since I touched on professional development last week, I have been trying to update my links to places that provide relevant FREE continuing education opportunities on-line and create a schedule/strategy for reviewing and keeping up with changes in the profession.  As I mentioned in another post, there is no management mind-set to allow for any supported continuing education for staff so any of these activities must be done on personal time or during the rare moments of free time on-the-job.

Judith Siess in the past couple of days noted the training available at the Houston Public Library the Houston Area Library System’s training courses on customer service, reference, and marketing  at http://www.hals.lib.tx.us/

I have frequently participated in live OPAL programs and reviewed archived presentations of relative importance and interest.  In case you are unfamiliar with OPAL, you can click on their link in my “Links” list at the right.  They describe themselves as follows: “OPAL is a collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide cooperative web-based programming and training for library users and library staff members. These live, online events are held in an online auditorium where participants can interact via voice-over-IP, text chatting, and synchronized browsing. OPAL allows library patrons and library staff members to participate in online library programs from anywhere. Everyone is welcome to participate in OPAL programs, and libraries of all types are encouraged to become OPAL members. By collaborating within OPAL, libraries are able to develop online programs together and offer a rich array of public online programs for all library users. Examples of OPAL public online programs include book discussion programs, interviews, special events, library training, memoir writing workshops, and virtual tours of special digital library collections. Participating OPAL libraries develop and deliver online programs, events, and meetings using software from Talking Communities. OPAL is administered by the TAP Information Service, a company that helps organizations innovate.”

At times, WebJunction [see link in the Links column] from OCLC has been a good FREE learning source.  Their website describes themselves as  “…a cooperative of library staff sharing and using online resources that enable us to identify and embrace appropriate technologies and apply them to our daily work. To sustain this effort, we partner with library and cultural heritage organizations and those that support them in meeting their objectives through effective use of collaborative, web-based technologies.

Another place I have found helpful and interesting is the SirsiDynix Institute [see link in the Links column] which describes itself as “…an ongoing forum for professional development in the library community. By providing free access to industry-leading speakers and events, our mission is to support librarianship and advance the work of librarians around the world. Attend our free web seminars as the SirsiDynix Institute presents compelling speakers selected from among leaders in librarianship and information technology…”

Another good source for archived presentations is the MINITEX Library Information Network at http://www.minitex.umn.edu/events/training/archived.asp which describes itself as “…a publicly supported network of academic, public, state government, and special libraries working cooperatively to improve library service for their users in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. There is reciprocity with Wisconsin libraries…” The webinars seem to be only open to members but I have had no problem viewing their archived webinars.

Although I have yet to use the service, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) also provides opportunities for online chats named OnPoint which they describe as “…is a live series of informal monthly chat sessions that provide the opportunity to connect with colleagues and experts to discuss an issue of the day in academic and research librarianship. All ACRL OnPoint chats are free and open to the public. Sessions are unmoderated, 30-45 minutes in length and take place in a Meebo chat room. While no registration is necessary to participate, ACRL recommends creating a quick and easy Meebo account for the best experience while participating in ACRL OnPoint discussions/events…”

I use Bloglines aggregating software to subscribe to the RSS feeds of the librarians and educators in addition to the news feeds from library organizations & library-related publications.  At the moment, I have subscriptions to 70 feeds which sometimes makes it seem overwhelming to keep up.  Like most on-line readers, however, I only read a portion of the complete feeds.  (From reviewing the study “How Little Do Users Read? http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html Jakob Nielson’s Alertbox relates: “The idea that most folks scan text online is kind of a given.  But this study quantifies that assumption and finds that ‘on the average Web page, users have AT MOST time to read 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.“)

Library association publications are good sources for keeping up as well.  However, it is unfortunate but true that most professional periodicals, even archived issues, are cost-prohibitive to non-members. 

“…Lord, what fools these mortals be!”–Puck, Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, Scene II 

Visiting Colombian consulate…06.06.08

5 06 2008

There will be no post this Friday while I am visiting the Colombian consulate.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”–St. Augustine

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”–Aldous Huxley

Public library ROI study summary…06.04.08

5 06 2008

I found what Michael A. Golrick related in his blog [Thoughts from a Library Administrator]summarizing the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries annual meeting important and relevant to all libraries who must justify their existence and promote the value of their service.  He said, “…The Keynote address at WAPL was critical. In it David Ward of Northstar Economics presented the basic information from the economic impact study which his firm completed. In it he positioned the public library sector as a key to economic development. David presented a number of key economic concepts. The message which we who are library workers need to deliver to our stakeholders including elected officials, city managers, and business leaders is that for every dollar invested in the operation of a public library, the community receives, at a minimum, $4.06 of direct economic impact…”  I found the keynote address by David Ward very interesting and especially the Executive Summary of the final report of the economic impact study commissioned by the LSTA Advisory Committee. 

Reference service, preservation, professional development…06.04

5 06 2008

Today, I will start a general discourse briefly about our institution’s patrons, circulation, reference service, preservation & conservation efforts, and may touch on professional development.

Our library resources patrons are all from within the organization.  The library resources are primarily used by the Marketing Department, TV production, and Executive Management.  Potential patrons would also include individuals from our Events and Partner Response Departments.   

Reference inquiries generally originate from email or telephone contacts.  Follow-up reference interviews take place in the communications method favored by the specific patron.  In-person requests are fewer because patrons are located at geographically diverse locations and usually not near the librarian.  The fact that there is no central library collection with patron access also hinders frequent in-person reference questions.

Due to the nature of our patrons–usually with pressing deadlines, expeditious and accurate handling of each request is imperative.  Also, maintaining communication with each patron from the time of the inital inquiry to the time service is delivered is paramount. 

Sample types of requests include finding specific items in the collections, researching topics using the collections and outside sources, providing topical bibliographies of items in our collections, and searching our electronic document collection on our network for specific items or related materials.  Since only 16,000+ items have been cataloged to date, this presents a problem for those items not yet cataloged and the items for which are outside the current cataloging strategy, i.e. our photographic print and negative collection, our gift item collection, etc.  

Besides the current use of materials by patrons for daily business, there is also a undefined but occasionally stated desire for the preservation of our intellectual properties for posterity by upper management.  Attempts to date to propose or discuss specific preservation/conservation activities, including the preparations of a Disaster Recovery plan, have been fruitless.  However, further attempts will continue as this is a vital part of the mission of the librarian/historian position.

I will round out today’s post discussing my professional development plan/strategy.  As is the case with many libraries of all kinds, there is no budget for professional development or the understanding of its value to the organization.  I recently was allowed to take 1/2 day off to attend the vendor exhibition hall at our state library convention because 1) it was local, 2) I could justify attendance because I could visit most of the ILS vendors in one location to review our future ILS options, and 3) because the $20 1-day fee for the exhibit area only was a minimal expense.  Certainly, I could have benefited from further attendance but it was not even suggested since the cost would be perceived as prohibitive and/or unnecessary.  This pervasive attitude also obviously precludes asking for association membership on the national or state level or SLA membership.

To compensate, I have devised a personal professional development plan.  This plan involves reviewing library literature that is available, particularly online although much access is restricted to members, attending online webinars or accessing archived webinars such as those on OPAL, using an RSS aggregator to gather library and librarian news and blog feeds, and communicating with other professionals online.  I have also endeavored to take on-line courses when possible as well.  

Mmmmmmmmmm… I’ll have to gather my thoughts for the next subjects to discuss.

Internal cataloging guidelines continued…06.04.08

4 06 2008

This is a continuation of the LONG and probably boring, specific cataloging instructions created for in-house use.  Bear with me for another long post to finish:

To determine the call number , first use the appropriate DDC schedules for the classification number and then by using the automated cutter number generated [Cutter 4 Figure Table from OCLC on my computer desktop] create separate cutter numbers for author and title for the second and third lines, respectively.  Follow these with a fourth line for the publication date and end with the suffix–a copy number.  Finally, place the completed call number on the title page (if a book) in pencil.  This will be entered later in the appropriate new holdings form in Atriuum.

Next, perform the descriptive cataloging and enter this metadata in the “Add Item” form (under “Catalog” on the librarian functions screen in Atriuum).  Use LCSH books and/or the corresponding website to select appropriate subject access points.  Note:  If a BHM product exists for an item, add it in the “Note” section of the bibliographic record form.

Click on “Save” at the bottom of the Add Item form–Very important!

Click on “Add Holdings” at the top of the form.

When the blank holdings form appears, complete the form as in the last post for addition additional copies.

Follow the same steps for saving, printing labels, shelving, labeling for multiple copies, etc. as also previously described.

MISC. BHM Cataloging Notes

  • For items in the personal library collection when it can be cataloged, the PBH designation would ONLY be noted in the OPAC and not placed on the individual items since these collections will remain isolated physically from the rest of the collections.
  • Remember to check author authority list for unique cutter numbers for various authors with the same name which happens frequently in our collections
  • Because we have so many item formats and similar products with similar or identical titles, all items MUST be given a call number prefix designation [refer to Call Number Prefix Abbreviations list].
  • Non-English language items are to be cataloged using their English title, i.e., The Blood (Spanish).  At this time, we do not have the capabiltiy items in languages using difference alphabets, i.e. Russian, Greek, Chinese, etc.

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”–Ecclesiastes 7:8

Internal cataloging guidelines established…06.04.08

4 06 2008

Continuing a little further with cataloging before going on to other subjects, I had decided from the beginning of taking on the role of librarian/historian that I would provide written resources for future staff who may assume the position as well as to provide standardized practices for myself to avoid straying away from benchmark practices and creating a provision for evaluation of progress.  It would also be helpful as a starting point for training should there come a time when additional staff are added to the area of library resources.  This will be tedious and uninteresting except for a cursory review for most.  Anyway, the following is a recent revision of this document:

BHM Library Resources Procedure for Classification & Cataloging

Connecting to ILS Software (Atriuum)

1.  How to connect to/access the Atriuum integrated library searchable catalog:

Go to the established URL, click on “Display” to go directly to the catalog

2. To access the LIBRARIAN FUNCTIONS of Atriuum, click on “Librarian Log On” link and provide the required log on name and password.

Note: The “Atriuum User’s Guide” and “Atriuum Quick Start Guide”, along with the HELP section of the Atriuum software itself, will be helpful in learning how to work with the database software.  Book Systems, Inc. (creators of Atriuum) can also provide online training via iLinc and/or support via email or telephone per our maintenance agreement.


(Reminder: Atriuum is not for cataloging electronic items in the collections, such as MS Word, PDF files, etc.  These items are organized on the BHM network.)

Place item(s) on a flat surface for initial examination and note any visible damage or unusual condition.

Note:  If the item is a video recording, DO NOT assume it is in the standard NTSC format as 1/2″ or VHS videos in NTSC and PAL formats look alike.  PAL or SECAM formats will not work in standard American video playback machines.  Notate video items in a format other than NTSC.

1.  Check the OPAC to determine if the item has already been cataloged.

If so, FIRST, add a barcode label on the physical item.

To add hiss additional copy(s) to the collection, start by finding the barcode number of a copy already cataloged using the searchable CATALOG or OPAC.  Once you have found an item in the catalog, write down the barcode number of the only or other existing copy.

Next, go to the log on for the librarian functions, click on the “Review an item” from the “CIRCULATION” pull-down menu, place the barcode number of the already cataloged item in the “Barcode/Title” search box, then click on the “SEARCH” button, then click the TITLE of the citation that appears,  then click on the “Bibliographic Record” button, then click on the “Edit” link on the right of the last copy (or only copy if only one ) and a “Holding Record” for an already catalog copy will appear, then click on the “Make Copy” button.

When a copy of the “Holding Record” of the already cataloged item appears, place the number of additional copies you wish to catalog in the box with the default number “1”.  Next, place the barcode number of the new item to be cataloged (from the barcode label you put on the new item to be cataloged) in the “Barcode” box which contains the words”next available”.  Next, select the appropriate items for “Item Circulations Class”, “Item Report Class”, “Condition”, “Call Number Prefix” (see prefixes list already discussed), “Call Number” (create a call number using the Dewey Decimal Classification schedule book and the OCLC Cutter program–shortcut on my computer’s desktop), “Call Number Suffix” (place copy number here, i.e. c.1, c.2, etc. as appropriate), “Physical Location” (select from our 5 designated locations in the pull-down menu), AND finally, add any comments regarding this individual copy, I place here the precise box and storage unit numbers here for any item from that location.  You can place other comments about the particular copy here as well, i.e. specifics of condition, i.e. “dented binder”, “ripped cover”, etc.

To complete the cataloging process to catalog an item for which we already possess a copy, Click on “Save”.  If you do not, there will be no record of the item.

To print the spine label which contains the complete call number, click on the “Catalog” pull-down menu from the librarian functions screen, then click on “Print Spine/Pockets”.  If the pull-down menu to the right of “Labels to Print”, select the option “BSI Label Set-Spine Labels Only”.  Next, either input the individual barcode numbers in the left hand box or use the barcode scanner to scan in the barcode label number on each item.  Click the “Add” button.  Now click on the “Print Labels in Queue” option, select the appropriate print, add a sheet of spine labels to the selected printer, and select “Print”.

Apply the spine label to the item cataloged and shelve/store the item in the appropriate location.

2.  It there have been no copies of the item cataloged:

  • Apply a unique bardcode label to each item before beginning the cataloging process.  On identical copies of an item, apply a barcode label on a 4″x4″ Post-It note and apply the Post-It note on the item–The “spine” label with the call number label will also be applied when printed at the end of the cataloging process (Reason: sometime multiple copies are needed by the Marketing Dept. or others permanently or for extended periods of circulation so the labels are not permanently affixed so the items may be used/distributed).
  • Create a bibliographic record: In the librarian function screen, select “Add item” from the “Catalog” pull-down menu.  if there is an ISBN on the item to be cataloged, place the ISBN in the “Quick Cataloging” box on the left and click on “Add” to see if this item is in the Book Systems, Inc. database.  If it is, bibliographic data will be automatically entered in the form on the right.  You can then modify the data as desired or is appropriate.  If not, you will receive a red message saying it was not found.
  • If the item is not found in the Book Systems, Inc. database, click on the eZcat icon on my computer’s desktop.  When eZcat opens, click on the File menu and the on the “BHM Cataloging” link to begin searching to see if other libraries we can search on-line have cataloged the item.  If so, you can click on the icon above that looks like an “A” to import the bibliographic data into Atriuum.  You will have to enter your Atriuum password to do so.  At this point, you can modify the data received for your record.
  • If you still cannot locate cataloging for the item, you must proceed to produce original descriptive and subject cataloging.  First, check the item to see if there is CIP (Cataloging in Publication) which can be very helpful.  If it does not have CIP–found on the verso of the title page, if a book, you will have to designate an appropriate Dewey call number and complete descriptive and subject cataloging ( using the controlled vocabulary of the LCSH).

To be continued in the next post later today…


Call Number Prefix-Format Abbreviations & Definitions…06.03.08

3 06 2008

Upon re-reading recent posts and reflection, I thought I should post the call number prefixes previously discussed for clarification and posterity.  The following list will likely be appended as time goes on and as needs change.


Prefix-FORMAT Definitions (Precedes Call Numbers)



ARC    Archival/Non-Circulating

CAS    Audiocassette

CD      Compact disk


DAT    Digital Audio Tape

DTRS Multi-track audio

DVD   Digital video disk


VCD    Video Compact Disk

VHS    Videocassette

½”V    Videocassette

¾”V    Videotape

1”V     1” Videotape

2”V     2” Videotape

3”V     3” Videotape

BSP     Betacam Videotape

S8V     Super8 Videocassette

DGB   Digital Betacam Videotape

DVC    DVC Pro tape

DV      DV Cam tape

Hi8      Hi 8 Tape

8mm    8mm tape

HDC   HD Cam

D3       D3 Digital tape

XDC    XD Cam Discs

IMX    IMX Beta Cam

POS     Poster

PB       Paperback book

HB      Hardback book

BKL    Booklet

PAM   Pamphlet

PKG    Package (kit)

GFT    Gift item (hat, magnet, oil lamp, desk weight, wristbands, etc.)

CAL    Calendar

JOU    Journal

PER    Periodical/Magazine

MAS   Master

DUB    Dub Master

SUB    Sub Master

REF    Reference CD, DVD, CAS

TST     Test CD, DVD, CAS


Cataloging begins alongside other functions…06.03

3 06 2008

As I continue blogging, I will attempt to be as sequential as possible to maintain a historical perspective until I catch up to my current circumstances.  Doing this retroactively is sometimes difficult since I didn’t plan on journaling my experiences, I must rely to a great extent on my memory with what I have noted in weekly/annual reports, and because I am only able to allot a short period of time daily for reflection and writing the blog.  There will, of course, be tangents but hopefully they will enhance your understanding of what has transpired and why.  Any questions or requests for clarification will be gladly received and answered as expeditiously as possible. 

1. Cataloging started the last week of August in 2006.  From the onset, I realized the the collections were larger than initially anticipated and that a majority of the physical items to be cataloged would require original cataloging.  The eZcat Z39.50 software that complements the Atriuum ILS acquires MARC records from various sources to quickly provide descriptive and subject cataloging for materials that do not need original cataloging.

Of course, more technical services time is necessary for the original catalging work.  The vast holdings of items with the same or similar titles by the same author also means more time and focus is needed to create accurate holding records.

Other cataloging challenges with these collections is that many audio/video master tapes–the bulk of the collections as a whole–have incomplete or minimal bibliographic data from which to create entries.  Compounding this problem is the fact that most of these items are in a media format for which the cataloger had no access to playback equipment, playback equipment has been phased out of common usage, or playback equipment is only available in a television studio off-site and out of state.

Additionally, some of the items for which playback is possible have been compromised by poor environmental storage conditions rendering them damaged, apparently some beyond the point of being able to retrieve their intellectual content.

2. The ILS purchased is not sufficient technically to deal with our electronic library resources stored on our organization’s computer network.  To date there are between 5 and 6,000 electronic, archival transcripts available on the network.  This large number of files, which continue to grow each week and are not in our Atriuum database or searchable by our OPAC, was reviewed, retitled, and organized by the librarian in a more easily searchable fashion during the first year.  Attempts were made (sometimes successfully) to find and acquire transcripts missing from the collections.

During this time of organizing electronic files, file and folder naming protocols had to be created and applied universally.  In early 2008, the librarian was tasked with moving all of the electronic files to a new server dedicated to our Marketing Dept., including all non-library related marketing dept. files.

3. Library resources marketing is especially relevant in a special library to justify your existence as a ROI.    I have attempted a few marketing/publicity efforts in-house to expand the awareness and importanct of the organization’s library resources activities with limited but not unimportant success.  Regular email blasts have been sent to those in the organization perceived to be patrons or potential patrons as to materials and services available to assist them in their daily funcitons.  Weekly and annual library resources summary overview reports are generated and circulated to appropriate departmental management.  The most effective marketing tool to date has been direct user benefits as a result of quick and accurate reference assistance.

Tomorrow’s post and beyond will discuss reference service, preservation, and professional development.

Creating policies and procedures…06.02.08

2 06 2008

Once all the tools were in place to begin cataloging, considerable amount of time and thought went into trying to create written policies and procedures for our library resources area.  Of course, these have evolved over time and continue to do so.  Interviews with potential patrons and a review of how the collections, though unorganized, were used in the past helped formulate an overall strategy for moving forward with cataloging, circulation, marketing library resource services to the organization, collection development, preservations & conservation activities, patron services, and future planning.

Before actual descriptive and subject cataloging began, how to handle the vast number of material formats of items in the collections and how to access collection items from diverse physical locations had to be addressed.   No management directions were given or impending so I moved forward in producing a workable scheme to encompass these circumstances as best as I could at the time.

To make immediate, significant and noticeable progress, I determined which formats of items could begin to be cataloged and which would remain non-cataloged items until a future date.  Certain collections, such as our photographic print collections, poster collections, and gift item collections were determined initially unmanageable until a later date. 

Those formats of items deemed more readily cataloged in a traditional manner–still a great diversity–were given unique call number prefixes to differentiate them from each other.  I created 41 call number prefix designations with corresponding 3-letter abbreviations.  Most of these prefixes were for various video media formats.  These prefixes are discussed on the homepage of the OPAC for patrons, however, the ILS software text size limitations for the OPAC homepage precludes a full explanation.  This problem–needing more space for bibliographic instruction–may be resolved in future software releases or if I am able to migrate to a more sophisticated ILS in the future.  A printed list of the 41 call number prefixes is available to patrons if requested.

Although creating and using the large number of call number prefixes was necessary, there have been positive and negative ramifications for doing so.  It has been particularly helpful in being able to differentiate multiple items with the same or very similar titles by the same author which happens very frequently in our collections.  However, searching the database by format with the OPAC is sometimes less productive and produces incomplete results. 

Items determined to be initially designated as non-cataloged items remain inventoried in spreadsheets with specific locations for access when needed.  The volume of the photographic print collection makes this impossible and relatively inaccessible even now 2 1/2 years later.

Regarding location of physical items and the ability to retrieve materials, the ILS provides several places where this information can be stored.  The items I have cataloged from storage locations in off-site areas at the home office and out of state have been placed in numerically sequential boxes.  This information is noted in the bibliographic record created.  A major concern, however, is the real possibility that organization staff members may move boxes and/or items from their locations with notification.  At this point, I have no method of assuring cataloged items will remain in the detailed locations to which they have been stored by the librarian.

Well, today’s another Monday…     I Like this quote I dislike this quote“Mondays are the potholes in the road of life.”–Tom Wilson, actor


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