Posted tagged ‘Tech services’

Target Audiences

January 28, 2009

Yesterday I posted about the lack of interest in my unfortunately scheduled gaming and libraries presentation.  Although that is being reformated for a friends program, that may simply become an adult video game night (which is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since we got our hands on a Wii).

Anyway, today I’m going to be giving a short workshop on my job essentially.  The idea being that we’ve held two workshops on how our catalog works, so now I’m going to follow up and show why it works.  I actually do have people signed up this time (if they brave the snow), but half the audience are staff members.

I actually really like that staff wanted to come, but now I’m a bit confused about how to present the material. What’s the happy medium between tech services for beginers and a staff training on MaRC records and FRBR?  Clearly the patron side of this should come first, but I would like to sneak in some hints of the more advanced material.  Whether or not I can actually achieve the right balance of course remains to be seen.

Job Description

January 9, 2009

A while back most of the people at my library had to work on a survey for the purpose of reevaluating job descriptions.  As a department head I was exempt, but I’m thinking listing my tasks might make a good exercise now in the wake of taking on a few more responsibilities in the wake of a co-workers maternity leave, a hiring freeze, and just generally being a gluttn for punishment.  So here we go, in the order I think of them:

Supervise a staff of 4 (1 full time, 3 part time)

Catalog all materials with the exceptions of fiction and a/v items.

Place and track orders for all materials

Investigate reports of defective/damaged a/v items and replace/repair them as necessary

withdraw materials

maintain catalog

run 2 patron workshops a month

run 2 video game events a month

keep statistics on items added/withdrawn each month

Make computer purchases

Maintain our computers and network

Act as liason between library and the consortia

Organize seasonal meetings of Western Mass tech services librarians

Serve on board of the MLA tech services section

Serve on consortia’s bibliographic and opac design committees

Serve on planning committee for the purpose of drafting a long-range plan

Oversee physical processing of materials

Oversee repairs of materials

Assist in crafting library policies


January 6, 2009

Heidi Hoerman, one of the most observent people working in tech services today has started up a new blog on the future of cataloging.  But what really makes hers a site worth watching is her view that the field is about to undergo drastic and unavoidable changes, and that the people within the profession are largely tripping over each other while trying to figure out how to confront those changes.  A view I agree with entirely.

Seen In Tech Services: Us An’them

December 5, 2008

Haven’t had cause to post one of these in a while, nice to get back to a theme.  Us An’them is a cd and dvd set of National anthems, that according to the liner notes took 17 years to complete.  That’s a little over a year for each of the 16 tracks, and keep in mind these aren’t exactly original works.  Not my biggest issue with this compendium.

Czechoslovakia is one of the anthems included, and it hasn’t existed as a nation since ’92 (granted it could be one of the tracks that was started 17 years back).  Still not my biggest concern.

Keep in mind this is a set of NATIONAL anthems.  So why on Earth is their an anthem for Esperanto!!!!!  Granted the esperantists have used nationalistic overtones before, they have a flag after all (thanks for that Brandon), despite the fact that the whole point of the language was to create something international in scope!

I just don’t get it.

Must See Sites for Technical Services

November 10, 2008

On December 4th I’m going to be leading my very first workshop, entitled Must See Sites for Technical Services (a little long for my tastes but whatever).  Thus I’ve been spending a lot of time surveying relevent sites recently in preparation.  I have the beginins of my list up on delicious and I plan to have the list up as a permanent page here soon, I’m hoping to spend my day off tomorrow working on it.

The idea for the workshop and foundation for my list are the work of the great Dodie Gaudet, whose link page can be found here.  Given Dodie’s amazingly comprehensive list I’ve been a bit desperate to find new things to add, and so I’m resorting to my usual tactic of pulling in information from outside the field.  Some of which has obvious relevance (LibraryThing), but a lot that’s a bit outside the box (One Across can be a great help for deciphering handwriting).

I am of course open to any and all further suggestions and welcome additions to my list on delicious.

Innovative Labels

September 15, 2008

My entries are probably going to be a bit sparse this week.  I’ve got three meetings (2 in other parts of the state), a dentist appointment, and on Friday I’ll be visiting family.  But I’ll do my best to keep this site updated.

Today was all about learning how to print spine labels in Innovative’s Millenium cataloging module.  The reps from the consortia did a great job of showing how to use the software, but I can’t help but think that Innovative has seriously dropped the ball on this one.

As of now we’re still using Innovative’s older software, Guicat, solely because of how it prints labels.  You just put your page settings into the config menu, hit print, and put in what you want into the wysiwyg editor.  Simple and it works.

In the new system everything is template based, but those templates have to be created in a third party (fortunately open source) piece of software that requires some knowledge of java script and in which the page measurements have to be converted to postscript points.  Oh and there may not be a way to add additional line breaks.  And the only default template provided forces the use of book pockets.  And it took quite a few years to get this far.

Granted the system does seem to work if you can get past the hassle (or if you’re fortunate enough to have someone else handle the template creation like we do).

What is Technical Services?

August 20, 2008

I just got back from the most well attended tech services meeting I’ve ever been to, and it was a really good one.  But I think what I found most fascinating this time around was discovering the huge variety in job descriptions that the various attendees had (a few of us are planning to swap them over e-mail now actually).  At the meeting were librarians responsible for:



collection development






and actually two library directors, who also dabble in tech services work.

Granted I do or have done nearly everything on that list at some point, but it’s really amazing to me when you hear that the work done by your entire department (and a few people elsewhere in the library) is done by a single person at another library (who has my sympathy).  I don’t think I’m going to complain about being overworked ever again.


June 25, 2008

I had an interesting conversation yesterday while trying to fix 5 particularly annoying computers yesterday (all were the same system, all behaved differently.  One fixed itself and another needs to have its harddrive reformated).  Anyway, it was pointed out to me how fascinating it was that as soon as a computer has trouble in the building, all other work is instantly dropped until it is fixed.

This really is true, I have a lot of work right now in tech services trying to wrap up FY’08 and a broken computer trumped it all.  And it doesn’t matter which computer.  In this instance the problems were all public use workstations, but in the past I’ve dropped everything to work on 1 of our 8 computers that are only used to access the opac.  If one of these is down for a day it’s not a big deal, except apparently it is.

So, when did this happen?  Why is one pac more important than getting out our new books, working on the budget, or even working on the payroll!?  Especially since I don’t think these priorities were ever consciously created, they just evolved into their present state.  Kind of sad really.

Seen in Tech Services II

June 2, 2008

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a cataloging oddity worth mentioning, this one is not a joke.  We have just received a large batch of Russian books, which is always fun for me since I don’t know the language at all.  So imagine my surprise when I plug in the ISBN on what appears to be some sort of holistic medicine book into WorldCat and see that one of the subject headings is Urine–Therapeutic use.

That could not stand to go by without being researched.  I’ll spare you the details, if you’re really interested in the subject then the wikipedia article is a decent starting point.  I’ll just leave this with the following quote regarding the subject, “there has been no research that has found drinking urine to be useful for any illness”.