2019 NETSL Annual Spring Conference

Friday, April 5, 2019 | 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA

Back to Basics: Everyday Skills for Technical Services

Keynote Rhonda Evans
Electronic Resources Librarian, New York Public Library

Schedule at-a-glance

8:30am – 9:30am             Registration and breakfast

9:30am -9:45am              Welcome

9:45am-10:45am             Keynote Address

10:45am -11:00am          Break (coffee & tea)

11:00am – 12:00pm        Breakout Sessions 1 A, B, C, D

12:00pm -1:15pm           Lunch and NETSL Award

1:15pm – 2:15pm            Breakout Sessions 2 A, B, C, D

2:15pm – 2:30pm            Break (cold drinks)

2:30pm – 3:30pm            Lightning Talks


I Found Things I Imagined: The Magic of Technical Services Librarianship

Rhonda Evans, Electronic Resources Librarian, New York Public Library

There is a moment when an average library user becomes a devoted library patron. That moment often occurs when, searching the catalog or the archives they find that one resource — be it a book, sheet music or archival item — that is exactly what they imagined. This “find” is something that nurses their curiosity, fosters their research, and connects them with new avenues of knowledge. By keeping the diversity and constantly changing world of our patronage at the forefront of our practice, technical services librarianship can continue to create and increase these moments of magic. In the age of competing avenues of seeking and finding information, librarians, especially those who have chosen technical services, can continue to create lifelong library patrons. The magic of technical services librarianship is that there is the power to turn the occasional library user into a patron who thrives in seeking and finding knowledge. By providing paths of discoverability that reflect the world we see, technical services librarianship empowers learning through access.

Rhonda Evans is the Electronic Resources Librarian for the four Research Libraries at the New York Public Library. Rhonda provides reference and instruction on the Libraries’ over 500 databases. She also works diligently in promoting the use of NYPL’s e-resources by working closely with the Library’s Communications Team by promoting on social media and blogging. Rhonda has been featured in Bustle and Atlas Obscura. She has conducted numerous electronic resource trainings and has overseen outreach activities with high schools and universities. Rhonda will have an article published in the “E-Resources Roundup” section of The Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship vol. 30, number 4, entitled, “Staff E-Resources Lightning Talks as a Teaching and Promotional Tool”. She is also an editor on the New York Public Library LibGuides Committee. Prior to her work at the New York Public Library, she was the Nathan R. Sobel Law Library Fellow at the Brooklyn Supreme Court Law Library. Prior to earning her MLIS Rhonda Evans was a practicing attorney, specializing in tort law. Rhonda is a proud American Libraries Association Spectrum Scholar (2013) and Association of Research Libraries, Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Scholar (2013-2015).

Morning Breakout Sessions

Session 1A
Library Inventory: a value-added approach to Collections Management

The Kresge Physical Sciences Library at Dartmouth College just completed a comprehensive inventory and review of its entire physical collection. Our presentation will cover the planning and execution of this multiphase project. We will discuss project planning and coordination with all departments impacted by this process. We will share best practices, strategies for faculty and peer review, and student tasks. We will give examples of challenging issues that needed fixing and the importance of tidy, accurate bibliographic data. We will discuss the benefits of an inventory, for reporting purposes and for patrons. Finally, we will discuss strategies to incorporate regular inventory control within your library process. Reasons to do a physical inventory include:

  • Finding missing books
  • Greater fill rate for resource sharing and for our own patrons as well
  • Updating holdings records to accurately describe what is actually on the shelf (serials, series)
  • Removing older editions, and refreshing the collection
  • Ability to migrate to a new LIS easily, because your records are tidy
  • Accurate statistics of what your library has, for reporting to ARL and beyond
  • Identifying materials that need further preservation, or replacement due to wear and tear
  • Providing student workers with a hands-on project to familiarize them with the library’s resources.

Lisa Ladd, Library Collections and Resource Sharing Specialist, Dartmouth College

Karen MacPhee, Library Supervisor, Dartmouth College

Session 1B
Basic MarcEdit skills for searching, cleaning, and enhancing your MARC data

One of the basic tools for technical services is skills with MarcEdit. This free utility provides the ability to batch analyze, edit, and enrich MARC records. The Metadata Services Department at the UC Santa Cruz University Library has used MarcEdit to find records lacking an OCLC number, sort and separate records by format, prepend URLs with proxy information, remove unwanted vendor data, add local fields, and detect duplicate fields. This session will demonstrate, through examples, how to accomplish these tasks. In addition to analyzing and editing records, this session will cover the creation of MARC records from spreadsheet data and the enhancement of records with RDA elements and URIs.

Marcia Barrett, Cataloging & Metadata Strategies Librarian, University of California, Santa Cruz

Session 1C
Getting to know Git and GitHub for version control

Version control is one way to track changes to files on your computer and is a technique increasingly adopted for project management in collaborative research and academic environments. Git is one of the most widely used version control systems in the world. It is useful to both individuals and groups to track changes, manage conflicts in files, and share workflows and resources. Librarians regularly manage complex data and data management projects. Adopting a well-vetted, open source tool can be a low-stakes introduction into methods that assist project management and other workflows. In this live demonstration, participants will be introduced to the platforms Git and GitHub, common functions for version control in Git, and how Git can be beneficial for librarians in particular.

Thea Atwood, Data Services Librarian, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Session 1D
How Technical Services Tackles “Things”

Libraries of Things (circulating equipment, games, tools, etc.) create quite a stir in libraries lately and delight patrons who discover out of the ordinary items to borrow. But what about Tech Services? The folks behind the scenes often tear their hair out cataloging and processing unusual items. From whom do you order a metal detector? How do you package and label a ukulele? Where do you even start cataloging a food dehydrator in such a way that both staff and the public will find it in the catalog and in the stacks? What about oversize or fragile things, not to mention those with many pieces, or materials that need replenishing? The Morrill Memorial Library has approximately 400 items under the “things” umbrella (including an actual umbrella), from an afuche cabasa (a small handheld musical instrument) to a yarn swift. Tech Services staff has learned by trial and error how to navigate the challenges these outliers in the collection present. This session will address acquisitions, cataloging, and processing issues pertaining to Libraries of Things. Attendees will take away useful tips on standardizing practices, getting buy-in from Tech Services and other staff, and easing the burden of handling the strange and unusual.

Lydia Sampson, Technical Services Department Head, Morrill Memorial Library, Norwood MA

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Session 2A
Giving new life to an aging catalog

The presentation draws upon the experience of an OCLC DataSync (formerly known as Reclamation) project undertaken for the first time at University of Vermont Libraries. A collection of about 1 million bibliographic records, dating back to the pre-AACR2 time and describing resources in tangible formats, underwent the synchronization of their local holdings with the WorldCat. The project rollout by its stages, followed by a discussion of the positives and negatives of the outcome, along with perspectives on dealing with unresolved records as well as notes regarding the management approach of the local implementation team, represent the main talking points. The speaker will also put an emphasis on the component of Local Holdings Records (LHR) processing for serials, not commonly discussed in other DataSync reports.

Daniel Saulean, Continuing Resources Metadata Librarian, University of Vermont Libraries

Session 2B
The RDA Toolkit: from fear to cheer in an hour

This session will provide a hands-on introduction to the redesigned RDA Toolkit. Participants will test its features and functionality. They will be guided through real-world cataloging examples to learn about changes to RDA content from a practical perspective. What are entities and elements? What are coherent, minimum, effective descriptions? What are the four recoding methods? Is there anything still core? Where have the relationship designators gone? What should I do when I need to catalog a simple monograph? How can I create an authorized access point for a person? Where can I find information on serials? Where can I find out which MARC tag to use? If there are no longer instruction numbers, how can I refer to an instruction? All of these are questions that will be answered during the workshop. Along the way, participants will learn tips to better use the Toolkit with the goal of making the new Toolkit less scary to approach. Thanks to ALA Publishing, participants who bring a laptop or tablet will have free access to the RDA Toolkit for the event.

Dominique Bourassa, Catalog Librarian for French Language, Yale University Library

Session 2C
We are not library scientists but library engineers

This session will focus on the idea of library engineering instead of library science, meaning the practical application of problems solving instead of exploring theoretical ideas. We will specifically explore the Observe Orient Decide Act (OODA) Loop analysis tool, and how the Rhode Island State Library’s (RISL) implementation of this analysis tool solved some of its biggest problems. The presentation will go through the thought process changes how problems are attacked: taking what is known; what is needed to be known; and how to go about solving the problem. The OODA Loop tool will be illustrated as RISL evaluated, decided on, and implemented an open source catalog solution to start the modernization of its collection. Prior to this, the products and solutions were done on an ad hoc basis with no long-term goal. Consequently, the collections were fragmented and complex. The library opted to move to an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), KOHA. Because the library does not have the necessary IT infrastructure in-house to manage an open source product, it contracts with a third-party vendor to handle to manage hosting and all technology updates. This creative combination saves the library both time and money than using a fully proprietary ILS. The new centralized ILS provides a basis for evaluating our current collection, weeding projects, and better access for our patrons. Along with the move to KOHA, the RISL is working with its sister agency, the Rhode Island State Archives to create a long-term digital preservation plan for its born digital documents while continuing to provide access by using the digital repository Preservica (https://us.preservica.com for more information).

Greg Facincani, Clearinghouse Director, Rhode Island State Library

Session 2D
Managing copyright issues at the MIT Libraries: understanding rights to promote broader access to collections

The Rights Working Group (RWG) is a standing working group of the MIT Libraries charged with responsibilities including assessing copyright ownership and analyzing risk related to digital access, developing copyright-related processes and guidelines needed for digitization decisions, and building a common understanding among the Libraries staff about best practices. Sponsored by the Associate Director for Collections and convened by our Scholarly Communications and Licensing Librarian, Katie Zimmerman, representation on the group includes an archivist, collections strategist, and a representative for metadata and digitization. Each member brings both copyright knowledge and subject matter expertise that allows the group to tackle the logistical and legal challenges involved in access decisions. The group has evolved from a temporary project based group to an advisory group that is a critical component of workflows throughout the Libraries. Members of the group will share how we have been managing copyright issues for many years, how we work, and new projects that we are sponsoring.

Beverly Turner, Head of Metadata and Digital Collections Services, MIT Libraries
Mikki Simon Macdonald, Collections Strategist for Institute Publications, MIT Libraries
Rachel Van Unen, Archivist for Collections, MIT Libraries

Lightning Talks

Moving the backlog forward: using OpenRefine for automating backlog record searching

Searching for cataloging copy for the whole backlog is like finding a needle in a haystack. At the Yale University Library, we automated this time- and labor-consuming process using OpenRefine and the WorldCat Search APIs. OpenRefine is a powerful, easy-to-use tool not just for cleaning data but also for enriching data. With its ability to request URL using external web services such as OCLC WorldCat Search APIs and to parse data, the process searches in WorldCat by LCCN, ISBN, and/or OCLC number, checks to see if backlog titles have acceptable OCLC records available for copy cataloging, and returns results. In this presentation, I will demonstrate how this process works and briefly explain how it has reduced staff time manually searching for catalog-ready records and increased their productivity. While this presentation focuses on use of OpenRefine for backlog searching, it can also be used for other batch processes and therefore the method is applicable across a variety of library work.

Yukari Sugiyama, Japanese Technical Services Librarian, Yale University Library

Breaking through the word barrier: how nomenclatures can work as comprehension inhibitors

Technology abounds with dedicated practitioners of taxonomies (who’ve seemingly never met an acronym they didn’t love) that don’t always take into account those who must comprehend the terms (the end-user) as well as those who must explain the terms (the librarian). From protologisms to neologisms to librarians on the front lines patiently explaining what it all means to their users, the terminology is fast-changing and relentlessly accumulating. While some terms remain “inside the industry or institution” and don’t affect the end-user, there are cases in which the terms cause confusion and create inefficiencies. By example, I will briefly dissect academic publishing terms: preprints, postprints, eprints, and publisher’s pdfs. Once we understand the terms, I will propose throwing them away and starting over with terms that don’t require explanation, but instead truly embrace a spirit of autological language.

Jessica Ryan, Scholarly Communications Project Assistant, Smith College

Introducing Open Cataloging Rules: a freely available collaborative cataloging code for practical library cataloging

Contemporary library catalogers and metadata specialists need practical guidance for creating bibliographic records. Our rules should not require a theoretical lecture before their application. Furthermore, many libraries cannot afford an annual subscription to the RDA Toolkit. The purpose of libraries is to provide free access to information, yet we do not allow ourselves that same access to RDA. Open Cataloging Rules (www.opencatalogingrules.org) is is an initiative to create a freely available collaborative cataloging code created by catalogers for catalogers who actually catalog library materials. Breaking from theoretical frameworks, oversight committees, and annual subscription fees– Open Cataloging Rules has the potential to revolutionize the international cataloging community. Open Cataloging Rules will utilize Wikimedia wiki software to enable ease of use and participation on a familiar platform, change history tracking, multilingual interface, and a practical numbering for easy organization, reference, and citation. While this presentation is an introduction to the new resource, it is also a call for participation!

Amber Billey, Systems and Metadata Librarian, Bard College

Cataloging and the post truth catalog

There are works where the authors have admitted that they were lying. A Million Little Pieces. Biography of little Elk. The Arming of America had the Bancroft Prize revoked when it was found to be based on questionable scholarship. The first question is should these materials be in the library. In the case of academic libraries, sometimes material may be valuable simply because it was published with lies. Sometimes material is valuable despite the lies. Once the retention decision has been made, the problem is passed to the catalogers to accurately describe the book. In many cases the catalogers have struck back by adding some kind of a note field. We know that in many cases the patron does not read the notes. Just the fact that a book is in the library’s collection gives it some amount of credence. There are other options to warn the reader. The ALA’s statement on labeling says that labeling systems present challenge to intellectual freedom principles. “The American Library Association opposes labeling as a means of predisposing people’s attitudes toward library resources.” Does that mean if a book contains acknowledged false material that we cannot label it as such? Some public libraries have created lists and book reviews that display with the book record. These options both give more information about the book, but both depend on the user reading the information. These solutions do not help the patron who is browsing in the stacks and is not referring to the bibliographic record at all. They must be helped in another way.

Sarah Theimer, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian, University of New Hampshire

OneNote for instruction and learning

In Interlibrary Services at the main UConn Library, we are the service owners of ILLiad. Our staff use the ILLiad client to update ILL items that arrive from our lenders and then we forward those items to one of our seven circulation desks. In order to provide a uniform tool for instructing the circulation desks we provide links to the Interlibrary Services OneNote. The OneNote was created collaboratively by different ILL staff and provides pages in Borrowing and Lending.
Microsoft OneNote is a great tool for helping to organize diverse content. It has sections, pages, subpages, OCR, audio and video recording and embedding, a built-in search engine, and much more. This session will provide a general overview of OneNote and provide examples of its uses.

Terry Palacios, Interlibrary Services Associate, University of Connecticut

Registration is now closed.
Questions? Email netsl@nelib.org and a board member will respond.