RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2012

ALA Anaheim: Manic Monday

The title for this post is meant in a good way–as all days at ALA Annual, it’s always busy and full of good stuff and great people to meet. Although many seem to be taking off day. For me, the conference really is a marathon as I’ve done all day Friday through Monday and fly out tomorrow mid-morning; though I don’t sleep on planes, there is no way that I will stay awake for that 4+ hours flight, which I need/have definitely earned!

My plan of three sessions today turned into two due to cancellation which gave me an extra long and well-enjoyed break since I’ll be meeting with friends for coffee and catching up later this afternoon and hopefully getting free tickets to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, an advanced showing tonight!

Session 1) Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group had a panel of speakers made up of a representatives from Springer and Project MUSE, plus a couple of librarians (a cataloger and admin who used to be a cataloger) from the University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!). Being in another building likely kept the numbers down, plus being on Monday but it was still well-attended considering, with around 30 people there at 8 a.m. this morning. Since both are more publishers than vendors, it was interesting to hear about what they do to create their MARC records–usually machine generated initially then outsourced to OCLC/SLA for cataloging enhancements before going to the libraries with the e-books. The librarians obviously addressed the growing difficulty and frustration with editing and tweaking batch records that have various quality and consistency issues not only across multiple vendors but within a single vendor some times. Thankfully, the publishers said that they gather and want feedback for providing what libraries want. And the librarians, thankfully, called for action and accountability among libraries in order to share information and band together to approach vendors and publishers with their needs and demands for better MARC records as budgets, staffing, and work loads change rapidly. During the Q&A I did speak up and mention our (apparently special) department of full-time catalogers and that we do I-level records; I take it for granted because that’s where I work and my environment so it was shocking (but shouldn’t have been) to hear fro the panelists. Also, I piggybacked off of the comments about collaboration on everyone’s part to get better MARC from vendors and publishers and encouraged libraries to work together and approach them with their desires and needs. Another cataloger mentioned the BATCH List listserv that shares valuable information about record changes that are useful for all libraries.

Lesson learned: Vendors and publishers can and will provide better MARCs if it means more business for them by giving libraries what they need in an economically tight time for everyone. Just ask! We all are in it for the end users so why not collaborate and make metadata better, which is now more important than ever for discovery.

Session 2) CANCELLED Seeing is Believing: Understanding Data Visualization for Library Research didn’t end up happening but sounded very practical and would have been useful. But I won’t complain about having a longer break before my afternoon session, although now the tiredness is setting in the more I sit still and am left to my own devices rather than being stimulated by a session. Nap or upcoming session? Onto session 3 for the day, just because it will be cool and has great speakers! Sleep is for the plane tomorrow.

Lesson learned: Maybe 3 sessions plus other activities, the exhibit hall, and networking is too much. But I’m still plugging along and fitting everything in that I can to really squeeze the most out of ALA while I can!

Session 3) Riding the Publishing Roller Coaster: Practical Strategies from Research to Writing addressed the writing process through getting published. The panel had both authors and editors (who were also authors!) that gave great, practical tips and advice. It’s always refreshing to hear others talk about all the hard work and difficulty and challenges that go into writing and publishing. Too much to share but if you are interested in learning more, I could do a longer post delving into what was said. Most was common sense but needed reminding; I nodded a lot during the session, if that puts it into perspective. They all articulated their advice and tips eloquently.

Lesson learned: Reminded that writing is hard work so be humbled and respectful of your self and other’s works. Put yourself out there and be flexible when need to yet stick to your convictions but be able to explain why if you really don’t want a particular change made to your work.

After the last session, I meet up for coffee with UMich grad school friends and one of our professors to catch up! Soon after, we headed to get tickets for the advanced showing of The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Amazing movie with Emma Watson, by the way. How did I miss this book growing up? However, after the film, everyone got a free copy of the book and the author was there for q and a and book signing! It was a fun evening with good friends–a great way to wrap up ALA Annual!

image

image

Go see the movie when it comes out and read the book until this! My new favorite movie!

Look for a post tomorrow, likely while at the airport, about tips and advice about attending ALA and what to do now that we are all still a buzz from the great sessions and people here. My friend and classmate, now Learning Technologies Librarian, Emily Thompson hosts a podcast called LiTTech with another friend/classmate now School Librarian, Addie Matteson that address libraries, education, and technology. Not too long ago, I spoke as a guest about cataloging with Emily, which is also available for download on iTunes as well. They were here at ALA collecting sound bites for their next upcoming podcast, so keep an eye out for that; I’ve heard some bits already and it’ll be great and fun to listen to!

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALA Anaheim: Stuffed Sunday

Appropriate title but also reminiscent of a subject heading that I discussed months ago!

Today, again, was jam-packed with sessions but that’s the general point of conferences. Three is the magic number for me because that’s about all I can max out for intact of information.

Session 1) ebrary: Strategic E-book Acquisition for Academic Libraries provided a breakfast before their talk about PDAs (patron driven acquisitions) with actual libraries to tell their stories and experiences. Hearing from others attending, it’s the best conference food, and it was good. Even though ebrary is a part of ProQuest, hearing the concerns for librarians in the room as well as their wonderful stories. Plus, several higher ups from PQ also attended, including CEO Kurt Sanford. As of right now, apparently choosing the short-term loan option has a fee that doesn’t go then towards the purchase of the book later so some of the libraries just select the PDA option. Maybe this will change in the future. Feedback is always taken to heart at ProQuest, from experience, but not always acted on.

Lesson learned: Sessions with food are well-attended and it’s great when presentations by vendors that address topics rather than just a product pitch are much more interesting and useful.

Session 2) Responsive web design: get beyond the myth of the mobile web showed just how easy and necessary it is to make library websites that adjust to the size of the device accessing them. The cool thing about this is that it’s one website with extra code that has different tweaks based on the screen size of the device, using percentages instead of pixel widths. The example website is LOL Library by presenter Matthew Reidsma that as you view it on a computer browser, resizing it will show you all the variations, the rearranging of the same content for all the different devices. He’ll put everything up online, including the code at GitHub for the LOL Library website.

Lesson learned: Everyone needs to do a single website that is built with responsive web design. There are lots of resources on the web and Matthew posted his slides and presentation so when you have time, watch it and make use of it!

Session 3) Learning Styles: Fiction, Nonfiction, Mystery? taught me all about what  learning styles are and how to use them in instruction–there are 21 different types so it varies greatly. The three panelists were wonderful and it was more informative than practical which for me was perfect since I was new to the idea coming in. Oddly enough, there was a turn-and-talk discussion with the people next to us, and since I don’t teach or do instruction, I listened a lot to my neighbor and spoke of my husband Steve’s stories of his teaching that he’s shared with me; the librarian I spoke with was very skeptical about the presented information and told me about what his alternative views are on what’s important and affects instruction to make it more meaningful and useful for students. Lots of food for thought!

Lesson learned: Though people are presenting on a topic, sometimes it’s good to be a skeptic and think about different ways to approach the issue and other creative solutions. Plus, my discussion partner mentioned What best college teachers do as a great practical book–so look into it if this is important to your work!

Exhibit Hall for some is the essence of the conference but for me I avoid it. One, lots and lots of people make it overwhelming. Yet what it really comes down to is that I don’t need or want to collect books, plus I have no scope for talking to vendors or other companies that provide equipment and software to libraries. It’s weird working for ProQuest in that sense but it also means that I don’t have to wait in lines for book signings or pack/ship tons of books home. During some down time between sessions, I did wander though out the whole hall during a fairly quiet time, so I literally got handed books that got immediately singed by the authors and illustrators. Thank goodness my friend Addie is a school librarian and happily took the handful that I collected. I did get registered for a chance to win two Kindles, and finally found the booth giving out free Brave tickets.

Dinner with friends and then watching Brave for free in a theater full of librarians was the highlight of the day, though. Seriously, it’s a great family movie and a really fun daughter/mother adventure so ladies go with your moms!

Tomorrow morning begins at 8 a.m. yet again–what is with such early morning sessions? Start early, end early to give people an evening for other stuff, I guess! Full plate yet again. How about you?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

ALA Anaheim: Super Saturday

Very busy day today! Lots of wonderful sessions which makes it hard to decide what to attend. In the end, the three sessions I chose today taught me a lot and were enjoyable.

Session 1) LITA’s Linked Data and Next Generation Catalogs covered a broad base of what Linked Data is, why libraries should lead the charge, and how to do so. Different libraries and vendors on the panel talked about the topic generally while also delving into specifics of projects and current use of Linked Data. Unfortunately, attending the all-day Linked Data workshop yesterday at the pre-conference meant that some of the speakers also presented at this event as well and while they weren’t the same presentations, there was overlap. But being new to Linked Data, it was good to have things reiterated and spoken about more broadly. A few others from yesterday came as well but doing one or the other would have been sufficient, especially since this session lasted 4 hours and covered lots of ground.

Lesson learned: Instead of trying to hit all the same topics, vary your sessions to learn more and expand your horizons–plus you have the chance to meet so many more people of all different types.

Session 2) Transforming Technical Services: Growing IT Skill Sets Within Technical Services Departments provided a practical realistic look at how to increase tech savvy among TS staff. Several libraries each gave their take on what it takes to increase, encourage, and support professional development in application development, software training, and bringing more tech into library work to ensure projects are done by librarians who understand the system, users, and needs rather than hand it off to already busy IT people. Oddly enough, all the speakers rounded back on the same or similar tips and concerns but each offered their own way of how they handled their situation and what their solutions and realizations were. So useful. And not just for TS–this applies to libraries in general as well as general business. In a nutshell, talk the the staff to find out what they use and need but remember that they don’t know what they don’t know at time, encourage and support relevant learning that will make their work easier and more effective, start with small and meaningful projects that are achievable and leave a lasting impact to increase buy-in, and work within the knowledge and abilities of the staff to drawn on the best of what they can offer pairing it with the technology to increase their effectiveness.

Lesson learned: Though libraries are becoming more techie and librarians with tech savvy skills are needed and necessary these days, as one speaker said “Remember, we are not growing programmers”.

Session 3) Traveling the Spectrum: From Interstellar Adventures to Epic Fantasy, the influence of Science Fiction and Fantasy on the World Today (i.e. the George R.R. Martin talk!) was my guilty pleasure session of the day and a great way to relax and enjoy a fun author-talk. Besides George R.R. Martin, Blake Charlton also spoke and, for some reason, Lois McMaster Bujold wasn’t billed but was on the panel as well. Each talked about themselves, their paths to reading and writing books, and how Sci-Fi and Fantasy shaped them and the world. Though I’ve not read a word by any of these authors (I LOVE the HBO Game of Thones show), they are now three of my favorite authors and I vow to read their works as soon as my year of reading my bookshelf is up, which isn’t going so well this month, lol. Each was so humble and had tough lives that lead them to not only books that engaged and inspired them to read and eventually to write. Authors that talk realistically about writing and what it took to get their win me over instantly because, like most things, book writing is not magic and neither is getting published. Hard work and persistence win out. Once I finish Camp this June, I might be crazy enough to write another 50,000 words in August for it again and this time return to my roots of Fantasy and Sci-Fi as well; it’s been a decade since I began my Fantasy novel that never really got off the ground but after this talk today, I’m ready to commit a month to returning to those worlds and characters and actually writing the novel now.

Lesson learned: Listening to them all made me realize that fantastical literature/fiction is escapist for a reason; most Fantasy and Sci-Fi authors and readers lead hard lives, in one aspect or another, and the release and travels and adventures that those genres provide enrich everyone’s life who writes or reads them. And as with most genres, there is quality and fluff so there is something for all tastes and preferences and if you haven’t read any, find out about them (use Reader’s Advisory at your library) and crack open some books and see what they are all about!

Now, time to briefly look over my schedule tomorrow to set a game plan for more sessions! Are you ready for yours?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALA Anaheim: Pre-conference and kick-off!

Even though #ALA12 officially began with the Opening General Session at 4 this afternoon, I arrived late last night in order to attend a pre-conference session about Linked Data. Being an all-day session, it was jam-packed with great presenters, attenders, and information. The Twitter hash tag was #ala2012_ldpre and many of us tweeted during it, so definitely check it out if you’re interested in seeing how the day progressed.

The format helped keep the momentum going for the entire day: a key note, lightning talks, small group discussions, and reporting back to the whole group. Though the session focused on Linked Data, a whole range of aspects and depths were discussed. From theory to how to get started, global implications to SPARQL queries.

The presenters represented vendors, libraries, and even LC. Each honed in on a different part of the Linked Data topic and yet the talks fit together well because it built a larger tapestry of the topic and issues surrounding it. The fun part was hearing and seeing examples of how LD could advance libraries but also the web more generally. Yet there are many problems and concerns that get in the way, mainly time and money. However, as the keynote speaker Eric Miller pointed out, catalogers and libraries are particularly well poised to lead the way to make use of LD and have been doing so for 40 years with MARC already: think controlled subject headings and names. All controlled fields and the accompanying authority files are Linked Data.

My brain still buzzes with all the new information and ideas and hope for the future. Cataloging is changing quite rapidly with FRBR and RDA, and now Linked Data. Yet it isn’t changing, really. The theory and the purpose are the same but now technologies are advancing to allow us to create things that were never possible before. For some it’s a scary unknown but it could bring libraries back into the conversation more if we helped create and guide standards that would organize and maintain data on the web as well as in libraries.

Several people at this session today called for action. Not just holding meetings and being aware of what’s going on with Linked Data but actually creating and doing something to test and set up projects to find out what best works and begin stepping into the future today. How apt a statement with Disneyland across from my hotel. 🙂 But, as was reiterated as the day’s session wound down, there is no magic involved–it’s all hard work by smart and dedicated people working together to build off each other to make some. So let’s create Linked Data and help build better libraries and a better world with excellent data! Who’s with me?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Packed, prepped, and poised: #ALA12 in Anaheim!

T-minus 12 hours before I board my flight for ALA. Yes, it’s a bit late of a flight but I am there until mid-day Tuesday–that’s what happens when attending ALA Annual is a last minute decision. It’s a rather D.I.Y. trip that I got together a couple weeks ago myself; with my husband there leading a couple of sessions and library grad school friends wanting to meet up, despite my panel speaking falling through in the end, I decided to head out to Anaheim and make the best of it anyway. I’m going on my own from PQ as no fellow co-workers are headed out this year and the sales reps and trainers have plans. That means flying out tonight, which is fine because tomorrow is when all the fun starts, anyway–and I have that all day session! In the end, degrees (Forbes, 60-second survey brief and full reports), jobs (Annoyed Librarian), and conferences are what you make of them.

With Steve making me on-the-fly free business cards–woot!–I’m absolutely ready for this conference. Now, I just have to wait all day and a four hour flight. My scheduled is planned and online through the ALA Scheduler if you are curious where I’ll be and when. Please, tweet me up or hunt me down at a session–I’m always looking to meet other passionate catalogers. Don’t let my working for ProQuest fool you, I’m a true cataloger through and through. If you read this blog regularly or have perused it at all, that should be quite evident. At the conference, I’ll post about the session, likely in an evening recap once back at the hotel or during down time (if any) between sessions themselves. There is a lot going on and I’m trying to hit as much big stuff as possible, i.e. Linked Data and RDA and FRBR especially. Plus we’ll go see George R. R. Martin for fun.

Before heading off to work and trying to keep myself as busy as possible all day so that I’m not thinking about the flight and how Steve’s already in the air and will be in Anaheim soon with some of our grad school friends that got in last night (lucky duckies!), there’s a matter of a super cool subject heading. Did you think I’d leave you, dear reader, longing for another sub. head. to mull over while I’m away having fun at ALA?

BONUS: There’s a Subject Heading for that!?: Crime prevention, and its narrower terms

“Crime prevention” isn’t the sub. head. that I want to talk about but it is the umbrella term for a lot of cool, odd narrower terms nested in it. The one that got me started, and pertained to my item in hand, was “private security services”. Since this was the first time that I saw it, I chased it down a bit because my curiosity needed feeding; lately it’s been a diet of business management and techie books–nothing wrong with that but I know those sub. head. down pat. Things didn’t get interesting until I looked at the broader term “crime prevention”.

Image

All look pretty run-of-the-mill and typically what you’d think it’d have for narrower terms, except “surety of the peace”. I’m sure that I can figure that one out but what an odd phrases, even for a sub. head. Seriously, who is going to type that in? Perhaps it’s another “Easter egg” sub. head. that when you find it, your reward is great because now you know this specific term that leads to a very specific topic. Score!

Image

Even better, though, is its narrower term:

Image

“Good behavior (Law)” as opposed to unlawful good behavior? Bad joke. I guess this would get at maybe a person’s behavior as it affects their legal status, such as being in prison or on parole. Yet when I saw this for the first time, it hit me as useful only if you knew the topic already. For lawyers and law student, legal researchers and maybe judges, it’s a great fit; law librarians, rejoice!

Image

Popping over to the LC Online Catalog, “surety of the peace” has 4 basic LCSH and the remaining dozen or so are subdivided by place. For “good behavior (law)”, the pickings are even more slim with only 10 totally hits and all are subdivided geographically. Alright, so you’ll find something if you use these sub. heads. but you won’t find much–which makes it a perfect topic for a thesis, right? Have at it! Just try to remain peaceful and on your best behavior as you duke it out over this amazing thesis topic–you’re welcome!

Better get to work so I can catch that flight tonight! See you in Anaheim, or follow me on Twitter @ReadWriteLib or stay tuned here for more posts!

 
Comments Off on Packed, prepped, and poised: #ALA12 in Anaheim!

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Emily’s Tech Talk Episode 3: Lock down and light up your LinkedIn

Emily’s Tech Talk episode 3: Password breach and how it affects LinkedIn

ALA Annual in Anaheim is this week! In the video I say “next week” because I thought I’d get it up this weekend. Alas, here it is. ALA Annual runs from June 21-26, 2012. A large mass of librarians will descend on Anaheim for a meeting of the minds! And if you are going, one more thing to remember as you prepare and pack for the event is to make sure your online self if ready too, namely LinkedIn.

As important as business cards and resumes, your online presence is something that matters greatly and what is found online about you can impact your work and job search. So, update any of your websites and professional blogs or personas. The easiest and probably most widely used social media tool for this is LinkedIn.

Last week, they were infamously in the news media for their password breach that didn’t result in any confirmed account breaches but it has caused a call for changing and improving passwords as well as warning against bad passwords. Being a Millennial, I have the art of passwords down pat and use a variety of levels and variations based on the importance of the site to me. All these links are used in the video above as the cutaways.

Hope this helps! And please track me down at ALA Annual 2012 if you go, follow me on twitter, or keep up with my blog as I post about all the different sessions I attend and the conference in general. Until next time, stay techie!

 
Comments Off on Emily’s Tech Talk Episode 3: Lock down and light up your LinkedIn

Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , ,

There’s a subject heading for that!?: architecture and cosmology

This subject headings is one of those gems that enamor me when I discover them–hardly believing they exist sometimes. There are days in which the best course of action is the take the best stab at a topic then scroll through the subject authority file, carefully looking for something pertaining to what’s in hand. “Architecture and …” is a very fruitful and interesting area of SAF. But the best one by far is:

“Architecture and cosmology”

Image

See!? How cool is that? Do I know what it means–no. Does the SAF tell me anything further, such as in a scope note–apparently we aren’t that lucky. I thought that scope notes were abundant and the norm; guess I just happened to find sub. head. with lots of them, which makes sense since I did catalog legal material for a while and that stuff is confusing no matter who you are and what degrees you have.

Where to now? The LC Online Catalog, of course! Let’s dive in and see what we find. Since it didn’t fit my item, I am just now searching for this as I write the post. I sure hope something turns up! Subject Browse rocks. Oooo, 12 hits and additional ones divided geographically. It always makes me sad to find a sub. head. that has only one or two uses.

Image

Ah, ha! Now we have some answers. Yes, if you guessed that this sub. head. got at the symbolism of architecture for religious meaning and buildings then you are right! Who knew this niche existed? Now we do, and so can your users now too if you so choose to spread this knowledge! While there aren’t many titles, and some are in other languages, it still looks like an interesting topic.

It’s too nice a day to complain about bad subject headings today, although I did fill in a co-worker on the topic of “computer drawing” vs. “computer graphics”–maybe in another post of you all are dying to know my thoughts. Besides, since I don’t do authority work right now, I figure it’s best not to complain about something that I’m not working to change. Same with voting, right? If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

Enjoy your afternoon! I’m camped out on the porch for Camp today, and working on finishing this time!

 
Comments Off on There’s a subject heading for that!?: architecture and cosmology

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: