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!
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!