Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Re-Envisioning the MLS

On August 1, 2015, the University of Maryland iSchool released Re-Envisioning the MLS: findings, issues, and considerations, an attempt to predict the future of the MLS. Reading through the document, it is hard to see where those of us working with traditional metadata- MARC catalogers - fit into this vision of the future. The report is a product of the iSchool's Re-Envisioning the MLS initiative, launched in August 2014, and is intended to answer questions such as "What is the value of an MLS degree?", "What should the future MLS degree look like?" and "What are the competencies, attitudes, and abilities that future library and information professionals need?"

Key findings listed in the executive summary are listed:
  • The shift in focus to people and communities
  • Core values remain essential
  • Competencies for future information professionals
  • The MLS may not be relevant/necessary in all cases
  • Access for all
  • Social innovation and change
  • Working with data and engaging in assessment
  • Knowing and leveraging the community
  • Learning/learning sciences, education and youth
  • Digital assets and archival thinking

The "core competencies" for future information professionals include, "the ability to lead and manage projects and people; to facilitate learning and education ...  Additionally, information professionals need marketing and advocacy skills; strong public speaking and written communication skills; a strong desire to work with the public; problem-solving and the ability to think and adapt instantaneously; knowledge of the principles and applications of fundraising, budgeting, and policymaking; and relationship building among staff, patrons, community partners, and fundraisers."

Perhaps our work is described in a deeper level of the report. Reading through the detail under "core values remain essential", one finds, among others, the concept of "Preservation and Heritage". This is described as "providing current and future access to records, both analog and digital." Another piece of our work seems to be categorized under "Working with Data and Engaging in Assessment", with a stated need for professionals who can "manage data assets and understand digital curation techniques." Under "Digital assets and archival thinking", the importance of information professionals who can help communities manage, curate  and preserve their digital assets is mentioned.

Finally, in a table intended to summarize key topical areas of a future MLS curriculum, one of nine suggested content areas is "Digital Asset Management", described as the "ability to create, store, and access digital assets." Skills listed in this area are metadata, information organization, data storage and access/retrieval systems. It is interesting to note that the skills we think of as "cataloging" are only seen as applying to digital resources. Although this document is focused on the future, one feels a need to say "I'm not dead yet!" on behalf of more traditional metadata and resources.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Updates to the LC's Recommended Formats Statement

During the summer of 2014 the Library of Congress published the Recommended Format Specifications to identify characteristics of creative formats in both analog and digital formats. One of the goals of these specifications was to maximize the chance of survival of a given item by providing insight into formats that currently have the potential for a long shelf life. While the statement was geared for internal use within the Library of Congress, it was publicly published to help the creative and library community address the need for best practices for the sake of preservation and long term access of content.

These formats are addressing a very complex issue in trying to manage the complex changes occurring in materials formats. Formats are in a constant state of fluctuation and thus, the standards need to be updated on a continual basis. Recently the Recommended Formats Statement was updated to reflect feedback the Library had received in the past year. A brief synopsis of the changes can be found in this article from The Signal. And to address the continued need for updates, a period for comment for next year’s revisions will open in the near future. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

LC makes BIBFRAME training materials available

In preparation for its much-anticipated BIBFRAME cataloging pilot project, the Library of Congress has developed training materials for staff involved in the pilot, and made the first of three modules available online at Module one is divided into two sets of slides, plus supplementary reading/viewing assignments and brief quizzes. The training materials are designed for experienced catalogers and do not assume prior knowledge of linked data concepts.

The first set of slides provides a brief introduction to the concepts behind the Sematic Web and linked data, and the evolution of the World Wide Web from a web of documents to a web of data. It explains the need to move bibliographic data out of its MARC silo and onto the Semantic Web.

The second set of slides delves into the principles underlying RDF (Resource Description Framework), the “language of the Web.” Detailed, clearly presented examples of RDF triples provide a concrete visualization of what bibliographic data structured in RDF looks like.

Although I found a number of typos in the slides (I AM a cataloger, after all!), I found the training materials very helpful in confirming and deepening my knowledge of linked data and the Semantic Web. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Conversations about RDA

LJ INFOdocket reports that the Library of Congress has released an new series of training videos, "Conversations about RDA".   Topics include:
  • Compare and contrast: AACR2 and RDA in the bibliographic record
  • Undifferentiated personal name headings
  • Cataloger judgement and statement of responsibility
  • Capitalization, abbreviations & numbers
  • Exercising judgment in the statement of responsiblity
The videos average 20 minutes and provide focused looks at a topical areas. The videos are linked from the Library of Congress Webcast page within the Science and Technology category.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Contest has a winner

After a tightly contested race, the people have spoken. The contest to rename the OBS/TS-SIS Joint Research Grant closed on June 5, and the winner is OBS/TS FROG (Funding Research Opportunities Grant).

The winning entry was proposed by Karen Selden, who received an Amazon gift card for her efforts. The gifts of free SIS memberships, names drawn from the list of entrants, go to Calmer Chattoo (TS) and Kristina Alayan (OBS). With a hefty level of participation -- 50 proposed new names and 116 votes -- we are gratified that the grant has achieved some notoriety (Funding Research Opportunities Grant).

Please consider what you could do with a technical services research grant - no amount is too small and applications are considered on a rolling basis. More information and an application are available here!

Thanks again to all those who proposed new names and to all those who voted!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

FDLP Coordinator Certificate Program

The Federal Depository Library Program conducted a successful pilot of their FLDP Coordinator Certificate Program during the spring of 2015. This FLDP Academy virtual program is designed to educate FDLP coordinators on managing depository collections in compliance with the program requirements of the FDLP.

A webinar, FDLP Coordinator Certificate Program: Successful Flight of the Pilot, was presented and recorded Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The recording is available for viewing via the FDLP Academy Webinars and Webcasts page.

Sign-ups for two initial training cohorts have been announced. The fall 2015 FDLP Coordinator Certificate Program will run from October – December 2015, with weekly sessions scheduled for either Wednesdays or Thursdays. Participants must be available to attend all sessions of their cohort and complete all assignments and assessments to earn a certificate. The program is free, but registration is required and space is limited.

The FDLP plans to make recordings of the training materials presented available as webcasts via the FDLP Academy webcast site for depository personnel interested in selected topics, or not able to attend the full training sequence

Monday, June 15, 2015

Zepheira announces Libhub Initiative Early Adopter Program for academic libraries

Zepheira provides better Web visibility to libraries through Linked Data, and now offers a new program for academic libraries to reveal their resources and collections to the Web. The program builds on the successful Libhub Initiative Early Adopter Public Library Program launch with its Founding 12 Partners.

From Library Technology Guides,