Last week, I attended an all-day session over at sister school KU presented by Karen Calhoun, VP of OCLC WorldCat & Metadata Services. The session was entitled “Our space: the new world of metadata”. My colleague Dale has written up a great summary of the event, so I won’t go into the details here but did want to point you over to our conference reports blog to read about it! It’s great reading and food for thought.
Strategic planning at the Libraries already has us thinking about the issues Karen highlighted. We are not only thinking, we are “doing”. Some. Slowly. We have a long way to go, which signals more change ahead for staff as we identify our roles in this new digital framework, this new technical services.
On the other hand, we have also made huge progress in cross-training and the automation of many traditionally hands-on, staff-intensive labors:
- 80% of our monographs come shelf ready
- we bulkload bib records for the majority of our electronic journals (unfortunately, we still have to manually create POs for each title we subscribe to, but the majority of invoices come via EDI)
- we are moving more subscriptions to online-only, so serial check-in & binding have been greatly reduced, so much so that the binding superviser is helping with serials acquisitions
- much of the authority control we do is managed in bulk processes
- Access or VRS reports provide us easier ways to do bib maintenance.
- we used to have 5 monograph copy catalogers – now 4 of those 5 do serials work (in addition to monographs)
- all but 1 member of the database maintenance team regularly works on serials problems
- print serials copy catalogers also do e-journals
- serials acq staffers are also serials catalogers
- some monograph acq staff do monograph cataloging
- we’ve recently started training a number of staff on Verde, our ERM
Our backlog of new purchased materials is the smallest it has ever been and our backlog of older, non-print material continues to shrink.
All these changes have allowed us to spend a lot more time working on special collections and rare books backlogs. The next challenge will be to take a look at the approach to those processes and identify how they might be streamlined., i.e., provide the “right” metadata based on collections priorities. What is “good enough”. We need to do this to allow us to take on the metadata roles in our digital future.