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Whitney Buccicone's picture

Report on ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Discussion Group Program at ALA Annual 2017

On Sunday, June 25th, 2017, ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Discussion Group held a successful program with 46 attendees. We had nine unique topics with individual facilitators and asked each to list three main takeaways from their discussion.

Ivey Glendon (University of Virginia Library) presented Archivists and metadata librarians, library reorganization, and new understandings for archival description and discovery. This topic focused on the University of Virginia Library and its organizational restructuring which resulted in greater integration among special collections and non-special collections technical services staff. The conversation presented the following conclusions: define common vocabulary; provide training to be on the same page; and innovate different ways to offer your services in a way to let people say “yes”.

Sarah Hovde (Folger Shakespeare Library) discussed Cataloging & metadata outreach and expanded on how new challenges for cataloging and metadata professionals also offer interesting opportunities for collaboration and relationship building across a library community. From the discussion, the participants concluded that libraries could: tie outreach to existing programs (e.g. data management, statistics); encourage people to report errors - buy-in for database maintenance; and overcome barrier of isolation and physical space - assist other departments, use social media, and physically go to where other librarians are.

Dejah Rubel (Ferris State University) lead the discussion on the Changing nature of paraprofessional labor in Technical Services. This topic focused on how “technical services is changing very rapidly and tasks that were once the sole purview of professionals, such as complex copy cataloging or batch metadata editing, are now being assigned to para-professionals.” The discussion centered on: paraprofessionals are doing more without equal compensation; lines are blurring at many places between who does what; and skill levels and self-motivation are problematic and vary.

Nastia Guimaraes (University of Notre Dame) guided the topic of Application of project management in Technical Services, which focused on how “very few librarians have official project management (PM) training or have time to learn techniques used in the PM discipline” as well as collaborations across departments and workflows to successfully complete projects in a timely manner. The primary takeaways from this discussion were: communication is critical; how to measure the completion and success of  the project; and create a separate project management list of responsibilities so they know what’s expected (project charter, communication, retrospective meetings, etc).

The topic of Consortial Technical Services was lead by Christine Dulaney (American University Library) and focused on collaboration amongst consortial libraries which can take many forms. The focused takeaways were: consortia add a level of complexity that needs acknowledgement; cataloging staff must be comfortable with letting go of control of data because consortial models could be decentralized and effects data sharing; and that there are more questions than answers.

Data-oriented technical services in academic libraries discussion was facilitated by Haiqing Lin (C.V. Starr East Asian Library University of California Berkeley) and Karen Yu (University of Chicago Library). The conversation focused on the response to the growing field of data-driven scholarship and how academic libraries have begun to develop data collection and provide data-related services to researchers. Their takeaways were: data-oriented technical services will be the future; identity management is very important and necessary, and it is happening now; and librarians should work closer with researchers to provide the best research data services.

Unfortunately, no participants joined three table and those topics were not discussed