ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Interest Group

ALA Midwinter 2016 CITSIG Roundtable Reports 

Jan 27, 2016 09:09 AM

ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Interest Group (CITSIG) Meeting

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 3:00-4:00 pm | ALA Scheduler:

64 Attendees

Kelly Smith, Chair 2015-2016

Amber Billey, Vice Chair 2015-2016


Trends in collection format and use

Facilitator: Amy Fry, Bowling Green State University

Important points

  • Push back to vendors – push from top

  • People still want print

  • Restrictions on use -> Publishers haven’t made them open; faculty don’t understand they have these restrictions – 4 hrs. checkout – Need to make ebooks usable as books

  • eBooks don’t work well outside of fiction

  • eBooks leaving packages problematic

  • DDA – short term loan or strategically build useful eBook collection we couldn’t afford

Biggest takeaways

  • Not common to purchase multiple formats

  • Single/multiple record issues

  • Knowledgebase content problems

  • Survey our own institutions to push back

  • Space squeeze; lack of storage

  • Less collaboration? Consortia woes.

  • Get rid of print books we have in e?


Merger mania: What is the fall out and what are the concerns?  

Facilitator: Joe Badics, Eastern Michigan University

Important points

  • Concerns about a monopoly – no control, no choice – competition needed to have choice of price, service options

  • Mergers / Subsidiaries – it’s a mess and confusing

    • Who do I contact?

    • Competitor’s products//future of products

    • Backfile?

    • Switch of titles between publishers

Biggest takeaway

  • People need to stay alert to what is going on! Librarians need to justify who we do business with and be more business savvy.


How can technical services staff use their skills to go beyond/work around "standard" systems to better serve their users' needs?

Facilitator: Betty Landesman, University of Baltimore

Most important points

  • There are collections that are not well served by LCSH.

  • There are local issues (funding, consortial practice, etc.) that are problems

  • There are local needs (university author lists, theses) that are not being met

Biggest takeaways

  • Don't

be confined by vocabularies, budgets, vendors, staffing, user behavior, insularity.

  • Do

Build your own vocabularies (create or use other thesauri)

Expand existing schema (MARC) to the max

Use freeware (Google forms) to help catalog problem titles

Work to change job descriptions and nurture staff in new roles

Use shelf-ready solutions

Teach users to search

Network within and outside your institution


Metadata for institutional repositories: Who catalogs the digital library?

Facilitator: Ellen Bahr, Alfred University

Important points

  • Ownership varies from institution to institution: Librarian who started IR; student workers; catalogers & archivists together

  • Authorities used in metadata: LC in some cases, fast headings in some cases, keywords in others

  • IR referalls are mainly from search engines, not catalogs, so MARC records in catalog are probably not needed – except theses & dissertations. ETDs are in catalog in most instances & half institutions have automated systems to do this so it’s relatively quick & easy.

Biggest takeaway

  • Professionals may not be needed to complete IR metadata – that work can be delegated to staff or students in most cases


Managing e-serials: Creating an interdependent workflow between multiple technical services department for large academic libraries

Facilitator: Ying Zhangm, University of Central Florida

Important points

  • eResources needs more resources – how can libraries shift some of the work from units doing print cataloging or even eResource cataloging to help eResources, particularly as libraries are trying to shift from print to e?

  • Things shift from print to electronic – how do we communicate those changes? Close communications from collection development to eResources/Acquisitions to Cataloging and then back is important although workflow tools are still being developed

  • What gets cataloged in an increasingly electronic & discovery level coded environments? KB generated MARC records help as does OCLC Worldcat Management Systems when also cataloging title level data from packages

Biggest takeaway

  • eResources departments need more support! Organizations are looking at altering structure where they can but collections decisions and budget challenges are making adaptation slow while day-to-day existing work must go on. Communication between groups is vital.


Staff-led change in technical services

Facilitator: Jeanne Harrell, Texas A&M University

Important points

  • Empower people to think outside of what they do.

    • Do we need to keep doing it?

    • What can we eliminate?

    • Why are we doing this?

  • Remove multiple steps – simplify – ask people that are doing the job

  • Fear @ losing their jobs – reassure them, add projects if not enough to do

  • Communication is key – more transparent – need to know if there are parameters.

  • Codify procedures – shared drive or wiki – and review them regularly

  • Meet with other departments

Biggest takeaway

  • The more communication the better.


Does location matter? Creating a user-centric technical services dept. in an off-site location 

Facilitator: Christine Dulaney, American University

Important points

  • Response of tech services staff: “marginalized” “had no say” “no discussion” “flabbergasted”

  • Other “non-tech-services” staff are now apprehensive & appreciate current proximity

  • New Technology           

    • New initiatives – “behind closed doors but central”

    • Remote Storage / Scanning = w/offices

    • Questions:

      • User-centric tech services = user-facing? Is it a mindset?

      • Student employees?

      • Liability?

      • Successful tech services by nature = “being invisible”; need to counter this by being our own advocates

Biggest takeaways

  • Reactive: No endorsement for tech services

  • Need to be proactive & advocate by:

  1. Strategic planning / space / services / needs for tech

  2. User-centric = user-facing; we love our users

  3. Historically success means being invisible, self-effacing - need to advocate instead

  4. Work done by tech staff (rushes, holds, etc.) – circ often “gets credit” because they hand items to patrons; need to evolve those services (scanning, rushing, ordering, notifying, etc.) and take credit for them


The Age of Enlightenment arrives in technical services  

Facilitator: Laura Turner, University of San Diego

Important points/questions

  • How have our jobs in tech services given way to a larger role that was perhaps unexpected or that go beyond the position’s normal scope of duties? What were the factors that created the need?

    • Working in a small library as a contract worker in a position that merged two positions: a reference position and a cataloging position. There are only 11 library staff, all librarians, so they all do everything.

    • Working as an acquisitions and collection management librarian, but had to absorb periodicals from Reference into tech services, and electronic resources too—came from Ref to TS. In a previous position, working as an acquisitions librarian, but had to help out in Reference when staffing issues required it.

    • Working as a cataloger, but is also the liaison to the Music Dept. At first, the understanding was that I would be helping with collection development, but this past summer was asked to help with an accreditation project to establish a Master’s degree program in the department. This required a lot of coordination among several staff in the library, which has been time consuming, and also delving deeply into the library environment in a larger way.

    • Working as a music cataloger, but seem to do very little cataloging. There is a lot of research that is required, and a lot of committee work. I am probably only cataloging about half of the time.

    • Was hired as an Institutional Repository manager, and I still do that, but I’ve been pulled into chairing a committee that is managing the Law School web site. Also, my department has taken on a lot of marketing for the library, and we are in the center of it although other departments around campus are involved. Our traditional workflows are shrinking in tech services. The marketing piece involves news feature updates, designing visuals, tying into social media, etc.

    • Working in a community college library in tech services, but have had to spend a lot of time on a campus curriculum committee and have taken on systems duties. Also, am having to give about three orientations to the library per week and work reference.

    • Working as the Head of Tech Services, but I was asked to be a space planner for the library in addition to my usual duties. I consulted with architecture faculty and had to visit lots of sites to get ideas, and then had to serve as a consultant to the architects.

    • Who or what have you had to consult while taking on these additional duties? What helped to make you more comfortable?

      • Worked with a colleague who had more technical expertise in the area

      • Watched a more experienced librarian who fills the same role as they perform their work, and get pointers

      • Developed a committee to organize in a more holistic way and to plan

      • Went to my supervisor to get advice

      • Online research, and attending conference sessions to get ideas---finding out how others handle similar challenges in their libraries

    • How has assuming the new duties had an impact on your “normal” duties?

      • Have had to restructure priorities and workflows

      • Empower the staff

    • How was it to step out of your comfort zone?

      • Mostly positive reactions.


Biggest takeaway

Discussion centered on having associated or transferable skills but having to apply them in a new context or a new way that involves, in some cases, a steep learning curve. In some cases, time frames were really tight, or work needed to begin right away. In others, a larger administrative view is affecting how quickly work and changes can be made. There were also deadlines external to the library that had to be accommodated, and this had a direct impact on how much time could be spent learning how to accomplish the assumed duties. However, the general core of the discussion revealed that there is a definite understanding that there is a good way to not only perform the new duties, but to learn them, and that a lot of thought has to be given to both when one is suddenly faced with new expectations.

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Jan 27, 2016 09:15 AM

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