• Program Announcement: Annual 2019

    Attending at ALA Annual 2019? Please join the ALCTS Creative Ideas in Technical Services Interest Group, an open forum for discussion of all things technical services!  Everyone is welcome to participate in any of the 9 exciting roundtable discussions.

    Session details:

    Saturday, June 22

    4:00-5:00 PM

    Marriott Marquis, Scarlet Oak Room

    Washington, D.C.


    Save to your Scheduler here:

    We are proud to present the following discussion topics for our session at ALA Annual 2019:

    Topic: Technical Services for Data Management

    Presenter: Kate McNamara, US Census Bureau

    Summary: The discussion will focus on technical services librarians’ role in the data ecosystem. Data management is an evolving field and working with data often involves novel challenges for librarians. Catalogers, metadata librarians, and other technical services librarians must work across departments and disciplines to acquire, catalog, and disseminate data resources. I will share my experience as a librarian at the Census Bureau, where I work on documentation and metadata for administrative records data. This discussion will touch on workflows for data management and cataloging, training for data librarians, and collaboration around the world of data.


    Topic: Ethics of Cataloging

    Presenter: Jennifer Martin, Salisbury University

    Summary: Cataloging has always implicitly held itself to a standard of professional ethics: provide complete, accurate data that is useful to the user. Increasingly, though, catalogers are being challenged to not only make their professional ethics explicit but also to expand the scope of their ethical considerations to include broader ethical themes such as feminism, post-colonialism, and privacy. As a result, challenges to and critiques of established systems or aspects of systems are becoming more common and librarians must navigate situations in which their understanding of what is ethical conflicts with the practices in place, such as when the preferred name from the Library of Congress Authority Files does not match the name a person or group uses for themselves. This discussion will focus on the types of ethical issues encountered in cataloging, how those issues can conflict with each other, and how changes to increase ethical practice might impact the future work of cataloging.


    Topic: Empowering Through Staff Training and Team Skill Building

    Presenter: Jennifer Eustis and Meghan Bergin, UMass Amherst

    Summary: This topic aims to open up a discussion on how staff training and skill building workshops can empower both veteran and new staff in technical services and cross train staff outside of technical services on metadata and cataloging projects. Training and skill building occur frequently in and out of the office. At UMass Amherst, several staff have moved on, new staff have arrived, and the library is preparing for a migration to a new Library Services Platform. These changes have led to staff taking on new responsibilities and well as several cross training opportunities. Workshops have been recently offered to learn new software such as Outlook calendar, Trello, and Slack. Other workshops have been offered to prepare people to better their use cataloging tools such as MarcEdit and OpenRefine. Documentation has been updated or created to help staff learn new workflows such as cataloging music, updating local holdings records with OCLC, cataloging archival books, or how to handle batch loading.


    Topic: RDA toolkit redesign and LRM

    Presenter: Jessica Janecki, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University

    Summary: The RDA toolkit is getting an overhaul (! It is both an organizational overhaul as well as an integration of some new concepts from the IFLA Library Reference Model ( On April 30th a major update will be made to the Beta site, including a stable English language version of the text with the latest changes made to incorporate LRM concepts. By Annual we should have had a chance to poke around in the Beta Toolkit and maybe attend a webinar or two. Let's get together to discuss our impressions. What works? What doesn't? What questions do we have?


    Topic: Core competencies for technical services staff - how do we assess? how do we plan? how do we train?

    Presenter:  Lynn Whittenberger, NC State University Libraries

    Summary: There are a host of core competency documents that may (or may not) have relevance to technical services librarians developed by different library-related groups: NASIG Core Competencies for Electronic Resources Librarians; OCLC New Skillset for Metadata Management; ALA Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians; and LLAMA Leadership and Management Competency, to name just a few. Most of these competency lists contain a mix of ‘hard’ and soft skills, and with some skills more specialized and narrowly defined than others. Deriving actionable plans for technical services staff training from these documents can be a challenge. Developing and delivering pertinent training for staff, both one-off and continuous, is also difficult. The group could discuss: strategies for identifying the competency documents relevant to one’s specific situation; ways to evaluate existing competencies in staff, and identifying gaps; developing strategies for delivering training, both short-term and long-term.


    Topic: Managing expectations while providing great customer service

    Presenter: Elizabeth Miraglia, UC San Diego

    Summary: Very often the work done in Technical Services goes unnoticed unless something goes wrong. It can be difficult to explain our workloads to other areas of the library and we also have a strong desire to provide excellent service to users and other library staff. Technical Services departments can also develop reputations for being the bottle neck for processes or for being too picky about certain details. As our field continues to grow and as the volume of work continues to increase, it is imperative that Technical Services departments be able to not only set healthy limits on what their departments can do, but also be able to explain the reasons for those limits and to re-evaluate past practices when the time comes.


    Topic: Collaboration across library departments to improve library services

    Presenter: Beverly Charlot, Jeam M. Charlot, and Rosamond Panda, Delaware State University

    Summary: Technical Services collaborated with departments in the library and university stakeholders to improve outreach and library services for nursing students. The project involved the development of a Nursing Students Resource Center, Nursing Subject LibGuide and catalog index to search/discover nursing materials located in the new resource center.


    Topic: Responsive Technical Services for Non-Roman Materials

    Presenter: Erin Grant, University of Washington

    Summary: Non-Roman language programs outside of the mainstream in academic institutions can be subject to rapid disruption as federal funding sources, students and faculty numbers, and institutional support fluctuate. How can technical services departments better position themselves to prepare for and respond to the cessation or addition of non-Roman language programs that result in changes to materials being collected?


    Topic: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Positioning, Collaboration, and Finding Balance Across Technical and Public Services

    Presenter: Jeffrey M. Mortimore, Georgia Southern University, Nikki Cannon-Rech, Georgia Southern University, and Sai Deng, University of Central Florida

    Summary: Technology, budgets, and library reorganizations have dramatically reshaped the roles of technical and public services librarians in recent years. Ways of collaborating across library units have changed as well. Together, technical and public services librarians are asking how we should position ourselves, seek collaboration, and find balance in our work. Drawing on participants' experiences, we will explore how engaging strengths and expertise across technical and public services, and partnering with students and researchers in scholarly communication practices, reframes librarian roles and contributes to well-rounded, impactful services for patrons. This discussion welcomes voices from across technical and public services.