Core Competencies and Education for a Career in Cataloging Interest Group

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Using Core Competencies in course design and assessment 

Mar 18, 2024 08:30 AM

Presenters: Juliya Borie, Cataloguing Librarian, University of Toronto Libraries; Elisa Sze, Metadata Librarian, University of Toronto Libraries

Elisa Sze and Juliya Borie are practitioner-educators who co-teach a cataloguing course at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information (iSchool) as part of its ALA-accredited Master of Information (MI) program. The course is an LIS elective that attracts diverse students from multiple MI concentrations including LIS, archives and records management, information systems, and UX design. This talk begins with the instructors’ rationale for exposing students to the ALA Core Competencies for Cataloging and Metadata Professional Librarians and the ALA-CFLA-CILIP-endorsed Cataloguing Code of Ethics from Day 1 of their Winter 2023 course, and the lessons that have been applied to the Winter 2024 course. The panelists will discuss how the Core Competencies and Code of Ethics documents informed course syllabus development—for instance, ensuring that students learned about and interacted with at least one example from each “category” of standards presented in the Core Competencies: data content standard (RDA), data structure standard (MARC), data value encoding schemes (LCSH, LCC), and data exchange standards (MARC again, though we also briefly refer to RDF triples in the context of linked data). Students engaged with the standards through graded assessments (quizzes, assignments, take-home exam) as well as ungraded ones (in-class activities). To vary the learning opportunities, the instructors also referred students to professional development activities outside of the classroom setting, organizing an optional tour of the central library system’s Metadata Services Department, inviting practitioners to give guest presentations, and encouraging students to attend the workshops offered by the iSchool that complement the course. With a growing interest in AI in the LIS field, the Winter 2024 course will also see students invited to attend a University of Toronto Libraries Cataloguing & Metadata Committee event on the potential for AI to support metadata and cataloguing; this event will introduce students to practitioners and managers, and allow students to observe the importance of developing strong “soft” skills to succeed in the LIS profession. Based on the popularity of last year’s guest panel, we will continue to invite guests to the Winter 2024 course—this time with a focus on international committee work. We recognize that not all students in the course will become cataloguers or work with metadata, but we aim for them to come away with respect for all that goes into this type of specialization, including an appreciation for big picture thinking. The core competencies document provides a “bird’s eye view” for students as they make their career decisions, while offering them a concrete checklist of skills to build over time. Anecdotally we know of students who have referred back to the document in their preparation for job applications and interviews.

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