Core Competencies in Library Technology: What IT Is and Where IT’s Going

8:00 AM- 10:00 AM Location: Morial Convention Center room: Rm. 398-399

Kevin Moderow, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

In the 1990’s most of the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County branch libraries hired Automated Support Coordinators to handle public computer problems so the rest of the library staff did not have to answer those types of questions. The Coordinators were hired by and reported to the branch libraries, not central IT. A new director came on board and wanted to centralize computing support, reduce the number of IT staff, increase the technical skills of all library staff, standardize procedures, and improve communication between IT and the rest of the library. The solution, create a mobile front line support team. Instead of having Coordinators in each library, Level 1 support was responsible for several branches and would go where needed at the time of need. They created Level 2 support teams which were more specialized and had little public interaction. Level 2’s specialized in one of the following areas: network, servers and workstations, ILS, and special projects. An online helpdesk system was implemented to help track requests and projects.

Now that there was no longer a Coordinator in each library it was also decided to create a list of core technical competencies that each staff member should have. Some of those skills included: what is in your library, basic hardware knowledge, basic printer troubleshooting, OS system knowledge, browser familiarity, etc. On the Intranet a core competencies checklist was created for each staff member. That checklist was also monitored by the supervisor. (A screen shot of some of the competencies was projected but I could not catch them because the type was small. Kevin said he would post his presentation along with a more detailed list of the competencies on the LITA Web site. As of this posting they still aren’t there yet.) The competencies were tied to performance evaluations. To get staff excited prizes were given to branches and individuals.

Results included empowering staff, reduced calls to help desk, increased up time, and it reduced the technology gap among staff.

Michelle Robertson, Systems and Web Librarian, Anne Arundel Community College

Michelle’s talk focused more on what type of skills/competencies a Systems Librarian should have or what she called “Survival skills for the lone systems librarian.” Some of the tips she listed included: learn about your patrons, work a desk so you can see the problem in action, hang out and walk around the public areas because you will see problems that no one has reported, and make time for usability testing. She also mentioned some of the staff challenges you may face including: some staff are technically challenged, change averse, the self-taught expert who does too much on their own, mother’s helper, afraid to bother you because you are too busy, etc. Important skills of the lone systems librarian include: good negotiating skills, agitate for change but pick your battles wisely, provide the staff with the tools they need to do their job, communicate across all levels and at the appropriate level for each audience, LISTEN, continue learning, act as a mediator between the Library and IT, keep IT informed and include them when possible on what’s going on.

Richard Wayne, Assistant Director, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Their library created a computer staff training program. The program started 8 years ago and it is on its 4th iteration. In order to provide the training they leveraged existing staff within the library to create a tech team. This team provides the training. When creating the program and when they re-evaluate the program they ask themselves the following questions: what are the basic skills needed, what are the biggest problem areas, what do staff think is important. They also did what he called the iterative method meaning they could change it is they went. Most of the instructors were from the library but they also did bring in people from other parts of the campus. Richard gave examples of what was covered in some of the sessions. There were 5 sessions and each lasted approx. 1 ½ hours. Part 1 covered: unit mission, responsibilities chart/customers responsibilities, their methodology, how to use the helpdesk, interpreting the on call schedule, overview of the technical liaison team, terminology, Q&A, and computer room tour. Part 2 covered: opening up a pc, introduction to the LAN (both library, student and campus), Internet and Internet 2, Windows OS tour, Q&A. Part 3 “the meat and potatoes section” included: how to add and remove a printer, adding shortcuts, network drive uses, accessing reference manager, Microsoft updates, loading software, etc. Part 4 focused on maintenance and troubleshooting including help and PDA’s. (It included more but the slide went by too quickly for me to write the rest down. Richard also said he would post his presentation on the LITA Web site. It was not up when I posted this entry.) Part 5 was devoted to special issues including VPN, burning CDs and DVDs etc. Items have been added and removed as the program evolved. Public computer issues, information security, SP2 have been added as the program evolved. With the newest iteration a new section has been added that focuses on technology issues specific to a department. They have done surveys to determine users needs and after each session they hand out evaluation forms. Each session is videotaped so staff who have missed a session can still see it.

The last part of Richard’s presentation was spent talking about creating the Technical Team. The team was created because sometimes the IT department needs a little help i.e. security emergencies, special projects, etc. The team needs to have a clear purpose. Priorities and responsibilities must be clear especially how this team fits into their “real” job responsibilities.

LITA PreConference: Contracting for Content in a Digital World

LITA Preconference Friday, June 23, 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Contracting for Content in a Digital World

A panel of experts discussed the forces and interests on the national and international scene that are shaping the new terms libraries, publishers, aggregators and search engines are negotiating in contracts and licenses today. 

Sybil Boutilier, Manager of Contract Administration for San Francisco Public Library, the program coordinater and moderater welcomed the participants and introduced the session. Continue reading LITA PreConference: Contracting for Content in a Digital World

Program: Next Stop Blogging

Despite the crowded Monday 10:30 a.m. time slot, this program was packed to the gills, with over 160 in attendance and many more possible attendees who wandered up and then away as they saw how full the room was. My notes are spotty as I ran out of the room a couple of times for extra forms and for AV support (the microphone was squealing mightily).

The presenters were Jason Griffey, Karen Coombs, and Steven Bell. Jason talked about BIGWIG’s selection process for the blogging software we ultimately ended up with, Karen talked about useful add-ons, and Steven provided the “marketing and strategies” angles.

Jason began by explaining the major differences between hosted and installed software, pointing out that LITA selected the installation route because we’re LITA and we wanted the geekier approach, but that an organization’s “technology comfort zone” might point to another solution. He emphasized the need to figure out your requirements in advance. LITA’s needs included support for multiple contributors (including workflow), low purchase price, easy administration, compliance with Web standards, and a good development base. For LITA’s needs, that clearly pointed to WordPress.

Some other factors to consider include how well the blog handles images, audio, and video; and whether the blog’s URL is branded appropriately–in other words, if your library’s URL is, you may not want a blog URL that is

Karen Coombs demonstrated how to prettify and extend an RSS feed with Feedburner, which at minimum can replace that ugly XML page with a humanly-readable page; how to install a Creative Commons license; adding tagging functionality; and tweaking stylesheets. The tagging example used the XYZ plugin. [Note: Movable Type also has a separate tagging plugin that reportedly works better than the MT keywords for tagging.]

Steven Bell began by saying that the library needed to decide “why we are doing this activity” and why that particular blog is compelling, particularly in a field crowded with thousands of blogs. He observed that library blogs are “all over the place in terms of content.” Steven underscored that the blog “needs to be where the users are,” reporting that a survey his library conducted revealed that only 5% of their student body would voluntarily subscribe to a library blog–and that led to Gutman Library integrating its RSS feed into his university’s courseware. His handout, below, provides tips for going that route; coordination is important. In the end, they found that only 15% of the students surveyed had taken action based on the library feed–but exposure and awareness was important, and as one person said later in the Q and A, 15% would be huge for direct mail.

During Q and A, one attendee pointed to Ann Arbor District Library as an example of innovation with blogging and RSS. Take a look and see for yourself!

Handouts and links…

Karen Coombs:

Jason Griffey:

Steven Bell:

Meeting Report from ALA Web Advisory Committee

ALA Annual Conference, New Orleans, Monday, June 26, 2006, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, New Orleans Marriott, Convention Center Hotel, Natchez Room

Members Only Content Report/Update

The task force has gathered the existing Members Only policies however Michelle Frisque was unable to get the task force to come to any conclusions/recommendations based on what we discovered. Michelle will send what she has up to this point and WAC will continue this discussion after the conference.

Event Planner

WAC continues to have concerns about the usability of the Event Planner. WAC is writing a memo outlining our concerns that will be sent to Conference Services.

Report from the ALA Executive Board Liaison, Jim Rettig
Topics covered included how money from the dues increase will be used and conference attendance. Jim is ending his board liaison term; next year’s liaison will be Terry Kirk. WAC thanked Jim for his support and service to WAC.

Sherri Vanyek and Rob Carlson from ALA ITTS reviewed their web activities for the past six month, as well as sharing their action plan for the next six months. Here are some of the highlights:

ALA is in negotiations with a company for a comprehensive usability assessment of the ALA web site. The assessment will include: a user survey, an end-user task analysis, focus groups, heuristic analysis, and evaluation of feedback gathered through the web site (logs) and via email. Other web changes include a move to a new Content Management System. The conversion is currently on schedule. The LITA web site will be one of the first sites to migrate to the new system.

There are several blogs currently running on ALA’s b2evolution blog system including: AASL, ACRL, ALA Editions, ALA Membership, ALCTS, Green Kangaroo (Mary Ghikas), Hectic Pace (Andrew Pace), Horning In (ALSC President), ITTS Monthly Update (coming soon), OLOS, RUSA, and YALSA. They have also installed WIKI software at ALA. LITA is the first site on the WIKI. The new CMS will support syndication so the number of RSS feeds should increase once sites are migrated to the new CMS. A link to ALA Wiki’s, Blogs and RSS can be found on the ALA home page under the news section.

ALA ITTS has new staff. Jenny Levine, “The Shifted Librarian” and former Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide with the Metropolitan Library System (Chicago) will join the staff of ALA on July 31, 2006, with a half-time appointment in Publishing and a half-time appointment in ITTS. Louise Gruenberg is the new instructional designer for ALA. She started this winter.

Other topics that were covered include: Online Communities, WebCT, Library 2.0 bootcamp, JobLIST, mailing list software transition, Knowledge Management System, update on ALA Web Editorial Board activities, website statistics, committee appointment application, file upload application, bandwidth issues, and TrackIT. A detailed account of all these items will be posted to the WAC web site in the next couple of weeks.

WAC created its action plan for next 6 months.
Items included in the action plan are: event planner memo, writing memo asking committees to develop policies for challenged content, create documentation on how to handle blogs, test the Joblist site, figure out how steps necessary to retire

The meeting concluded at 12:16pm. This is the first time in the fours years I have been attending these meetings that we have finished early! I have enjoyed my time serving on WAC and have mixed feelings about not serving on the committee anymore. Good luck to the incoming chair, Stephanie Schmitt. I also want to thank all the members of WAC for all of their hard work over the last two years. I have enjoyed working with you.

LITA President’s Program: We are Here. Where are our Users?

Cathy De Rosa, OCLC
John Horrigan PhD, Pew Internet & American Life Project

Cathy De Rosa, OCLC

  • She started by asking, "What do we see going on with our users?"
  • Users start their search on the internet. It is dominant. 84 % start there.
  • Only 1% start on a library website
  • Nothing's changed!
    • In 1947-1950 there was a public library inquiry: "Where would you go to get information on nutrition?"
    • Still, only 1% said library!
  • OCLC thinks & does research on internet behavior based on marketing theory.
  • 280ish questions in perceptions survey
    • Included a list of 16 technologies. It didn't matter what it was, they were using it. Put it out there, they'll come, they'll use it.
  • Technologies are really about behavior. Technologies let people do something.
  • Total reference at ARL institutions are plummeting.
  • The behavior is: I want to self-serve!
  • What resources are they using in libraries:
    • They are heavy use of traditional resources, 55% are borrowing print books.
  • Behaviors of college students
    • What do you do less because of the internet?
    • TV is the biggest loser due to internet.
    • This indicates they don't want to do passive things
  • What do you think of libraries?
    • Books (by a lot), information, building, research, materials, reference, entertainment (last 6 choices were much smaller)
    • Library directors say: "they said books, but they mean information," but that's not true.
  • How to decide which resource to use?
    • From this (alpha-ordered) list: credible/trustworthy, easy to use, free, fast, recommendations, worthwhile
    • answer: provides worthwhile information
    • second: provides free info
    • maybe this means they assume fast & free, but it probably means they're learning how to discern worthwhile information
  • How do you judge if electronic information is trustworthy?
    • based on personal knowledge/common sense
    • based on reputation
    • replicated information in other places
  • Summary:
    • In a 5 year period, the behavior is that they feel good & confident.
    • We're starting to see as a move from search to self-publishing, self-serving, social, sharing.
    • These are huge behavior changes!
  • Economics
    • She really recommends: We are the Web by Kevin Kelly (of Scan This Book)
    • Most of the content on the web is being contributed by users themselves.
    • Forget "if we build it they will come." They're building it.
    • Contributory economics: economics will take care of themselves, but in a different way.

    John Horrigan PhD, Pew Internet & American Life Project
    The difference the internet makes to users...and what that means for libraries

    • Digital information helps by reducing uncertainty in people's lives
    • People who get health & medical information online get support from others and ask better question of health care providers.
    • Those who go to government web sites take advantage of efficiency benefits & are more likely to contact the government.
    • Resources found on the internet help people make decisions--often by connecting with content, often with experts or "amateur" advice-givers.
  • Digital information is empowering.
    • Some evidence that those who choose to get info and news about politics online are more likely to vote.
    • People who get news about politics online are better informed about both sides of political and policy issues than those who don't.
  • Digital information and creativity
    • 48 million Americans have created or posted some sort of content for the internet.
    • 18% internet users have taken some online content and "remixed" or "mashed up."
  • Different online roles as social networkers, citizens, and friends, family, or caregivers.
  • Internet as swiss army knife
    • Particularly for young users, the internet attracts them to media, supplants traditional media, sets in motion.
    • The "long tail"
    • Does the long tail thicken the leading edge?
  • Acceleration of information transactions
  • More changes around the corner
    • Nearing inflection point of greater impact of internet on society
    • Internet increasingly embedded in things (RFID)
    • Network speed and broadband uptake will grow
  • Attention will increasingly become scarce commodity in digital world
  • Libraries ahead of the game
    • The new demands are the traditional roles of libraries
    • Essence of service is to help customer allocate attention
    • Information wants to be free, but it doesn't always want to be organized
  • Libraries are already a trusted institution and are already a networked institution.
  • Look to strengths as libraries adapt to change.
  • Karen G. Schneider points out that this "was basically hearing a mashup of the last four big OCLC reports" and I totally agree. There was a remix of Pew Internet and American Life reports as well.

    “Copyright 101: Everything You Need To Know About Copyright but Were Afraid To Ask”

    The Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) Copyright Advisory Committee put a new twist on Copyright. The committee offered a poster session on Copyright titled “Copyright 101: Everything You Need To Know About Copyright But Were Afraid To Ask” which was held on Monday, June 26 from 1:30-3:30 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel in the Belle Chasse Room.

    Topics and presenters are as follows: Copyright Advisory Network, Maryam Fakouri, Columbia College Chicago and Tom Phelps, National Endowment of the Humanities; Fair Use, Dwayne Buttler, University of Louisville and Marc Gartler, Harrington College of Design; Legislation and Litigation, Carrie Russell, ALA Washington Office; International Copyright, Janice Pilch, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Copyright Duration and Public Domain, Barbara Oakley, University of Connecticut and Patrick Newell, University of California-Davis; Reserves (Print and Media) Brice Austin, University of Colorado-Boulder and Claire Stewart, Northwestern University Library; Authors’ Rights, Trisha Davis, Ohio State Universities Libraries.

    The Copyright Advisory Network was developed to provide Librarians with a way to learn about Copyright and a way to get information concerning Copyright questions when needed.

    Topics were on target and poster presenters and experts were on hand to answer various questions concerning Copyright. For more information and copies of posters access the library copyright network . There are Copyright Scholars available to answer all your copyright questions.

    Cataloging Transformed: From Traditional to Emerging Models of Use: Part II

    Cataloging Transformed: From Traditional to Emerging Models of Use: Part II

    RUSA_RSS “Catalog Use Committee”Co-sponsored by RUSA-MARS “User Access to Services Committee”

    Sunday June 25, 2006 4:00-5:30PM

    Morial Convention Center Rooms 295-296

    This is a continuation of my previous post which focused on Andrew Pace’s presentation (see his new blog here: To get an idea of the crowd you check out the following photos:

    From photographer jessamyn

    Photos I took:

    Cindy Levine is the Director at Large of RUSA Public Services Quarterly editorial board and a North Carolina State University Reference Librarian.

    She started out her presentation by saying how difficult it was to overemphasize how refreshing she found trying a new approach to the online catalog. Her tenure as a librarian began when the online catalog was first coming into being.

    Cindy mentioned questioning the time and effort that was expended to make sure that subfields and fixed fields were perfectly coded. She deduced that all the time and effort was an act of faith that advances in technology would be able to fully utilize all the carefully coded information.

    After the initial development of the catalog she felt that the best minds were working elsewhere and that vendors have allowed catalog products to stagnate.

    Her voice rose with enthusiasm when she mentioned how heated the debate became once they actually felt empowered to make decisions about what kind of catalog NCSU wanted, how they wanted it to look.

    As they put effort into transforming their catalog they, in effect, differentiated the catalog from the rest of the collection. It was acknowledged that the catalog is “far from our only collection or information source.” Cindy brought back shades of Andrew’s presentation as she described how they tried to “see the meaningful seams between the systems.”

    Andrew assisted by pulling up their NCSU catalog as Cindy went on to describe the guided navigation technology that was used. Guided navigation is able to take advantage of all that data that was put in as an act of faith. It is able to pull and show patterns that have always existed in catalogs, but have never been adequately presented.

    Guided navigation was described as different from the Google-approach where you have to rely on Google’s algorithm to bring needed results to the top. The guided navigation offered several ways to view the results. Right at the top of the screen you could see how many hits came into which call number area. In a search for the word ‘Islam’ guided navigation makes it quick and easy to distinguish between the Language & Literature (P) titles and Philosophy, Psychology Religion (B) titles.

    Try this yourself in the NCSU catalog

    Other breakdowns (or refinements) are to the left:

    • Subject: Topic
    • Subject: Genre
    • Format
    • Library
    • Subject: Region
    • Subject: Era
    • Language
    • Author

    You could also sort by:

    • Relevance (default search)
    • Publication Date
    • Title A-Z
    • Author A-Z
    • Call Number
    • Most Popular (Most checked out)

    The most popular option was added after a debate about whether or not to point searchers to popular items, taking into account the appeal of Googlization.

    Cindy noted that there has been steady use of all the search refinements since the system was implemented.

    It appears that NCSU is well on their way to their goal of having a very intuitive interface that nearly eliminates the need for instruction. In Cindy’s experience it is still very worthwhile to point out the search refinements (Call number, Topic, Genre, etc.) to students. She also hopes to see more genre refinement to clear up confusion created by breaking apart LC subject headings. An example of an instituted refinement was that they changed “Sources” to the wording “Primary Sources” making the meaning much clearer for students.

    It is interesting to note that when John Blyberg took an informal poll later in the session, to find out who was happy with their current OPAC, only people from NCSU raised their hands. 2-3 hands out of a very large group. We have a long way to go.

    ALA Annual 2006: Web Coordinating Committee

    Web Coordinatng Committee Meeting

    Present were:

    Kyle Felker (your humble correspondent)
    Tim Donahue: New Intern
    Michelle Frisque: Outgoing chair
    Aaron Dobbs
    Nick Baker
    Gail Herrera: IG coordinator, rotating off
    Steve Turner
    Rafal Kaprowski

    Online communications/community space:

    This has been implemented for a while now-how do we proceed from here/promote use? We already placed a link on frontpage of LITA site, what else? Make a larger graphical link to call more attention?

    Question on access-how do/can non-members of committees/IGs gain access to committee/IG materials in community space? People outside a group can access by clicking a button if the group is not marked as “private.” Most of the material is accessible to everyone.

    Maybe make a navigation button or link to community space? We can also (we think) make direct links to particular communities (EG Bigwig or Publications Committee community space). Maybe put links on committee/IG pages?

    Are there RSS feeds for community content? So people can have material from community space delivered? We think each element or piece of functionality can potentially have RSS feeds, but they have to be enabled by someone with admin rights.

    We agreed to set up RSS feeds on the WCC forum so we can play with them. Then try to write some FAQs and documents so others can use the functionality better. We can send it out to IG Chairs/Comm Chairs listserv. LITA is offering two hour sessions on using community software for admins and one hour sessions for non-admin users-we think new ALA Instructional Designer is responsible for setting this up.

    There is a LITA Wiki– it hasn’t been announced yet, but will be, possibly on LITA Blog.

    Tim will put a link to all community spaces from IG and Committee web pages. To promote use, we will do some email messages, send someone to the IG and Comm chairs general meeting, try to stress advantages of interaction, such as using space to preserve records of groups activities.

    Same person should be point of contact for using community software as for website stuff. We want to make getting help as simple as possible.

    Should Comm/IG chairs have direct admin access to manage community spaces? Currently, some do, some don’t. We are not sure, Comm Chairs don’t always do the web work, and IG chairs are hard to track down. If the group seems to ahve t’s act together enough to handle it, it would be great.

    Some groups still need to have community space turned on.

    David and Kyle agreed to do some back and forth trying to explore the issues and create some documentation.

    Progress of Web Documents

    Michele has sent out some workflow documentation the group has been working on for a while. This documentation will eventually become part of the LITA Manual.

    We talked about using the community spaces as “official” means of communicating meeting reports/minutes. Not sure, ALA bylaws may prohibit this, but we like the idea.

    Questions about documents elucidating responsibilities for web pages-does this need to go in manual? It does, it’s there to clarify situations that have been confusing in the past.

    New CMS System

    The new CMS system is now called Vignette, or Serenas Collage (they keep changing the name).

    ALA is past proof-of-concept phase and now looking to implement. They are currently converting division sites over, August 1st is the target date for beginning conversion of LITA site. We look forward to shorter URLs! More info on this is coming, they will probably need our help to convert and troubleshoot.

    Web Coordinator for IGs and Commitees

    We need new bodies for this as the current person is rotating off.

    This person works with IG and Committee chairs to put up and maintain content on IG and committee websites. There is a general IG and committee coordinator who can serve as a contact and resource.

    Tim asked to work with IGs, Aaron said he would work with Committees.

    Review of IG and Committee Websites

    Been a while since we went through these to see how they are being kept up. We would like to review currency of all content.

    Comms/IGs are posting meeting minutes and information to the blog now, we need to look for these and post links from webpages. We also need to ask Bylaws if any IGs need to be removed. Tim will do this. Yay for the eager intern!

    BigWig Liason

    This group has big ideas and is doing lots of stuff that could impact us. For example, they just got a Wiki. We need a liason to their group. The liasion would: Lurk on their listserv, pipe in if needed, attend meetings, report back to WCC anything we need to know about. Steven will do this.

    Getting Email Addresses in Online Member Directory

    The recently-disbanded Web task force recommended member emails show in member directory. The Member directory is produced by software,so this is programming thing, not something WCC can do directly. The address would appear when persons name is clicked. The directory already displays business address and phone number. Implenting this have ben controversial in the past, so we would need approval from the board.

    LITA Internet Resources Interest Group Meeting

    Sunday, June 25, 2006, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center, Fleur de lis

    Introductions: Attending: Laura Cohen, Chair; Holly Yu, Vice-Chair; Joe Fisher, incoming Vice-Chair; and Mike Sainsbury, Greater Victoria Public Library. This was one of our smaller meetings in a few years, but membership numbers are less of a key to the success of this interest group than the activities of the core officers who continue to put out strong programs.

    Annual Conference Program: The members were very pleased about the success of its program at the Annual Conference this year, “The Ultimate Debate: Who Controls the Future of Search?”

    After the session, a number of people asked if the session had been recorded. The offer to make a recording has not been made to the IRIG by the LITA office since its Orlando program. When we meet with the Program Planning Commitee (PPC) on Monday, we will ask the group if the means to make recordings will be available again in the future. If so, we could then reformat the recording into a podcast.

    Although no recording of the session was made, Chris Strauber posted a transcript-like program summary to the LITA blog. The IG expresses its appreciation to Chris for this major effort. The posting is available at This URL has been added to the IRIG’s page that lists Programs and Presentation Documents.

    We have one correction: Chris estimated an audience size of approximately 170. When we counted chairs and rows, and included people sitting on the floor, we estimate an attendance of about 300.

    An overview of the program evaluation forms revealed that the session got high marks from the audience. A few comments:

    – “Run the same session again.”

    – “Very inspiring.”

    – “Fascinating.”

    – “I’m grateful to be here to see it in person.”

    – “It reminded me of why I became a librarian and how much I love being one.”

    Name change: A decision was made at the Midwinter Meeting to change our name to the “Internet Resources and Services Interest Group” (IRSIG). The Bylaws and Organization Committee gave us a form to use for submitting our name change request. We will submit this form for a decision by the B&O Committee on Monday.

    In conjunction with this change, we will add “and services” to our mission statement so that it will read: “To serve as a forum for sharing information on the development, use, presentation, and integration of resources and services on the Internet.

    Next year’s program: The group came up with a tentative program topic for 2007. Draft title: “Draw Them In or Meet Them There: The Future of the Library Web Presence.” This will be presented to the PPC on Monday.

    Post-meeting addendum: The PPC approved the topic.

    Cataloging Transformed: From Traditional to Emerging Models of Use

    Cataloging Transformed: From Traditional to Emerging Models of Use

    RUSA_RSS “Catalog Use Committee”Co-sponsored by RUSA-MARS “User Access to Services Committee”

    Sunday June 25, 2006 4:00-5:30PM

    Morial Convention Center Rooms 295-296

    I was impressed by the size of the room and the attendance. There was an air of expectation and excitement bubbling quietly though the room as people filed in from their previous sessions, or perhaps the exhibit floor. Certainly many people had made the trek from the Questioning Authorities session further along the river in the Hilton Riverside.

    This was a very good program and full of rich information. As such, I’m breaking it up by speaker. So you know what to look forward to the speakers, in order, were:

    • Andrew K. Pace Head of Systems, North Carolina Ste University, Columnist, “Technically Speaking,” American Libraries.
    • Cindy Levine Reference Librarian for the Humanities, North Carolina State University
    • John Blyberg Network Administrator and Lead Developer, Ann Arbor District Library
    • Jina Wakimoto Head of Cataloging, University of Colorado Boulder.

    All materials will be made available on RUSA-RSS page They will be setting up a blog. As of today’s writing, I do not see it available.

    Andrew Pace was the first speaker, and seemed eager to start. (You can see many of the slides included in his presentation, “Dis-Integrated Library Systems and the Future of Searching,” Amigos Annual Meeting, 2006, Dallas, TX.

    He outlined his slides describing the classic and disintegrated library systems. Andrew stated that the classic system does a decent job of inventory control and known item searching. He was quick to point out that “Google is good at known item searching; it sucks like the OPAC in this respect.”

    Classic ILS systems do a poor job of searching anything other than known items or anything other than books. They lack logical groupings of results (FRBR), faceted browsing (if you like this…), robust relevance ranking, and what he terms sideways searching (expansion of searches and search topics).

    The dis-integrated library system is envisioned to include ILL, ERMS, Collection Management, Websites, e-books, e-journals and databases. Andrew was quick to point out that it isn’t so much the electronicness of an item that makes it a challenge as its seriality. These items just aren’t widely or easily available in the current ILS systems.

    These problems are well represented by the library puzzle. The four pieces include Serials, the Catalog, the Web, Abstracts/Indexes/Databases. What is needed is a way to bring all these pieces together to form a coherent whole.

    In working to put together the library puzzle, one of his favorite metaphors, NCSU created their e-matrix (a proposed marketecture/ system architecture) as a way to leverage the data as defined by DLF-ERMI.

    Andrew then asked, “What hath disintegration wrought?” Pointing at a slide with myriad of vendor trademarks and logos he pointed out the vast choices available in today’s library marketplace. Then he pointed out that our confusion in this world is minimal compared to our users day to day dealings with vendors and other services. We have library specific sites to deal with; they have everything that the great wide digital world can come up with.

    He then quoted Roy Tennent (California Digital Library), “Most integrated library systems, as they are currently configured should be removed from public view.” A light bulb went off in my mind when we were all reminded that MARC was created so we could move data around from place to place with creating catalog cards the end goal. (There seemed to be general crowd consensus on this point.)

    This general lay-of-the-land regarding ILSs is what lead NCSU to its decision to pursue Endeca as the way to present their library holdings. (I hesitate to use the world OPAC, it looks so very different). NCSU went out of the normal library space and into the rest of the digital world and chose the solution that is used by Walmart, John Deere & Circuit City, among many others.

    He brought out an interesting conundrum at this point, how can you justify a slow library catalog search to a student when they are used to google running through millions of records in seconds.

    Endeca brought several longed for features to the table:

    • Speed
    • Relevance Ranking
    • Faceted Searching
      You type in laser printer, it asks, do you want to search by manufacturer HP, Lexmark or do you want to search by price? under $100, over $100.
    • Suggested Searches

    To see the NCSU catalog please go here:

    More information is available here:

    All of the search and suggestions to the left and at the top are selected by the library. Andrew mentioned 10 dimensions by which search results were refined. LC Classification, Subject Headings (split up into component parts), Topic, Genre, Time Period, and Geographic Location. One of the things that impressed me the most is that they’ve been able to mine the fixed fields to their advantage.

    This is just one of many “Next Generation” library catalogs. Others included on the slide were:

    • Redlight Green
    • OCLC FictionFinder
    • Vivisimo clustered search
    • Aquabrowser visual context
    • Endeca Guided Nagication/Information Access Platform
    • Innovative Interfaces OPAC Pro and Encore
    • ExLibris Primo
    • Polaris AJAC-Enabled OPAC
    • SirsiDynix EPS, FAST and something “top secret”
    • OCLC Custom WorldCat (This generated an amusing comment, “The OPAC is dead, buy our new OPAC.”)
    • Georgia Pines Oubesm Koha and the Library 2.0 Bandwagon

    NGC4LIB was promoted as a lively listserv to discuss the future of the catalog. Having joined the listserv as soon as I saw it announced, I agree.

    Andrew then brought us back to the library puzzled and stated that Endeca has been misrepresented as a short term solution. He posited that it is part of a long term solution to get the pieces of the puzzle back together. At NCSU they’re talking about exposing Endeca to other technologies like Ex-Libris and Vivisimo to get them into the results.

    His future plans for Endeca include:

    • Continued usability testing and more bling! (Table of Contents, Cover Art, Reviews…)
    • Relevance ranking algorithims and a spell correction threshold
    • Additional browsing options.
    • Endeca 2.0 FRBRized display
    • Natural language entry options
    • Patron generated refinements of folksonomies. (This is in a maybe, maybe not state)
    • Death of authority searching (not authority work.)
    • More integration with quicksearch and other data repositores.

    To top it all off he also gloated (slightly) that re-indexing Endeca only takes 3 hours. Amazement and envy washed over the crowd and everyone mentally ticked off how long their last re-indexing project took.

    On that note he handed over the podium to his colleague Cindy Levine. Check back for the post detailing her presentation later.