Evergreen Documentation Group needs your help!

August 12, 2009

For those interested in Evergreen or opensource library projects….

The Evergreen Documentation Interest Group needs your input to help prioritize its activities for the next few months. Please share the following survey link widely. We are casting a wide net — we want input from as many roles as possible, from project coordinators to people working the front lines in libraries, and whether you are just thinking about Evergreen or running it since Day 1.

Responses are due no later than 5 p.m. ET Thursday, August 20, 2009. The survey is short and easy to complete.

The survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=mDtin8UHNS8VcMUAGg5_2bvA_3d_3d

You are encouraged to forward this to interested communities.

Thanks much on behalf of the Evergreen DIG!

DIG URL: http://evergreen-ils.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=evergreen-docs:dig

Open Library project update

August 5, 2009

The final report of the Open Library Environment project is available for reading. ♥ this project with its focus on the behind the scenes… because if the behind the scenes (processing system/database/data) doesn’t work very well, the public interface is not going to work very well. I am definitely keeping an eye on this project and I hope to be able to contribute in some way in the future.

A few points of interest (amongst many….)

  • The project planners chose to define a system that supports libraries as a central player in the research process.
  • Libraries need to be able to leverage a dynamic information environment to support the research and educational mission of their institutions.
  • Libraries must respond to the dynamic information environment by re-engineering its organization and the workflows carried out by its personnel.

I don’t know if these statements are Yays or DUHs, because they seem so obvious, yet some do not grasp that simple reality of library catalog software and library information silos such as databases, websites, etc.

And then the key features:

  • Flexibility
  • Community ownership
  • Service Orientation
  • Enterprise-Level Integration
  • Efficiency
  • Sustainability

The Open Library Environment (OLE) Project has posted a draft of its final report. We are excited to offer this report publicly to the community and welcome your comments. As a community-source project, your input is vital to the future and success of the OLE Project. You can access the report at this address:

About the Open Library Environment Project:
With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a multinational group of libraries is developing the design for an Open Library Environment (OLE), an alternative to the current model of an Integrated Library System. The goal is to produce a design document to inform open source library system development efforts, to guide future library system
implementations, and to influence current Integrated Library System vendor products.

Another library related video (budget theme)

August 2, 2009

OLE (Open Library Environment) Webinar — Free, March 31

March 26, 2009

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a multinational group of libraries is developing the design for an Open Library Environment (OLE), an alternative to the current model of an Integrated Library System.

OLE Project webcast
When: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm EST
Topics include an update of OLE activities, community outreach initiatives, reactions to feedback submitted thus far, upcoming software development phase of the project and more.
Materials related to this webinar:

– Scope Document: http://oleproject.org/overview/project-scope
– Project Assumptions: http://oleproject.org/overview/assumptions
– Reference Model: http://oleproject.org/overview/ole-reference-model
– FAQ’s: http://oleproject.org/faqs

For information about viewing this webinar:

The vanishing cataloger

October 27, 2008

In the past few years, I’ve been noticing a trend amongst many of the smart, talented cataloging colleagues that I know — they are are leaving the Cataloging profession.
I think there are many factors at work, but I see a few trends:

  • The shifted job: Their jobs have shifted even if their job descriptions or titles have not.
  • The evolved job: Their jobs and official job descriptions have shifted from “Cataloger” to something involving bibliographic services, metadata, electronic resources, digital initiatives, etc. Their home department has also changed names and scope from traditional cataloging services, to encompass more digital projects, non-MARC metadata, and more.
  • The transition job: Their new jobs are no longer centered on traditional cataloging (and in some cases are not in a library) . These librarians are leaving the cataloging profession to be reference librarians, systems librarians, school media librarians, web designers, information architects, technical writers, library science instructors, and more.

I do realize there are still lib sci students studying traditional cataloging, but I am not sure that they expect to find a job as a “Cataloger.” I think many of them will be looking to digital libraries, IRs, a consortia, the web, and elsewhere.

Perhaps, this is the reason:

Our catalogers began to disappear with the takeover of that function by OCLC, the nonprofit that aspires to be a corporation in this brave new retail library world. The standardized result of the effort is bypassed by patron and librarian alike, as they turn to the more friendly Amazons, Googles, et al., for the less precise, more watered-down “metadata” that has replaced what used to be cataloging. Apparently, users don’t miss the old catalog, except as a familiar artifact, which is testimony to how low this dumbing down has taken us.

In the new model, that most sacred of our professional duties, the selection of materials to build services and collections, is turned over to either small centralized teams of two or three librarians and clerks, or in extreme cases to an external vendor, usually a library book distributor.

from the LJ’s Vanishing Librarian

There is alot of great stuff to be said for the Amazon/Google model, but if librarianship continues to move down that path, will we completely give up the expertise (and respect for that expertise) that is inherent in the profession? Will our services become superficial, mediocre, and generic? Is this part of the larger trend coming out of web2.0 technologies (every one is an expert, so no one is an expert?)

I don’t have a good answer to any of those questions, but it does seem like librarianship (especially cataloging) is changing.