Thursday, October 12, 2017

OCLC supports changing FAST terminology but says LCSH must take the lead

In Andrew Pace's OCLC Next post dated 14 September 2017, he addresses the discussion around changing the term "Illegal Aliens" in OCLC's Faceted Access to Subject Terminology (FAST). Pace is the Executive Director, Technical Research at OCLC. 

He states that OCLC supports the change in terminology but is committed to work with the Library of Congress (LC) and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and will not be making any changes to terminology without LCSH changes. As puts he it, "FAST has no history of sweeping editorial changes in headings based on pervasive cultural change without first seeing those changes in the LCSH headings from which FAST is derived." After explaining the basics of FAST, he reiterates, "FAST has always been downstream of LCSH changes and the governance of headings that occurs through the PCC Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO)...We have no plans to establish a FAST governance model similar to SACO, nor an independent editorial group similar to that at the Library of Congress. FAST will follow LC’s lead."

As of October 2017, there has been no change in the heading but it is not likely this debate is over. As Pace points out, "Librarians are the most proactive professionals I have ever witnessed when it comes to identifying an opportunity for positive change and aggressively seeking a solution."

See the full article at: http://www.oclc.org/blog/main/lcsh-fast-and-the-governance-of-subject-terms/.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

eBooks in the Law Library

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed asked if medical schools still need books. The question of the role of eBooks in all types of libraries has been batted around in some form or another since the advent of eBooks. While the Inside Higher Ed article settles on familiar answers and case studies of paperless and hybrid libraries, it seems clear that all libraries are arcing slowly toward having eBooks as a substantial part of their collections.

Law and Technology Resources for Legal Professionals, LLRX, is addressing the state of eBooks in law libraries in a three-part series. The first part, published this week, gives a helpful overview of some the challenges and opportunities that come with adding eBooks to law library collections. Of particular interest to technical services librarians is the section on acquiring eBooks. Various platforms and modes of purchase are discussed. The article also briefly touches on issues related to integrating eBooks into the library's existing technological infrastructure.

The second article in the series promises to delve deeper into eBook acquisitions issues. The third part will present some case studies of how various law libraries have added eBooks to their collections.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Disaster Resources for Cultural Heritage

The fall brings us hurricane season and extended drought conditions have led to what feels like a never-ending wildfire season. But this year has brought us more than the natural disasters that we "expect." Earthquakes and flooding have also brought recent devastation to North America. In many places the recovery efforts are still focused on survival essentials. In the weeks since these disasters have hit there have been numerous resources shared for when efforts can turn towards our cultural heritage. Current President of the Society of American Archivists, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, has compiled a list of resources to assist in funding recovery project dealing with libraries and archives. Check out her blog post for more details. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Ajaye Bloomstone

1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
My name is Ajaye Bloomstone and I am the Acquisitions Librarian at the LSU Law Library in Baton Rouge, LA.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
It does in that I am responsible for all of the acquisitions responsibilities at the Law Library.  Since we are a DOCLINE library within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, I am also responsible for generating DOCLINE requests for the Law Library’s community and filling requests when possible for other medical libraries participating in DOCLINE.  It’s not uncommon that law reviews and other legal resources will have information of a medico-legal nature needed by those in the medical professions. I work closely with our Law Center faculty, staff, and administration with regard to obtaining publications in all formats, such as review copies for professors and materials for Law Center programs: Apprenticeship Week, the Trial Advocacy Program, our Summer in France, and other programs developed to supplement the curriculum.

3. What are you reading right now?
Professionally I’m going through The Complete Guide to Acquisitions Management and Guide to Ethics in Acquisitions, and personally I’m reading through several industrial and organizational psychology texts given to me when our former HR manager retired (yes, really!)

4a. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?
While full time at the LSU Law Library, I also established and managed a one-person medical library in a specialty discipline for 14 years on a part-time basis, giving me an entre into the world of medical librarianship. I’d thought about becoming a veterinarian in high school and took the appropriate science courses, but during college, academic librarianship  and the MLS intervened. Long ago, I applied for a library position at the San Diego Zoo, my dream job at the time, and at some point I’d like to get my hand back into medical librarianship.

4b. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
In conjunction with the Law Center’s realignment with our main campus, we recently adopted a new financial system. All of our coding information for financials has changed, so I’d like to spend more time to work on understanding  the system, isolating the specific new codes for use with the Library and Law Center’s purchases I generate, and become more familiar with the new ledger system to easily and quickly access the information that our Library needs.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

White paper released: A brave new (faceted) world

The ALCTS CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee has released a white paper by the Working Group on Full Implementation of Library of Congress Faceted Vocabularies, ALCTS/CaMMS Subject Analysis Committee, Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation, A brave new (faceted) world: towards full implementation of Library of Congress faceted vocabularies. The white paper summarizes the work over the past ten years to develop and promote these vocabularies, and provides detailed recommendations for their adoption in routine cataloging practice.

The vocabularies consist of: 
  • Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), a faceted thesaurus designed to describe what a work is, as opposed to what a work is about.
  • Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus (LCMPT) to describe the "medium of performance" (instrumentation, scoring, etc) for musical works/expressions.
  • Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT) developed to capture the "category of persons who created or contributed to a work or expression and the intended audience for a resource".
The white paper provides detailed back ground on and recommendations for implementation of these vocabularies. Of particular interest to technical services law librarians is coverage of CSCAG's work around genre/form terms and discussion of application of LCGFT to bibliographic records for law resources. Catalogers on the Library of Congress's Law Team have been applying selected terms from the list since January 2011.

For each vocabulary, the document provides general and specific recommendations for implementation. For example, it is recommended that addition of LCGFT terms become a core requirement for PCC BIBCO records wherever appropriate; specific recommendations for updates to documentation and manuals is outlined.

Application of LCMPT, LCGFT, and LDCGT descriptive elements to authority records is explored. Addition of data from these vocabularies to authority records would enable the possibility of this data being entered once instead of repeated entry in records describing different manifestations.

In conclusion, the paper argues for full-scale implementation of these new vocabularies, with a recommended suite of actions:
  • Comprehensive faceted vocabulary training for catalogers working in shared environments
  • Routine creation of work-level authority records for works "embodied in or likely to be embodied in multiple manifestations"
  • Retrospective implementation of faceted vocabulary terms using algorithms
  • Display and granular indexing of all faceted data in bibliographic records (MARC 046, 370, 382, 385, 386, 388 and 655)
  • Display and granular indexing of authority data in specific fields.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Digital Libraries Do Not Mean Cheaper Libraries

In August 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education reiterated a point already understand by library technical service departments: digital resources are not always easier and cheaper than physical ones. In the law library field, we often face an issue discussed in the article. "Publishers work with vendors who bundle digital products and market them to libraries; libraries and library consortia often find themselves paying a lot for bundles that contain some material they want, along with much that they don’t. Managing budgets in that environment can feel like squirming in a vise." Our library would prefer to purchase eBooks (over print) from a leading legal publisher. However, this means purchasing everything available through the platform even when we know books analyzing specific aspects of foreign law will not likely be used. 

Beyond the acquisitions aspect, e-resources can also face other labor intensive upkeep such as monitoring licensing, access issues, and discovery restrictions. Haipeng Li, library director of University of California at Merced mentions other expenses of his modern digital library, the "ever-rising journal prices, the costs of making detailed catalog records of materials that users access remotely, and upkeep of computer hardware and software."

This article also highlights the growing trend of libraries as "learning commons." Librarians roles are changing to include teaching and research responsibilities as well as "instructional design, information literacy, and specialized areas like digital humanities and research-data management." As a librarian involved in many facets of the library, I do not condemn these efforts but recognize that it often means increased costs.

The article states, "some academic libraries have been removing physical books, generally quite tentatively — and often controversially — when books are 'deaccessioned' because of scant use, but most commonly when digital equivalents take their place." It cannot be denied this is practice employed by all law libraries to some degree. A letter to the editor the following week titled Librarians Should Accept Fact That Most Books Aren’t Available In Digital Format responds to the article pointing out that many books (especially older and foreign ones) have not made the leap into digital format and "old doesn't necessarily mean 'out-of-date'" in certain subject areas. Old often means out-of-date for the law but with some resources unavailable in digital format, this argument is understandable. 

You can find the entire article at: http://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Libraries-Go-Digital-Costs/240858?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Wendy Moore




1. Introduce yourself (name & position):
Wendy Moore, Acquisitions Librarian

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Absolutely not.  While my job does include acquisitions, it expands beyond that to include working on electronic resource management, leading collection development, collaborating on budget planning, and supervising our Technical Services department (ordering, receiving, updating, cataloging, processing, ILS database maintenance, binding, withdrawing, FDLP documents, gifts).  The University recently changed its logo, so it is time for new business cards – I might use this as an opportunity to change my job title. 

3. What are you reading right now?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (Translators, Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky), because 2017 just seemed like a good time to revisit Soviet literature from the 1920’s & 1930’s.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be?  Why?

While in college I minored in art history and interned at an art museum library that was open to the public.  How I loved the Thieme-Becker!  Even my library school Master’s thesis had an art history focus.  Part of me has always thought it would be fun to be an art librarian, but I never really pursued that option.  That early experience working at the art museum with a subject specific collection with both public users and academic researchers prepared me well for working in a law library.