Thursday, June 27, 2019

Reflections from CALICon19: Two Best Sessions

Looking out over downtown Columbia, SC #CALICon19

Some talk has been floating around in My Communities for covering conferences that may relate to TS, OBS and even CS members. There is understandably a lot of variation in many member job duties and with that plenty of room for overlap of these SIS individuals. Coming from an I.T. department position before my current role this makes total sense, and I can see the benefit to many of us not only having backgrounds in computer science and other technical fields, but also the advantages to continuing education in those areas as library professionals. This is where CALICon comes in.

With Web Developer Leslie Grove at CALICon19
Many of us are familiar at least in some way with CALI the organization (a.k.a. Computer Assisted Legal Instruction). They provide our law students with extremely helpful study aids, plus have resources that help faculty members with all sorts of things. Librarians fit into this section of folks CALI has resources for too. I first heard of CALICon a few years ago when my friend and web developing office-mate Leslie flew to Denver, CO to co-present with our Information Technology Librarian Jason. Their talk titled "Enough to be Dangerous: 00000110 Things Every Beginner Needs to Know about Coding", gave a snapshot of the main programming language fundamentals to the varied CALICon audience. What a neat conference I thought at the time. I had only been to either Drupal Camps full of I.T. guys or state librarian conferences which were full-on librarian attendees, and the idea of a conference that brought librarians, tech-heads and faculty together sounded... well downright phenomenal!

A couple years later I lucked into CALICon coming to Atlanta. Being in Athens, GA it was a short drive. I presented on infographics, and realized I was right - CALICon is pretty amazing. The unique mixture of attendee's makes for interesting discussion and highly useful content that naturally lends itself to collaborative relationships. In true tech-event fashion CALICon live streams all of the sessions and at hyper-speed uploads them all for streaming on YouTube. So, if you have never been to CALICon before, I encourage you to consider it next year. One only has to browse the CALICon playlists of session videos to wonder why everyone doesn't attend.

This brings me to my top 2 sessions from #CALICon19 which I felt would be most useful to  TechScans followers:
  • Leveraging eResources for Affordable Course Materials - Mary and Lisa were excellent presenters who didn't just share something cool (maybe their topic wasn't the flashiest on the schedule) but certainly brought one of the more relevant sessions for me throughout CALICon's two-day whirlwind. What institution isn't interested in saving money for their law students? What library doesn't grapple with ways to make things more cost-effective? This session not only discussed measures that would greatly benefit students but also ideas for faculty members who want to publish their own course content. In this session I learned about (CALI actually uses them to publish their books! SUPER affordable, 600+ page books for around $25 shipped!), Powernotes, H20 open casebook platform and more. The presenters even shared strategies for liaising with your registrar office and faculty members to offer alternatives before or alongside booklists, and how they reviewed their own booklists from past semesters to locate and suggest cost-saving measures for specific courses. 
John Presents at CALICon19
  • Automating Processing and Intake in the Institutional Repository with Python - Wow, just wow is all I could say after this session. Most of us deal with our IR in some form or another. As my own role with our Digital Commons site continues to increase, I went into this session with high hopes and seated next to our law school web developer (the office-mate mentioned before), and we were not disappointed. If you have ever manually entered items into your own IR one at a time as I typically do, you smile at the prospect of batch loading. With a large project of archiving old photos in our own IR looming I have been postponing preparing my own spreadsheets - I know it will be tedious and a worm hole of a project. After John's session I am SO glad I waited. My colleague, the coding goddess, and I sat in awe of the automation John was sharing. I was pleasantly rejuvenated leaving the session with a collaborative game plan which I am happy to say we are already making great progress on. Although the presenter's project was with Law Journals and pulling content from PDF's, our own is actually much simpler since we are pulling titles, image URLs and (hopefully) basic descriptions. By far this session left me feeling the most excited about returning to work with something we could instantly put to use.
Click on the session hyperlinked titles for slides and streaming video. Did you attend CALICon too? What were your favorite sessions or biggest takeaways? Find other sessions from CALICon 2019, or past years in CALIorg's YouTube Playlists.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Getting To Know TS Librarians: Jean Willis

1. Introduce yourself (name & position). Please provide a picture to be posted to the TechScans blog.

Jean Willis.  Currently Interim Director at the Sacramento County Public Law Library.  My “usual” title is Assistant Director for Support Services.  Our Board of Trustees appointed me to the position of Interim Director when my boss, Coral Henning, sadly passed away in late March.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?

Interim Director is quite accurate.  However, I feel that my “usual” title is squishy.  What does it mean?  Essentially, it is “Not Public Services.”  I supervise Technical Services and IT for our Library, which is an independent local district government.  So our IT Team handles all of the technology needs for our Library.  We are not part of any overarching organization, such as the County government, despite the Library’s name.

Our Technical Services Team consists of a Tech Services Librarian, who handles Acquisitions and Claims but also works regularly at the Reference Desk, handles virtual reference shifts, teaches legal research basics classes and serves on our Collection Development Team.  We have a Cataloger, who also works at the Reference Desk and handles virtual reference.  Both Librarians also are responsible for updating and maintaining some of website content, including Legal Research Guides, Step by Steps and Everyday Law articles. Then we have a Serials Control Assistant, who checks in most of our materials, handles some copy cataloging, and she also works regularly on our Circulation desk. 

Our IT Team consists of two Systems Analysts who handle everything from soup to nuts involving technology at the Library.  I supervise these two Teams, plus fill in at Reference, teach legal research basics classes, serve as a Passport Acceptance Agent and generally assist in the day-to-day management and administration of the Library.   Of course, the latter duties have increased exponentially since the Director’s untimely demise.  Because our other Assistant Director for Public Services retired about a year ago, and was not yet replaced, I am also now fully supervising our Public Services Department and our Civil Self-Help Center, which is staffed by an attorney and a paralegal.  Yes! I am ridiculously busy right now, especially considering that my “usual” job was already full-time.  Time management plays a huge role in my work life these days.  Plus I am grateful to have super, hard-working staff, who have really stepped up to the plate at this challenging time.

3. What are you reading right now?

Typically, I have several books going at one time.  Right now, I am really fascinated and taken by the Neapolitan Novels authored by Elena Ferrante.  Just wonderful novels about love, friendship and growing up in post WWII Naples.  Today I started book two, The Story of a New Name.  HBO is also dramatizing these works, and the video of the first novel, My Brilliant Friend, is available for viewing and highly recommended. 

The other book I’m reading is called The Betel Nut Tree Mystery, by Ovidia Yu.  This is set in 1930s Singapore and presents an interesting counterpoint to the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, which I also enjoy as light reading.

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

I am working in the exact type of library that I would choose (really).  Throughout my career, I’ve worked in almost every type of law library: in law firms, law schools, courts, legal aid and more recently public law library.  I’m truly happy to provide such a needed public service to our constituents.  It was exciting, challenging and stimulating to work in all of those other types of law libraries, but this answers my interest in providing true public service to our community plus access to justice for all. 

5. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?

We want to expand our Lawyers in the Library program, perhaps to collaborate with the Sacramento Public Library, to offer this service in different areas of our county and on more and different days and times.  I simply don’t have time to develop this project right now but would love to see it come to fruition. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

BIBFRAME goes International

A recording of the Library of Congress webcast BIBFRAME Goes International. 2019. Video. presented April 2, 2019 has been made available. A number of speakers addressed experimentation and implementation of BIBFRAME and/or linked data concepts in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

Some highlights:

Kungliga biblioteket, The Swedish National Library of Sweden has a production BIBFRAME based union catalog available for exploration. They are actively seeking a path out of the MARC environment.

Judith Cannon spoke at length about the PCC/LD4P grant funded group. Seventeen selected PCC libraries are working in a "sand box". Metadata will created and saved using "Sinopia", a linked data platform developed by Stanford University. More information about the project and its goals is available at The Library of Congress is developing initial training material based on LC's BIBFRAME editor. It is not clear when these tools might be available for non-participating libraries to play with.

Paul Frank and Jodi Williamson spoke about Share VDE, a collaboration with Casalini Libri focused on converting MARC bibliographic data to linked data. "VDE" stands for Virtual Discovery Environment. The environment is available for exploration at

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has an experimental Bibliographic Linked Data Learning Platform. With this tool, you can view and compare bibliographic data presented in different serializations, plus information about the work contextualized using Wikidata knowledge cards. The site also has an experimental SPARQL query form that can be run against their bibliographic data.

The National Library of New Zealand has made their Ngā Upoko Tukutuku / Māori Subject Headings available as linked data as an aid to bibliographic description centered on a  Māori world view.

Quick Question: How should I prepare for the AALL Annual Meeting?

In preparation for the AALL Annual Meeting, we asked TS & OBS members for their advice and recommendations for first-time Annual Meeting attendees.

Below are some great ideas that will help prepare first-time attendees for the meeting.

What one session (or event) would you recommend to a TS or OBS member who is a first-time Annual Meeting attendee?


  • Attend CONELL. It's a great way to get to know the Association and to meet other first-time attendees.
  • CONELL attendees get a special ribbon to wear, this signals to others that you are new, and so many people will come and welcome you.

TS/OBS meetings

  • Attend TS-SIS and OBS-SIS committee meetings. Anyone is allowed to attend, even if you are not a committee member, unless the session is marked as "closed" on the schedule.
  • Attend the OBS-SIS Business Meeting (Sunday at 6:15PM) and the TS-SIS Awards/Meet & Greet (Monday at 5:30PM). Meet people in your SIS and people who are on committees you might be interested in joining. 

More educational opportunities

  • Look for round tables. These are typically open to all attendees and allow you to make connections with people who share similar interests. Many are listed on the online schedule under "All Meetings and Events."
  • Check out Discussion Dens and Poster Sessions. These typically focus on specific topics and can be great learning opportunities. Go to Calls for Great Ideas for a list of topics.
  • Some caucus business meetings have educational programming as part of their meetings.
  • Attend one session that is far removed from your regular work. If you read the program description and don't know what it is about, go to that one.

Exhibit Hall

  • Spend time in the exhibit hall. It's a good way to understand the profession and get to know the vendors we work with. 
  • Check out the "Activities Area" during exhibit hall breaks. SIS's, Caucus, and Chapters have posters there about what they do. There will usually be a volunteer at each poster and it's a great way to have one-on-one or small group conversations with people who share your same interests. This is also a good way to get program suggestions on the fly - ask people at the posters what they're going to next.


  • Attend as many receptions and focus groups as you can.
  • Attend a Dine-Around. It's a smaller group setting where you'll get to know other AALL members better.

That said...

  • Don't feel obligated to go to a session during every single block. A conference can feel like a marathon you're sprinting through and you'll be happier if you pace yourself. 

Do you have any tips or advice for first-time attendees that they won't find in the conference brochure?


  • Create a schedule. If there is a specific session you want to attend, write yourself a note about it now so you can remember why when you get to the conference.
  • Before the conference, take time to think about your career goals. With those goals in mind, determine what events/activities at the conference will best help you achieve those goals.
  • And/or, create goals for yourself specifically for what you want to accomplish at the conference.

Be a joiner

  • If you haven't already, join your respective practice group's SIS, i.e., if you work in an Academic Law Library, join ALL. If you work in a private firm, join PLL. Attend their programming. It's a great way to know what's happening in your area.
  • Become active in the organization. Newer librarians can feel uncomfortable joining in right away, but there are ways to be active without being a board member. The Annual Conference is a great time to find out what opportunities are available. 
  • Join a caucus. There's no fee to join.

Take breaks

  • Make time in your schedule to take a break and get some quiet time. Just a half hour outside of the conference center will refresh you so you can make the most out of the conference. 
  • Locate a coffee shop that is the farthest you can walk to in 15 minutes. This one will likely be far less buy than the coffee shops near the conference center.
  • Try to follow the 2-4-6-8 plan. Have 2 real meals a day. Get off your feet for at least 4 hours a day. Try to get 6 hours of sleep at night. Have 8 glasses of water per day. Remember: Eat well, relax, rest, and keep hydrated!

Your badge

  • Wear your conference badge close to your face so people don't need to read your chest/tummy to find out who you are. 
  • Don't forget to take your name badge off once you leave the conference center.

Dress for comfort

  • Only wear comfortable shoes. You'll be doing a lot of walking. 
  • Dress in layers. It will be hot outside in Washington DC but could be cold in the conference center. 


  • Bring a large Ziplock bag for small freebies and pens.
  • Take advantage of the free food!
  • If you have them, bring your business cards. They can come in handy for entering raffles and of course, sharing your contact information.
  • While in the exhibit hall, pick up the freebies and enter raffles, it's a great way to get to know the vendors.


  • Find a balance (everyone's is different) between educational activities (programs, SIS programs, exhibit hall, etc.), networking, and fun/socializing.
  • Don't be shy! Easier said than done for some, but important to get the most out of the conference.😊
Thank you to all of those who contributed! If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them for us in the comments.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Quick Question: What About Conferences?

Conferences are a part of most of our jobs. Sometimes we are encouraged to pick one to attend annually, and others out there may have institutions with supervisors or directors that want you to attend as many as possible. Whether you have never attended a conference before, or you have attended many but this may be your first season in your current position, I hope these tips will help with navigating the perhaps uncomfortable terrain.

Tip #1: Dress appropriately, but comfortably.
I have attended a few local and regional conferences where at times I felt extremely underdressed and at other times way overdressed. The more I attend a specific conference the more I get a feel for the types of attire others wear and what that says about you in a session audience or an exhibit hall crowd. If you are presenting, of course you may want to dress it up a bit. If you are not, don’t feel like you have to wear interview attire complete with hot blazers and the world’s most uncomfortable shoes! Most conferences happen in the summer so keep that in mind. Bring a suitcase with a variety of options so you can change according to weather and building conditions (or as your sweat-levels increase from social interactions). If you have colleagues who have been to certain conferences before, ask them what they wear and how most people dress for it. Earlier this year I attended my first SEAALL (Southeastern Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries). Although I had been to many conferences before, this was my first out of state conference as well as my first in my new librarian position. It was a smaller more compact crowd compared to others I had attended, and I quickly realized I had overdressed for this one. I was able to use that fact though as a conversation starter for post-conference email-networking! More on that experience in tip number four.
Fall 2014, overdressed for my first ever conference.

Tip #2: Make your own schedule with your own goals.
I think it is safe to say that the overall goal for most librarian’s conference attendance is professional development. I have found that I personally get the most out of a conference when I make my own schedule in advance, working in times for breaks and leisure. I haven’t seen a conference yet which did not post the detailed schedule in advance. Print yourself a copy, highlight sessions you want to attend, and if there is a specific reason make notes to yourself as to why. Use your goals to determine which sessions you choose to attend. Some example goals I plan to use for an upcoming conference include: (A) Learn about something I know nothing about, (B) Learn more about something I am dealing with in my current job, (C) Meet two new people - more on this specific goal in tip number four too!

Tip #3: It is OK to leave a session early or to enjoy leisure time.
Fire dancers on the Savannah
Riverwalk in Augusta, GA.
Even if your personal schedule that you crafted in advance has lead you astray, do not feel tied to it. If you attend a session that within the first 5 minutes is not what you expected, leave (politely, of course) and use the time for something else productive. Sometimes there are multiple sessions that sound interesting. If a certain block of time has a few, add a back-up to your schedule so you are not scrambling if you leave one early. There also may be cases where not a single session in a given block of time is of interest. Take advantage of this time by visiting an exhibit hall, poster sessions, or just people watching to (hopefully) network with someone you haven’t met before.
The indoor spring-fed
pool in Hot Springs, VA.
It is also OK to plan for down time. Take a nap! See the sights of the city, or enjoy free amenities at the hotel. It always surprises me how few people go swimming or enjoy the game room when staying at a hotel that has those things. Some conference schedules even include recommended activities more officially to encourage rejuvenation in attendees or to make networking easier. Examples include a morning run, vendor-sponsored mixology classes, movie nights, or nature walks. Also, if you like taking pictures, take them! Photos of the location or interesting things you were able to see and do while away from the office can spice up your post-conference report once you are back at work - more on this in tip number five. 
Tip #4: Networking doesn’t have to be awkward. 
OK - so it definitely can be, and if you are like me it more than often is awkward (at least from my perspective, but don’t assume other people think it is!). As an extrovert-imposter I identify much more with the introverts out there and have to really, really make it a measurable goal to speak to people I do not already know (which is like everyone basically). Taking advantage of some of those vendor sponsored activities, or participating in a dine around might help take some pressure off of initial introductions. People at these events tend to go for the purpose of meeting other people, so capitalize on that! Another easy way to introduce yourself is to politely approach a presenter after their session. Asking a follow-up question or just stating you enjoyed their session topic can be a more natural conversation starter and allow for brief introductions to be exchanged. Look for people that look like yourself, perhaps standing off in a corner or keeping the coffee station warm, and approach them with the “I really feel uncomfortable at things like this, how about you?” to start a conversation. Keep business cards with you just in case an opportunity arises from a conversation and you can exchange cards with someone. Don’t feel like you should give a card to everyone you meet, but if you do exchange cards you can use those to keep a tally of who you met as evidence that you can do this! Two networking tips I heard at a recent conference delivered by an introverted presenter were to (A) set a numerical goal for how many people you want to meet, but keep it modest, and (B) check in with colleagues each day of the conference to talk about how many people you met - discussing with others can help you actually remember who you met and what they looked like so you don’t draw a total blank when you see them again next (perhaps the very next day!). If you meet someone, however briefly, and you do not have the time to continue a conversation, follow up with an email. Emailing post-conference can be a lower-pressure form of networking that might actually go further for you than face-to-face chit chat. At a recent conference I wanted SO badly to compliment an acquaintance's outfit but I was too nervous to do it at the time. Less than a week later there was an opportunity by email where questions related to an organization required my response anyway. I seized that email-moment to continue our conference conversation and put the compliment out there. We ended up exchanging longer emails than I predicted about style of dress and within another week were Facebook friends! Networking can still be done effectively with baby-steps.
Fall 2017 at my fourth Georgia Libraries Conference I FINALLY took a photo with a former colleague who was also attending.

Tip #5: Don’t overwork when at a work conference.
By this I mean do not promise to do too much away from the office while at a conference. Plan to check email once or twice a day (maybe work specific times into the schedule you are making for yourself!), but try to be present at the conference. This is a really hard one for me to put into practice because I am always thinking of the things I could or should otherwise be doing were I back at my office desk. Instead remind yourself that the conference IS work! If you have to, reframe the moments when you find yourself reaching for your phone or opening your laptop too frequently that once you return you will be expected (with some colleagues more than others) to give an informal or formal report on what you learned there, and how you or they can use what you have learned. It also helps me personally to be more present in sessions by taking notes or photos. Often a slide is shared with several great points, and taking a quick picture of it with my phone helps me capture more than I could in hand-written notes. Notes and pictures not only give me something more concrete to take back to work for sharing and discussions, but also helps channel that nervous energy when I start to think “I wish I was finishing that project at work instead!” or “How much catching up will I have to do because of this trip?”. Feel confident that you ARE working, this IS a part of your job, and your employer wants YOU there at that moment. It always impresses me when others return from a conference and have photos and notes to share, and this can be a simple way to reinforce not just to others but to yourself that the trip was valuable, rewarding, and time well spent.

To Summarize: Plan in advance, soak in as much as you can, don’t overthink it, and take care of yourself! If you are relaxed all aspects of the conference will flow more smoothly and naturally. Before you know it, it will be over, and you will be back at your desk crouching over work thinking “wasn’t that a great break from this normal day-to-day?” Hopefully you will leave feeling refreshed and with new ideas to bring to the table!

What tips for conference-going do you wish someone had shared with you as a new librarian? Share them with us in the comments!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Quick Question: What’s With All Those Acronyms?

"file under reference"

By Keelan Weber & Rachel Evans

Welcome to the first in a series of new posts we are calling Quick Question. In these posts we will address questions we have wondered or are currently pondering as new librarians, and do our best to answer them while we figure them out ourselves. Navigating librarianship in a niche field can be tough. For this initial post we wanted to discover what is up with not just all of the acronyms, but other lingo and terminology specific to technical law librarian roles as well:

Professional Organization Related:
  • AALL = American Association of Law Libraries
  • SIS = Special Interest Sections (82 % belong to one or more sections!)
    • ALL = Academic Law Libraries
    • CS = Computing Services
    • DET = Digitization & Educational Technology
    • FCIL = Foreign, Comparative & International Law
    • GD = Government Documents
    • LHRB = Legal History & Rare Books
    • LISP = Legal Information Services to the Public
    • OBS = Online Bibliographic Services
    • GLL = Government Law Libraries
    • PLLIP Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals
    • PEGA = Professional Engagement, Growth & Advancement
    • RIPS = Research Instruction & Patron Services
    • SR = Social Responsibilities
    • TS = Technical Services
  • Working Groups and Roundtables
    • VRAG = Vendor-Supplied Records Advisory Working Group
    • MPSAG = Metadata Policy Standards Advisory Group
  • Other Common AALL Acronyms
    • CC:DA = Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access (committee of ALA/ALCTS with representatives from TS-SIS)
    • SAC = Subject Analysis Committee (also a committee of ALA/ALCTS, where classification is considered with representatives from TS-SIS)
    • MAC = MARC Advisory Committee (has a liaison with representatives from TS-SIS)
    • CONELL = Conference of Newer Law Librarians
  • Regional Chapters of AALL (there are 30 across the country!)
  • MALLCO = Mid-American Law Library Consortium
  • ALA = American Library Association
  • ACRL = Association of College and Research Libraries
  • IFLA = International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Resource Providers & Vendor Related:
  • OCLC = Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (a global cooperative that supports thousands of libraries in making information more accessible and useful)
  • WorldCat = World Catalog (a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories that participate in the OCLC) 
  • LMA = Library Maintenance Agreement (standard contract, with Thomson Reuters for example)
  • FDLP = Federal Depository Library Program
  • GPO = Government Publishing Office
  • YBP = Yankee Book Peddler
  • DDA = Demand Driven Acquisition
  • GOBI = Global Online Bibliographic Information (web-based acquisitions tool for finding, ordering and managing e-books and print books from EBSCO)
  • EDS = Ebsco Discovery Service
  • WLN = Westlaw Next
  • WEST = Westlaw
  • LEX = LexisNexis
  • HEIN = HeinOnline
  • KLI ARB = Kluwer Arbitration
  • LIPA = Legal Information Preservation Alliance
Other/General Technical Services & Systems Related:
  • LCC = Library of Congress Classification (system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress and used by most research and academic libraries in the U.S.)
  • MARC = Machine-Readable Cataloging (formats are standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form)
  • MRC = Machine-Readable Code (commonly used file type with machine-readable code)
  • MRK = alternate file extension of Machine-Readable Code (a slightly more human-readable form, you will see this if you "break", a MarcEdit format)
  • MarcEdit = metadata editing software suite (used primarily to create and manipulate MARC records)
  • RDA = Resource Description & Access (new standards, plus a helpful toolkit)
  • XML = eXtensible Markup Language (designed to store and transport data, and to be self-descriptive)
  • BIBFRAME = Bibliographic Framework (a data model for bibliographic description, designed to replace MARC standards and use linked data principles)
  • AUTH = authority records (the most common means of enforcing authority control)
  • BIB = bibliographic records
  • SUB = subject authority records
  • NAM = name authority records
  • IR = Institutional Repository
  • DR = Digital Repository
  • bePress = Berkley Electronic Press (Digital Commons is the name of their popular DR)
  • ILS = Integrated Library System
  • OPAC = Online Public Access Catalog (quickly becoming an outmoded term)
  • III = Innovative Interfaces, Inc. ILS provider (Encore is the name of their OPAC)
  • LSP = Library Service Provider
  • Alma = Cloud-based ExLibris LSP 
  • Primo = Discovery interface from ExLibris (sometimes linked to Alma)
Glossary of Terms:
  • AALL Caucuses = Smaller in size and less formal in structure than SIS, caucuses connect members with more focused interests
    • Law Repositories Caucus = a platform-neutral group that supports repository coordinators by providing a community for sharing info and resources
  • Alphabet Soup Reception = Joint reception of the CS/OBS/RIPS/TS Special Interest Sections)
  • "Annual Meeting" of AALL's annual conference:
    • Annual Meeting program = a program with a specific topic, often sponsored by an SIS that is open and available to all attendees
    • Annual Meeting meetings = SIS special meetings that are either invite-only, open to the entire SIS, or to all attendees interested. The Annual Meeting schedule will indicate what SIS is having the meeting, what time, and if it is a smaller group (executive board, for example) and/or the focus of the meeting.
We are still learning, and know we missed plenty! Let us know what else should be included in the comments below...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Rachel Evans

1. Introduce yourself (name & position). Please provide a picture to be posted to the TechScans blog. 
Rachel Evans - I am the Metadata Services Librarian at UGA Law Library. I had been at UGA School of Law in the library's I.T. department for close to 7 years in a web coordinator role before taking a position as a librarian last November 2018. As the web coordinator I had wonderful opportunities to work closely with all of the librarians and library staff on various projects, many of which overlapped with my new job title and duties, so applying for and taking the metadata role was a no-brainer! As the Metadata Librarian I work with other librarians on the Leadership team, Systems team, Digital Commons team, and continue to attend law school Web team meetings. 

Here's a link to Rachel's bio:

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not? 
It both does and doesn't. In the sense that metadata is a part of nearly everything created and maintained by the law library, the title obviously applies. I manage several collections in our Digital Commons repository including some conferences and other events as well as librarian presentations and articles. I also do batch loads into our ILS from various vendors, load authority records, manage e-book discovery records, and change our physical back-up tape. The list could go on... metadata is not limited to my individual role though, and in a way it suits my job no more than it would anyone else who edits records in our catalog or adds items to our repository (and there are so many of us that share those responsibilities - aren't we all metadata librarians?!). A better fit might be something like "web" services or "electronic resources"... but now I'm just being picky!! It is a cool sounding title, albeit one that always requires extensive explanation from well meaning but non-librarian family members ("meta-what?!").

3. What are you reading right now? 
I am currently working my way through two books. The first is actually about one of my husband's distant uncles, Torment in the Knobs. It  historically recalls the 19th century story of Mason Evans, legendary hermit for 40 years in the area surrounding Starr Mountain, Tennessee. It is one of several books we recently acquired featuring different versions of Mason's life. The second is one I just started reading, The Piano Teacher. This novel is a continuation of a reading list I started over a year ago to read the novels that served as the basis for films I had seen or wanted to see. I loved the film by the same name which was actually the first Heneke film I ever saw. I have read so many wonderful novels from this list and it continues to grow as I discover more and more books that did not realize were the basis for some of my favorite tales on screen. Other highlights I've read from this series of reading: Pinnochio, Frantic, Spiral Into Horror, Mouchette, Don't Look Now, The Makioka Sisters, Watership Down, Diary of a Country Priest, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Half In Love, and Berlin Alexanderplatz.

4. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on? 
I am extremely excited about two projects. It would be a very tough call as to which I would focus on if I had a completely and totally free day. One is a usability testing study I am working on with a small team. We hope to screen capture a group of user clicks through our online catalog (Sierra) and our discovery layer (Ebsco) as they follow prompts we have designed. My goal is that the results will not only reveal which platform better serves us, but also allow the library to discover how our users travel through each site and to find problems that need fixing. The other project would be cleaning up and re-organizing our various websites. We have several: Digital Commons repository, LibGuides, and a few Drupal sites (both public facing and an intranet). Part of this clean-up is already underway with Digital Commons, and I am having great fun working with our Archives Librarian Sharon Bradley to simultaneously clear old event photos off of the public law school web server and preserve/re-organize our digital photos in the online repository. There are SO many pieces to the various site puzzles though... a single free day would just not be enough!

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Keelan Weber

1. Introduce yourself (name & position).
Hi! I’m Keelan Weber, Head of Cataloging and Resource Management at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Schmid Law Library. I am brand new to law librarianship, having started in September 2018. Prior to my current position, I worked in e-resource management for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes, it actually does! The majority of my job is cataloging and maintaining our resources and managing two amazing staff who work to make our materials available for our Law College community.

3. What are you reading right now?
I’ve gotten into the habit of reading one fiction and one nonfiction book at the same time. I’m currently finishing up Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas (I loved True Sisters… this is not as good, but still a nice read) and Son of a Critch by Canadian comedian, Mark Critch which is perfect Newfoundlander story-telling packed with laughs.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I think archives are a fascinating place. I would love to discover long-lost letters or objects. I had wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid and I think working in archives would give that same feeling of the potential for a wondrous discovery.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Measuring the value of cataloging

A recent post by Karen Smith-Yoshimura on OCLC's Hanging Together blog highlights the difficulty of quantifying the impact of cataloging work. The column is based on a discussion by OCLC Research Library Partners metadata managers. Smith-Yoshimura reminds readers that traditional methods of tracking cataloger productivity, statistics, do not measure the actual impact of the cataloger's work.

In many institutions, catalogers work in an environment where their efforts are undervalued by administration. In order to justify the effort involved to craft high quality bibliographic descriptions, we need to quantify how this work contributes to user's success, and how the metadata we create contributes to our organization's strategic goals. Smith-Yoshimura highlights the need for a "culture shift" from "pride around production alone" to placing value on learning opportunities and experimentation. She emphasizes the need to "understand that improving all metadata is more important than any individual's productivity."

How any one technical services unit can convince their administration to provide time and space to pursue these kinds of opportunities in the face of staff reductions and continued pressure to maintain production is an open question.

Smith-Yoshimura, Karen. Alternatives to statistics for measuring success and value of cataloging. Hanging together, the OCLC research blog. April 15, 2019.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Preservation Week April 21-27

Preservation Week, April 21 – 27, is drawing near.  Law librarians play a key role in preserving legal information and scholarship for the benefit of future generations.  In a print environment, preservation may be as simple as protecting the binding of a book, repairing a ripped page, or ordering multiple copies of a well-used title.  With the birth and growth of digital documents, the task becomes more complex and difficult to achieve, especially for smaller institutions and establishments.  Without adequate resources to undertake the needed work, digital legal information becomes especially vulnerable to technological obsolescence and potential degradation over time. 
In 2003 attendees at a conference sponsored by the Georgetown University Law Library and the American Association of Law Libraries recognized the challenging landscape and the need to establish long-term archiving and preservation support to institutions charged with overseeing legal collections.  To address the concerns, conference participants established the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA).
 In 2005, LIPA commissioned a white paper, Preserving Legal Materials in Digital Formats.  In 2006, members released the first Strategic Plan with an updated version following in 2009. These documents laid the foundation and created a structure for the consistent development of new projects and services for member libraries.
Today, LIPA is a non-profit consortium of over one-hundred academic federal, state and public law libraries dedicated to the preservation and accessibility of legal information through collaboration, education, and advocacy.  Ventures include LawArXiv, Law Review Preservation Program, Legal Information Archive, and PALMPrint.  Information professionals will find a list of digital preservation resources on the website, as well as a BLOG featuring preservation tips.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Library of Congress BIBFRAME progress

A recent ALCTS webinar "Library of Congress BIBFRAME progress" provided information on the current state of BIBFRAME development. Topics included fiscal year 2019 goals and achievements, an exploration of issues mapping MARC to BIBFRAME to MARC, explication of the issue of "blank nodes", and developments in LC's Linked Data Services.

LC is particularly interested in mapping data both into and out of BIBFRAME to eliminate the need for staff participating in the BIBFRAME pilot to do double work. Currently, participating staff are required to describe a resource in BIBFRAME, then re-describe it in MARC. It will be necessary to provide full MARC and BIBFRAME resource descriptions for the foreseeable future. Sally McCallum described several complicated modeling issues that must be resolved before duplicate work can be eliminated. Many of these issues are related to modeling differences; MARC is a "unit record model" with data both from and about the resource integrated into a record, BIBFRAME splits the data about a resource into Works (RDA work/expression), Instance (RDA manifestation), and Items. Decisions are needed on how to present a BIBFRAME work as a MARC work. Use of vernacular scripts and URIs present additional issues. URIs are present in BIBFRAME descriptions in areas that are not currently supported in MARC. Use of URI's to represent concepts at the field level is pretty straight forward, but mapping of headings with qualifiers can be problematic. The goal is to produce structurally sound MARC records from BIBFRAME.

Kevin Ford addressed the issue of "anonymous resources", also known as "blank nodes". He described anonymous resources as a "fact of life" in the context of raw data transformations. Although it would be nice if all data points and concepts had URIs, not everything rises to a level where an entity is willing to mint and maintain a URI. LC is tackling some of this by creating an experimental "providers" file of publishers, available at

This presentation is available via the ALCTS YouTube channel at ALCTS webinars are generally made available via the ALCTS YouTube channel six months after initial presentation. The Library of Congress makes presentations about BIBFRAME available via their Bibliographic Framework page.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Nariné Bournoutian

Introduce yourself (name & position).
Hello, all! I'm Nariné  Bournoutian. I am the Head of Continuing Resources and Collection Maintenance at Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University. I've been at the Law Library since 2014 and in my current role since November 2018.

Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
It definitely does! I oversee two separate units in the Technical Services department. The CR unit processes incoming print serials/microforms and communicates with vendors to ensure fulfillment of all our paid subscriptions. The Stacks unit is responsible for the physical organization of the library stacks, reshelving books, and keeping the collection updated by filing supplementation and replacing superseded volumes.

What are you reading right now?
I'm in my fifth semester of my MLIS program, which doesn't leave a lot of time for fiction reading, unfortunately. But I've been on a sci-fi short-story compendium binge lately, since it's easier than trying to intermittently read a novel. I recently finished Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories and am currently working my way through The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories by Connie Willis. Science fiction is my favorite genre, and these stories are a welcome break from mountains of assigned reading and essays!

If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
My undergraduate focus was film studies and I worked in my college's media library as a student. I would love the chance to work with a time-based media/AV collection again and combine my two areas of study. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Jessica Pasquale

  1. Introduce yourself (name & position). Please provide a picture to be posted to the TechScans blog.
    Hello! My name is Jessica Pasquale and I am the Head of Scholarly Publishing & Intellectual Access at the University of Michigan Law Library. I was initially hired as the Scholarly Publishing & Systems Librarian in fall of 2011, and was promoted to my current position in May of 2017.
  2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
    Somewhat. The "Scholarly Publishing" part encompasses my work with the student-edited law journals and our institutional repository, as well as my involvement with our faculty publications bibliography and support of faculty scholarship. The "Intellectual Access" part is even more broad and is meant to cover my supervision of cataloging services, and management of our LMS, website and repository. The part that is missing is "Systems," since I also oversee the administration of all library technology and systems (LMS, ILL, Website, LibGuides, etc.).
  3. What are you reading right now?
    I don't normally read more than one thing at a time, but I am currently trying to finish up some ebooks that all came in at once (The Bucket List, by Georgia Clark, When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica, and Educated, by Tara Westover) in addition to finishing up The Agony and the Ecstasy, by Irving Stone, and trying to re-read the entire Harry Potter series, one book per week, for a Trivia League.
  4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
    I spent a lot of my childhood involved in music and I love travelling to Europe--the history, the architecture, and the food are so amazing--so someday I really want to visit the Melk Abbey library in Austria (though I'd probably rather visit as a researcher) since they have an incredible collection of original music manuscripts.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

New Updates to MarcEdit

Creator Terry Reese has been investing time and energy into upgrading the already powerful MarcEdit 7 Editor to fit the needs of users better. By working to improve how manual and global updates are carried out, Rees has improved how fast records load, how changes are tracked (undo!), and rewritten the code to make further edits to the program easier. Read more about the changes that have been made here:

As of Feb 18, 2019, Reese has also added a custom report writer that can, “search for specific data, either as a match case or regular expression, and return back a report noting # of times in the file and # of records.” For more about the new tool and an example:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

New Study Released by ITHAKA S+R on Library Acquisition Patterns

Library Acquisitions Patterns, Report by Katherine Daniel, Joseph J. Esposito and Roger C. Schonfeld.

Researchers at ITHAKA S+R, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, conducted a study and released a recent report analyzing purchasing tends in two areas at US academic libraries.  One area of the project relied on 2017 data from 124 libraries using Ex Libris’s integrated library system, ALMA, or OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS).  A second area concentrated on print and e-book purchasing trends of 51 US academic libraries for fiscal years 2014 through 2017.
Two interesting findings from the 2017 report:
-On average, the libraries within the sample spent $3.61 million in 2017 and added 4,750 print books and 345 e-books acquired on a one-time, title-by-title basis
-Ongoing resource expenditures account for three-quarters of total materials expenditures with one-fifth going towards onetime purchases.
Two interesting findings from the 2014 to 2017 trend analysis:
-The average cost of an e-book in the sample rose by 35 percent between 2014 and 2017, while the cost of print books remained stable.
-GOBI and Amazon were the leading vendors of print books in the sample. GOBI was the leading vendor of e-books

With a mission to
broaden access to higher education by reducing costs and improving student outcomes, ITHAKA S+R  is a nonprofit organization that partners with a wide range of organizations in the academic community including foundations, universities, libraries, colleges, scholarly societies, publishers, as well as individual.

Read the full report at DOI:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Carol Collins

1. Introduce yourself (name & position). 
Greetings fellow TS-SIS members.  I am Carol Morgan Collins, Head of Technical Services, Joel A. Katz Law Library, University of Tennessee, College of Law.  I began work here as Catalog Librarian in 2001 and was promoted to Head of Technical Services in 2012.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes, but Technical Services work seems to vary among libraries. The functions at Katz include cataloging, serials management and claiming, processing physical items, loading catalog records to provide access to electronic resources, exporting records to the discovery layer, and coordinating campus-wide access with the main library.

3. What are you reading right now?
I am reading Nonviolent Communication a Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg.  

4. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
If I have a free day at work, I would dig deeper into the history of the University Of Tennessee College Of Law.  Earlier histories are available, but I have uncovered information from digitized collections not incorporated into those versions. I find the biographical facts of early faculty members fascinating.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) R5 Update effective January 2019

COUNTER, founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization supported globally by a community of library, publisher and vendor members. Members contribute to the development of the Code of Practice (COP) through working groups and outreach. The Code of Practice provides guidance and enables content providers to produce consistent, comparable and credible usage data for their online content. This allows librarians and other interested parties to compare the usage data they receive, and to understand and demonstrate the value of the electronic resources to which they subscribe. In 2014, the organization developed and implemented COUNTER Release 4 (R4) as the Code of Practice for information providers. With the rapid development of technology, this rendition soon became outdated and complex. A working group of librarians, publishers, representative of ERM systems, and other usage service providers came together to meet changing needs and reduce complexity. The aim was to simplify reports, increase consistency and clarify metric types and reports. The group released a new iteration, COUNTER R5, which replaces the former release and becomes mandatory for content providers beginning this month, January 2019. See COUNTER's online guide, The friendly guide to release 5 for librarians and read more at the COUNTER website.