Tuesday, August 11, 2009

American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, Chicago July 9-July 15 - Report

I attended the annual ALA 2009 conference in Chicago July 10-July 12. The conference wiki is available at: http://presentations.ala.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

Here is a summary of some of the sessions I attended:

Saturday , July 11, Workflow Tools for Automating Metadata Creation and Maintenance
Many academic libraries are recognizing that digitization is a value-added way of increasing visibility of unique and special collections to local and global communities. As libraries embark on these digital projects, staffs at all levels are mindful of the costs involved and are searching for ways to maintain cost effective projects. This session provided examples of work flows in current digital projects where tools such as macros have been used to automate the creation and maintenance of data.

Saturday July 11 – Library of Congress and Web 2.0 Technologies
There was a presentation at the LC exhibit booth on how LC has successfully embraced Web 2.0 technologies by integrating collections and services in high volume social networking sites like Flickr, Twitter, FaceBook, You Tube, and Itunes The Library of Congress on iTunes U.
Sunday July 12, OCLC Update Breakfast. Streaming video of this session is available at http://www.oclc.org/us/en/news/events/presentations/default.htm

· OCLC announced its intention to develop a web-scale cooperative library management system which will rival competing ILS vendors such as "Innovative, Sirsi Dynix, Aleph, and VTLS. This library management system will provide tools for managing library collections through modules such as circulation and delivery, print and licensed acquisitions, and license management. These new services will complement existing OCLC services.

· OCLC has centralized its product and services support functions. Support and service calls will no longer be handled by OCLC service partners such as SOLINET. The telephone number for OCLC support is 1-800 848 5800.

· WorldCat.org will soon be launched as the new interface or platform providing access to OCLC content such as FirstSearch, the WorldCat database, ArchiveGrid – database of over 1 million archival collections, CAMIO – a catalog of art museum and images online, and OAISTER – a union catalog of more than 19 million cords of digital resources from more than 1,000 contributors. This new interface will take the form of a single-search box, which can be branded with the library’s logo and placed anywhere on the library’s home page. This search box can be downloaded by users and added to their favorite websites. This product is available free of charge with current OCLC FirstSearch subscription. Access to the current FirstSearch interface will not be discontinued and will be available to OCLC users until 2011.

· WorldCat Local “quick start” will soon be included in subscriptions to the FirstSearch service at no additional charge. Content in WorldCat Local and the new Worldcat.org platform can be synchronized and delivered in the same customizable search box. WorldCat Local provides content from three sources: local library resources, content available through a consortia and global content such as what is available via the WorldCat database.

· With the expansion of the FirstSearch package users will have access to CONTENTdm Quickstart –an entry level hosted version of OCLC CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software which allows libraries to host 3,000 digital objects free of charge on OCLC server.

· In Feb 2009 OCLC began a pilot project where cataloging members with full level authorizations can enhance WorldCat records (previously there was a limit to the number of fields libraries could edit or enhance). This experiment will end in August 2009. More information is available at www.oclc.org/worldcat/catalog/quality/expert

Sunday July 12 Dr. John C. Tyson Award Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Program
As a member of the Dr. John C. Tyson Award Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association I helped organized a panel presentation titled "What do I Need to Know? Strategies for Career Growth and Promotion." This panel discussion focused on highlighting career strategies for new and mid-level librarians preparing for promotion and leadership. Three experienced librarians discussed their career path to higher management positions and outlined strategies for advancement for Millennial Librarians.

Steven J. Bell bells@temple.edu "Hills and Valleys: Moving Strategically On the Long Road of Your Library Career"
Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services Temple University

Jon E. Cawthorne jcawthor@rohan.sdsu.edu "Know thyself help will follow"
Interim Library Dean
San Diego State University

Virginia L. Cairns Virginia-Cairns@utc.edu "Make the best of what you've
got: creating the opportunities you need to advance your career"
Head, Reference and Instruction Services University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

Sunday July 12 Catalog Use and Usability Studies: What Do They Show and How Should This Evidence Affect Our Decision-Making?
A new report released by OCLC on Online Catalogs what Users and Librarians want http://www.oclc.org/us/en/reports/onlinecatalogs/default.htm suggests that end users want the following from the library online catalog:
· direct links to online content – text and media formats
· evaluative content such as summaries/abstracts, tables of contents and excerpts
· relevant search results
· item and availability information - if the item is available and how to get it
· simple keyword search with an advanced, guided search option.
Karen Calhoun (one of the authors of the report, gave a detailed overview of the findings) in her presentation which is available is available at:


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