ALA Annual 2007: day 3

My day started at 8am with the CONSER meeting. We had reports on the status of some projects and proposals, and discussed how we will be monitoring the problems and questions that arise as institution begin to implement the CONSER Standard Record and people really start using it. There’s a wiki up now for use by members, and we decided the best option was to use it as a working document, or a way to collocate questions, concerns, and answers as we have them.

I hopped a shuttle to get to the OCLC Connexion User Group Meeting on time. Connexion is the OCLC cataloging software/module that we use. It’s kind of a “back door” into WorldCat, which is the public search interface. This meeting was chock full of information for me to take back to my colleagues. The new version of the software will be released within days (if not tomorrow), it incorporates the last pieces of the functionality from the RLIN21 client (the RLG cataloging software/module), and they had lots of information about what the changes were and what the new bells and whistles are. When I get back to work I’ll be incorporating it into our existing training documents (and creating some new ones) pronto. Lots of good changes that will make lots of people happy.

After grabbing a quick bite, I headed for the RLG-OCLC Transition Meeting. This was the final meeting for the transition since its in the last stages. We got an update on what stages the record loads from RLG into the OCLC/WorldCat database are at, what the plan is to migrate the last of the records and deal with the “problem records” that have come up (duplicates, unknowns, etc.), and got answers to a few questions. I asked a few questions that the facilitators didn’t know the answer to (there have been some changes to some of the processes and it’s not all clear yet), so they’ll ask when they get back to the office and let me know. Perhaps most importantly for me and my department, I did learn that the RLIN21 client (for cataloging) will probably be “retired” on Aug. 31st, along with the RLG Union Catalog. This means a time crunch to get everyone migrated to using OCLC Connexion full time! Work will certainly be exciting the next few months.

Next was the PCC (Program for Cooperative Cataloging) Participants’ Meeting. Yes, this was a very full day for me. After a brief report and some thank yous to people that served on committees, the speaker was introduced. They had a Microsoft product developer (Jay Girotto – Group Program Manager, Live Search Selection) talked about searching. He is also serving on some library-related (Future of Bibliographic Control) groups, so he’s used to dealing with librarians. Some of the highlights of his talk include a distinction between undiscoverable data versus irrelevant data, consumer behaviors, and how this all affects the transformation of industries and institutions, including libraries. The bulk of his talk was spent talking about information discovery, including the “search” in general, the problem of discerning the intent of the searcher, that the web still has a very limited scope (very little of the available information out there is actually discoverable or even exists online), search personalization, the lack of memory both for the person searching and the software doing the search, and the general disconnect between the search and the follow up action. The question and answer period afterwards raised issues related to data control, using Library of Congress Subject Headings to help populate the data fields used by searches, and issues related to languages and materials in other languages (specifically non-Roman scripts like Arabic or Chinese). Some interesting questions. This was not the type of session that includes answers, as most of it is still theory, in development, or unknown (future oriented). But it brought up some very interesting topics for future discussions and thoughts. There are lots of changes going on in the world, with web2.0, user-generated content being added to existing data, and a general evolution of the search. Very exciting times, but I won’t go off into a theory related tangent (for this post, but I make no promises about future posts).

I left a bit early to make it to my library school reception at Old Ebbitt Grill. We were put in the atrium, a very large open space with plants and a skylight. They had some decent snacky-type foods (this was good as I needed some food!), free drinks, but it was a bit hard to hear announcements because of the echo. Not a whole lot of people I knew were in attendance, saw a few former professors, someone I worked with up in tech services as a student cataloger, and one person that overlapped with me, VD (now VE), was there with her husband and we made plans to meet up at Midwinter for dinner. I had never managed to make the reception before, so I’m glad I went. Hopefully they’ll do another one next year.

I headed back to the hotel to drop my stuff and meet up with my roommates. SM wasn’t up for going out (tired), but JT and I went in search of dessert. We decided to check out the NMRT Social sponsored by 3M, figuring it wasn’t that far and it’s been entertaining in the past. We arrived just in time for the drawings, and since I had brought a children’s book to donate (per their request), my name was entered. And per usual (I almost never win raffles/drawings/etc.), I didn’t win. After they were done with announcing winners, they started the music. It began with a rather rousing rendition of the electric slide. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you end up with a bunch of librarians of all ages on a dance floor doing the electric slide. Wow. It was certainly entertaining. After getting over the shock/fear of seeing our colleagues dance (some of them better than others, and I have pictures), we ended up sticking around much longer than expected and had a really good time. The DJ spun a bit of the 70s, a lot of the 80s, some 90s and even some really recent stuff. It was nice to let loose and dance and not have to think for a bit. By 11pm, JT and I realized that while she didn’t have an early meeting, I was not so lucky and had yet another 8am committee meeting the next day (sigh…why do these people insist on starting the day at 8am after hosting receptions until the wee hours of the morning? I just don’t understand). And people were still dancing the night away when we left.

We walked back the hotel, which gave us another opportunity to do some catching up. Living so far from each other, face to face conversation is something JT and I don’t get very often. So we try to carve out some time at conferences. Fortunately we were able to do that this time. We crashed out pretty quickly once we got to the room, and all that dancing and walking was a bit painful this morning (I had forgotten about some of my leg muscles, but they reintroduced themselves this morning, um, ouch), but it was worth it: it was FUN.

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About slmcdanold

I’m learning to laugh at myself on a daily basis. I’m a librarian (cataloger) and I love it. My job involves all things metadata related in any and all formats. I have been known to cause a ruckus when necessary (aka troublesome cataloger) and make no apologies for it. I have a passion for continuing education and teaching. I’m a newbie coder (still learning). I like to cook. I’m a fan of rugby (go Australian Wallabies!) and ice hockey (go Detroit Red Wings!). I’m car-free and bike/walk a lot. I’m learning to love running one stride at a time. I own (and love) a very mouthy cat with a punk attitude and a slightly neurotic rescue mutt.
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