Library Day in the Life – Round 4, Day 1

See: for info on the project. I also participated in the last round in July 2009. You can find all my posts for this project by searching the librarydayinthelife tag.

A bit of background: I’m a cataloger at a rather large academic library. Specifically a cataloger of electronic resources (anything online, in any format), and continuing resources (serials, etc.). I participate in the PCC program, doing NACO and both CONSER and BIBCO work depending on what I’m dealing with at the time.

Much (most?) of the cataloging for continuing resources and many online resources is maintenance work and updating of the bibliographic records to reflect current information. Changes can be anything from the frequency, to a change in publisher, to a title variation or title change. Cataloging these types of materials is like trying to hit a moving target or nailing jello to the wall. There’s also the ongoing inventory maintenance on our holdings records to deal with keeping our holdings current, including withdrawn/lost/missing volumes, general edits to fix accuracy issues, etc.

I have four para-professional (or support) staff in my unit. Two that work an early shift, and two that work a later shift. In an attempt to cover the most ground, my schedule says I work from 8am to 4pm, although I usually don’t actually get out of the office until 4:30 or 5pm.

Monday, January 25, 2010

6:30am – Up. Shower. Breakfast. Listen to wind pound rain against windows. Make executive decision to take bus into work even though it’s only an one mile walk in an attempt to keep myself from being soaked through. Even with riding the bus my pants from the knees down end up all wet. Yeech.

My early arriving staff are off today. That means I have a little over an hour before my 9:15am staff arrive, and about 2 hours before my 10am staff arrive.

8:00am – Login to work network. Login to email, calendar, other various and sundry programs. Open up Voyager cataloging and acquisitions modules and OCLC Connexion. Read email. Forward and respond to necessary messages. Catch up on news feeds, work email listservs. Scan subjects and then delete mass numbers of listserv messages. Start this post.

8:30am – CONSER work – email report of duplicate records (same title/resource, but cataloged in different formats) to colleagues at OCLC, manage to complete authentications and edits to the records for a few resources, and then get stuck editing the record for the next resource. I end up digging through email looking for the series of messages about how to handle dead-URLs in records (keep them…but what subfield again?!?). Some days I really wish Thunderbird allowed the tagging of emails…folders are great, but frequently not specific enough. My CONSER folder tends to be a bit unwieldy and searching just isn’t quite robust enough since it doesn’t search the text of messages.

9:15am – Hear first staff person arrive.

9:45am – Returned some updated resources to staff person. Check in on status of her work and projects. Currently there are a couple of sets of ebooks that need title-level cataloging, an ongoing deduplication project for bibliographic records for many of our serial titles, and a regular monthly spreadsheet of online resources to be cataloged. Progress is being made on all fronts.

10:00am – Back to CONSER work.

10:10am – Hear other staff person that’s here today sign in. Make mental note to check in with them once more CONSER work is completed.

10:45am – Phone call from a bibliographer about one of our collection sets and what bibliographic records are in our catalog already. He is pleased to learn that what he needs is in the catalog so he can show students in an upcoming BI session.

10:55am-11:05am – Chat (GTalk) with my boss about the upcoming physical reorganization of the technical services space.

11:20am – Returned more completed record updates, authentications, etc. to staff people for local processing. Take walk over to other staff person’s desk to check in. Answered questions about strange notation on the spreadsheet of holdings to be corrected for one of our branch libraries. The branch did a shelf-read, and sent us a spreadsheet of all the discrepancies between what’s in the catalog and what’s on the shelf (
the list is over 200 titles long!). My staff are now updating the catalog bibliographic and holdings records based on the spreadsheet.

11:40am – More CONSER work. Start reviewing slightly leaning pile of problems/questions on my desk. I don’t get very far before getting stuck. This is why the pile is still on my desk…

Noon-1:10pm – Lunch with a friend. Thai food (yum!). I actually left the building. Of course, it was pouring rain on the way to the restaurant, soaking my pants for the second time today, but it had fortunately stopped raining for the walk back to the office. But it’s definitely muggy outside, and unfortunately, also inside the library.

1:10pm – Check email. Delete mass numbers of listserv messages. A massive thread about a squirrel loose in a library and follow up posts from others on related stories, how to catch it/convince it to leave, or suggestions to get/borrow a cat/dog/whatever to get rid of the squirrel. Really? Do people have nothing else to do on a Monday?!?

1:40-1:55pm – Put together paperwork (photocopy receipts, find Amtrak stubs, photocopy attendance request form, etc.) for reimbursement for ALA Midwinter trip to Boston.

2:00pm – Meeting with colleague to discuss interview of potential intern from last week.

2:30pm – Return to desk. More email wrangling.

3:00pm – Took a break to freak out upon learning that one of my favorite bands Ozomatli will be performing in May with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Hall!! OMG SQUEE!! Hatched plan with best friend in St. Louis to get tickets…I will now start sacrificing goats and anything else I can think of so that the gods may smile upon me to be able to take the time off from work and to find affordable airfare so I can go.

3:15pm – Back to email. Reply to a thread on CONSER about institution specific URLs in master records and what to do with them when authenticating the record. My two cents: please remove them. Institution specific information never ever belongs in the master record outside of the world of rare book or manuscript cataloging. I’m talking about information like subscription restrictions, proxy info, or URLs that for paid resources that have institution specific access keys embedded in the URL.

[rant] It gives me great headaches and causes much ::headdesking:: (side note: did you know today, the last Mon. in Jan., is bubble wrap appreciation day? – always use bubble wrap desk protection when ::headdesking::!!) when data like that makes it into master records, especially when I’m batch loading them into our system, and I have to creatively find and remove all the information that’s relevant to no one but that institution and correct the URLs. I know some of it gets batch loaded by accident, but please, for the love of all that is holy, do everything you can to NOT put your institution’s specific access information or proxied URL in the master records, batch loaded or not. PLEASE. For the sake of my sanity and head. [/rant]

3:25pm – Walk upstairs to drop off reimbursement paperwork in the business office.

3:30pm – Back at desk. Phone call to set up meeting with colleague in another department (head of stacks) to discuss and determine details of the workflow for a giant barcoding project to get item records for all our bound journals. We didn’t start creating items for our bound journals until around 2005. It’s going to take us a couple of years at least, even with two of my staff barcoding for 50% of their workday. Meeting set up for tomorrow morning.

3:45pm – More email wrangling. And attempts to finish up some more CONSER editing/authenticating work. Walk around for end of day check in with staff.

4:40pm – Final email check. Close all programs and log out of network. Leave office for the walk home. I must stop at the public library to drop off things that are due and then stop by the grocery store on the way home. I’m out of milk and I need to pick up a last few things to make this spicy albondigas soup recipe for dinner. Mmm…soup.


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.
This entry was posted in cataloging, librarianship, librarydayinthelife, work. Bookmark the permalink.

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