Library Day in the Life – Round 7, Day 1

I realize this blog has been silent for quite some time, but it’s time for another round of Library Day in the Life posts which is an excellent reason to revive it. See: http://librarydayinthelife.pbworks.com/ for info on the project. I also participated previous rounds. You can find all my posts for this project by searching my blog’s librarydayinthelife tag. You can also follow my Twitter posts @slmcdanold with the hashtag #libday7.

Obligatory 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. I also participate in committee work for the PCC, ALA ALCTS, and NASIG.

I am head of a unit that handles the cataloging, maintenance and inventory control of continuing resources (both serials and integrating resources) and electronic resources (online resources) for all units of the Libraries by updating and maintaining bibliographic, holdings and item records. 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.


The majority of time spent on 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also the ongoing inventory maintenance on our holdings records to deal with keeping our holdings current, including withdrawn/lost/missing volumes, general edits to fix accuracy issues, etc.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 also spend a large amount of time managing the bulk loads of MARC records for ebooks and managing the cataloging of individual ebooks and ebooks series that aren’t available in sets but require regular maintenance and updating.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Arrive at work a little after 8am. Login to work network. Login to email, calendar, Voyager and Connexion, open GChat, open a browser, login to various web programs (including Evernote), start TweetDeck.

Read email. Forward and respond to necessary messages. Catch up on news feeds, work email listservs, and library-related Twitter lists. Scan subjects and then delete mass numbers of listserv messages.

First order of business: review minutes from my committee’s meeting at ALA Annual. I unfortunately missed the meeting, so I need to read the minutes closely to catch up on what we’re doing. I’m currently the Continuing Resources Section representative to the ALCTS Division-level Organization & Bylaws Committee. I agreed to serve because this committee has nothing to do with cataloging or continuing resources, so I get to interact with colleagues from other divisions and who do completely different work than I do. It’s refreshing and requires me to think differently (which is a good thing).

Next I work on ebook sets. I’m tracking in Evernote what stage each collection is in; which have open tickets; which need tickets opened for bulk loading process by our technology/systems folks.

During my ebook sets work, I’m interrupted by a rush ebook cataloging request (2 individual titles), required updates to several serial records as a result of the ebook cataloging request, and multiple questions from my staff about a current transfer and barcoding project. I log into the secondary ebooks general email account to see the rush request emails and reply/forward to the appropriate individuals.

10:00am and 10:30am – Bi-weekly check-in meetings with 2 of my 4 staff. Next week I’ll have my meeting with my remaining two staff. This is something new I’m trying. Management I’ve learned over the past 2 years is an ever evolving process. I try different things, some work, some don’t. I’m constantly having to learn and improve as a manager. These bi-weekly meetings are to try to improve/increase communication with my staff by having regular face-to-face conversations. Hopefully it will help address problems before they become crises. It also presents more opportunities to get solutions for things directly from them. I don’t have to solve the problems, I just have to support the solution and the process.

Back to ebook sets work.

Interrupted again by the arrival of the two grant staff that will be guests in our Unit’s space. We happened to have two empty cubicles with the departure of my intern the end of June. So until December, the grant staff will be using the intern cubicle and the student cubicle in my Unit’s space. I introduce myself and make sure they know where the essentials (bathroom, water cooler, refrigerator) are and find out when they will be around the next few weeks. My staff had requested an informal meet and greet since we’re sharing space. While the grant staff are not part of my unit or even under the umbrella of my department or in the tech services division (they’re part of a completely different department and division in the library), we do want to ensure that things aren’t awkward and that the space sharing goes smoothly. So I reserve a room for a mid-morning meet and greet with everyone early next week after our guest have settled in a bit.

12:30 – Brownbag lunch discussion for librarians. This is also something new. An informal discussion on a different topic suggested by ourselves each week. Essentially informal professional development. Unfortunately, I arrived late due to the moving in of our guests.

After the brownbag, stopped to chat with a few colleagues to answer questions and get an answer to a question about what these rush ebooks actually are in the bibliographic cataloging world. Turns out the 2 new ebooks we received a rush cataloging request for this morning are actually separately published “enhanced” versions of a serial issue. So they need original cataloging and I can’t piggyback on the existing serial record. Good times.

Return to my desk and deal with more email. Questions, cataloging issues, and committee work. I didn’t get a chance to eat before the brownbag, and I forgot to take my lunch with me, so I end up eating lunch at my desk around 2:20pm. Oof.

I end up working on the ebook original records while eating lunch. One of the benefits of working with mainly online materials is I don’t have to worry about spilling food or beverages on them. Also, multitasking at it’s finest!

I complete one ebook record and my lunch, and am promptly interrupted by my staff with a few questions about item record strangeness. The also let me know they need more work and more dusting/cleaning supplies. I call and leave a message for a colleague that we need more volumes for our barcoding project (we’re trying to systematically barcode all the bound serial volumes in the stacks…this is a long-term project). I then email our business office staff person to order more dusting cloths. Many of the volumes we are barcoding haven’t been moved, or even touched, for years so they have a nice coating of dust on them. By now it’s 3:30pm.

I check my email, and find a message from our systems/technology staff asking me about the profile for a bulk load. I have no idea what this profile means. What’s worse, I have no idea where to look to find the bulk import rule profiles for our system. Time to make a phone call. Apparently they are in the system admin client, which I don’t have access to. Fortunately one of my colleagues who’s office is conveniently next door does have access and was able to print out the specs for each possible rule profile. Emailed the systems person back and I think we’ve figured it out. We’ll see when the load log arrives.

I think I’m going to talk to my boss about putting in a request for access to the System Admin profile at least on a “read only” status when I meet with her this week. It would simplify things.

I realize I’m not going to finish the ebook cataloging today, so I save the records make a note to finish them both first thing in the morning tomorrow. I also didn’t get to any CONSER work today and my shelf/stack to be completed is starting to lean dangerously. I’m going to have to schedule time in my calendar for that, aren’t I? [Rhetorical question…the correct answer is “of course if I want it to actually happen.] Sigh.

Final email check. Clean out email listservs, skipping AUTOCAT (I’ll deal with that one later…I don’t have the patience or time right now). Check Twitter and blog feeds. Schedule this post.

4:35pm: Log out from network. Shut down (restart) computer. Leave work. Pray rain holds off until I get home. Really looking forward to my “Tranquil Vinyasa” yoga class tonight. It’s the perfect way to start the week and end the day on Mondays.

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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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