Library Day in the Life – Round 8, Day 0

It’s time for another round of Library Day in the Life posts. See the Library Day in the Life wiki 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 #libday8.


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also the ongoing inventory maintenance on our holdings records to deal with keeping our holdings current, including withdrawn/lost/missing volumes, general edits to fix accuracy issues, etc.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 title-level access to online resources such as streaming media and ebooks (including batch editing the records prior to loading using tools like MarcEdit) and managing the cataloging of individual ebooks and ebooks series that aren’t available in sets but require regular maintenance and updating.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sadly, my week started on a Sunday this week because I needed a large block of time to knock some stuff off the to-do list. I was out on Friday due to a nasty sinus headache, so I came into the office on Sunday afternoon to catch up on some work. Most notably, I had minutes from three meetings that needed to be typed up (complete! and sent off for review before posting) as well as a need to start making sense of my ALA meeting notes and begin the process of turning them into reports (not so complete). I also conquered a substantial amount of email messages. Whee, email.


I was interrupted briefly by a student who walked right by the “STAFF ONLY” sign into the Information Processing Center (our tech services). The sign is on a stand and written in all caps placed right in front of the glass doors so you see it before you even think about opening the doors. Not to mention you have to walk by it when you open the doors and enter the IPC. He was talking on his cell phone quite loudly, obviously oblivious to his surroundings. I stopped him, said he can’t be in this area, and asked him to leave. He just stared at me, so I pointed out that he was in a staff only secure area and there was a sign he walked by indicating it as such, and he needed to leave immediately. He then quipped to the person on the phone “hold on, I’m being scolded” and gave me some serious “I’m all super self-important” attitude (internal dialogue: um, dude, you are NOT that important, trust me and scolded? that was not a scolding, you idiot, I will show you a scolding if you continue to ignore me). I replied by politely pointing out again that there was a clear sign and that he’s not staff, so he still has to leave immediately. He finally left, walking slowly, as I followed him to make sure he actually exited the IPC. Sigh. Students.


After my student interruption, I tried to tackle a MARC record set challenge. We have a MARC record set for materials from the 18th and 19th century. The way these were cataloged is as reproductions, and the date that is being displayed first (Date1) is the date they were digitized and the secondary date (Date2) is the date of the original (18th and 19th century dates). This is not helpful to our users who are searching and looking for the date the item was created/written. So I’m trying to flip the two dates around so that the date of the original is the first date (Date1: 008/07-10) and the digitization date is the second date (Date2: 008/11-14). This sounds simple, but when you have 20 files anywhere from 2700 records to over 10,000 records, it’s not. Since I do not want to create a new field, MarcEdit’s Swap Field Utility doesn’t work. The script editor tool in MarcEdit is powerful, but not quite that detailed unless you’re writing by hand instead of using Terry’s brilliant guided entry script writing process. I’m not sure there is a way to flip flop the Date1 and Date2 fixed fields without writing a script from scratch, which is not something I have the skill set for (yet! Code Year hopefully will change this). I’ll have to talk to our specialist up in systems about this on Monday.


Finally, I did some work on some slides for an upcoming pre-conference I’m working on for Code4Lib Conference 2012 Seattle (only a week away, eek!). We have a planning meeting during lunch on Monday and I needed to get my stuff together to share. I have some serious formatting to do, but the plan for my slides is sketched out clearly now so I feel more prepared.


All of that took me around 3 hours at work. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you have a large block of time without any meetings to break it up. Most of my days are pretty dominated by meetings so I don’t have that kind of block very often unless I force it to happen.


Once I get home, I have more work to do, but of the personal development nature after I take care of a few chores. I’m behind on Code Year. Like two weeks behind at this point (doh!). Something tells me I’ll be spending many hours tonight working on code. I’ve seen suggestions on Twitter that this is best accomplished with a glass of wine (or several) or a “few” beers. I’ll take that under advisement. 🙂 Who knows, maybe I’ll take my laptop down to my corner bar for awhile (does Local 44 have wifi? huh. I have no idea…). Also, I wonder if I can simultaneously code and watch Downton Abbey? Anyone?

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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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4 Responses to Library Day in the Life – Round 8, Day 0

  1. Holly says:

    I am pretty sure I have seen the Date1-Date2 swap discussed somewhere; I seem to recall that it should be do-able with built-in MarcEdit functions and not require scripting, but I'll see what I can dig up (tomorrow, since I don't work weekends :P)

  2. Holly says:

    P.S. You might want to ask Becky C – this sounds like something we might have done at UC a few years ago

  3. Really? That would be awesome. I dug through my archive of emails from the listserv and turned up nothing. But maybe I missed it if it was embedded in another discussion (although Thunderbird's message search functions are very thorough so not likely). If you find it, do share. I would be most grateful. 🙂

  4. Holly says:

    OK, did my research, and here's what I found:1. When we did it at UCI (for EEBO), we did use scripting. I will forward you the info about that, since it is interesting regardless. 2. I found a way to do it with MarcEdit on my own. I'd post it all here but I think it needs screenshots. I'll email it to you but please feel free to repost it here afterwards if you find it useful.

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