Library Day in the Life – Round 8, Day 3

This post is part of Library Day in the Life project. 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.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012 

I get to my desk around 8:25am, login to the work network. This is followed by logging in to email, my work calendar, Voyager and Connexion, opening GTalk, opening a browser (Firefox at work, but Chrome at home), and logging in 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.

9:00am – Fill out survey from ALA on ALA Midwinter.

Pick up a piece of paper and find a sheet that looks suspiciously like a reimbursement form. Realize I forgot to turn in the paperwork and receipts to submit for reimbursement for ALA Midwinter. Sigh. ::headdesk:: Make the trek upstairs to turn things into the business office.

Check calendar to find out what’s on today’s schedule. The day is open. Whoa. What shall I do with myself today?

Morning: prepping and editing files of MARC records for bulk loads

Remember that weird character that showed up and caused records to error out when we tried to load them? I talked about it yesterday. It’s not obvious when the character was introduced, so I’m going to review the files from each part of the process to find out when the random character string ({A0}) was inserted at the end of some of the subjects. This file goes through three scripts: the generic one to standardize things, a post generic script to map the subject codes to the LCSH equivalents, and finally a pre-load process to prep the records (adding data to generate holdings records upon loading, etc.). I have the individual output files for each step in that process to review and find when the character string showed up so we can troubleshoot.

I send off various requests for loading files of MARC records into the production instance of our catalog. Once I get the confirmation the records are loaded, I’ll send out an announcement to all staff that title-level access is available. I also load smaller sets (less than 50 records) by hand into our system to speed things along.


10:10am – In order to help streamline the editing process for files of MARC records, I’m working with the systems colleague that normally runs the records through the scripts for me to get it set up so I can do it myself. This is very exciting. That means far fewer requests and less lag time for set editing. If I run new sets through the basic normalizing/standardizing script (FYI, it’s in PERL, and all it does is standardize certain fields for local needs), then the only requests I need to make are for actual loads into our system! Exciting! Of course, this means installing software (ActivePerl community edition) on my desk and mapping me to various files, which takes a good 30 minutes. My colleague in systems is very patient with me, walking me through the steps (which I meticulously document in Notepad as we go through) and we have success! ::Kermit flail in celebration:: The process utilizes the DOS command window, and oh boy is my cmd vocabulary rusty. Yikes.


While we’re chatting about running the MARC file editing scripts, I answer a few of her questions about load profiles and report frequency for a few ebook cataloging workflows we’re tweaking. I discover in the course of the conversation that I was given SysAdmin access a few weeks ago but somehow I didn’t get the message. SysAdmin installed and away we go! ::more Kermit flail:: Today is a good day!


Of course, the first attempt to do this on my own and I try to run the script on a file still in a .zip folder. Note to self: extract files first, THEN edit using Perl script. ::facepalm::


Noon – Try to figure out why we can’t save edits to a bulk load profile when we change the order settings. I now have two chat windows open, one with my systems colleague and the other for a colleague that works in acquisitions to see if our inability to save a change to the orders piece of a bulk load profile is related to system permissions (I don’t have permissions to edit in the acquisitions module).


12:40pm – LUNCH. Much needed. I think low blood sugar was starting to affect my brain (see attempt to edit file in .zip folder above).


While eating my soup, I respond to a message about putting together local specific training for MarcEdit and start to craft a possible outline, breaking things up into reasonable chunks from basic to really really complicated stuff. I don’t know if I could do my job without MarcEdit anymore.


1:45pm – Next up is changing the way we process a specific MARC records subscription. I have to cancel one service, and set up a workflow for addressing changes by hand. This also means various requests to have records deleted from the catalog as well as a report of the deleted records so I can do the corresponding holdings maintenance. I put together the deletion request and report request and send it off to our systems department “ticket” system to add it to their queue. I also send off the message inquiring how to cancel the subscription to the MARC records files from OCLC WorldCat Collection Sets. 

I also get an email letting me know that the issue of multiple holdings records being created during the e-item creation process for reserves is much larger than just the handful I knew about yesterday. Our online resources should only have one holdings record with a “web” location and no other holdings locations or additional “web” holdings. Thus the creation of additional holdings records during the reserves e-item creation process is causing all sorts of display and processing issues. I request a report of all the bibliographic records affected so we can start cleaning up and start troubleshooting to find out what step in our procedure needs to be fixed to prevent the creation of multiple holdings records. Fortunately the report turns up less than 300, and it includes not just duplicate “web” holdings but also those where people are just using the wrong template to create “web” holdings. Completely manageable.



2:30pm – Help out our Hebraica cataloger with some serials questions and a cataloging module system question. The rest of my day is spent trying to track down errant issues, combing through backlogs in various places on our ground floor (aka the “basement”) for materials in Hebrew, and trying to separate out titles that somehow got combined onto one record even though they are quite different. We gave up trying to figure out how and why it happened, and instead are just trying to fix it. Whew. I have stuff to talk to our serials acquisitions person about on Friday (he begged off talking about it tomorrow, so Friday it is).


4:15pm – Final email check. Clean out email listservs. Check Twitter and blog feeds. Schedule this post.


4:30pm – Shut things/programs down and log out from work network. Shut down (restart) computer. Drop of reimbursement form on my way out.

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

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