Daily Archives: May 31, 2009

CLA 2009 – Highlights

The conference is going well and I have some tidbits to add while I have the chance:

Open Source Software for Libraries: Free Your Mind and Your Data Will Follow

Nicole Engard’s presentation, Open Source Software for Libraries: Free Your Mind and Your Data Will Follow is now available on her blog, What I Learned Today.

Webfeat and Search 360 to become one

While speaking with the Serials Solutions vendors, they indicated that WebFeat and 360 Search will be integrated in about 6 months.  So, for all of you looking at federated search tools, stay tuned.  Rumour has it that they are taking the best of both products and merging them into one.

More…

I’ve added some links to my post from yesterday, including a link to OCLC’s summary of their presentation, the New World of Metadata.  All slides from the presentations at CLA will be made available after the conference on the website.  I’ll try to provide a link when the presentations are up.

CLA – The Second Day

Today was a busy day at CLA.  My first session began at 8:30.  Karen Jensen, the Science Cataloguing Librarian at McGill University presented on SACO (the subject authority component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloguing).  She took us through McGill’s experiences proposing new LC subject headings and classification numbers. 

After that session I decided to drive myself a little bit crazy, so I attended a session called C3: Replacing Dewey for Better Customer Service. That was an exercise in frustration.  While I applaud Markham Public Library for the effort and energies they have applied toward creating a new classification system, I am still confused as to why they did it.  They provided no solid evidence that Dewey wasn’t working in their libraries.  In fact, from their own “survey” they indicated that the success rate among users finding items by Dewey was 87%.  87%???  I think that, given that only 13% were finding Dewey difficult to use, an education campaign should have been attempted first, rather than the amount of resources that have gone into re-creating the wheel, or what they call creating “merchandizing” categories. 

So, they decided to ditch Dewey in an effort to create a new classification system that is more customer-centred for the remaining 13% of their users.  They did this without conducting research or basing this decision on any in-depth studies.  The introduction of this new classification system went hand-in-hand with the opening of a new branch.  Feedback from users in the new branch commenting on the new classification system indicated that the books were easier to find because the library was “more spacious” “new” and “clean”.  I also noticed the increased use in signage when implementing the new classification system.

So, is the new classification system working, or is it the product of a new library and better signage?  I don’t know, they haven’t conducted any research into this.  They also did not provide statistics as to whether circulation has increased by using this system.

If that isn’t enough to give you pause, while creating the merchandizing categories for children’s materials, they asked the children.  Not only did they seek the children’s input on what the names of the categories should be, when they adopted them, those categories that carry over into the adult collection actually are called something else.  For instance, the “health and wellness” category for adults is called “mind and body” for children.  I believe they also created a category for children along the lines of “things that go” representing anything that has to do with transportation (trains, cars, etc).  There is a different heading for adults.

While I am not opposed to change, I like my changes (especially when it’s significant and costs a lot of time and money) to be grounded in solid research and study.  It has yet to be proven that, with increased signage and an overhall of the layout of the library, the same results could have been achieved without the need for a new classification system.  Of great concern was that concrete evidence was not presented at any point in the presentation, nor was an example of a classification table for their new categories.  However, even without this evidence, the front-line librarians attending this session looked absolutely thrilled by this idea of ditching Dewey. 

I ended the day on a light-hearted note by attended The Great Debate.  This year, the topic was Be it resolved that collaboration between academic and public libraries is a waste of resources.  It was fun and a great way to relax and have a good laugh with colleagues and friends.

Tonight, I’m  just relaxing and spending the rest of my night reviewing my presentation for tomorrow.  I’m getting excited, which is far better than nervous.  Thank you to all who have sent me well-wishes.  If all goes well, I hope you’ll be hearing a lot more about future presentations on social catalogues and the potential benefits these catalogues hold for all library services.

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Filed under Access Issues, Dewey, future of cataloguing, Our Profession