Daily Archives: March 22, 2010

Reflections and Feedback: RA and the Library Catalogue Audio Conference

The relief that the audio conference is over is immense.  I like speaking in front of people, not through a phone where I can’t feed off their energy.  I also found it difficult because I did not know if the attendees had slides, or who my audience was.  Were they mainly cataloguers? RAs?  Without knowing who is attending, it is difficult to go beyond an introduction of ideas, to really just present the surface layer of a detailed and challenging topic.  Should I have delved further into the logistics, problems and actual steps to implement the ideas I was presenting on surrounding collaboration between frontline staff and catalogues (rather than just introducing this topic, exploring a bit into why I’m exploring it and some ideas as to how to do this)?  That’s hard to do in 45 minutes, not knowing if your attendees have access to your slides, or what area of librarianship they practice.

Despite the challenges and considerations that had to be made because of the unknown, I felt good about the presentation.  Would I do it again?  Yes, I think I would.   As for feedback about the presentation, there were several comments regarding the pace/style.  While the majority indicated pacing was good and they felt that the presentation was engaging, I had one comment indicate that it was clear I was reading from a script, and therefore it was a bit monotonous at times.  Good points, all.  I don’t mind constructive criticism and a lot has to do with the level of interest in the topic or personal preference.  But it is something I’m going to keep in mind for the future.

I also had several comments asking for specific examples that go along with my ideas, including libraries doing this.  So, I’m providing a list at the end of this post of library catalogues that should be explored for their use of social features and RA potential.

However, I would like to share a comment with you that, as cataloguers (and RAs too) I thought you’d be interested in:

“…we are familiar with social features for the online catalogue. I thought the discussion of changing expectations for RA service was good, but not the discussion of “community” – as if all library users have similar reading interests, or even want to “share”. Also, the idea of collaboration with cataloguers seemed a bit naive, given that MOST library cataloguing is outsourced or “copy cataloguing“. [Emphasis added]

Catalogues to check out:
Queen’s Borough Public Library
Streaming cover art, popular/recommended book lists seamlessly linked with their catalogue, AquaBrowser.  Examples of adding tags, reviews, or ratings as well as faceted navigation.

Oxford County Library
Example of library catalogue using NoveList Select, which provides recommended/suggested titles within bibliographic records. Try a search on the popular book title Shutter Island.

Halifax Public Libraries
Use of Narrative Nonfiction subject heading sub-genres – memoirs, true adventure, reporting, microhistory and so on.

Use of annotated summaries created by RAs (see the link below, If you like Christopher Moore…)

Use of linkable lists within the catalogue created by RAs.  For example, “If you like Christopher Moore…”

Use of linked live author readings and talks in the catalogue.  Try What they wanted, by Donna Morrisey, or No great mischief by Alistair MacLeod.

Halifax Public Libraries, The Reader Blog
Example of books linking back into the library catalogue



Filed under Access Issues, future of cataloguing, The Library Catalogue