Tag Archives: APLA 2009

Library Catalogues are no longer an inventory but a place, and a community

We made history in the RA world at APLA this year. For the first time outside of Ontario, an RA in a Day pre-conference session was held in Canada. I was able to speak at this conference in a presentation called Social Catalogues: Enriching Content that Enhances RA Services.

Social catalogues will play a vital role in promoting RA services in the future. It’s already happening. I believe that the future of the library catalogues will rest on whether we can become a place, rather than an inventory.

When we talk about RA services, we emphasize that true RA work cannot be accomplished without the trust of our readers. What about our silent reader? Our remote readers? What about our avid readers who wish they were librarians and want to share their reading suggestions? You won’t find these readers in the library asking our RAs for help, but you will find them in the library catalogue – at least, that’s where they should be. Right now, they are using social cataloguing sites like LibraryThing. But, I believe they are just waiting for us to catch up and when we do, what’s coming will be amazing.

When I presented at the pre-conference, I emphasized the movement toward social features in our library catalogues and the new face of the library catalogue. Much of what I discussed already exists to some extent, but much of what I discussed is what’s coming, or should be coming soon. There are so many ways we can explore social technology to create a community of trust among our readers through the library catalogue. That trust will bring RA work into our readers’ homes.

From the expressions on some of the attendees’ faces, I can certainly say I was met with skepticism as well as doubt. Many “traditionalists” either don’t want to believe or have a hard time believing that the library catalogue will ever be more than a static inventory. That’s unfortunate. However, many more librarians were eager to hear my ideas and what can be accomplished in the future, should RAs and cataloguers begin working together. I am assuming this by the smiles, nods and discussions I had later that day and throughout the rest of the conference.

For so long there has been a divide (okay, a gigantic chasm) between technical services and frontline services. But, I view RA services as another “backroom” service. Like cataloguing, many people don’t understand readers’ advisory services and as a result, they believe it’s “easy”, unimportant or grounded in common sense. After all, how hard is it to suggest a book for someone to read? That’s the same attitude that many professionals have directed toward cataloguing for many years. However, both cataloguing and RA services are growing and gaining popularity. The RA work that is occurring is new and fresh, as are the changes being made to the library catalogue. This is an opportunity and a possible collaboration that cannot be ignored.

To quote Karen Calhoun, “the future is so bright, we’ll have to wear shades.”


Filed under Discovery tool platforms, future of cataloguing, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

APLA 2009: Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Atlantic Provinces Library Association Conference is taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia this year.  At the pre-conference tomorrow, I’m presenting at the RA in a Day session.  This is exciting and a great opportunity for cataloguers.  I’m speaking on social catalogues and what impact social software and social catalogues have and will continue to have on Readers’ Advisory services.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a cataloguing component has been incorporated into one of these RA in a Day sessions.  To be able to discuss why our library catalogues should play a role in Readers’ Services (as well as how) is a great opportunity.  It’s not often we get to “sell” ourselves to frontline staff in an attempt to bridge the gap between backroom library services and frontline staff. 

APLA Thursday, June 11th through Saturday, June 13th

I would like to promote one session in particular that will be taking place on Thursday, June 11th. Barbara Tillett has been kind enough to come up to Halifax to speak to Atlantic library professionals about FRBR.  However, it isn’t just a tech services and cataloguing session.  Barbara has opened up her presentation and is gearing it toward branch staff too.  Basically, what does FRBR mean for reference librarians?  What about staff on the reference desk or the children’s librarian?  And, of course, what does it mean for cataloguers?

I think this is a great opportunity for all librarians and library technicians to really understand that the changes that are occuring in traditional cataloguing will impact the entire profession, not just cataloguers.

We are very fortunate to have a professional from Library of Congress, especially one of Barbara Tillett’s experience and knowledge, attend APLA and share her knowledge and expertise with us.  So – I urge all of you to attend!

For those of you looking for me at APLA

In addition to presenting at the pre-conference, I am convening Barbara Tillett’s session, as well as giving another presentation on Thursday morning (a repeat of my CLA presentation).  The last session I will be convening is When Tuples Sparql: Weaving the Semantic Web, which also takes place on Thursday.

I will be at the conference all day on Friday too, as well as attending the Banquet Friday night and the brunch Saturday morning.  I look forward to seeing some of you there!


Filed under Our Profession, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

Social Catalogue – CLA and APLA conference summary

I have only just realized that the pdf of the conference summary I posted the other day is not easy to access.  You have to right click on the image and open the link to view.  So, to make it easier, I’ve posted the summary below.

The Impact of Social Cataloguing Sites on the Public Library Catalogue: Patrons, Social Tagging and the New Face of the Catalogue


Dr. Louise Spiteri is Associate Professor at the School of Information Management, Dalhousie University.  Dr. Spiteri teaches in the areas of metadata, cataloguing, classification, indexing, thesaurus construction, and records management. Dr. Spiteri’s research interests involve the creation of subject analysis systems, such as classification systems and thesauri.  Dr. Spiteri’s recent research has focused on the contributions of social tagging systems, or folksonomies, to the design of library catalogues.


Laurel Tarulli is the Collections Access Librarian at Halifax Public Libraries.  Her professional interests focus on the future of cataloguing, including social tagging, discovery tools and enhanced interaction between the library catalogue and its patrons.   As the author of the blog The Cataloguing Librarian, Ms. Tarulli not only focusses on the future of cataloguing, but the enhancement of Readers Advisory services through the library catalogue and information ethics.



Sites like LibraryThing, Junklog, and Bibliophil provide important examples of how comprehensive bibliographic records and library catalogues can be created to not only describe items in the library, but to also provide an important avenue for people to share their reading interests and to create interactive and dynamic communities of interest.


Dr. Spiteri will present on her paper, which examines and evaluates the social features and comprehensiveness of the catalogue records of 16 popular social cataloguing web sites to determine the extent to which the social and cataloguing features of the social cataloguing sites examined could or should impact the design of library catalogue records.


Laurel Tarulli will examine what’s happening in public library catalogues today.  Exploring new discovery tool platforms, providing ideas for collaborative projects among the patrons and staff, and enhancing existing features in the catalogue to create a social feel will be examined in this session.


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Filed under Discovery tool platforms, future of cataloguing, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

The Impact of Social Cataloguing Sites on the Public Library Catalogue: Patrons, Social Tagging and the New Face of the Catalogue

Dr. Louise Spiteri and I will be presenting on the above topic at both the Canadian Library Association Conference in Montreal as well the Atlantic Provinces Library Association Conference in Halifax.

I’ve attached a short conference summary about this presentation.

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Filed under Discovery tool platforms, future of cataloguing, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue