Tag Archives: Social cataloguing

Discover! Library Catalogues and RA Services

This morning, I gave a presentation in our library to new readers’ advisors. While my topic was short compared to the rest of the RA training for the day (but maybe this will change down the road!), I thought I’d share my presentation with all of you.

Unlike in past years, this year I focused on our new catalogue – AquaBrowser, which we are calling “Discover“. With the launch of our new catalogue looming in the near future, I felt it important to show the possibilities these new catalogues hold for RAs and Readers’ Services. With only a half hour to present, I had to fit a lot of content in – and leave out a lot too. If I could have presented everything on my wishlist, I would have addressed the following:

1. Theory behind using the catalogue and its benefits
2. Future directions with using the catalogue – especially with the direction next generation catalogues are heading and the integration of tools like NoveList Select.
3. How to use the catalogue today as an RA tool and the benefits of collaboration.
4 A hands on exercise for staff to attempt to use the catalogue in an RA conversation or to add RA content into the catalogue.

Alas, I only had time to present on number 3 – and only in the most superficial capacity. However, as always, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to present and to expose staff every year to the possibilities of the library catalogue – beyond that of the traditional, static inventory model that focuses on Boolean searching.


Filed under Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

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

Tim Spalding’s “What is Social Cataloguing?” Presentation

Tim Spalding, the founder of LibraryThing, presented at LIANZA this past October, 2009 in New Zealand. He has posted his presentation on YouTube in a series of 6, 9 minute videos.  The theme of his presentation? “What is social cataloging?” It’s great!

Video 1/6

Video 2/6

Video 3/6

Video 4/6

Video 5/6

Video 6/6


Filed under Discovery tool platforms, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue