ALCTS committees and interest groups submit reports to the ALCTS Office after each conference. Following are the reports submitted by the ALCTS Division-level interest groups.
Linked Library Data Interest Group
The ALCTS/LITA Linked Library Data Interest Group met during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, February 10, with 235 people in attendance. Co-chairs Anne Washington (University of Houston) and Scott Carlson (Rice University) hosted an engaging and innovative panel of presentations entitled “‘I Know Very Well How I Got My Name’: Linked Data Authority Projects.”
The session included three presentations:
- “What Works and What Doesn’t: Name Reconciliation Work and Management of Digitized Special Collections” by Myung-Ja (“MJ”) Han (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
- “Western Name Authority File: Linking People and Corporate Bodies” by Anna Neatrour and Jeremy Myntti (University of Utah)
- “Introducing Cedar: a Linked Data Authority Service at the University of Houston Libraries” by Anne Washington, Xiping Liu, and Andrew Weidner (University of Houston)
Presentations were followed by questions from the audience. Presentation slides for this meeting of the Linked Library Data Interest Group are available on ALA Connect.
Submitted by Anne Washington
MARC Formats Transition Interest Group
The ALCTS/LITA MARC Formats Transition Interest Group met during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, February 10, with 125 people in attendance. Three speakers talked about their projects to prepare MARC records for a linked data environment:
- Barbara Bushman (National Library of Medicine)
- Sally McCallum (Library of Congress)
- Brian Rennick (Brigham Young University)
Barbara Bushman presented “Preparing for the Future: National Library of Medicine’s Project to Add MeSH RDF URIs to its Bibliographic and Authority Records.” Though this large-scale project did not really turn the records into linked data, by adding the URIs these records are better positioned for a future transition to linked data and have become more interactive with other sources. The project added not only URIs for names of people and corporate bodies but also subject headings in MeSH. Barbara noted the necessity to add URIs to bibliographic records via a program rather than manually. The project team found that MarcEdit’s MARCNext is fully capable of adding MeSH URIs, but they had to develop their own programming because indexing with Voyager was not feasible. Eventually they created a custom program to add the RDF URIs to the subjects in the bibliographic record from the data stored in the authority record. Barbara also shared about their post-program data clean-up and lessons learned in the project.
Sally McCallum presented “Transforming a Catalog: Converting MARC records to Linked Data at the Library of Congress,” which was co-authored with Jodi Williamschen. The pilot began with the transformation of the BIBFRAME model and vocabulary from 1.0 to 2.0 and completed with converting the entire Library of Congress MARC catalog to BIBFRAME. This included 18 million records and 1.2 million uniform title authority records in all forms (books, serials, music, maps, sound recordings, moving images, and still images). Sally introduced the BIBFRAME Comparison Tool and the new Library of Congress BIBFRAME editor. Their BIBFRAME pilot will continue—evaluating and adjusting matching and merging of data, offering download of their BIBFRAME file for others to explore, and mapping from BIBFRAME to MARC.
Brian Rennick presented “Enriching Author Records with Linked Data,” which was co-authored with Tyler Ashcroft. They are working to enrich author records, as part of the ongoing conversion of MARC records to BIBFRAME, held by the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University. Enrichments include pseudonyms, alternate names, birth/death data, citizenship, short biographies, and links to additional resources about authors. Features will be available from the library’s discovery layer, and the project is anticipated to be completed by February 2018. The project took three sources of input:
- MARC XML from SirsiDynix Sympohony ILS
- RDF/XML (MADS and SKOS) from Library of Congress
- XML from Wikidata (using SPARQL)
They found the Wikidata SPARQL query service was slow and unreliable so they downloaded the entirety of Wikidata in RDF format to a local computer for speedier processing using Blazegraph. All data is then processed with a Java program called Jena, cached in Mongo Database, and finally output to the author landing pages linked from federated search. The team intends to move on to other enrichments related to genre and subject
Submitted by Debra Shapiro
Metadata Interest Group
The ALCTS Metadata Interest Group met during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Sunday, February 11, with 140 in attendance. The program consisted of two presentations on recent Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grants.
The first presentation, given by Chew Chiat Naun, head of metadata creation at Harvard University, was titled “National Strategy for Shareable Local Name Authorities.” He discussed results from the IMLS-funded forum on Shareable Local Name Authorities, articulating issues with infrastructure, organizational support, and the idea of what a minimum viable product of shareable local authorities would look like.
The second presentation, given by Ayla Stein, metadata librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was titled “Developing a Framework for Measuring Reuse of Digital Objects: Project Update.” She discussed outcomes from the first round of surveys and focus groups for the project. She also provided updates and background information about the proposed framework for measuring reuse, including a discussion of the constraints involved in capturing this type of data about digital objects.
All the slides from this meeting of the Metadata Interest Group are available on ALA Connect.
Following the presentation, a business meeting was conducted with reports by the Metadata Interest Group officers as well as liaisons from the Music Library Association, Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access (CC:DA), and the Metadata Standards Committee. Notes from this business meeting are also available on ALA Connect.
Submitted by Liz Woolcott
Public Libraries Technical Services Interest Group
The ALCTS Public Libraries Technical Services Interest Group met during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, February 10, with 13 people in attendance. Yu-Lan Chou and Carey Hunt chaired the meeting, and Roman Panchyshyn presented his research on adoption and implementation of Resource Description and Access (RDA) in public libraries.
Panchyshyn’s presentation was based on a paper he submitted to Library Resources & Technical Services. Sevim McCutcheon has done training videos on RDA. They did a pilot study in 2013 covering only public libraries in the state of Ohio, which was published as “Resource Description and Access and Ohio Public Libraries” in Public Library Quarterly. In that study, they compared public library vs. academic library adoption of RDA. They found that public library catalogers received little training in RDA. In the spring of 2017, they sent out a survey. They had a 310 out of 4163 response rate. Twenty-two percent (22%) of those who returned the survey had never heard of RDA. There is a huge divide between haves and have-nots, and that divide will continue to grow as the foundation of RDA shifts this summer from the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) to the Library Reference Model (LRM).
Submitted by Yu-Lan Chou
Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations Interest Group
The Publisher-Vendor-Librarian Relations Interest Group met at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, February 10, with approximately 13 people in attendance.
Co-chairs Carolyn Morris, Elizabeth Wallace, and Maridath Wilson led a discussion around the group’s mission, historical programming focus, and ideas for future programming. To anchor the discussion, attendees referenced the PVLR charge:
The PVLR will create formal and informal settings for discussion of issues and trends of interest to publishers, vendors, librarians and other concerned with the business aspects of library collections and technical services, and will highlight best practices among our constituent groups.
The discussion began with attendees indicating their reasons for attending the session, and their place within the publisher/vendor/library ecosystem. There was representation at the meeting from academic and public librarians, vendors, and a small scholarly press.
Topics that were suggested for future programs at Annual and Midwinter conferences included:
- competing—or partnering—with Google Scholar in the library discovery services space
- tips for treating our vendor relationships with care, and working to change the relationship from adversarial to that of trusted partner
- educating librarians on what vendors need to perform their job successfully, e.g., sales cycle and what information vendor partners need during request for proposal (RFP) processes
- educating librarians on the value that their feedback to our vendors and publishers brings
- navigating the climate of consolidation of publishers and vendors
Regarding the last suggested topic, one attendee elaborated by asking, “In an era of mergers and acquisitions, how can we maintain choice in the market for libraries as well as accurate historical records of our holdings?”
Together, attendees and facilitators proposed a panel discussion at a future annual conference with representation from a vendor, library, and publisher on one topic, ideally moving beyond idea-sharing and instead being used as a forum to challenge existing conceptions about each role in the ecosystem. The PVLR Interest Group will tailor the topic of the panel discussion at each annual conference based upon factors such as if it is Public Libraries Association (PLA) or Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference year. The co-chairs gathered the contact information for all in attendance to continue conversations digitally, and they plan to have a panel discussion at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
Submitted by Maridath Wilson
Scholarly Communication Interest Group
The ALCTS Scholarly Communication Interest Group met during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Conference on Saturday, February 10, with approximately 130 people in attendance. Co-chairs Michael Priehs and Sarah Beaubien put together a panel discussion entitled “Our Own Worst Enemy: Toward a More Inclusive Scholarly Communication Movement.”
Moderated by Sarah Beaubien, this panel featured a distinguished pair of speakers:
- Doug Way (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Stephanie Davis-Kahl (Illinois Wesleyan University)
Davis-Kahl and Way discussed recent trends and rhetoric in the scholarly communication and open access community, focusing on how these communities are moving toward a sense of absolutism. The panelists offered observations about email lists, blogs, Twitter conversations, and published literature in which there seems to be an assumption that there is only one correct way to successfully provide scholarly communication services and advocacy.
As a counterpoint, they shared examples of organizationally-aligned scholarly communication programming from their respective institutions, and discussed some constructive approaches to participating in formal and informal dialogue within scholarly communication. The panelists implored the audience to focus on aligning scholarly communications programs with the unique researcher and student needs at their institutions and to engage in respectful dialogue with one another, allowing room for all voices to be heard.
Members of the audience engaged in Q&A after the talk, bringing to light numerous salient questions and topics, including open educational resources (OER), community engagement, and the inherent connections between scholarly communications and collection development.
Submitted by Sarah Beaubien and Michael Prieh
Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries Interest Group (Big Heads)
The Technical Service Directors of Large Research Libraries Interest Group (Big Heads) met virtually for the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting Thursday, January 25, with 100 people in attendance.
Discussion topics for the meeting included:
- expanding roles of technical services staff, including integrating technology skills with acquisitions and cataloging activities, led by Betsy Friesen and Nina Servizzi
- digitization and digital asset management (and their relationships to TS portfolios), led by Beth Picknally Camden and Paula Sullenger
- transitioning from MARC to Linked Open Data in production, led by Philip Schreur
- the “Assessing Staff Alignment in Technical Services” model, led by Jim LeBlanc and Marty Kurth
- group brainstorming of agenda items for our meeting at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference
The meeting concluded with an open question and answer session among facilitators and audience members. A recording of this Big Heads meeting is available on the ALCTS website.
Submitted by Marty Kurth
Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group (Medium Heads)
The ALCTS Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group (TSMALIG) meeting at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting had 39 participants. Attendees had six roundtable discussion topics to choose from. Topics were suggested, prepared, and facilitated by TSMALIG Planning Committee members:
- Table 1: “Cooperative technical services: sharing work with other institutions,” facilitated by Scott Phinney (University of South Carolina) and Mark Wilson (Columbia University)
- Table 2: “Working with a sense of urgency…and with a sense of business?!” facilitated by Nadine Ellero (Auburn University)
- Table 3: “New job postings in technical services: skill requirements and job functions beyond traditional technical services job duties,” facilitated by Lizz Bridges (Texas Wesleyan University)
- Table 4: “Prepping traditional catalogers for metadata librarian roles,” facilitated by Marcia Barret (University of California, Santa Cruz)
- Table 5: “Metadata cleanup ahead of migration to a next generation library resource management system,” facilitated by Caryl Ward (Binghamton University)
- Table 6: “Changing digital repository practices: identity management, authority control, linked data and more,” facilitated by Sai Deng (University of Central Florida)
During the business portion of the meeting, volunteers were sought to serve on the TSMALIG Planning Committee. A big thank you and congratulations to Lauren DeVoe of Columbia University for volunteering to serve as the TSMALIG vice-chair! Special thanks also goes to the facilitators and planning committee members who provided topic ideas and led the discussions, as well as to the note takers, and to those who reported on the table discussions to the full group.
For more information, visit the Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group site on ALA Connect.
Submitted by Peter Spyers-Duran