Last month we asked Core members if they had any questions for the candidates for ALA President, and one person requested we ask the following:
“What is the role of cataloging and metadata in library and internet futurism? I started my career in tech services and now I’m an administrator, and I feel that tech services folks are sometimes forgotten in these conversations.”
“What is the role of cataloging and metadata in library and internet futurism? I started my career in tech services and now I’m an administrator, and I feel that tech services folks are sometimes forgotten in these conversations.
Cataloging and metadata are and remain crucial to the discoverability of information resources of all kinds. As a profession, we must make the work of resource description visible so that it can be valued. I have tried to do this through my research, writing and presenting extensively on critical perspectives in cataloging work. My work explicitly connects what technical services librarians do to the public-facing reference and instruction roles where I have spent most of my career. You can read my articles on critical cataloging in the CUNY repository, linked here. Those of us who have been in the field for a long time have seen so many of our colleagues in technical services leave the field as our institutions have failed to replace them. Fighting for the importance of these roles will also require us to be organized as workers on behalf of this crucial expertise. This is and will remain a priority for me in my work at my institution and within ALA.”
“Cataloging and metadata are critically important in information access, discovery, and delivery in 21st century libraries. Harnessing technology was at the core of my early career, at the following: the USDA National Agricultural Library as Branch Head-Acquisitions & Chief Collection Development Officer; Borders Group as Associate Director Business Development Field & Educational Sales; and Ingram Library Services as Library Processing Manager/Technical Services.
In these roles, I focused on breaking down silos, retiring legacy models that no longer worked, and applying a mobile-first, user-centered approach to delivering library content and services. Beyond our buildings, we can demonstrate the value we bring when we meet those we serve where they are. This means providing the communities we serve with easy access to our collections (both physical and digital) in places like parks, prisons, and hospitals.
Here are some examples of how I have leveraged technology to provide a superior customer service experience in unexpected ways:
- In Broward County Libraries (BCL) and Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (LVCCLD), I facilitated partnerships with the school districts to enable more than 45,000 Broward students and 320,000 Las Vegas students, to access online library services using their school IDs.
- At LVCCLD, my team and I launched a partnership with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada that enables bus riders – many who may have never before experienced library services – to instantly access our online digital resources using on board WiFi on more than 400 city buses.
- Through a community partnership with the Dan Marino Foundation, BCL provided access to Virtual Interactive Training Agent (VITA), a web-based virtual reality system that helps young adults with autism spectrum disorder, and other developmental disabilities, prepare for job interviews.
- At the Queens Library, we offered our customers tablets equipped with a proprietary custom interface with icon-driven menus that provided curated access to library resources and programs, with no internet required. Content included digital books and magazines, library programs and events, computer training resources, community services, and the library catalog. After the successful launch of the tablets, the library applied the same principles to a mobile app for patron use. These standards are now available for APIs that will extend these lessons to libraries and vendors nationwide.”
Thank you to Emily and Kelvin for providing these answers. The 2022 ALA/Core election opens on Monday, March 14, and closes Wednesday, April 6. Election results will be announced April 13.