The July 2023 issue of Library Resources & Technical Services (LRTS) is now available. We’re pleased to share with you the third issue of the calendar year, with these peer-reviewed articles:
A Conversation with the Authors of Open Access Literature in Libraries: Principles and Practices / Rachel E. Scott, Karen Brunsting, Caitlin Harrington
This issue features a conversation with co-authors Rachel E. Scott, Karen Brunsting, and Caitlin Harrington of the recently published monograph Open Access Literature in Libraries: Principles and Practices (ALA Editions Core, 2022; 978-0-8389-3954-3). What follows is an example of an ongoing conversation among technical services colleagues leading to research projects, changes in practices, and, finally, a practical guide to getting started with open access in your library.
Management Practice Changes in Academic Library Technical Services Departments during the COVID-19 Pandemic / Sean P. Kennedy, Melanie J. McGurr
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many unexpected changes for academic libraries. Technical services departments were especially disrupted due to the nature of their responsibilities and library operations. In response to these pandemic-induced changes, technical services managers were tasked with maintaining a high level of operations while also navigating sudden workforce changes including evolving job demands and employees working off-site. This study documents and analyzes the responses of technical services managers during the pandemic. Managers made the biggest changes in communications and practices related to work-life balance. A significant theme emerged from the analysis that shows technical services managers adding several new practices to support and care for the mental health of employees.
Cracking the Code on Acquisitions: Transitions From Voyager to Alma / William H. Midgley, Kavita Mundle
For decades the University of Illinois at Chicago Library relied on the Voyager integrated library system for acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, and other applications. In the summer of 2020 the Library, along with ninety other members of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, went live in the final phase of a consortial migration to the Alma Library Services Platform. The absence of a “reporting funds” level in the ledger hierarchy in Alma threatened a fundamental premise of long-established acquisitions processes through which Acquisitions staff translated transactions between a librarian-facing ledger and totally different University financial categories. A creative solution using Alma’s “Reporting Codes” feature was discovered after interviews with stakeholders, which prevented significant confusion throughout the Library and preserved all processes. This case study describes the history of these acquisitions practices, the fundamental problem raised by the ledger structure in Alma as compared to Voyager, and the solution designed utilizing Alma’s “Reporting Codes” feature.
Collaborative Learning on Linked Data through a Virtual Study Group / Xiping Liu, Sharon Reidt, Jodene Pappas, Jill J. Crane, Ada Laura Ramirez
This paper examines the challenges and successes of a virtual Linked Data Study Group that began at a multi-campus academic institution in 2018, and later grew to include a total of seven librarians from multiple institutions across the country. It describes the group’s planning for their monthly meetings and the discussions at the meetings which covered such topics as Linked Data basic concepts, BIBFRAME Editor, Sinopia Editor, and Wikidata. It also presents a collaborative project the group undertook after two years’ learning. The paper concludes with a summary of what the Linked Data Study Group has achieved thus far, the challenges they faced, and their future plans.
Book Review: Metadata for Digital Collections, Second Edition / Lynn E. Gates
The ability to create digital collections has become more accessible to libraries and cultural heritage institutions of all sizes over the last few years, making it a good time to release the second edition of Steven Jack Miller’s Metadata for Digital Collections. Throughout the book he introduces fundamental concepts that everyone developing a digital collection will need in order to be successful. Complex concepts—such as interoperability, linked data, and controlled vocabulary—are introduced early in the book in a manner that is appropriate for someone who is unfamiliar with the topics. Later chapters examine each of these topics in-depth providing a solid grounding and understanding of these concepts. In addition to writing plainly, Miller includes many examples that clearly illustrate the concepts being introduced.
Book Review: Transforming Technical Services through Training and Development / Joshua Hutchinson
The new ALA Editions title, Transforming Technical Services through Training and Development, collects chapters by practitioners in technical services departments (academic, public, and consortia) discussing their approaches to training. Three themes recur through many of the thirteen chapters of this volume and help to tie them together: documentation; cross-training and engagement; and COVID-19. Documentation plays a crucial role in developing a learning culture, with the editors noting in the introduction that “successful training is impossible without a strong emphasis on current, up-to-date, and complete documentation” (xi). Cross-training staff and ensuring that they are engaged in all aspects of the training and development processes is crucial for a successful program. The final (and perhaps inevitable) theme that recurs through many of the chapters is the COVID-19 pandemic and its role in changing the way that library technical services departments have operated since 2020.
While library literature and conference programs abound with project management guidance, relatively little has been published on adapting these techniques for technical services. Project Management in Technical Services: Practical Tips and Case Studies helps fill this gap with a compilation of instruction and case studies in various approaches to project management ranging from individual techniques for managing workloads to coordinating institutional and consortial projects. The benefits of adapting project management in technical services are discussed throughout the book, including increased productivity and organization, improved evaluation of projects (both while they are ongoing and following completion), facilitating communication, increasing transparency, encouraging collaboration, and avoiding burnout.
Privacy, a concept that provides individuals with the right to control how their personal information is used, is one of the core values of librarianship. This is so because the practice of librarianship is a patron-driven discipline closely allied with modern democratic values such as freedom of access to information as well as freedom from external powers—governmental, corporate, administrative, or what have you—attempting to limit such freedom of access. Privacy is also a core value of librarianship because librarianship in our time is one of a larger set of disciplines associated with information management and digital security. As librarians, we are entrusted with the privacy and confidentiality of our patrons’ and staff’s information and our patrons and staff, in turn, have a right to expect us to protect that information. Furthermore, in addition to keeping information private, librarians should also be able to explain which information should be kept private and also why any specific pieces of information fall under privacy constraints, if for no other reason than in order to justify the high estimation librarians have of privacy.