Tag Archives: CILIP

Smug tweaking, shrinking cataloguers, and the corridor of uncertainty: CILIP Cataloguing & Indexing Group conference 2012

Although I am sure others will blog about #CIG12 in a more indepth manner*  I just wanted to express my delight about the excellent conference that took place earlier this week in Sheffield.  Two days packed full of thought provoking presentations, 25 speakers and just over 100 attendees; at times my brain was hurting, and I felt weighed down with concern about the things I didn’t know but really should; whilst at other moments I felt proud to be a cataloguer, and inspired to tackle new things.

There were four themed sessions spread out over the two days; Working with new standards, Working co-operatively, New challenges for cataloguers; and Developing working practices.  RDA, as to be expected, was a key issue to be talked about.  Celine Carty brought us updates from the ALA conference, and managed to succinctly condense 5 days into one talk.  It was extremely useful hearing about the view from across the pond, and she also gave us a great handout of links too!

There was quite a contrast between this conference and the last CIG conference in 2010 with

Keen attendees ready & waiting

attitudes to RDA, from what I can remember of two years ago, most people in the room weren’t really sure about how they would be tackling RDA, and were waiting for guidance from someone else.  This time round a good 50% of the audience were actively preparing for RDA, were devising training sessions for their staff (or looking for online material they could use), or were very aware of what work they had to do.  I also don’t think that anyone in the room was thinking of it as ‘Retirement Day Approaching’.  Celine Carty passed on some take home messages; things like “its now when not if” and “evolution not revolution”, she also commented that actually it can be quite good not to be the trailblazers.  While the rules are still being refined, and problems still being ironed out, its quite nice to be able to learn from what is happening in the US.  Stuart Hunt also gave us some food for thought in his session on ‘Implementing RDA in your ILS’, and pointed out that as well as us cataloguers having to get our heads round RDA, that we also had a lot of communication work to do – we need to talk to system vendors, and record supply agencies, colleagues who work on the front line and those who are library management.  We also need to consider whether our systems are ready for RDA, there are new fields, will they display or be indexed, will there be problems loading data into the system etc etc.  Anne Welsh & Katharine White also reminded us that there is always change, and we already have hybrid systems.  We need to accept that there never was a better time to embrace RDA, although we should question everything; and that standards, materials, and even students are always evolving.

Conference venue – Halifax Hall

Although RDA was casting a big shadow over us, there were plenty of other topics to discuss too.  Deborah Lee introduced the idea of the proposed UK NACO funnel, a project to collaborate on creating authority files.  Traditionally a funnel is managed by one person which is a huge commitment, and there can be delay in training new members to join; this current project however is aiming for a cascade of training  and aims to get as many participants acting independently as soon as possible with a critical mass of people who are happy to train others.  It will be a great professional development opportunity for anyone who gets involved.

As we are probably all aware we are in the midst of a time of many challenges for cataloguers, as Heather Jardine noted – ‘change is the new normal’.  We are having to face restructuring and streamlining, changes in roles, as well as changes in rules and materials.  There were several presentations demonstrating how various cataloguers are adapting  to these challenges including Helen Williams’ overview of ‘transforming a bibliographic services team from copy cataloguers to metadata creators’.  Her team have had a growing involvement in their institutional repository LSERO; with a review of workflows, additional training and comprehensive documentation the team have become multi-skilled, and better future-proofed.

Shelf-ready reared its ugly head towards the end of the conference (sorry, I admit I am not a fan!).  What still stood out for me, (and is one of my biggest problems with the whole shelf ready thing), was the standard of records being supplied – the poor quality, wrong classmarks, e-book records for print records, etc etc and even some poor processing.  What kind of service do vendors think they are providing?  And since so many of us are guilty of ‘smug tweaking’* why aren’t there more ‘good’ records available?

CIG do great bags!

I haven’t mentioned everybody who talked, but would like to say I gained something from every speaker; I’m not a fan of cricket but really enjoyed hearing abut the Marylebone Cricket Club library courtesy of Neil Robinson, and the challenges he faced with revamping a bespoke classification system (and his corridor of uncertainty); and even though I’m not a fan of shelf-ready I appreciated hearing about experiences from Sheffield with Emily Bogie, and Warwick with Christina Claridge.  And I really should mention the High visibility cataloguing blog and Cat23 –  a project I’m keen to hear more about.

The conference was great, the people were great, and as a tiny aside I was extremely pleased with the range of cold/soft drinks available at break times!  I don’t drink tea/coffee, and wouldn’t expect more than a glass of water to be offered (don’t even get that sometimes), so a multitude of fridges with a variety of beverages made me very happy!  The cakes were good too…

I also really liked that there weren’t any parallel sessions – so I got to hear everybody; and the concept of having lightning round talks was good too.  Ten minute snippets of projects and ideas, although shame-facedly I over ran in my own sessions and got flashed the ‘red card’.

Break time

My only regret is that I didn’t get to talk to some people who are Twitter contacts (we need Twitter icons/names on our badges!); however, I did talk to people who I didn’t previously know, and that is always a good thing.  I’m looking forward to the next CIG conference already! 

* See for example @archelina (Rachel Playforth) and @stjerome1st (Lynne Dyer)

* Can’t remember who coined this phrase at the conference, so apologies are due!  However, I do have to put my hand up and admit that I indulge in this practice.

All the presentations are due to be added to the CIG website soon.

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Together we are stronger: attending the CILIP Career Development Group national conference

 I’d never been to a CILIP Career Development Group conference before this summer, probably because I’m not a member of CDG so hadn’t paid much attention to their conferences before now; but this year their call for papers really resonated with the work that CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) does, and so in conjunction with Kristine Chapman from National Museum Wales I put in a proposal which was accepted.

The theme for the conference was ‘Together we are stronger’ and focussed on looking at opportunities for partnership and collaborative working.  Collaboration could be between different sectors, within the same sector, between new and experienced practitioners, or working with academics, for example.

The event was held at a conference centre in Birmingham, and as to be expected from the theme, attracted attendees who were a mixture of new and experienced library and information professionals, and who worked in many different sectors. Librarians from the health sector were particularly prominent, alongside many from the usual higher education sector.

The conference was a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions; though with such a tight coalescing theme it felt a shame to have to miss sessions, as all sounded particularly relevant and interesting.  The key note speaker for the day was Liz Jolly from the University of Teeside.  Her presentation was entitled: ‘Developing our community of practice: learning together for a stronger profession’ and emphasised that professional practice needs to be underpinned by learning and research.  She believes that we should all be life long learners and reflective practitioners; and noted that the more senior one gets one should still remember to ‘give back’ to the profession.  Other tips she gave included the idea of networking with people who are different from you, and embracing a combination of continuity and change.

The first parallel session looked at ‘Sharing knowledge and experience’ and I chose to attend ‘Producing the evidence for effective evidence-based librarianship’ by Karen Davies (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  She introduced the topic of evidence-based librarianship (EBL) by explaining that in many ways it had emerged from the concept of evidence-based medicine – something which I expect all the health librarians were aware of, but which many others weren’t. 

EBL is about looking at the best level evidence to inform decision making practice in librarianship.  We should also critically evaluate and appraise the evidence we have.

If we can’t immediately find any relevant evidence we should try looking outside the traditional LIS area, for instance education, management, and marketing are three areas where we might find comparative research or ideas which could be applied to librarianship.  If we need to carry out the research ourselves it is also worth considering collaboration – with someone from a different library, a different institution, or someone who isn’t working in a traditional LIS role (ie look again to education, management etc).  You may want to utilise a student (someone who wishes to do some research for their dissertation), though be aware that their aims may differ from your own, and it is always worth consulting with their supervisor about the project.  Even if you are doing the research yourself consider contacting a possible mentor, someone who is more used to the research process than you might be, and who can perhaps cast a more critical eye over your prospective survey or research plan, and offer you advice.

Davies also mentioned the Evidence Based Library and Information Practice journal, which is an open access, peer reviewed journal, and a good resource for research that has already been completed.

The next session was on the ‘Wider professional outlook’, and as one speaker had had to cancel we were all able to attend the presentation by Patricia Lacey (Dudley PCT) & Emma Gibbs on: ‘Developing your own skills network’ . Their talk was about the West Midlands Health Libraries Network which has a learning and development group who put on one day ‘Knowledge sharing’ events (ie staff development/training days).  They have a wide pool of hospital libraries based in the West Midland, and are able to utilise a variety of staff to run these event, with sponsorship to cover refreshments and venues.  They also have job shadowing opportunities available on their website – this is a list of libraries that are willing to participate, individuals make contact and arrange placement themselves.  In addition to the main Knowledge sharing events they also have a paraprofessionals group which focuses on training that is practical for the job.

The following session was the first of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ sessions, and I attended the ‘Collaboration to show impact of information sharing skills training’ by Stephen Ayre (George Elliot Hospital NHS Trust).  His presentation was about a collaboration of NHS libraries in England (mainly Midlands) who have pooled together to create an impact survey which can be used across all participating libraries to create a larger pool of evidence.  They have been looking at the impact of education training on NHS staff, based on the Kirkpatrick Hierarchy; and have developed an impact assessment tool.

The second of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ was where myself and Kristine gave our presentation on CLIC and highlighted the benefits of cross-sectoral staff development events. 

In the third and final session I listened to Rebecca Dorsett  (Royal United Hospital Bath) talking about: ‘Shelving together: collaborative working through different library environments’.  Her key message seemed to be that we should be aware of different practices in different sectors that could be used cross-sector. With her top tips being that we should explore other library environments, be willing to share resources, and work together to create unique projects.

In addition to these presentations there was also a workshop session, and an update on the CILIP future skills project.  Overall it was a very interesting conference and left me with plenty to think about.  I will certainly watch out for CDG events in the future.

All the presentations are now available on the CDG website

 

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A summary of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event [Part 3]

So, we come to the afternoon session of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event.  For this final session we had two speakers, and then a discussion slot.  The first of our two speakers, Elly Cope, was sadly unable to be with us due to illness, however she did send her presentation and notes and so, using myself as a stand-in, we were able to hear her talk by proxy.

From UDC to DDC: reclassification at the University of Bath  was the third of our papers looking at a reclassification project.  This project had started in 2009, and was still ongoing – in fact there was mention that there was possibly another 17 years to go before it was completed!  The hierarchy of the library service at Bath was explained, and it was shown that the project was very Academic Services driven, whilst the Cataloguing team’s involvement grew along the way.  The background to classification at Bath showed that it was traditionally done by the Academic Services staff rather than Technical Services.  They had an interesting story (possibly just a rumour!) that UDC was adopted by the first librarian after the Second World War because it was too expensive to buy things in from America and they couldn’t afford the Dewey schedules; thus UDC was seen as similar and cheaper.  Over the intervening years the system of amending or updating had become very haphazard and at the start of the project they had 35 different classification variants in use.  A task group was set up to review the problems and suggest a methodology of tackling the problem; this included looking at the possibility of out-sourcing the classification.  They proposed that Dewey should be introduced across the whole library, and to use the Coutts shelf-ready service for new books.  In 2009 a pilot project was run on the 720s (Architecture), an area identified as having received a lot of complaints in the past.  The pilot took 22 weeks and 6,768 items were reclassified.  As it was deemed successful they decided to extend it to some other subject areas; however they also decided not to use the shelf-ready services and thus the cataloguing team were responsible for down-loading records and Dewey numbers.  In 2010 Management books had been added to the list of subjects being converted and there was a noticable increase in workload and some demoralisation issues (seeing new books come in as UDC and yet knowing at some point they would have to be redone).  The decision was made for all new material to be classified as Dewey, with the faculty librarians being responsibile for the previous editions retro-conversions.  Each summer there is targeted retro-conversion project, and with more procedures becoming embedded, and every item that passes through the workroom being ‘Deweyfied’ it is hoped that the project may speed up a bit (and not take the 17 years as predicted!)

The final presentation for the day came from Jemma Francis and was entitled Capturing & archiving Welsh government publications.  Jemma works for the Welsh Government where her role includes managing the Library management system, overseeing cataloguing and managing the publications archive which has all new Welsh Government publications added to it.  To capture the publications for cataloguing she needs to search the corporate website, as well as relying on colleagues for alerts about new publications, plus receiving copies of circulars and notices via distribution lists.  All these items are catalogued and there are currently 30,000 publications on the library catalogue.  The library is also involved in an archive scanning project at present, aiming to make resources more accessible – both internally, and to the public in general.  They have a project team who have 30,000 items to scan, at least a third of which are not already on the catalogue.

To finish off the day we had a discussion session, which Stuart Hunt, the chair of CILIP’s Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) facilitated for us.  As was perhaps to be expected, having a room full of over 40 cataloguers and inviting them to join in a discussion, did lead to quite a lot of silent moments!  By nature cataloguers are often relatively introverted individuals (well, that is the stereotype, and we didn’t do much to alter that view!).  Stuart talked about CIG and how it worked, what it does for its members, and also how CIG Scotland functions.  The aim of our discussion was to see if there was a desire to form some kind of all Wales cataloguing group or forum, whether this be affiliated to CILIP, and be CIG Wales, or whether a stand alone group.  The general consensus seemed to be that, yes, we would like to have some kind of group – there was even a general feeling that becoming CIG Wales would be a good thing.  However, with a show of hands we demonstrated that only a relatively small percentage of people at the event were CILIP members.  Stuart pointed out that it was possible for people to join the Cataloguing & Indexing Group without being members of CILIP (pay a smaller membership fee of £30 to CIG rather than main CILIP membership), and then if individuals lived in Wales they would automatically become members of CIG Wales.  The only proviso being that the elected committee members (chair, treasurer, secretary) of CIG Wales would have to be CILIP members, but if we wanted any other committee members in addition to these three that would be fine (and they wouldn’t necessarily have to belong to CILIP).

It is very difficult to make these kind of decisions in a large group, and for the time being we felt that we could go away and think about things, and take up the discussion in a different space – on an online forum for example, or an email list or a wiki.  If we were to have some kind of group we would also need to decide what we wanted out of it – would it be easier as a group to put on practical sessions?  Even if we weren’t CIG Wales we could still liaise with CIG to arrange training sessions.

With this in mind I have set up a wiki on pbworks as an initial space to start discussions http://cataloguersinwales.pbworks.com/  I admit I am pretty much a novice at setting up/using wikis so if it looks a bit rough and ready, and you think it needs more adding  – then it probably does (well, please let me know/give advice!).  But please do join in the discussion (especially in you live/work in Wales).

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What have the Romans ever done for me ? Thing 7

I’ve been a member of CILIP since my student days (my distance learning Library MSc student days) when it was relatively cheap to join  – I remember being excited about joining this professional organization and getting a magazine once a month through the post…although its rare I actually sit down and read it all, I tend to skim it most months with all good intentions of sitting down and reading it cover to cover at a later point.  As a student I felt it was giving me good connections to the professional library world, and showing me glimpses of what life could be.   I’m still a member, though I always balk at the renewal prices, and wonder each year whether  I should carry on.  What have the Romans, er CILIP, ever done for me? Well, CILIP hasn’t actually given me  “better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order….” well, ok, maybe eduation!  But its kept me up to date with issues in librarianship, its provided training, conferences, networks and specialist interest groups.  I dipped in and out of the specialist interest groups the first few years, but have kept up with the Health Libraries group (I used to work in a medical library, and now I have responsibility for the cataloguing of items for the Medical and Health libraries at Cardiff University, and the overseeing of the cataloguing activities of the main hospital libraries in Wales), and not surprisingly am in the Cataloguing and Indexing Group.  I enjoy reading their newsletters, and keep wondering about contributing to them – hopefully will get round to it soon!

I won a sponsored place at the Health Libraries conference when it was held in Cardiff a few years back – however unfortunately I had to go into hospital that week so missed out in the end.  Last year I did attend the Cataloguing and Indexing Group conference in Exeter, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A couple of my colleagues came along too, although Iwas the only one who stayed for the full conference.  I feel its a shame its only once every two years, but am looking forward to next year (and wondering where it will be!).

CILIP was also able to provide some tailor made training on cataloguing rare books for my team last year, and the trainer came to Cardiff to deliver it.

Although I wouldn’t call it a professional organisation as such, I am also involved with CLIC  (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation), and have recently become the chair of the staff development sub-group.  We organise free training/staff development events for library staff in Cardiff – whichever sector they work in, so higher education, public libraries, specialist libraries, school libraries etc etc.  The events are great places to network, and to share skills and experience.

Outside of librarianship I am a member of the Classical Association – as three of my higher education qualifications are all in Ancient History/Classics  (OK I admit I have far too many letters after my name!).  I lapsed for a number of years, as obviously I am now a librarian not an academic.  But its the kind of organisation that has a wide remit for membership, and welcomes non-professionals.  As a member, apart from receiving newsletters etc I am also eligible to attend their annual conference.  This is something I did every year when I was a postgraduate, but stopped doing so when I moved into the library world, however, after a long gap I did attend last year when it was hosted by Cardiff University (I couldn’t not go with it on my doorstep!).  It was just as fascinating and enjoyable as I remembered them being, although I couldn’t help feeling a bit like an interloper.  I came away feeling all fired up and ready to offer a paper to the next conference, but reigned in my ambitions with the reality of not really having the time to do the proper research, and the fear of standing up in front of people who would probably know the subject in a greater depth than I now do – they really do ask quite penetrating questions at these conferences!

I might not be offering papers to Classics conferences any time soon, but I have presented at the WHELF/HEWIT conference at Gregynog last year (he Welsh higher education libraries and computing conference), and I have a few ideas for articles up my sleeve, just need a bit of time to get writing.

Well, I haven’t done it yet this week, but I now fully intend to investigate LISNPN to see whether this is an organisation that I could benefit from being part of.

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Welsh librarians do it in a yurt

Last night we had our South Wales cpd23 meet up in the yurt at Milgi’s – it was a lovely evening, and really great to meet up with people whose blogs I have been reading and who I have been communicating with via Twitter.   I found that I already knew some people (well I knew that before we met up!), other people had familiar faces and turned out to have been at various CLIC (Cardiff Libaries in Co-operation) or CILIP events (some as speakers, some as attendees).  Cpd23 people came from Cardiff University, University of Glamorgan, UWIC, National Museum of Wales, and the National Library of Wales (in Aberystwyth – so top prize to Nia for travelling the furthest to meet us!).  It was informal and relaxed, and hopefully an event to be repeated.

Photos were taken and will hopefully be posted at some point.

Thanks to cpd23 for creating the environment for these networks to emerge and flourish.

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