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MINUTES: Friday, November 3, 2000, 3:00pm, room N410 | Click here for November 28, 2000 Minutes
LSA Special Meeting Summary Minutes: TS Reorganization, 21 in attendance.


Janet is concerned with the possibility that questions have been interpreted differently by the person asking the question and the person answering the question. She indicated that she might have to decline to answer some questions, when either the questions or the answers might appear to be about specific people and their performance. Also, she believes that people are more interested in a phase we haven't yet reached.

Answers to questions 1, 2, & 3 from the list of questions that was sent to Norlin List:

1. Q: The impression given when the possibility of restructuring was raised was that this process would be a more "bottom up" than "top down" process. This does not seem to have happened. Why?

A: Janet doesn't believe she said that the process would be "bottom-up", only that staff input would be taken into consideration.

2. Q: Why were the employees who actually perform the work, or would be directly impacted not brought into the initial discussions?

A: The first phase is the Managerial level - "macro level" - the organization and distribution of functions. Thus, the people who were involved first were the people who perform the work of management. Once we get past this stage, and start talking about departmental organization and workflow within and between departments, many more people will be involved.

3. Q: Why were the initial discussions of restructuring only held among four to five people, including individuals who would not be around after the restructuring?

A: "Because it was their job" - their responsibility to handle inter-relations and relationships between departments and units. Janet has worked with these people and knows they are capable of maintaining civil relations even under difficult conditions. They also know each other well and are aware of each other's problems.

Someone commented that people thought that the input would be made before decisions were finalized rather than afterward (for instance the serials department changes).

Janet replied that input has been taken into consideration throughout the process. Many very good suggestions were received, and each one was considered. (Many had already been considered). Unfortunately, many possible changes are mutually exclusive, or solved one problem only to cause another. Ideas must be weighed against all the factors that will be affected by proposed changes. For example, If we end up with 3 departments instead of the current 4, there will be meetings with unit heads as well as the department heads.

4. Q: Why in all proposed scenarios have departments with histories of personnel and/or management problems, or being short staffed been expanded and given more personnel and management responsibilities and work duties, before these problems have been fully addressed and eradicated?

A: Janet declined to answer the question as asked, since it appeared to be referring to specific people, and since an answer would probably be interepreted in that way. She noted, however, that flawed organizations make it difficult for anyone to succeed. A flawed organization can make a good manager look bad, and can make a not-so-good manager look worse.

5. Q: If the proposed changes are all "draft" proposals, why has one possibility already been "temporarily" implemented, superseding the stated "timeline" for all opportunities for feedback to be given and final Cabinet approval?

A: It hasn't. The current acting arrangement is just that. One argument in its favor is that it provides a good chance to test the changes and allow for backing out if it doesn't look like it will work well.

About the feeling that it is a "done deal": It is hard to fight feelings and perceptions. Suggestions are weighed by the principles which were agreed upon.

Q: Concerns about who reports to whom, etc.

A: We are not to that stage yet. We need to build the subfloor before we can lay the linoleum.

Q: Were several "designs" presented?

A: Many possible designs were considered. At first, it was thought that several different versions would be presented in the first interim version of the proposal, but the differences among them were often small and difficult to explain, so the various versions were collapsed to one "skeleton" version, except for Preservation, where three possible versions were retained. If Skeleton proposals (below department level) actually stick through the next phase, then they will have passed the test of public scrutiny.

The Serials Department developments surprised Janet as much as anyone. They did not go in the direction she had expected.

If Preservation is reorganized along the lines in the proposals, the name of the Department will probably be changed - possibly to something like Collection Management or Collections Services?

Q: What are the Priorities?

A: The issue of priorities is not related to reorganization. Establishing a set of reasonable priority guidelines is something that Janet has attempted a couple of times in the past, but could not get the conversation started outside Technical Services. It may be that enough has changed that it's time to try again. As a starting point, Bill Garrison will put together a small working group to come up with some proposals for Public Services people to react to.

Q: Is there a target date?

A: There is no particular target date for reorganization. No changes will take place before 2001. Some things may be implemented before others. Some may not be implemented until after recruitment for particular positions has taken place.

Proposal that goes to Cabinet will probably be more detailed, charts updated but not more detailed.

1st draft - Serials Acquisitions moves to Acquisitions but retains specialization.

Serials Cataloging moves to Cataloging but retains specialization.

Periodicals Room moves to Public Services.

Preservations adds gifts, digital reformatting.

Cataloging reorganizes into teams

This will result in Technical Services having 3 departments instead of the current 4.

Cabinet will discuss the proposal and Jim will tell Janet what she can proceed with.

There will not be a more fleshed-out proposal.

About bibliographic maintenance and inconsistencies: When decentralization of cataloging results in less efficient communication, the different groups develop different dialects, assumptions, and priorities. The consequences are far-reaching, and have a longterm inevitable impact on speed and effectiveness of processing, and on the consistency and quality of data in the catalog, all of which have a negative impact on service.

Meeting adjourned.


Notes by: Mark Haury


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