Unit Heads Minutes: fy 07-08
The meeting was sparsely attended, primarily owing to summer vacations.
There are a number of vacancies in the Division at present. An LT2 test has just been held, and Linda Helgoth is interviewing for the position previously held by Gloria Lamboy (in serials ordering). We need to seek clarification about some issues relating to a position with highly specialized qualifications / requirements not normally associated with LT2 positions. The Head of Copy Cataloging search process was what HR calls "incomplete," so that search has been stopped for the time being. In the meantime, all vacancies are being examined to consider whether the functions and requirements from the "old" job have or ought to be changed, redescribed, etc.
As the new fiscal year begins and receipts pick up again, gift processing activities will have to be curtailed and fit into "lulls", but processes are now set, so that some progress will continue throughout the year. For those things processed before the resumption of normal receipts, approximately 3/4 were duplicate to items in our collection, and collection development has agreed that such materials can be sent to B-Logistics for sale.
A new organization is being formed to provide for this region some of the kinds of emergency assistance that organizations such as Solinet provide in other regions (in a pared-down form).
New student workstations and a sound-baffling enclosure for noisy equipment in Preservation are due to be installed at the end of this week.
Procedures are being set up to box items from the Epsteen collection before they are transferred to PASCAL; An inventory of WWI pamphlets is ready, and the next step is to find a vendor to preserve/digitize these materials; Preservation is also working on preservation/digitization of some atlases, and a collection of Classics materials. These kinds of activities can be expected to increase as materials get older; as we learn more about the condition of various categories of materials as a result of the collection assessment project; as decreased physical binding of serials with the shift to online subscriptions enables repurposing of preservation funds and attention.
Acquisitions staff met with Ebsco representatives to discuss recent problems with service.
In the lull before resumption of shipments, copy catalogers were able to re-search materials in the original cataloging backlog, and to process a substantial number of items for which copy had become available.
Conversion of MARC serials holdings is proceding apace.
Janet Swan Hill, Professor
RECRUITMENT: Thanks to everyone who served on the search committees, came to presentations and other meetings, and submitted comments about the cataloger candidates. It was a very strong pool. We have one acceptance (James Ascher will start in January), and have another offer out. The Tech II position in Preservation is closing soon. The PDQ for Head of Copy Cataloging is being rewritten and will be reposted.
DIVISION WEB PAGE: Bev will figure out how to mount TSDH and Unit Heads minutes on the Division web page. Unit Heads said they would rather have a single chronological file of minutes, with both types of meetings interfiled. These are not sensitive documents, so there is no need to sequester them on a SharePoint site.
SPACE, FURNITURE, ETC. With the two cataloger positions filled, and other changes in the works, Cataloging & Metadata Services is running out of room in the main room. Jina will begin planning for how people's workstations might be moved around, reconfigured, relocated (or whatever), working with Juniper Valley to get some design possibilities and cost estimates.
Acquisitions had a cleanup day. Some furniture has already been offered (and taken) elsewhere. A lot of paper was discarded, etc. We have checked (and re-checked) with the University about what paper records must be kept, and what can be shredded. A LOT can (and will) be shredded. Two oversized plants (a Norfolk Island pine and a ficus) were moved to the circular stairs, and Acquisitions staff will continue to maintain them.
Janet asked that everybody look around their workspaces and surrounding area with a fresh eye. See if there are things that are looking a little tired and should/could be removed, replaced, straightened. Even though we are a backstage service, we still have some public presence. Carl mentioned that he had a large (huge) landscape photograph, left by Mike Puckett and asked if it could be put up just inside the entry doors to M150. The answer was yes.
We still need to put up some artwork in N148. If you are in TS and interested in serving on a small task force to select artwork (subject to the approval of the dept. heads) for N148, send a message to Janet.
A question was raised about the huge pink bra near the west entrance. It would be nice to have a label or explanation posted when such displays are mounted.
SELECTION TO ACCESS: Bev will schedule a first meeting of the Selection to Access Implementation Team, but it should be noted that we have already accomplished (or begun) many of the things that were recommended.
COOP: Department Heads are working on emergency plans to identify essential functions, and plan for how we would carry on work if we did not have access to the building for a period of time. For the most part, the work of TS is not "vital", in the sense that we could suspend operations for a short time, without undue negative consequences to the University. If access to the building were closed for a longer time, some things (paying bills) would need to continue, and we would have to divert materials delivery to an alternate location. If faculty could retrieve their laptops, there is some work that they could continue at home, but nearly everybody needs access to their workstations, including Millenium and other software to carry on routine work. So, we need to consider ways in which people might be redeployed to other work in the event of lengthy building closure. Once the departments have put together their plans, the department heads will discuss possible redeployment.
RUSSIAN MATERIALS: Acquisitions and Cataloging staff are cooperating on the cataloging of Russian materials.
PROMPTCAT: We are working on a revised profile for PromptCat records, to receive more than just LC records via PromptCat.
EPSTEEN COLLECTION: Four catalogers have begun work to catalog the Epsteen Collection of Victorian juvenile literature. There are about 2,500 volumes, and although they are interesting to catalog, they are also time consuming. After materials are cataloged, Preservation will create enclosures for all pieces, and the collection will be sent to PASCAL (to make room for materials purchased for the photobook collection).
COLLECTION ASSESSMENT: The collection assessment project has begun work in Music.
PASCAL ENVIRONMENT: We have a year's worth of data about the PASCAL environment (looks good), but with a limited number and distribution of data loggers. About 2 months ago we installed three more loggers, including one high up, one at medium height, and one at about eye height. We'll get the first meaningful data after they've been in place 3 months. There is some indication that in similar buildings, the climate control gets questionable near the ceiling. Since we are planning to build another section, we need to discover if it's also true for our building.
ACQUISITIONS STATISTICS: Acquisitions is working on revising its statistics gathering to see how much/what data can be acquired through the system that can assist in making management decisions of various kinds.
ASSESSING THE BACKLOGS: A "delegation" went to visit the warehouse in Boulder to see how much material of what sort is there that requires processing. There is one large gift (Monroe), and one Special Collections purchase of photo books, and not much else. In the basement of Norlin there is a variety of materials awaiting processing, including some East Asian. And of course, there are the unprocessed gifts in the room between Acquisitions and Preservation. But, the largest backlogs appear to be in our collections, in the form of materials that are un- or under-cataloged in places like Special Collections, Archives, Government Publications, Media, East Asian, Maps. Additionally, we now are responsible for creating records for digital and digitized materials.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: We have added table of contents data to 2006 monographic imprints, and there has been positive feedback. Adding this data retrospectively depends essentially on money, and on what priority the Libraries would assign to it. Adding data on an ongoing basis turns out to be more complex than you might think. In fact, doing it record by record as materials are acquired and cataloged is so labor-intensive and necessitates so many steps and backtracks, that it's not feasible. So we need to look to periodic batch processes. A decision about what vendor to use is tied up with a decision about outsourcing authority records (see below).
OUTSOURCING AUTHORITY CONTROL: We have investigated vendors for outsourcing authority control, and the choice is down to two. Jina will come to a Cabinet meeting to describe the choices and the costs. We will need a sizeable chunk of one-time money to start the process, plus, beginning next year, a much smaller amount of continuing money. One of the two vendors also supplies table of contents data, so this will be one of the considerations in making our choice. Outsourcing authority control will enable us to exercise control over the WHOLE database, not just the portion that CMS is responsible for. But it will not eliminate the need for us to continue to create authority records locally, or to do NACO work. What it will do is (besides control headings from other cataloging units, and headings from batch loads) enable Database Management to handle the most complex problems that no vendor can handle.
TINKERBELL: We need to be careful about how we express and explain things. For example, the Chancellor announced at the campus forum on Monday that Google Books would make every English language book ever published available on the web in 10 years (wrong wrong wrong). For example, when we say there is "no backlog" in CMS, we mean that the workstream of currently acquired materials is small enough, and moving quickly enough that it can't be considered backlogged, but there are still probably millions of items that are in need of bibliographic control. For example, when we say we can outsource authority control, that doesn't mean that there will be no authority control left to do. We can't just clap our hands, say "I believe" and expect to see Tinkerbell. It's not that easy.
BUDGET REALLOCATION: The Libraries spends much more (relatively) on materials than on personnel as compared to our peer institutions, but the University seems unwilling to let us decide how money should be apportioned between personnel, operations, and materials. Because our "materials" budget is actually an Access budget, it supports materials PLUS such things as OCLC, Table of Contents enhancements, etc. One way of readjusting the overall Libraries budgets for a more supportable split between people and materials, would be to outsource some functions previously performed by people, and to fund them from the access budget. This does not reduce the need for people, but it decreases the (often excessive) burden on the people we have, and enables work that could not otherwise be done to be accomplished.
MARC HOLDINGS: Holdings have been updated to the MARC Holdings format for those active titles that could be handled globally (about 62% of active titles). The number that can be done globally should be higher for inactive titles. We have begun working at active titles that can't be done globally, starting with the Per Room (since the Per Room titles are under active examination for possible relocation).
MEDIA TRANSITION ISSUES: Some materials were transferred to PASCAL without any sort of bibliographic records. (We don't know how this happened, since it bypassed us). Other materials that have been identified for transfer have only minimal records, and/or no inventory records, and/or no analytics. These materials represent a substantial workload for CMS. A number of issues arise:
(1) Materials without records in PASCAL are lost. Should they be brought back so that some records can be created? This is a decision that requires bibliographer input, since it is a question of what materials should be accessible to our patrons.
(2) If materials have no records, they might as well not be here. If it's not work bringing them back to catalog, then it's not worth keeping them.
(3) Recognizing that there may be a lot of processing cost associated with sending materials to PASCAL, a part of the decision should be "Is it worth keeping them at all?" It's a waste of money to use PASCAL as a dumping ground; it would be better to struggle with the retention decision up front. This, too, is a matter requiring bibliographer consideration.
(4) CMS needs guidance as to the relative priority of providing appropriate records for materials sent to PASCAL.
(5) Perhaps the warehouse could be used to stage media materials to allow for quick removal from Media, but non-hasty decisions as to the fate of the materials.
PASCAL: PASCAL was originally intended to be (and defined as) a place for lesser-used materials. Originally, we were not supposed to be buying materials that would instantly be sent to PASCAL. This definition influenced many things, including the decision that PASCAL would not be established as a "real" location. Recently, however, some things have been moved to PASCAL because they were vulnerable (which means PASCAL has become "the cage"), and some things have been moved to PASCAL to get them out of the way (which means that PASCAL has become "the trash"), and some things have been bought with the intention/knowledge that they would be sent directly to PASCAL (which means that PASCAL has become a location). We need to re-examine our policies vis-à-vis PASCAL and determine whether its original purpose should be consciously expanded (rather than being expanded by default), and whether decisions (such as the location decision, which has multiple impacts on processing operations) should be revised to be in synch with our current (and projected) use of the facility.
INVENTORY: The issue of Media materials not having been inventoried serves as a reminder that we need to consider plans for continuing and completing the collection inventory. Janet will resurrect the report of the Task Force and take it to Cabinet. (This may be an appropriate topic for a future Cabinet retreat).
STAFF COUNCIL BREAKFAST: Oct. 16 is the Staff Council Appreciation Breakfast. Staff are encouraged/welcome to attend (but let your supervisor know). There will be a canned food drive in conjunction with the breakfast. If you can't go, but want to contribute to the drive, get in touch with Helene.
STUDENT LABOR: As processes undergo change with the implementation of R2 recommendations, etc., workflow in the various departments will also change. It has ALWAYS fluctuated. Once Pat returns, the department heads will discuss various ways we might manage the Division's student wage budget, perhaps sharing a portion of the budget, having some students hired for more than one department, etc.
If you read this far, you have real stamina.
Janet Swan Hill
Here's a new approach to meeting summary. Each person who reported on something has submitted a write up on their items, and I just did a little editing:
SERIALS CANCELLATIONS: Acquisitions received a cancellation list of 44 serial titles from the Periodicals Transition Group. The list was sent to Collection Development for approval prior to cancellation. Linda Helgoth notes that it is unlikely that these can be cancelled for 2008, since most vendors/publishers need cancellations before Jan. 1 (and some even require cancellations by October), but they will all be cancelled for the following year.
MARC HOLDINGS CONVERSION: To date 55,928 check-in records have been converted to MARC. Of these, Helene McHendry was able to convert 49,101 using global update for at least part of the conversion process. S
ERIALS TRANSFERS: Helene has also finished processing the 251 titles (4862 items) that have been transferred from the Per Rm to ASN. The entire project was done through global update. Jennifer Davis is currently working on the partial transfers, which can only be done one title at a time.
ASIAN MATERIALS: We are working with Circulation to make ASNST the location for all ASN materials housed in Norlin Basement.
PERIODICALS TRANSITION: Serials Cataloging is working through various issues with the Periodicals Transition Group.
HEAD OF COPY CATALOGING: Bethany Levrault will be joining the Cataloging and Metadata Services Department as Head of Copy Cataloging and as a member of the Monographic Cataloging Team. Beth has been working at BCR as a Member Services Librarian and Support Specialist and before that she was the cataloging coordinator in a library system in Kansas. Her first day in Norlin will be February 18.
CONSERVATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT: Carl Stewart reported that Christine DeVries and CNAP (Conservation Needs Assessment Project) is now working on assessing the physical condition of Archives collections.
PRESERVATION DURING CONSTRUCTION: In anticipation of upcoming construction, Carl has taken an on-line class offered by Solinet on preservation concerns during library construction.
DISASTER RECOVERY: The Recovery Team conducted an exercise on collections recovery; and collection recovery supplies are being beefed up.
EPSTTEN COLLECTION: The collaboration between Special Collections, Cataloging and Preservation to prepare the Epsteen Collection children's books for transfer to Pascal is moving along smoothly. Since October, 1,020 books have been cataloged (at a rate of 250 per month) and 231 custom-fitted boxes have been received from the bindery. It is still to be determined whether the boxed items will be sent off to Pascal in batches or in one shipment once the entire collection has been processed.
NEXT TS DIVISION MEETING -- SHELF-READY, ETC.: At the next meeting on Feb. 20, 2008, Charlene Kellsey will update us on the status of the shelf-ready and prompt-cat projects in Acquisition.
SELECTION TO ACCESS TEAM: The Selection to Access Implementation Team began meeting and carrying out its charge. The Team will send an email to Norlin List with an update. WENDY BAIA: Wendy Baia's retirement date is April 30, 2008.
EAST ASIAN COPY CATALOGER: A new PDQ for the East Asian cataloger (1/2 time LT II with Japanese language requirement) is written and posted. This person will also perform ordering functions in Acquisitions. ZMARC FUNDS: The use of zmarc fund was discussed. Yem and Jina will report at the next bibliographers meeting
MOVING SERIALS AND UPDATING HOLDINGS: Randy Key reported that he attended the Public Services Branch Meeting on 1/16/08 and spoke to them re the importance of notifying Serials/Acquisitions whenever serial titles are moved to another location, so that holdings statements can be changed accordingly.
MILLENIUM PROBLEMS AFFECTING SHELF-READY AND INVOICING: The first shelf ready books from Blackwell have arrived. They are being unpacked, but Acquisitions has been experiencing ongoing problems with the downloading invoice module in Millenium, as well as with sending orders to vendors using BISAC and Edifact. It has been two months, but as scheduled, III has reinstated/repaired the sending module. Hopefully, this will continue working properly.
MILLENIUM INVOICE LIMITATIONS AFFECTING WORKFLOW: The downloading module has a 300 total invoice maximum, as well as a daily invoice maximum of 99. Implementation of subject profile divisions necessitated for PromptCat has meant that the 300 invoice maximum is perpetually reached. This has created a significant backlog, as we are unable to load any other invoices from Blackwell or other vendors until each group is paid. Lisa Gould and Charlene Kellsey contacted John Culshaw, and he opened a call with III, asking that III contact Lisa. After no response for two weeks, Charlene contacted the representative and found that our call had been forwarded to another individual, who told us that III cannot increase the limit, nor set up an additional module area for us to download records. John Culshaw and Charlene Kellsey sent requests to III to implement an increase in the downloading module and were told this change is a system enhancement and could take up to two years. Lisa and Charlene have asked Blackwell to begin boxing the profiles together and consolidate the invoices, which may alleviate some of the invoice downloading problems. Other alternatives are being explored to alleviate the downloading issues and the backlog that it has created. In addition, other libraries are being contacted.
Janet Swan Hill