PCC BIBCO OpCo Meetings—Draft Summary
May 3-4, 2007
Library of Congress
Carolyn Sturtevant convened the BIBCO Operations Committee following the end of the Joint BIBCO/CONSER OpCo sessions.
The agenda was heavily slanted to training issues, since the BIBCO Participants’ Manual and BIBCO Training Manual are both being revised. We adapted the schedule to fit the times convenient to our guest presenters.
First on the agenda was Kathy Napierala, an Instructional Systems Specialist in LC’s Center for Learning and Development. Their unit prepares courses that apply to library employees across the entire institution as well as specialized materials for certain LC initiatives, not including acquisitions or cataloging skills. Kathy’s presentation started with a chart comparing different types of online instruction, which she entitled “E-Learning Tool Matrix.” At our request, she gave more in-depth treatment to the software Adobe Captivate 2, a tool that the LC Coop Team and the LC cataloging trainers hope to employ in the future. Kathy’s PowerPoint is available at: [can I give a location?]
Captivate can be a PowerPoint conversion tool by adding a bit of interactivity, such as the inclusion of quiz questions to traditional PowerPoint courses. As a simulation authoring tool, Captivate 2 can grab on-screen activity and allows captions and additional interactivity and quizzes. As a courseware authoring tool, Captivate helps an instructor assemble full web or computer-based training courses, and supports audio, video, and animation files. It can output Flash, HTML, or other files types. Captivate allows scenario-based training with branching and decision points. I can imagine using this feature to help in applying cataloging rules to create name authority headings.
Captivate has an advantage over PPT, with features like simulation, hyperlinks, addition of media, animation, audio files, and a tool for editing. It’s a benefit that Captivate can connect with a library’s learning management system. Real-time chat between a trainer and a user isn’t part of Captivate itself, but it’s possible for users to run a chat window such as AOL’s Instant Messaging or Microsoft’s MSMessenger chat while viewing a Captivate presentation.
GEICO, an insurance company, used Captivate to create client support files, and they had an 80 % decrease in calls to their help line. There are many PCC procedures that could be presented online as self-paced events for all our partners rather than via email or telephone. Magda El-Sherbini, Ohio State University, has created three Captivate tutorials for their staff.
Report from the BIBCO Materials Revisions Group
The group looked at copies of the report of this group
Does the Cataloging World need a BIBCO Standard Record?
One reason this topic arose was the offer from a BIBCO member to draft a proposal for a BIBCO Standard Record. We didn’t have that proposal at the OpCo meeting, but that didn’t stop us from saying a few things, using these discussion starters, humbly reflecting the perspective of a non-serials cataloger:
1. The CONSER Standard Record was developed partly as directed by PCC leadership to explore a simplified, more cost-efficient approach to serials cataloging. Several institutions participated in the development and testing of the record, but not all institutions feel that the exercise met their needs. If BIBCO creates a Standard Record, what procedure will be followed?
2. CONSER started with both full and core record standards, but only about 1.3% of all CONSER records were created at the core level. Some catalogers invited to work at core level  used their cataloger judgment and produced records that fit the full level standard [blank] very closely. The new CONSER Standard Record has redefined [blank] as a record with all needed access points.
3. The CONSER Standard Record may save on training time with fewer exceptions for the treatments of certain fields. Statements of responsibility aren’t as important in serial records as in monographs for searching purposes.
4. BIBCO catalogers have produced over 36,000 BIBCO records in the first half of FY2007. Full records constitute 60.7 % of the total, and core records 39.3%.
Among the 48 BIBCO contributors in first half of FY2007, here are a few numbers on their core and full level record production:
Core only: 1 institution
Mix of core and full: 30 institutions (6 use core at rates of 65% – 97%)
Mostly full, only one core: 3 institutions (a mistake?)
Full only: 12 institutions
Inactive: 2 institutions
5. User studies to determine the value of core or full level records are difficult to conduct. The CONSER standard record working group tested of how well elements in the new standard met FRBR defined user tasks by getting feedback from public services staff in 15 or so institutions. It was found that the recommended elements in the record were sufficient for meeting user needs.
6. From a systems point of view, any change in cataloging level coding may require revamping of the load protocols for records from various institutions.
One comment came from a BIBCO library via email prior to the meeting, saying “No! Let’s not go there!” In our discussion, someone said that it’s not so bad to be proactive, looking for simplification in monographic records where it may help. A cataloger with both monographic and serials experience gave the perspective that the CONSER Standard Record will lessen some of the burden of justification, saving the cataloger’s time. Someone suggested that working on Integrating Resources such as loose-leaf law documents might be easier with a Standard Record for IRs. Cynthia Whitacre suggested that there is no big problem from OCLC’s point of view in handling a BIBCO Standard Record rather that our current Core and Full level records.
This was just a casual conversation, not the launching of a new initiative for a BIBCO standard record. We agreed that we could keep our eyes open as CONSER libraries implement the new standard guidelines for any future consideration of a BIBCO standard record.
Social Tagging vs. Controlled Vocabulary, and the CATS Wiki at LC
Janice Herd, Library of Congress, Science, Technology, and Business Reading Room, Business Reference Section, has experience in both cataloging and reference work, and serves on a FLICC working group on emerging technologies in libraries. In her view, libraries have better quality information and metadata, but Internet search services have better displays. The Wikipedia Commons sets the rules for items posted by authors. Our advanced technology and allows numerous users on any level of experience to add their social tags to online items and also to the large sea of uncontrolled terms. The result on Wikipedia is an item with a wide range of access terms at different levels of specificity. In contrast, items cataloged by Library of Congress rules and LC Subject Headings follow highly structured documentation. The topical terminology is hierarchical, developed by a smaller group of professionals, and applied carefully according to long-standing guidelines that predate more recent types of technology.
If we could harness the energy from users who apply social tags and include them in our OPACS along with traditional subject headings, we could enjoy the benefits of both. Jan’s presentation carried her message that it’s healthy for library professionals to be aware of new types of systems to be ready to update our catalogs for greater value to our users.
Developing a course to teach Basic Cataloging skills
Caroline Miller, Chair of the Standing Committee on Training brought this idea to the PCC Policy Committee in the fall of 2007, saying that many libraries need training materials to use with new staff or with staff changing assignments to give them a good grounding in the concepts and vocabulary of cataloging. This course could be used in combination with local training. A course on basic cataloging skills may be a lead-in to BIBCO training, but is different. BIBCO training materials are written under the assumption that participants are established catalogers. BIBCO training focuses on the specific elements that constitute the core and full BIBCO record standards for a number of formats.
There is agreement among the OpCo attendees on the need for a course on basic cataloging skills with a general overview of MARC fields and codes. Volunteers who create courses often have “limited event horizons”, and don’t carry the responsibility for maintaining and updating course materials beyond the initial development stage. That fact means that a new course should have a home with a group that provides continuity. Online courses require both content expertise and automation resources. Face-to-face training may be the easiest to begin. Our group discussed a few options for developing the materials:
This is just in the discussion stage. The Standing Committee on Training has just added two new members, one from a medical library and another from a maps cataloging background. In early June, the SCT asked the PCC Steering Committee for permission and received their OK to form PCC SCT task groups to develop basic cataloging courses for those two special fields. It may be that the work on these courses will come first, and a more generic course later.
Online Learning and LC’s Quick Tips
We invited the Instructional Design and Training Division to talk to us about some of their tools to meet the needs of LC staff. Joan Weeks filled in admirably at the last minute for her colleague on medical leave. She gave an overview of different software packages often used in creating online training. Course developers usually need to be able to edit images in PhotoShop or a similar package, and may need to know Fireworks or Dreamweaver as well.
In response to concerns voiced on AutoCat about using the Cataloger’s Desktop, IDTD created Quick Tips to give short online, interactive lessons. Users can click on the topics they need to review, and each lesson replicates the steps users need to follow. The Quick Tips give access to the special features of Cataloger’s Desktop. Quick Tips may be used by individuals, or used in a classroom setting as they are in the Library of Congress, with instructors present to offer guidance. When she instructs using the Cataloger’s Desktop Quick Tips, she asks her class to reflect on how they would use the categories of documentation in their work, and they write answers, performing actions that will help reinforce learning. The ClassWeb has an online tutorial.
Another online training example Joan mentioned is the CatSkill course developed by an Australian group, Learning Curve. Its view of AACR2 cataloging reflected the Australian perspective when it was created about 10 years ago. LC would like to develop an online version of the LC Cataloging Concepts course now offered mainly for technicians.
Possible new forms of BIBCO membership:
The group considered several issues about membership in PCC programs:
I send my thanks to all who presented to this group and to the BIBCO representatives and guests who enlivened the discussions. Please send comments on this draft to Carolyn Sturtevant, [log in to unmask]. Thanks.