Library (Half-)Day in the Life: Wednesday

I only work part-time, so my working week finished today at 1pm.

First of all, I have never managed to write a full explanation of what it means to work in a legal deposit library, what that specifically means about our cataloguing and workflows. One of the obvious points is that we didn’t specifically request/select everything that we receive. Another is that we don’t get to refuse it, pass it on elsewhere or withdraw it from stock. Fortunately for me, John McManus is a cataloguer at Trinity College Dublin which is also a legal deposit library and he’s written a great explanation, so I don’t have to. Read it, if you’re interested in why he deals with a lot of death, depression and diets whereas life in my library is more about Jesus, kings and Loose Women. While you’re there, anyone who’s ever spent time working in cataloguing/acquisitions will appreciate his latest picture on the importance of bits of coloured paper. It brought to mind Stuart Hunt’s talk at the CIG conference last September about workflow analysis.

This morning, I finished checking some cataloguing (with a bonus that a couple which I thought needed authority work actually didn’t), did a bit of classifying, put together a series authority proposal which was approved quickly – great news as we had 18 volumes of this particular series (each with multiple volumes itself). Even better news, I was able to pass the authorised heading on to someone else who would deal with all these books.

I then spent some time revising my talk on RDA (which I gave last week), amending a detail on one slide which meant I ended up able to amalgamate the contents of two slides onto one. I then printed out all my handouts and made a start on the photocopying for the next time I give the talk, next week. I had no idea how many people might turn up last week, so had printed 60 copies of all the handouts (a list of further reading, a handout of example RDA records and the slides themselves) thinking that might well cover both talks. To my surprise (it was a good surprise but definitely took me aback), around 70 people turned up so we ran out of handouts. I’m assuming surely that most people came last time so am only doing 40 copies this time. Plus everything’s available on the intranet so it’s not the end of the world if I don’t do enough. I do about half the photocopying, using photocopy ninja skills I learned during my time as first-line-of-defence against photocopier problems in a faculty library (double-sided? wham! staple and sort? ker-pow!) but started to lose the will to live so will do the rest on Monday.

I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about the tv programme Loose Women today (for any US-based readers, it’s a daytime tv show spookily similar in premise to The View). Let me explain – our allocation of cataloguing for the British National Bibliography (as explained by John above, please keep up!) is titles beginning with the letters J, K and L. I had a book called “Loose women on men”, where the author was presented as “Loose women”. Um. Is that a corporate body? My colleague had just established an authority heading for the tv series because he had “Little book of Loose Women” and “Loose women: girls’ night out” or some such on his desk. Spent a bit of time conferring with colleagues about it. Our conversation took us through Monty Python – Monty Python (Comedy troupe) – via Top Gear, the Goodies, the Mary Whitehouse experience and Blue Peter. Luckily, we ended up deciding we wouldn’t have to create a corporate body heading after all, so I was able to finish off that record before finishing work.

Just before lunch, I was asked to look at some records to try to explain why facets in LibrarySearch (our name for Aquabrowser) no longer seemed to be correctly identifying all records for e-journals. Cue some discussion of Leader/008 codes, checking whether a flip in our e-journals records to a new code for online (using o rather than s in 008/23 if anyone’s interested) had actually happened (it had). I’m not sure my input answered the question on why it’s happening, but at least I’ve left the systems librarian with what I do know about coding and how it *should* work before I disappear for the week. I really enjoy getting involved in this side of the catalogue resource discovery tool, it’s just a shame I can’t get more involved as I’m not going to be around enough this year.

Instead of heading home, I go to a lunchtime talk on social networking in academic libraries, say hello to several friends and colleagues (there’s a big turnout again) and then finish off some bits and pieces of email while keeping an eye on Twitter. I also check the details of some errors in LCSH construction reported by a colleague. Twitter provides entertainment in the form of some discussion about reclassification projects (something I’ve recently started getting a nerdy interest in, not for current work, just in general after doing a reclassification to LCC in a previous job) as well as the useful information that there is a LCSH: Husbands — Effects of wife’s employment on. We managed not to call Richard Keys or Andy Gray for comment.

As usual, I try to tie things up before I go on a Wednesday and start to shift into my out-of-work mode (mainly spent organising my eldest’s hectic social life) but still have some leftover thoughts about work even tonight. I need a better to-do list system, this much is clear, and when I have one I will add to it some thoughts about macros (something I’ve been wanting to investigate further for some time) and follow up on something mentioned to me on Twitter (in response to the paper slips picture mentioned above). Oh and some random thoughts about the TeachMeet. But now, I’m heading to bed early to read something recreational… oh, that’s right I’m reading this. About a librarian. Er…..

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2 comments so far

  1. Nicky on

    I have really enjoyed reading these posts about your daily work. I have only just started working in cataloguing in an academic library, and this has been a real insight into a different working environment and at a different level.

  2. Céline on

    Thanks Nicky! I’m glad you found my rambling useful! I have always enjoyed reading the posts in Library Day in the Life generally, everyone’s daily routine is so different.


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