Report from the MLC Technical Services Conference

April 15, 2008

Karen Calhoun, Vice President – OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services, was the first speaker.  Her presentation was entitled “We are all Connected: Metadata Before and After the Web (2.0).” Calhoun encouraged libraries to surface their collections – to make them available to the online community.  OCLC through WorldCat wants to help in this endeavor.  A WorldCat widget is available for Facebook and Google Book Search results have a “Find this book in a library” option which links to WorldCat.  WorldCat in turn will drive users back to their local library’s collections.  Calhoun also suggested that libraries embed their presence into course management systems like Blackboard and WebCT.

The next speaker was Tim Spalding, the founder and lead developer of LibraryThing.  LibraryThing is a social cataloging site where users can catalog their book collections, join online groups with similar interests, and see who else shares their taste for books.  LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) is available for library catalogs.  Fifty libraries so far have subscribed to this service where other editions, reviews, similar and recommended books, and tags can be seen for a title.  Danbury Public Library, King County Library System, and Seattle Public Library (a Horizon library) are some of the libraries currently using LTFL. 

Nancy Fleck, Assistant Director for Technical Services and Information Technology at the Michigan State University Libraries, next presented about Encore from Innovative Interfaces, Inc.  She discussed the reasons that MSU decided to go with Encore and the features that they liked, such as relevancy ranking, tag clouds, facets, and a Did You Mean? feature.  Here is a link to see how it looks:  click here.

The next speaker was Christine Oliver of McGill University, who discussed RDA: Resource Description and Access.  She is the chair of the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing and chair of the RDA Outreach Group.  She gave a thorough explanation of what RDA is and the background of it.  Oliver also discussed the relationships between FRBR and RDA, and AACR2 and RDA.  The projected timeline is for a complete draft of RDA to be available for review in July 2008, first release in early 2009 and implementation by the end of 2009.  Also available will be a “crosswalk” to AACR2.  For more RDA information, please visit the Joint Steering Committee’s website at:

The final presentation was entitled “Cooperation, Communication, and Collaboration: The 3 C’s of Workflows at the WMU University Libraries Technical Services Department.”  Sheila Bair, George Boston and Randle Gedeon of Western Michigan University shared information about the relationship and workflow between the cataloging, acquisitions and serials and electronic resources areas of WMU’s technical services department.


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