Minutes of October 5, 2000 Meeting
- Gracemary Smulewitz, Jeanne Boyle, Robert Sewell, Linda Langschied, Michael Joseph,
Ann Montanaro, Mary Page, Rhonda Marker, Samson Soong, Lida Sak, Theo Haynes, Michael Chumer
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". We have much to
learn from the "Tale of Two Cities" and can adequately apply that
introductory text to the dynamics occurring within Technical and Automated
Services. In an attempt to make sense of organizational issues as well as
the impact of technological determinism the TSC met on October 5, 2000. In
attendance were the following, in no apparent order other than as recorded
in the "handwritten" notes.
Coffee was served and Samson began the meeting with a series of updates:
- Vacant AUL position- Samson indicated that Marianne Gaunt was actively
engaged in a process designed to re-think the structure of the vacant AUL
position. As part of that process she was soliciting comments and we were
encouraged to individually contact her with our own comments if we saw fit
to do so. Apparently Marianne is moving quickly in this arena which
attests to the growing importance of Information Technology within the RUL
system. This direction in position and subsequent structure will have
implications for the present TAS organization.
- Science Direct- Samson commented upon the effort that has been underway
to create electronic records for existing titles. As of the date of this
meeting 856 of these records have been created.
- Authority Control- Samson indicated that further investigation on the
amount of downtime that would be experienced when authority control was to
be implemented had been completed. That time would be in the vicinity of 2
weeks and would require the development of an implementation plan that
both minimizes disruption and ensures catalog integrity. In connection
with this topic Ann Montanaro provided additional information about the
specific timing of the implementation.
- Cataloging- Rhonda Marker reported that she was successful in obtaining
part time staff to assist in the effort required to catalog holdings
coming from both direct receipt and gift sources. This effort will be
tracked as it progresses.
- Systems- Ann Montanaro provided information concerning release upgrades
to Unicorn as well as change control issues resulting form software
patches released from time to time by SIRSI. She also provided an
excellent review of present databases coupled with the amount of
concurrent users for each of them. Bob Sewell provided additional input on
cuncurrency and access to electronic titles. Lastly Ann concluded her
comments by describing the "Window Eyes" initiative and its
- Acquisitions- Mary Page provided information pertaining to the status
of "ordering" and "processing" activities and questioned the value of
continuing to report on those 2 areas. It was quite evident that some very
positive synergies have been established between Acquisitions and
Cataloging and cross functional teams have been established and are
working effectively. Mary also provided information on the CD Materials
held at RUL. Specifically the suggestion was made to review the COMFIL
designation as to its redundancy with other sub-locations and perhaps
initiate a project to assign "proper" sub-location(s).
- Networked Printing- Jeanne Boyle reviewed the process that was embarked
upon which resulted in the present network printing configuration. The
entire RFP and Proposal evaluation scenario was explained as well as some
of the impediments which reared their ugly heads along the way. Diffusion
of new technologies is never "smooth sailing" and "rough waters" make for
some invaluable learning experiences. All in all the process was
Now the closing session of the meeting surfaced some rather interesting
topics in the form of "work processes" and "standardized cataloging
scenarios using meta-data". Questions were posed as to the location of
some specific work processes indicating that future discussions should
begin to focus upon the interaction and synergies between work, worker,
and technology, an area that has intrigued scholars since the industrial
revolution acquiesced to the information technology era.
Now meta-data is an area where a little knowledge can be dangerous and
each of us is armed with a little knowledge. The use of meta-data, for
what reasons, and with which standards will probably be fodder for future
discussions. Is Dublin Core sufficient? Should we extend our knowledge to
XML? Where should that knowledge reside and why? All questions which will
challenge our greatest managerial minds in the months and years to come.
And which way will we lean as these issues are ferreted out? The best of
times? The worst of times? We must stay tuned.