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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 implementation.
  6. 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).
  7. 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 professionally handled.

    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.

Respectfully Submitted
Mike Chumer

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