VLA College & Special Libraries Section

The library-wide air handling system maintenance project reached our area last week, and today I’m back in my office. It was nice to do something different for a week: my colleagues and I worked on flagging books to go to our newest remote storage facility.

A week ago Friday, I attended a meeting of the Vermont Library Association’s College & Special Libraries Section. Meredith Farkas gave a presentation called Social Software in Libraries. My colleague Winona Salesky gave a presentation about using metadata to improve user interfaces. Winona spoke about faceted searching, of which I am a big fan: when I worked in acquisitions I used AbeBooks.com’s excellent interface for faceted searching to find the best quality book at the best price; I encouraged students to use Academic Search Premier’s “Narrow Results by Subject” feature when I worked in reference. Winona pointed out that a limitation of facets is that the inconsistencies in the metadata will be obvious (letter vs. letters; diary vs. dairy). I think that’s a good thing because it keeps us on our toes. Cleaning up records (i.e. database maintenance) is an important exercise. There’s always something to fix, and the faceted search results make these errors more obvious. I think that’s helpful.

The meeting also included a presentation about our section’s new wiki, which I plan to explore this week. During the meeting we brainstormed possible pages for the wiki. There’s an E-Resource Management page that I plan to contribute to, and I’ll add my blog to the directory.

At the end of the meeting we broke off into smaller groups and discussed technology at our libraries. After a brief conversation about federated search engines, we talked about e-resource management systems. The new electronic resources librarian at Norwich mentioned the Serials Solutions product, which I’d like to learn more about. Speaking of, an Ex Libris rep is coming to our library at the end of August for a Verde demonstration. I’m looking forward to learning more about ERMs.

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