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On April 15, Derrik, Chris and I (along with Janet Malliett of Winston-Salem State, and formerly of PCL) drove to Chapel Hill to attend the 19th North Carolina Serials Conference at the Friday Center.

The keynote address was delivered by Tim Rogers, Executive Director of NC LIVE. His address was called “Running in Packs: What Libraries Learned from Very Smart Animals,” and it used a series animal-based metaphors to argue for the utility of library consortia. By comparing libraries to packs of wolves and swarms of shorebirds, Rogers illustrated how consortia can help libraries conserve resources (especially funding), improve communication, and provide negotiating strength in numbers. As I’m already a strong believer in consortia, I found Rogers quite persuasive.

I then attended a breakout session called “Manipulating, Managing, and Making Your Case for Vendor Records,” presented by Jacquie Samples and Erin Stalberg of NC State. They gave a balanced presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of using vendor-supplied bibliographic records for electronic resources. On the plus side, you can get them into your system faster, saving staff time and effort, and there is no good reason to re-create data that has been created by someone else. On the minus side, they cost money. However, because in-house cataloging also costs money, the cost of vendor supplied records is often cheaper in the long run, but this money has to come from collection budgets rather than personnel budgets. Also, on the con side, when using vendor records there is a loss of quality control. As we have found here at Wake, when using vendor records, one has to be figure out what is acceptable in terms of quality and completeness of information.

Our next slot was a general session called “Today’s Technology Trends or ‘What Do I Do With That?'” presented by some woman named…uh…Laura Preston?…no, Lauren Pressley, that’s it. From Wake Forest. She was very good, I recommend you listen to her talk on technology some time.

I also attended a session on professional development for paraprofessional staff, which touched on many things that we do here, a lively round-table discussion (which wound up being a packed-room discussion) on electronic resources management, and a closing panel on collection development strategies for electronic and serial resources.

All in all, it was a good conference. In addition to the good company during the drive to and from the conference, I had the chance to catch up with former co-workers from UNC as well as friends and colleagues from NASIG.