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I realize this posting is somewhat late, but I too traveled to Dallas for ALA’s Midwinter meeting.

My first evening there was spent dining and talking with fellow members of ACRL’s Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) at the Mexican restaurant Sol Irlandes. For me, the ANSS social has always been a fun time, and it’s a great way to meet new people and hear about what’s going on in other academic libraries.

The following day was filled with meetings. Early in the morning, Erik Mitchell and I met with the ALCTS programming committee to discuss the program that he and I are coordinating and will be convening at the 2012 Annual meeting in Anaheim. Our program is a panel discussion that will focus on the current research on and use of FRBR (i.e. Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) in libraries. Later, I attended a meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee meeting of which I am a member. The committee developed a list of cataloging topics/questions to be answered in the upcoming months. Some of these topics include: searching for exhibition catalogs on a topic; how authorized forms of authors names are established; implementation of RDA; what is FRBR and FRAD; and subject headings that express social structure, status, or power and subject headings for traditional justice. The committee discussed the possibility of having a virtual meeting before Annual in June as opposed to an in-person meeting. My final meeting of the day was with the Recruiting and Mentoring Committee of ALCTS Cataloging and Metadata Management Section (CaMMS). Our goal in the upcoming months is to match the individuals who responded to our online application seeking to be a cataloging mentor or mentee for a yearlong one-to-one mentoring experience. Committee members will act as liaisons to will introduce the matches online and following up with them to see how they are doing.

My remaining time at Midwinter was spent attending sessions sponsored by interest and discussion groups. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was a panel discussion sponsored by CaMMS Heads of Cataloging Departments Interest Group. The session’s theme was “Developing Service-Oriented Models for Cataloging and Metadata,” and one of the panel speakers was former WFU colleague Jennifer Roper. One speaker from U. of Texas at Austin described the restructuring of the cataloging and metadata services (CMS) department at her institution. Before the restructuring, individual units (e.g. monographs, serials, music) were responsible for only cataloging their materials, whereas now all units are participating in non-MARC metadata creation. By defining who CMS’ users are helped to prioritize projects, assignments, and responsibilities. Some of the challenges in managing CMS included:

1. Declining budgets and fewer staff — workflows need to be assessed, reassessed and redesigned.

2. Demands in user-centered catalogs (i.e. next-gen catalogs) — software changes are frequent; catalogers need to be involved in the decision-making process of ILS selection.

3. Dealing with increasing digital resources and understanding various non-MARC metadata — this calls for staff training design.

4. Outsourcing — know your staff and assess in-house capability, and always consider our users’ needs.

5. RDA — take a breath and begin planning for it.

Other points/suggestions made by panel members:

1. Develop a culture of assessment (i.e. data driven storytelling); demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) on the work that is done.

2. In regards to digital scholarship, data management collaborations among stakeholders is key to success in building institutional infrastructure for research data.

3. CMS departments need to demonstrate their value and expertise to the university. Public service librarians should not be the only ones involved in university projects. Although this may involve getting out of our comfort zones and taking risks, CMS personnel needs to be represented on task forces and advisory teams for university initiatives and projects.

4. Create a charter of values by department and revisit it periodically.

5. Be visible outside of departments and be vocal participants in conversations about library services.

6. Take a leadership role in the development of user interfaces.

7. Foster a culture of learning, inquiry, and risk-taking —set aside STATS!

8. As new roles are identified and new strategic goals are set, determine if some processes and services can be eliminated.