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This year, the North Carolina Serials Conference was held on Monday, April 1 and without a practical joke to be found.  What was there was a combination of practical experiences from concurrent sessions and the big picture concepts featured at both the opening and closing keynotes.  Librarians, support staff, students, administrators, vendors, and publishers converged on the Friday Center for a one-day event with the theme “Communication Is Key: Facilitating Discovery and Delivery to Connect Users to Information.”

The keynotes, although different in their scope, complimented each other regarding a course of action.  Opening Keynote Speaker Angela Galvan challenged the audience to look at people as “more than things” that can be replaced as easily as a defective laptop or an outdated program.  This extends not just to library patrons who use our materials but the library staff who makes them available while addressing concerns such as privacy, obsolescence, and barriers to using them.  Ms. Galvin urged us to “make trouble” but know where the line is that could be stepped upon either with innocence or a motive.  Molly Keener, who we all know, invited the audience to join “The Conversation of Scholarship” as a responsibility that we all have as people who work in libraries.  We must be honest about the things that work as well as the things that don’t, she continued, and changes happen every day in all our interactions, carrying the conversation to new and exciting places.  Regardless of where we work in a library, Molly urged us all to advocate for scholarly communication at every level and join that larger conversation.

In a panel entitled “Convergent Evolution of Innovative Teams in Technical Services,” librarians from Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University described their experiences with implementing metadata services at their respective institutions.  While they were established to work with MARC records, their role has greatly expanded.  One unit serves in its library as a service point for metadata-related issues, another prepares to lead the transition of its library into an environment without a MARC record, and the last one serves as the support for its library.  Though the circumstances are different, each library has adapted to the changes that will soon be upon them with the creation of these units —keeping them flexible to face changing demands.

Other highlights included:

  • The next buzzword is “change data.” With contemporary library management systems, part of their core operations are the vendors, content providers, and libraries that strive through new technologies to provide the best information possible at the point of need.
  • At Delaware State University’s library, an opportunity to streamline its electronic resources led to improved techniques for researchers at every level to access scholarly content.
  • A librarian at UNC-Chapel Hill started a series of popup events to introduce the value of ORCID identifiers to faculty.
  • North Carolina State University used an analysis of chat transcripts to determine how to improve its discovery and acquisitions methods, combining human-readable and machine-readable resources.

In all, this year’s North Carolina Serials Conference was a destination that highlighted the current trends happening in this region but also a look forward to the next developments.

Also, Molly is awesome.