Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week Two - Cataloging and Special Collections

Week Two. Today’s cataloging procedure is much like the cataloging that I exprienced in the past. I will explain the difference. Ten years ago at BRTC, we subscribed to Bibliotheque’s cataloging CDs that held academic MARC records. I loaded the appropriate record from the CD, made local library changes such as holdings notations, then loaded the new record to the OPAC. During this short ten-year time period, copy cataloging has advanced to subscribing to Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) to copy MARC records. Original or revised records by subscribers or Library of Congress (LOC) MARC records may be accessed and copied. While the Tech’s do the original item searches, Cataloger Kathy, double checks the record for accuracy and notates any changes that need be made before actually submitting the item records to the Library’s card catalog, Voyager. Any question she may have about a record is addressed to Myron Flugstad, official Head of Cataloging and the Technology Department. Kathy gave me opportunity to copy catalog a book-truck of books from OCLC, which were then sent to the LTAs for processing. Next week, I am scheduled to work with the LTAs to process those items that includes spine labels, etc.

While under the instruction of Kathy, we were joined by the Special Collections Librarian Malissa, for a cataloging refresher. Special Collections has been donated approximately 2000 autographed books from a nearby bookstore; therefore Malissa will be cataloging and processing those items that are treated as “rare” – no labels or any other markings will be made on the special autograph copies so as not to decrease their value or significance to the special collection. Visiting with Malissa about Special Collections and Archives was informative as she named the different donors and their collections at the Dean B. Ellis Library. I should have made notes about the content of Special Collections, but thought that information would be available on the Library website. Special Collections does have pages notating its staff and Usage Policy and Privileges <>; however, I was unable to locate names of donors or collection descriptions. Possibly, the special collections are too valuable to advertise, but I would think publicizing such donations and valued works would be excellent publicity as well as another means for accessing item locations. I look forward to visiting Special Collections on the 7th floor soon. It will be interesting and informative.

While the Cataloging Department is housed in the basement and does process the biggest percentage of the Library items, it is important to note that other departments and department heads may also be involved in cataloging and processing. The Special Collections department, in this case, requires special processing and handling of the physical items. Additionally, Special Collections requested an additional Voyager “holdings” code for the new collection and other default software adjustments (System Department) for cataloging in Special Collections. Cataloging and processing is not necessarily a strict departmental “job” and may involve many other departments. This is one reason that I chose to intern in the Technology Department, because every librarian benefits from cataloging knowledge and experience.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week One - A Large Experience

Week One at the Dean B. Ellis Library of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas can be summed up as “large.” Although Jonesboro’s population is approximately 64,000 ( and the ASU campus enrollment of approximately 11,000 ( and the Library itself composed of eight floors, my past college campus experiences were certainly minimized in comparison to the ASU campus. Not to say that I am a “big city virgin,” because I did spend my first 30 years in California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento area, and I have attended business and events on the ASU campus on several occasions, but I am spoiled and blessed to park near the front door of any classroom or workplace heretofore. The first-day 15 minute walk in the rain from the student parking lot to the Library made quite an impression on me.

At Black River Technical College in Pocahontas, where I attended school and worked in the Library as an LTA and at William Baptist College in Walnut Ridge where I graduated with honors earning BSE in 2008, I easily made acquaintances with most of the staff and students in a very short time and was very familiar with the full range of academic library services. I can see that my internship at ASU will not afford that experience as my Technology Department practicum assignment is located in the basement of the Library, very much separated from the bustle of the circulation and reference areas of the Library(and separated from student and staff traffic). The advantage in the quiet basement location is in fewer disruptions while working with the precise details of cataloging, acquisitions, and Web services.

Myron Flugstad, Assistant Library Director and Head of the Technology Department, ( is very gracious and helpful in agreeing to the practicum. I spent the first two days shadowing his cataloging skill to tweak catalog records using the OCLC Website and the Library’s catalog, Voyager. Having worked at copy-cataloging at the BRTC Library and completing the USM Cataloging and Classification course, I am impressed with the OCLC and Voyager technologies. Technology over the past ten years has advanced extensively. Next week promises more copy-cataloging and processing of items.

I consider this practical experience at a university campus library to be a “largely” beneficial experience. Broadening my campus, technology, and departmentalized library experiences will enhance my ability to serve patrons of any academic or public community. Technical library experience will be advantageous to any future professional position I fulfill.

Rotation of Technology Department Assignments, two 8-hour days per week. (subject to change)
Week 1 – Cataloging
Week 2 – Processing
Week 3 – Classification
Week 4 – Repair
Week 5 – Web services and resources (online databases)
Week 6 – Selection
Week 7 – Ordering & receiving
Week 8 – Computer Maintenance, OCLC operations
Week 9 – OCLC operations, Voyager updates and input


Hello from Pamela Meridith in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. As a Master of Library and Information Science major at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, this blog serves as the reflective journal requirement of the LIS 689 Library Practicum. Additionally, I hope these blog entries will add to your library experiences as well.