Thursday, December 10, 2009

Known issues

In my office, taped to the TV stand, is a list of what could probably be called known issues or, I should say, issues known to me. I have no way of knowing if anyone else knows they exist or, more importantly, knows their implications for searching our catalog. I've debated whether and how to get the word out. On the one hand, it would be helpful for reference librarians to know that, say, the first series title in our MARC records is probably not the one they should be clicking on, regardless of the fact that it is clickable. On the other hand, some of these problems, like the series title link problem, don't necessarily look like problems. Maybe people are happier not knowing, so they don't have to put up with my attempts to explain what's going on and why it's a problem in a non-jargony way (which I'm not always successful at doing...)?

Explaining in person, one on one, as someone talks to me about a time they had problems with a search that was caused by a problem I know about, seems to work ok. I'm not so sure about group explanations. So, what I'm thinking of doing is turning the "Catalog Records" page in our wiki into a sort of "known issues" page. If the issue comes up, I can point to the page, which I will try to make sure includes "what to do about it" sections for each problem. That doesn't necessarily help much with the problems that don't look like problems, but one step at a time, I guess. I'll just have to make sure that I update the page as the problems get fixed.

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