Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
There's a way to fix this, however. There's a subject heading, "Large type books," which I could add to every large print book record we've got (it'd probably be more correct to add it as a local genre heading, but, without a genre index, that would defeat the purpose of creating something that people can actually make use of). The "tidy" way to do this would be to take a look at everything in our holdings that Connexion told me was large print (34 items, as of this morning) and confirm that it really is large print. The faster way to do this would be to just add the subject heading to all 34 records, plus the few stragglers that seem to have miscoded master records - some of them might not actually be large print books, but the project would take up less of my time.
It's not really a "rush" project, so I'm thinking about it for now.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
- Dress myself without accidentally becoming publicly naked.
- Unpack free clothing so that, instead of wearing the boxes the clothing comes in, I wear the clothing itself.
That doesn't mean she's going to continue to look the way she currently does. Once I get brave enough, I'm going to mess with her skin and try to turn her into...a cheetah! Yes, that's right, I think I've managed to pick up a free cheetah skin and I'd like to try it out. My only fear is that I won't be able to figure out how to change it back if I don't like it. It might be kind of embarrassing to show up to a meeting in Second Life looking like a cheetah. Or a fox. Or a wolf. Or a horse. My avatar could be a bipedal horse. With dragons...
As far as my original "I'd like to change my hair color" issue goes, I've now decided that that's not actually possible, at least not the way I had thought it should be. I think I'd have to either figure out how to modify the object (in this case, my hair) or somehow acquire hair in that exact style in whatever color I'd like. Whatever, I know how to unpack boxes now. Ha.
While I know there's still a lot of things I haven't learned how to do, I think I'm ready to try teleporting to another island now. With any luck, I can figure out how to get back to Orientation or Help Island if I'd like to do more relatively "safe" experimenting (and pick up more free stuff).
Even if you put aside all the complaints some catalogers have had about RDA, one thing that has concerned everyone was RDA's pricing. It was made clear that RDA would be primarily an electronic product, and it was assumed that the pricing would probably be subscription-based. However, there haven't been any clear answers whenever catalogers have asked how much it would cost.
Until now. "RDA Toolkit," as the product will officially be called, will cost $325 per year, for a single user at a time (there can be unlimited total users, but only one person can use it at any one time). The pricing for additional concurrent users: 2-9, an additional $55, 10-19, an additional $50, and 20+, an additional $45.
I'm not exactly happy with this, and a lot of other catalogers aren't either. With AACR2, if you buy a print copy, you pay for it (with a binder and no other discounts, probably a little of $100 with shipping), and it belongs to you (or your library) for however long you'd like. When updates came out, you could buy the updates and add them to the binder of rules you already own. If you or your library couldn't afford to buy the updates, you didn't. Your copy of AACR2 would then be out of date, but, get this, you'd still have something you could work with. With the "RDA Toolkit," if your library can't afford to fork up another $325+ next year, you'll have nothing.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The "target date" for the Library of Congress's implementation of these decisions is late May/early June 2010. It'll take a bit for those changes to be reflected in the authority records I get via OCLC Connexion. Happily, I've figured out how to make updating groups of authority records in our system a little faster and less harmful to my elbow, so I can make these changes without too much trouble (I hope).
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I've been involved in relatively simple virtual worlds before - one that ate up a lot of my time was Puzzle Pirates (I was determined to one day own my own ship without ever spending a single dime of real money). My requirements tended to be fairly simple - I needed to like the game, and it needed to be something I could enjoy without having to spend real money. I don't know of any virtual world that doesn't have the option of converting real money into game money, but each world tends to vary in the amount of enjoyment that can be freely had. Plus, some of them require subscription fees. Puzzle Pirates fit my requirements pretty well (and may still fit them, but I haven't played it in over a year - must...resist...the pillaging...).
So, I'm not a complete newbie with this kind of stuff. I've played more complex 3-D games, too, although usually not online. I heard about Second Life a couple years ago and have read a few books on it. It sounded interesting, but I never got around to trying it out. Now that I've tried it, I have to say...if it weren't for the "informal committee," I'm not sure how likely I'd be to continue with it. The learning curve for things that are usually much easier in most other virtual worlds is very steep.
The first thing you do in most virtual worlds is create your avatar. Some things can never be changed again - in Puzzle Pirates, for instance, your name and physical appearance stay the same after you set those up (your physical appearance amounts to your skin color and your hair, because Puzzle Pirates avatars look a lot like Lego people). The thing you can change is your clothing - and there is lots and lots of clothing to choose from, in many different colors. Of course, you have to buy most of it (it's not possible for players to create their own clothing, as it is in Second Life), but earning money in Puzzle Pirates is pretty easy. Setting up your initial appearance and changing your clothing is simple. Even in games I've played that allow more customization, things are still pretty easy to figure out. What causes things to take so long isn't usually the process of figuring out how to do the customization, but rather looking through all the customization options.
Not so with Second Life. A sizable chunk of the hour and a half I spent trying it out today was devoted to trying to figure out how to change my appearance - and reading all kinds of tutorial notes, flying, walking, running, figuring out shortcut keys, trying out gestures, picking up freebies, and learning how to interact with objects. There's tons to learn, and although the info I've been looking at on Help Island is nice, it's not always as helpful as I might like.
Back to the whole appearance thing. I'm probably going to go explore other places and just leave my appearance alone soon, but I'd really like my avatar not to be so generic. I figured out how to change certain aspects of my avatar's body, and I changed the color of her blouse, but the same principle that worked on the blouse does not work on her jacket, pants, and hair. I picked up some free stuff, so I could use that on my avatar instead, but that doesn't solve the problem - all I get is a new hairstyle and new clothes, when what I really want to do is take what I already have and change the color. It's frustrating, but I'm keeping at it, for a little while anyway, because every new thing I try teaches me something about Second Life.
So, in the process of trying stuff out, I made myself bald and then couldn't find my hair again. Rather than go bald, I went around with an enormous pony tail for a while, until I located my original hair and put it back on my skull. Tomorrow I'll try the hair thing again, but I have a feeling I'll give up soon and just teleport someplace else, probably Info Island - I want to see what other libraries have done and how they're doing it. Then, if I can figure out how, I'll go to a university island with a library and see if the library is just there to make the island look more like the real life campus, or if there are actually any interesting things being done.
I knew from past experiences with virtual worlds that they suck up a lot of time, but I think Second Life might be on a whole new level.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Anyway, if I can bring myself to write something coherent about it, I plan on writing a post about the newest book on cataloging that I've finished, or at least a post about a few of my favorite articles. I'm up much earlier than I'd like today, so I can hopefully manage to get laundry done - maybe that'll translate into more time later today for blogging? Unless I go to the movies - I haven't decided on that one yet, since the only movie I'd at all want to go see that I haven't seen yet seems more than a little iffy. When even a movie's premise seems awful, the movie itself probably isn't much better, but I might enjoy it anyway because I like the actress who plays the main character. Hmm... (The movie in question, by the way, is Leap Year. Read the premise and try to tell me it doesn't sound bad. Your nose may grow.)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The retreat today was fun and informative, probably the best part about my day today (not counting my dinner, which will be delicious :D
Aside from being generally confused about the status of the small cart of things I decided could be weeded yesterday (if only I had procrastinated just a bit longer!), my cataloging today was filled with doubt. It wasn't any particular thing that inspired my doubt - just general doubt. Things like:
- It's the Library of Congress's practice to only record "ill." and/or "map(s)" (for the most part), choosing not to specifically say when those illustrations are actually photographs or portraits or music or charts, etc. On AUTOCAT, not too long ago, a lot of catalogers complained about this lack of specificity and talked about how it could actually be helpful to users to be more specific. Those catalogers are more specific. I follow LC's practice, because I decided I have better things to do with my time than figure out what the various abbreviations and terms are for the different kinds of illustrations. Plus, when I flip through, all I need to pay attention to is whether there any pictures or maps at all, not what any of them actually look like. Sometimes I wonder if this is a mistake, and if it would actually matter to people whether an illustration is a drawing or a photograph, or whether a book has portraits. I have no idea what the catalogers before me did, or if they even thought about it at all.
- Why do I record/check information in records that people aren't going to see and/or that isn't searchable? The answer to this is that, if it's not recorded/checked now, then if, in the future, it does become searchable (even if only by librarians via reports) and/or visible to the public, the library, our users, our collection, and the Cataloger (me or whoever) will suffer the consequences. Every time I work on catalog maintenance, I see the results of information not being recorded or checked (for whatever reason) - that's part of why I'm such a perfectionist (some might say "anal") about various record details. I understand all of that, and yet there are days when it's a wee bit depressing to enter or check information when I know it has no immediate use.
- Also, leapfrogging on the whole perfectionism thing, should I care less? If "quantity cataloged" matters more than "quality of the records" (because "quantity," by its nature, is easier to quantify for statistics than "quality") are there things I should be considering no longer doing? The things that take the most time (for book cataloging, anyway) are things like adding new authority records (the things that make sure we have cross-references in our "browse" searches) and adding table of contents information or summaries. DVDs, videotapes, and any original cataloging are also automatically time-consuming. I don't want to "skimp" on things - I wouldn't be doing them if I didn't think they were important - but I think about this kind of thing when I hear about catalogers who've been laid off, or administrators who criticize catalogers for caring too much about the details (isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?). I also think about this kind of stuff when a new project gets added to my "to do" list. Thankfully, as far as the former stuff goes, our library has a pretty "cataloger-friendly" work environment. As far as the latter...ugh.
- I don't know if you read this blog, Janie, but you might be interested to know that I flip flop between thinking that multiple formats should be on one record and thinking they should each have their own, separate record. I hate that I can't be ok with one decision or the other.
Say something hasn't circulated much, and we've had it in our collection for a while - I'm wondering, is the real reason some of this stuff hasn't circulated our catalog records? When I catalog stuff, I now add table of contents notes and/or summary notes to almost everything that doesn't already have that information. You'd be amazed at the number of books that don't have this information - I'd say that books on education, computing, and sports seem to be the worst offenders. It can sometimes take a bit of time, but I think it's worth it to input this information for the added keyword access. However, we have tons of records that don't have this information. We even have lots of records that are basically brief records (I have no idea what the exact numbers are, or even if there's a way to find out) - they have title and author information, but not much else. Those materials are basically invisible, unless someone knows the exact title or author or happens to find them while browsing.
It's wishful thinking, I know, but I'd love to one day upgrade some of those crappy records. One way to start would be to identify sections that should be getting more use than they are, or maybe titles that are really hard to find unless you already know how to find them. When I chose to add to the title access points for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, it was because I knew that it tended to be difficult to find unless you knew how to look for it. I don't know general areas that need that kind of attention, though.
I wonder if there's a good way to find all the brief records in our catalog? The only thing I know about those that separates them from the other records in our catalog is that they tend to be all in caps, but not all records that are all in caps are brief records. Plus, I can't tell our ILS to give me a list of all records like that - it's just not possible to search that way.
Hmm, something for me to think about... Of course, that doesn't mean I'd ever have time to work on all those records. But, if I ever get a student worker, one I could trust to work directly on our records, I could have that person add table of contents information as part of a project.