Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Subject heading arguments: "Gay parents" vs. "Same-sex parents"

The big argument on AUTOCAT today was over the subject heading "Gay parents" vs. "Same-sex parents." There was some confusion over whether or not one authority record should have been cancelled in favor of the other (basically, "don't these mean the same thing?") or whether "Same-sex parents" should at least have a "broader topic" reference in the authority record for "Gay parents." I think it all came down to, "they are not necessarily redundant," with lots of references to films and sitcoms in which children have parent figures who are not gay but who are the same sex as one of their "actual" parents (a biological parent, or a guardian).

It kind of began to feel like a Friday thing (odd tangents, jokes, and other things that aren't really work-related are generally restricted to Fridays on AUTOCAT, although sometimes Friday starts a few days early), but similar discussions have happened in the past over other subject headings. Most often the subject headings causing confusion are religious or legal ones, where it is sometimes difficult for those without a lot of knowledge about the topics to understand how they should be applied.

Hulu on the new monitor

I started using Hulu again for the first time in a long time. I like watching stuff full screen if I can, and I was worried that any subtitled stuff I might want to watch would be too blurry full screen on my new monitor, but it turns out that it's not much worse than when I viewed stuff full screen on my laptop. Yay!

So, my current show is Naruto Shippuden. My dad keeps calling me up to give me unasked for spoilers, so I figure it's finally time to start watching the show - hopefully I can eventually get to the point where I'm watching it too quickly for him to spoil things for me. That may be a while, though - right now on Hulu, the show has reached 165 episodes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's DVD time

I changed my procedures for cataloging DVDs a little today. Although I now catalog almost everything in OCLC Connexion and then import it into WorkFlows, AV materials are some of the few things I still catalog directly in WorkFlows. Since my wrist still hurts a bit when I use a mouse, though, (it's getting better, but slowly) I wasn't looking forward to cataloging anything in WorkFlows - there are a lot of things that I need to do while cataloging (like adding a new field) that, as far as I know, have no shortcut keys in WorkFlows. With OCLC Connexion, I can use the keyboard or mouse as much as I want, just by mapping some things to certain keystrokes or setting up macros.

So, to save my wrist, I cataloged DVDs in Connexion today instead of in WorkFlows. The only thing I had to remember to do was change the title control numbers of the brief records in our system before I imported the records. It worked out very nicely, and I think I'll continue to do it this way in the future - not only did it reduce the amount of time I had to spend using a mouse, it also reduced the number of times I had go back and forth between different programs, because I could do both cataloging and authority work in one place.

Basically, good news for me, and maybe I'll get through all of these DVDs a little more quickly. Or not. I would've thought the Gone with the Wind record would have been wonderful, but that one ended up needing the most work out of all the ones I did today. After all, how can something be a "2-disc edition" and yet supposedly have 3-discs? Sloppy editing on someone's part, and everyone who's used the record (including me) is afraid to edit the master record. Or it really is a 3-disc "2-disc edition"...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Going through stuff, or at least thinking about it

I have almost 1600 unread emails. Part of the problem is that I don't subscribe to the digest form of anything, so nearly all of them come from the various listservs I subscribe to. Almost half of them come from PERSNAME-L. It's a great listserv for finding about about possible incorrect name heading forms in bibliographic records and, I think, the occasional name authority record correction/change. However, I almost never have the time to go through the emails, and, even when I do, it's stuff I tend not to be able to do in great big chunks (as in "physically can't do in great big chunks"). PERSNAME-L is followed by MARCEDIT-L (the listserv for MARCEdit, great MARC editing software), another great resource. Mostly, I read MARCEDIT-L for catalog maintenance ideas, although I've gotten an amazing amount of help just by emailing the listserv any questions I have.

While working on cleaning out my emails, I finally decided to delete some emails that mentioned taking care of Bear after his surgery. It's weird, boring little emails can make me sad - before those, it was photos of Bear and Yuki I found on my cell phone (which have no plans to ever delete). My cell phone is like a graveyard of pets - I found photos of Cinnamon (my family's dog, who died days after I came to Stephenville) and Felix (one of my family's cats, who also died after I came to Stephenville).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Webinar - "Making the Most of RDA Toolkit's Open-Access Period"

I just finished watching the newest RDA Toolkit webinar, "Making the Most of RDA Toolkit's Open-Access Period." I missed out on some of it, because Donna and I were talking about RDA and what we might be doing about it (and lamenting that you can only get the best deal on RDA Toolkit before it's clear whether the Library of Congress and large universities will even be adopting it). However, I don't think I missed too much - honestly, a lot of it was the same as the previous RDA webinar I went to (except for updated pricing info, areas of the RDA Toolkit that used to not work now do) and, for the most part, it felt like a marketing presentation (because it was). Troy Linker, the guy who did the presentation, isn't a cataloger, and this presentation wasn't about using the RDA Toolkit to catalog something, it was about using the RDA Toolkit, period.

I'm still not pleased that there's no index, by the way. The RDA Toolkit uses some terminology that's going to be new to me, and it would be nice to be able to turn to an index and find cross-references from the terms I know to the terms RDA is now using, i.e. FRBR terms. I don't have AACR2 rule numbers memorized, unlike some catalogers. I just know that, if I have a question about something, I need to flip to the appropriate chapter. RDA Toolkit lets you find rules via keyword searching, via looking through the table of contents (which uses an organization system that is alien to those who actually catalog), and via looking up AACR2 rule numbers (if there is a correlation between the rule and RDA). I like being able to flip through a physical book, though. Yes, RDA will be released in paper form, but it is so not meant to be used in paper form. And. There. Is. No. Index. Those who saw the draft will remember that the table of contents alone was 70 pages. The print version would be unwieldy enough with an index. Without one, it will be an exercise in self-torture.

During the first few minutes of the presentation, Mr. Linker made sure to say that RDA will better help library users "find, identify, select, and obtain" the information they want. You know, right, that saying something doesn't automatically make it true? First, from what I've heard, RDA isn't really all that different from AACR2 - it's just that the way it's being presented (complete reorganization of the rules, best used online, etc.) is completely different. Second, nothing RDA says will change anything unless a library's ILS can actually make things happen. Our ILS may have its...issues, but it's still better than some I've heard about, and even our ILS can't seem to manage to effectively link different editions, translations, etc., even when fields that should link them are provided. If there's a problem, that problem lies either in how a library's ILS is interpreting MARC, or that problem lies in MARC itself. Or both. I don't know enough about programming to really know the answer to that one.

Well, that's it for now. More on RDA the next time I go to another webinar. Or after I actually get to try it out. Maybe there will eventually be a webinar just about using RDA to actually catalog something - I'd rather have one of those than another marketing webinar.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Playing with GIMP again

GIMP is way too much fun. I've been experimenting with paths (transforming them, painting along them, etc.). I came up with a little project for myself - make a Dick Smith Library wallpaper. Well, I'm not sure how recognizable the logo is, because the selection I turned into a path was really bad, but here it is. I did the jungle-y text to try to make it look like the logo was done strangely on purpose. This wallpaper was for work - my next project will be to make a good one for my ginormous new monitor at home. Somewhere along the line, I hope to learn how to create better paths.

There are actually 3 versions of this wallpaper. I originally created one with a light yellow background and green Tarleton text, but I like the darker version better when used as wallpaper, because icons show up better. I thought the filter I used on the logo and text was kind of cool - I think it looks a bit like a woodcut this way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pages and pages of names

For a while there, I had been working on batch loads of authority files for names in our 100 fields that WorkFlows said were unauthorized (which still leaves the 600s and 700s, and maybe 800s). I sort of stopped working on that project for a while - I think that I was working on the C's when I stopped. I thought I'd done a pretty thorough job, and then I started working on the project again. From A to C, I was able to batch load more than 2500 authority records. I think a lot of them came from e-resource records, which means every time we get batches of e-book records added to the system, the number of unauthorized headings I have to deal with just balloons. Really, I already knew that, I had just never had it demonstrated to me quite so clearly before. Oh, free MARC records. Even the best of them bloat my catalog maintenance reports.

I'll keep plugging along. Going through all the names to find the ones that shouldn't be batch loaded is annoying, though, like a word search puzzle that never ends. Luckily, I may be getting a little help with that. We'll see.

I've got my procedures for name headings pretty much figured out, but I need to take another look at the way I've been doing subject headings. Hmm.... On the plus side, I'm getting really good at doing nifty things with Find and Replace in Word.