Friday, July 6, 2012
We Need a Super Hero Day, Boss Lady
Click Images to Bigify
Today is Super Hero Day at Greenwood Public Library (in Greenwood, Indiana). Library staff will be dressing up as their favorite super heroes. Some will even create their own unique characters--like the Lady With the Red Hair, for instance.
Ready to Protect Patrons
From the Evils of
Substandard MARC Records
in the Evergreen Indiana Catalog
Cool "Mask," MARCinator
A Cat on a Log
The MARCinator is prepared to defend library patrons against the evils of inferior catalog records, which could prevent patrons from finding the informational materials they need. You've seen such records in online library catalogs. They usually have little bibliographical detail and reveal virtually nothing useful about the cataloged item. Some just have a partial title with no other defining details. How can you tell from such a substandard record that such a poorly described item is the one you're looking for? You can't. That is why the MARCinator works diligently to protect your access to valuable informational resources. Knowledge is a super power, after all.
Why is she called the MARCinator? That's technical services librarianese. Every profession has its secret handshakes and lingo. (Okay, maybe not handshakes.) MARC is an acronym--MAchine Readable Cataloging--which is the format used in libraries' online computer catalogs, like Evergreen Indiana (E.I.), for example. The MARC format looks like this in E.I.:
Definitely Click to Bigify
Technical services (i.e., catalog) librarians create these things from scratch (or edit records another cataloger has made). This is high-tech encoding--in a word, it is metadata--and you have to understand such procedural methodologies as AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition) and RDA (Resource Description and Access). This is a highly specialized field that requires a keen eye and shrewd mind.
If you can find anything in a library catalog, thank a technical services librarian. The catalog is the life force of the entire library information network. Finding what you need begins with excellent MARC records that catalog librarians create.
Also, thank the reference librarians who helped you make sense of the library's classification system and who interpreted the MARC records to locate what you needed. This is tough stuff. It's why librarians have master's degrees in library science.
So, Boss Lady--Why don't we have a super hero day at my Library? Just asking. Maybe I should be addressing Broadway Gal, Savvy, and Wild Thang in this conversation, too. After all, it would be our youth services department that would shoulder this program. I'm guessing Programma Mama and Technigal (i.e., Anime-Manga Gal) would also be called to duty to make super hero day a success at my Library.
I say, make it so, minions. We need a super hero day at MPL. Plus, our library staff MUST dress up in super hero costumes. Well, maybe not Scowl-Face. We don't want to terrify those kiddies. Seeing 'Ol Scowlly in spandex and short shorts would horrify anyone.
I'm Already Wearing My Costume--It's my Press Fedora,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library Programs News Beat
P.S. Here's my Library's tribute to technical services librarians, who wear many hats at MPL. At small libraries, T.S. librarians do everything--plus cataloging--so be extra nice to them. Canned tuna-in-oil, I'm thinking.