Monday, 13 October 2014

ETL 505 Describing Educational Resources

Assignment 2 Part C. Critical Reflection

Information organisation is the way by which information resources can be accessed, for potentially World Wide users, through universal methods. Organisation is necessary to facilitate information retrieval (Hider, 2012, p11). Information organisation is achieved through systematic labelling, arranging and indexing of the library collection. 

The main function of libraries is to meet the information needs of its users.  Information organisation is essential for libraries as it facilitates information retrieval.  This organisation starts with physical arrangement and labelling of resources, ensuring that items with similar content are located near one another, and clearly marked.  Further to this is the necessity to index the collection, collating metadata that allows the collection to be searched through an online public access catalogue (OPAC). It allows users to access their libraries catalogue outside opening hours via the Web.  Some are also integrated with circulation records and items can even be accessed and/or reserved when the user is not onsite (Hider, p41).

Metadata standards, like the Schools Catalogue and Information Service (SCIS) in Australia and New Zealand, allow records to be shared between library systems.  This reduces duplicating the creation of catalogue entries by different libraries which is unnecessarily time consuming, and therefore costly.  Standards assist in the creation of consistent records across institutions. Since July 2013 new standard of metadata creation, RDA, has been implemented.   This new standard retains some aspects of the previous standard (AACR2), but endeavours to be user and computer friendly, and better able to accommodate online resources as well as the variety of physical resources.  School libraries can serve their communities best by maintaining a well organised collection, both physical and online, which has been selected according to user needs.

SCIS uses the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system to organise library collections for information retrieval purposes. SCIS adopts the current editions of DDC as they become available. The current editions are the 23rd edition of the full classification, DDC23, which SCIS started using in October this year, and the 14th edition of the abridged classification, ADDC14.

Initially ETL505 was challenging due to the vast amount of terms that were unfamiliar to me. It was an area outside my comfort zone. I had a basic understanding of the Dewey Decimal System and limited knowledge of the role that SCIS plays in assisting Australian school libraries to provide their school community with access to their collections resources. I had no knowledge at all about how to build DDC numbers, classify items and organise resources so they are easily, consistently and systematically found.

As a result of studying ETL505, I now have an understanding of how to effectively create SCIS subject headings using the SCIS Guidelines to Using SCIS Subject Headings, Overview and Principles of SCIS Subject Headings and SCIS Subject Headings documents. I also understand the value of using the notes area of the records to add topic names to support access needs to resources that have been deemed suitable for units of work or reading programs in a specific school.

I have learned how to use the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry to create DDC23 classification numbers using WebDewey. I have come to value the assistance that websites like OCLCs Classify and Trove can provide when creating DDC23 classification numbers.

As information professionals, it is important to have a foundational knowledge of the above processes even if we are not doing it, for the most part, ourselves.

Friday, 11 July 2014

ETL507 Sydney 1 :July 2014 Study Visit Report

The State Library of New South Wales
The State Library works in partnership with all the shire and municipal libraries in NSW. It was interesting to learn about the scope of object collection and that some of the libraries treasures and exhibitions actually travel throughout NSW. I was fascinated how the library collects information, in the form of brochures and other media, from some unusual locations, for example cafes. This is to ensure that future generations learn about the history of NSW. The library appeals to all demographics and there is a great deal of collaborative space. The library has not remained in the past and makes great use of new technologies as they arise to continually update its collection so that it is accessible to as many people as possible.
Evaluation                                                                                                                  Rating 5/5
The main session was well presented with general as well as specific information related to the library. The presentation about WW1 diaries was a good example of the specific pride the presenter took in the collection. The small group tour was very informative and I was able to observe the varied use of spaces within the library. Each presenter and guide promoted their specific role within the library. The staff do not only work there but are expected to share their expertise with specific groups like ours and the general public.

The University of New South Wales Library
As the University is a research university the library supports its students. The library is mostly digital with legacy print. The library provides easy access to content through long operating hours and services that are scalable and sustainable. There are mostly self-service facilities. The library staff are encouraged to do research as well.  The spaces within the library provide for various learning styles: from individual to group work.
Evaluation                                                                                                                 Rating 4/5
The main presentation was well executed with great detail. The power point suported the presenters points. It was easy to see the interconnection between the University and the library.

When we broke up into two groups I noticed that there seemed to be a difference in what the groups were shown. My group stayed mainly in the foyer for quite some time, then we were taken to two floors . The other group seemed to be moving around more. I felt as if I were a research student to discover things for myself.  A person who worked at this library would be prepared to have limited face to face time with its users.  This was the only library that did not have many of the traditional concepts of a library.

The Australian Museum Research Library
As  a research library within a museum I was amazed that the librarians actually were responsible for the preservation of its resources. Museums, by their nature, have a history of preservation and one would think that there would be experts within that area to address print preservation. At the museum there seems to be more importance on the preservation of artefacts as opposed to print. The library space itself was not very suitable to adhere to the needs of the collection. It was linked to the main museum and there was no way to isolate it. There were a variety of cataloguing systems within the library. In many cases a scientist would need to rely on the librarian to locate some resources
Evaluation                                                                                                               Rating 3/5
The visit was not really suitable for such a large group of people. Maybe in the future it could be listed as one of the preferences. There was not enough space and the librarian spoke in a quiet voice. Many people had to go behind the stacks in order to hear. At one stage the other person decide to explain another area of the library. It was hard to concentrate with two people speaking at the same time
AIM library. (Australian Institute of Management)
The vision of the library was: Better Managers and Leaders for a Better Society. The libarian metioned that it was important to daily remember the vision of the organisatiion, where one worked or studied, and to align your goals with it.  In this way you can cater better for the needs of the customers. It was also important to build realationships at the level of decision makers. The librarian mainly linked its clientele to digital resources or purchased resources after discussion with managers and leaders or through reading reviews related to new publications. The library catered for clients from a very wide field of occupations.
Evaluation                                                                                                                  Rating 4/5
This visit showed how a library supports its organisation. The libarian showed her passion for the Institute and addressed the need to show how the library could be beneficial. The librarian should not wait to be told what to buy but to be a leader in the field. It was important not to make your job obsolete.

Historic House Trust library
The core collection of the library was related to the History of houses, interiors and gardens in New South Wales. It was mainly a research library with the provision of inter-library loans. Throughout the librarian’s 4-5 years at the library she gained a great depth of knowledge related to various historical aspects of houses within Sydney and some country areas. The visit showed a great example of providing suitable resources to cater for the specific needs of the clientele.
Evaluation                                                                                                                 Rating 5/5
The librarian was extremely well prepared for our visit, considering she was a last minute replacement. It shows that most people in this library have a common vision for the library.

The person, in the area where the artefacts were stored, was also very knowledgeable in the area. It was good to compare this research library to that of the Australian Museum. It showed how a research library can be successfully organised.

 The UNILINC Library
The UNILINC library is mainly a research management system. Three of its key staff had never worked in the library before. One of the librarians attempted to explain behind the scenes of how PRIMO works. She also explained that UNILINC customises the way information is dispalyed in accordance with the clients needs. As a result of this part of the presentation I realised that CSU has quite an advanced way for its students to locate information. We are able to more readily choose resources that have been recommended by other people and we can see abstract view as well as full-view. The CSU library allows the student to search for resources with a greater depth of accuracy, relevance and reliability. CSU has actually 102 databases.
Evaluation                                                                                                                           Rating 3/5
The presentation was very technical . It would have been better for CSU students to view some of the presentation when learning how to search for information. I personally find the CSU module more useful. The people spoke in code and used many acronyms which needed to be explained. I was very  conscious that the presenters had a time limit and were more concerned with their meeting about ALMA later in the day

Sydney Institute of TAFE –Ultimo College Library
The main presenter proved that there was value in this library. The TAFE library was very proactive and greatly catered for its vast clientele.The librarians constantly researched ways how to make the library a more dynamic place. They not only surveyed their clients but also were able to gain insights to what their competitors were providing for their clientele. This is important in that you need to stay relevant in order to be competitive. There are many collaborative spaces within the library and various areas are devoted to specific needs and learning styles. Up to date technology is provided for as many people as possible.

Evaluation                                                                                              Rating 10/5
This was a very informative and enjoyable experience. All the personnel were enthusiastic about their library. Most areas of the guidelines for the library visit were addressed in the powerpoint presentation. The guided tour was very thorough. All areas were presented in detail and we were introduced to various staff and their roles. Sometimes the specialist staff contributed to the general information provided by the librarian leader of the group. The observer could readily imagine the wonderful interaction of students with the variety of spaces and the librarians. TAFE provides for individual learning as well for the support of library staff.

 Summary Reflection
A great library has a Vision/Mission that is shared by  most of the staff. When this occurs there is a great deal of cohesion between the staff and the library’s clientele. The main purpose is to provide the best service for its clientele. I was exposed to a variety of libraries: reseach libraries, academic libraries and a research management centre.

A good cataloguing system is also important for a library to function well. In libraries where there are many cataloguing systems or where one person has most of the knowledge there is a great deal of disorganisation.

 The use of space within a library needs to be considered in order for the clients to make the best use of the library. Libraries need to cater for diverse learners and their learning styles. There needs to be opportunity for individual as well as group sharing. The library should be us much to date with its resources as possible and use new technology as it arises. It is then more relevant to a wider clientele.

 The best libraries are those that are constantly seeking to promote themselves and change with the needs of their clientele, while at the same time staying true to their Vision/Mission or what is required of them as is the case with the State Library of NSW, the TAFE library at Ultimo and the Universityof NSW library.