Monday, October 26, 2009

MLA Conference 2009

A Report by Louann Terveer

Thanks to the SGO Professional Development Funds I was able to attend one jam packed day of the 2009 MLA conference. The conference day was comprised of a broad choice of topics over four sessions, a lunch time keynote speaker and the opportunity to talk with exhibitors.

The presentation that I attended in the first session was titled "Best Practices for Creating Online Tutorials." The speaker's focus was on a list of practices to consider when planning and designing online tutorials. The biggest impression on me, though, was the demonstration and finding out how easy it is to create tutorials using video screen capturing software such as Camtasia or Captivate.

The second session was a combination of Trends in Technical Services/RDA Update/MLA Tech Services Section business meeting. We hear that RDA (Resource Description and Access) may soon replace AACR2 cataloging standards in classes, but it was good to hear more about where RDA is in the implementation process. It turns out that 23 institutions (the most local being the Minn. Historical Society) have been chosen to test RDA in 2010. It was discussed at the session that RDA won't be approved until after Oct. 2010, and that after that time institutions will make the change when it makes sense for them. A great resource for the Tech Services themed presentations is their blog at

In the afternoon, "Workflows for Outsourced Technical Services" gave me a taste of the day to day decisions and concerns that Tech Services encounter, which are hard to fully appreciate through classroom learning. This panel discussed their experiences in receiving and using vendor supplied cataloging records. It seems that overall, the librarians thought that it was a cost saving measure over original cataloging, but that one must factor in time needed to fix up unsatisfactory records and the changes in work-flow to accommodate this--a time vs. cost savings challenge. Some were very frank in admitting that there needs to be a minimum "good enough" established within an institution's tech services in order to keep some sort of standard, while making the best use of time.

Finally, in Strategic planning for E-Resources Management it was again interesting to hear a first-hand account from librarians. Two of the presenters discussed how they incorporated a strategic plan as a way to clarify and define roles and workflow for overlapping resources between the E-resources Librarian and Serials Manager of Gustavus Adolphus.

Overall, I learned more about the challenges and conversations going on in libraries. I was surprised that I wasn't as clueless in the sessions as I thought I might be; my classes at St. Kate's are preparing me well!

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