|Summary of OBS Survey Results|
I want to sincerely thank those OBS-SIS members who took the time to complete this yearís survey and return it to me. You know who you are and OBS is appreciative of your willingness to share your thoughts! The bad news is, many more OBS members neglected to return their survey. I mailed out 304 surveys, but only 47 were completed and returnedóa mere 15% return rate!
I realize that not making the survey available on the Web may have contributed to this poor response. I felt it was more important to get the survey out on time, so that the results could be used in a timely manner. Hopefully, the 2000/2001 OBS survey will be on the Web. All elected OBS officers and committee chairs are always happy to hear your comments about the Section. But once a year, you have a valuable opportunity to be reminded to speak up when you receive your membership survey. So please take advantage of it!
Just the facts . . .
The results of the survey (as always) were quite interesting, even to some of the seemingly mundane, factual questions. For example, following the name and address lines, there was a space for "areas of responsibility" and these were the responses:
Technical services | Administration | Database management/maintenance/administration | Cataloging | Acquisitions | Serials | Accounts payable | Reference | Loose-leaf filing | Collection development | Selection | Records management | Materials processing | Systems | Coverage of circulation desk | Preservation | Classification | Reclassification | Shelfreading | GPO processing | Government documents | Middle management | Managing | Editing | Binding | Authority work/control | Planning | Coordinating | Personnel | Project management | IS liaison | Webmaster | Consortial | Director/associate dean | Liaison to faculty | Reserve | Correspondence | Writing documentation | Attending meetings | Training | Supervision | Problem management
I was amazed at all the duties listed! I personally donít do all of these, but I do probably about half of them at least some of the time. When I included this category, I was thinking more traditionally in terms of cataloging, acquisitions, serials, reference, etc. But I was pleased to see the laundry list of answers. It helps illustrate that OBS attracts a wide variety of members and that its members are extremely versatile!
On a less wide-ranging note, 41 use OCLC as their bibliographic utility, while 4 use RLIN, and one, AG Canada. Local system usage is more varied, as a result of the greater number of choices: Innovative Interfaces (23), NOTIS (6), Sirsi (4), Voyager (2), DRA (2), Horizon (1), CARL (1), Best Seller (1), Dynix (1), EOS (2), Other (1), donít have (or left blank) (4). Four responded that they are in the process of migrating to another system.
In terms of the type of library, we work in: Academic (40), Firm (4), County (1), Corporate (1), Federal/Military (1), Law society (1). And we are quite the experienced bunch! Years spent in service in law libraries: 1-3 (3), 4-6 (4), 7-9 (4), 10-13 (5), 13-19 (19), 20+ (11). Seventy-four percent of those who responded have 10 or more years of experience in law libraries! I suspect this reflects the fact that many of us who have been around a while tend to be more involved and thus more likely to respond to the survey. I hope it doesnít mean most of us are on the verge of burnout!
What kind of OBS services do you need now?
In answer to this question, the responses ranged from the very general ("Everything") to the very specific (encouraging OCLC to simplify its search strategy). Some were very honest and said they were not sure what OBS services they needed or that they had just joined OBS, so didnít know yet. Others reemphasized the importance of this newsletter (Technical Services Law Librarian), educational programs (both at AALL annual and locally), committee meetings, roundtables, and discussion lists. Current information about local systems, the bibliographic utilities, and technology were requested by a number of people. One person mentioned mentoring as a needed service.
What is your most pressing continuing need from OBS?
There were a lot of good responses to this question, so Iíll list them as is, just removing some of the duplication:
OBS programs and projects
Some rather specific program topics were listed and respondents were asked to rank them on a scale from 1 (no interest, remove from list) to 5 (hot topic, definitely should be done). In order of interest level, the results are:
Topic: Integrating the electronic library (department coordination, workflow issues, collection development, choosing electronic resources to catalog, who maintains URL links, etc.)
Topic: Maintenance and quality control of the local database while facing constant change, cutbacks, shortages of staff and growing demands on our time away from those duties and responsibilities
Topic: Automated cataloging tools (e.g., Catalogers Desktop, Classification Plus)
Topic: Multiple versions in the online catalog. Update and options; what are others doing?
Topic: Client-server issues and Z39.50
Topic: Adding call numbers from the newer LCC law schedules to OCLC and/or RLIN bibliographic records:
New program ideas
OBS members offered some excellent suggestions for program planning:
When asked about TSLL, people seemed very satisfied for the most part:
There were a few specific suggestions for topics to be covered in the future in TSLL:
Final general member quotes
OBS members were helpful in delivering positive reinforcement, as well as ideas for further improvement:
The membership survey also contained portions describing the structure of OBS and asking for volunteers to run for office and/or to serve on various committees. I have compiled lists of all those volunteers. You should be notified of your committee assignment sometime in June, hopefully by the time you are reading this. As a reminder, all OBS committee and roundtable meetings during the AALL annual meeting are open to all. OBS simply makes these committee assignments in order to give the chair of each committee a core of volunteers that can assist him/her during planning throughout the year. I was very pleased at the number of volunteers. Even though our survey response was low, it is clear that those who did respond want to be very active in OBS!
2001 program planning
It is clear from the survey responses that members value OBSí efforts in providing quality education programs at the AALL annual meeting. Some were even willing to offer new ideas for programs and OBS will follow up on these. OBS is sponsoring or co-sponsoring seven programs this July in Philadelphia. OBS needs your help to make sure that programs of interest to OBS members are offered in 2001 in Minneapolis. If you have an idea for a program proposal, please contact Ismael Gullon, OBS Education Chair, myself, or any member of the OBS Executive Board. Even if you donít have an idea, but you want to be involved with putting on a program, contact OBS. Sometimes ideas are available, but coordinators are needed. Itís a great way to get involved and to make sure programs you want to attend are presented!
We hear you, but donít stop talking!
I just want to close by saying that OBS takes your survey responses very seriously. The annual survey is an opportunity for you to speak your piece as an OBS member. But OBS wants to hear what you have to say whenever it occurs to you and OBS recognizes that membersí needs do change over time. Speak up on the OBS-SIS electronic list or call or e-mail any of the members of the OBS Executive Board. We want to know whatís on your mind and how OBS can serve you better!