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TECHNICAL SERVICES LAW LIBRARIAN
Volume 27, No. 4 (June 2002)
TS-SIS Membership Survey Report
I received 102 responses. With 614 members of TS, that's a 16.6% response rate, which is a fairly good rate as these things go. 100 people responded on-line, and 2 by fax. For the first time, surveys were distributed only via the TS website, and that seemed to work well. Thanks very much to Martin Wisneski, who put the survey up on the web.
The first questions dealt with programs at the annual meetings. As programs ranked second highest of all the section's activities, we know programs are important to our membership. Below I have listed the Minneapolis programs by the most relevance points they received. Respondents ranked them on a scale of 1 (not relevant) to 3 (very relevant). The ranking is partially, but not completely, a function of how many people attended the program — if every respondent had attended a program and given it a 3, it would have scored 306. A less-well-attended but highly relevant program could outscore a well-attended, but less relevant program.
- Revising Rules to Reflect the New Reality: Changing the Definition of Serials in AACR2: 154
- Implementing the MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data: The New Frontier in Technical Services: 141
- New Roles for Catalogers: Subject Access to the Web: 114
- Cataloger's Dilemma: When and How to Use Law Uniform Titles: 108
- Everything Old is New Again: Second (or Third) Generation System Migration (OBS-SIS co-sponsor): 72
- Workshop: Managing Technical Services: 70
- What You Don't Know Can Hurt You: Essential Technical Services Knowledge for Public Services Librarians: 61
These are the ranking for the upcoming Orlando programs (again, the highest possible ranking would be 306):
- Publication Patterns: Creating Connections in the Serials World: 180
- How to Avoid 'Search Reopened' and Hire the Right Technical Services Candidate the First Time Around?: 158
- Connecting with a Law Publisher by a Licensing Agreement? What am I Supposed to Do?: 133
- What I Learned about Preservation from Visits to 30 Law Libraries and How it Applies to You: 115
These are the rankings from the programs proposed for Seattle (2003):
Highest possible ranking would be 306.
- A program on management issues: 233
- A one or two day workshop on serials cataloging, offered in conjunction with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging's Serials Cataloging Cooperative Training Program (See for details): 219. (Basic: 13; Advanced: 59)
- A program on applying subject headings: 208
- A program on the application of the new religious law schedules: 199
- A one or two day workshop on serial MARC holdings: 196
People are interested in programs on management issues, on new developments that will affect how we do our jobs, and in practical programs on parts of our job that are a little tricky. Clearly, a lot of us are catalogers, so we should remember, in looking at these numbers, that numbers aren't everything. If a preservation program is ranked lower, it isn't necessarily less important, just important to fewer people.
The next section of the survey queried respondents on how relevant they rated certain TS-SIS activities. The highest possible score in this section would be a 3.
- Technical Service Law Librarian (quarterly newsletter): 2.82
- TS-SIS sponsored educational programs at AALL annual meeting: 2.61
- TS-SIS Electronic list: 2.42
- TS-SIS sponsored and cosponsored Official Representatives to CC:DA, SAC, MARBI, BASIC Committees: 2.41
- TS-SIS sponsored educational workshops preceding annual meeting: 2.35
- TS-SIS Website: 2.30
- Joint Reception at AALL Annual Meeting: 2.20
- Rene Chapman Award for Outstanding Contributions in Technical Services Law Librarianship: 2.17
- TS-SIS/HQ sponsored continuing education workshops given around the country, not in conjunction with annual meeting: 2.16
- TS Education Grant: 2.01
- TS Mentoring Program: 1.99
- TS/OBS Joint Research Grant: 1.93
- TS-SIS Brochure: 1.66
- Promotional Giveaways: 1.47
TSLL is TS's most highly ranked activity. We can also rank the columns within TS by their relevance:
- Serials Issues: 2.64
- Serials: 2.62
- Classification: 2.55
- Description and Entry: 2.50
- Subject Headings: 2.49
- MARC Remarks: 2.43
- Miss Manager: 2.42
- Internet: 2.38
- OCLC: 2.31
- Acquisitions: 2.28
- Collection Development: 2.15
- Research & Publications: 1.96
- Preservation: 1.90
- RLIN: 1.45
We asked people to give advice and comment on the strategic plan. The plan is available on the TS website at: http://www.aallnet.org/sis/tssis/strategic/draft/index.htm. The goals were listed as:
- Broad-based training,
- Professional networking, and
- Securing the acquisition and preservation of information resources.
- I think that the training programs around the country coupled with the Ed grant is an excellent way to accomplish #1 (as well as #2 to some extent). Another idea is to sponsor more limited duration electronic discussion lists (e.g. like the TS in the 21st century discussion)
- I think the web-based clearinghouse (networking, strategy 3) is a fantastic idea. I would be willing to do a fair amount of grunt work for this and similar projects.
- Distance learning is a great idea, but what kind of support can we expect from AALL to fund the technology and development? It's a lot to expect as a volunteer effort initiated by SIS members and exceeds the skill level of most of us to design.
- With the emphasis on training, I think we may need to reorganize our committees to some extent. At the moment, the Education Committee works primarily on programs. Perhaps someone should be trying to develop a long-term education strategy? On the order of the beginning, intermediate and advanced cataloging programs offered in sequence. Perhaps other educational workshops have the same set of requirements. (Serials, for example.)
- In our library, technical services people don't go to the AALL conferences. If there were local training sessions, those would be possible to attend. Even easier to attend, but with less opportunity to meet people, is web-based training.
- The draft needs more polishing! It should include some timetables when you expect to meet some of the strategies.
- As I am not able to attend AALL conferences on a regular basis, Strategy #2 under the Broadbased Training goal, and Strategy #3 under the Professional Networking goal would be of especial interest.
- Concerning #3 about preservation, I know from experience that there are few law libraries with staff trained in preservation or using consultants. A lot has to do with the existence and extent of a preservation program in an academic library's main campus library. The main library serves as a resource. Law librarians will have to look outside our own ranks for models for programs and individual librarians or consultants.
- The strategies as described in the plan now are a bit vague and do not have associated deadlines. I think the plan should be more specific so TS members will know if progress has been made. I like the 3 goals and strategies; they just need more work.
- Re: training, I like the idea of exploiting distance learning and web-based training. We can't afford to send staff to out-of-town regional training sessions, and I wonder how many others can.
- Re: the interface between networking and acquisitions, we should emphasize and further explore cooperative collection development. As expense causes acquisitions to drop, and space-mandated weeding increases, we should emphasize coordination between libraries to ensure maximum availability of resources (e.g. on an "I'll keep this, you keep that" level, union OPACs for patron convenience, etc.)
We also asked what TS-SIS could be doing better, and received these comments:
- I need TSLL to remain a strong newsletter with good content. The TS committee meetings and roundtables should be good places to foster face-to-face discussion. The grants are an excellent addition to TS' products. Strong program planning should continue. TS needs to communicate with its members better via its e-mail list.
- Getting the rest of AALL to understand what and when what issues and programs are important to us.
- What TS is doing now is definitely needed and worthwhile. What I need as a head of technical services in a larger law library in which I don't do cataloging any longer and am involved in acquisitions only to some extent is not often addressed, though. I need to be able to talk with people about overall workflow issues. I'll think more about this and try to expand on it at some point. While specifics about cataloging rules, MARC formats, etc. are very important, they aren't what I need. Does the TS Education Committee ever look at the programs offered by ALA?
- Continue to consider the various levels of experience within the SIS when planning education programs. As there is increased use of online catalogs, think about annual meeting programs and TSLL articles covering this area.
- Again, I benefit from the information you share, but cannot attend meetings or contribute myself. Thank you.
- I am a senior librarian. Most of the programs, etc., are too basic and just don't interest me. I would be interested in more opportunities for meeting with my colleagues who are at a more advanced level.
- TS-SIS is a great group. The electronic list is a tool that relieves the sense of isolation that many law catalogers experience. Law cataloging is different, and the list shows us that two (or many) heads are better than one.
- Offer more training workshops at annual AALL meetings
- I think TS-SIS does a great job keeping us informed and providing representatives on the various national and international committees
- What ever happened to the management committee idea? I attended a preliminary meeting in Minneapolis and haven't seen anything on the listserv nor been contacted. I thought it was a great idea; heads of tech services aren't really being served in the SIS [Editor's note: There will be a Management Roundtable in Orlando.]
- Continue to work hard to get cataloging programs accepted at the annual meeting.
- Continue practical programs and workshops at AALL. Revisit important and challenging topics periodically. Use TSLL and our list to explain/discuss issues and developments. And, again, thank you.
- I want TS SIS to lobby the AALL Board for a change in how our program selection and scheduling, and our committee meeting scheduling, is done. I want us to be able to choose our own programs without needing approval or coordination with a general program committee. I want us to be able to schedule committee meetings in regular 8-5 program times lots, not just before or after program time slots. I want AALL to abandon its no conflict rule that prohibits us from being able to hold important discussion groups or committee meetings opposite programs that have nothing to do with us. I want the 7:00 am committee time slot banned. We need to look at the ALA ALCTS model to create a more flexible situation for our training needs in Tech Services.
- I'm thoroughly frustrated right now at the fact that no program on AACR2 revision was planned for Orlando.
- I wonder how many Tech Services and technical people attend AALL? Is there information about that? Do these AALL members attend OTHER conferences instead? What is the ratio of tech services and technical programs to public service-related topics, and how does this compare to the ratio of technical and tech services attendees?
- The speed of changes in today's technology doesn't allow leisurely program planning. ALA's LITA recognizes this, and is very flexible about program planning schedules. It is possible to plan a LITA program in a six-month time frame. AALL should find a way to allow for this, beyond the single "hot-topics" program.
Forty-four respondents offered to serve as a TS officer or committee member.
All in all, it seems that TS-SIS is doing a good job of meeting the needs of its members. TSLL is our most important service, and many members who are unable to come to meeting expressed their appreciation for it. Programs at the annual meeting are also very important. Members would like more management programs, more programs on hot topics, and more flexibility in scheduling programs and meetings. We also got valuable feedback on the strategic plan.
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Vice Chair, TS-SIS
|TS/OBS/CS/RIPS Joint Reception
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Orange County Convention Center
Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar
Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
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Updated: May 26, 2002.