Connecting the Dots: Cataloging and Metadata, The Interview Edition


On today’s reading list, we have a(nother) terrific, inspiring post from Hack Library School. As a library assistant and then a reference librarian, I have seen first-hand how the quality of the catalog impacts the user’s experience of a library. In more ambitious moments, I have gone off on “If I was in charge of this catalog” rants. These usually subside with the sad realization that I have DC experience and one Organization of Information class behind me, but no cataloging coursework. But Williams didn’t begin cataloging with a cataloging course under his belt either…maybe there’s hope for me after all!


For the next installment in our technical services mini-series, I’m delighted to introduce long-time HLS commenters and all-around great guys,  Jason W. Dean and Elliot D. Williams. When I was first starting library school, I basically cold-called both Elliot and Jason to ask about their experiences and advice, and they’ve both been incredibly generous with their time and encouragement, so I couldn’t resist asking them few more questions on behalf of HLS readers. Jason is the Head of the Special Formats Cataloging Unit at the University of Arkansas Libraries in Fayetteville, and Elliot is the Metadata Librarian at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, FL.

Please note: I’ve edited their responses slightly for length.

First of all, tell us a little about your background.

ElliotWilliams1-240x300Elliot: I think the most important piece of context for this conversation is that when I was in grad school at the University of Texas iSchool, I…

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Ground Cover in Pictures


A snapshot of what I do when I’m not thinking about libraries.


Last Saturday, I took part in the Ground Cover project installation. It was a wonderful, overwhelming two days. I knew the project was huge–300 blankets completed by some 600 crafters–but until I saw it all laid out and filling an empty lot, I didn’t realize just how huge it was. When the time came to break the project down, it was amazing to see how quickly a few dozen people were able to return the lot to its empty state. The entire project would seem so impermanent, except I handled a lot of the blankets. They were well-made, some with words and pillows and pads and pockets built in, and they will be warming people in need for a long time to come.

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Missing: One Month

Conferences, Job Hunting, Uncategorized
Conference badge with speaker ribbon.

I had a speaker ribbon.

I seem to have lost my November. Has anyone seen it?

Let’s try to catch up here: the Arizona Library Association annual conference came off quite well. The poster session was a blast, because I was there with the rest of the super-cool AzLA Web Committee, and because it’s way more fun to have conversations with people than it is to speak to them while they stare holes in you. My big scary presentation, the one where my co-presenter and I stood at the front of a room for 45 minutes and spoke about roaming reference while 80 eyeballs bored holes in us, went off very well. I chose to present after years as an attendee because the two of us had a terrific project I wanted to share, and also because speaking in public still scares me. The only way I can get over that fear is by presenting, presenting, and presenting again. I was so glad to have my co-presenter: she helped talk me through pre-presentation jitters, and started off the presentation on the right foot.

Overall, the conference was a great experience. I’m on the lookout for another presentation topic already: got to get over that public-speaking anxiety!

Right after the conference I had a job interview. I know, I said I was going to focus on the jobs I had instead of looking for more. But some really stellar positions opened up, and I fell for them. The interview was a really positive experience. For starters, I learned that I can survive a day-long academic interview. I also identified some things that I would like to work on in future interviews. Polishing my presentation skills is on the list, of course.

More jobs are being posted, finals are coming due…take a good look, because I think December is going to be gone pretty soon, too.



The Light Rail stop outside Burton Barr Library has a book-themed installation. The Thinker has been transformed into a row of bookends.



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Concrete tower with bright flowers

Seen this place before?

Blogs with continuity are really good. They tell stories, like little soap operas (hopefully with more normalcy). Each new installation picks up where the old one left off, characters return, and you, the reader, gets to watch the story develop.

I am here today to tell you that this is not that kind of blog. Not yet, anyways. At this time, I am lurching from anecdote to news item to quick shared link, and failing at completing long posts. I wish I wasn’t: I like blogs with continuity. But this little blog is still finding its way into my social media ecosystem.

The start is always a little rocky, more so when we try to make it look marvelous and simple, and I am sorry for that.

Today I’m trying to make my little room pretty with flowers, and perking it up with a Twitter feed. Twitter is also a new shoot in the ecosystem.

While you wait, and wonder when that whole continuity thing will happen, tell me–have you seen that building now featured in the header before?

All Right All Ready

Academic libraries, Conferences, Uncategorized


The Association of College and Research Libraries annual conference starts tomorrow, and in the past fee weeks, I have been bombarded with print and e-mail advertisements from what must be every single vendor attending the exhibit hall.

I’m coming already, people. Just be forewarned: I’m not coming with a budget.

Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of


Last night, I dreamt I caused people who wanted to interview me to change their minds and not interview me. Then, in the same dream, I proceeded to give the worst library instruction session of y enter career.

This is what I get for reviewing today’s instruction before bed.

First Posts Are Awkward


First posts are invariably awkward.  I have been a blogger for many years now–six?  Seven?  Writing the first post is always fraught with anxiety and indecision, and comes out sounding…just awkward.

It’s like going on a first date, or interviewing for a job.  You want to put your best foot forward, but don’t know what to say.  You don’t want to sound horribly boring, but not cringingly glib either.  You haven’t built any history or common ground, so you don’t know what will come off well and what will go over like a lead balloon. 

The one thing you do know is that you want it to go well.  After the date, interview, or first post is over, you will lie awake in bed wondering if you said the right things, if you’ll get a second date/interview/comment, and second-guessing all the things you might have done wrong (which are everything).

So let’s get this over with quickly.  I’m Allison.  I’m an academic librarian, and in this blog, I’ll post about things I find worthy of comment.  They might be library related, or information-related or culture-related.  Libraries store information which stores culture, so in the end it’s all related. 

Please take a gander, and chime in.  The most awkward moments are the ones where you pause for breath and realize your date/interviewer has been waiting to get a word in edgewise.