Reports to the President 1994-95
"This is not business as usual. Our profession will change radically within
the next five years. As an organization and as individuals, we will need to be
nimble and flexible: learning while doing, experimenting while planning,
embracing the new while preserving the old."
MIT Libraries Strategic Plan Update, December 1994
The accomplishments of the Collection Services staff during 1994/95 reflect all
aspects of this vision, articulated in last year's strategic plan.
A nimble and flexible response to the discontinuation of the development of the
NOTIS Horizon System was a hallmark of the entire library system this year, and
nowhere more so than in Collection Services. During the first months of the
year, several staff were involved in the selection decision for a different
system, GEAC Advance. When that decision was made, and an implementation goal
of July 1995 was established, there were approximately six months remaining to
plan for, test, and bring up the entire system. Almost all Collections
Services staff have been involved in this process to some degree, ranging from
modest to all-consuming. Several staff members worked intensely on formal
implementation teams, others spent time extensively testing migration data as
well as system functionality, while some spent time more informally poking and
prodding the system, trying out documentation, discussing workflow
implications, and generally supporting the process.
A key factor in success was the early agreement on a guiding principle: to
bring up Advance using current workflow as much as possible, (with full
understanding that we will need to work for some time after implementation to
seek out the most effective workflow that the new system permits). However,
there were several processes which did need to be radically changed due to
Advance limitations or, alternatively, irresistible opportunities. Chief in
the latter category are the opportunity to download catalog records from OCLC
via ftp, in lieu of tape-loading, and the opportunity for first-time automation
of serials acquisition and check-in.
At the close of the fiscal year we are well on the way to live operation of
Geac Advance, if not in July at least during the summer months, and have
already initiated the first co-development team work with Geac on the
client-server product, our next system! The coming year promises to be almost
as challenging as the previous one as we work to adjust our processes and
procedures to take maximum advantage of the features of Advance and
simultaneously participate in planning the client-server product. It is clear
that "nimble and flexible" will need to be permanent attributes.
Geac Advance training sessions dominated our staff-training activities this
year. A section head in serials cataloging was asked to coordinate
library-wide training for the new system. Weekly "open lab hours" to introduce
various modules and functions to the entire staff were a key feature of this
training program. All staff members in acquisitions and cataloging have been
involved, either as teachers or learners, in group and individual training
sessions. Several overviews or status reports were presented to staff from the
In addition to the intensive Advance training, one of the Collection Services
departments, Bibliographic Access Services, also addressed the ongoing need for
staff training in computer literacy with great success. In September, several
volunteers from the Copy-based Cataloging and Database Maintenance Sections
responded to the Department Head's request and formed the Computer Literacy
Task Force. During the fall months, the Task Force conducted an inventory of
computer skills, completed a needs analysis, and devised a training plan which
they then instituted for the entire BAS staff. The goal of the task force was
to bring everyone in the department up to a level of computer literacy that met
the routine demands of their work. The basis of their program was brief,
incremental, one-on-one training sessions, taught at the staff member's own
workstation. Thus far, the following training sessions have been conducted:
- Athena basics: e-mail, creating and organizing folders
- Windows software: File Manager, Rapid Filer
- Moving text between e-mail and Wordperfect
- Installing Netscape
- Installing anti-virus software
The Task Force was the recipient of a Library Council Special Achievement
Award, in recognition of developing this model training program.
A serials cataloger, a monographs cataloger, and the Associate Director for
Collection Services formed a project team to participate in the OCLC Internet
Cataloging Project (Intercat). This 18 month pilot project "initiates a
nationwide, coordinated effort among libraries and institutions of higher
education to create, implement, test, and evaluate a searchable database of
USMARC format bibliographic records, complete with electronic location and
access information, for Internet-accessible materials." Contributing records
to this national project has proved to be an excellent method to discover the
cataloging issues which need to be resolved locally and has led to the
establishment of an Electronic Resources Cataloging Policy Group.
Responding to electronic publication and dissemination of information is
clearly the biggest new challenge for the entire library profession and for
every individual library. Collection Services staff and several library groups
are becoming increasingly involved in managing electronic publications.
In addition to the participation in Intercat mentioned above, several staff
members in serials cataloging developed new skills through a project to catalog
47 CD-Rom government documents in the Dewey Library collection. Several staff
in Collection Services departments learned HTML coding, and key acquisitions
and cataloging working resources are now available on the Libraries' staff WEB.
In addition, acquisitions staff members are actively using WEB resources
provided by vendors and publishers and are transmitting orders to two major
vendors via the Internet.
The Collection Management Group became more involved in evaluating and
selecting electronic resources. With OED and Encyclopedia Britannica now up on
the campus network, CMG began identifying additional network resources that
would be useful at MIT and produced a preliminary list of about 20 products to
investigate further (in collaboration with NUT). The Libraries' public WEB
pages now include a menu of 10 electronic journals (in addition to Elsevier
journals offered experimentally via the TULIP project). GARP established an
E-journals Task Force to define and resolve outstanding e-journals issues and
draft an e-journals philosophy to guide future activities.
At the same time as the Collection Services staff has been rapidly implementing
a new automation system and learning new skills for a transition to electronic
resources, they have not only maintained currency in our traditional processes,
but have also managed to improve many of them.
- Due to increased staff proficiency during the second year of using GLIS,
acquisitions staff were able to set, and for the most part meet, monthly order
input targets of 600 orders per month.
- The manual order file was eliminated. All orders were either converted to
online orders or canceled. All active out-of-print orders are now designated
"desiderata" status on GLIS, with reporting capabilities for review purposes.
* Responsibility for acquiring and processing MIT Publications for all
libraries was transferred to the Institute Archives in July 1994.
- Transfers of 20% of our serial orders to different vendors resulted from a
FY1993 bid process.
- With the first full year of use of the USDOCS system of automated check-in,
benefits were realized in streamlined procedures and problem solving, a cleaner
database, and significantly increased productivity. As one of the first sites
implementing USDOCS, staff responded to several inquiries for information or
demonstrations. A special overview of the program was given to the BLC
Government Documents Interest group GoDIG.
- The Libraries successfully passed an inspection by the Government Printing
Office's Federal Depository Inspection Team member in August 1994.
- A streamlined receipt and cataloging workflow for United Nations blanket
order materials was implemented.
* Sales of gift materials netted over $25,000 for the Preservation Fund.
- The Original Monograph Catalogers concentrated efforts on learning the
cataloging rules and conventions that govern map cataloging.
- A monographs cataloger, working with a Turkish graduate student, cleared a
long-term backlog of Turkish language monographs in the fields of city planning
- After completing monograph cataloging training, a serials cataloger with
knowledge of Chinese cataloged over 100 Chinese language monographs.
- Serials cataloging productivity remained steady in spite of a vacancy. The
pre-cat backlog continued to decrease and the CONSER requirements were met by
the end of March.
- DDC Recon Project
- RSC staff surveyed a sample of 500 volumes to provide data for recon
- RSC and Bindery staff organized and managed the DDC recon workflow for
approximately 4,000 volumes in the 900s
- BAS staff cataloged 3,400 volumes and Bindery staff made minor repairs to
- 2,765 records for music scores were converted, with only approximately 500
- 8,950 records for MIT dissertations were converted. (On July 1, 1992, a
project was initiated to convert records for MIT dissertations from 1945-1964.
Conversion is now completed for 1945-1959.)
- In March, a project to convert records for Lindgren's geological maps
collection was initiated. Approximately 350 records have been converted to
- Clean-up on the second phase of the OCLC serials recon project will be
completed this summer.
- A Brittle Books Program was developed and implemented. Procedures have been
established for identifying brittle materials, searching for replacements,
ordering or producing replacement copies, and cataloging the replacements.
Over 100 volumes are in process at present.
- Rotch Limited Access Collection - In response to the recommendations of the
Condition Survey which was completed in 1993-94, the following projects have
been carried out or are in progress:
acquired and made book supports;
pre-1800 volumes in all sizes except folio placed in phase boxes;
clamshell boxes being made for the conserved volumes;
care and handling guidelines written and will be reviewed with Rotch staff in
plans completed for surveying volumes that are used;
cleaning the stacks and books underway during summer 1995;
held introductory meeting with the development officer to provide background
for fund-raising effort;
presented the survey methodology and results to participants in a Boston
Library Consortium tour of Rotch Library.
- Approval Plans
Collection Management Group undertook a formal analysis of the feasibility of
approval plans for the MIT Libraries:
held background sessions for selectors with collections librarians from other
organized presentations by three vendors;
defined profiles for five subjects with three vendors;
began analysis of slips resulting from the test profiles.
- Cooperative Projects - subject specialists participated in planning for 3
Boston Library Consortium Cooperative Collections agreements (in Chemistry,
Neurosciences, and Women's Studies), which were subsequently signed by the
Reports to the President 1994-95