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LIS 630 administrator interview


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My interview with a library technology administrator.

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LIS 630 administrator interview

  1. 1. Library Technology Administrator Interview<br />LIS 630<br />Christian Burris<br />October 10, 2010<br />
  2. 2. The Administrator<br />
  3. 3. About the Administrator<br />MSLS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983<br />Previous experience: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the Baylor School, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte <br />Currently employed at the Professional Center Library (PCL) of the Worrell Professional Center for Law and Management at Wake Forest University<br />
  4. 4. About the Administrator<br />Originally hired as cataloging/automation librarian<br />Current position: Associate Director for Collection Services and Systems<br />Interviewed in person on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 in his office at PCL<br />Fourteen interview questions<br />
  5. 5. The Interview<br />
  6. 6. Question One: How long have you served as a technology administrator?<br />Came to PCL in 1995 with primary role as administrator for the online catalog<br />Built and maintained the PCL website during its early stages as well as Worrell Center website<br />Assisted in selection/implementation of Voyager ILS in late 1990s<br />Serves as the Voyager system administrator for PCL<br />
  7. 7. Question Two: What are your major roles and responsibilities?<br />System administrator for the Voyager ILS at PCL<br />Configures PCs and laptops to run special software programs<br />Configures all of the PCs and laptops in the library for operation after every major software upgrade<br />Develops hardware workarounds for systems that are removed and are not replaced<br />
  8. 8. Question Three: What types of hardware and software does PCL use for managing information?<br />Online catalog as its primary discovery layer for all of its resources<br />Several CD-ROMs are maintained<br />Serials Solutions record service manages print and online journal holdings<br />Moving to Windows 7 operating system<br />
  9. 9. Question Four: How do you stay current on trends in technology?<br />“Lives in the middle of it”<br />PCL is behind the curve on implementing the latest software<br />Reads listserves, electronic journals, and print journals<br />Relies on word of mouth and similar networking opportunities<br />Necessity has been the mother of invention<br />
  10. 10. Question Five: Which specific information services do you use (listserves, journals, etc.)?<br />Listserves: Voyager-L, the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of ALA) forum listserve, the Next Generation Catalog listserve, MARC-21 listservefrom LC, the AALLTSSIS (American Association of Law Libraries Technical Services Special Interest Section) listserve<br />Journals: Library Hi Tech, Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), ACRL News<br />
  11. 11. Question Five: Which specific information services do you use (listserves, journals, etc.)?<br />Receives articles that had been forwarded to him by colleagues who read other listserves and journals<br />Sends e-mail to developers and agents <br />Not afraid to search Google<br />
  12. 12. Question Six: How are decisions regarding the implementation of technology made?<br />Before the retirement of the most recent director of PCL:<br />collection development committee managed decisions regarding electronic resources<br />administrator himself made the decisions about any hardware or software purchases<br />three WFU libraries addressed the Voyager ILS<br />Information Systems department managed decisions at the university level<br />
  13. 13. Question Six: How are decisions regarding the implementation of technology made?<br />Current situation following that retirement:<br />collection development committee still makes decisions regarding electronic resources<br />no formal technology requests been made from PCL, but he believes that they would be submitted to the dean of the law school<br />recent change: computers in PCL would be leased rather than owned by the law school<br />
  14. 14. Question Seven: Have there been any organizational barriers or challenges?<br />Voyager implementation went smoothly several years ago, although customer support issues could be difficult<br />No administrative barriers within PCL because of the size of the operation<br />“if we can afford it, we can do it”<br />Guides staff reluctant to change forward<br />
  15. 15. Question Eight: What are some of the “technology tools” you use in your daily work?<br />MARC Edit<br />Macro Express 3.8<br />Microsoft Office suite<br />Voyager tools developed by Gary Strawn<br />TextPad<br />Dreamweaver<br />Adobe Fireworks<br />
  16. 16. Question Nine: If there were one technology skill(s) you would like for library staff to have, what would it be?<br />For all staff, he would encourage problem-solving skills<br />The ability to create macros to simplify workflows<br />Catalogers should be able to edit batches of records at once rather than one at a time<br />Giving staff the tools they need to handle whatever is placed in front of them<br />
  17. 17. Question Ten: Does customer service play a role in your position?<br />Quickly answered “yes”<br />Rest of the library staff are customers, along with students and faculty <br />“Our job is to see their needs are met”<br />Hybrid positions that blend technical/public services will grow<br />Library systems: although the staff member doing the work may not be visible, the output of their work always is<br />
  18. 18. Question Eleven: In your opinion, what was the most important development in library technology up to this point?<br />introduction of the personal computer (PC) into libraries<br />introduction of the Internet and similar resources (Web) significant, but not possible without PC<br />without it, libraries would “still be in the stone age”, i.e. working with terminal-based systems<br />revolutionized how libraries operated<br />libraries today would not be able to function at their current levels<br />moved from the print-based world to the electronic-based at breakneck speeds<br />
  19. 19. Question Twelve: What current technology could have far-reaching impact in the library community?<br />Tools to unlock some of the traditional silos in the library world (e.g. MARC record data)<br />full potential of that “legacy data” can be realized<br />XML and the emerging RDA standard were only the first steps<br />Web apps can also be developed for mobile market and beyond<br />Potential to create a semantic web with controlled vocabularies of libraries<br />
  20. 20. Question Thirteen: Do you have a technology “wish list”?<br />An additional person to take over lesser responsibilities.<br />More integration with current technology across campus.<br />A hope that Wake Forest will not implement technologies that would require several people to establish and maintain.<br />The impossible dream: for the world to slow down for a while to allow him to catch up on his own work.<br />
  21. 21. Question Fourteen: Do you have any other comments?<br />never been afraid to “think outside of the box” to solve problems<br />libraries are still needed rather than be “shoved out of the door”<br />does not matter how much technology one has, but it does matter how to get that technology to suit the one’s needs<br />satisfaction from finding solutions that use complex tools to save staff time and not push any difficulties farther down<br />“by thinking through the problem, a solution can usually be found”<br />
  22. 22. Closing Thoughts<br />
  23. 23. Closing Thoughts<br />Interview was enlightening and extremely rewarding<br />Viewpoint of using technology to solve problems as much as possible<br />His role as an administrator was as a facilitator between the staff and the technology<br />Pragmatic approach toward technology at his library <br />
  24. 24. Thank you!<br />Christian Burris<br /><br />