Library Day in the Life, Monday

Another year, another round of the Library Day in the Life Project. The last time I participated, I was a shiny new librarian in a new job as Systems and Metadata Librarian at Whitman College. Now I’m a slightly less shiny new librarian in another new job, so I thought it would be fun to participate again, and share some of the day-to-day details of my new job.

I’ve been a Metadata Analyst at the California Digital Library for three months now, and have been working primarily on a project that, at this stage, is very closely aligned with the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST) archiving program. We’re working with the Center for Research Libraries to build a system called PAPR (Print Archives Preservation Registry) that is designed to help archiving programs with collection analysis and archiving prioritization. The site will eventually provide a directory of archiving programs and a catalog of archived materials. We’ve been working furiously on test data and building the backend programs and databases for the last three months, and are just beginning to accept library data for the next round of archiving by WEST. It’s pretty exciting: We’ll finally be seeing our system in action!

It’s been an interesting project for me so far, and in many ways different from anything I’ve done before. This project has several different stakeholders, and is moving at a very rapid clip to meet some imposing deadlines. I’m learning a lot, not just about serials records, but about project management, prioritization, and communication. Not to mention all the things I’m learning about archiving programs, MARC records, regional collaboration, and the programming that needs to happen on the backend for a system like ours to work.

So, there’s the background about my job. What about the day-to-day? This morning, I came in to find that about 20 WEST partners have submitted contact information, so I spent the morning sending all of them emails about how to submit their MARC records, and updating our project management system accordingly. Hopefully, we’ll start receiving data very soon, at which point, I begin the fun work of closely analyzing huge sets of MARC records to find the outliers, anomalies, and oddities of each library’s records.

Then I spent some time looking at data from our test records that has been loaded into our database. We’re basically putting MARC data into a relational database, which has some fairly significant challenges. I was checking out various control numbers to ensure that the correct data was loaded into the correct fields in a usable way. Our load worked as expected, so yay! But library data is often a complete mess, so boo. Unfortunately, the phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” comes up way too often these days.

I’m this year’s chair of the 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant committee, so I spent my lunch break deleting all of last year’s work from the ALA Connect site before sending an introduction to all of this year’s new committee members. I’m excited about this committee; I had a lot of fun on it last year, and I’m looking forward to meeting the new members and getting to work. Hopefully we have as many excellent applicants this year as we did last year.

The rest of the day will be filled with two meetings: a weekly project meeting, and a meeting to update one of my colleagues on the hiring process for another metadata analyst to join the team. I have some QA work to do on a final set of test data that we’ve converted and loaded, and I have to write a draft of my performance evaluation self-assessment, which is due before we head out for a short vacation on Thursday: We’re going to Portland, OR, where two of my favorite people in all the world are getting married.

This job is very different from my former job, in some ways better and in some ways not as good. But I’m still being challenged and learning new things everyday, which is, to my mind, what really matters, and what makes being a librarian so awesome.

I’m planning to update everyday this week (well, at least through Wednesday), so hopefully there will be some exciting work in the pipeline. Come back tomorrow to find out more about the oh-so-exciting life of a metadata librarian!

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