Helen Williams: From Cataloguer to Manager

We’re really looking forward to welcoming Helen Williams to lead our next General Seminar, on Tuesday 2 March at the earlier-than-usual time of 12 midday (UK time).

Helen, who is Metadata Manager at LSE Library, will describe her progression from assistant and cataloguer roles to positions with a strategic focus, which she describes as “‘beyond our walls’ involvement – having metadata fingers in as many pies as possible.” Highlighting the differences in skillset and expectation as you move up the management structure, she will offer experience-based advice on applications; the pros and cons of internal and external moves; and the importance of having ‘buddies’ at other institutions as part of early career development and the role this plays as you move into management. We’ll discuss making the leap from metadata management to team leadership, including people management and ultimately becoming part of the Library Management Team, with its wider remit and focus, increased institutional knowledge, and necessity of ‘thinking like an owner’.

Further details and booking: https://beginningcataloguing.teachable.com/p/general-seminar-march

N.B. Subscribers to Beginning Cataloguing Monthly will receive a discount code for this seminar in the next issue, which will be sent out at the end of February. It is free to subscribe to BCM, and we never use your email address for anything other than sending out the newsletter itself.

Top Organising Product

For National Organising Week 2020, APDO shared Professional Organisers’ ‘Top 10 Organising Products’, and, unsurprisingly, the No. 1 choice was “Boxes you already have”, and their blog post asserts, “the right organising product in the right place can make a big difference to storage, efficiency and aesthetics.”

Here’s a recent reuse of an existing storage vessel in a client’s home, which has worked well for them both practically and aesthetically:

Event Report: Ahava Cohen on Internationalising RDA

As a background to a fascinating discussion on the Internationalising of RDA, Ahava shared that she fell in love with RDA as a student, but Hebrew language materials were not covered. Over the course of her PhD, she talked to RDA decision-makers and realised that until she started asking them about it, Hebrew hadn’t been on their radar.

Rather than seeing this lack of awareness as off-putting, Ahava realised that there was an opportunity – within the Israeli and Hebrew cataloguing communities and within the RDA cataloguing community. She’s now the Head of Hebrew Cataloguing at the National Library of Israel and the Chair of Eurig (the European RDA Interest Group), and its back-up delegate to the RSC (RDA Steering Committee).

The RSC has a page on its website dedicated to its Internationalization Principles, which opens with the paragraph:

The RDA Board’s vision for RDA is a global standard enabling discovery of content. Despite ongoing revisions to remove the Anglo-American focus present in the original RDA Toolkit, the Board acknowledges that this perspective remains in some elements and instructions. The Board is committed to improving the international focus of RDA.

It struck me listening to the rest of Ahava’s seminar just how much we owe her for her dedication to engaging with the wider RDA community, not just with regard to the languages in which she catalogues herself (Hebrew, Arabic, Cyrillic (Russian, Ukranian), and English), but in working to open out discussion beyond the groups who have traditionally engaged with RDA (and before it the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules).

One of the key surprises to some attendees at our seminar was that RDA triples (based in turn on RDF triples) do not equate to the structure of some languages, including Hebrew. So whenever we see a presentation that discusses subject, predicate and object (the three forms of triples) as intuitive, we should be aware that they are only intuitive for some, not all, language groups.

Other interesting examples included the measuring of timespans (midnight-midnight vs. nightfall to nightfall); capitalization (not all languages have capital letters), tribal names, and the numbering of leaves and pages. Ahava gave the example of the form Talmud leaf 1A, leaf 1B and so on, which is exactly the sequence any scholar in the field would expect it to be given, where RDA would give preference to a number of pages.

There are also issues around language “ownership.” Who “owns” French? France or Quebec?

If you are interested in these issues, you might like to read the report Ahava prepared for the RSC on Western and Christian Bias in RDA. If you are active in cataloguing and have encountered examples of bias, you might contribute to this ongoing survey Ahava is running.

As Violet Fox said to Ahava on Twitter after her seminar, “Thank you for sharing your efforts so far. I’m glad to have you leading this important work!”

Katharine Schopflin on Organisational Knowledge

Katharine Schopflin speaks from the podium at the SLA Europe Conference

Join us next week online to discuss Organisational Knowledge with Knowedge Manager, Author and Beginning Cataloguing Associate Dr Katharine Schopflin.

Knowledge Management claims to be the art of making organisations perform better by finding and exploiting employee knowledge and expertise and controlling the information they produce. But what does that actually mean in practice? In this seminar Katharine will look at how we actually use knowledge and store information in our everyday working lives. She will ask why it is so hard for organisations to find this knowledge and what they could do make it better.

Further details and booking: https://beginningcataloguing.teachable.com/p/general-seminar-february

Image: Katharine speaking at the SLA Europe Conference in September 2019.

APDO Directory Entry

APDO is the UK’s membership association for decluttering and organising professionals, and its directory offers the public a way to Find An Organiser. As well as my own specialisms in digital organisation, virtual services, public speaking and training, you can find organisers who work in areas including interior design, home staging; and working with people with hoarding behaviours.

APDO also provides information on what to expect when you book a professional organiser. As they say, “Finding the right organiser for you is a personal choice so it’s probably useful to speak or meet up before you start working together.”

I’m always happy to hear from potential clients. You can book a free discovery meeting from the link on the Tidy Beginnings page.

Tidy Beginnings Open for Bookings

Tidy Beginnings is open for bookings. An extension of my cataloguing work, it offers easy-to-access private librarian, professional organising and decluttering services.

Find out more here, and book a free discovery meeting to see if I’m the right fit to help you with:

  • decluttering your home
  • tidying up your workspace
  • organising your books and papers
  • moving – house / studio / after retirement (N.B. Not a removals service – we can help you plan, pack and unpack)
  • creating an inventory
  • preparing materials for sale or donation
  • cataloguing, where a finding aid and / or fuller inventory is required
  • any other activities you might expect from a private librarian, archivist or professional organiser
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A verified member of APDO, the UK’s membership association for decluttering and organising professionals. APDO sets standards, provides professional development and supports the growth of the industry.