Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Return to my profession

During the past twelve months, I feel like I've been returning to my 'roots' as a librarian. Cataloging, material selection, collection evaluation, de-selection, and slowly reference (still not many library visitors) have all brought me back.

I've found some online support both in Israel and worldwide. I'vealways been proud to be a librarian, and that has just grown. I recently came across a librarian podcast which is including a serialized version of a book which everyone should read, librarians and non-librarians alike. It is called Expect More by David Lankes.  The serialized podcast is just one option. You can also find the printed text online. Please give a try and let me know what you think. I'd like to share it with the world, and honestly, I've only listened to the inspirational introduction, so far.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cataloging articles within books

Apologies yet again to the non-library people who may come across this blog..I'm boring you to tears!

So, now I'm cataloging all the books which were published by the Center.  The previous cataloger cataloged each individual article in edited books.  I think this does make lots of sense, but on the other hand, it makes for lots of work for me.  Some books are taking more than a full work day to catalog!

And then you have this beauty.... the majority of the articles were published in other books published by the Center, so I can just link them up with the previous record (add a second call number etc...).  On of the chapters is the introduction to a previous book, so it wasn't done. I've decided not to do it either.

The next one is where I'm deep in discussion with myself. (I'll probably skip it and wait for my librarian friends to help out.)  The article is actually snippets from a book we published. The book has a regular book record (as opposed to an article record) and no article references.  The article is pages: 24-27, 261-264...blah blah blah.   So the question is... do I create an article record, or not?

To give a better idea what I'm dealing with, I've been cataloging the articles using the records in RAMBI. (oh what a wonderful resource!!!!).  RAMBI doesn't have an article record for either of the two cases mentioned above. In fact, of the 25 "chapters" in this book RAMBI has only created records for 13 of them. (I don't know why....I haven't checked the others yet.)

For those who want to go deeper: the book is החוויה היהודית האמריקנית.

All input would be welcome....

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Periodicals, another work related blog post

My work posts are written and posted while I'm at work, because I feel that writing it all up helps me evaluate the situation better.

There are many annuals (or even less frequent journals) that have been cataloged as books not periodicals because you can't put subject headings with individual periodical issues in LMS+. This was confirmed for me by a friend who uses LMS+ at a high school library.

Journals like Gal_Ed, Polin, עיונים בתקופת ישראל and others are within the stacks, and not with the periodicals. The shelf number situation is also weird. He wanted (for most of them) to stick them together so they originally had a running call number ie: H122 (Jews in Poland) 65 (the 65th book cataloged in H122) but then when a new volume came, he put sort of a cutter. so the first 10 volumes are 65-75, the next five are 75.1-75.5. Not good, not easy. I don't mind them staying in with the books, because they are much more logical for the journals that relate to a specific topic, but I have to fix the shelf number situation.
Shelf Numbers H122 69 and H14 26
Shelf Numbers

Thoughts on this.

Option 1: Give them all the same number, and add a third line to the shelf number field which includes the volume number of the journal.  This third line would be also helpful, because multiple volumes of non periodicals just have the number of volumes in the record, not on the label, so it isn't always easy to figure out what you are looking at.

Option 2: Be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand.

Option 3: I'm not sure.  Move it to Periodicals (X) but still catalog each issue individually and not have it labeled in the system as a periodical. (If I label it as a periodical, I get irrelevant fields, that will mess things up.)

Please help, with opinions, suggestions..this is important!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just in case some of my readers are knitters/crocheters....

I will be there, although I"ll probably be coming with a nearly 2 year old, so I'm not sure what I"m going to accomplish!

Monday, March 24, 2014

The first executive decision

Women, yes it all comes down to women.  Where do they fit in a Jewish history library?  Those nice ladies hanging out at 305 were causing me some distress, you see, they don't exist in my catalog.  That is right, nowhere.  My catalog has two fields for cataloging location.  One is the call number field, which is Dewey/Scholem and the second is "Shelf  Number."  Any number can appear in the Dewey/Scholem space, but then I need to figure out where to squeeze it on the shelf.

My first questions were whether these books do really apply to Jewish History.... and yes, they do.  Female Immigrants to Israel, and the Women's right to vote  in Israel during the 1920's should be in the catalog...but where? The only other 305 book was placed with 320(9) and 330(9) which are Political Science and Economy in Eretz Yisrael.  Meh...doesn't work so well for me. So, I looked further... 301.2, 370, 200  are all hanging out together (Education, Culture, Religion in Israel).  And now, so will the ladies...hanging in KD (the shelf number).  I hope they enjoy themselves there.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Subject Headings--מילות מפתח

Yes, still in Library Land here...if you want to know about my knitting, or something else go away and come back some other time.

Being in a bi-lingual library poses problems.  The majority of our materials are in Hebrew, but some are in English and a few in other languages.  (We have  a huge periodical collection in Italian, but that is an issue for another day.)

I had the other issue of books in two languages, for now I'm just cataloging them in Hebrew, and we will see what I do when we update the catalog (and that is another issue for another day.)  So, English language books should be easy for this native speaker, right? Wrong!  The ULI gives English subject headings for these books...which is somewhat logical, but if you are a bi-lingual Israeli, looking for books in the catalog, are you really going to search for your subject heading both in English and in Hebrew?  Are all the English subject headings cross-referenced to a Hebrew subject heading? (Maybe that is possible, if so, please teach me!) Anyway, it seems to be that the best thing to do for our majority Hebrew audience is to use Hebrew subject headings for English books as well. That way everything comes up together, and you can decide if you want to cut your teeth on the English or not. And nobody misses books that would have been appropriate.

Any thoughts from my librarian friends?

Also, any ASMI members going to the Workshop day at Yad Ben Zvi at the end of the month? I"ll be there, and would love to meet you!

***Another win for me! Asked the director if I could take the uncataloged non-Hebrew/non-English books and put them in storage for the future so I could have more space behind my desk and focus on the relevant languages...he gave me the thumbs up!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Anemone fields in Shokeda

IMG_0958 by safranit
IMG_0958, a photo by safranit on Flickr.

And for anyone who thinks that all I do is spend my time trying to understand Hebrew/Israeli cataloging, here is a picture from our vacation to the south.

Monday, March 03, 2014

More cataloging quandries..

Today, I've decided to "prep" a bunch of books and then do the actual cataloging within the computer tomorrow.  I've picked a random bunch of books, and am determining the Dewey/Sholem number and then the "shelf number" as it is called in my Orange Bible.

The challenges of today:

Life in the 300's.. in my catalog there are very few 300's that are used...a few regarding Arabs in Eretz Yisrael, some in the area of Education, Culture and Religion in Israel,  and that is about it.  I picked up a book about Holocaust Survivors living on kibbutzim, and the first number I picked was (9)972...which covers types of settlements in Israel....then I checked another library, and they used 307.776--the standard Dewey number for Kibbutzim.  So, on one hand, I have it right, but on the other, that number doesn't exist in my world.  Searched until I found another library who cataloged it with the (9)972.

Holocaust survivors, not living in Israel.  So, where is the home for survivors of the Holocaust who are living post-war in Bergen Belsen and the area which was occupied by the British in Germany post WWII?  Do you put it in the category of Holocaust, or is it about Jews in Germany?  Still puzzling that one out. 

So readers, would you like me to include book titles when I give my stories, or is it unnecessary additional information? (Seriously, we are librarians, is there such a thing as unnecessary information?)

Stay tuned for another exiting episode of the Dewey diaries....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cataloger's block

I think cataloger's block is similar to writer's block.  You just hit a wall where you can't do anymore.  Today I hit it, but luckily I only have 30 minutes left of work, and I'm not going to be here for the next three days.  Hopefully I'll be able to recover.

What brought on this malady?  Well, I was picking books to catalog from the boxes and shelves surrounding me, and I came to a book "From Qumran to the Rabbinic Revolution: Conceptions of Impurity."  I'm not so sure it really fits with our collection as a history library, but I decided to see where it fits in.  So from my friends at Beit Berl, I see that the call number they gave is 296.561.  That is fair...it is squarely in the category of Judaism. So I look at my lovely chart provided by E (previous librarian).  There are two sections which cover this call number.  Here is a nice mini translation of what I have:

NA...........Judiaism (Philosophy, Halacha, Mussar, Kabbalah, Customs)  296.1 - 296.6
and further down
ND...........Judiasm (All subjects, located in the warehouse)  296.1 - 296.8


I know there is no space on the shelves, but how do I decide what goes on the shelves, and what goes straight to storage?

And what else is in storage?

O...................Hebrew Literature  892.4
......................General Literature 800
Q....................Hebrew Language  492.4
R...................General History.
V510-V609 & V632-V643...................Random chunks of the Biographies
And this doesn't even cover T (textbooks) which was supposedly in someone's office,  but she no longer works here.

And one other note, there are a few O,Q, R and S books on the shelves, because they were cataloged after the books were moved. Strike that S1 and S64 are on the shelf.

I have to keep repeating to myself "I am the librarian, I make the decisions..."  Hopefully I can convince myself of that!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Things that could make a cataloger cry

The little orange folder on my desk which was left by the previous librarian from here on forward to be known as E (more than seven years ago) is my key to the library.  It contains the call number as connected to the subject, as connected to the Dewey number.  It has information about some cataloging tips and other pieces of information.

On the first page of this fourteen page bible of mine are instructions about how to catalog something that is in both Hebrew and English.  Here is a translated quote from the book "When there is a book written in two languages, you don't want to catalog the book twice, you want the searcher to be able to find the book in two languages."  Ahhh E, how right you are.  I tried and tried to follow your instructions, but I couldn't get it to work.  The book is sitting on my desk waiting for me to get a spark of brilliance, or new software to get it right.

So, I decided to try to find another book which was in two languages that E previously cataloged.  And I found one! Browsed the shelves until I found something clearly in English and Hebrew.  I searched for the record by title, opened the record....but no Hebrew.  Then I got concerned.  Did a search by call number, and what do you know?  Yes, E cataloged the record twice. I guess I'll just put it in once and make a note when we finally get the software updated/changed I will add the second language and clean up all the double records in the catalog.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Cataloging Game

The piles on my desk are shrinking...mostly because I've piled the books behind me.  I've shelf-read the whole collection, plus the section of books in the boss's office.  I still need to work on finding an appropriate library software program, but that will take some time.

I've gotten a bit farther with cataloging.  I've created a game.  I take a book, determine if it definitely is within the scope of the library, and then I attempt to read the back cover. (Most of the collection is Hebrew.)  I look at the cataloging schedule that was given to me, and I try to figure out where it goes.  Sometimes before I get to that point, I have to go to Wikipedia to determine historical time periods, or place names (so חלב means milk, but it is also Aleppo..who knew?)

Then I go to ULI....my new best friend.  A million subject heading possibilities for every title. size measurements and best of all, links to other libraries that hold the book...and some even catalog in Dewey!  So far this has made my job much easier.  And back to work I go.....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jewish Legion anybody?

I think I should rename my blog the lost librarian. I'm three weeks into my new job, and I am enjoying it, but I've decided I can't avoid the cataloging any longer. My blog is now going to become a place where I share my cataloging issues, because people on Facebook don't deserve to be inundated with long posts.

Before I come to the first issue, here is a list of what I'm using to catalog:

1. The homegrown system which is a combination of "Shalom and Dewey."  I have a list of letters, and for most of them, a Dewey or Shalom number that corresponds.

2.  A booklet that says "use this version" which is from 1981.  I believe it is Shalom, but it says on the cover "סדר המקצועות במדעי היהדות"

3.  ULI , or more specifically Beit Berl because I know they have Dewey, unlike the universities who mostly use LC.

So, the book of the day is "We are coming, unafraid: the Jewish Legions and the Promised Land in the First World War"  Looks like an interesting book, appropriate for a History Library, so lets go catalog it.

Steps taken:

  1. Look inside the book, call number listed is 940.4, but that number doesn't appear on my list, or in the booklet I have.
  2. Look on the list, hmm 933.4 sounds good Jewish History  current. so that would be F
  3. Take a look in F...hmmm 90% antisemitism 10% hasidism....no clue...nothing from WWI
  4. Look in our catalog, do we have anything on the Jewish Legion...nope not in Hebrew and not in English.
  5. Let's try WWI in the catalog, ok the term used is "היסטוריה יהודית: מילחמת העולם הראשונה".   Ok, thats logical...where are those 16 books cataloged?
  • Six of them are under T for Textbooks, next
  • Two are under I which is Zionism, and different periods of Zionism (933.6, 933.61-63)
  • Three in Biography, one in Jews from the US, one in general History, and one in Arabs in Eretz Yisrael.
  • The last two are internally published books, so they are in another category.
So here I am, I've spent over an hour trying to figure out where this book should go in our collection.  I think I'm going to look at the Zionism books, because that is the closest to making sense...

But NO...I'm still new with the issues of Hebrew and this catalog...there are 5 books under "הגדודים העבריים" which I missed first time around because I stuck a yud in Gidud.....three are in KC.... Military organizations and units and Israeli Army.  

And so ends the first book of my Sunday.