Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Carolina On My Mind

"In my mind I’m goin’ to Carolina.
Can’t you see the sunshine?
Can’t you just feel the moonshine?
Yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind."
(“Carolina in my Mind” – James Taylor) [Wikipedia entry ; web site]

As I mentioned in a prior post, I was recently in North Carolina. My trip closed with a very pleasant visit to Chapel Hill, “The Southern Part of Heaven,” where I enjoyed the warm hospitality of friends and spent a sunny Monday in the stimulating company of UNC Libraries staff and UNC SILS faculty and students. These good folks also politely endured several presentations from me:

Presentation 1: Sarah Michalak, University Librarian, graciously granted me time for a brief presentation about selected OCLC Research projects at the UNC all-libraries-staff meeting in the beautiful Louis Round Wilson Library. And the occasion provided me the good fortune to hear UNC Libraries’ Diane Strauss’ entertaining and informative summation of the best research and thinking about what library spaces will be tasked to support over the next few decades. According to Strauss, the good news is that libraries as place will still be around in the next few decades – even thriving – if  libraries prove ready and willing to deliver a lot more people space and lot less book warehouse. Building flexible, adaptable spaces is going to be the key to library physical space investments from this point forward.  

Presentation 2: Jane Greenberg, Associate Professor, UNC SILS, invited me to address a SILS “Organizing Materials” class (plus such fellow faculty members and members of the UNC Libraries staff as wished to attend) in a session sponsored by the Metadata Research Center.  My presentation [ppt] covered FRBR (Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records) basics and some brief information about the following OCLC activities that are leveraging FRBR:
  • Audience Level (OCLC Research) – A service that returns an approximate “audience level” using a combination of FRBR and either harvested target audience information or inferred “audience level” information calculated from WorldCat holdings

  • FictionFinder (OCLC Research) – A search interface to works of fiction cataloged in WorldCat

  • Dewey Browser (OCLC Research) – A DDC-inspired, visual interface to various files

  • Live Search (OCLC Research) – A search interface that leverages FRBR, WorldCat holdings, and DDC (in a slightly clandestine manner) to offer a very fast, one-search-box discovery experience

  • FirstSearch WorldCat FRBR pilot (OCLC FirstSearch) – A FRBR-inspired view of WorldCat on the OCLC FirstSearch platform currently in pilot and slated to be released later in 2006.

As one would expect from a top-ranked academic program and library staff from a world-class institution, the questions and discussion were excellent. I was delighted to be part of a group photo at the close of the session (when all the students become famous I can point to it, and say I knew them when...).

Presentation/discussion 3: Margaretta Yarborough, Interim Head of Technical Services, kindly arranged for a special session at Davis Library with staff interested in authorities issues (a gathering which included a good cross-section of divisions and a few, especially enduring folks who were encountering me for the third presentation of the day, God bless ‘em!  ;-) My topic was a bit more technical, the VIAF (Virtual International Authority File) project, an exploration of the requirements for linking identical entities in multiple national authority files. The discussion and questions were insightful, and suggested that the project has significant potential to aid authority work and more.

All-in-all a busy, but wonderful trip to my home state. My special thanks to Sarah Michalak, Margaretta Yarborough, Jane Greenberg for helping to arrange all the meetings and to everyone at UNC for allowing me to spend some quality time there. It was especially nice to make new acquaintances such as Diane Strauss, Jerry Saye, Cal Lee, Rebecca Vargha, and to catch up with friends like Jane Greenberg, Margaretta Yarborough, visiting scholar Eva Méndez, Celine Noel, and Janis Holder.  

I’m still goin’ to Carolina in my mind...

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I'm glad that my Alma Mater impressed you so much! I am proud that I received my MSLS from UNC!