Monday, April 17, 2006

Southern Dreams

"I was the one who let you know,
I was your sorry-ever-after. '74-'75.
Giving me more and I'll defy,
'Cause you're really only after '74-'75."
(“’74-‘75” by The Connells ; composed by Michael Connell) [web site ; Wikipedia entry]

I suspect a few IAG readers may remember Raleigh’s best known band, a darling of the college radio airwaves in the 80’s and 90’s, a band I reference because I was recently in the “City of Oaks” (and Chapel Hill and Greensboro, but those are added tales – read on).

The SEAALL (Southeastern Chapter of the AALL) very kindly invited me to be part of their 2006 annual meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, relocated from Baton Rouge (which is now designated as the site of SEAALL’s 2007 event). And what a fine meeting it was – an pleasantly-sized, flawlessly-executed conference that progressed each day from breakfast-with-all-conference-presentations by the likes of entrepreneur Bob Young (, legal-themed mysteries writer Margaret Maron (author of Uncommon Clay), and greetings from AALL president Claire M. Germain (Cornell Law Library, formerly of Duke Law Library), to excellent break-out sessions and first-rate social events (a reception at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences one evening, and a barbeque & bluegrass picnic the next.)

The SEAALL break-out sessions I attended:
  • “What's Cookin' in Library School?” – I unfortunately only caught part of this including José-Marie Griffiths’ amazing inventory of initiatives at UNC SILS, and a report that law information literacy may soon be added to the U.S. bar exam requirements.

  • “Technical Services for Management” – with strong audience participation, a good refresher for librarians on the value of technical services to the library and a confirmation of how more than a few administrators may not fully grasp the value technical services brings to library operations. (Tip to library directors – stop reading this, go buy chocolates (the good stuff), deliver same to technical services and park yourself a spell and just talk to ‘em. You’re going to be impressed by the specialized expertise available at your library and a lot better informed about the world. Oh, and offer a heartfelt “thank you for the good work,” or even better, kneel and utter “I’m not worthy...” before you depart.)

  • "Preservation of Legal Materials Born Digital" – an active area for AALL (American Association of Law Libraries ) with a 50 state survey on categories of court and other state legal e-documents underway, and an inquiry into whether online representations are “official” (seems to be mostly “no” at the moment).

  • “Retrieval That Works: FRBR (Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records) and OCLC” – My raison d’etre to be at the conference – I presented [ppt] the basics of FRBR and showed several of OCLC Research’s FRBR-related activities. I was flattered to have the session graced by a pleasing number of attendees, an audience that was engaged and curious about FRBR. (Note to self: lawyer-catalogers don’t ask questions, they cross-examine – gently, and smartly of course. I’ve got more questions myself about FRBR now than I did before SEAALL!).

My sincere thanks to Sally Wambold and Tim Coggins of the University of Richmond Law Library for arranging for me to be part of this wonderful SEAALL conference. It was great to see several folks at SEAALL that I hadn’t seen in sooo long. And I’m grateful to all the wonderful SEAALL attendees who made me feel welcome (a special thanks to Christine, a loyal IAG reader, for her kind words about this blog).

Though the chief cause of my trip to Raleigh was to participate in SEAALL, I just couldn’t drop in to Raleigh and not stop by to see the good folks at North Carolina State University (NCSU), especially given their very cool work on the NCSU catalog interface. So, at my request, Andrew Pace kindly arranged for some quality time with several staff who are involved in building and improving the system. I’m very impressed by what’s been done and even more so by their plans for the future. I also used the occasion to drop by and pay a casual visit to Karen Letarte, Bao-Chu Chang, and the other NCSU technical services staff at their temporary digs near campus, and they surprised me with a chocolate cake and refreshments (delicious!). Between the visit to NCSU and the SEAALL technical services breakout, it was a much-needed technical services fix for this fallen cataloger!

My trip also provided the opportunity to attend my MLS alumni association annual luncheon at UNC Greensboro where I met the new (well, new to me anyway) chair of the department, Lee Shiflett, renewed acquaintance with some of my favorite faculty including Bea Kovacs, and James Carmichael, and caught up on news with my fellow alums. The after-luncheon Cora Paul Bomar Lecture was presented by Charlotte Ross (Appalachian State University) who charmed us with Appalachian folk tales. I also took a few post-lunch hours to tour campus and visit Jackson Library and by happenstance bumped into my former colleague, Mark Schumacher who showed me the work he’s been doing to catalog the oeuvre of book designer Amy Sacker.

There was nothing sorry about this dreamy trip back home. And I also had a very pleasant visit in Chapel Hill on this same trip, but that’s for another post...


Christine said...

Lovely to meet you too! Raleigh was a great venue for SEAALL. This reference librarian is still trying to learn more about the tech services/cataloging side of things and IAG is a big help to me.

Eric said...

A pleasure to have not only gentle readers, but readers who know you! My compliments to you both.