NOTSL Update

November 30, 2020

As you are well aware, the pandemic has brought an unprecedented year for many organizations, including NOTSL. We cancelled both our Spring and Fall meetings in 2020 and held this year’s election for the NOTSL Board online. This is not to say, however, that the NOTSL board has been inactive! We would like to share with you some updates on the work we’ve been doing and how we plan to move forward in 2021.

First, we would like to thank everyone for the valuable information you provided through our survey. Your generous and thoughtful responses allowed the Board to make some very important determinations regarding our Spring 2021 meeting and future meetings, as well. Thanks to the strength of our small but mighty organization, we received 192 responses! You can find the results of that survey here.

Second, because we did not have any meetings in 2020 in which our newest Board members could participate, we have decided to hold off on electing new Board members in 2021 and to allow the current positions to extend an extra year. We will resume our Board election process in 2022. The About page on our website will be updated to reflect this extension.

Last, though we did not meet as an organization this year, we have decided it is still important for us to distribute scholarships for 2021. NOTSL will award up to $500 as part of the Jane Myers Cataloging Scholarship(s), so please check the Scholarships page on our website for details on how to apply.

We thank you for your continued interest in and support of NOTSL and we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season!

Regina Houseman

NOTSL Survey

September 1, 2020

The Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians (NOTSL) survey is only available until September 9, 2020!

Please help NOTSL determine how we can best serve technical services staff as a professional association in the near term by taking this survey. NOTSL exists to provide continuing education events, and to offer scholarships, and we don’t want to stop doing our good work. Because there has always been interest in NOTSL meetings from outside the northern Ohio area, and because we are considering moving our meetings to an online model, we are seeking comments widely. Thank you for helping us determine our next steps by giving us your thoughts and opinions.
Click here for the survey.
Time is running out, so respond soon!

NOTSL Fall Meeting Cancelled

July 23, 2020

Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases, and the financial hardships facing most library systems at this time, the NOTSL Board has voted to cancel the Fall 2020 meeting “Metadata Matters: MARC and Beyond.” All monies will be refunded; if you have concerns regarding refunds, please contact Laura Maidens at We plan to offer another meeting in the Spring of 2021, and ask that you participate in our upcoming survey to help us determine the most timely topics, as well as its format. As always, we thank you for your continued membership, and invite you to look for additional updates on here, in your email, Facebook and Twitter. Be safe everyone!

NOTSL Spring Meeting Cancelled

March 11, 2020

Attention NOTSL Spring Meeting Registrants and Members:

With the recent outbreaks of COVID-19 and following the Governor of Ohio’s recommendation we are informing our members that the Board has agreed to cancel our Spring 2020 meeting. We are working with our presenters to schedule the same meeting in the fall. Registration will be refunded upon request. Those who do not request to be refunded will remain registered for our fall meeting. Refunds will be processed by contacting Laura Maidens.

The Spring meeting is always important because it’s when we hold our annual board elections. Elections will be facilitated electronically and dispersed to the registration list. Nathan Fralick is current Chair, and Regina Houseman is taking over as Chair in the fall. Feel free to contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

Spring 2020 Meeting

February 4, 2020

Metadata Matters: MARC and Beyond

Cuyahoga County Public Library | Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium
2121 Snow Rd. | Parma, OH 44134
Registration and light refreshments: 9:30 am – 10:00 am
Program: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Please note the change in meeting time from previous meetings!

Friday, March 20, 2020
Deadline to register is Friday, March 13

Step 1: Registration
Registration is closed.

Step 2: Payment
Payment is closed.

NOTSL is pleased to welcome the following speakers and their presentations

Metadata for Digital Collections
Presented by Marcia Zeng, Professor, School of Information, Kent State University

This presentation will contribute to the NOTSL 2020 conference’s main theme which focuses on digital projects in libraries. These digital projects are essential for extending the value of digital collections beyond being just retrospective resource warehouses. Advancing from digitizing to datafying will enable the digital collections to be better shared, linked, enriched, and reused. By looking at any given item from different perspectives (production, content, and the audience’s interests), a digital project can gain a clearer understanding about the range of its scopes, expected workflows, and needed investments for various opportunities. These will lead to a set of decisions, including: what metadata standards to follow, what metadata elements to include in the application profiles or schemas, how to ensure metadata interoperability (mapping and integration within a repository and beyond), and how to make the metadata search-engine-friendly. This presentation will discuss the best practices and standards that are applicable to metadata design and implementation while ensuring the functionality of metadata following the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles.  

Marcia Lei Zeng is Professor of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Her research interests include knowledge organization systems (taxonomy, thesaurus, ontology, etc.), Linked Data, metadata, smart data, database quality control, semantic technologies, and digital humanities, with over 100 research papers, 5 books (including Metadata 2nd).  She has chaired or served on committees, working groups, and executive boards for IFLA, SLA, ASIS&T, NISO, ISO, DCMI, ISKO, and W3C. Currently she is serving as an Executive Board Member of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO).

Maneuvering Through Complex Copyright and Privacy Issues in Digital Collections
Presented by Virginia Dressler, Digital Projects Librarian, Kent State University; and Cynthia Kristof, Head, Copyright and Scholarly Communication, Associate Professor, Kent State University

Kent State University Libraries received a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to aid digitization initiatives around selected subcollections from the May 4th Collection. The grant funded digitization of the selection of the large archival collection and the library developed new workflows to address copyright and privacy issues. The session will provide information around complex copyright and privacy issues in archives, including fair use analysis, permission-seeking and instilling a privacy review.

Virginia Dressler is the Digital Projects Librarian at Kent State University. Her specialty areas are project management of digital projects and reformatting of analog collections for open digital collections, including overseeing the Daily Kent Stater digital archive project (daily student newspaper) and working with the university’s unique collections. She holds an MLIS from Kent State University and MA in Art gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Leeds.

Cynthia Kristof is Head, Copyright and Scholarly Communication, and Associate Professor at Kent State University.

Metadata Transformation for Digital Migrants
Presented by Arjun Sabharwal, Associate Professor/Digital Initiatives Librarian, The University of Toledo

Metadata transformation is an inevitable process in the migration of digital repositories, given the capabilities of the platform, emerging standards, and collection reassessment. Several factors can compel a decision to migrate and shape the directions that migrations take: budget, staffing, institutional mandates (or lack of investment), emerging technologies, and new metadata, description, and encoding standards. There are also multiple external frameworks that shape the migration process; for instance, a transition team (or just the repository manager) needs to plan how a migration may affect compliance with such standards as the OAI-PMH, how it can continue interfacing with DPLA, discovery services, and open data environments. Each move requires a collection reassessment, which includes reappraising the digital collections, reevaluating the metadata records, and redesigning the workflow involved in the daily administration of the digital repository because each move necessitates content and format migration, metadata transformation, and workflow reconfiguration. In cases of migration away from costly proprietary environments towards bare-bone open-source platforms, workflow becomes an important issue with the need to develop macros, tool chains, and creative solutions. This presentation will present details on metadata transformation in relation to the University of Toledo Digital Repository.

Arjun Sabharwal joined the University of Toledo as Digital Initiatives Librarian in 2009.  His primary work focuses on digital preservation, curating the Toledo’s Attic virtual museum, and managing the University of Toledo Digital Repository. He completed his MLIS degree with a graduate certificate in archival administration at Wayne State University in Detroit. His research interests include Digital Humanities, interdisciplinary approaches to digital curation, digital preservation, archival science, and information architecture. He wrote a book (Digital Curation in the Digital Humanities: Preserving and Promoting Archival and Special Collections), published several articles, and presented on the topic of digital curation.


2020 Scholarship Winners

February 4, 2020

Andrew Kosmowski (North American Center for Marianist Studies)

  • $300 to attend the Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians  (OVGTSL) 2020, in Akron, OH

Lindsay Miraglia (Akron-Summit County Public Library)

  • $1,200 to put toward tuition and fees for Technical Services-related courses at Kent State University

Colleen Fedewa (Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University)

  • $1,000 for Rare Book Cataloging Class and the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, VA

Save the Date: NOTSL Spring Meeting

January 16, 2020

NOTSL Spring Meeting will take place Friday, March 20, 2020

Registration will open soon!

The Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians’ Spring meeting, Metadata Matters: MARC and Beyond, will be held on March 20, 2020 at the Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium. Our featured speaker will be Marcia Zeng. Her presentation will discuss the best practices and standards that are applicable to metadata design and implementation while ensuring the functionality of metadata following the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. Topics of discussion include: what metadata standards to follow, what metadata elements to include in the application profiles or schemas, how to ensure metadata interoperability (mapping and integration within a repository and beyond), and how to make the metadata search-engine-friendly.

Fall 2019 Meeting

September 18, 2019

Wrangling Realia and Other Random Resources

Cuyahoga County Public Library | Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium
2121 Snow Rd. | Parma, OH 44134
Registration and light refreshments: 9:45 am – 10:15 am
Program: 10:15 am – 4:00 pm
Please note the change in meeting time from previous meetings!

Monday, November 4, 2019
Deadline to register was Friday, October 25. 

Links to presentations:
Bobby Bothmann: Wrangling with Orthodoxy
Anne Drozd: Collecting and Connecting

NOTSL was pleased to welcome the following speakers and their presentations:

Wrangling with Orthodoxy: Object Cataloging Lessons Gleaned from Osborn, Lubetzky, and Svenonius
Presented by Bobby Bothmann, Metadata & Emerging Technologies Librarian, Minnesota State University, Mankato

The theory and practicality of bibliographic descriptions for objects continue to be subordinate to the orthodox rules for the cataloging of books, serials, music, and moving images. An exploration of cataloging theory through the lens of Andrew D. Osborn, Seymour Lubetzky, and Elaine Svenonius allows us to wrangle (in both meanings of the word) with practices, traditions, and expectations for bibliographic descriptions. We will explore the principles of description, identify what elements are necessary for various types of objects, and question some assumptions that may be rooted in monographic cataloging traditions. After scrutinizing some examples such as tool libraries and atypical resources offered by libraries such as bicycles, creator space equipment, technology equipment, and the like, we will consider what we have learned with regard to user needs and expectations.

Collecting and Connecting: Unusual Collections in Public and Academic Libraries
Presented by Anne Drozd, Museum Coordinator at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, The Ohio State University 

What does a theremin have in common with a sewing machine and original Calvin and Hobbes art by Bill Watterson? All are objects that libraries collect—and sometimes even make available for patrons to borrow! Why are these things in libraries and how do you manage them? When should they circulate and when should they be part of a special collection? Let’s talk about the process of selecting, cataloging, and circulating realia and things. We will also explore how partnerships with local organizations, exhibitions, and events can help connect patrons and researchers with your collections.   

Panel discussion with librarians from Akron Summit County Public Library, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Public Library, and Columbus College of Art & Design

We will close the afternoon with a panel discussion representing multiple area libraries, both public and academic with both circulating and closed collections containing non-traditional resources. Panelists will attempt to answer attendees’ questions citing specific examples from their personal projects. What are you cataloging?

Registration is now open for Wrangling Realia and Other Random Resources.  All are welcome; membership is conferred on all attendees.

Save the Date: NOTSL Fall Meeting

September 17, 2019
NOTSL Fall Meeting will be held on Monday, November 4, 2019
Registration will open soon

The Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians’ Fall meeting, Wrangling Realia and Other Resources, will be held on November 4, 2019, at the Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium. Our featured speaker will be Bobby Bothmann, Metadata & Emerging Technologies Librarian at Minnesota State University, Mankato. We will discuss traditional cataloging and processing procedures and how they apply to “Things.” Please watch for a detailed announcement soon.

Spring 2019 Meeting

April 15, 2019

Can a Catalog Spark Joy? Catalog Maintenance for Management and Migration

Cuyahoga County Public Library | Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium
2121 Snow Rd. | Parma, OH 44134
Registration and light refreshments: 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Program: 9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Thursday, May 23, 2019
Deadline to register was Friday, May 17

Links to Presentations:
Kyle Banerjee: Connecting the Past to the Future
Sarah Weeks: Tidied Treasures or Hoarders House
Anna Hood: Ready, Steady, Go!
Leslie Engelson: How Metadata Management Is Like Housekeeping and How to Manage It
Roman Panchyshyn: Keeping Our Data Clean

Step 1: Registration
Registration is now closed

Step 2: Payment
Payment is now closed

NOTSL is pleased to welcome the following speakers and their presentations:

Connecting the Past to the Future
Presented by Kyle Banerjee, Digital Collections and Metadata Librarian, Oregon Health & Science University

Migrations are challenging because their purpose is to use old data to provide services that might not have even been imagined at the time they were implemented. Modern libraries and the ILSs they depend on are designed to provide centralized access to physical resources created according to a 500 year old publishing model.

However, the 21st century brought a fundamental shift in how information is used and preserved. Information is no longer centralized nor is it created, managed, or distributed according to the print model that dominated for hundreds of years.

Libraries migrate to new systems with the expectation that the new one will better meet the needs of people than the old one. This means it has different capabilities and requires different configuration, records, and fields. Even when records and fields appear similar, they use data differently. To complicate matters, migrations change everybody’s jobs and every procedure related to the old system.

Bring your ideas and questions, and we’ll examine these issues as well as discuss how mere mortals can migrate complex systems to build the services of the future!

Kyle Banerjee has over two decades of library experience, extensive systems knowledge, and has planned and written software to support ILS, digital collections, and resource-sharing systems migrations since 1996. He has published four books on digital libraries and migrations, with a fifth one on data analysis and manipulation currently in production. An avid outdoorsman, Kyle enjoys ski mountaineering, sea kayaking, and cycling.

Tidied Treasures or Hoarders House?: Best Practices for Data Management in Library Catalogs
Presented by Sarah Weeks, Associate Director of Libraries, Oberlin College

Regardless of whether or not you are facing an imminent migration, data stored in ILS systems needs consistent care and updating to best fulfill its dual purpose of connecting users to information and helping library staff make data-driven decisions. Like brushing your teeth or changing your oil, a little regular maintenance goes a long way. This presentation will cover topics including: implementing regular quality checks, local fields/codes and how to best use them, balancing national standards with local practices, authority control and keeping catalogs current, and when (and how) to finally let go of that old data you’ve been hoarding.

Sarah Weeks has worked in technical services administration for the past 10 years and her career spans both academic and public libraries. She currently serves as Associate Director of Libraries at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She began her career as a systems librarian and maintains a strong interest in library technology and data. She has also worked as a consultant for both individual libraries and consortia on issues of technical services efficiency and ILS migrations. She has a passion for getting others to see change in library technical services as a transformational opportunity for growth.  Some of her prior projects have included: acquiring and merging libraries, two consortial ILS migrations, reclassifying large collections, major deaccessioning of materials, and strategic planning paired with data-driven decision making.

Ready Steady Go!
Presented by Anna Hood, Technical Services Manager, Kent Free Library

Anna will discuss Portage Library Consortium’s recent migration to SirsiDynix Symphony from Innovative Interfaces Millennium. There were many lessons to be learned with the transfer of 14 years of data. While migration can be a stressful time, it is a wonderful opportunity to study how things have been handled historically at your institution and to take the knowledge you glean and apply it to making a fresh start. Even if you are not migrating data, learning about the importance of consistent maintenance and procedures for data care will help you create the best database possible. You will be ready for anything. After all, migration could happen to you.

Anna Hood is the Technical Services Manager at Kent Free Library. Before starting her current job in 2012, she worked at Westlake Porter Public Library as the Assistant Manager of Technical Services and at Kent State University as the Head of Serials and Electronic Resources.

How Metadata Management Is Like Housekeeping and How to Manage It
Presented by Leslie A. Engelson, Metadata Librarian, Murray State University

Housework: it is a never-ending and often thankless task. Yet people are negatively impacted when it isn’t done. Keeping a database clean often feels like doing housework. There are many factors that contribute to messy, inaccurate, and inconsistent data in a library catalog. Nevertheless, accuracy and consistency are attributes of metadata that contribute to a better retrieval experience as well as a successful migration. This presentation will identify high-value elements of bibliographic data, discuss factors that contribute to messy data, as well as measures that can be implemented to help reduce inaccuracy and inconsistency and make the housekeeping task of metadata management less onerous.

Leslie A. Engelson is a cataloging librarian who wrangles metadata to help people find the information resources they need. With over two decades of experience, Leslie knows that good metadata doesn’t come easy or quick and understands the challenges catalogers face when advocating for a quality database. Leslie’s migration experiences include moving from a card catalog to Voyager to Alma, cleaning up data along the way. When she’s not creating and cleaning up metadata, Leslie finds creative expression in quilting. Leslie is the Metadata Librarian and a certified Alma Administrator at Murray State University.

Keeping Our Data Clean
Presented by Roman S. Panchyshyn, Associate Professor, Kent State University

This presentation will focus on some of the processes we have used, and continue to use, to maintain a clean database in our local Sierra catalog. Our goal is to make the resources in our catalog as discoverable as possible in the various different platforms that our patrons use. These platforms include our local Sierra ILS, our discovery layer, and the OhioLINK central catalog.

We keep holdings in OCLC in synch with batch reclamation and with regularly scheduled updates. An RDA enrichment project insures that all MARC catalog records are RDA hybridized. We use a vendor for authority control to keep our authority files current. We run dozens of small jobs on a recurring basis to catch and clean errors or add data to various vendor records, which are loaded regularly into our catalog.

We must be cognizant of the future of our catalog, especially a future with linked data and BIBFRAME. Do we need to retrospectively add URIs to our data at this point? Are we prepared to migrate our data elsewhere when it becomes necessary? Clean data is the key to optimal performance of the catalog.

Roman S. Panchyshyn is currently Head of Cataloging at Kent State University Libraries. His interests include catalog management, RDA, and authority control. He holds a BA in East European History and MLIS from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a Grad. Dipl. in Library Studies from Concordia University, also in Montreal. He is a former chair of OhioLINK DMS, and currently serves on ALA’s ALCTS CaMMS Executive as Member-at-Large.