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Redesign of Library Workflows: Experimental Models for Electronic Resource Description

  • This paper explores the potential for and progress of a gradual transition from a highly centralized model for cataloging to an iterative, collaborative, and broadly distributed model for electronic resource description. The author's purpose is to alert library managers to some experiments underway and to help them conceptualize new methods for defining, planning, and leading the e-resource description process under moderate to severe time and staffing constraints. To build a coherent library system for discovery and retrieval of networked resources, librarians and technologists are experimenting with team-based efforts and new workflows for metadata creation. In an emerging new service model for e-resource description, metadata can come from selectors, public service librarians, information technology staff, authors, vendors, publishers, and catalogers. Arguing that e-resource description demands a level of cross-functional collaboration and creative problem-solving that is often constrained by libraries' functional organizational structures, the author calls for reuniting functional groups into virtual teams that can integrate the e-resource description process, speed up operations, and provide better service. The paper includes an examination of the traditional division of labor for producing catalogs and bibliographies, a discussion of experiments that deploy a widely distributed e-resource description process (e.g., the use of CORC at Cornell and Brown), and an exploration of the results of a brief study of selected ARL libraries' e-resource discovery systems.
  • Calhoun, Karen
  • 2000-01-01
  • Conference Paper