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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Spiritual progress...

Spiritual progress is like detoxification. Things have to come up in order to be released. Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface.
 
 
-- Marianne Williamson

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Once a Reference Librarian, always a Reference Point

For me, my journey as a librarian started with cataloguing work at the Institute of Education (IE), Singapore, in August 1982.

The Institute of Education Library at that time was at Bukit Timah Campus, a new home to all the teacher trainees and staff, who had fond memories of TTC (Teachers'  Training College) at Paterson campus.

Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin (1922-1983) whom I met at Paterson Campus in 1981 was the Chief Librarian who recruited me.

I was very grateful to receive a letter from IE, with confirmation for my Library post  (Assistant Librarian) one day before I took the examination in the summer of 1982.

The only condition stated in the letter was: you have to pass your Postgraduate Diploma examination before your you can report to work.

I still remember the joyful scene of sharing the good news with classmates, Ms Foo Yan Chuin and housemates Nancy Chan, Sharopa & others on that summer evening at Padan House, Aberystwyth, the night before my first examination paper for Librarianship.

After I returned to Singapore with a Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship from College of Librarianship Wales (CLW), Aberystwyth, I reported to work at IE and Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin and Mr Ng Soo Kwee were my two immediate bosses.

Before IE became NIE (National Institute of Education) in 1991, my library professional role in IE Library changed from Cataloguing to Reference in 1984, and I discovered with joy that reference work is much more interesting and rewarding than any other professional jobs in the library.

I served for 12 years at Reference in NIE Library, and a lot more roles were added over the decade.

I learned to oversee the Readers Services which includes circulation (loan issues), membership services, user education, library promotion and exhibitions, etc...

Conducting instructional programmes for different user groups, i.e., PGDE, HOD, Master In Education, Ph.D candidates and academic staff etc... became my working routine which I enjoyed very much.
In these 12 years of reference journey in IE/NIE, I was supported by my successor in Cataloguing Unit, Ms Yvonne Yin, who did the job with great insight and enthusiasm.

Yvonne's interest in reading and knowledge of history and many other subjects, like sports, made her a great counterpart to work with.  I frequently solved my reference puzzles and answered my reference enquiries with her help.

I am very grateful to her for her quick response whenever I see the need to correct or amend entries in some cataloguing records.

Two heads are always better than one, and we always look forward to sharing and unlocking our thoughts over the short 15 minutes tea break in the morning and in the afternoon on most working days!
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I am grateful to Mr Jim Davies and Mr Ng Soo Kwee for their recommendations for me to pursue the Masters Degree in Information Science at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee from 1989 to 1990.  With the added academic credentials, I started to explore and expand online searching using Dialog Information Service and spent a lot of time searching ERIC database and Dissertations Abstracts. 

The standing order to purchase and subscribe to microfiche ED (Eric Documents) collection was then introduced in NIE Library with the recommendation of Mr Philip Wong, NICER, PS (Psychology Studies) Department, NIE. NIE became the first library in the Southeast Asia region to house the ERIC Documents produced by 16 ERIC Clearinghouses from the USA.

Before the ED standing order were initiated in 1991/2?, NIE Library only purchased print or microform (microfiche or microfilm) copies of ED based on users' request.

Even with the help of email, which was just starting to be a popular means of communication, items ordered via email were still being shipped by surface mail/post.  Usually, there was a waiting time of over 2-4 weeks before the item arrived.  It was rather hard for some research projects which had pressing needs in terms of time frame.
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In April 1996, I joined Temasek Polytechnic and became a lecturer in the Department of Information Studies, ITAS (School of Information Technology and Applied Science). The course I was first involved in was RTK (Recording and Transferring of Knowledge), which covered over 10 citation formats, like books (monographs or monograph series), newspapers and journal articles, conference proceedings, patents documents, legal documents like white papers, bills and acts etc... 

To me, the contents of RTK were like the by-products of cataloguing and reference works with more varieties in terms of document types.  In compiling the course materials and notes for RTK, my years of experience in cataloguing and reference at IE/NIE became very handy and useful.

Knowledge accumulated through years of working in the library, be it over the reference desk or in the technical service, all will come in handy when you need it.
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I enjoyed having a cataloguing mindset, with the complex rules of AACR2 as our bible.

The clear and strict rules helped to create order in bibliographic control and I am grateful to have all the long hours of coaching at Paterson Campus by Mr Ng Soo Kwee, the Chief Cataloguer and Head of Technical services before I went for my first overseas course, even though I was not an IE staff, way back in July 1981.

As someone who was on "pre-course attachment" before I went for UK studies, I was very much amazed by the contents of the 3" by 5" catalogue card, of which main entry was created and added entries were added by duplicating the same white card using stencilling machines.

With the two weeks of the pre-course attachment in IE at Paterson Campus, I gained some basic understand of library work, and the study in Wales added the foundation in Librarianship and allowed me to sail far in the ocean of knowledge world.

=====

I enjoyed Cataloguing work and saw the beauty of the MARC coding format. Nevertheless, I identified myself more as a reference librarian than as a cataloguer.

In the small library circle in Singapore, among peers and counterparts in library work, I am still being introduced as the former Reference Librarian from NIE.

By now, it has been over 20 years since I unloaded my reference title, yet from time to time, I receive reference enquiries from peers in the library circle and I am glad I can serve as a Reference Point until today.

Appended here is a write-up of a recent case:

=====

Reference & Friends [title based on the news/talk program Fox & Friends]

ReferenceFriend (RF for short): Hi Reference, I have an enquiry from a retiree who would like to contact Librarian A, who I know is also retired. I understand Librarian A wrote a short biography of the retiree's father. Do you know Librarian A personally?

Reference: No, sorry! Contact her old library, Library B!

(Library B was duly contacted, and the request kindly forwarded. Librarian A very kindly answered the enquiry, which pertained to an interview held decades ago).

The info was then relayed:

Very Grateful Enquirer: That is a real mystery solved! Thank you so much!

RF: Oh, you are most welcome, it's a small thing really --

Very Grateful Enquirer: I've got you a box of chocolates! And come over to my place for lunch! See you!

----------------------------------

RF (to Reference): ....and that's the story. Thanks so much for answering so quickly --

Reference: Hoi, I am a Reference librarian! Enquiries must be answered quickly, immediately, straightaway! Oh, I would like a write-up, please. I will give you  a whole 2 days, which is plenty time in Reference terms. Submit before the LAS AGM!

==========

Notes:

1.  Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin (1922-1983) was the University Librarian of the former University of Singapore, the predecessor institution of NUS. Mrs Wang joined the library in 1955 and retired as its head in 1978. She obtained both her MA in Political Science and Master of Librarianship from the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to that, she had worked with a leading local Chinese newspaper, Nanyang Siang Pau, as a journalist and as the head of its resource centre.

The Straits Times, in reporting her passing in 1983, described Mrs Wang as “the woman who helped build the then University of Singapore’s library into one of the best in this region.” (S.T. 11.5.1983).
Source of information:

2. Mr Jim Davies from UK was appointed as Chief Librarian of IE in 1983. He left in 1992/3?.

3. Mr Ng Soo Kwee, retired from the NIE Chief Librarian post in 1994.



RDA in MARC Bibliographic Data

To understand RDA better, I would like to recommend reading:

Cataloger's Reference Shelf
MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

RDA in MARC Bibliographic Data

http://www.itsmarc.com/crs/mergedprojects/helptop1/helptop1/variable_data_fields/rda_in_marc_bibliographic_data.htm

Here are some key components extracted from the page which I would like to focus on:

NEW for Update
Fields created or revised for RDA
Leader
0XX Fixed Field
for example:
040  Cataloging Source - $e made repeatable and code "rda" added to the MARC code list for Description Convention Source Codes to indicate the use of the RDA rules for description.  (Update 11, 2010)  Leader/18 will be coded i with RDA.

-- already records name to resource relationships using relator terms ($e) or codes ($4); see MARC Code List for Relators and RDA Appendix I
-- subfield $g (Miscellaneous information) made repeatable  (Update 19, 2014)
240  Uniform Title - subfield $g (Miscellaneous information) made repeatable  (Update 19, 2014)
250  Edition Statement - made repeatable in order to better accommodate edition statements for music and other resources cataloged according to RDA
300  Physical Description - recording carrier characteristics and RDA carrier characteristic terms in textual form.

490  Series Statement - ISSN subfield made repeatable.  (Update 10, 2009)
-- recording carrier characteristics and RDA carrier characteristic notes in textual form.
-- notes for resource to resource relationships that may exist between works, expressions, manifestations and items  (RDA Appendix J)
500  General Note - recording carrier characteristics and RDA carrier characteristic notes in textual form.
502  Dissertation Note - additional subfield specificity  (Update 9, 2008)

-- already records name to resource relationships using relator terms ($e) or codes ($4); see MARC Code List for Relators and RDA Appendix I
-- subfield $g (Miscellaneous information) made repeatable in fields 600610611630  (Update 19, 2014)
650  Subject Added Entry - Topical Term - added $g (Miscellaneous information)  (Update 19, 2014)

700-75X  Added Entry Fields  (Update 10, 2009)
-- already records name to resource relationships using relator terms ($e) or codes ($4); see MARC Code List for Relators and RDA Appendix I
-- structured access points for resource to resource relationships that may exist between works, expressions, manifestations and items  (RDA Appendix J)
-- subfield $i defined in MARC for the relationship term
-- subfield $g (Miscellaneous information) made repeatable in fields 700710711730  (Update 19, 2014)

800-840  Series Added Entry Fields - already records name to resource relationships using relator terms ($e) or codes ($4); see MARC Code List for Relators and RDA Appendix I
-- added $x (International Standard Serial) and $3 (Materials specified)  (Update 9, 2008)
-- added $5 (Institution to which field applies)  (Update 11, 2010)
-- added $7 (Control subfield)  (Update 17, 2013)
-- subfield $g (Miscellaneous information) made repeatable in fields 800810811830  (Update 19, 2014)
856  Electronic Location and Access - identifiers for resource to resource relationships that may exist between works, expressions, manifestations and items  (RDA Appendix J)
X10  Corporate Names - Subfield $c (Location of meeting) made repeatable for recording multiple location names in relation to conferences.  (Update 18, 2014)
X11  Meeting Names - Subfield $c (Location of meeting) made repeatable for recording multiple location names in relation to conferences.  (Update 18, 2014)
Many subfields $o, $u, $x, $w, and $0 - identifiers for resource to resource relationships that may exist between works, expressions, manifestations and items  (RDA Appendix J)
Current with LC's web site changes through July 30, 2014.
RDA in MARC:
MARC 21 Updates 9-18 include all changes to MARC for use with RDA approved through June 2014.
CONTENT, MEDIA, and CARRIER TYPES and CHARACTERISTICS

For examples:
RDA Content Types

RDA contains a list of English language content types for which a new field 336 was provided in MARC Bibliographic and in MARC Authority.

RDA Media Types
MARC already indicates media type in field 007/00.
RDA contains a list of English language media types for which a new field 337 is provided in MARC Bibliographic and in MARC Holdings.

RDA Carrier Types
MARC already indicates carrier type in field 007/01.
RDA contains a list of English language carrier types for which a new field 338 is provided in MARC Bibliographic and in MARC Holdings.

RDA Carrier Characteristics
MARC provides for recording carrier characteristics in textual form in Bibliographic fields 300340, and 5XX and in coded form in Bibliographic and Holdings field 007.
RDA contains lists of English language terms that can be used to express carrier characteristics and also allows expression via notes.
RDA carrier characteristic notes – MARC Bibliographic fields 500 and other 5XX
RDA carrier characteristic terms in MARC Bibliographic format
-- Field 340  Physical Medium  (new subfields)
-- New Bibliographic format fields
ATTRIBUTES of NAMES and RESOURCES
Attributes of names and titles are typically information that has been recorded in name headings (e.g., date of birth) or in uniform title headings (e.g., key for music) -- or they may have been included in a note in an Authority record for the name or title.  With RDA they may be recorded separately from the heading or as part of the heading (or both).  New fields for these attributes have been established for names and for resources (works and expressions).
New MARC Authority fields for name attributes:
New MARC Authority and Bibliographic fields for work and expression attributes:
046  Special Coded Dates  (new subfields only)
384  Key (NR)

RELATIONSHIPS
Name to resource
RDA Appendix I lists possible relationships between a resource and persons, families and corporate bodies, e.g., author, artist, cartographer.
MARC already records these types of relationships using relator terms ($e) or codes ($4) in 1XX6XX7XX, and 8XX in MARC Bibliographic and 1XX4XX, and 5XX in MARC Authority.
MARC Code List for Relators is being augmented with RDA relationships that are not already in the list.
Resource to resource
RDA Appendix J lists over 400 relationships that may exist between works, expressions, manifestations and items, e.g., dramatized as (work), indexed in (work), sequel, digest of (expression), filmed with (manifestation), reproduction of (item).
RDA identifies several methods for specifying these relationships:
-- identifiers - e.g., many $o, $u, $x, $w, and $0 subfields, and field 856
-- notes - 5XX Bibliographic and 667-68X Authority
-- structured descriptions - 76X-78X Bibliographic
-- structured access points - 700-75X Bibliographic and 4XX, and 5XX Authority
MARC addition:  $i defined for the relationship term - in Bibliographic 700-75X (see specific field) and 76X-78X (subfield $i) and in Authority 4XX and 5XX (subfield $i).
Name to name
RDA Appendix K lists possible relationships between persons, families and corporate bodies, e.g., employee, sponsor, descendent family, employer, predecessor.
MARC subfield $i added to 4XX and 5XX Authority is also used to specify these types of relationships.
MISCELLANEOUS OTHER CHANGES to MARC for RDA
Additional subfield specificity in field 502 (Dissertation Note)
ISSN subfield made repeatable in field 490 (Series Statement)
Additional codes in various 007 and 008 character positions
Field 040 $e made repeatable and code "rda" added to the MARC code list for Description Convention Source Codes to indicate the use of the RDA rules for description.  Leader/18 will be coded i with RDA.
Field 250 made repeatable in order to better accommodate edition statements for music and other resources cataloged according to RDA.
Subfield $c (Location of meeting) made repeatable in X10 (Corporate Names) and X11 (Meeting Names) fields for recording multiple location names in relation to conferences.
Experimentation with a technique for including URIs for values (no MARC content designation change).  (See Discussion Paper 2010-DP02 for general description.)


Source of information: