It has been some time since my last post. Actually several ideas have come and gone but never seemed to formalize themselves into posts. And now it is already a new year. What are most associated with the New Year? You have probably already guessed it… yes … New Year Resolutions! Do you have any resolutions this year? What about for technical services and/or your job? One of the reasons I have been quiet is that I’ve been dwelling on an issue that I’ve spoken about before in posts. I ate with a colleague I hadn’t seen for some time over the holidays. She mentioned that it was difficult to motivate her staff to take on new responsibilities. She wanted to participate more in research data, digital scholarship, and adding descriptive information to special collections. However, her staff didn’t want to move into these areas. We all know that change is crucial for any profession to keep evolving and more pointedly stay alive. Cataloging and metadata are undergoing huge changes. BIBFRAME, RDA, or Linked Data to name a few. I know of some colleagues who are just overwhelmed by these changes and are at a loss at where to begin to understand or even implement them. No matter how comfortable we are with change, these transformations keep us alive and going. To return to my colleague, we talked about how her unit is afraid of change. We both remarked about the danger in this. That danger is called outsourcing. As many of us has seen, cataloging and metadata can be outsourced. I’m not advocating for outsourcing, that it is easy or even the best solution. Unfortunately, many of the tasks done in cataloging and metadata can be done by others. Real or not, the story of UMass Boston is a good example; it is “said” that the cataloging and metadata dept. was let go and operations were outsourced. I’m not sure if this story is true. But in a way, it doesn’t matter. The specter of outsourcing remains very real for a majority of cataloging and metadata units out there. Is it therefore necessary to take on leading or bleeding edge projects and roles? My first answer is no. My second answer is a question. What is meant by leading or bleeding edge? One of the core issues is that change is necessary. The second issue is evaluation. Are your services filling a need? And whose need are they filling?
This is a new year. And I’d like to start up this blog again. My resolution is exploration with the expectation to grow from informed transformation. I will explore not just change but skills, ideas, theories, and practice. I will also speak more about metadata and its relation to digital scholarship. Here’s to a new year!