Saturday, December 7, 2013

Last Thoughts

As the semester winds down I wanted to share a few last thoughts about the entire experience as an intern. Overall, I had a very positive experience. I was offered a position as an independent contracted cataloger, one that I accepted and am very excited about. When I started the internship I had no library experience, which is why I wanted to complete an internship. During the internship I started a new job as a librarian at a healthcare consulting firm. It was a huge change from bartending and I found myself working long hours. Somehow I was able to keep up with both my job and internship, although it was not always easy. I am very glad I decided to do an internship as opposed to another class and it gave me great experience I can use throughout my career as a librarian.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No More Foreign Titles

My trepidation and a little excitement over learning how to catalog French titles was cut short. After much deliberation, Mitinet decided that both the interns and contracted employees did not have enough experience cataloging foreign titles, nor did we have proper translating tools to translate titles, subject headings, summaries, etc. So, after struggling through cataloging four French titles (probably not well) I was told to stop cataloging. Luckily, the batch that contained the French titles also contained English ones so I still had work to finish. However, this week I have not yet received new titles to catalog, mainly due to the fact that most of the incoming titles to Mitinet are foreign. I spoke with my site supervisor who assured me as soon as new titles come in the interns would be the first to receive them. In the meantime, I have been continuing research for my position paper on trends in cataloging jobs. I am currently researching other master's in library science programs' curriculum and whether or not cataloging is a required course, how many cataloging courses are offered, etc. I am finding out that while most programs don't require cataloging courses, many job descriptions mention knowledge of MARC format or experience in cataloging, even if cataloging is not the main focus of the job. Cataloging may be less important within the curriculum of MLIS programs, it is still a valuable skill in the library workforce.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cataloging in French

After the lull I recently had in my internship, things are definitely not slow now. I received my new set of titles to catalog and nine out of twelve are in French! At first, I thought maybe there was some mistake so I immediately contacted my supervisor. Recently Mitinet took on a Canadian client who needs many French titles cataloged. I don't speak a word of French, so it's a little intimidating trying to catalog the French titles. Luckily, I am in the same boat as the other interns and contracted employers so we have been emailing back and forth and sharing resources we find. For example, Canada has their own equivalent to the Library of Congress, called AMICUS. It has taken me a little while to navigate the website, but I have been able to locate several of the French titles I am working with. Normally we have a week to finish our titles, but my site supervisor is very understanding that this is a difficult week for everyone and has allowed us extra time. Slowly but surely I am cataloging my French titles, but I am relying heavily on Google translator. While this is definitely the most challenging part of the internship thus far, at least I am learning how to catalog in a foreign language and maybe even learn a word or two of French.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Technology

I have hit a bit of a lull this week with the cataloging portion of my internship. Because the department that enters our records into the database has been short staffed, I have not received any new records to catalog. Also, the staff member who sends new records to catalog has not received base MARCs. Therefore, I have not have any new records to catalog. In the meantime, I have been conducting research for my final paper. All of the Mitinet interns are required to write a position paper on a topic of our choosing. I thought it would be interesting to research careers that involve cataloging and trends related to cataloging or metadata jobs. A large portion of my research so far has been looking through job lists for jobs pertaining to cataloging or metadata. While some may feel like cataloging knowledge is no longer a necessary skill set, I have found the opposite to be true. I will report more of my findings as I continue my research.

On top of writing my paper, Mitinet is getting ready to introduce a new website that we will use in our cataloging process. We were told it should streamline the process and allow us to catalog more quickly and efficiently. My site supervisor is comparing all the intern and independent cataloging contractor schedules to set up training sessions for all of us to learn how to use the new technology. Fingers crossed it won't be too complicated!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shutdown Affecting my Internship!

Hi. Hope everyone's internships are going well. I apologize for not updating my blog as often as I would like, but I'm a forgetful person. So far, my internship has been going well. I have been cataloging titles that I am sent each week. Now that I have worked out most of the kinks with the software, I am much faster at cataloging. However, we have ran into a problem because of the government shutdown. As many of you may know, the Library of Congress is affected by the shutdown and unfortunately, the website is as well. We use the LOC website for copy cataloging and choosing subject headings. Each titles requires five to seven LOC subject headings, LOC children's, and Sears headings. Because we can't access the information through the website, this has made cataloging difficult. Hopefully our government will get their difference worked out soon and the LOC website will be back up and running.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gaining Experience

Internship update: Several weeks have gone by now since I began my internship. To date I have cataloged 20 records that were accepted by my site supervisor. I am currently working on a batch of 13 that are due by the end of the week. I feel much more confident cataloging this set of records since I feel like I have worked out a lot of the problems and issues that I had with the first batch of records.

General thoughts: I chose to do an internship instead of taking another elective because I did not have any library experience. Each semester I heard from other students about the wonderful library jobs they already had and I felt discouraged that I wouldn't be able to find a job once I graduated. As soon as I started the program I began filling out applications for various positions in libraries, mostly page or clerk positions since I did not have my degree, nor did I have any library experience. I rarely got an email back even saying the position had been filled, let alone asking for an interview. Job searching can be a tedious and discouraging process. Several times I stopped applying for jobs altogether. I was afraid I wouldn't even be able to get an internship because of my lack of experience. However, after getting an internship, I updated my resume to reflect my new position and within a month of starting the internship I was offered a job running a small, corporate library. I feel like my internship not only gave me the confidence to apply for jobs again, but also gave me that much needed experience that employers look for. I highly recommend internships for anyone struggling to gain library experience.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Beginning Stages of Work

Almost two weeks have passed since I officially "started" my internship work. Last Monday I participated in a training session to learn how to use the software I use to catalog the titles that are sent to me. The training session lasted about a half hour and went over the basics. I felt confident to start working. The next day I was sent 20 records to catalog. The turnaround time for the records is one week. It took me a little while to get the hang of it and remember all the rules I had learned in LIB 248 (Beginning Cataloging and Classification). After MANY emails to Tom and Cindy, my site supervisors, I was able to complete the records. However, even after what seemed like endless corrections and tweaks to the records, they still were not up to production standards. Tom and Cindy have been very supportive and helpful when giving me corrections, but it's easy to become discouraged. I finished all the corrections I was given and I'm waiting to hear back now if they passed standards. I have learned several things so far.
  • I am an intern. Therefore I am not expected to know everything or complete tasks perfectly the first time. An internship is a learning experience. If I already knew how to catalog perfectly, what would be the point of doing the internship?
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. My site supervisors and I probably email back and forth ten times a day. Since we're in a virtual environment I can't just walk down the hall and ask a question. The supervisors are there to help you. You're not bothering them. It's better to ask questions than do something wrong and have to go back and change everything.
  • When you start feeling discouraged, take a step back. You were chosen for the internship for a reason. If they didn't think you could do the job, they wouldn't have chosen you.
I hope all of your internships are going well so far. For those of you who are stressed like I am, take a deep breath. We'll get through the semester.