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The Myth and Magic of Library Systems

Book Description

The Myth and Magic of Library Systems not only defines what library systems are, but also provides guidance on how to run a library systems department. It is aimed at librarians or library administrations tasked with managing, or using, a library systems department.

This book focuses on different scenarios regarding career changes for librarians and the ways they may have to interact with library systems, including examples that speak to IT decision-making responsibilities, work as a library administrator, or managerial duties in systems departments.

  • Provides guidance on how to run a library systems department
  • Focuses on different scenarios regarding career changes for librarians and the ways they may have to interact with library systems
  • Includes sample scenarios that speak to IT decision-making responsibilities, work as a library administrator, or managerial duties in systems departments

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. About the author
  7. Preface
    1. A missive to administrators
    2. A missive to library IT department heads and library IT administrators
    3. A missive to new librarians in IT and students
    4. A missive to library school faculties and administrators
    5. A missive to IT committee members and other engaged library employees
  8. List of figures
  9. 1: Atlantis wasn’t a magical place and library systems are just library IT
    1. Abstract
    2. 1.1 World building and the creation of systems
    3. 1.2 How IS turned into IT
    4. 1.3 Library systems are IT minus two things plus those same two things
    5. 1.4 Library roles are specialized today, so are IT roles
  10. 2: Creatures of ancient myth: The Titans and the systems librarian
    1. Abstract
    2. 2.1 In the land of the blind, the one-eyed librarian is king
    3. 2.2 Even specialized MLIS programs don’t provide IT fundamentals
    4. 2.3 You meant automation librarian, didn’t you? Say yes
    5. 2.4 The disappearing act: Making your own position obsolete
  11. 3: Customers, patrons, users, and unruly mobs
    1. Abstract
    2. 3.1 Ignorance, repetition, and conflicting priorities: Why the customer isn’t in charge
    3. 3.2 Don’t ignore 10,000 people to serve one person
    4. 3.3 Dealing with problem customers
    5. 3.4 Your IT unit is a therapist’s couch and priest’s confessional
  12. 4: Reading users’ minds
    1. Abstract
    2. 4.1 Divining what happened from incomplete information
    3. 4.2 Knowing the common errors and common resolutions
  13. 5: Sleight of hand: Service or the appearance of service
    1. Abstract
    2. 5.1 Resources versus service levels: An exercise
    3. 5.2 [insert thing] as a service
    4. 5.3 Tiered helpdesk, just like tiered reference
    5. 5.4 Using technology the way it was intended
    6. 5.5 Teach your users how to Google their own solutions
    7. 5.6 Don’t share complete information, share popular information
    8. 5.7 Apologize like the user is your significant other (it doesn’t matter if he or she is wrong)
    9. 5.8 Pretend your user is smarter than you: Ask stupid questions
    10. 5.9 You can’t over-communicate
    11. 5.10 Stop the bleeding instead of applying bandages
    12. 5.11 Do a thing well before you do a thing twice
    13. 5.12 Do a thing well before you do more things
    14. 5.13 Don’t do a thing if you can’t do it well
    15. 5.14 Set your IT unit’s priorities: An heuristic for calculating impact
  14. 6: Taking on apprentices: Educating your customer base
    1. Abstract
    2. 6.1 Prevention: You can lead a horse to water, but can you teach a user to fish?
    3. 6.2 Self-documenting interfaces, teachable moments, and point of need help
    4. 6.3 Train the trainer and online videos (clever ideas for lazy cheapskates)
    5. 6.4 Skills and inventory assessment
  15. 7: Do the impossible: Slaying dragons without time, people, or money
    1. Abstract
    2. 7.1 Redefine the problem
    3. 7.2 Triage the hell out of the problem
    4. 7.3 Solve the visible tip of the iceberg
    5. 7.4 To hell with it (Or India): Outsource
    6. 7.5 Whatever, just move the deadline
    7. 7.6 If all else fails throw money at the problem
  16. 8: Adventure party makeup: Building an IT staff
    1. Abstract
    2. 8.1 Looking for group: Roles that make a well-rounded organizational structure
    3. 8.2 Peons, goblins, house elves, and students
    4. 8.3 Automation and enterprise computing
    5. 8.4 Deskside support, desktop productivity, desktop computing, and helpdesk
    6. 8.5 Cloud computing and server-side computing
    7. 8.6 Character classes and combining roles (you can do that, sort of)
    8. 8.7 So, you’re hiring a [insert position here]
    9. 8.8 Job postings: Knowing the magic words
    10. 8.9 Training, professional development, and research: It’s different
  17. 9: The ritual: Analyzing problems, providing solutions
    1. Abstract
    2. 9.1 Interview customers for their perceived needs
    3. 9.2 Come up with a few pretty solutions (and one ugly one too)
    4. 9.3 Project planning and management
    5. 9.4 Smaller tasks and other tricks
  18. 10: Arcane strategy: Following the magic rule system
    1. Abstract
    2. 10.1 Eliminate redundancy, but also single points of failure
    3. 10.2 Make sure everyone everywhere is doing everything efficiently
  19. 11: Predicting the future
    1. Abstract
    2. 11.1 Looking at IT’s and the private sector’s past
    3. 11.2 Technology forecasts, consultants, and pundits
  20. 12: They flow through us, around us, bind us together
    1. Abstract
    2. 12.1 Integrated library systems and the things that replace them
    3. 12.2 Other library-specific software: A bestiary
  21. 13: Omniscience: Knowing all things
    1. Abstract
    2. 13.1 Vendor webinars and conference sessions
    3. 13.2 Documenting your own setup and vendor documentation
    4. 13.3 Reading articles
    5. 13.4 YouTube: How to do everything
    6. 13.5 Knowing everyone’s job better than they do
  22. 14: Superpowers you could possess
    1. Abstract
    2. 14.1 Soothsayer: Reading body language and microexpressions
    3. 14.2 Mind control and other dark arts: The tools of persuasion
    4. 14.3 Astral projection: Being physically in one place and mentally another
    5. 14.4 Superhuman stamina: Long days with minimal rest
    6. 14.5 Telekinesis? Solving problems by proximity
    7. 14.6 Chronomancer: Manipulating time
    8. 14.7 Casting mirror image: More people by using smartphones, large monitors, etc.
    9. 14.8 Lifehacker. Yes, the site
  23. 15: Convening the council: Meetings
    1. Abstract
    2. 15.1 This is your life now: Avoiding and attending meetings
    3. 15.2 Scheduling methods and strategies
    4. 15.3 Preparing versus winging it
    5. 15.4 Running meetings
    6. 15.5 Attending briefings and webinars when you already know everything
    7. 15.6 Levitation: Staying above it all
  24. 16: The crystal ball: Reporting, data mining, and assessment
    1. Abstract
    2. 16.1 Document and review everything
    3. 16.2 Big data, profiles, and personalization
    4. 16.3 Privacy, paranoia, and assessment
    5. 16.4 Canned reports and on-demand reports
    6. 16.5 Ad-hoc reports and the bane of custom local code
    7. 16.6 Using UNIX command line magic to conjure instant reports
    8. 16.7 Reports from the Herald: Department reports
  25. 17: Spellbook: Helpful tips, strategies, and solutions
    1. Abstract
    2. 17.1 How budgets work
    3. 17.2 Using one-time funds for IT (and when not to)
    4. 17.3 Creating a technology plan
    5. 17.4 Software selection methodology
    6. 17.5 Flat decision-making structures: Getting a consensus
    7. 17.6 Balancing incompatible policies, procedures, and contracts
    8. 17.7 TCO: When technologies will save you money and when they won’t
    9. 17.8 The cost benefit analysis of custom local code
    10. 17.9 What to expect when you’re expecting to fail
    11. 17.10 Visiting the pantheon: Things librarians think they do well but should ask IT people for help
    12. Appendix: Magic words your coworkers might be misusing—an un-thesaurus
  26. References
  27. Index