Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Continuing Education in New Standards and Technologies for the Organization of Data and Information: A Report on the Cataloging and Metadata Professional Development Survey

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Continuing Education in New Standards and Technologies for the Organization of Data and Information: A Report on the Cataloging and Metadata Professional Development Survey

Article excerpt

This study uses data from a large original survey (nearly one thousand initial respondents) to present how the cataloging and metadata community is approaching new and emerging data standards and technologies. The data analysis demonstrates strong professional-development interest in Semantic Web and Linked Data applications. With respect to continuing education topics, Linked Data technology, BIBFRAME, and an overview of current and emerging data standards and technologies ranked high. The survey data illustrate that personal continuing education interests often varied from reported institutional needs. These results reflect the fact that library services and projects in these emerging areas have not yet progressed beyond the exploratory stage. They also suggest that cataloging and metadata professionals expect to be able to exercise a mixture of core professional skill sets including teamwork, communication, and subject analysis, and the ability to adapt and accommodate Semantic Web standards and technologies, digital libraries, and other innovations in cataloging and metadata services.

Seeking post-degree education opportunities is a professional fact of life for practicing librarians. The "shelf life" of the library science degree was believed to be about five years or less because of rapid advances in information echnologies. (1) The collective need to broaden and update professional knowledge and skill sets may assume even greater importance for contemporary librarians and other information professionals to meet the evolving needs and preferences of their users in a rapidly changing digital environment. Supporting professional development for cultural-heritage and information professionals has been embraced as a national issue and priority by major funding agencies such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). (2)

Accelerating changes in information standards and technologies mean continuing education needs must be adequately addressed in the cataloging and metadata community. While most initial access to library resources may be through search engines, library systems must support successful retrieval and delivery to those resources, which include library catalogs, databases, and repositories. Quality metadata are thus important in supporting library services and systems. (3) Effective, efficient information organization requires a highly trained cataloging and metadata workforce who regularly keeps their knowledge and skills current through continuing professional development in their specific areas, including, but not limited to, BIBFRAME (a proposed replacement for the traditional MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) standards) and other Semantic Web technologies. (4)

Although continuing education is more essential than ever to providing quality cataloging and metadata services, the existing literature provides little specific information on its current or emerging needs or how best to support it. A significant problem is the absence of comprehensive data that could be used to guide improvements in continuing education for the cataloging and metadata community. (5) While recent efforts have been made to promote assessment and evaluation of continuing education needs in some parts of the library profession, such as science and technology librarianship, similar efforts are noticeably lacking within the cataloging and metadata community. (6) The problem extends well beyond this community of practice. For instance, participants in the 2013 CE Summit, hosted by the IMLS and OCLC, concluded that continuing education was in disarray for the library profession and emphasized the need to foster a well-integrated system of professional development based on a new, shared vision of library professionals' educational needs and effective methods and programs to meet those needs. (7)

The purpose of this exploratory study is to report findings from the online survey that was conducted as part of the authors' four-year IMLS grant-supported project (2014-18) on continuing cataloging and metadata education. …

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