News Home RSS Feed

Monday, September 27, 2010

Metadata, Midwest Tape, and the Quest for Correctness

In a recent Publishers Weekly article, Accurate Metadata Sells Books, Calvin Reid explains that with so much information floating around it is hard to tell what product information is current and what is out of date. Enter metadata! As Reid explains, accurate metadata is absolutely crucial for the success in publishing.

Andrew Savikas, vice president of digital initiatives at O'Reilly Media, supports Reid, explaining that publishers are faced with the challenge of making sure data is accurate throughout a growing number of book formats as well as an increasing number of retail and distribution channels."It's a constant struggle to get it right," Savikas says, "but it's critical to have reliable metadata.”1

This necessity for correct metadata isn’t just for the publishing industry, though. Just as accurate metadata is essential for conducting business in the commercial realm, so is it for successfully circulating materials in libraries.

What is metadata?
Metadata is descriptive data that provides information about inventoried items, like media. Examples include a product’s title, author, ISBN, pricing, publisher name, reviews, and cover images.

Why is metadata important?
Gathered from a wide variety of sources—vendor catalogs, third party websites, product packaging–metadata aids accurate searching, cataloging, and shelving.2 Essentially, metadata are details, and details are what ensure the organized housing of information, whether print, audio, video, or digital media, in the public library domain.

How does Midwest Tape respond to bad metadata?
Due to detailed workflow processes, Midwest Tape usually doesn’t experience inaccurate metadata. However, sometimes we receive incorrect information or varied details from different sources, which can make it difficult to gauge what is truly accurate.

Therefore, all of our products go through a thorough verification process. When a product first arrives in our warehouse, we crosscheck our initial data with the information on the physical packaging. If we notice a discrepancy, we research the product—consulting additional web sources, contacting vendors, and reviewing product content—to produce more accurate inventory details and cataloging records.

Additionally, we have business relationships directly with CD vendors, audiobook publishers, and DVD media houses that provide us access to a constant and up-to-the-minute stream of information. Through frequent inventory updates, we strive to provide you the most accurate information possible. Consequently, our precise data makes it easy for you, and your library, to organize materials and to help your patrons quickly find exactly what they seek.

Occasionally, though, products with inaccurate metadata do reach libraries. If your library feels they’ve encountered incorrect data, please contact our customer service department at 1.800.875.2785. We will work with you to resolve the discrepancy.

A major benefit of our detailed information is that it allows us to offer you robust vendor records that you can download for free directly from the Midwest Tape website at any time. For more information about our cataloging options, call 1.800.875.2785 or peruse our workflow solutions brochure.

1http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publishing-and-marketing/article/43740-accurate-metadata-sells-books.html
2 http://www.niso.org/publications/press/UnderstandingMetadata.pdf

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Watch Midwest Tape's First Ever Industry News Webinar

Because so many viewers requested copies of yesterday's informative Industry News webinar, I thought I'd make those materials available on our News and Views blog.

Below is an embedded video of the Industry News webinar:

video

You can also view the webinar here, and access the PowerPoint slides as a PDF here.

We've received a lot of feedback thus far about our first ever Industry News webinar, so much so that we'd love to do another one in the future.  What industry topics would you want us to cover next?  What feedback do you have about the items we presented?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Browsability or Findability?

Guest Blogger: Patrick Steele
Patrick is the former Collection Development Coordinator for the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Patrick has worked in Acquisitions, Technical Services, and Reference departments in and around the Greater Cleveland Area.  He now serves as a library consultant for Midwest Tape.


Over the past couple of years, many libraries have experimented with putting the Dewey Decimal System on the back shelf, so to speak, in favor of organizational schemes similar to a bookstore. The Rangeview Library District in Colorado and the Maricopa County Library District in Arizona both have traded the Dewey Decimal Classification for systems based on the BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communication) subject headings used by bookstores. Such was the topic of a program at the PLA conference this spring in which both libraries presented the pros of this type of a changeover: specifically, increased browsability and a more intuitive way to find materials.

The real benefit of the bookstore method is that it requires very little previous library training or the initial need to use the catalog or even to consult with a librarian. The intuitive style is especially useful to patrons who may often be rusty in their comfort level using Dewey to find items on the shelves. They can just head directly to the shelves in the general area and begin browsing. It can be similar to going to a supermarket and finding general areas for baking, canned vegetables, and produce. I can head to the general area I’m interested in and browse until I find either what I was initially looking for or anything else that’s piqued my interest while browsing. If I can’t locate my item in that section, then I can ask a staff person for help finding it. I feel empowered to take the first step in the process. And, even more important, I feel as if I know what I am doing with the everyday skills I already possess. 

Traditional librarians can be skeptical of this type of change saying the bookstore model lacks the specificity of Dewey and that it can be harder to find materials without an exact address like a Dewey number.

An alternative solution to making a change without choosing between just using Dewey or going to a bookstore model can be the “mashup” or hybrid method in which items are gathered in broad categories similar to bookstores which encourage browsing among the patrons while maintaining the specificity of Dewey. Items are labeled with the category section as well as the Dewey number. Patrons can go to general areas such as “Home and Garden,” “Antiques and Collectibles,” or “Travel” and then browse or find specific items using Dewey numbers. The dual labeling can work for libraries with floating collections in which all branches are not using the bookstore model. 

Size and depth of the collection are also factors to consider before abandoning Dewey completely. Such boutique or bookstore collections work better in smaller, popular libraries rather than extensive research collections that truly require specificity to keep materials orderly.

It will be interesting to see how this trend continues to expand. My experience has been that library patrons just want to find what they are looking for with the least amount of stress. Librarians need an efficient way to get specific titles and to group similar items together. There are strong points to each type of system which is why I favor the hybrid in which the merits of both systems can be incorporated and provide something for everyone, hopefully increasing library usage. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?

What are your thoughts?  Which system does your library use?  Which do you prefer?

Additional Reading

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Midwest Tape Presents Free Industry News Webinar

How is your library adapting to the ever changing media marketplace and the influx of digital content?

What formats are right for your patrons and therefore worth investing in?

With the excitement of cutting-edge digital media delivery, is it true that the physical formats are a thing of the past?

Learn about these topics and many others in Midwest Tape’s first Industry News webinar. Join presenter Courtney Wolfe on Wednesday, September 22 at 1:30 EDT as she reviews statistics on library usage and discusses consumer trends and the importance of physical media collections.

Register for this free 90-minute webinar now. 

And stay tuned to News & Views as we'll provide links following the presentation to view the recording and its slides.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

T.I., Diddy-Dirty Money, Young Jeezy releases shelved

Three hotly anticipated hip-hop releases have been shelved—at least temporarily—by their respective record labels.

King Uncaged, deemed rapper T.I.’s comeback album after his release from prison earlier this year, has been put on hold and will not be released on September 28th as previously announced. According to the Rap-Up website, T.I. will be spending some time promoting his new film Takers before heading back into the studio to record some new material for his oft-delayed release1. No future release date has been set at this time.

In addition, another hip-hop-star-turned-actor has had trouble meeting scheduled release dates. Diddy’s project, Diddy-Dirty Money, originally announced their debut album, Last Train to Paris, back in May. Several months and multiple street date changes (the most recent being September 21st) later, there is still no official date set for the album’s release. Diddy, however, was recently quoted in a Wall Street Journal blog, saying that the album would be out in December “God willing”2.

Also, we have received word from Universal Music that Young Jeezy’s forthcoming release, TM 103, has been delayed indefinitely. Originally slated for a September 28th release, Jeezy recently told Billboard that the album would be his “best” album yet3.

As a result of these changes, Midwest Tape will cancel all orders for King Uncaged, Last Train to Paris, and TM 103. Be sure to check back at www.midwesttapes.com for updated release information on these three titles if and when it becomes available.

1http://www.rap-up.com/2010/08/17/ti-delays-king-uncaged-again/

2http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/09/10/fashion%E2%80%99s-night-out-diddy-and-anna-wintour-hug-it-out/

3http://www.billboard.com/news/jeezy-sets-tm103-release-date-calls-it-his-1004105091.story#/news/jeezy-sets-tm103-release-date-calls-it-his-1004105091.story

Monday, September 13, 2010

OCLC’s Public Awareness Campaign Aims to Increase Library Funding

Thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, OCLC is now able to help libraries across the nation raise awareness about public library funding and the need for local support.

Get Geeked
With the backing, OCLC was able to gage the perceptions and attitudes of public library funding at 100 select libraries. The aid also allowed OCLC to test their Geek the Library campaign, a large-scale marketing and advocacy campaign intended to increase local library support and highlight the crucial role of public libraries in today’s demanding economic environment. From this, they discovered that “targeting marketing messages to the right segments of the voting public is key to driving increased support for U.S. public libraries.”1

Now available to every library nationwide, Geek the Library provides professional guidance and the materials and resources needed to engage the public in discussions about the faltering state of local public libraries. The word “geek” acts as a verb to exemplify the fact that everyone is passionate about something – and that the public library endorses it all. Ultimately, OCLC said, “the campaign aims to reach influential members of the community, as well as key library supporters, who can help educate others regarding the future of library funding.”2

Why Now?
Diminishing funds have caused substantial budget cuts for libraries across the nation. According to The State of America’s Libraries, seven states and the District of Columbia do not provide state funding.3

Additionally, the report indicated that twenty‐four states cut funding for public libraries between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, where nearly half of the cuts were more than 11 percent.3 In some cases, these slashes came along with local level cuts.

Without libraries and proper funding, communities would be at a drastic loss. A January 2010 Harris Interactive Poll indicated that, “some 219 million Americans feel the public library improves the quality of life in their community, an increase from 209.8 million reported in 2006.”3 Traditionally, libraries were just a place for loaned materials. Now, they serve as a lifeline, providing access to government documents, technology training, and career workshops covering a wide range of topics.

Through pilot tests, Geek the Library has proven its ability to create proactive dialogue about the importance of public libraries and has successfully raised awareness regarding the lack of funding. “Combined results from field surveys, one-on-one library meetings, and qualitative and quantitative research indicate awareness and positive shifts in community perceptions," said Cathy De Rosa, global vice president of marketing for OCLC.1

For more information about implementing the Geek the Library campaign at your library, click here.

1http://www.oclc.org/reports/funding/default.htm
2 http://get.geekthelibrary.org/what-is-geek-the-library/
3http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/ALA_Report_2010-ATI001-NEW1.pdf

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Monitor New Releases with Midwest Tape’s Calendar

The Midwest Tape Calendar is a nifty addition to a librarian’s collection development tool belt. It’s easy to use as a reliable source for hot new releases across all our media formats and many collections. Let’s take a spin through the calendar tool:

Two Ways to Access
Click Calendar in the Top Navigation Bar.


Select your format of choice within Quick Links.


Two Ways to View
Choose between Calendar View and Art View to suit your page display preferences.

Calendar View

Art View

Plenty of Functionality
Use the dropdown menus in the top left of the Calendar page to select format and collection.



Mouse over titles to view product details.


Quickly identify titles in carts or on order by mousing over the symbols.


What do you think of the Midwest Tape Calendar? What collection development tool is essential for your day-to-day?