Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat

When I resigned from my previous job I said to myself: “It’s fine, now take it easy, take your time to find a new job, spend time with friends, study, relax and bla bla”. Let’s say that I gave to myself a month to find a new job and take time to settle in the new city I moved in just a couple of days ago.

Instead by the end of this month I am starting a new temporary job as Assistant Librarian in a brand new sector for me: health care libraries. How exciting! I went for my interview literally yesterday. It was absolutely fine: nice questions and a test in which I had to perform a medical literature search using ProQuest. My background is primarly about Humanities and Arts and it’s going to be interesting the fact that I have to master specific knowledge in order to support healthcare professionals. Let’s face a new learning curve.

“Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat” (Publilius Syrus) means “A man always plans one thing, and Fortune plans something else”…so true.16549085713_f4653e6596_z


Supervise: a new journey

Just a couple of weeks ago I accepted to embrace a new challenge. I am responsible for the cataloguing activities of the new collections officer that joined our team a month ago. Briefly, I am now supervising!

In the specific I am asked to teach how to amend the imported cataloguing records for DVDs, according to our cataloguing policy. Despite the task could appear limited it actual requires me a lot of planning in order to deliver it properly. I have to prepare a defined training program that does not contain neither too much information (overload) not poor explanation. Not so easy.

Before moving to the practical part (amending cataloguing records) I have to make sure that the officer understands the cataloguing activity process and the basic principles of AACR2, MARC21 that govern it.

I therefore decided to plan the first session and cover the following topics, in this way:
• Brief overview of MARC21 and AACR2
• Understanding the DVD as a specific item
• Introduction/meaning of specific MARC fields using the Cataloguing module on SirsiDynix
o 1XX/7XX [Author/Added entry]
o 245 [Title]
o 246 [Varian title]
o 260 [Publication info]
o 300 [Physical description]

Desirable outcomes of our first session:

• Awareness of the 1XX/7XX, 245, 246, 260 and 300 marc fields
• Amending imported record [practical exercise]

After the session I monitored her cataloguing work and I have to admit that I was impressed by the result. I felt extremely exhausted, teaching how to catalogue it’s really demanding. It is not only about teaching how to follow specific rules but above all developing the so called cataloguer’s judgment by understand the author’s intention and when a rule should not be followed. It definitely requires patience and hard work, but I am confident that I will transfer this skill naturally with time.

At the end, the officer was satisfied by my explanation of the whole process and I am actively motivating her to be curious and I welcome her bombarding with questions. The next session is planned the next week. Wish me luck!