Research and Instruction Librarian
In addition to editing the Begley Buzz, I oversee the library's research and instruction services, including Ask Us 24/7 online research help. I can work with you to integrate library content into your in-person or online courses.
Contact me to explore options.
Wrong! We each have a different skill set. If you’ve ever found a book in the library catalog or on the shelf; or put materials on reserve, you have David Moore to thank. As SUNY Schenectady’s Technical Services and Systems Librarian, David makes everything the library owns findable by library users. Without the work David does, there would be no way to find any of the books we own.
How does David do this? David searches the largest catalog in the world, WorldCat. If he locates a master bibliographic record for the item, he makes a copy of it, and makes modifications to suit SUNY Schenectady’s needs. This might mean adding a subject heading (Children’s Literature), a genre heading (Mystery Fiction) or the Table of Contents. For each item David catalogs, he makes decisions about how to customize the record to optimize its ability to be found by SUNY Schenectady library users.
If David can’t locate a master bibliographic record for an item, then he creates a new catalog record. He creates a master record that is uploaded to WorldCat, for the rest of the world to see. Unique cataloging takes around a half an hour per title. In order to do unique cataloging, David familiarizes himself with the book, often skimming parts of it, so he can assign appropriate subject headings and the correct call number. Like most academic libraries, SUNY Schenectady uses the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Most public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System. David chooses from the Library of Congress’ standardized subject headings the ones that best describe the material.
When David is cataloging, he is creating and manipulating MARC records. MARC stands for Machine Readable Cataloging. Each MARC record is broken down into discrete fields, indicating whether the information pertains to the author (100 fields), publisher (200 fields), notes (500 fields), subject (600 fields), etc. Different types of information go in different fields. For example, a local note goes into a different 500 field than a general note does. A serials note goes into another 500 field. David knows all of this inside out.
There are also fields to indicate if an item once had a different title. This is especially important for serials. For example, if Time Magazine was once called Time, David will add this information to the MARC record. This enables users who search for Time to see that it was once called Time Magazine.
David also creates authority records for WorldCat. What is an authority record? Some authors write under many different names or use a pen name. In order to find all the works written by Megan Hall (also known as M.C. Hall and Megan Cassidy) David will create an authority record. That way, anyone doing an author search will get a “see also” note, linking them to the other names she writes under.
The library is currently in the process of migrating all its data to a new platform. David’s role is crucial to this migration, as he is currently working to clean up our existing records. For example, he is deleting obsolete collection codes (such as filmstrips and microfilm) so this information won’t appear in the new library catalog.
In addition to cataloging and migration, David has spent the past nine years supervising the weeding of the library’s book collection, to make room for the new learning commons. Weeding of library collections can sometimes alarm library users, as they believe the library is getting rid of things it shouldn’t. In fact, weeding is a routine activity in libraries. David researched industry-standard criteria for weeding, and adapted the criteria for SUNY Schenectady’s needs. The weeding criteria is clear-cut so everyone working on the weeding project follows the same criteria. As part of the weeding process, David collects and analyzes data about use of the collection. To date, we have weeded 35000 volumes.
In addition to his work at SUNY Schenectady, David is also a Civil War scholar, and has published articles and a book on Civil War history. These publications stem from David’s time working at the New York State Newspaper Project. For this state-wide project, David and other librarians visited local repositories all over New York State, and cataloged every issue of every unique newspaper. Each title was put in WorldCat, the world-wide catalog, so people in New York and around the world can find local historical newspapers. Thousands of new titles were added to WorldCat during this project.
David sums up his work as “providing access – helping students find what we buy.” Part of David’s job involves predicting what students will use. In order to do this, David studies circulation patterns, pays attention to course offerings and course outlines, and stays abreast of what is being published. According to David, one of the most fulfilling parts of his job is when he sees a student borrow a book that he’s acquired and cataloged. Part of this is helping students use our purchase on demand program. If a student identifies a book they would like the library to have, David will order and catalog the book for the student, and notify them so they can be the first one to use it after it’s been cataloged.
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You do! Below is just some of the information you can find (and reuse) from Statista, one of Begley Library's databases.