October 8, 2013—At the September 18 Library All-Staff Meetings, topics related to Information and Technical Services (ITS) were raised. Below are thoughts in response from Scott Wicks, head of ITS.
Staffing levels at 625 Massachusetts Avenue
There are fewer permanent staff members in ITS than in the recent past. New workflows that will reduce the amount of time to perform routine tasks are being proposed to library partners, but until these can be discussed and approved, we are relying on term positions to ensure that we can stay current with material to be processed.
Skilled language subject catalogers
Harvard collects materials written in a variety of languages and often faces challenges supporting research descriptions for the full range of languages it collects, as do its peers. We, and our peers, deploy a number of methods to address the language gaps, including recruiting staff members with specific language skills, employing students with rare language skills to work with catalogers or relying on third-party cataloging agencies. Since most research libraries have similar issues, we are currently exploring opportunities to collaborate with our peers on ways to address them.
The topics Sarah Thomas was unable to cover during the All-Staff Meetings will be addressed periodically throughout the fall 2013 semester. See Thomas's comments on the role of the Library in Harvard's fundraising campaign here.