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The Myth and Magic of Library Systems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780081000762, 9780081000878

The Myth and Magic of Library Systems

1st Edition

Author: Keith Kelley
Paperback ISBN: 9780081000762
eBook ISBN: 9780081000878
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 15th September 2015
Page Count: 208
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The Myth and Magic of Library Systems not only defines what library systems are, but also provides guidance on how to run a library systems department. It is aimed at librarians or library administrations tasked with managing, or using, a library systems department.

This book focuses on different scenarios regarding career changes for librarians and the ways they may have to interact with library systems, including examples that speak to IT decision-making responsibilities, work as a library administrator, or managerial duties in systems departments.

Key Features

  • Provides guidance on how to run a library systems department
  • Focuses on different scenarios regarding career changes for librarians and the ways they may have to interact with library systems
  • Includes sample scenarios that speak to IT decision-making responsibilities, work as a library administrator, or managerial duties in systems departments


IT professionals in academic research libraries and library administrators.


Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • About the author
  • Preface
    • A missive to administrators
    • A missive to library IT department heads and library IT administrators
    • A missive to new librarians in IT and students
    • A missive to library school faculties and administrators
    • A missive to IT committee members and other engaged library employees
  • List of figures
  • 1: Atlantis wasn’t a magical place and library systems are just library IT
    • Abstract
    • 1.1 World building and the creation of systems
    • 1.2 How IS turned into IT
    • 1.3 Library systems are IT minus two things plus those same two things
    • 1.4 Library roles are specialized today, so are IT roles
  • 2: Creatures of ancient myth: The Titans and the systems librarian
    • Abstract
    • 2.1 In the land of the blind, the one-eyed librarian is king
    • 2.2 Even specialized MLIS programs don’t provide IT fundamentals
    • 2.3 You meant automation librarian, didn’t you? Say yes
    • 2.4 The disappearing act: Making your own position obsolete
  • 3: Customers, patrons, users, and unruly mobs
    • Abstract
    • 3.1 Ignorance, repetition, and conflicting priorities: Why the customer isn’t in charge
    • 3.2 Don’t ignore 10,000 people to serve one person
    • 3.3 Dealing with problem customers
    • 3.4 Your IT unit is a therapist’s couch and priest’s confessional
  • 4: Reading users’ minds
    • Abstract
    • 4.1 Divining what happened from incomplete information
    • 4.2 Knowing the common errors and common resolutions
  • 5: Sleight of hand: Service or the appearance of service
    • Abstract
    • 5.1 Resources versus service levels: An exercise
    • 5.2 [insert thing] as a service
    • 5.3 Tiered helpdesk, just like tiered reference
    • 5.4 Using technology the way it was intended
    • 5.5 Teach your users how to Google their own solutions
    • 5.6 Don’t share complete information, share popular information
    • 5.7 Apologize like the user is your significant other (it doesn’t matter if he or she is wrong)
    • 5.8 Pretend your user is smarter than you: Ask stupid questions
    • 5.9 You can’t over-communicate
    • 5.10 Stop the bleeding instead of applying bandages
    • 5.11 Do a thing well before you do a thing twice
    • 5.12 Do a thing well before you do more things
    • 5.13 Don’t do a thing if you can’t do it well
    • 5.14 Set your IT unit’s priorities: An heuristic for calculating impact
  • 6: Taking on apprentices: Educating your customer base
    • Abstract
    • 6.1 Prevention: You can lead a horse to water, but can you teach a user to fish?
    • 6.2 Self-documenting interfaces, teachable moments, and point of need help
    • 6.3 Train the trainer and online videos (clever ideas for lazy cheapskates)
    • 6.4 Skills and inventory assessment
  • 7: Do the impossible: Slaying dragons without time, people, or money
    • Abstract
    • 7.1 Redefine the problem
    • 7.2 Triage the hell out of the problem
    • 7.3 Solve the visible tip of the iceberg
    • 7.4 To hell with it (Or India): Outsource
    • 7.5 Whatever, just move the deadline
    • 7.6 If all else fails throw money at the problem
  • 8: Adventure party makeup: Building an IT staff
    • Abstract
    • 8.1 Looking for group: Roles that make a well-rounded organizational structure
    • 8.2 Peons, goblins, house elves, and students
    • 8.3 Automation and enterprise computing
    • 8.4 Deskside support, desktop productivity, desktop computing, and helpdesk
    • 8.5 Cloud computing and server-side computing
    • 8.6 Character classes and combining roles (you can do that, sort of)
    • 8.7 So, you’re hiring a [insert position here]
    • 8.8 Job postings: Knowing the magic words
    • 8.9 Training, professional development, and research: It’s different
  • 9: The ritual: Analyzing problems, providing solutions
    • Abstract
    • 9.1 Interview customers for their perceived needs
    • 9.2 Come up with a few pretty solutions (and one ugly one too)
    • 9.3 Project planning and management
    • 9.4 Smaller tasks and other tricks
  • 10: Arcane strategy: Following the magic rule system
    • Abstract
    • 10.1 Eliminate redundancy, but also single points of failure
    • 10.2 Make sure everyone everywhere is doing everything efficiently
  • 11: Predicting the future
    • Abstract
    • 11.1 Looking at IT’s and the private sector’s past
    • 11.2 Technology forecasts, consultants, and pundits
  • 12: They flow through us, around us, bind us together
    • Abstract
    • 12.1 Integrated library systems and the things that replace them
    • 12.2 Other library-specific software: A bestiary
  • 13: Omniscience: Knowing all things
    • Abstract
    • 13.1 Vendor webinars and conference sessions
    • 13.2 Documenting your own setup and vendor documentation
    • 13.3 Reading articles
    • 13.4 YouTube: How to do everything
    • 13.5 Knowing everyone’s job better than they do
  • 14: Superpowers you could possess
    • Abstract
    • 14.1 Soothsayer: Reading body language and microexpressions
    • 14.2 Mind control and other dark arts: The tools of persuasion
    • 14.3 Astral projection: Being physically in one place and mentally another
    • 14.4 Superhuman stamina: Long days with minimal rest
    • 14.5 Telekinesis? Solving problems by proximity
    • 14.6 Chronomancer: Manipulating time
    • 14.7 Casting mirror image: More people by using smartphones, large monitors, etc.
    • 14.8 Lifehacker. Yes, the site
  • 15: Convening the council: Meetings
    • Abstract
    • 15.1 This is your life now: Avoiding and attending meetings
    • 15.2 Scheduling methods and strategies
    • 15.3 Preparing versus winging it
    • 15.4 Running meetings
    • 15.5 Attending briefings and webinars when you already know everything
    • 15.6 Levitation: Staying above it all
  • 16: The crystal ball: Reporting, data mining, and assessment
    • Abstract
    • 16.1 Document and review everything
    • 16.2 Big data, profiles, and personalization
    • 16.3 Privacy, paranoia, and assessment
    • 16.4 Canned reports and on-demand reports
    • 16.5 Ad-hoc reports and the bane of custom local code
    • 16.6 Using UNIX command line magic to conjure instant reports
    • 16.7 Reports from the Herald: Department reports
  • 17: Spellbook: Helpful tips, strategies, and solutions
    • Abstract
    • 17.1 How budgets work
    • 17.2 Using one-time funds for IT (and when not to)
    • 17.3 Creating a technology plan
    • 17.4 Software selection methodology
    • 17.5 Flat decision-making structures: Getting a consensus
    • 17.6 Balancing incompatible policies, procedures, and contracts
    • 17.7 TCO: When technologies will save you money and when they won’t
    • 17.8 The cost benefit analysis of custom local code
    • 17.9 What to expect when you’re expecting to fail
    • 17.10 Visiting the pantheon: Things librarians think they do well but should ask IT people for help
    • Appendix: Magic words your coworkers might be misusing—an un-thesaurus
  • References
  • Index


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© Chandos Publishing 2016
15th September 2015
Chandos Publishing
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About the Author

Keith Kelley

Keith J. Kelley has recently concluded his IT career as the Director of Systems at Western Michigan University Libraries where he was also Project Manager of the libraries’ ILS replacement project. He managed the library automation group as well as the desktop computing group. He was also an IT expert-at-large for issues in the libraries’ Digitization Center, the Web Office and other areas of the libraries with complex information technology needs.

Affiliations and Expertise

Previously Director of Systems,Western Michigan University Libraries, USA

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