2016 event

Mashcat held a single-track, one-day conference at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, on January 13th, 2016.

Many thanks to the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science for hosting the event.


Unless stated otherwise, the license for presentation slides hosted on this website is CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Time Session Description Speaker(s)
9:15-10:15 Why Mashcat: Bringing Worlds Together (Panel) Galen Charlton, Vernica Downey, Christina Harlow and other members of the Mashcat Community.
10:15-10:45 Shall we become two-headed monsters? Cross-disciplinary and multiliteracy perspectives for Mashcat’s goals (Prepared Talk)

(slides [pptx])

Mashcat endeavors to bring together and increase the collaboration between two traditionally distinct library disciplines: cataloging and library technology. Within academia in general, similar efforts have reshaped disciplinary boundaries and created new fields. For example, in recent decades, biologists and computer scientists shifted from separate, multidisciplinary work to collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts that led to the establishment of the new field of bioinformatics. This is certainly one path that Mashcat’s efforts could take—the creation of a new library discipline of the cataloger-coder. Such an approach is not without its drawbacks and is by no means the only solution. Alternative perspectives on reducing disciplinary barriers communication and collaboration should also be considered. In particular, treating programming as a fundamental literacy suggests a means of embracing a range of skills with coding and development that exists in our current community.
Kate Deibel has had a varied career in academia working within and across many disciplines, including computer science, education, disability, design engineering, digital literacies, and now library technology. Her experiences establishing and encouraging collaboration and communication in these areas form the basis for the insights this talk will provide.
Kate Deibel
10:45-11:15 Tech-Savvy Catalogers Remediate Messy Series Fields to Alleviate Display Issues in the State University System of Florida Libraries Consortial Interface

(slides [pdf])

When the State University System Libraries of Florida (SUSLs) merged their catalogs in 2012, the series data on their bibliographic records were as different as the universities themselves as a result of differing tracings and local practices. Reconciling the data in each catalog was too large a task. Instead, the systems librarians at the SUSL’s library automation center–Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), developed a keep code which was added to each school’s series data prior to the merge. The keep code was also developed to be used to prevent the overwriting of local fields with corresponding fields in OCLC records. The SUSLs also shared a discovery interface, called Mango. The same keep codes that prevented the data from being overwritten is used by Mango to display the university’s local data. This works fine for each university’s local Mango instance. However, in the statewide instance, when there are multiple series statements, rather than choose between differing series statements or displaying multiple series statements, Mango displays no series data. The result is that the catalog’s user is left without the benefit of having access to the series data. To resolve this, a group of catalogers from different university libraries were asked to identify a way to clean up as many of the discrepancies as possible. Rather than review each record one by one, they created a process to compare the local records to their corresponding master OCLC records. Then, using scripting, they were able to execute the process and identify which of the 209,671 relevant records were acceptable for updating. By updating the records’ series statements to match the master OCLC records, the libraries can remove the local keep codes that aren’t on local fields. With the keep codes removed, the need to update the interface to display disparate series data is removed and the users are provided with meaningful series data again.
In our 20-30 minute session, we’ll talk about the skills and process that our team of tech-savvy catalogers, with support from systems librarians, used to generate the report, develop the analysis, write and test the code, and deploy it over a consortium of 12 universities and 209,671 problematic bibliographic records.
Margaret “Annie” Glerum and Ethan Fenichel
11:15-11:30 Coffee and Tea Break
11:30-12 Finding Aid-LD: Implementing Linked Data in a Finding Aid Environment (Prepared Talk)


Linked Data has become an emerging topic in the library community. Initiatives such as Bibframe, Linked Data for Libraries, and Fedora are building frameworks and infrastructure for implementing Linked Data in collection and technical services and in digital library systems. There are a few initiatives in the archives community looking at ways to implement Linked Data. Is this the route archival finding aids will be going?
Archival finding aids have come a long way in recent years, as they have been reformatted from print to PDF and HTML. Most recently, archivists have resolved to utilize XML technologies and metadata schemas (ex. EAD) in order to preserve and structure finding aids in an interoperable fashion. The next logical step is Linked Data. EAD describes and structures archival data in a way that makes archival data prime candidates for Linked Data. Why go the extra mile to publish linked data and how?
In “Finding Aid-LD: Implementing Linked Data in a Finding Aid Environment”, I will address these questions. I begin by introducing the concept of Linked Data in an archival context and defining key terms. Then, I propose a framework for publishing finding aids as Linked Data. In addition to proposing a framework, I will share and explain proof-of-concept applications of finding aids as Linked Data. Next, I will discuss advantages and challenges, as well as what it would take to publish Linked Data finding aids. Finally, I identify steps that can be taken to prepare for Linked Data in a finding aid environment.
Jacob Shelby
12-12:30 Migratory patterns… and antipatterns (Prepared Talk)

(slides [pptx])

If you’re not committing an act of Mashcat during your next systems migration, something is probably wrong!
Or to put it another way, migrations are a great opportunity for library systems people and library data people to come together to negotiate the interface between data and code. They can be lots of fun — and slightly terrifying.
Marlene Harris and Galen Charlton have over 50 years of combined experience munging library data and flipping it into new software — and new workflows — for all types of libraries. We’ll discuss patterns and antipatterns in data migration and show how successful migrations depend on getting folks talking with each other.
Marlene Harris and Galen Charlton
12:30-1:30 Lunch (on your own)
1:30-2 Mining MARC for Moving Image Data (Prepared Talk)

(slides [pptx], presentation script [docx])

This presentation will discuss the challenges of turning the content of MARC records for film and video into structured, machine-manipulable data. This talk will describe strategies used to assess and normalize information in MARC records. Finally, it will identify gaps in existing metadata standards and make recommendations for improving the usability and comprehensiveness of metadata for moving images in library catalogs. Kelley McGrath
2-2:30 Building and Rebuilding the Perseus Catalog, or CTS, Blacklight, and Github, oh my! (Prepared Talk)

(slides [pptx])

This session will discuss the iterative and ongoing development of the metadata and interface for the Perseus Catalog (http://catalog.perseus.org) with a particular focus on the collaborative work and relationship between the digital librarian, the head software developer and the digital library analyst (read developer with a different title) that went into getting the catalog online in 2013. First conceived of in 2005, with continuous data creation ongoing, the Perseus Catalog has suffered through various attempts at making its data accessible and searchable including a painful eXist experiment, a short lived eXtensible Catalog implementation, and its current instantiation using Blacklight. This talk will explore a number of aspects of the Perseus Catalog’s journey towards the light, including 1) the creation of MODS and MADS data and attempts to move towards linked data; 2) the utilization of Canonical Text Services as an overarching architecture; 3) the challenges of picking and then implementing an open source catalog system that could exploit the richness of the XML data; 4) the importance and challenges of making all bibliographic data and source code open and well documented; 5) the challenges and opportunities of building relationships between “traditional” and new professional roles created in a digital library by the need to move from closed data and services to an open collaborative environment. Alison Babeu
2:30-3:15 There’s only one rule I know of…you’ve got to be kind (Lightning Talk) In pursuit of #mashcat’s goal of bringing together metadata creators and library technologists, one key issue that needs to be addressed is creating mutually beneficial collaborations through kindness and good communication. This talk aims to build on themes from the April 2015 #mashcat Twitter chat including (but not limited to): identifying and building consensus around areas of mutual concern, jargon, effective communication, and skill sharing. Erin Leach
2:30-3:15 Library Workflow Exchange: Because we’re all tired of asking “Who has already done this?” (Lightning Talk)

(slides [pptx])

Library Workflow Exchange (http://www.libraryworkflowexchange.org/) is a website designed to facilitate the sharing of workflows and tools for library procedures, such as digital collections and metadata. Started in the summer of 2015 by two metadata librarians in their free time, it currently collects and collates current resources for metadata cleanup, digitization workflows, vocabulary reconciliation, xslt examples, and more. We are interested in developing the site more to help other librarians and library staff take advantage of existing workflows. We would like to present the site briefly and ask for suggestions, ideas, comments, and contributions from the Mashcat community. Anna Neatrour and Liz Woolcott
2:30-3:15 Value Sensitive Design (Lightning Talk)

(slides [pptx])

In multiple discussions, twitter cats, and conference presentations, the need for cataloging to understand, respect, and address issues of diversity is continually brought up. Not only do we need to re-design our cataloging methods but also the underlying technology that drives discovery. This requires navigating, balancing, and integrating diverse aspects of academics, society, and technology. This lightning talk introduces a design approach—value sensitive design (VSD)—that can help with such a design challenge. VSD emphasizes identifying and respecting human values throughout the interactions of society and technology. Using a multidisciplinary perspective that draws on philosophy, social sciences, and engineering, VSD has been applied to many domains, including city planning, assistive technologies, and Internet privacy policies. Another promising application may very well be improving cataloging’s respect for diversity. Katherine Deibel
3:15-3:30 Coffee and Tea Break
3:30-4:15 Zine Union Catalog Project with Dreams of Linked Open Data (Brainstorm forum) A group of zine librarians, catalogers, metadataists, archivists, and developers are working to create a shared library catalog for zines from libraries with disparate and sometimes nonexistent metadata schemas. These libraries are also working with similarly disparate controlled–and not so controlled–vocabularies and name authorities. So how do we bring all of this information together in one space that’s usable by anyone from “barefoot” zine librarians to research university catalogers, who may or may not have a feel for zines? And then there are the archivists with their collection-level finding aids!
Depending on attendance there could be full group or breakout sessions focused on the catalog itself and which tools we should consider, linked open data shared/editable authority files, and automating zine metadata sharing: in and out of the union catalog.
Anyway, despite the range of knowledge and skills represented in our band of zine union catalog regulars, we could use still more perspectives on how we really get this thing going. If you are a creative problem solver, zine enthusiast, LOD fanatic, or just want to hang out on the line between cool and nerdy, please join us.  
Amber Billey, Violet Fox, and Jenna Freedman
4:15-4:30 Closing Remarks

Organizers and volunteers

  • Galen Charlton
  • Ethan Fenichel
  • Christina Harlow
  • Kathryn Lybarger
  • Shana McDanold
  • Candy Schwartz (Simmons SLIS)
  • Patrick Shea (Simmons SLIS)

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