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Library Staff Make Errors!?

From LIS News
Library Typos web page relocated
“The web page “Typographical Errors in Library Databases” is leaving its home at Quinnipiac University. This is a result of the relocation of longtime Quinnipiac automation librarian Terry Ballard to a position as Assistant Director of Technical Services for Library Systems at the New York Law School’s Mendik Library. The permanent home for the typographical errors page is now .”
“The typographical errors project started with a keyword inventory performed by Ballard at Adelphi University in the early 1990’s that uncovered nearly 1000 likely errors to be found in library catalogs. Five years later, an online group was formed that kept a master list that grew to more than 7000 entries, thanks in large measure to listkeeper Tina Gunther from Biola University. This work led to the very popular blog “Typo of the day for librarians,” which remains at .”
It’s always interesting to see the inconsistencies in data – even when done by professionals to specialized standards. I know that every conversion project I’ve ben involved in had a great deal of time invested in ‘scrubbing the data’ and making certain fields and tags consistent and more easily searchable. The older, deeper, or bigger the database, the more scrubbing that could be done. Indeed, it could be a black hole of work and a big timesink if you let perfectionism take control of your soul. Then again, libraries of programs for scrubbing data result in much better databases after a good conversion.
The personal risk in any print to digital conversion is that it can put a big magnifying glass on centuries of management and work.

Posted on: February 5, 2009, 3:42 pm Category: Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. “I know that every conversion project I’ve been involved in had a great deal …”
    Are you pulling my leg?
    No. Unless the only standard is perfection. I know iwe invested years in cleaning up the metadata for all case law in Canada and the US. Perfection was impoosble but it was much better. Then again those perfectionist folks just never get any database out the door. I have a lot of respect for the folks who clean up data. Balancing the needs of the enterprise to improve the database and actually loading and using it are special skills and in high demand.
    You’re not seriously arguing that the librarians and systems folks who scrub data are doing a lousy job, are you? It’s always sad that our profession is so full of anonymous criticism or mocks other professionals. I wonder why it attracts so many fearful folks who can’t be up front and honest with their criticism?