Top 10 Things I learned at IUG 2012

Posted by Ann Owen

Well, I think it is very telling that I was all gung ho about writing my Top Ten list while I was actually inChicagoat IUG 2012, but as soon as I got home and back to work, I never seemed to find the time to actually finish it.  The end of the academic year with its projects to complete and celebrations to attend flowed right into making energetic plans for the new projects to be attacked in the quieter summer.  I was gently reminded by the library director to stop cataloging books and write the promised Top Ten list!

 Here it is:

 10.  IUG is a 20-year-old ILS user group.  Think of such a group in 1992 and the issues it faced.  What a forward-thinking bevy of people!  What computer were you working on twenty years ago?

 9.  In the Millennium Acquisitions module, status “f” in the record is used  to be able to pay over and over for a particular item in order to see year by year payment history. Other learnings in this area: Do not delete an ongoing payment history.  Assign a MARC tag to order records to allow searching more specifically so that valuable information doesn’t all end up in a note field, e.g. donor info.  (I’m pretty new at working with Acquisitions and Serials so this forum at the conference was very helpful.  In contrast, I almost fell asleep in the Cataloging Forum at 7:30 in the morning.)

 8.  Identify common repetitive sequences of steps that I execute and assign macros (F1-F12) to them.  In the session “Macro Your Macros: Speed up Your Workflow” I was inspired to work on this.

 7.  New copyright guidelines were released by ARL in January 2012.  This is a code of best practices for academic and research libraries.

 6.  Hofstra University‘s new Electronic Reserve Policy for help in reviewing and updating our own:

 5.  It is being considered redundant to have supplementary class materials on both Blackboard/Moodle and e-reserves through the library catalog.  Students are going to their LMS first for everything; don’t bother putting the same materials on e-reserve too.  This observation confirmed my suspicion that this is exactly what was happening this year as our students became more comfortable with Moodle.

 4.  Check out the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment out of Saint Paul, Minnesota at  In a session on “Core Competencies for Library Staff,” this online skills test sounded like it could be very helpful for our later-in-life students who sometimes have minimal computer skills.  The assessment tool is titled  “Assessing and Building Digital Literacy Skills for Low-Skilled Adults: a Practical Approach.”

 3.  RUN ANNUAL REPORTS.  At minimum, run stats for Bibs, Items, Orders, Holdings, Patrons, and all Material Formats.  This, of course, will help with year by year comparison.  Make sure what you want to know has been coded into the fixed field data.  

 2.  Multi-colored Post-Its can simplify workflow issues with problem items.  Can it be this simple?  Color code paper to the problem it represents, e.g. Blue=No Record, Green=Call Number Problem; Pink=Barcode Error.  Learn your colors and cut down on handwritten notes all over the place.

 1.  The Kindle Fire is more desirable than the Nook [to librarians].  There were raffles of one of each during the Opening Session, the Nook being raffled first.  That says to me that the Fire was the hotter item given the logic that the best is saved for last.  

 I am supremely grateful for the scholarship that I was awarded by WILIUG (Wisconsin, Illinois IUG) that allowed me to attend this conference.  My list could have included many more than the 10 things listed here that I learned.  That equals success in my book!