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Academic Libraries: Serials Holding Display Project at University of Southern California

Article List
Academic Libraries
      Disaster Recovery at Rio Hondo Community College
      Serials Holding Display Project at University of Southern California
      Staffing Strategies in Academic Libraries

AIM in the News
      Belinda Beardt, Speaker at SBVC Fall Convocation
      Belinda Beardt, Speaker at SCALL Fall Meeting
      Linda McKell Awarded the Mark Baer Award

AIM Services
      AIM Outplacement Services

Job Search Tips
      Electronic Resume
      Frequently Asked Interview Questions
      Interviewing Tips & Techniques
      Interviewing: From Both Sides of the Table
      Networking Quickies
      Questions to Ask the Interviewer
      Resume Writing Tips
      Retooling Your Career
      The Ten Commandments of Interviewing
      What else can I do with my Library Tech degree or certificate?
      What NOT to ask during an interview?
      Where to Find Library Jobs

Professional Development
      SCHOLARSHIP TO ATTEND the Annual General Meeting of the Society of California Ar

Public Libraries
      AIM's Project Team tackles San Francisco Public Library Project
      Creative Staffing at Torrance Public Library
      Fresno County Partners with AIM
      Solano County Library Expands

Special Libraries
      Consultants Provide Solutions
      Law Libraries - Staffing Strategies
      Microfilming History
      Non-Traditional Libraries
      The Law Librarian Employment Market

Serials Holding Display Project at University of Southern California

Lynn Sipe, director of Collection Resources/IDOR for the University of Southern California, has successfully dealt with innumerable challenges during his thirty-plus-year tenure.

At the time Advanced Information Management (AIM) was called in to assist Lynn, he was facing another one of those challenges. For this problem, Lynn needed to produce a complete electronic database listing of the University's serial holdings. The new listing project was to start around the timeframe of the seismic retrofit of the seventy-year-old Edward I. Dohery Jr. Memorial Library building.

Background Information

USC libraries have approximately 80,000 serial titles, and about 16,000 of these are active. When USC Libraries made their first switch in 1994, from the card catalog system to a database-style, online system, some 300,000 records were not included in the transfer. Many of the libraries' serials collection were part of the 300,000 excluded records.

Later a contractor was hired to input the missing records into the database, but the contractor neglected the entire holdings information.

Help Wanted

The entire USC library staff was stretched with other projects, and this new project might take years. One day, while reading the school newspaper, The Daily Trojan, Lynn noticed a help wanted ad placed by AIM.

Lynn, already familiar with AIM, just needed to see that reminder, and he now knew how to handle the listing problem. AIM has extensive experience with all kinds of academic libraries, including such libraries as UCLA, Stanford University, Chapman University and Woodbury University.

An Example of AIM's Experience

Linda McKell, president of AIM, recalls a special project for Golden Gate University in San Francisco. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake had damaged the library, so the entire collection was sent to a warehouse while the library building was being repaired.

AIM provided a manager and pages to manage the warehoused collection, and services continued in the new location.

In Comes AIM

Lynn called his local AIM representatives. The AIM staff met with Lynn and worked out an approach, and then documented this information into a simple agreement.

The Retrofit Project

The library doors were closed to the public in December of 1999. The Doherty Library had always been considered an artistic and historic landmark on the campus. The contractor focused on maintaining the beautiful painted plaster ceilings and marble staircases. He took thousands of digital photographs of the original structure to preserve the architectural information.

Next the contractor inserted concrete shear walls on all floors of the building. The mechanical and electrical systems were replaced.

September of 2000

The skeleton of the library building was deemed safe enough for AIM employees to enter the building. These employees could only work certain hours and in certain locations in the building.

AIM assembled a team of seven professionals and paraprofessionals; Gerald Saunders was placed as the project leader. The serials holding display project began.

Gerald's Thoughts on this Project

Gerald knew this would be a daunting task. He said, "Just the title changes in a single journal since its inception 90 years ago meant that one item record might stand for all the holdings or that each change in title might have a separate item record."

It was indeed a complicated task.

October of 2001

Not only did the Doheny Library open its doors to the public, the Los Angeles Conservancy awarded them its annual preservation award. Included in the retrofit is a new public reading room that integrates current periodicals, micrographics and Global Express (interlibrary loan) into a single unit called the Academic Resources Gateway Office (ARGO).

January of 2002

Fifteen months after the listing project started, Gerald accepted a full-time position with USC as team leader for the Serials Acquisitions.

Often temporary assignments are used as "audition periods" to ensure a good fit with employer and employee. AIM has found that nothing beats the day-to-day work performance to evaluate potential employees.

By the end of June, USC had hired two more AIM employees.

And now...

The AIM team has completed 13,200 holdings records for the areas of gerontology; science and engineering; philosophy; architecture and fine arts; music, cinema and television; reference; and special collections.

Two more collections are in the process of being completed. That leaves only nine more collections.

Belinda Beardt

"Using outside help for special or periodic projects is an excellent use of temporaries," said Belinda Beardt, Southern California Regional Manager. "Even though academic libraries have many reasons to use the services of a professional library staffing service like AIM, they also have their challenges in getting through organizational red tape. It's been amazing to see how Lynn deals with all the budget line items and requirements."

Parting Words

Many librarians consider academic libraries as a valuable resource for finding additional information. Although academic libraries are under physical and fiscal constraints, which necessitate weeding collections down at times, it is encouraging to know that Lynn and his staff at the University of Southern California libraries are doing an outstanding job of making USC's unique store of information available. AIM is excited to have been an integral part of this special project.

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