I'd honestly recommend just continuing to play, experiment and try
things. You don't mention programming/scripting in your initial post,
but I can promise you that it's at the core of the cat/sys intersection
you speak of.
There's a wealth of information out there on trying to start learning
this kind of thing, and I really would recommend just jumping right in
and trying. Here's where I'd start if I was coming from a cataloging
* Find a large file of MARC data (you can find free samples and files
from a number of publishers, or experiment downloading 1 by 1 over
z39.50 or OAI.
* If your not using MarcEdit already, install it and have a look at your
* If you know MARC well, and want to learn XML, download yaz, and use
yaz-marcdump to convert your marc file to MARC-XML and have a look at
that. (This is a single line typed at command prompt).
* Install a scripting environment of your choosing (I'd probably
recommend one of: ruby, perl, php or python), and the MARC
library/module/gem for it. Go here for more information on MARC
libraries, MarcEdit and sample MARC Files:
* Google "Hello World" [your chosen language], and follow the
instructions in the first couple hits you find.
* Start playing. In ruby, for example, a simple "hello-MARC-world" like
program that loops through a set of records and prints the title of each
one is 6-8 lines, from here, think about things that you might want to
dig through records for. Think about questions you might ask a file,
such as if the titles not the main entry, print me the main entry, and
try to figure out how they might work. As you find yourself having
specific questions, you'll find answers to a lot of them online, in
sample code, in Q&A forums like Stack Overflow, and on myriad blogs and
I recently stumbled across a LifeHacker thread on teaching oneself to
The last section, titled "Patience, Elbow Grease, Trial and Error" is
the core of the matter to my mind. I think this pretty much echos Devon
& Eric's responses as well. Play with things, have fun, and try not to
be intimidated. Ask questions here and read voraciously. Most
importantly, though I've already said it: PLAY, and have FUN!
Hope that helps, and have a great weekend.
On 5/6/2011 3:24 PM, Ceci Land wrote:
> Thanks Mike. That's exactly the straight up kind of answer I'm looking for. I presently work in cataloging so I find myself really interested in what I'd call the "intersection" of cataloging and systems work. But at my present library, that intersection doesn't exist, the two worlds are kept quite separate.
> I have realized that getting the degree will not likely prepare me to do the kind of work I want to do. Nor will my present job. I'm actually considering (fearfully mind you) finding some internships while I'm in school that challenge me more. I'd have to give up health insurance and take on more debt to do so though...ergo the fear.
> Thanks for your reply.
>>>> On 5/6/2011 at 2:11 PM, in message<[log in to unmask]>, "Michael J. Giarlo"<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Ceci,
> I hope you don't interpret this as a glib throwaway, but the best
> answer I've seen so far was blogged by Dan Chudnov a while back. Here
> it is:
> Worth a read, IMO!
> Best of luck to you,
> On Fri, May 6, 2011 at 15:07, Ceci Land<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hello everyone. The recent thread asking people what they would like to learn if they had the time brought another question to my mind. If you were looking to get into "this side" of the profession, what would you recommend focusing on?
>> IOW, suppose you were a current MLIS graduate student (that's me) who has a techy sort of inclination. But also assume that your current job as paraprofessional staff involves minimal computer skills, no programming or scripting and this situation will not ever change. Imagine that you've taken every programming and database class you can fit into your schedule, but you realize that course work will only take you slightly beyond a beginner level even if you make A's. (in an IS based program, not CS. I would have preferred the CS route, but work could not accommodate the class/lab time during the days)
>> How would you choose to develop your skills from "baby" level to something useful to the profession? Will developing projects on your personal time and hosting them yourself be enough to get noticed when they day comes that you graduate with your shiny new diploma? What core skills would you choose to focus on? Would you give up a secure job with benefits to find an internship that could really challenge your programming, web development etc. skills?
>> I see many people on this list with very strong skills, but in the job world, I don't see many 2nd string/entry level jobs that would allow someone to hone their skills to the level I often see here. I've been thinking that I should focus on further developing my abilities in: HTML/CSS of course, XML, XSLT, PHP, and MySQL (because they're all readily available for someone to play with despite not being employed in a systems department). It seems that anything I can learn about metadata transformations/crosswalks and RDF would be useful too. I also find some classification theories very compelling (ok, I admit that colon classification really got my attention in my first MLIS class) and found myself drawn to potentially being interested in taxonomies and controlled vocabulary. I know nothing about Drupal, but I wonder if I should include in my smorgasbord. How much is too much and where you y'all recommend I put my energy?
>> Any advice is greatly appreciated. The more specific the better. :)
Corey A Harper
Metadata Services Librarian
New York University Libraries
20 Cooper Square, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-7112
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