Shadowing – Integrated Library Systems Administrator

July 2, 2014 3-5pm

Each Wednesday, for the next 5 weeks, I will be shadowing a librarian in different disciplines. I have truly enjoyed my internship thus far, but I am MOST looking forward to these shadowing sessions.

This week I met with Tom Campagnoli, Integrated Library Systems Administrator, which is part of the Discovery, Technology, and Publishing section of the library. Tom was an absolute pleasure to meet with! He took a very important job, that sounds a bit complicated, and broke it down for me in a way that I could understand and, most importantly, appreciate. Tom’s job cradles both the IT and library world. He is responsible for ensuring that all library systems operate properly and efficiently, which also means that when any of the systems go down he gets called in, and as Boatwright Memorial Library is a 24/7 research library for the university campus, I am sure he gets called in no matter the day or time.

A few things that Tom and I discussed were the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog), scripts, BIB#, and coding. OPAC is the online system a patron uses to find a book, journal article, movie, etc. at the library. The following web link is University of Richmond’s OPAC site: University of Richmond’s OPAC searches books, movies, and eBooks, but if a patron or student wants to find a journal article, magazine article, etc. they would use a much larger catalog; in University of Richmond’s case, this catalog is called One Search. Tom showed me the difference between the two systems: using the search word of “dogs”, the library’s OPAC returned 981 results, whereas One Search returned 6,268,206! That is a MASSIVE difference and is helpful for students to know. The library keeps track of how many searches were conducted using OPAC; Tom pulls these numbers each month. He performed this process for the month of June during my time with him. He pointed out that one item he focuses on when pulling these numbers is how many hits each search got. When a search returns zero results it receives special attention to figure out why.

BIB#’s are the unique number given to each book housed within the library. When a student or patron searches the OPAC for a book, the library’s servers search for the book’s unique id#, not the title or author. While this makes complete sense, I was not aware of it. This BIB# is part of the book’s MARC record as well, which is the cataloging system.

Scripts, scripts, scripts! For every single process there is a corresponding script. For example, when you search for a book in the OPAC there is a script that does that, then there is a script that tells the results to indicate whether the book is available or checked out, and a script that turns a checked out book a particular color, etc. This is where the IT portion of Tom’s job really gears up! He showed me several scripts, which are written in code, and it is like trying to read in another language. IT has never interested me very much, but I can now say that my interest is peaked beyond anything I could have expected out of my time shadowing Tom. He explained a lot of code for me and indicated why there are brackets around various pieces of information and why there are numbers and ampersands attached.

Not only did I learn a great deal from Tom, but I am now aware of what he does and how vital his role in the library is. If I had more than four weeks left I would love to spend more time learning more about Tom’s job.



One response to “Shadowing – Integrated Library Systems Administrator

  1. I am glad to hear your shadowing went well this week. An important job in the library making sure the OPAC is running!!

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