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RCL Career Resources Education: Library Technology

RCL Library Technology + Choice Titles

Library collections are moving inexorably from physical formats to electronic ones. Johnson (past president of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, and author of numerous articles and several books on collection management) offers an excellent overview of the electronic collections environment for libraries. This work addresses the new issues brought to bear on collection development by the addition of electronic formats to the mix of different physical media historically available. Many of the skills needed for collection development of physical formats remain necessary for electronic collections; these include budgeting and financial skills, knowledge of and ability to conduct business with vendors, and selection and evaluation of content. In addition to these, electronic formats require complex licenses and negotiation thereof, electronic authentication, different methods of discovery and access, and close attention to copyright and legal requirements. Johnson discusses these topics thoroughly but concisely, and provides excellent bibliographical references for further reading. This work would be most useful to librarians who are already well informed about collection development and management for physical formats, since some of the basic skills, e.g., identifying users and their needs, are lightly addressed. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students through professionals/practitioners involved with collection development.

--M. Sylvia, St. Mary's University

Given today's challenging employment environment, American Library Association editors have developed a how-to handbook for employment seekers. While the publication of books focusing on job seeking seemingly has no bounds, this volume uses the lens of research to effectively explain strategy, where one can get help, and how to help oneself find a job. Published on high-quality paper with graphically rich layouts, concise text, and numerous checklists, this handbook covers the usual topics: the hidden job market; locating current openings; developing a strong job application; industry/employer research to prepare for an interview; salaries; what to wear; and best practices for working full time to obtain a job. It lays bear the myths of online recruiting. Experience shows that the numerous lists presented "for further reading" are not very helpful due to cost or access, but they are useful to provide keywords to search the collection of a local public library. Equally valuable to both new graduates and older workers who are newly unemployed, this book can fill in gaps in knowledge or connect the dots to help readers become more effective and competitive job seekers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students, professionals, and general audience.

--J. A. Buczynski, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology

Miller (Univ. of Kentucky) has a solid foundation in technology and library science. In this survey-type work, he targets readers entering professions with an information technology component and focuses on three separate areas: hardware and protocols, design and programming, and content and information retrieval. Although the book contains solid information about the subjects presented, the broad but somewhat cursory style of the text is both a positive and a negative. Miller provides real-world examples of code, Web pages, and schematics which add to the depth of the material without being overly specific. To balance out the superficial treatment of some topics, the "References," "Additional Reading," and "Websites of Interest" sections at the end of the chapters provide more comprehensive coverage. The book's appendix, glossary, bibliography, and index are generally helpful. However, the glossary items use the acronym rather than the name (or both) for definitions. This book does a fine job summarizing, and familiarizing the reader with, basic technology concepts. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels of undergraduate and graduate students. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--E. J. Bollinger, Michigan State University

Outstanding Academic Title

Pity the knight-errant editor of a style manual: each time a new publication type is slain (the blog, the vlog, Twitter), a new format raises its hydra-like head. Six years in the making, this new edition of the MLA Handbook (4th ed., CH, Oct'95, 33-0646) dispatches several newfangled dragons successfully, in the clear and highly readable prose that has graced editions since the release of a simple style sheet in 1951. Several significant changes in documentation style were originally announced in last year's third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (CH, Nov'08, 46-1235). These changes include the abandonment of print as the "default" medium (each citation now must indicate the format of the work being cited), the addition of a requirement for issue number and volume, and the decision to allow URLs for online sources to be optional in citations. New formats such as graphic narratives (toons and strips) and digital files also make a first appearance. Chapters 1-4, covering, respectively, research and writing, plagiarism, the writing process, and paper formatting, have been updated with more emphasis on and examples of electronic resources. The citation examples are explained in some detail, and multiple examples are given for each publication type; particularly helpful are illustrations showing where elements of a citation appear in print and electronic sources. The editors wisely have dropped somewhat extraneous sections on selected reference sources by subject area and on alternate citation formats.

What this new version has lost in pages it has gained in bytes. Each print copy comes with a unique code that unlocks a companion Web site http://mlahandbook.org/. The site offers the full, searchable text of the Handbook, as well as three case studies showing the research and writing process and citation styles appropriate to each project. The MLA does not currently offer site licenses for this content; instead, the site suggests that librarians or instructors can use their personal codes to unlock the content in teaching situations. This textbook model of an individual login tied to a paper copy is a bit awkward for libraries and writing centers to manage, though the MLA is to be lauded for offering very low-cost access to the online format. At any cost, the Handbook is an indispensible, well-crafted update of an indispensable reference source. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers.

--B. Juhl, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Lawson, Kroll, and Kowatch (all, Univ. of Michigan) provide a useful, engaging guide for those considering a career as an information professional. Drawing on their extensive experience in information science higher education, the authors map out the many and diverse options for information professionals. The book divides the field into eight categories: "Archives and Preservation of Information," "Records Management," "Library and Information Services," "Human-Computer Interaction," "Social Computing," "Information Systems Management," "Information Policy," and "Information Analysis and Retrieval." For each of these areas, the authors provide a career map that includes educational requirements, work experience, relevant coursework, and internships, job titles, and industry areas. The career maps offer a concrete layout of the complex, evolving terrain that information professionals inhabit. The last chapter provides resources to assist readers in planning their career. The book also defines terms related to each specific field. Career planning worksheets and an appendix complete the text. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Career planning collections serving lower- and upper-division undergraduates as well as high school students.

--K. J. Whitehair, University of Kansas Medical Center

The fifth edition of this handbook is a complete rewrite of the previous edition (4th ed., CH, Jul'06, 43-6227). It is an excellent reference manual for those new to the library profession or those looking for a quick and simple refresher course on both basic and advanced aspects of librarianship. The book's title does not fully reflect what a remarkable introduction to the field of librarianship this volume is. Overall, its value lies much more in the collection of article reprints it offers than in the library statistics, facts, and information on library awards/scholarships it presents. The book is structured around ten chapters, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the profession ("Libraries," "People," "The Profession," "Materials," "Operations," "Users," "Advocacy," "Technology," "Issues," and "Librariana"). Chapter 5, "Operations," has several very good informational pieces for new administrators as well as library school students. For instance, Jean Weihs's "A History of Classification" is a wonderful summary of the hierarchies of knowledge that have existed. It would be useful for new administrators looking for scholarly support for a reclassification project, though it leaves out reference to the Pettee classification system used in US theological libraries throughout the 20th century (and still used by Australian theological schools). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and professionals/practitioners.

--E. E. Boyd, Chicago Theological Seminary