National Library of Latvia Experience Exchange Visit to the National Library of Austria

From 11-13 March 2019, three staff members from the National Library of Latvia – Liene Kalviša, Metadata Librarian; Sintija Krastiņa, Metadata Librarian; and Iveta Kurme, Head of Library System Sector – participated in an exchange visit to the National Library of Austria.

The objectives of the exchange were to

• Improve the workflows of the NLL Metadata Department, learn the experience of the RDA implementation in the bibliography and authoritative records creation, as well as with authoritative data-making process and linking the bibliographical records with authoritative data (quality control).

• Understand the level of completeness of the bibliography, taking into account the tasks of the national bibliography (NB). To find out principles of creating bibliography records for different types of materials, such as printed and e-resources, joint or defined levels of cataloguing descriptions.

• Discover the experience in the transition from Aleph to ALMA, as well as ALMA’s functionality and usability in the library’s everyday work, focusing on the bibliography and authoritative data creation.

Summary of the Exchange

The implementation project of the library system ALMA at the Austrian National Library took place from 2013 to 2017. Significantly that there was a triple simultaneous transition of system-related processes: data enrichment from RAK to RDA cataloguing standard, from MAB to MARC21 machine-readable cataloguing format and from ALEPH to ALMA. Employees had to learn many new processes at the same time.

For the successful implementation of ALMA, 32 working groups were established. Library network experts were trained to become coaches and train others. Training process consisted of self-study and on-site trainings. Self-study included training videos created by experts, “know-how” articles, practical guidelines and examples. On-site trainings included lectures, seminars, and practical sessions in the system’s test environment.

Outcomes of the Exchange

This visit gave a deeper insight into workflows of the Austrian National Library in the field of creation of bibliographic and authoritative data and the process RDF implementation. The exchange visit identified the benefits and difficulties of transition from library information system Aleph to ALMA, and searcher PRIMO.

Quotes from participants

I am grateful that CENL provided opportunity to go on the exchange trip to the Austrian National Library. It was a great professional experience. (Sintija Krastiņa, Metadata Librarian, NLL)

Three days full of meetings and discussions with staff members of the Austrian National Library about various questions regarding library systems, work organization, problems and solutions. Interesting experience and great opportunity to discuss different data related issues with respective colleagues and share our views on the related matters. (Liene Kalviša, Metadata Librarian, NLL)

The implementation of a new system is a very complicated and time-consuming process. Successful implementation depends not only on the professionalism of the system’s developers, but also on the competence of the library’s own staff. And the staff of the Austrian National Library are real professionals and patriots of their own library. (Iveta Kurme, Head of Library System Sector)