Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vendor webinars

OCLC had a webinar today. Here's the pitch:
"You are invited to attend a special program on innovative, emerging cataloging practices and trends that can help you build next-generation catalogs, expose your library's metadata and make your cataloging workflows more efficient.

Your host, Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat & Metadata Services, will offer insights on how your library can benefit from emerging cataloging innovations, including OCLC Contract Cataloging."

So a bunch of us catalogers attended this webinar. I should have known better, as I usually avoid vendor anything. But other people were sitting in, so why not?

I knew better, yet I did it anyway.

So the whole thing was about contract cataloging and Cataloging Partners. The only thing I want to say about their spiel is that OCLC apparently found, through some source, that it cost $45 per book to do original cataloging at a library. Does that sound high to you? It does to me. I make far less than $45/hour, yet it does take me about an hour or so to do a good original cataloging job, on average. While I was sitting there thinking "that seems kind", my boss turns to me and says "two years ago, we did a study on how much it cost us to do cataloging...we came up with $10/book." Which, miraculously, is also what OCLC estimates are THEIR costs for cataloging a book. Weird, right?

I knew better than to attend a vendor seminar. My notes from the webinar includes such gems as "WTF", "anti-cataloger", and "how does this relate to cataloging?" Obviously I did not get a whole lot out of it. At least it was free!

**Addendum: I know that people from OCLC read my blog. I hope this post doesn't come off as being offensive towards OCLC. Because, here's the deal: OCLC is a vendor, and it's not their fault that they are a vendor and are trying to sell products. That's kind of the whole point of their existence. And I know that. I think everyone knows that (or at least, I hope everyone knows that). Most of my commentary is directed at myself, to help me finally come to terms with the fact that I do not enjoy vendor-sponsored events. I once spent an entire day sitting at an Elsevier-sponsored event and wanted to stab my own eyes out. And it was totally not Elsevier's fault. They were all very cute and Dutch.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.