Michigan State University

Technical Services

Kay Granskog, Assistant Director

MSU Libraries' Technical Services division supports the infrastructure for organization, access, control, and discovery of the library's collection. 

We are located in the Main Library and have more than 40 staff who work to acquire, catalog, and process collected materials. Additionally, we are responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and quality of our Sierra library catalog and the Summon discovery layer. This includes bringing in and sharing out thousands of records each year. In total, our database comprises more than 9.5 million bibliographic and 3 million authority records.

Units and staff  | Procedural documentation

Get help with materials or problems

Questions or issues? Please contact one of the following:

  • Orders: Lisa Smith
  • E-resources (from vendor packages) in the catalog: Ranti Junus
  • Special cataloging needs or existing catalog record problems: Joshua Barton
  • Sierra and Summon functions and operations: Dao Gong

Get stuff cataloged

Trying to find one of us?

Recent work

Selected statistics from Technical Services (generally from FY16-17):

  • Number of items cataloged: 57,522
  • Number of orders placed: 44,074
  • Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) contributions:
    • NACO: 402 new, 119 changed
    • BIBCO: 288 new
    • CONSER: 43 new, 34 changed
  • Authority processing, Sept. 2016 - June 2017
    • Authority records loaded: 220,805
    • Bibliographic records processed: 714,110
  • E-resources
    • New and updated records loaded: 107,677
    • Total e-journal titles held/maintained: 169,011
    • Total e-book titles held/maintained: 704,786
  • Rovi Collection discs processed as of January 2018: 54,545

Special projects

In addition to the everyday work represented above, Technical Services is active in various special initiatives that improve behind-the-scenes workflows and front-end patron experiences. 

Automation in cataloging

  • Innovative cataloging automation makes it feasible to accept large gift collections, such as the 900,000+ CDs and DVDs of the Rovi Corporation’s archive; using Python and XSLT scripts, metadata mapping, and APIs to form a complex semi-automated process, MSU Libraries catalog and metadata librarians worked together to make hundreds of thousands of Rovi records available in the public catalog in a matter of months.
  • In June 2016, we implemented automated vendor authority control, and sent most of our catalog (8,313,975 bibliographic records) out for processing by Backstage Library Works. The bibliographic records were re-loaded into the catalog on August 2016, along with a new authority file of 2,792,293 records. Each bib record also received RDA-enhancements and linked data URIs for its access points. Currently, we send about 12,500 records out for processing each month.

Enhancing integrated library systems

  • The “Get It” button—part of our efforts to continually improve the online catalog—was a multi-faceted project designed to streamline circulation processes, and allows patrons to easily request materials from multiple sources.
  • Acquisitions staff assisted in the development of an ordering API with GOBI Library Solutions and Innovative Interfaces, Inc. We participated as a testing site for the development of the GOBI API, a real-time ordering process between GOBI and Innovative.

National/external collaboration

  • Resource discovery is at its best when it is viewed as a national, cooperative endeavor. MSU Libraries contributes to community efforts by: 
    • participating in the API Cooperative Cataloging Project, through which catalogers at different institutions trade work on different language materials
    • contributing to the Library of Congress’s ISNI pilot, which is exploring the work of minting identifiers for personal names
    • facilitating a number of Google digitization projects for theses and other rare materials
  • A recently awarded IMLS grant through the Michigan Department of Education is allowing MSUL to make 7,500 educational DVDs from our Rovi collection available through MelCat.

Annual goals & objectives