An Aspiring Serialst Marcia Tuttle 10 Jul 1995 12:56 UTC

4 messages:

Date:         Fri, 7 Jul 1995 13:12:04 EDT
From: "Enrique E. Gildemeister" <>
Subject:      Re: An aspiring serialist... (Jennifer Friedman)


Your enthusiasm and your obvious "knack" for serials come shining through
to your peers. I've found that unless I'm being interviewed by a fellow
serials-maven, I have to show restraint, mouth the cliches, and be sure to
say that my output is above average (I'm a serials cataloger) and am able
to keep it that way even when following all the standards.

Managers don't want to know about the stimulation you get from serials.
But wait a minute, did I say that? No, when you reach that point in the
interview when you and the interviewer start leveling with each other,
consider this: Most managers are terrified of serials because they are so
unmanageable and the standards are so complex. Even monograph catalogers
start to glaze over on me because of this. So let them know (maybe pick an
example of a problem and explain to them how you'd handle it). And while
I'm thinking about it, yes I do show a lot of enthusiasm even over the
minutiae of serials. Let them know that they can hand the operation over
to you (which they'll gratefully do!) and let them know that you'll take
care of it and they will love it. One caveat is the control issue. Let the
manager know that you will keep them informed and let them know that
you'll be happy to explain anything they need to know and do it in
language they'll understand. You have to take charge, and some bosses need
to be reassured that *they* are still in charge and the locus of control
is in them. I've worked for people like that, and it can be difficult.

Maybe this is a little trite, but gosh, gee, I'd hire you in a minute!
When the right situation comes around, you'll know. Go interview for jobs
you don't want and practice those confidence signals like looking them
right in the eye, but be soft about it. And most of all be sincere. You
don't want a job you had to tell lies to get; *you'll* be the one living
with the lie, because you weren't really yourself.

One last thing, be sure you get into a situation where it's considered OK
to hang out on SERIALST occasionally! I love SERIALST and good ol'

Best wishes, Jennifer!

* Rick Gildemeister                                               *
* Head of Cataloging/OCLC Enhance Coordinator                     *
* Lehman College, CUNY                                            *
*                            "Facilis descensus Averno"           *
* Voice: (718) 960-8831                                           *
* Fax:   (718) 960-8952                                           *
* BITNET:    eeglc@cunyvm                                         *
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Date: Fri, 7 Jul 1995 12:50:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: Martha Gunnarson <mg@WPI.EDU>
Subject: Re: An aspiring serialist... (Jennifer Friedman)

Jennifer, I think if you say to them what you just said to us, that
should do it. [Maybe leave out the bit about "little buggers."]   8-)

Martha Gunnarson   Technical Services Librarian - Serials   Gordon Library
  Worcester Polytechnic Institute    Worcester, MA  01609

Date:         Fri, 7 Jul 1995 11:01:37 -1000
From: Carol Schaafsma <carols@UHUNIX.UHCC.HAWAII.EDU>
Subject:      Re: An aspiring serialist... (Jennifer Friedman)

I fell into Serials rather than choosing them, but I loved them for 15
years and I've tried to analyze why, in terms that a non-serialist might

I like working with Serials because they are much like people--they come
in all sizes and shapes. Some are helpful, some are exasperating. They are
endlessly changing and always surprising. They are never boring. Once a
problem rears its head, tracking it down and solving it is akin to
detective work. It requires concentration, attention to detail and,
perhaps most rewarding, every bit of information and general knowledge
that you can muster. In order to enjoy serials work you must be able to
tolerate a high degree of ambiguity (because many questions will have only
tentative answers with varying degrees of probability) even as you
constantly strive to bring order and consistency to the Serials universe.

Serialists generally like mysteries and crossword puzzles. They like
assembling the apparently random pieces into a coherent whole. Serials
work is frustrating and exasperating, but never boring. It engages the
entire mind and stretches the imagination.

If, when faced with a mountain of work, your first reaction is to grin and
ask "Where's the shovel?", you're cut out to be a serials librarian. And
the feeling of accomplishment when the mountain has been moved (and it
will be!) is indescribable.

Carol Schaafsma
Coordinator of Collection Support Services
University of Hawaii Libraries
Phone: 808-956-2473
FAX:   808-956-5968

Date:         Sat, 8 Jul 1995 10:48:55 -0500
From: sarah tusa <TUSA@LUB002.LAMAR.EDU>
Subject:      aspiring serialist

WELL, I should have printed off those questions so I could answer them one
by one, but I'll just tell you roughly how I answered that question to get
my first professional job 5 years ago. I was fortunate to have had several
years of serials experience from a student assistant on up to an LTA.
Based on that experience, I told the interviewees that I could honestly
say I enjoy working with serials. (oops, that's interviewERS.) I said that
solving some of the problems that occur with serials (especially
automating check-in) was like working a puzzle. (That may be cliche, but
in the context of my response, it came about spontaneously enough.)

To answer another one of your questions, I had pretty much focused on two
career possibilities: serials/acquisitions or cataloging. Since I had
considerable pre-professional experience with the former, that's where I
landed. Sometimes it is rewarding to hear someone say: "I'm glad you're
handling those serials and not me."

I hope this helps.

Sarah Tusa
Serials Acqusitions Librarian