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Library technical services are the ongoing maintenance activities of a library's collection, including the three broad areas of collection development, cataloging, and processing. Technical services are the infrastructure that enable the user's experience of many library services.
- Identification: locating potentially worthwhile items to add to the collection.
- Selection: deciding which of the identified items to add to the collection.
- Acquisitions: securing items for the collection, including the purchase of books, databases, e-books, and multimedia materials for a library's collection.
- Cataloging and metadata tasks: creating and adapting records for library materials and licensed content, allowing users to search and discover these resources in the library catalog. These records, often based on MARC standards and available for online public access, may include descriptive elements—such as author, title, and subject—to assist users in identifying relevant resources to meet their needs.
- Organization and classification: indexing and arranging the items acquired in a manner that will aid the end-user in locating materials in the collection. Materials are often organized by established classification systems such as Dewey or Library of Congress.
- Preparation: labeling, binding, repairing, conservation, and otherwise making items ready for (and maintained during) storage in a manner that allows for easy retrieval and maintenance of what is in a collection.
- Preservation: maintaining and repairing of both print and electronic materials. The former includes repairing damaged books, binding journals into hardcover volumes, and reformatting print materials to digital. The latter includes digital curation, where archivists work to preserve electronic materials from data deterioration, and periodically migrate data from older formats to newer one.
Related systems and services
Technical services may also include a range of activities broadly related to the above core functions: from security processing (using RFID tags or similar), to interlibrary loan services, to maintaining the library's technology resources: such as servers, staff and public computers, scanners, or the integrated library system software that facilitates circulation.
- Technical Services Librarian, via LibraryCareers.org
- Evaluating Your Technical Services Department (2012) OCLC Webjunction
- Technical Services Trends (2012) OCLC Webjunction
- Resources for Technical Services to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People (2007) American Library Association
- G. Edward Evans, Sheila S. Intner, Jean Weihs Introduction to Technical Services; 7th ed. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002 ISBN 1-56308-918-1
- In Appreciation of Library Catalogers and Cataloging Standards
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