Awhile back, I wrote about a reader's advisory project I'd been working on - involving collaborative genre Prezis. At that time, I talked about how Prezi provided a great platform for the creation of online collages where students could add their own work to resources I found about specific literary genres. I also proudly announced that I'd been adding these growing collages to my MARC records so that students perusing the OPAC could happily stumble upon more information regarding specific genres.
It wasn't long after I smugly posted this info, however, before I received an email from another librarian who'd been searching my OPAC, but who couldn't see my Prezis in any records. It took awhile, but after lots of head scratching, hand wringing and tech supporting, I finally figured out how to fix the problem. (That's not to say, however, that I've fixed all my records yet, mind you - so if you decide to go searching my catalog, be patient!) In the meantime, however, I started to explore some alternative options for linking my MARC records to the genre Prezis which were really starting to take off at my school.
But... first things first. While I'm sure all of you are much better catalogers than I am, let me share that the problem with my initial attempt to link our genre Prezis to the OPAC was nothing more than human error. Turns out I was putting the links in the wrong tag. I guess this is the right time to admit that I am an abysmal cataloger. Partly this is because my cataloging instruction in library school was, frankly, abysmal. But partly, this is because I'm a rule breaker. I'm forever adding the wrong thing to the wrong tag in an attempt to make said things easier for students to search/find. Sometimes this works out for the best - sometimes not. Anyway, as I said, I'm sure you're a better cataloger than I am, but just in case, it turns out that not only is the 856 tag the spot to put online resources, but also, you need to use the U subfield in order to make the link "clickable." Who knew? (Clearly, not me!)
Before I figured that out, though, I remembered a resource that library goddess Joyce Valenza shared awhile back that allowed for the easy cataloging of web resources: web2Marc. This handy little tool is basically an online form that allows the would-be-cataloger to enter the URL of choice and some basic information about the resource - including as many searchable tags as you'd like AND even links to the Common Core Standards so that teachers can search your catalog for curriculum aligned resources. I know! Crazy! Best of all, it couldn't be easier. Truly, it only takes a click or two before you've got everything you need to update your catalog with the latest, greatest web resources.
So... which way am I adding our ever growing collection genre Prezis to my catalog? Both, of course! Again, I'm nowhere near having even a respectable chunk of my fiction collection linked to these genre resources, but I've started. AND I've cataloged all the Prezis using web2Marc - which has turned out to be incredibly popular. Last week alone two teachers stopped by to tell me about how they've been pointing students to the Prezis via our OPAC in order to help them search for books by genre. AND more and more student are starting to reference the Prezis when asking for books: either they want to know more about a book they found through the Prezi OR they want to add some artwork or a book trailer or some other stuff to the evolving collage. Either way, I love it.
Admittedly, it's take awhile to get it right, but success is worth waiting for!
Finally, I wanted to share our most recent genre Prezi - which is related to realistic fiction. I'm particularly proud of this Prezi because one of the book trailers it contains was made by some of my students. (What's more, we're currently working on a new trailer that I hope to add soon!). THIS is what I had in mind when I started this project. To me, the best reader's advisory conversations are those that continue over time, that grow based on input from both the teacher-librarian AND the student, and that both parties can take ownership of. What's more, I love that these conversatons now have an online life that continues beyond the walls of my library. So much of learning is social, global and interactive - there's no reason why our reader's advisory programs shouldn't be too.
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