The Subject Liaison's Survival Guide to Technical Services

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Subject liaisons act as a bridge connecting academic departments to the library and its services, helping facilitate instruction sessions, research support, and collection development. To be at their best in these roles, subject liaisons need a working understanding of technical services functions. This book represents the first guide to speak directly to the needs and responsibilities of subject liaisons, clearing away unnecessary information and jargon to bring them up to speed on how technical services staff get things done. Clear and concise, this guide

  • covers policy, budgets and funding, submitting orders, acquisitions ordering, processing, cataloging, deselection and weeding, and other major technical services duties;   
  • includes appropriate background information on each topic to enhance readers' understanding;
  • provides "Questions You Should Be Asking" connected to each chapter which encourage subject liaisons to be proactive in their learning; and
  • offers a glossary of common technical services terms.

Armed with this guide's targeted information, subject liaisons will be able to better position themselves to serve both instructors and the library effectively.


Chapter 1    Collection Development

Data and Information

Chapter 2    Budgets and Budgeting

Understanding Your Institution's and Library's Financial Picture


  • Sources of Funds
  • Decision Making

Allocating Funds within the Library
Communication and Timing

Chapter 3    Submitting Orders

Organizational Structure
Information and Processes
Timing Is Everything

Chapter 4    Acquisitions Ordering

Organizational Structure (Again)
Record Keeping and Communication
Ordering Processes
Timing Is Everything (Again)

Chapter 5    Receiving and Processing

Receiving and Processing Physical Resources



  • Books, Media, and Other Non-serial Items
  • Serials
  • Collection Designation

Receiving and Processing Electronic Materials



  • E-books
  • Databases and E-journals

Chapter 6    Cataloging

Copy and Original Cataloging
Enhancing Cataloging Records



  • Individual Record Editing
  • Batch Editing
  • Workflow Edits

Enhancing the Catalog Itself

Chapter 7    Collection Maintenance




  • Initiation and Planning
  • Decision Making
  • Withdrawal Processes

Location Changes
Format Updates



Krista Schmidt

Krista Schmidt has worked in libraries for 15 years and was the first dedicated subject liaison hired by Hunter Library at Western Carolina University (WCU). She currently serves as the STEM liaison and maps librarian at WCU and has spent six years on the university library’s collections advisory committee. She was named a 2013 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal.

Tim Carstens

Tim Carstens was a monographic cataloger at North Carolina State University from 1984 until 1990, when he began working for Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He has served as head of the Cataloging and Acquisitions Unit and the Content Organization and Management Department, and his responsibilities have included collection development, acquisitions, cataloging and metadata, serials, and electronic resources. He was appointed associate dean of Library Services at Hunter Library in 2014 before retiring in 2016.

”It is critical that reference librarians have a working knowledge of technical services processes. This slim volume does an excellent job of exploring that information in terms a reference librarian can understand ... Libraries should not buy a copy or two for professional bookshelves. Those that wish to empower their subject liaisons should buy a copy for each one of them, so they can make notes on the pages and keep it on their desks."
— Technicalities

”Quite comprehensive … Recommended, primarily suited for academic libraries or very large public libraries."
— Catholic Library World

”This compact guide is accessible in both language and format and fills a gap in professional literature.”

”An informative guide ... Recommended for academic and research librarians."
— Library Journal