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96th Annual Meeting


Link to recording is available now! Please login using your PTPL membership credential.

When: Friday, October 16, 2020, 10:00am-3:30pm
Where: Online

The meeting can be accessed through the conference website: You should have receive our password to access the meeting. If you have any problems logging in on Friday please contact

Price: $35

Minutes of 2019 95th Annual Meeting (draft)

Treasurer's report 10.16.2020

PTPL Nominations (2020-2022 candidates)


Critical cataloging power hour

Heidy Berthoud (Smithsonian Libraries), Whitney Buccicone (University of Virginia), Violet Fox, David Heilbrun (George Mason University)

Critical cataloging, building on decades of radical cataloging efforts, involves critical reflection on the act of creating and maintaining library metadata, including cataloging and classification structures. Not content to accept the status quo in library metadata, critical catalogers question the frameworks librarianship has built to describe resources, analyzing how those structures contribute to oppression and striving to reduce harm.

Join us for a wide-ranging conversation on the multiple facets of critical cataloging, including discussion on implementing local subject headings and changing the work culture of cataloging. We’ll share info about projects in progress involving describing digital collections and using Wikidata to perform data modeling for African ethnic groups. We’ll discuss reparative efforts to revise potentially harmful language. We’ll also talk about the urgent need for rethinking the way we think about our work in cataloging departments, including recruiting and retaining more Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the work of library metadata.

"Calling out" white nationalism in our catalogs: some suggestions

Isabel Quintana (Harvard University), Fred J. Hay (Appalachian State University)

Modern anthropology is founded on the principle that ethnocentrism is wrong. All ethnicities and races are equivalent and while their cultures and languages vary, as do some of their physical features, all are equally complex and compelling. In the United States, Franz Boas founded the discipline of anthropology on this principle. There is a body of literature that does not conform to this principle. Most of these writings are not of a scholarly nature but may still contain information of value. (Unfortunately, racism and vestiges of racism can be found throughout academe.) There are a variety of reasons why library patrons should be forewarned concerning the presence of bigotry. Professional library cataloging aims to be nonjudgmental making it difficult to “call out” racist works or those which include similarly offensive material. This presentation will show examples of blatantly racist material. We will also propose possible solutions and lead the community in a discussion to seek other ways to “call out” racist materials.

Black subject headings matter too: engineering discovery for a Black comic books collection

Steven W. Holloway (James Madison University)

JMU Libraries Special Collections is assembling a collection of trade comic books created by Black artists or inhabited by Black characters, fictitious and historical. The challenge: how do we fulfill S. N. Ranganathan's fourth law of librarianship, "save the time of the reader" without the entrapment of further tokenizing this community? We will cover options for demographic tagging in MARC 21 authority records, the linked data resources Wikidata and EAC-CPF records in SNAC, and finish with JMU Libraries' metadata decisions.

The future of patron privacy: a survey of federal data protection laws and GDPR-compliance implications for U.S. libraries in the era of COVID-19

Michael Teresa Mellifera (Catholic University of America)

Technical processing librarians frequently encounter the private information of patrons during activities including acquisition, collection development and management, organization and classification, and usage metrics and analytics. This presentation addresses the ethical dimension of patron privacy concerns in U.S. libraries, particularly in the era of COVID-19, in which multiple high-profile data breaches and privacy intrusions have renewed conversations about protecting patron privacy. Topics include the origin of patron privacy as an ALA core value; the history of privacy rights, constitutional protections, and federal data protection laws in the U.S.; the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and seven guiding principles for the processing of personal data; GDPR’s impact on U.S. libraries; and trends in GDPR-compliance in U.S. libraries in the era of COVID-19, including privacy audits, encryption and cybersecurity technologies, third party risk assessments, privacy literacy education, and demand for privacy professionals

Trials versus access during unusual times: ethical considerations when applying established collection development workflows

James Rhoades (Old Dominion University)

Librarians often work with vendors to establish trials of electronic resources, while trying to learn more about content, functionality, and utility. In many cases, professionals working with collections utilize formal workflows to guide such work. But what happens when you find yourself in a global pandemic? More importantly, what do you do when every vendor under the sun grants you temporary electronic access? Normally, such things are not included in most workflows.

This presentation will identify and carefully examine why and how, in 2019, Old Dominion University Libraries established an extensive collection development workflow guide. It will demonstrate the role and value that such a guide can provide in ethically establishing trials. It will also explore the strengths and weaknesses associated with adopting formal workflows. It will conclude with considering the ethical implications of following workflows under unusual circumstances and the potential workflows hold to efficiently impact collection development

How much is too much? PII and the LC/NACO authority file

Judith P. Cannan (Library of Congress), Paul Frank (Library of Congress)      

Providing access to information is a primary task for librarians. In the past, this information was “siloed” in library OPACs and not widely accessible outside of the library catalog itself. In the digital age, where information is openly and widely accessible to all, what are the librarian’s roles and responsibilities in providing access to information? More specifically, what about personally identifiable information (PII)? What ethical decisions need to be made before sharing this information, even when it is available, and when recording it may be allowed according to cataloging instructions? Who has the final say about what information is appropriate – the librarian or the person who claims that information? Using the LC/NACO Authority File as a case study, the presenters will discuss the ethical decisions that must be made when identifying a person in an authority record. What responsibilities must catalogers, and the broader information community, take when describing persons in the Internet age?

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