The often invisible labor of serials, technical services, metadata, and electronic resources workers sits in the space between required and preferred, assessment and surveillance. Although libraries and information workers did not explicitly create the systems many of us live in, we are responsible for their everyday functioning. In many ways the narratives from technical services to the library are centered in objects: item counts, COUNTER stats, door counts, discovery, and other transactional data. And yet, we are stewards and maintainers, innovators and storytellers of the countless ways these objects are experienced. How can we help our colleagues understand the outreach component of this work? How do we responsibly confront power in our systems—which often miscalculates the necessity of care in favor of the shiny? What does it mean to honor expertise behind the scenes, and how might we gain agency in our systems once more?


collections, electronic resources, labor, technical services


Cataloging and Metadata | Library and Information Science


Original Citation:

Galvan, S. (2019). More Than Things. Serials Review, 0(0), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1080/00987913.2019.1646080