Ann Kardos (Massachusetts) #2

This is My Job


Stitched and lettered by Ann Kardos / Juggling Ostrich (PAT1307S) pattern available from DMC

“My library was moving a lot of materials off-site, and we discovered a collection of thousands of unbarcoded Rand Papers. We needed to get all of these papers barcoded and moved quickly. Per the Rand Corporation, the Papers were a product of the company from 1948-2003. They ‘captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors’ own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields.’ (see the Rand Corporation website).

One day while applying barcodes, I stumbled upon a gem entitled Optimum Maintenance With Incomplete Information (published in 1968). It made me laugh so hard, because it is the most accurate description of my job that I have ever encountered. Fixing records and problems in the catalog is not always as simple as one would hope! It can be a juggling act to diagnose what’s happening or figure out where an error is coming from. Everyone expects our catalogs to work perfectly at all times. Since many patrons think that the library catalog is like Google, they only know we exist when there are problems. We struggle to keep our balance and keep all the balls in the air so that patrons never experience any problems.”


Ann Kardos is a metadata librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This embroidery features an ostrich wearing a hat and juggling colorful balls while riding a unicycle. Around the ostrich are the words “Optimum Maintenance With Incomplete Information.”


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Unseen Labor by Ann Kardos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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