Ishimoto Award Goes to HCL Macro Development and Distribution Working Group

ishimoto recipients
Front row (l. to r.): Nancy Cline, Minna Popkin, Beth Flood, and Marilyn Wood. Back row (l. to r.): Elizabeth Vernon, Daryl Boone, Michael Hopper, and Sarah Tudesco.

Members of the HCL Macro Development and Distribution Working Group (MWG) are the recipients of this year's Carol Ishimoto Award for Distinguished Service in the Harvard College Library. They include: Daryl Boone, English Language Bibliographer for the Humanities; Beth Flood, Music and Media Cataloger, Loeb Music Library; Michael Hopper, Head of the Middle Eastern Division, Widener Library; Minna Popkin, HCL Macro Development Coordinator, HCL Technical Services; Sarah Tudesco, Manager for HCL Collection Logistics; and Elizabeth Vernon, Lee M. Friedman Judaica Technical Services Librarian, Widener Library.

An endowment established in 1991 by Carol Ishimoto, former Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Cataloging and Processing, annually provides a cash award and citation for creative professional achievement of a high order. The award recognizes a member or group of the professional staff who has advanced the mission of the College Library through exceptional contributions and leadership.

The Macro Working Group was selected as this year's honoree in recognition of their outstanding work in analyzing and providing solutions to longstanding issues around the use of macros in the Harvard College Library and for their exemplary team work.

Macros are small, end-user-created programs, allowing the reproduction of keystrokes, mouseclicks, and other computer functions within a single computer application or across multiple applications. They increase productivity, reduce repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) related to extensive keying and mousing, and assure uniformity and accuracy of coding, which all have obvious benefits in a library setting.

The members of the MWG began with a systematic and thorough analysis of the use of macros in the Harvard College Library, which was commended for both its unprecedented comprehensiveness and accuracy. The group also shared the information they gathered on macros, resulting in immediate improvements in macro implementation in many units.

"In addition to being tremendously useful, the group's work also elicited great enthusiasm among the staff and boosted morale by illustrating that concerns about the macro process were being addressed seriously by the Library," said Marilyn Wood, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collection Management.

After the analysis phase, the MWG formulated a set of recommendations for integrating macros into workflows throughout HCL. Their goal was to utilize the enormous reservoir of technical ingenuity that staff had invested piecemeal over the years in developing macros in isolation from each other to now set up an infrastructure that would encourage and empower staff to use their talents and creativity to develop best practices that could be used across all libraries.

"The wisdom, practicality, and cost-effectiveness of the team's recommendations and the clarity of the report were a compelling and winning combination--so much so that the recommendations were approved in their entirety by the Administration and are already being implemented," said Nancy M. Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College. "The work of the Macro Development and Distribution Working Group will have ongoing and significant impact in processing areas across HCL."