Professional Development

Rebecca @ SAA 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015 4:58 pm

Recently, I travelled to Cleveland for the Society of American Archivists (SAA) 2015 Annual Meeting. I found this to be a particularly engaging experience, as I am becoming more and more involved in SAA and the various interest groups. You may see two themes emerge in the blog post: web-archiving and Reference, Access, and Outreach.

My first day in Cleveland, I represented WFU and ZSR at the Archive-It Partner Meeting. You may know that Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) has been using Archive-It as a web archiving platform since 2008. I have been involved with the Wake Forest University Archives Archive-It collection and its managment since 2010 (along with Kevin Gilberston, Craig Fansler, and Stephanie Bennett). Although I wasn’t able to attend the entire meeting, I did mange to sit in on a breakout group about quality assurance that was eye opening and encouraging. Basically, the group exchanged best practices and swapped stories about the difficulty of web archiving. I got some good tips and made some good contacts that I hope will help our team fine tune our collection.

Day two was filled with the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section’s “Teaching With Primary Resources” Unconference. This was a wonderful addition to the regular SAA schedule and it has really made me think about how to “flip” the student experience in Special Collections & Archives. One example is to encourage students to use all their senses (except for taste) to describe materials they are experiencing in Special Collections. This will (hopefully) help people get past the idea that “everything is online” and have them engage with the feel of vellum, the smell of microfilm, and the look of manuscripts. I am hoping to use some of the strategies I learned in the numerous LIB100 classes scheduled in SC&A this Fall.

Day three and I started things off participating on a panel called “Big Web, Small Staff: Web Archiving with Limited Resources.” This was a terrific opportunity to engage with other archivists who are working with web archives on a smaller scale than the usual presenters. Our panel attempted (and I think succeeded) in breaking down how to implement and manage a web archive with limited resources. What made this different from other panels was that we no one presenting was from a large institution with ample staff committed to the project. Everyone on the panel was working with limited staff and funding. The panel simply explained our own best practices and encouraged the majority of the attendees who have not yet, but would like to, set up a web archiving program at their institution.

Some other sessions I attended and found very valuable were “Learning to Manage, Managing to Learn” (one of the panel members was our old friend Audra Eagle Yun!) and “Narrowing the Focus of Social Media” (featuring another former North Carolina colleague, Katie Nash). Although very different panels, I found both applicable to my work.

I have recently been elected to the Reference, Access, and Outreach (RAO) section’s Steering Committee, so spent a bit of time in Cleveland attending the SAA Leadership Oreintation and Forum as well as the RAO Roundtable meeting. I believe this is a great opportunity to get involved on a national level and have enjoyed working with RAO in the past. They have an active and engaging membership with some fantastic ideas shared at the meeting every year. I am thrilled to be able to work behind the scenes to make this even better.

Every year I find the SAA meeting to be more and more rewarding as I become more active in the profession and this year was no exception. As the current President of the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) I met up with and talked to many NC colleagues about what they are doing at their institutions. As my involvement grows beyond NC, I look forward to learning more at further SAA conferences. Thank you to the Dean’s office for funding this trip. I am happy to continue the conversation with anyone who would like to hear more about my experience at SAA.

Ellen & Tara at NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference

Thursday, August 13, 2015 2:12 pm

On Thursday, July 30, Tara Hauser and I headed for Chapel Hill and the annual NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference. This year the pre-conference and the conference were held at the UNC School of Law. We have combined our efforts to report on our experience.

Tara won the opportunity for ILLiad training at a casino night at the ILLiad Conference last March and James Harper negotiated with Atlas Systems to offer the pre-conference to ILL/Document Delivery representatives from North Carolina academic libraries.

On Thursday we attended the pre-conference, “The DIY ILLiad Tune-Up”, which was presented by John Brunswick with Atlas Systems. The ILLiad Tune-Up is needed to keep up with new enhancements that could improve services and productivity.

Different topics that were covered include routing rules, email routing and templates, Printing processes, the Database manager, Client layout customizations, Web page customization and shared servers. All of which was very helpful. All those who attended were able to get a six month subscription to the Atlas Video Training Library.

On Friday we had about 70 representatives from Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery departments across the state. Almost all were from academic institutions with one governmental librarian. The day started with some lightning round/discussion sessions about relevant topics. They were supposed to be limited to 5 minutes each but that guideline pretty much went out the window in the Q & A/discussion phase but that’s the best part about this conference; sharing discoveries, frustrations and innovations with other libraries.

Discussions included “green” and cost-saving options for packaging and the advantages of using “purchase on demand” for some items instead of ILL. Mailing and delivery options are always important in ILL departments so the UNC courier system was discussed as well as free tracking for USPS packages (even at library rates). James led a discussion on the importance of using statistics to demonstrate how ILL supports faculty as well as a session speculating on The Future of ILL and Document Delivery. After lunch there was a free discussion time. One of the main topics of the afternoon was thefts in our libraries and we found that ZSR is certainly not alone in having these problems.

This get-together is always a highlight of the year. Given the collaborative nature of ILL it’s a good time to meet with the people we depend on to help us demonstrate that ZSR Delivers.

Stephanie at NEDCC Digital Directions

Thursday, August 6, 2015 5:05 pm

Along with Chelcie, I just spent three days in Raleigh at the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s Digital Directions workshop, learning about “best practices and practical strategies for the creation, curation, and use of digital collections” – the quote is from the conference write-up and is spot on.

The conference was a good mix of high-level thinking and nitty-gritty details. I was especially happy to have the opportunity to talk with experts; a challenge with special collections is that our holdings encompass a variety of formats, including artifacts, books, papers, and various forms of audiovisual cassette, reel, and disk. I attended three sessions that discussed various aspects of audiovisual materials handling and vendor management, since these materials types are fragile and the bulk of ours are not yet digitized. As anyone who has used cassette tapes knows, AV materials have unique quirks; since digitization is the only way to preserve that content, vendors are often used to ensure quality products. In another practice-based session, the former Library Fellow for digital Special Collections at NC State University, Jason Evans Groth, described NCSU’s workflow for processing digital materials, which covers files on physical media as well as network file transfers. Archivists are responsible for preserving original records, and digital files are more difficult to keep in original condition than folders from a desk drawer.

The 30,000-foot view sessions covered a variety of topics, including copyright issues for (digital) collections, given by archivist and Berkman Center fellow Peter Hirtle, who has been a leading voice in copyright; selecting collections for digitization; and conducting risk management assessment for digital collections. Greg Colati, who leads UConn’s University Archives, Special Collections and Digital Curation unit, gave a pair of thought-provoking talks about managing digital collections for preservation and access. Those concepts are central to archives work, so I think about them a lot, but digital access and use can be very different from analog counterparts. Chelcie and I were able to have a quick probing discussion with Greg about the LSTA-funded digitization that will be taking off here soon, too, which was useful. On Wednesday afternoon, we wrapped up our Digital Directions experience with a quick visit to see NC State’s digital processing workstation, get a demo of their workflow in action, and meet the library developer who worked with Jason.

All in all, this conference provided a well-timed opportunity for me to think more deeply about how my role as Collections Archivist intersects with digital collections and digital preservation efforts. It would have been valuable had I attended solo, but being able to compare notes with Chelcie and share expertise across the days was an added bonus!

Steve at NASIG 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015 5:35 pm

Okay, so by now you know what’s coming: I apologize for being so darn late in writing this blog post. I lost my notebook! The dog ate my homework! I had to see a guy about a thing! I know there’s no good excuse for writing about a conference almost two months after it happened, but I promise I’ll not get that far behind again.

Anyway, the 2015 NASIG Conference in Washington, DC (well, technically Crystal City, Virginia, but close enough) was a very special one for me, because I served as president at this conference. Also, it was our 30th anniversary (there was a nice party to celebrate) and NASIG did its first joint program with another organization (the Society for Scholarly Publishing, or SSP) since 1992. Presiding over the conference was a fun if slightly nerve-wracking experience, as it entailed far more public speaking than I am comfortable with (for the record, I am comfortable with approximately zero public speaking, so, more than that).

Chris and Derrik have both written about the conference proper, so I think I’ll delve into the joint program with SSP a bit. Now, full disclosure, I was on the planning group that organized this event, so I might be a little biased in my reporting. The joint program was called “Evolving Information Policies and Their Implications: A Conversation for Librarians and Publishers,” and it consisted of three keynote addresses, one each by a publisher (Jayne Marks of Wolters Kluwer), a librarian (T. Scott Plutchak of the University of Alabama, Birmingham), and a vendor (Caitlin Trasande, formerly of Digital Science), a panel of two intellectual property lawyers (Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law at American University, and Michael Remington of the firm Drinker Biddle & Reath), and a closing panel with all five previous speakers.

Although each of them brought up interesting points, (especially Jayne Marks conversation about how publishers are experimenting with new models and tools for their customers, but it is difficult to fully develop them because every customer wants their products customized and personalized to such an extent that the publishers are constantly stuck in development), I will focus on Scott Plutchak’s keynote, which addressed the problems related to preserving and providing access to research data sets. Plutchak emphasized how current and trendy this issue is with the memorable phrase, “Data is the new bacon.” However, research data sets are also enormously difficult to manage. Plutchak said that managing research data sets is a “wicked problem.” This is not just a snappy way to refer to the problem, but an actual term from social planning. Wicked problems are problems that have edges that are hard to define, that require a multi-disciplinary approach, and that is probably not solvable in one permanent way, but that can be mitigated and managed (an example might be urban planning). According to Plutchak, when it comes to preserving and providing access to material, “Publications are easy, data is a beast.” One of the complicating factors is that now, not only are funding agencies often demanding data set deposits, so too are publishers, which means researchers are getting hit from both sides. Plutchak argues that managing data sets is an institutional issue, not just a library issue, and the problem can’t be handled like we do with institutional repositories for publications (which are easy, but data is a beast). To manage data sets, not only will libraries need to be involved, but also academic research offices, information technology departments, faculty, etc. If researchers are going to be successful with grants, we will need to have infrastructure, policies, and resources in place to manage their data sets.

Plutchak’s keynote address was probably the most interesting and share-worthy of the conference content I was able to attend and focus on without having to do presidenting. Between welcoming folks to the joint program, opening and closing the conference, doing a drawing at the first-timer’s reception, introducing a keynote speaker, conducting the all-conference business meeting, installing my successor as NASIG President (the intrepid Carol Ann Borchert of the University of South Florida), speaking at the 30th anniversary celebration, and conducting the NASIG Executive Board meeting (which I actually enjoyed), I was kept quite busy. But I have to say, it was very cool to be comped the hotel’s presidential suite. All in all, it was an exhausting, but extremely satisfying experierience.

Wanda at ALA 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015 3:20 pm

Everyone has posted such beautiful pictures of San Francisco. I am envious of your photographing abilities. I think for me though, it is official; I am just not a huge fan of the big city. While there the following lyrics just kept ringing in my ears. Green acres is the place for me. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan San Francisco, just give me that countryside.

Ok, so the city may have not been appealing, but the conference was great. After finishing my BCALA Executive Board responsibilities, I spent Friday afternoon in a LLAMA sponsored pre-conference entitled: “Mind Over Matter: Sustainable success for library leaders.” Presenter, Kim Nichol spoke of mindfulness as engaging curiosity in an intentional way. Mindfulness has to do with the quality of your attention, your awareness of self and of others, your ability to keep an even keel, and lastly your being responsive and not reactive. Practicing mindfulness is a necessary component for effective leadership. Mindful leaders bring their best selves to work each day. How? They recognize that they are human and so are those who work with them. We each have a human need for physical rest. We have an emotional need to feel valued, welcomed accepted and even loved. We have an intellectual need to explore, to learn and to participate in. We have a spiritual need for community, for purpose and for legacy. Being mindful of these needs and bringing them to the forefront of our daily interactions, will aid leaders in their ability to lead others. This not only ensures that they bring their best selves to work, but also those around them will be more likely to do the same.

The ACRL Personnel Administrator’s group discussed practices and timelines around academic librarian searches. Three to six months was about the average length of time for search from post to offer. Many of the practices shared were similar to those we have in place here. Such as the use of grids/metrics to evaluate each applicant by the same set of criteria. The one option discussed, not in practice here, that I found appealing was that of establishing of timelines up front. So in the beginning of the search process dates of the search committee members as well as other key players were identified and held as possible phone interview and onsite interview dates. The onsite interview dates are then shared with the applicants during the phone interview. Attendees confessed that in most cases delays around bringing candidates to campus resulted from scheduling conflicts at the Dean/Director levels. This was the one step that I thought could impact our ability to keep the search moving along. Discussion followed on the topic of when reviewing of applicants took place. Many agreed that starting the review early in the process, rather than waiting for all the applications to arrive also helped to move the search along.
Supervision of millennials in the workplace was another topic of interest. Student assistant and supervisor training were amongst the areas most in need of attention discussed. Communication, collaboration and the setting of clearly defined expectations were equally deemed as necessary components to a successful partnership. This topic was slated for further conversations.

Below is a list of the BCALA Literary Award winners. One of the winners currently works right here in North Carolina.

The winner of the 1st Novelist Award went to Forty Acres: A Thriller by Dwayne Alexander Smith (Atria Books). The Fiction category winner was Citizens Creek: A Novel by Lalita Tademy (Atria Books). Award winners for Honor Books for Fiction were, Saint Monkey: A Novel by Jacinda Townsend (W. W. Norton & Company), Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Henry Holt & Company and Ruby by Cynthia Bond (Crown Publishing Group). The winner in the Nonfiction category is Visible Man: The Life of Henry Dumas by Jeffrey B. Leak (University of Georgia Press). Leak is an associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the New South at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Honor Books for Nonfiction went to Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland with Charisse Jones (Touchstone), Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University; Building a Legacy of Black History by Janet Sims-Wood (The History Press); and The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, edited by Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn (Oxford University Press). The winner for BCALA’s Best Poetry Award is Books of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young (Knopf).

As always, I am happy to continue conversations around any of these topics, just let me know.

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:22 am
San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge seen from the Golden Gate Promenade (June 29, 2015)

Getting my feet wet with committee service (not, alas, in the Bay)

The overarching theme for my ALA 2015 was getting oriented to committee service. For the past two years, I have co-led an interest group on Preservation Metadata within the Preservation and Reformatting Section of ALCTS, which has been a great opportunity to educate myself on a narrow but pertinent subject for my work overseeing our digitized special collections. At ALA in San Francisco I led my final interest group meeting and began to serve on two ALCTS committees, which are less specialized but more broadly engaged in the profession.

This year’s ALCTS President’s Program Committee is charged with planning a day-long symposium at Midwinter in Boston, as well as the President’s Program at Annual in Orlando. The committee actually started meeting virtually before the official July 1 start date. I’m really, really excited about the speaker we’re inviting for the ALCTS President’s Program, but she (that’s your only clue) hasn’t accepted yet, so I have to stay quiet.

I’m also thrilled to join this year’s LRTS Editorial Board. As a newbie, my primary role will be to serve as a peer reviewer of submitted manuscripts assigned to me by the editor. I’m very much looking forward to participating in the process of developing our field’s body of literature from the vantage point of an Editorial Board. As a once-upon-a-time writing consultant, I believe that offering quality feedback ultimately makes you a stronger writer yourself.

ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group

As Susan mentioned, she and I both attended the ACRL Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, a newly minted interest group formed in response to the proliferation of Digital Scholarship Centers at campuses all over the map. Joan Lippincott reported on the results of CNI’s Digital Scholarship Centers Workshop, a summary and synthesis I was fortunate to hear at the CNI Fall 2014 Membership Meeting. Also presenting were Zach Coble (Digital Scholarship Specialist) and April Hathcock (Scholarly Communication Librarian) — two people who fill roles very similar to mine and Molly’s within ZSR — about Digital Scholarship Services at NYU Libraries. It was heartening to hear that our Digital Scholarship Unit at ZSR faces many of the same opportunities and challenges as their unit at NYU. We have also developed a similar suite of services with similar staffing resources. Following our unit’s retreat next Monday, we hope to have a plan to clearly communicate our unit’s identity clearly and succinctly, internally and externally.

ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group

Since I’ve been attending ALA, I’ve been attending meetings of the Digital Curation Interest Group. In fact, it’s where Molly and I met for the first time! So it was a pleasure to be one of the presenters this year — on using BiblioBoard Creator to build online exhibits of special collections materials. Thanks to our friends at BiblioLabs, we’ve gotten to play with this new product for building online exhibits almost as soon as it was on the market. Consequently, we’ve been able to offer constructive criticism during a formative stage for BiblioBoard Creator. The story I was trying to tell during my presentation was (1) engaging audiences with institutional history on- and off-campus (2) engaging students in curatorial activities and (3) seeing ourselves as development partners with BiblioLabs, in the same way that we see ourselves as members of other, open-source development communities.

Building Library Exhibits with BiblioBoard Creator from Chelcie Rowell

Sarah at the APALA 35th Anniversary Symposium & ALA Annual

Monday, July 20, 2015 11:45 am

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) celebrated its 35th anniversary with a daylong Symposium on June 25th at the University of San Francisco. ALA President Courtney Young and President-Elect Sari Feldman opened the Symposium. The keynote speaker was Valerie Kaur, civil rights lawyer and documentary filmmaker. The theme of the Symposium was “Building Bridges: Connecting Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy”. Over 100 librarians, presenters, community activists, and writers/artists/filmmakers came together to celebrate this milestone.

My term as Secretary of the APALA Executive Board ended at ALA Annual. I became well-versed in parliamentary procedures through monthly virtual Executive Board meetings, and I gave an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order for incoming Executive Board members at ALA Annual. I also served as Co-Chair of the Archives and Handbook Task Force and co-authored the APALA Operational Manual, which was approved by the Executive Board in June 2015.

It will provide a reference for the Executive Board officers and committee chairs on committee procedures and timelines as well as provide a better understanding of the organization for succession planning.

I have been a member of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee for 3 years, and we met on Saturday morning. I am continuing to monitor the STS listserv for announcements of upcoming conferences, including science librarian boot camps, and uploading the conference links to the CE Professional Development webpage. The Continuing Education Committee also co-hosts the STS Membership Breakfast, which I helped organize. We had a great turnout, and here are a couple resources that were shared at the breakfast:

http://insidescienceresources.wordpress.com

http://iue.libguides.com/STS-informationliteracyresources

I also learned about a new-to-me teaching methodology called the Cephalonian Method, which was used in the STS College Science Librarians Discussion Group with pre-canned questions on color-coded cards for the audience. The Cephalonian Method was created by two UK librarians to increase participation in the middle of class. I’m planning to use the Cephalonian Method in my library instruction and LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies course.

 

Roz at SAGE/CQ Press Advisory Board

Friday, July 17, 2015 2:01 pm

As some of you may know, I serve on the Reference Library Advisory Board for SAGE/CQ Press. This board meets virtually two or three times a year and for dinner at ALA Midwinter and Annual to provide feedback to SAGE and CQ Press about ideas in development for new products, interface upgrades and even to provide the library perspective on issues in the publishing world. SAGE has a variety of boards (Reference, Collection Development, Aquisitions, etc.), all run by our old ZSR friend Elisabeth Leonard who is now Director for Market Research for SAGE/CQ Press. Each year she brings members from across the various library boards to their headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA for a meeting/brainstorming session. This was my second time to be invited and just like last year, I feel I may have gotten as much from the discussion as SAGE did (and the spectacularly beautiful SoCal weather did not stink).

This year there were five of us from the various boards in attendance and one other joined virtually during the Monday meeting. Two were collection management folks, one was head of a consortium, another soon to be head of resource services at an ARL and myself – the lone public services person. This time our conversations ranged from the state of ebook thinking in libraries, to upcoming improvements to the Sage Knowledge platform, to communication and outreach strategies to faculty and we ended with a discussion of the place video has in our collection development and teaching/research environments on our campuses. I always learn so much about how other places are doing things and thoroughly enjoy the chance to talk libraries with other people as passionate about them as I am. Sitting in a room with people from the publisher side of things also is a really wonderful experience. We will not always agree on everything with publishers but in many ways we are on the same side. SAGE is always really ready to hear what we have to say and eager to discuss tricky issues with us. We covered issues of cost, Carnegie classification and pricing models, streaming video and its future as a research source, the usefulness of publisher-specific journal search interfaces, discovery services and so much more.

This year Elisabeth asked me to stay an extra day and do a presentation for the SAGE/CQ Press staff about librarians and how/where we factor in to the research and selection process in libraries. I discussed the research process as students view it, how our research assistance differs with faculty and students, the factors that we weigh when deciding to purchase something and what libraries want from content providers. It was a fun presentation to put together and the group that attended had really great questions. I have uploaded the presentation on slideshare for anyone who is curious.

Megan at RBMS

Friday, July 17, 2015 9:39 am

“Preserve the Humanities! Special Collections as Liberal Arts Laboratory” was the theme for the annual conference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ACRL, held this year in Oakland, CA during the week preceding ALA. Sessions at the Oakland conference center and the Berkeley campus explored the idea of special collections as source material for humanities research, and librarians as both facilitators of and participants in this research.

Many of the sessions were about planning and providing instruction in special collections. I participated in one on undergraduate instruction (along with librarians from Johns Hopkins and Auburn), giving a presentation on how I developed and taught ZSR’s History of the Book (LIB260) class. Our session drew a standing-room-only crowd, which I think attests to the fact that instruction has become a major priority for special collections librarians and archivists in recent years.

There were of course more very interesting concurrent sessions than I could attend (without a time-turner). One proposed a “User-Driven Manifesto” and offered case studies of how a user-centered culture can be implemented in special collections outreach. Another session, “Bridging Borders between Special Collections and Area Studies,” discussed the challenges of collecting and outreach for collections of materials from non-western cultures.

I particularly enjoyed the second plenary session, “Special Collections Libraries as Liberal Arts Laboratories.” Rachel Sagner Buurma from Swarthmore gave an account of her ongoing Early Novels Database project, in which undergraduate researchers create detailed metadata for works of 18th century fiction. And Kimberly Christen Withey described the Plateau Peoples project at Washington State University. This digital portal for archival materials of Indians of eastern Washington and surrounding areas uses Murkutu, a CMS software designed specifically for digital heritage collections of indigenous communities.

As always, I came away from RBMS with many new ideas and a renewed appreciation for the innovative work being done by special collections librarians across the country!

Carolyn at ALA Annual 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015 7:51 am

When I first heard ALA Annual 2015 was going to be held in San Francisco, I knew this was one ALA I did not want to skip. Having been once before with my husband at one of his conferences, I was excited to return to this beautiful, historic, and exciting city. Those three adjectives could not have rung truer than on June 26, 2015, the day the SCOTUS declared marriage equality for all to be the law of the land! Such a beautiful day!

Moscone Convention Center

 

Annual 2015 began with me attending my first ever all-day preconference, which was sponsored by ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services), OLAC (Online Audiovisual Catalogers), and the Video Round Table. Video Demystified: Cataloging with Best Practices Guides presented attendees with an overview on cataloging video recordings using RDA (Resource Description and Access), MARC21, and the recently published (January 2015) best practices cataloging guides for DVD/Blu-ray discs and streaming media. Because most of my work is DVD cataloging, I found the preconference especially worthwhile and informative as this was the first officially (i.e. ALA, OCLC, Library of Congress) sponsored face-to-face training I’ve received on RDA cataloging. Most of my DVD cataloging with RDA education has been through watching webinars (not the most useful), utilizing an online guide developed by Stanford University’s metadata department (very helpful) and the RDA Toolkit, and review of the ZSR RDA Workshop LibGuide created by Leslie McCall as well as consultation with her and Steve Kelley to clarify issues with RDA. Attendees participated in guided exercises and took home a workbook that contained all of the day’s presented PowerPoint slides.

While at ALA, I attended 4 ACRL Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) sponsored meetings/sessions: the Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee (SBAC) of which I chair; the Executive Committee meeting; the Libraries behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners program that was co-sponsored with ACRL’s Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) and Literatures in English Section (LES); and the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. I was unable to attend the ANSS Social due to having to attend the editorial board dinner for Technical Services Quarterly (TSQ); Steve Kelley and I are the new co-editors of the journal’s book reviews column. We dined at the Stinking Rose: a Garlic Restaurant, where I got to try delicious garlic ice-cream (another first).

Social Justice Librarianship: Focus on Ferguson & Black Lives Matter was the topic discussed at the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. Librarians Makiba Foster (Washington University in St. Louis) and Niamh Wallace (University of Arizona) spoke about their roles as academic librarians in helping the Black Lives Matter movement.

Observing a lack of quality information and misinformation pertaining to the police shooting of Michael Brown and the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, Ms. Foster created the FaceBook page Resource List on Policing and Community Protest which contains specific categorized lists for a variety of topics (e.g. policing, grief & trauma, community protest & unrest, personal rights, and local community organizations). Two weeks after its posting, the university gave the green light to post it as a LibGuide. The digital repository Documenting Ferguson (DF) followed. The DF project team was comprised of members from several library units (e.g. special collections, copyright, reference, etc.) who wanted to assist in the preservation of their regional and national history. Ms. Foster’s role was to seek out community engagement for content. She partnered with an African American Women’s History professor whose sophomore seminar students (1/2 her class) developed interview questions and conducted oral histories of individuals living in Ferguson or the areas particularly affected by the protests and unrest, many of whom worked at the university. Specific community activists were interviewed also. Interviewees were selected based on their response to a faculty call out by the library, each signed a participant consent form. The oral histories captured in the digital repository include the interviewees’ names so that researchers would know that all persons interviewed actually lived in Ferguson. Ms. Foster admitted that content from the oral histories was one-sided as individuals with opposing views (i.e. supporters of Darren Wilson) were not interviewed for the project. She also stated that some people wanted no association with the DF project due to potential backlash, although they were proud to be working on the project. The digital repository for this particular project is semi-anonymous as some participant uploaded content is traceable only by an email address. Digital stations are being set up to capture images. There is a need to employ one person working solely on this large project, and grant funding is being investigated She closed by saying that the library will soon be preparing for 1 year memorials and commemorative events; a regional meeting is in the works to discuss collecting efforts; and marketing strategies to increase participation will be reassessed.

At Ms. Wallace’s institution, she also created a LibGuide to Ferguson resources for instructional purposes. Consent from the university’s IRB was unnecessary. Liaisons whose subject areas were relevant to the creation of this resource were asked to solicit feedback from their faculty. The LibGuide was used as a resource listing for a Black Life Matters Conference held on campus this past January. No negative feedback was received, and Ms. Wallace stated that she is not trying to capture opposing viewpoints in this research guide. More work is being done to update the guide with information about the recent June 17th church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Other sessions I attended included

  • Maryanne Wolf’s Lessons from the Reading Brain: 3 Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age, which Lauren so aptly covered in her blog post
  • 2 sessions on linked data: Getting Started with Library Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU, on which Lauren again reported, and the Linked Library Data Interest Group. The interest group session was comprised of a panel of 2 speakers. Kristi Holmes (Northwestern Medicine) provided an overview on the Cornell-developed open source semantic web application, VIVO, was presented. VIVO harvests data from verified institution data sources, and allows institutions to showcase their researchers’ credentials, expertise, and skills. A VIVO institution’s library can provide its faculty product education, training, and adoption utilizing liaison outreach, ontology and controlled vocabulary expertise, negotiating with data providers, programming and technical expertise. Cornell’s Steven Folsom reported on the Linked Data 4 Libraries Mellon funded grant between Cornell, Stanford and Harvard. One can search for works by individuals and discover additional works of interest based on connections to other people. Utilization of URIs in MARC records that align with VIVO can enhance an academic library’s catalog. Cornell has rolled out an authority browse in their Blacklight catalog. Using 3xx field data in his authority file generates data and provides context about him and what what he does professionally. Theses advisors’ names appearing in a MARC 700 Personal Name field can now be enhanced with VIVO URIs. A post-processor to provide entity resolution of URIs is required for the evolving BIBFRAME. A limit of its ontology, this means that linked data within the BIBFRAME platform cannot have multiple URIs for an individual. BIBFRAME RDF still makes heavy use of strings which are a dead end for linked data.
  • Resource Discovery in the Age of Wikipedia: Jake Orbwitz and Alex Stinson, both of The Wikipedia Library, shared reasons why Wikipedia matters for librarians and various ways in which librarians can become involved in Wikipedia. In addition to adding information and citations from a library’s collections, librarians can teach “Wikipedia as a Starting Point” workshops, run an editathon, and donate images. Libraries can also sponsor a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar to create quality content for Wikipedia using their individual institution’s resources.

After my last Monday session at ALA, Lauren, Derrik and I took a bus to tour the Internet Archive (IA) founded by Brewster Kahle. Housed in a former Christian Science church, the IA’s mission and purpose is to provide free access to collections of digital materials. The Wayback Machine, a digital archive of the World Wide Web, was created by the IA. Such an impressive place and leader.

Brewster Kahle stands in front of the Internet Archive’s server, which is housed in the church sanctuary.

Touring the basement of the IA with Brewster. In the background, IA employees digitize video materials

Clock in IA basement.

Hanging in the IA's basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

Hanging in the IA’s basement is an animation cel of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and their WABAC Machine, which was used to transport the two back in time to visit important, historic events.

In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful dinner organized by Susan of past and present ZSR colleagues. It was great catching up with Lauren Pressley and Erik Mitchell, and Erik’s partner Jeff Loo. Also worth mentioning is the fabulous final dinner in San Francisco that Susan and I had at Burma Superstar. All in all this was a great ALA, and I hope I get another chance to visit San Francisco in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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