Professional Development

During March 2014...

Rebecca at Archival Discovery & Use Pre-Conference

Monday, March 31, 2014 5:04 pm

Last week, Chelcie Rowell and I traveled to Raleigh for the Code4Lib Pre-conference focused on archival discovery and use. I found this to be a very enjoyable and thought provoking day of discussion and idea sharing. Led by Tim Shearer from UNC Chapel Hill and Will Sexton from Duke, the format of the pre-conference was focused talks rather than presentations. The room was broken up into groups such as digitization, outreach, assessment, description, and access. I joined the description group and saw many familiar faces that I have followed professionally.

The morning session began with the provocative statement “Why I hate finding aids.” Each group discussed the pros and cons of this statement and presented their groups opinions at the end. As you may imagine, my description group *loves* finding aids and found this statement to be an insult to the very core of archival practice and foundation. Although we defended finding aids, there was discussion of lack of uniformity both within institutions as well as across archives. Bibliographic description has such a structured input, but that structure is still not established in archival description. Our group felt that although there are things wrong with finding aids including authority control, archival jargon, and access points, the archival foundation of provenance and respect des fonds leave the finding aid as a concept our only option of description as of now.

Another provocative statement made to prompt our breakout group discussions pertained to digital collections content grouped together in something like an exhibit versus within the context of a finding aid or the original order of the collection. Again, my group made up of mostly “description” archivists emphasized the need for archival context in a digital world. So many times researchers are “dropped” into a digital collection and find something “cool” but they don’t always realize that it is part of a larger, and most times, richer archival collection. We hope that with new archival software such as ArchivesSpace and linked data, digital collections will have the infrastructure and the metadata to be more closely connected with the creator and archival collection.

After Chelcie’s suggestion of a delicious lunch at a place calledBeasley’s Chicken and Honey (Go there. Seriously.) we returned to a more presentation based format. The topics included ArchivesSpace and crowdsourcing. I enjoyed the afternoon sessions with the theoretical implementation of ArchivesSpace juxtaposed with actual crowdsourcing projects, big and small. I must say, I enjoyed this pre-conference very much and found that the format was the best part. It is rare to sit at a table with colleagues you respect and who are doing amazing things in your field and just get to talk, and share stories, and brainstorm. Thank you for the opportunity!

 

ARL New Assessment Professionals Seminar

Monday, March 24, 2014 8:54 pm

“Report Out” from the Space Group

I’ve worn many hats during my years at ZSR, but I was handed a new one this academic year – assessment. Yes, of course I’ve done some assessment in my day, I think we all have done it in some fashion or another. But until this year, I was never given the responsibility for an overall assessment strategy; my experience with it was more on an ad hoc basis, project by project and done formally only when required. So when I was appointed (not elected) as chair of the ZSR Library Assessment Committee last July, I knew the first order of business was to get myself up to speed. If you stay on top of your professional reading, you’ll know that “Assessment” has become one of the Big Topics in recent years as academic (and other) libraries are pressed to demonstrate their value in the changing information landscape.

For some time, ARL has been a leader in the assessment arena, so when I saw they had developed a brand new seminar, “Leading a Strategic Assessment Program in a Research Library: An ARL Seminar for Recently Appointed Assessment Professionals,” I didn’t hesitate to sign up. This was a good move because they capped the in-person seminar at 30 and already have a second one in November filled and a waiting list for future ones….. The seminar was an intensive two day program which was preceded by 3 preparatory assignments and a pre-session webinar. The assignments helped acquaint the seminar faculty (Martha Kyrillidou, Steve Hiller and Raynna Bowlby) with each participant’s current assessment level and with our key assessment issues. By the time we arrived in Washington, DC, they were ready to group the participants by themes that had emerged from everyone’s key issues. Not surprisingly, I was assigned to the “Space” group. The other groups were Collections, Engagement with Faculty Research, Strategic Data and Student Learning. The design of this arrangement allowed each group to discuss frame the various assessment topic around the issues most important to each of us.

They got things off to a good start with a “fireside chat” by three senior administrators (Liz Mengel, Johns Hopkins; Anne Moore, SIU; Gary White, U of Md). They each gave their perspectives on what they considered important to understand when discussing assessment. My takeaways from this include:

  • Assessment needs to be aligned with strategic plans/priorities of the institution
  • Assessment can’t be accomplished by a single person (our committee models spreads the support structure nicely!)
  • Data gathering is not assessment (which requires analysis and evaluation)
  • Organizational culture drives everything

Over the course of the first day, we reviewed basics ranging from sources of traditional library data (think IPEDS, NCES, ASERL), tools (LibPas is an example and is used by ASERL), to different associations and higher ed data collection efforts. Just when I was getting a bit overwhelmed we were told about useful assumptions:

  • your problem/issue is not as unique as you think
  • you have more data/information than you think
  • you need less data/information than you think
  • there are useful methods that are much more simple than you think

Being a fan of qualitative over quantitative, I was glad to hear that there is a move in assessment from inputs (focus on how big/how much) and outputs (focus on use) to outcomes (impact and value). It’s about time to move away from the idea of size as an indicator of excellence or usage statistics (of things like collections, facilities) as a meaningful measure. These don’t tell the story of what people did with them. They don’t tell you the “why.”

Another concept I want to think about is the idea of the preferability of using trend data over a snapshot because data over time has more of an impact in telling the real story of what’s going on.

We spent a great deal of time discussing methods and the importance of asking the right questions before you select an assessment method. A big question is asking what do you want to know? That will inform the method. For assessing space, some methods that are effective are observation, heat mapping, ethnographic, interviews and focus groups.

One of the things they recommended tackling early-on that we actually have started to do is to do a data inventory to find out what data is being collected and whether it is being used. That is a first step before you can talk about using data to drive decision-making.

There was so much more covered during the two days than I can cover here but if you are an assessment aficionado, let me know and I’ll buy you a Starbucks and fill you in on all the details. (Added 3/24: There are some interesting articles in a special issue of Library Quarterly by the keynote speakers at the 2010 Assessment Conference that give a great overview of some of the big topics)

At the end of the seminar we were given a final assignment – to develop a plan to strengthen library assessment in our organization. You may be hearing from me in the next few weeks as I work to accomplish this!

I’ll leave you with my favorite image from my DC visit (you have to know I would take an evening photo walk to the Mall to capture the sights!)

Vietnam Wall
Evening Reflections on the Vietnam Wall

Jeff at 2014 NC Serials Conference

Monday, March 24, 2014 12:19 pm

On March 14, 2014 I attended the 23rd Annual North Carolina Serials Conference in Chapel Hill, having carpooled with Derrik, Chris, and Steve, and meeting Carol and Ellen there. In addition to these worthy colleagues I actually ran into someone whom I know from App State. This was my first un-orchestrated North Carolina librarian encounter. I admit it felt good.

David Crotty’s keynote address – “Altmetrics: Finding Meaningful Needles in the Data Haystack” – went into the inadequacy of Impact Factor as a measure of a scholarly work’s significance. Ellen has already described his talk well. Mr. Crotty observed that “Weird stuff draws attention.” This fact highlights just one of the manifold problems involved in attempting to capture data to reflect true scholarly importance as opposed (in this case) to mere novelty appeal. On this same point he referred his audience to a highly-ranked and oft-accessed article about certain clandestine activities that have been known to occur between two consenting fruit bats; which really is neither here nor there, yet which for some reason I feel compelled to mention before moving on. See? I’ve proved his point.

The main session I came to see was “Streaming Film: How to Serve Our Users,” as this subject will be important in my job going forward. Three employees at UNCG libraries talked about their organization’s choices of streaming video vendors, the decisions they’ve made on acquiring rights (they strongly favor perpetual access), their hosting strategy for in-house streaming video (using Google Drive), and their concerns about license-appropriate use by students and faculty. I was struck by the similarities in what different libraries seem to be experiencing right now: an increased demand for streaming video, a still-developing workflow, and an expectation of greater demand in the future. As I settle in at ZSR I’ll be seeking out information on how other organizations are handling this demand. It’s all very interesting, and it’s something that I look forward to getting into. The UNCG folks talked about the importance of gathering the right team of people to manage streaming video. I feel that we at ZSR have already taken some good steps in that direction.

Steve at 2014 North Carolina Serials Conference

Friday, March 21, 2014 4:51 pm

I attended the 2014 North Carolina Serials Conference last week, with quite a crew from ZSR. Ellen has already discussed the all-conference sessions, so I think I’ll write a bit about the break-out sessions I attended. The update session on RDA had some bits of news that might be of interest to folks outside of cataloging: namely that OCLC has announced that General Material Designators (or GMDs) will remain in legacy records (that is, records cataloged according to AACR2 rules) through March 2016. GMDs are those notes in square brackets next to titles in the catalog that say what kind of resource it is (for example, [computer resource]). OCLC is planning to add certain RDA-related fields to their legacy records, including 33X fields that indicate carrier information, over the next few years. In addition to these announcements, Kurt Blythe from UNC-Chapel Hill shared some RDA-related changes to serials cataloging. It was pretty inside-baseball stuff (info on how to code provider neutral online records in the 040 field, how to use indicators in 588 fields, the fact that parallel titles are considered core in CONSER cataloging, etc.), but it was interesting and useful to me. The other speaker at the session, Christee Pascale discussed NCSU’s RDA implementation. She said that most of the RDA training they gave to staff focused on how RDA is different from AACR2. A lot of it boiled down to if you do X in AACR2, then you do Y in RDA. Pascale argued that this actually sold the staff short, because they didn’t look enough at the conceptual underpinnings of RDA, especially the FRBR model. She argued that staff really need to have a solid grasp on the FRBR entities and the relationships between these entities, and that this will become a much more important issue when we begin to make the transition from MARC to BIBFRAME.

The other break-out session I attended was a presentation by Virginia Bacon and Ginny Boyer of ECU, who described how ECU merged the discovery services of their main library, medical library and (unofficial) music library. It was a long process, with a lot of discussion, a lot of persuasion and a lot of compromise. Eventually, they consolidated their web presence into a unified catalog, as well as a unified ILLiad presence, a unified Book Recall feature, a unified Ask a Librarian function, and a single WorldCat Local instance. The process has involved a number of roll-out stages, and constant marketing efforts to re-brand the separate main and medical libraries into a single ECU Libraries brand.

One last thing, in recent years, the NC Serials Conference has started having an expo, with tables for sponsoring companies and organizations to pass out literature and talk to conference attendees. NASIG is a regular sponsor of the conference, and, as the current Vice President of NASIG, I got to represent our organization. It was kind of fun to talk to folks about the joys of membership in NASIG.

Steve at 2014 LAUNC-CH Conference

Friday, March 21, 2014 2:52 pm

Last week I attended the 2014 LAUNC-CH Conference in Chapel Hill, with Sarah and Jeff. This year’s theme was “Every Step of the Way: Supporting Student and Faculty Research,” and there was a lot of talk about data sets and making research publically available. Jeff has already admirably covered Nancy Fried Foster’s keynote address, so I’ll talk a bit about the concurrent sessions. The most interesting one to me was a session by Michael Crumpton and Kathryn Crowe of UNC-G called “Defining the Libraries’ Role in Research: A Needs Assessment Case Study.” They talked about how the UNC-G libraries surveyed researchers in 2013 to find out how they store and manage data. The survey (which had a 13% response rate) found out that only 16% of researchers automatically generate back-ups. Furthermore, 75% of the researchers surveyed reported that they did not anticipate sharing their research data. The reasons were a mix of that they didn’t want to share their data and that they didn’t expect to share their data (so either data hoarding or thinking that nobody else would even want to see it). Analyzing the survey they found a number of barriers to researchers sharing their data, including the large size of data sets, copyright concerns about sharing data, and simply not knowing how to share data. They found that faculty weren’t using best practices in managing their data, and they need much more help in backing up their data. The survey found that many faculty were not even aware of the data management requirements of their university and of their funding agencies. To deal with these problems, the libraries at UNC-G have decided to initiate new education efforts, including expanding the time departmental liaisons have to work with their departments on data management issues. They had planned on hiring a new librarian to specialize in managing research data, but budget concerns killed the plan and forced them to re-direct their efforts into their existing liaison program.

Several of the other programs I attended discussed similar matters, but I found Kathy’s and Mike’s discussion to be the most fully developed. One interesting note, was that Debbie Curry and Mohan Ramaswamy of NCSU discussed how their library recruited data ambassadors, who are either members of or liaisons to departments. These data ambassadors take a hands-on role on teaching faculty about how to properly back-up, store and manage their data. One other interesting item I picked up at the conference came from one of their afternoon lightning talks, where Ann Cooper of UNC-Chapel Hill talked about efforts at UNC’s Wilson archives to preserve born-digital legacy media by converting material in outdated media formats to current formats. As a big music collector, I’m very interested in the process of converting material from outdated formats to usable formats.

NC Serials Conference 2014 (Ellen D.)

Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:31 am

I attended the 23rd annual North Carolina Serials conference in Chapel Hill on March 14, presented by the NCCU School of Library and Information Sciences. The keynote address, “Altmetrics: Finding Meaningful Needles in the Data Haystack,” was a fast-paced and informative presentation by David Crotty, Senior Editor at Oxford University Press. Arguing that we do a poor job of measuring the impact of a scholar’s work, he proposed moving beyond the conventional metric for measuring the impact of publications, the Impact Factor, in favor of alternative metrics, i.e. altmetrics. Advanced technologies now permit the tracking of individual published papers in order to assess the impact of a scholar’s research. He described the impact factor as “One metric to rule them all,” and argued that is slow, difficult to compare among different disciplines, favors review articles over primary literature, creates a ranking system influenced by a small number of highly cited articles, and gives a false implication of accuracy. In short, it is an archaic practice.

Altmetrics.com, Plum Analytics, and Impact Story are examples of altmetrics sites that track citations as well as social media captures and mentions. PLOS and Nature have incorporated this approach, making it possible to look at an individual paper rather than averaging it in with all its neighbors. However, he acknowledged the challenge of separating the signal from the noise in altmetrics, noting that popularity is not to be equated with quality, nor attention with impact. A grand finale of thought-provoking questions drew the session to a close. Does altmetrics favor researchers skilled at social networking (he noted that James Watson, of DNA fame, has no twitter account), with the result that sensationalism (e.g. the sex habits of fruit bats) and navel-gazing are encouraged in the resulting echo chamber? When does good faith effort in the legitimate dissemination of information becoming gaming the system (for instance, marketing one’s publications all over blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media)? Does social media count for impact when we spend an average of 15 seconds on a web page? Does marketing become a core activity, so that researchers must change their behaviors and self-marketing becomes unduly important? To what extent do altmetrics reward non-research efforts? Finally, he proposed that altmetrics do not measure quality as much as attention, and although this can be useful, the final challenge for human judgment remains to assess whether a paper is as good as the level at which a journal sits.

The break-out session I attended in the afternoon was an NC LIVE talk presented by Emily Guhde, Online Services Librarian, and Jill Morris, Assistant Director, entitled “Making Usage Data Meaningful: A Consortium’s Attempt to Better Understand eResource Usage.” They described a benchmarking project that NC LIVE commenced in April 2012, to study electronic resource use among member libraries within a variety of library peer groups. They noted two different perspectives: that of the consortium, using data to make decisions about NC LIVE services and to decrease cost per use, and the perspective of libraries, concerned with what kind of use should be seen at their own libraries, and what should be done to improve use of resources. The study had three objectives: to identify peer groupings of North Carolina libraries, to identify data points for measuring the use of databases (AcademicSearch, Masterfile and Wall Street Journal, Learning Express Library, and Simply Map), to develop a framework for creating usage benchmarks in each peer group, and to analyze and report the qualities of high use libraries. They considered access and authentication, content and collections, awareness and outreach, community characteristics, and library characteristics. In their analyses, they used cross tabs, difference of means tests, and multiple regression. They found, repeatedly, that no one library is at the top or the bottom for all resources, that database use varies widely even among peer institutions, and that flexible peer groups may be more useful than permanent peer groups. To single out four-year college and university libraries: in the top 1/3 of peer groups, 94% authenticate with a local proxy, 82% use direct links to NC LIVE resources, 53% have a high number of librarians per 1000 FTE, and 41% have NC LIVE Committee representatives (as opposed to linking to the NC LIVE website, using passwords to authenticate, and displaying the NC LIVE search box). All of this is relevant to planning for future NC LIVE services related to usage data and to resource selection that takes place every three years, which they are doing now for 2015-2017.

The closing session was presented by Donna Tolson, Library Strategist at the University of Virginia, and Peggy Myers, Director of Library Development at UNC-CH, and was entitled, “Telling Your Story: Effective Packaging of Assessment Data.” Tolson directs assessment staff, focusing operations on strategic priorities of the library and the university, and she pointed out that assessment is not just measurement: one has to make something of it, and quoted Lord Kelvin’s adage that “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” At Alderman Library and the University of Virginia libraries system, internal management and library staff are the greatest creators and consumers of data, and she re-packages that information depending on whom she is talking to. For instance, as she put it, managers “speak library,” are interested in details, value the big picture, and assessment should stay in that language. The Dean translates library, is interested in implications, and values strategic data. The profession compares and contrasts, speaks library, regards consistency as paramount, values new approaches to shared issues, and agrees on definitions and talks about the same stuff, while vendors speak library, are interested in controlling data, and value our business. Thus, selection and packaging of data vary according to different audiences and purposes and is significant in the impact and usefulness of data.

The NC Serials Conference is outside of my usual peregrinations, but I found the sessions all interesting, thought-provoking, and the entire event enjoyable. ZSR Library was well represented with Carol, Chris, Derrik, Jeff, and Steve all in attendance.

 

 

Sarah at the LAUNC-CH Conference

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:54 am

On March 10th, I attended the LAUNC-CH Conference with Steve Kelley and Jeff Eller. In the keynote address, Nancy Foster spoke about participatory design in academic libraries. Jeff wrote a great summary of her talk. Another aspect of Foster’s research was asking researchers how they learned of the items they used for their research. Interestingly, Google was not the researchers’ first place to search.

Further reading for those interested:
Participatory Design in Academic Libraries: Methods, Findings, and Implementations
(2012)
Participatory Design in Academic Libraries: New Reports and Findings
(2014)

I attended a couple breakout sessions on instruction. The session on how art librarians used Sakai information literacy quizzes to replace or to augment in-person library instruction sessions could be applied to my LIB 220 course and library instruction at ZSR Library. In the second breakout session, UNC librarians talked about their participation in NCAA compliance training and consultation of the UNC Student-Athlete Handbook in order to do information literacy outreach to student-athlete tutors. Because I am currently collaborating with Tanya Zanish-Belcher on an oral history of women scientists project, I also attended a breakout session on Duke University’s Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. It was also great to meet new people including a bioinformatics librarian and catch up with colleagues. I’d be happy to discuss the sessions if anyone would like to hear more about it.

 

 

 

Sarah at “Data in the Life Sciences: Managing, Protecting, and Complying” Workshop

Monday, March 17, 2014 2:44 pm

On March 6th, I attended a one-day workshop on “Data in the Life Sciences: Managing, Protecting, and Complying” presented by N.C. A&T State University and Indiana University at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Stacy Konkiel, Science Data Management Librarian, poignantly stated that the data sharing mandate will accelerate the speed of discovery. The Science Data Management Librarian works with library metadata specialists on workflows. She also mentioned that IRB regulations are important to consider regarding the privacy and confidentiality of data, and reuse and distribution are subject to IRB regulation.

Here are some highlighted sites for further reading for those interested:
IUPUI Data Works
IU Scholar Works
IU Research Policies
UITS Scholarly Data Archive
Konkiel’s presentation slides are available here.

Thomas Doak talked about his work at the National Center for Genome Analysis Support. Since I am interested in bioinformatics and will go to NIH in April to participate in a second NLM bioinformatics course, I learned about two sites from Doak’s presentation:
Next Generation Genomics: World Map of High Throughput Sequencers

Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE)

Anurag Shankar spoke from a university IT service perspective about the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) on IT compliance. IT compliance requires knowledge of regulations, information security, and risk. His work at Indiana University involves assessing risk, performing gap analysis, filling gaps, and then creating and executing a risk management plan. He recommended performing semi-annual security reviews. This informative workshop increased my awareness of data management issues, and it will enhance my work as a science librarian and liaison.

 

Leslie at MLA 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014 4:38 pm

This year’s Music Library Association conference was held in Atlanta. It was a very productive meeting for me: I got a lot of continuing education in RDA, the new cataloging standard; and an opportunity to renew contacts in the area of ethnomusicology (music area studies), having learned just before leaving for MLA that our Music Department plans to add an ethnomusicologist to their faculty.

RDA

The impact of RDA, one year after its adoption by the Library of Congress, was apparent in the number of sessions devoted to it during the general conference, not just the catalogers’ sessions sponsored by the Music OCLC Users Group. I learned about revisions made to the music rules in the RDA manual, in MLA’s “Best Practices” document, and in the various music thesauri we use. (So if you see a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door, you’ll know I have a lot of re-reading to do, all over again!). One sign of the music library community’s clout: MLA’s Best Practices will be incorporated into the official RDA manual, with links integrated into the text alongside LC’s policy statements. In a session on RDA’s impact on public services, I was gratified to find that almost all the talking points presented by the speakers had been covered in my own presentation to our liaisons back in September.

PRESERVATION AND COPYRIGHT

LC gave a report on its National Recordings Preservation Plan (NRPP), which began in February 2013. The group has developed 31 recommendations, which will be presented at hearings scheduled for this year by the US Office of Copyright, covering the entire copyright code, including section 108, orphan works, and pre-1972 sound recordings (the ones not covered by federal law, leaving librarians to navigate a maze of state laws). Also to be presented: a proposed “digital right of first sale,” enabling libraries and archives to perform their roles of providing access and preservation for born-digital works whose licensing currently prohibits us doing so. In the meantime, best-practices documents have been developed for orphan works (by UC Berkeley) and fair use for sound recordings (by the NRPP).

ONLINE LICENSING ISSUES

Perennial, and always interesting, sessions are held at MLA on the ongoing problem of musical works and recordings that are issued only online, with licensing that prohibit libraries and archives from acquiring them. An MLA grant proposal aims to develop alternative licensing language that we can use with recording labels, musicians, etc., allowing us to burn a CD of digital-only files. A lively brainstorming session produced additional potential solutions: an internet radio license, which would stream a label’s catalog to students, at the same time generating revenue for the label; placing links to labels in our catalogs, similar to the Google links that many OPACS feature for books, offering a purchase option; raising awareness among musicians, many of whom are unaware of the threat to their legacies, by speaking at music festivals, and asking the musicians themselves to raise public awareness, perhaps even by writing songs on the topic; capturing websites that aggregate music of specific genres, etc., in the Internet Archive or ArchiveIt; collaborating with JSTOR, PORTICO, and similar projects to expand their archiving activities to media.

DIGITAL HUMANITIES

This hot topic has begun to make its impact on the music library community, and MLA has established a new round table devoted to it. In a panel session, music librarians described the various ways they are providing support for, and collaborating with, their institutions’ DH centers. Many libraries are offering their liaisons workshops and other training opportunities to acquire the technical skills needed to engage with DH initiatives.

OTHER TECHNOLOGICAL PROJECTS

In a panel session on new technologies, we heard from a colleague at the University of Music and Drama in Leipzig, Germany, who led a project to add facets in their VuFind-based discovery layer for different types of music scores (study scores, performance scores, parts, etc.); a colleague at Haverford who used MEI, an XML encoding scheme designed for musical notation, to develop a GUI interface (which they named MerMEId) to produce a digital edition of a 16th-century French songbook, also reconstructing lost parts (we’ve been hearing about MEI for some years — nice to see a concrete example of its application); an app for the Ipad, developed by Touch Press, that offers study aids for selected musical works (such as Beethoven’s 9th symphony) allowing you to compare multiple recordings while following along with a modern score or the original manuscript (which automatically scrolls with the audio), watch a visualization tool that shows who’s playing when in the orchestra, and read textual commentary, some in real time with the audio; a consortium’s use of Amazon’s cloud service to host an instance of Avalon, an audio/video streaming product developed by Indiana U, to support music courses at their respective schools; and ProMusicDB, a project that aims to build an equivalent to IMDB for pop music.

Jeff at LAUNC-CH 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014 3:47 pm

For my first ZSR-sponsored professional gathering I attended the 2014 LAUNC-CH Conference in Chapel Hill with Steve Kelley and Sarah Jeong on March 10. This was a new experience for me in two ways: 1) It was my first non-law library conference, and 2) It was my first North Carolina librarian gathering. In past years I’ve attended the annual American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) meeting in July – the law equivalent of ALA – as well as a few local/regional conferences.

A main point for me was to begin to get acquainted with the NC library community. I’ve been pleased so far to find that the non-law library world is talking about many of the same things I’d had occasion to consider previously: where the library fits into a 21st-century research university’s mission, how to manage modern collections (and pay for them), etc. My experience at LAUNC-CH mirrored what I’ve experienced in general in my new position, in that it didn’t feel so very foreign or unfamiliar. Thanks to Sarah and Steve, I met some new people.

I attended presentations on integrating library instruction into online courses using Sakai at UNC’s Sloane Art Library; the methodology and findings of a UNCG survey on faculty data-management practices and needs; Emory’s new Center for Digital Scholarship; and a collaborative collection development arrangement between Duke and UNC in the areas of Middle-Eastern and Slavic Studies. There were also several lightning talks of 5 minutes apiece on a variety of fun topics, including hip-hop sampling and the restoration of an 1850′s schoolhouse.

Nancy Fried Foster, Senior Anthropologist at Ithaka S+R, was the keynote speaker. In “Designing Academic Libraries for New Ways of Research” she talked about using ethnographic methods to assess the research practices of students and faculty, emphasizing the importance of looking beyond what people self-report as their needs, and interpreting the underlying meaning. She called for “design beyond precedent”: breaking away from old metaphors and re-conceptualizing our fundamental library systems and services in order to address the real needs of modern researchers. This was the theme of the day.


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