Professional Development

During August 2014...

Tanya at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:12 am

I recently returned from the Society of American Archivists annual meeting in Washington, D.C.—it set a record for attendance, so was a bit crowded (I could barely find Craig’s poster display). It was a very busy week! I am in the middle of my second year of service as an SAA Council member, and was also recently elected to serve on the Executive Committee (as a Council representative meeting with the SAA Executive Director and the elected Treasurer, Vice President and President). I attended my first meeting of the SAA Foundation as part of my new role. Needless to say, much of my time was spent with governance issues during the week. However, not to worry—there is a special deal where I can purchase all of the sessions for $29.95:

http://saa.archivists.org/store/archives-records-ensuring-access-conference-recordings-on-mp3/3945/?

SAA Council met early in the week and approved a Code of Conduct, Best Practices for Volunteers and an issue brief on HIPAA (Health Information and Portability Act), among other items:

http://www2.archivists.org/news/2014/council-adopts-best-practices-for-volunteers-in-archives-revised-terms-of-participation-fo?

I also serve as the liaison for the Committee on Advocacy and Public Policy and the Diversity Committee. Both are very busy groups, and some of their upcoming projects include issue briefs on funding for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and other advocacy issues, and the creation of an SAA Diversity Toolkit (based on the one developed by RBMS (ALA). I attended a session on Kickstarter as well as an interesting forum on Diversifying the Archival Record which featured authors from the recently published SAA Diversity Reader. I have a copy of this new book, if anyone is interested in taking a look. Finally, I was able to hear several interesting presentations from the Native American Archives and Latin America and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives Roundtables.

I was very excited to attend our reception, held at the Library of Congress. They have an entire stack area dedicated to their card catalog, it was amazing!

 

I also was able to get out one evening for a tour of some of the memorials, including the Lincoln Memorial.

 

It was unseasonably cool in DC for this time of year, for which I was very thankful. I ended my week with the Archives Leadership Institute dinner (Saturday) and morning workshop (Sunday)—as always, this group immediately energized me, and some new ideas and connections have already come out of it.

After a successful trip, I was very happy to arrive home late Sunday night and again, would like to say how much I appreciate those direct flights out of the Piedmont Triad Airport!

2014 Archives-Records: Ensuring Access COSA-NAGARA-SAA Joint Meeting

Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:08 pm

MLK Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

I attended the joint SAA conference in Washington, DC last week. The weather was great and so was the conference. In the opening plenary, Miriam Nisbet and David Cuillier discussed the “State of Access.” Nisbet, Director of NARA’s Office of Government Information Services, has worked with the Freedom of Information Act and openness during her entire career. She believes openness means a transparent and collaborative organization. Nisbet is involved with the Open Government Partnership, which tries to achieve transparency, including access to government information, passing laws and implementing them. She emphasized three ideas:

1. Records Management- This is a push in federal government to reform how records are maintained, including a push to make them electronic. She would like to build in access from the beginning of this process.

2. Open data- This is a push to pay attention to and promote information as a strategic asset and get this information out. Archivists and librarians are critically important in this push.

3. Freedom of information Act- This act provides an opportunity for the public to speak up.

David Cuillier, from the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona, made the point that one third of news stories rely on government data. Ciullier believes these stories make the world better, so it is important to get this information out. He believes this information can lead to greater public engagement. Cullier stated that Public Information officers in agencies are trying to control their message, and become very political which keeps some information from the public. Ciullier said that the Freedom of Information Act still does not work very well. Redacting is used by lawyers and others to prevent information from being available. This keeps many journalists from even using it.

people on the path
In DC, there are lots of people taking lots of photos. Usually, one politely pauses as they snap the image, before continuing down the sidewalk. I like to politely stop and also snap a photo-it makes them laugh!

Preventive Conservation in the Archives-Broad Approaches for a Big Impact

The recent idea of the “more product, less process” paradigm doesn’t usually include conservation. This session discussed using this idea in the preservation/conservation realm.

Fletcher Durant, New York University, believes risk management is at the heart of this issue. Different collections have different vulnerabilities, and every repository has its own risk portfolio. Durant analyzes risk and takes actions to manage risks and available resources. He advised getting a monitor and collecting environmental data. This helps you plan for the future. Durant also advised getting to know your facilities staff to set up a line of communication about your HVAC and any issues. He strongly advised setting an example with your food policy.

Priscilla Anderson, Harvard University Preservation, develops stakeholders across the institution to help with the difficult process of making policy and guidelines. The highest cause of damage to collections is caused by handling. So, for example, Harvard has a policy where they open rolled items only to the part you need to see. Additional strategies are removing only one folder at a time and keeping camera cords and straps away from collections. Anderson said to prepare for your next emergency by training staff.

Sarah Stauderman, Smithsonian Institution, uses surveys to plan and improve conditions. Benchmarking can be used to compare repositories, and make recommendations about care or training to try to improve the preservation IQ.

Laura McCann, New York University, believes hands-on work can be used to protect the object. At the Repository level- changing air filters, cleaning, and removing food can help. At the Collection level, avoid inappropriate housing or oversized containers. McCann built internal dividers and containers out of blue board for their collections for Item level protection (custom containers and supports using internal storage in standard archival boxes).

Persian book exhibit
Persian Book Exhibit at Library of Congress

I attended the Preservation Section Committee meeting, where we discussed trends in the preservation of AV materials. The speakers were Robert Horton, Associate Deputy Director for Library Services,IMLS; Karen Cariani, Director of the Media Library at WGBH in Boston; and Carl Fleischhauer, the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress.

I presented a poster on the Dolmen Press Collection at the conference, demonstrating the various ways we have used it at ZSR Library (LIB100, printing, research). I was really pleased with the response to the poster and met many people who knew of this collection and had great ideas to further promote its use.

SNCA-SAA-Dolmen-poster

Documenting the Epidemic:Preserving and making accessible HIV/AIDS History

A wonderful panel of experts presented on their attempts to document and preserve the history of the AIDS epidemic. Somehow, during the difficult times of the 1980′s, these individuals managed to realize that someone should try to preserve the history of the epidemic. Victoria Harden, National Institutes of Health, was very concerned that documentation may be lost about the epidemic, treatment and developing drugs to treat aids. Harden helped hold a conference and published a book on the proceedings called Aids and the Historian in 1989. She also helped with instituting an oral history archive on the AIDS epidemic called NIH SIDS Oral Histories.

Pauline Oliveira, University of California, San Francisco, discussed the Aids History Project at her library. They document news, activists and papers from clinicians and researchers because UCSF Hospital had Ward 86, which became the first AIDS clinic in the US.

Ginny Roth, National Library of Medicine described collecting four decades of material including posters, comics, books, pins and postcards.

Michael Oliveira, University of Southern California Libraries, discussed One National Gay and Lesbian archives and the good work they are doing to preserve the AIDS history. They collect periodicals, theatrical and art works, Act Up materials and newsletters.

This was an important and moving presentation.

Protecting Our Heritage: Holdings Protection Training for Your Institution

This presentation by staff from the National Archives at College Park, was great and covered strategies for preventing loss in your collections reading room. They covered how to approach suspicious individuals and tell them professionally you’ll be there if they need help. this lets them know you are watching them. If things seem very suspicious, you can perform a quality control audit to make sure nothing is missing. Bags, laptops, i-Pad covers, etc. are checked and a complete check is made to insure no original documents are missing. A fun and useful part of this presentation was an exercise where we got the chance to approach one of the presenters and question them.

The All conference reception at the Library of Congress in the Great Hall was spectacular!

Library of Congress dome

Susan at the Library Assessment Conference

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 5:30 pm


The University of Washington campus with Mt. Rainier in the distance

The Library Assessment Conference is held biennially and is the largest conference of its kind (with over 600 registrants). This year it is being held in Seattle at the University of Washington. This is my first time attending this particular conference and although I know that Assessment (with a capital A) is an enormous trend in academic libraries these days, it still was surprising to me to find that you could fill a three day conference with 27 “sessions” – each with 3 or more presentations, totalling over 100! And all about assessment! The sessions are divided into tracks (papers, panels and lightning talks) and each of these is themed (collections, methods, collaboration, space, teaching/learning, etc.). The Monday afternoon poster session contained 45 posters in 4 tracks. So it’s been a challenge to pick and choose what would be most valuable to bring back to ZSR (especially when the weather is unseasonably warm and some of the meeting rooms are not air conditioned). I have found the lightning rounds to be particularly useful since those have been typically case studies which give practical how-to’s on their projects. It didn’t take long to settle into the jargon: impact, value, metrics, data visualization, response rate, methodology, analytics, evidence-based decision making… well, you get the idea.

Rather than give a blow by blow, I’d like to highlight some things that caught my attention, link to some tools and articles that might be useful and show a few images from my tour of the library spaces (Research Commons and the newly renovated Odergaard Undergraduate Library). So many things were put out over the three days that I’ll need time to wrap my head around some of them, and this will help me! I have pages of notes so am glad to dig in more deeply if any of the concepts catch your fancy!

Keynote speeches were themed “Change” and here are a few excerpts (Three keynoters – Margie Jantti, Debra Gilcrist, and David Kay)

Jantti

  • Be an indispensable partner: demonstrable benefit to the university’s current and aspirational state.
  • What data is missing? What don’t we know, even with what data is put before us?
  • Active listening is key. We are guilty of pushing forward what WE think is important.
  • Students are the lifeblood of university budgets. We need data to better understand library’s impact on student risk and success.

Gilcrist

  • Creating a culture of inquiry is a philosophical viewpoint.
  • Contextualize everything we do within institutional priorities.

Kay

  • Do we use data to get to things that are self-evident?
  • Why is data king? Attitude, technology and necessity
  • Breakthrough areas: student success (learning analytics/student retention) and research metrics (altmetrics) have seized the moment -their communities have been eloquent in spinning their vision
  • Library analytics have remained fuelled by library and library community data, focused on processes (such as collection management) and constrained by application silos (such as ILS or the gate system)
  • Question: should we: 1. get whatever data we can and let it tell its story even if we don’t know what that might yet be or 2. collect only data specific to areas of interest or known to be useful?
  • Where will external data come from and how can it be woven with library data to tell the story?
  • Predicitve analytics will be part of the future of higher ed and libraries need to be involved in the design

Students

One theme I keep hearing about concerns involving students in assessment activities. Several schools have student advisory boards who are active, while other employ student assistants to carry out assessment projects. One example is Virginia Tech which has peer roving assistants who take photos (to document space use), conduct peer interviews, and do weekly seat counts. As one speaker said “If you really want to know how to fix it, talk to the people who are using it.” Peers can be useful for this (our Library Ambassadors?)

Nuggets from various sessions:

  • Information literacy takes place outside the library; this means collaboration is required.
  • Assessment can be part of daily work, can be integrated, but staff need to feel that additional data collection has meaning and purpose
  • Learn to use the same data source to answer short, mid and long term questions
  • Don’t wait for perfect data
  • Special Collections have metrics mayhem: a lack of standardization of definitions (what constitutes a use (item level, folder level, visit)?
  • Everyone presenting on space reports that students rate the biggest need (beyond more outlets) as more quiet study (and at one school, they wanted more tables)
  • Move away from assessing things and towards making decisions about things

Tours

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | 2012-2013 Renovation


Main Floor of the Odegaard Library


Active Learning Classroom (Check out the Setu chairs, just like ours)


Collaborative Writing Center/Research Center (saw 16,000 students in first year!)


Railing Detail (now this is a word cloud)

Research Commons


UW Research Commons


Dawg Prints


Snacks but No Deliveries

My favorite sighting during the tour of the Research Commons was how they handled the need for more outlets when they were unable to drill the floors (Special Collections is housed on the floor below):

Tools mentioned by presenters

Interesting Concepts/Links/Readings

I can’t sign off without mentioning the whole issue of recycling, which Seattle has taken to a new level (It was referred to by the Dean of Libraries as the “Land of Obsessive Recycling”). I actually had to study the charts to figure out how to dispose of my lunch leavings. And I wonder who is the poor soul who has to police the choices uninformed visitors make?

ILL goes to Asheville

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:27 am

On Friday, July 25 the ZSR Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery department headed to Asheville for the annual NC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Conference. Tara and I shared the ZSR van with our ILL colleagues, Anna Milholland at Salem College and Angie Hobbs from the WFU Professional Center Library. Our half of the Conference was held at Western Carolina’s facility at Biltmore Park. The other half of the Conference was being held simultaneously at UNC-Wilmington.

Here’s Tara’s report on the morning session:
The morning session was about Best Practices in ILL. Our session was led by James Harper and JoAnn Marvel from Western Carolina. Also presenting was Brooke Andrade, from the National Humanities Center conferencing in from UNC Wilmington, NC. The session was about pros/cons in Interlibrary Loans/Document Delivery Services. We were given a lot of helpful knowledge as they discussed the ALA Interlibrary Loan Code, and the responsibilities of the Borrowing & Lending libraries. Also discussed were the dos and don’ts of how to package Library materials.

Here’s my report of the rest of the day:
After exploring Biltmore Park restaurants and shops during the lunch break we headed back to the Conference. The afternoon session options were based on the ILL system that we use in our library. Anna and Angie attended the OCLC WorldShare session with Tony Melvin of OCLC and Tara and I attended the ILLiad session with Genie Powell, Chief Customer Officer from Atlas Systems, Inc.

Some of the ILLiad updates that may be helpful here at ZSR are custom “flags” and auto mode for Odyssey Helper. I’m familiar with the flags because they’re used in Ares to mark requests that need a particular action. When a request needs attention it will appear in its own flag queue as well as its original queue until you remove the flag. This way you can take care of the action needed without changing the status of the request.

Our current workflow involves having to open a stand-alone version of Odyssey Helper to upload the article scans we’ve made and deliver them to our patrons and borrowing libraries. With the next upgrade of ILLiad, Odyssey Helper will be incorporated into the ILLiad interface and will automatically send documents that are in the proper status. We’re hoping this works as well as it sounds as the stand-alone version requires patience.

The committee for this Conference was headed up by James Harper who did a great job of coordinating all the technology involved in trying to make the Conference geographically accessible to all interested North Carolina libraries. He was one of the presenters in the morning, he coordinated the audio and video from Asheville to Wilmington, the audio and video from Wilmington to Asheville, the guest speakers who were virtually joining us from Ohio and Virginia, and managed to throw in some humor along the way. James’ day reminded me of a plate spinning act on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Conference was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and share/vent with ILL colleagues. On the way home we encountered this new NC resident on the freeway

and Tara artfully avoided the chicken cage that had apparently fallen off a truck and was in the middle of our lane on I-40.


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