Professional Development

Author Archive

Sarah at the NCLA Conference

Monday, October 28, 2013 11:46 am

This year at the NCLA Conference, I co-presented with Molly Keener on “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis.” I covered the history of bibliometrics, and Molly covered altmetrics. Each of us provided an analysis with regards to science information literacy and research assessment. I posted our presentation slides on the NCLA conference website. We had a small, but engaged audience with many questions afterward.

In addition to presenting at the NCLA Conference, I completed my 4-year term on the Women’s Issues in Libraries Roundtable (WILR) Executive Committee as Web Coordinator. B.A. Shapiro was an excellent WILR luncheon speaker about her book The Art Forger, a New York Times bestseller.

Since other colleagues have written good summaries of some of the programs that I attended, I will provide highlights of other programs that I attended:

“Strengthening Instruction Through Curriculum Mapping: A Collaborative Strategy for Targeted Teaching” by Katy Kavanagh, ECU; Amy Harris Houk, UNCG; Catherin Tinglestad, Pitt CC; and Heigdi Buchanan, WCU

  • Map learning outcomes (destination) to instruction — Where are we now? Where do we want to go? Look at gaps in instruction
  • Look at how students progress in major over time through core courses and capstone courses and map them from basic to advanced learning outcomes
  • Moving to subject LibGuides instead of courses
  • Tiered LibGuides for Communication majors
  • LibGuides need to be mapped to ACRL Information Literacy Standards and not just to courses
  • Think of ideal learning outcomes; what does the ideal graduate look like in terms of information literacy? Are there courses that address those outcomes?
  • Reflect on what learning outcomes did I teach? Continually evaluate and update along with changes in syllabi

Closing General Session
“Stronger Together: Sustaining Excellence in Our Libraries” by Trevor Dawes, ACRL President

Some of my takeaways from his excellent talk:

  • Libraries should not be complacent and rest on laurels
  • “Institutions that stand still get left behind”
  • As the needs of the users change, how does the library change?
  • Develop staff
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate


Teaching and Learning Conference at Elon University

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:17 am

On August 15th, I attended the Teaching and Learning Conference at Elon University. This is an excellent, free conference that I have attended for 3 years. I attended many concurrent sessions including strategies for collaboration, which emphasized the importance of respect among group members. I also attended a concurrent session on data in the classroom and the presentation slides are here.

The session on flipping the classroom was very informative. Flipping is an instructional strategy where lessons become homework and homework becomes classwork. As a result, higher-order thinking can occur where students can receive more feedback from the instructor.

Elements of flipped instruction:
1. skill to be successful in the course
2. first exposure outside of class
3. incentive outside of class work (e.g., low stakes assessment)
4. application activities in class so students can receive immediate feedback

The keynote session focus on the “Intercultural Dimensions to Teaching and Learning” was excellent and resonated with me on many levels since I encounter intercultural communication every day. Here are some highlights of his inspiring talk:

  • Individuals have differences in perspectives, behaviors, and communication styles
  • Monocultural mindset –> Intercultural mindset
  • Intercultural competency is the shift of one’s frame of reference to understanding the meaning and importance of culture in people’s lives
  • Intercultural communication is the interaction between persons and groups from different cultural communities
  • Intercultural perspective incorporates culture into our analyses of how people interact, communicate, make meaning, and exercise power with other persons and groups
  • Notably, the keynote speaker challenges his students to explore new relationships across cultural boundaries

Sarah at ALA Annual 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:52 pm

ALA Annual in Chicago was great this year, and I attended multiple programs sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the Association of College & Research Libraries Science & Technology Section (ACRL STS). APALA is an affiliate of ALA, and I met some of my fellow Executive Board members when I volunteered at the Association Options Fair as incoming Board Member-at-Large.

One of the best sessions that I attended was the annual Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Ceremony sponsored by APALA.

This year, the APALA President’s Program was co-sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) on “Pushing the Boundaries: LGBTQ Presentation and Representation of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers.” The panel was moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj and included authors Malinda Lo, Dwight Okita, and MOONROOT zine collective members Sine Hwang Jensen and Linda Nguyen.

One of the highlights of ALA was attending the APALA Social at the Oak Park home of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj. Dr. Mohanraj is Professor of Fiction and Literature at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I enjoyed Sri Lankan cuisine and networking with other APALA members.

I am a member of the ACRL STS Continuing Education Committee, and over the last year I led the update of the STS Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science & Technology Librarians.

Monday morning, I attended a program co-sponsored by ACRL STS and the Health Sciences Interest Group (HSIG) on “There’s an App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users.” The takeaway from the presentation is to start with learning outcomes and then think about which apps and technology to support the learning outcomes in instruction. Other related issues with using mobile apps in instruction are cost, device, function and usability, security and privacy, support, reliability, and access. I brought up the point that it would be a good idea to do a pre-course clicker survey to assess how many students have an iPhone, Android smartphone or neither.

Resources and further reading:

National Library of Medicine Gallery of Mobile Apps

MIT Libraries’ Apps for Academics

The Handheld Library: Mobile Technology and the Librarian by Thomas Peters and Lori Bell
Mobile Library Services: Best Practices edited by Charles Harmon and Michael Messina
Tablet Computers in the Academic Library edited by Rebecca Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier

Monday afternoon, I attended a program on “Altmetrics, the Decoupled Journal, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” by Jason Priem. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • altmetrics is a new way of measuring impact
  • “Communication is the soul of science”, and librarians are the experts of scholarly communication (pun intended)
  • Philosophical Transactions was the first journal based on the available technology (printing press) to improve dissemination
  • Instead of moving paper-native products, creating web-native science
  • Favorite quote: “An article is a story about data”
  • Bibliometrics mined impact on the first scholarly web by measuring citations
  • The old way: counting citations but citations only tell part of the story
  • Impact has multiple dimensions: PDF views, discussion on scholarly blogs and Twitter, Mendeley and CiteULike saves, citations, and recommendation
  • ImpactStory is for researchers and is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Abstrac: “Your dynamic personal scientific journal”
  • “Online simulation and more for nanotechnology”

I also made time to talk to vendors on the Exhibits floor and met with the Proquest Vice President STEM and provided input on the development of new science information resources. My summer reading list has become longer as a result of ALA, and I am looking forward to serving on the APALA Executive Board.


Sarah at the 2013 Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians

Thursday, May 30, 2013 2:40 pm

On May 16th-17th, I attended the the Conference for Entrepreneurial Librarians: Social Entrepreneurship in Action held at UNCG. Here are some highlights of the programs that I attended:

Brian Mathews was the opening keynote speaker on “Engines of Change: Developing Platforms for Social, Civic, and Cultural Engagement”

  • Social entrepreneurism: civic engagement, human rights, environment, illiteracy, poverty, health, ethics, food
  • Value creation: shifting resources from low productivity to an area of higher productivity; library tours for an underserved community; reaching out to new groups

4 Defining Entrepreneurial Characteristics

  • Alertness: being able to recognize opportunities when other people don’t; anticipate problems and develop changes
  • Combiner: Steve Jobs brought the pieces together
  • Empathy: understanding the needs of the customer
  • Networked: alert people to things that are happening

“We’re surrounded by good ideas… we know what we need to do… But what we don’t know is how to take the knowledge we possess in bits and pieces and implement it at the scale of problems we are facing.” -David Bornstein

  • “Fill our patron’s memory bank with positive associations of the library and what it stands for.”
  • Invest in other people’s problems and how to help them
  • Find the right nutrients and environment for ideas

“Igniting Change: Transforming Practice Through Dialogue with Diverse Information Professionals” moderated by Dr. Clara Chu presented by UNCG students in the ACE Scholars program

Public Libraries, Immigrants, and Refugees: partnered with Greensboro Public Library Multicultural Services Librarian

  • Learn what they need: ESL classes, assimilation assistance in schools, information literacy classes
  • Develop a community profile: culture, language, identify community leader
  • Identify information resources from focus groups
  • Develop information resources on health literacy and financial literacy
  • Advanced ESL classes
  • Promote cross-cultural understanding
  • Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher
  • The Spirit Catches and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child by Ann Fadliman

“Social Entrepreneurship in Action in Spanish Libraries” by Jose Antonio Merlo Vega

Economic recession affected libraries in Spain, and public libraries still support their communities despite reduced acquisition expenditures

  • Local experiences are global experiences
  • Libraries in Spain support open access to resources – OA seems more critical for countries in recession
  • Social Action: Libraries help people with economic needs; libraries collect food and school supplies to give to community, often overdue fines are forgiven with donations; libraries provide job search services; libraries are a point of exchange of books between patrons
  • Social responsibility: “People are important, and libraries are for the people.”
  • Political action: Libraries and patrons protest against cuts and defend library services and funding; Library associations advocate for favorable legislation
  • Yellow tide: Spanish libraries movement against cuts
  • Digital action: Libraries use free technologies to offer services
  • Economic action: Libraries adjust and redistribute their budgets; Libraries use indicators to cancel subscriptions; Libraries support OA to scientific articles and resources; Libraries re-negotiate licenses with e-resource providers

“Taking Risks and Forging New Collaborations for Environmental Causes” by Frederick Stoss, SUNY-Buffalo

  • Promote Environmental ICE: Information, Communication, Education
  • Literacy is more than reading: writing, expressing music, dance, drawing, communicating, telling stories, listening, learning, teaching, and sharing
  • Science seeks to explain the complexity of the natural world and uses this understanding to make valid and useful predictions
  • Technology utilizes innovative tools, materials, and processes to solve problems or satisfy the needs of individuals, society, and the environment
  • Guidelines for Excellence

Developing Cultural Competency Panel:

“An Award of Their Own: The Creation of a Book Award for the Arab American Community”

  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Michigan) Arab American Book Award
  • Worked with museum staff to discuss mutual benefits of the award
  • First Award Ceremony in 2007 at the museum
  • Poetry category award, Non-fiction award

“Preserving Refugee Cultural Heritage: Taking Community and Culture into Account”

  • Let underrepresented communities speak for themselves
  • Multicultural and globalized digital libraries would guarantee the right for all cultural voices to be included
  • Respect the culture with integrity
  • “Our parents will never write, so we write for them.” Vang
  • Preservation: We must ask what and observe how intangible cultural heritage objects are used
  • Authentic Preservation: document for posterity; perpetuate (ongoing practice/survival within community
  • Disseminate to the next generation and community at large
  • Cannot assume refugees as a group have common issues
  • Same country but different ethnicities, tribes, loyalties, religions, and languages
  • Represents not only inherited traditions but contemporary rural and urban practices
  • Inclusive: link the past, present, and the future; expressions are passed from one generation to another and evolve in response
  • Model program of authentic preservation practices
  • Project APRCH

Michael Porter, an Executive Board member of ALA, was the closing keynote speaker.
Presentation: “No, YOU Go Do It (or leave it up to somebody else and take what you get)”

  • Solving problems is better than complaining about them
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: there is a reason why libraries are important
  • Communities need libraries to thrive
  • Libraries = content + community
  • Optimism does not denote naivete; need to be realistically optimistic to help things get better

Life is short. Build stuff that matters.
It’s simple until you make it complicated.
Start simple.
Stop sketching and start building.
Experiment. Learn. Fail. Repeat.

“Be guided by the mission of the library and the university which lets us help other people and society”

Dean Lynn Sutton concluded the conference with closing remarks. Kudos to the UNCG and WFU conference planning committee for organizing an excellent conference.

Sarah’s reflection on her studies in bibliometrics & altmetrics

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:40 pm

From April 3-30, 2013, I was a student in the online course, “Digital Scholarship: New Metrics, New Modes,” taught by Marcus Banks, Director of Library/Academic & Instructional Innovation at Samuel Merritt University, and offered by Library Juice Academy. It seemed to be similar to a traditional course, and homework assignments included reading seminal papers and watching videos on bibliometrics and altmetrics, as well as a critique of a research article from the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Altmetrics collection. For my final project, I did a comparison and analysis of bibliometrics and altmetrics indicators of the top scientific journals. Through this course, I became familiar with using ImpactStory, which is an altmetrics aggregator developed by Jason Priem, a Ph.D. student at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information & Library Science. Since I graduated from library school almost 10 years ago, my experience as a student will make me a better instructor as I reflect on my work in the course. Special thanks to Roz Tedford who encouraged me to take this course and ZSR Library for providing the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of bibliometrics and altmetrics.

Sarah at the Gatekeepers Workshop

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:41 pm

I attended the Gatekeepers I Workshop: Enhancing our Community through Inclusion last November, and it was very interactive and reflective. I even learned something new about myself. I’ve always believed that people have more universal similar characteristics than differences. It was worthwhile, and I gained a lot from the afternoon workshop. I encourage others to attend, as well.

NCLA WILR Workshop: “Insider’s Guide to Your Potential: Trust, Leadership and Happiness in the Workplace”

Friday, January 11, 2013 5:15 pm

I was one of the workshop organizers as a member of the NCLA Women’s Issues in Libraries Round Table (WILR) Executive Committee of the November 2012 Raleigh workshop on “Insider’s Guide to Your Potential: Trust, Leadership and Happiness in the Workplace.” Stephanie Goddard led the morning session on “Building High-Trust Environments in the Workplace.” There were approximately 30 attendees, and the participants reflected on building and repairing trust in the workplace. Some themes of the discussion were the importance of being a team player, respectful of others, and a good listener.

In the afternoon, the invited panelists were Wanda Brown, NCLA President, Dale Cousins, NCLA Vice President & President-Elect and Cal Shepard, State Librarian. Each panelist shared her unique perspective on leadership. The attendees asked many questions and participants said that it was a great workshop to reflect and discuss these important issues.

Sarah at ALA in Anaheim

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 2:59 pm

Since I traveled to South Korea soon after ALA ended, I’ve had time to reflect on my time at ALA, which was rejuvenating for me. I was recently appointed to the ACRL-Science & Technology Section (STS) Continuing Education Committee, and we had our committee meeting on Saturday morning. It was also great to catch up with other academic science librarians at the ACRL-STS Member Meeting and Breakfast and the ACRL-STS Dinner. Based on the various STS programs that I attended at ALA, here are some highlights for further reading:

On Monday, I presented at the ACRL-Science & Technology Section Poster Session on “Expanding the Role of the Science Librarian to the Bioinformatics Domain.” My poster presentation highlighted the evolving, multifaceted aspects of my role in instruction and liaison work in bioinformatics in order to meet the needs of science students at the undergraduate and graduate level. My responsibilities have expanded in four directions: (1)Research interest, (2)Instruction, (3)Liaison work as an Embedded Librarian, and (4)Collection development for the Biomedical Informatics Graduate Program Proposal.
By advancing scientific knowledge through research and publication on bioinformatics, I was equipped to teach about data literacy in the following roles:

  • Instructor, LIB220 Science Research Sources and Strategies
  • Guest Lecturer, LIS612 Science and Technology Information Sources
  • Embedded Librarian in genetics and bioinformatics courses

I taught new trends in bioinformatics research to the following student populations:

  • Science majors in LIB220
  • Pre-health students in LIB220 & BIO213
  • Freshmen in Bioinformatics FYS
  • MLIS students in LIS612 at UNCG

Keeping at the forefront of bioinformatics research enabled me to offer innovative instruction and liaison work at the point of need to advance ZSR Library’s mission to help students and faculty succeed. Thanks to Lynn, Roz, and Hu for coming out to support my presentation.


Sarah at the SLA Conference

Monday, June 20, 2011 2:15 pm

On June 12th – 14th, I attended the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Conference in Philadelphia. SLA consists of academic, corporate, and government librarians and numerous scientific divisions including the Biomedical & Life Sciences Division, Chemistry Division, and Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) Division.

On Sunday morning, I attended a 4-hour pre-conference on “Chemistry Information Sources, Requests, and Reference,” which was taught by Judith Currano, Head of the Chemistry Library at the University of Pennsylvania and Dawn French, Sr. Analyst-Knowledge Services at Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Library. Topics covered during the session included case studies in chemical information retrieval, issues in patent searching, and physical and chemical properties of substances. As collection development moves more towards the acquisition of e-books, I came away from this session with ideas for acquiring chemistry handbooks and reference works in electronic format if funding becomes available. Substructure searching, which involves using a portion of a chemical structure to locate similar molecules in chemistry databases, was one of the most interesting and valuable aspects of the session. My knowledge of chemistry from college came in handy when answering the instructor’s questions about substructure searching, and I am excited to apply this to LIB220 in the future.

Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and 3-time Pulitzer Prize Winner, was the keynote speaker on Sunday evening. He stated that globalization and IT has led to the flattening of the world. The most important competitive advantage is between you and your imagination. The world is increasingly becoming a right-brained world in the sense we not only need critical thinking and reasoning in accomplishing our work but also creativity and synthesis. Friedman also predicted that in 10 years, the world is heading towards universal connectivity and everyone will be connected from Detroit to Damascus, and old-fashioned things such as trust, values and ethics will matter more in the future.

On Monday morning, I attended the Biomedical and Life Sciences Division Contributed Papers Session. Rolando Garcia-Milian, Health Science Center Libraries, University of Florida, presented his paper on VIVO: Enabling National Networking of Scientists. VIVO is an open source semantic web application for scientists which was founded at Cornell University in 2003.The mission of VIVO is to enable scientists to develop connections at the national level and partner institutions. Partner institutions include the University of Florida, Cornell University, Indiana University, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, The Scripps Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Ponce Medical College.

Taneya Y. Koonce, Associate Director for Research, Knowledge Management at Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University presented her paper on “Using Patient Literacy and Knowledge to Optimize the Delivery of Health Information.” This study created a workable model for generating patient-specific information prescriptions. The researchers used surveys to assess patients’ retention of health information about hypertension with 3 rounds of testing. Conclusions from the study are that knowledge assessment tools can identify misunderstanding, and educational materials can address knowledge gaps. Furthermore, assessment tools should be carefully developed, refined, and evaluated.

Next, I attended the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics (PAM) Division Roundtable, where I heard about other librarians’ initiatives on data management and curation. I met the Physics Librarian from Cornell University, who shared about Cornell’s Research Data Management Service Group website, which is a directory of public services related to data management on campus. Data services at other libraries that were also mentioned during the PAM Roundtable include Texas Tech University and MIT’s Guide to Data Management and Publishing. The conclusion from our discussion was that the data management policy should not diverge from researchers’ workflows.

The 3rd session that I attended on Monday was a panel discussion on publishing. Panelists included Anita Ezzo, Editor of the Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, Leslie Reynolds, Editor of Practical Academic Librarianship, Tony Stankus, Editor of Science & Technology Libraries, and Lisa O’Connor, Editor of Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship. Here are some tips from the Editors:

  • Write about what interests you
  • Write regularly
  • Create goals with deadlines
  • Literature review should cite relevant studies in logical progression
  • Appropriate choice of methods
  • Logical, justifiable and well-reasoned conclusions
  • Articles should be understandable not just to a U.S. audience but also to an international audience

For more information:

Silvia, Paul J. 2007. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

On Tuesday morning, I attended a very informative panel discussion on “Developments in Informatics.” Featured speakers were Dr. Steve Heller, Project Director of the InChI Trust, Dr. Diane Rein, Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology Information Resources Librarian at the University at Buffalo, and Dr. Alberto Accomazzi, Project Manager of the NASA Astrophysics Data System.

Dr. Steven Heller: “Why Librarians Love InChI
Chemists use diagrammatic representations to convey structural information. International Chemical Identifier (InChI) is a machine-readable string of symbols originally developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The objective of InchI is to create a unique, public domain, open source algorithm, freely available, non-proprietary identifier for compounds. InChI covers 99% of compounds found in computer readable databases. One of the limitations is that there are areas of chemistry not yet covered by the InchI algorithm. However, different stereoisomers are assigned unique InchIs, and the InchIKey can be used on search engines

Dr. Diane C. Rein: “Bioinformatics as Trend: Use and Users”
She provided an overview and history of bioinformatics. Bioinformatics originated from genetics, and biological research has evolved from a descriptive, observational science (hypothesis driven) to a predictive information science (discovery driven). Bioinformatics is a phenomenon of engineers, computer scientists, and statisticians, and one of the outcomes of this emerging field is collaboration and the concept of global data. One of the latest, important developments in bioinformatics is the 1000 Genomes Project, and their goal is to catalog genetic variations that occur at 1% in human populations.

Dr. Alberto Accomazzi: “Astroinformatics: e-Science meets Astronomy”
Astronomy research is funded as pure research and is immune from commercial interests. Astronomy is a data driven science about to be hit by a data deluge. Scientific research requires repeatability, and the lifecycle of a research project should be documented by capturing all artifacts and components (provenance information how data was generated; data, processes and results need to be properly described, accessible and linked together).

This was my first time attending the SLA Conference, and the sessions I attended on biology, chemistry, and physics were very interesting and worthwhile. Not only did I gain new ideas for teaching but also perspective on new trends in science librarianship.

Sarah at ANCHASL Meeting

Thursday, May 19, 2011 3:29 pm

On April 29th, I attended the Association of N.C. Health and Science Libraries (ANCHASL) Spring Meeting and a continuing education event on study design in Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) at Duke University Medical Library. This class was taught by Connie Schardt, Associate Director of Education Services and Public Services at Duke University Medical Center Library. She covered different types of study design including Case-Control Studies (retrospective), Cohort Studies (prospective), Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials (efficacy of a treatment), Systematic Reviews (literature review) and Meta-Analysis (statistical analysis of multiple studies). Critical appraisal of the medical literature was also discussed as well as the importance of reducing bias in studies through randomization, concealed allocation, equitable treatment of groups, etc. This trip also brought back memories of studying and searching PubMed for lab reports in Duke Medical Library, and it was interesting to see how this library has changed since I was a student. Overall, this class on EBM was very informative and engaging.

2007 ACRL Baltimore
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2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
2007 ELUNA
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