Professional Development

In the 'Conferences' Category...

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.

ALA 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 3:31 pm

In case I’d been longing for parades (turns out I had), a confluence of well-known events made the 2015 ALA Annual Conference the perfect place to be. How do New Orleans and San Francisco parades compare, you ask? San Francisco parades involve less alcohol; more illegal-smelling smoke; smaller floats; fewer thrown objects; and more daytime nudity (not pictured).

The first session I attended was put on by the Cataloging Norms Interest Group of ALCTS. Nancy Fallgren of the National Library of Medicine gave an update on NLM’s BIBFRAME pilot project, which has been underway for some time. BIBFRAME Lite is an experimental set of core elements meant to be used in the new encoding framework, and NLM is working on mapping from MARC, Dublin Core, and other non-MARC legacy formats to BF Lite. However, Ms. Fallgren emphasized that their primary focus is on creation of new metadata using BIBFRAME, not conversion. A print monograph BIBFRAME mockup is viewable here.

At the same session, Roman Panchyshyn from Kent State talked about the non-stop nature of change experienced by technical services staff in the 21st Century. Managing change has become a key function for managers in technical services departments. Traditional breakdowns between acquisitions, cataloging, serials, etc. are disappearing. This trend, I think, is reflected here in Resource Services at ZSR. Mr. Panchyschyn identified eight skills/competencies that all technical services staff need to possess in order to keep up. I won’t list all of them here (full list available upon request), but suffice it to say they are metadata-centric, linked data-oriented, and future-looking. Liberal use of hyphens, sadly, isn’t one of them.

Still at the same session, Diane Hillmann from Syracuse speculated as to whether libraries will retain their legacy metadata once conversion to BIBFRAME is complete. She concluded that this is advisable; storage is relatively cheap, and you never know when you might need the data again. “Park the MARC,” she advised, wisely I think. As to whether we are making the right choice in moving toward BIBFRAME, Ms. Hillmann said that this is a moot question: there is no one right choice, and in future we will need to be multiply conversant as metadata takes on new forms and different libraries and other cultural heritage communities decide to go in divergent directions. This is part of the promise of BIBFRAME: it is to be flexible, extensible, and adaptable.

Believe it or not, I did go to other sessions and meetings. Later on Saturday I met with my ALCTS Acquisitions Section Organization and Management Committee, and on Sunday I met with my division-level ALCTS Planning Committee, where we continued to work on a three-year ALCTS strategic plan, with new emphasis on how best to track progress on that plan once it is in place. My work on the Planning Committee has provided a broad view of ALCTS as a whole – its different divisions, its reporting structure and micro-cultures, and its direction. I’ve only completed one year of a three-year term, so I have more enlightenment to look forward to, as my power and influence grow daily.

Roy Tennant from OCLC gave a fun presentation titled “Ground Truthing MARC,” in which he made a worthy comparison between the geographical process of ground truthing and the value of analyzing the existing MARC record landscape before we move to convert it en masse. He has been performing some interesting automated analyses of the ridiculously huge universe of records present in OCLC’s database, and found some interesting (if not surprising) results. A relatively small number of tags (100, 245, etc.) make up the vast majority of instances of populated subfields in OCLC; whereas hundreds of tags are used only infrequently and, all told, constitute a very small percentage of the data in OCLC. This type of analysis, he believes, will be essential as we start to think about mapping OCLC’s data into a BIBFRAME environment.

In other presentations, Amber Billey from the University of Vermont made an interesting case that in requiring NACO-authorized catalogers to choose between “Male,” “Female,” and “Not known” when assigning gender to an authority (RDA Rule 9.7), LC is expressing a false and regressively binary conception of gender. She and others have submitted a fast-track proposal that “Transgender” be added as an additional option; this proposal would seem to have merit. Joseph Kiegel from the University of Washington and Beth Camden from Penn discussed their libraries’ experiences migrating to the Ex Libris Alma and Kuali Ole ILS’s, respectively. In such migrations technical support is essential, whether provided by the system vendor or (as in the case of an open-source system like Kuali Ole) a third-party company that contracts to provide support.

On the last day, Corynne McSherry from the Electronic Frontier Foundation discussed several important copyright-related legal cases from the last year, including Authors Guild v. Hathitrust, Authors Guild v. Google, and Cambridge University Press v. Patton. The EFF is seeking a Digital Millennium Copyright Act exception for circumventing access-restriction technology in no-longer-supported video games so that archivists can preserve them, as these games are an important part of our cultural heritage. This was an entirely new topic to me and caused me to think back fondly on the days when Halo was young and I was too, when video games weren’t things to preserve, but to play. I suppose that preservation is the next-best thing.

Lauren at ALA 2015 in San Francisco

Thursday, July 2, 2015 5:13 pm

It probably seemed like everyone was talking about linked data because that was the focus of most of the sessions I attended.

One of the more interesting ones was the Library of Congress BIBFRAME Update Forum, because in addition to Sally McCallum and Beacher Wiggins of LC, they had speakers from Ex Libris, Innovative Interfaces, SirsiDynix, Atlas (think ILLIAD and ARES), OCLC, and Zepheira. At this stage, I think they were all trying to reassure clients that they will keep up with change. I took more notes on Ex Libris than the others since we’re a current customer: After some prologue on revolution vs evolution, Ido Peled, VP, Solutions and Marketing, said, that moving to a native linked data catalog is more revolutionary and Ex Libris is more comfortable with evolution. But I thought he gave more concrete evidence of readiness for linked data than the others because he said ALMA was built to support MARC and Dublin Core already and that Primo Central is already in RDF format, using JSON-LD. He also emphasized the multi-tenant environment and said, “Technology isn’t the focus. The focus is outcomes.” Because linked data includes relying on the data of others and interlinking with your own data, the “multi-tenant” environment concept made sense suddenly and helped me understand why I keep hearing about groups moving to ALMA, like Orbis-Cascade. I’ve also heard from individuals that it hasn’t been easy, but when is a system migration ever easy?

I also attended “Getting Started with Linked Open Data: Lessons from UNLV and NCSU.” They each worked on their own linked data projects, figuring out tools to use (like OpenRefine) and work flows. Then they tested on each other’s data to help them refine the tools for use with different future projects and for sharing them broadly in the library community. They both said they learned a lot and made adjustments to the tools they used. I got a much better sense of what might be involved in taking on a linked data project. Successes and issues they covered reminded me of our work on authority control and RDA enhancement: matches and near matches through an automated process, hits and non-hits against VIAF, cleaning up and normalizing data for extra spaces, punctuation, etc. In fact this session built well on “Data Clean-Up: Let’s Not Sweep it Under the Rug,” which was sponsored by the committee I’m on with Erik Mitchell, the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee. I got a good foundation regarding use of MARCedit and OpenRefine for normalizing data to eliminate spaces and punctuation. While I knew regular expressions were powerful, I finally learned what they can do. In one example, punctuation stemming from an ampersand in an organization name caused data to become parsed incorrectly, breaking apart the name of the organization every time for the thousands of times it appeared. A regular expression can overcome this problem in an automated way — there’s no need to fix each instance one by one. (Think in terms of how macros save work.)

The ALCTS President’s Program: Three Short Stories about Deep Reading in the Digital Age featured Maryanne Wolf, Director, Center for Reading and Language Research and John DiBaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. It was interesting to learn from her that brains weren’t designed for reading — think about cave men and their primary goals, which didn’t include reading. She gave a great overview of the development of language and reading and incidentally showed that those who operate in CJK languages have different parts of the brain lighting up than those of us who operate in other languages. This was all foundation leading up to how the brain operates and the effects of reading on the screen. The way we read on a screen results in the loss of certain abilities like reflection and creating connections. She measured that it takes time to regain those abilities too. She isn’t by any means anti-electronic though — she’s doing interesting work in Ethiopia with kids learning by using tablets. We’ll have to get her forthcoming book when it is finished!

I also attended committee meetings, met with vendors, networked, and got to catch up with former colleagues Erik Mitchell and Lauren Pressley over a dinner that Susan organized. (Thanks, Susan!) I especially enjoyed catching up with former colleagues Charles Hillen and Ed Summers, both dating back to my days at ODU in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles now works for YBP as Director of Library Technical Services and Ed just received the Kilgour Award from LITA/OCLC. Thanks to Ed, I got to meet Eric Hellman, president of the company that runs Unglue.it. And thanks to WFU Romance Languages faculty member Alan Jose, who mentioned the idea, I went Monday afternoon with Derrik and Carolyn to visit the Internet Archive offices, where we met Brewster Kahle. The volume the organization handles is mind-blowing! Kahle says they only collect about 40 TV channels right now and it is not enough. They have designed the book digitization equipment they are using (and selling it at a reasonable price too). They have people digitizing reels of films, VHS, and audio, but Kahle says they’ve got to come up with a better method than equipment using magnetic heads that are hard to find. Someone is working on improving search right now too. Some major advice offered was to learn Python!

 

Sarah at the Metrolina Library Association Conference

Friday, June 19, 2015 1:50 pm

On June 11th, I drove to Charlotte to attend the 10th Annual Metrolina Library Association Conference. The keynote speaker was Dr. Jim Carmichael who is an active member of AAUP and an advocate for intellectual freedom. At the heart of teaching, he said, “[Professors] have the right to say what we feel is the truth in the classroom.”

I attended a session on productivity apps such as KanbanFlow and e.ggtimer.com, which has a Pomodoro timer for those who use this time management method. Among noisli.com, rainymood.com, and coffitivity.com, I tested all three websites and the first two are my favorites. Check it out!

I also attended a session on instructional design, which provided some good reminders that learning outcomes should be observable, measurable, and demonstrated. Bloom’s taxonomy is helpful when constructing learning outcomes. When planning instruction, ask yourself: What do you want them to know? Need to know or nice to know?

The last two sessions that I attended were on designing staff development, and here are some points to consider:

Stakeholders: Departments, offices, student organizations, community groups could/should you include in the conversation?

Barriers: Identify any possible barriers that could arise through collaborating

Opportunities: What are some concrete and innovative collaborations that you could do around this topic?

In one session, the speaker recognized Roz Tedford who gave a presentation on developing an Information Literacy credit course for librarians at Winston-Salem State University. Go Roz!

The Living Library at Radford University is something new I learned where people can share their different perspectives, and apparently it is a growing trend in universities across the U.S. In addition, GLSEN is a recommended resource for designing inclusive programs.

 

Steve at UKSG 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015 5:27 pm

Sorry for being so late with this. April and May just ate my life. I know it’s no excuse, but it’s what I’ve got. Now, on to the post.

Late last March, NASIG sent me to the UKSG Conference in Glasgow, Scotland as the president and official representative of NASIG. UKSG is the older sister organization in the United Kingdom on which NASIG was based at its founding, and much like the governments of the US and UK, NASIG and UKSG have a “special relationship.” Since I will be doing a lunch and learn presentation with Mary Beth and Mary S. in July on the experience of traveling abroad for a conference, I will save the more fun stories of traveling for that event. With this post, I’ll stick more to the content of the conference, by talking about a few of the sessions that interested me.

I sang for my supper at the opening session of the conference, bringing greetings from NASIG to the attendees of UKSG (about 1,000 librarians, publishers and vendors). Just after the opening session, we heard a fascinating talk by Geoffrey Bilder of CrossRef, called “The Four Strawmen of the Scholarpocalypse.” Bilder talked about how the scholarly system incentivizes lots of publishing by scholars, not necessarily increased quality. The number of citations a publication receives has become more important than how good it actually is. The pressure to publish more has led to an explosion in the amount of material published in each discipline, which leads to scholars doing more shallow reading in their research. Bilder argued that the current tenure system is counter-productive, because putting people under pressure doesn’t make them work smarter, it makes them try to figure out how to get by in the system. Bilder argued that distorted incentives and rewards in the scholarly publishing system causes “smart people to do dumb things for smart reasons” (which may be my single favorite quotation from a conference presentation ever).

Another really interesting session I attended was “Two of Us: Library/Press Collaboration” by Andrew Barker and Anthony Cond, both of University of Liverpool, Barker from the library and Cond from the University of Liverpool Press. The two speakers received a grant to explore making open access electronic text books available to students. The first step was Barker and Cond had to recruit academics at Liverpool who were willing to write the text books. They had to strenuously court and also pay a professor from the School of Management to write an “Essentials of Financial Management” text book, but they were able to talk a history professor into creating a guide for using primary sources just out of the goodness of his heart. In both cases, they tried to take advantage of the fact that the books were electronic resources, by making them interactive with videos and links. After the books were written, the UP did the editing and preparation of the publication files. The Library will handle the technical end of mounting the files and making them available, as well as handling their maintenance. The material should be available late this year. Overall, it sounded like a fascinating collaboration between a university library and a university press.

The conversations I had with British colleagues were also extremely interesting and gave me a better picture of the differences between our systems of higher education. The UK is way way farther ahead of the US on matters of Open Access, but they have government mandates (instituted by a Conservative government of all things!) that place many stringent OA requirements on scholars. Also, private institutions of higher learning are extremely rare in the UK, unlike here in the US. Another interesting fact was that there are relatively few library-related conferences in the UK (unlike the US where new library conferences seem to spring up like topsy), and there is no equivalent of ALA, so what conferences there are tend to have pretty high attendance. And the model of librarians as faculty does not exist in the UK, so our experiences in the faculty system sound very foreign to them.

In closing, I’ll say that Glasgow is a fantastic city, and that the UKSG folks were wonderful hosts. Plus, the experience of attending a conference in a foreign country was pretty amazing and I would highly recommend it, if you get the chance.

Joy, Kyle, and Amanda at The Innovative Library Classroom Conference

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 4:30 pm

For the second year in a row, the Instruction Cave descended upon Radford University (in Virginia) for the Innovative Library Classroom Conference. Here are some of the highlights from our visit.

Keynote

Carrie Donovan, head of Teaching & Learning at the Indiana University Libraries gave a high-energy talk on how she and her team have viewed the ACRL Framework discussion as an opportunity to shift their role in supporting the teaching and learning of information literacy on such a large campus. Rather than delivering one-to-one instruction (which we’re able to do here, but which one could imagine being quite impossible with a student body north of 40,000) or developing a credit-bearing course program as we have, they’ve shifted their focus to be more consultative during the course development process, with an eye toward integrating information literacy concepts into individual courses and entire curricula. Carrie made it a point to reinforce in us the idea that we’re experts in our field and should act like it when we’re talking with faculty about information literacy concepts and how we can help their students achieve IL learning outcomes.

Conversation Starter: A Framework Tasting: Trying Out an Upcoming Vintage in Info Lit
Ginny Pannabecker, Virginia Tech

This was a great interactive session that allowed librarians to workshop the new Framework for Information Literacy. In the session, librarians were broken up into six groups to discuss one of the six new frames. Each group was then asked to discuss the following questions:

  • What does this frame mean to you?
  • How does your instructional practice already support this frame?
  • What else would you like to try to engage with and support this frame?

Though the questions may seem simple enough, I thought the facilitator did an excellent job asking questions that really engaged the audience with the topic. My group had so much to discuss we didn’t even make it through all three questions. I think the session might be worth duplicating at some point at ZSR.

Can You Kick It? Bringing Hip Hop Pedagogy to the Library Classroom
Craig Arthur – Radford University

It’s fairly common to use “real world” examples to illustrate plagiarism and copyright when teaching students about these concepts, so I appreciated some of the fresh examples this librarian brought to the presentation. For example, when Mac Miller copied the beat of Lord Finesse’s “Hip 2 Da Game” without attribution and, of course, got sued (warning: nsfw language on the videos). It’s a great example that illustrates the complexity of copyright infringement, especially since Lord Finesse’s song also contains short samples of other music.

I think what I appreciated the most about this presentation was the discussion about the intersections of hip-hop production culture and information literacy. For example, he emphasized the fact that traditional hip-hop production actually requires a lot of information and research skills (as highlighted in the documentary Scratch). For DJ’s, acquiring knowledge of older music to potentially sample is an early example of Information Has Value. There is a lot of crossover between the ideas of academic integrity and sampling — the conventions are different, but both involve giving credit to those that have come before. Critical information literacy folks may also appreciate the brief discussion on the hidden history of hip-hop — one that does not follow the traditional “Rapper’s Delight” narrative, but instead starts much earlier with DJ’s/emcees. (Sidebar: this reminded me 9th Wonder’s visit to Wake Forest where he also discussed the lesser known history of the origins of hip-hop). It would certainly be an interesting subject to have students research in the future!

Emotionally Intelligent Library Instruction, Or: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love our Feels
Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam (UNC-G)

Kyle, Amanda, and Joy all attended this breakout session because we knew anything led by Jenny and Lynda would be good! Unless you have been under a rock for the last 17 years, you are probably very familiar with Daniel Goleman’s research regarding Emotional Intelligence which has been used in the business world since 1998. Goleman’s work inspired an avalanche of literature and presentations around the topic of Emotional Intelligence as it pertains to a wide variety of professions. One of these inspired works was written in 2005 by Alan Martiboys, Teaching with Emotional Intelligence: A Step-by-Step Guide for Higher and Further Educational Professionals. We have the 2011 2nd edition available as an ebook through our catalog, but I believe you can get the gist of what he is saying through the first link and that is the book I will cite.

Martiboys states that learning and emotion are intertwined; subject expertise is not enough for classroom success. In addition, we need teaching and learning methods as well as emotional intelligence (2). Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be learned, and Martiboys offers advice for making it part of the classroom experience. An EI teacher is: approachable, accepting, positive, a good listener, empathic, good at making eye contact, non-threatening, open, respectful, good at recognizing students, and not presumptuous (11). Instructors should plan their emotional environment which includes everything from how the classroom is set up to how you start your sessions. Martiboys stresses the importance of learning the names of students. Chapter four of his book focuses on the physical experience of learners. Martiboys says that we must plan the physical learning environment , including getting students up and moving in the classroom. While students do some movement in most of my classes, I plan to be more intentional about this starting in the fall. Another interesting section of this book is p.102-104 which talks about the concepts of “strokes” as a “unit recognition.” A stroke can be any acknowledgement that we give another, verbal or nonverbal, and we all need strokes to survive. As instructors, we are in good positions to offer positive strokes, and Martiboys encourages us to put energy into giving and accepting (not discounting) positive strokes.

How I learned to Love Evaluation and Not Care So Much about Assessment
Annie Zeidman-Karpinski (University of Oregon) and Dominque Tornbow (UC San Diego)

Annie and Dominque used the ABCD objective model to make the argument that one-shot sessions should focus on evaluation and not assessment. ABCD is an acronym for “Audience (Who are the learners?), Behavior (What do learners need to demonstrate to show they’ve achieved the outcome?), Condition (Under what conditions do learners need to perform the behavior?), and Degree (To what degree do learners need to perform the behavior?).” Instructors should be able to categorize learning outcomes within Kirkpatrick’s 4 Level Evaluation Model (Level 1 – Reaction; Level 2 – Learning, Level 3 – Behavior, Level 4 – Results). By this model, LIB100 courses are able to evaluate Level 3 (they are able to demonstrate appropriate search skills in class) and they are moving to Level 4 (where they will be able to apply those skills outside of LIB100). Here is a link to the slides used in this session.

In this session, they used several online survey tools (which I believe would have worked better if I had a device other than my iPhone):
Poll everywhere = PollEv.com/annie
Revised Blooms Taxonomy Action Verbs
Kahoot = https://kahoot.it
padlet = http://padlet.com/anniezk/tilc2015

Summary

Overall, it was a really good day with a great group of people! Attendance at this Conference was limited to 75, so it was a wonderful place to connect with other instruction librarians (including Lauren Pressley!) and to hear what is happening in library classrooms in the Virginia/North Carolina/Maryland region.

Molly at ARCS

Friday, May 15, 2015 1:21 pm

In late April, I attended the inaugural Advancing Research Communication & Scholarship (ARCS) conference in Philadelphia. Modeled on the early days of the Charleston Conference, ARCS aimed to be the first conference dedicated to scholarly communication that brought together the key stakeholders in the system: librarians, publishers, authors, and researchers. For two days, the 170 or so attendees gathered for keynotes, concurrent sessions, 24×7 talks, and a reception and poster session to exchange ideas on what works and what does not work in current scholarly communication practices, and to offer suggestions for where we might go in the future.

The opening keynote on Monday morning was extraordinarily fascinating. Will Noel, Penn Libraries Special Collections Center and Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, discussed how humanists do have data, they just don’t recognize that they do. To illustrate his point—literally and figuratively—he shared the work that he and others did at The Walter Art Museum in Baltimore on an Archimedes Palimpsest held by the Museum’s special collections. The palimpsest was first identified in 1906 and provided 78 previously unknown Archimedes treatises. He discussed how work on transcribing and saving the Archimedes works has progressed throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, from human eye translation to x-rays to ultraviolet and infrared scans to highlight the Archimedes text for study. The museum has released all of the images throughout the project openly online, and others have built viewers for scholars to be able to study these texts. The images themselves are data, and by making the data openly available, the opportunities for scholars and interested people to engage with this fragile artifact have expanded beyond what would otherwise have been possible had the images been restricted. The entire time he was speaking, I kept wishing that Chelcie, Tanya, Rebecca, Megan, Beth, Craig, and Stephanie could have been in the room with me!

The concurrent sessions I attended throughout the two days were on a variety of scholarly communication topics, many addressing openness and the future of digital scholarship. Points I’m still pondering:

  • Do we really know what scholarship is? (One panelist’s answer is that “it’s an event, it’s embodied, it’s materiality”)
  • How do we ask where scholarship begins and where does it end?
  • How do new forms of scholarship allow us to understand scholarly questions differently?

An insight that struck a chord is that scholarship no longer has to be a fixed form, i.e. a journal article or a monograph, but we haven’t yet developed systems to handle dynamic scholarship, either technically or in our mental framework of scholarship.

One of the best panels I’ve ever heard was at ARCS, bringing together a for-profit publisher, a non-profit library-based publisher, a current PhD student, and a librarian turned consultant. These four individuals, although bringing a variety of perspectives, came to some points of consensus that the model of open access that we have now—particularly looking to publishing—is likely not sustainable in it’s current iteration. Pressure points were identified by all, and while we certainly did not solve the problems of open access publishing, it was encouraging to hear representatives from across the system be able to agree on the challenges and opportunities. It was also refreshing to hear a for-profit publisher publicly acknowledge that publishers are in it for the business, not for advancing scholarship or supporting tenure, and therefore need profit. While this is known to be true, it isn’t always stated quite as bluntly.

The highlight of attending ARCS was the opportunity to connect with many scholarly communication colleagues, and also with several vendors. I shared meals or drinks with colleagues I’ve met through the ACRL Scholarly Communication Roadshow, the ACRL Research & Scholarly Environment Committee, ASERL, the University Intellectual Property Officers group, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Advisory Board, and beyond. Because ARCS was a small conference, opportunities for conversations were plentiful, as we weren’t all dashing in different directions to catch shuttles to here, there, and everywhere as is the case at larger conferences (*cough, ALA, cough*).

This current fiscal year, I changed up the conferences I elected to attend, passing on ALA Midwinter and Annual, as well as ACRL, in favor of attending smaller, more focused conferences: Charleston, UIPO, ARCS, and next week, the ASERL Scholarly Communication Unconference. While I may yet return to the larger conferences, given the niche focus of my field, the conferences I’ve attended this year have proven to be a good match for my professional interests and needs, and I anticipate keeping to the smaller conferences for the foreseeable future.

Stephanie at Midwest Archives

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:33 am

As Tanya mentioned, I also attended the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting last week. It was my first trip to bourbon country, and thanks to the local arrangements committee, I kicked it off at Buffalo Trace, the longest running bourbon distillery in America, and a narrated amble through horse country. Another first for an archives: the plenary speaker was Joel Pett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader; his talk was a laugh a minute.

The trip was not all fun and games, though, I did make time for learning! I attended a very informative session on audiovisual preservation, which is timely since I’m currently processing about 8 linear feet of cassette tapes, videotapes, and audioreels in the Edgar Christman collection. All the sessions were great, though. Other highlights included:

  • A hands-on session about digital forensics presented in part by Jason Evans Groth of NC State: I may be taking a field trip soon to see their digital imaging workstation
  • A quick brown bag lunch session on strategic career planning featuring our own TZB
  • Event planning and social media management solutions for solo archivist shops (translates well to our department, as well)
  • A “speed geeking” session on records management-related outreach and marketing that provided four different, creative approaches

It’s rare that every session of a conference offers something that is directly applicable to my work, but happily this was the case in Lexington. I also presented a poster on Saturday morning, “How Much Do You Earn? An Informal Look at Archives Salaries,” presenting the results of a survey that I conducted last spring. I got some good questions and feedback, which was useful for thinking about my next steps. Many thanks to Craig for providing some tips on making the poster look good! Alas, I failed to take a photo of my masterpiece.

Midwest Archives Conference Annual meeting–Lexington, KY–Tanya

Monday, May 11, 2015 1:18 pm

I had a wonderful time at the most recent MAC meeting—there was learning, sharing information, and hearing horror stories. I was able to attend the Society of American Archivists workshop: Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records. The workshop was excellent, and included discussion of how to combine the practice of archival appraisal with accepting and documenting born-digital records. There was a focus on policies, file formats, storage considerations, and a number of tools available for archivists to use. The donation of born-digital and electronic records is becoming an increasing issue for the University Archives, and the time could not be better to attend a workshop such as this.

I also gave a presentation on Thursday on Assessing our Public Services, part of a broader session on Assessment (including Collections and Trusted Digital Repository Criteria). We had around 70 people in the room and there were lots of questions afterwards. My presentation is available here:
https://www.academia.edu/12321931/Assessment_in_Action_Using_Results_to_Improve_the_Archival_Experience

The opening reception was held at The Carrick House (http://carrickhouse.com/index2.php#/info1/1/) in downtown Lexington. There were variations on ham and biscuits, and yes, I witnessed archivists square-dancing. They also had a photo booth and it was just as popular as ours was at the Dean’s List Gala. I was able to attend more sessions on archives internships and implementing organizational change, and see posters on Documenting Ferguson and the current status of archivists’ salaries (courtesy of our own Stephanie Bennett).

Finally, I was able to knock another item off my bucket list as I traveled back via the Cumberland Gap Parkway.

Arabian Gulf States Chapter of the Special Libraries Association

Monday, April 27, 2015 2:13 pm

Last summer I received an e-mail, which at first I thought must be a mistake. It was an invitation to present at the 21st annual conference of the Arabian Gulf Chapter of the Special Libraries Association in Abu Dhabi. The invitation was for Mary Beth, Mary Krautter of UNC-Greensboro and me. You may recall that in 2012 we had published The Entrepreneurial Librarian and we surmised it was our roles as editors that had earned us the invitation. We felt it was a rare opportunity and an honor to have been invited. We accepted promptly and began planning our presentation.


Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock, Mary Scanlon
We were asked to present a four-hour pre-conference workshop and a 90-minute concurrent session, both of which were to be based on the topic of entrepreneurship in libraries. After many early morning meetings at Panera and several all-day Saturday work sessions, we were ready to present How to Create an Entrepreneurial Culture in Your Library and Entrepreneurship in Libraries.
The full title of the conference was: The Internet and the Positive Change to Librarians and Information Professionals: Enhancing the Digital Knowledge Society’s Information Needs. Three hundred librarians attended the conference and one hundred vendors exhibited their products and services. I met librarians from across the Gulf States of Oman, Qatar, the UAE (naturally) and Kuwait along with a number of expats working at UAE libraries who had come from Morocco and the US, including my fellow BLINC librarian Melanie Wood who’s currently working at Zayed University in Dubai. Melanie served as our moderator during the presentation.
The conference, which ran for 2.5 days, was preceded by a day of pre-conference workshops including ours. The workshops were held at the Petroleum Institute not far from the conference hotel. We were fortunate to have a small audience for it allowed us to engage with each of them in a very interactive manner. As Mary Beth noted, most of our attendees were associated with the tourism & hospitality industries in some capacity. These are important and growing industries in the UAE. We conducted the workshop in English without simultaneous translators which worked out well for the most part. The local SLA chapter used a professional event-planning company to organize the pre-conference workshops and the conference; their work was in evidence every day as the conference progressed.
The conference opened on Tuesday morning. Following a recitation from the Holy Koran and greetings from the conference organizers and local hosts, Dr. Eesa Mohammed Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai presented the keynote address, “Knowledge-based Societies”. He laid out a vision for the UAE as a knowledge-based ecosystem that would provide economic prosperity for all. The main components of a knowledge-based ecosystem consist of: education; research and business development (R&BD); and incubation and entrepreneurship. In the area of R&BD he asserted that the element that’s missing in the UAE is a culture of entrepreneurship. He presented such a compelling case for developing these traits in the Arab societies & economies that I wished we had offered our workshop after his talk. He presented the why and we presented the how for developing an entrepreneurial culture in an organization. His talk was an energetic call to action for entrepreneurship in the region.
We presented during the first set of concurrent sessions which began after lunch on the first day. We had a good-sized audience which engaged with the material, asked questions and stayed after the talk to get copies of our slides downloaded onto their thumb drives.
I attended a concurrent session on embedded applications by McGraw Medical. The company representative explained how a medical textbook evolved into a fully digital application with tons of embedded content that’s customized to a class or program. Its focus is on surgical education for students as well as clinicians with a focus on accuracy and ease of search.
The second day’s keynote session was delivered by Professor Sherif Kamel Shaheen, Professor of Library and Information Science at Cairo University. His talk, “How to Create Real Future impact? People Make the Difference” spoke to 4 issues facing our profession: innovation and entrepreneurship; social responsibility; code of ethics; strategic partnerships. His was another call to action, to take ideas and implement them, but not just for the sake of being different. As Mary Beth noted, the UAE is making a concerted effort to differentiate its economy beyond the petroleum industry and infusing the culture with a spirit of entrepreneurship is part of the plan, even though it doesn’t blend neatly with the current culture which is somewhat hierarchical. As you see, entrepreneurship was a thread that wove its way through the entire conference and we were part of the thread.

I also attended sessions on Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) which varies slightly from our DDA; a session on Technology in Libraries which focused on online education; and a vendor presentation on Plum Analytics, among others.
English was the primary language for the conference, although the program was printed in both English and Arabic. Most presentations were in English and the conference provided headsets and simultaneous translators for both English to Arabic and Arabic to English. I tended to skip the few sessions in which the presentation and the slides were both in Arabic.

I spent some time in the exhibit hall, too. The vendors seemed to fall into several categories: the database and e-book vendors, the furniture vendors, and the digital scanning equipment or services vendors. Among the database vendors I saw many familiar names, but the focus was all on STEM. Given the importance of petroleum engineering to the Gulf States this isn’t very surprising, but except for Euromonitor, there wasn’t a single business database in the hall.

As Mary Beth has already noted, the hospitality shown us was delightful. Conference organizers and attendees alike made us feel welcome. It was a great experience and I’m grateful to Mohamed Mubarak, Past President of the chapter for inviting us.

 


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