Professional Development

In the 'Uncategorized' Category...

SAA in HOTlanta!

Saturday, August 6, 2016 1:47 pm

The meeting of the Society of American Archivists in Atlanta marked the end of my three year term on SAA Council, the society’s governing body. It was also fitting that I celebrated my one year anniversary while at SAA. I first learned about the ZSR dean opening at the November 2014 Council meeting when Tanya Zanish-Belcher asked me if I would like to be her boss. Then I was offered the position while at the May 2015 Council meeting. And the Wake connection continues as Tanya starts her term as SAA Vice President/President-elect.

This was a very productive meeting for me and Society. Diversity and inclusion was a major theme of the meeting and we approved an updated statement for SAA. I was Council liaison to several SAA groups, including the Standards Committee. The Committee sponsors three joint ACRL/RBMS/SAA task forces; two focus on new metrics for holdings and public services while the third addresses teaching with primary sources. All three should have reports out this year.

I also talked with some of developers and board members of ArchivesSpace, which is a collections management and finding aid authoring and discovery system. While at Penn State, we implemented ArchivesSpace and I was a member of their board. The tool is maturing and two vendors now offer hosting options — Lyrasis and Atlas (parent company for Illiad). Both Yale and Penn State recently moved to Lyrasis hosting and are happy with the service. This may be an option for us as the Archivists Toolkit is no longer supported.

Mark Puente, who leads the diverity program for Association of Research Libraries was present at the meeting. ARL and SAA sponsor the Mosaic Scholarship program, which supports 15 students pursuing careers in archives and libraries. I vounteered Wake Forest to be a potential Mosaic internship site. I also invited Mark to visit us at ZSR as we launch our Diversity & Inclusion Committee. And while not attending SAA, I was able to meet with John Burger, director of the Association of Southeast Research Libraries, which is based in Atlanta.

Finally, Stephen Edwards organized a fun ZSR awareness event while I was in Atlanta. With help from Stephanie Bennett, we met with 50 local alumni at Monday Night Brewing, a microbrewery co-owned by a Wake alum.

It was a busy, educational, and fun week. I had the chance to see many of my former staff members from Penn State, Duke, and UNC as well as a number of my former students. I now feel recharged and ready to start the semester!


Digital Production at Chapel Hill and Duke: Chelcie and Melde Visit Labs

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 4:55 pm

Shortly following my arrival to ZSR this past December, one of the goals discussed between Chelcie Rowell and I were to visit digital production labs at nearby universities over the summer. The goal was to witness how other well known institutions operated their digital production labs. This came to fruition on July 21 as we made the trek to UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University.

Specifically we wanted to observe and ask questions about how other operations managed workflows, performed quality assurance (QA/QC), color management and digital preservation.

Chelcie made the initial contacts this past May with Molly Bragg, the digital collections program manager at Duke’s Digital Production Center, and Lisa Gregory, the program coordinator at the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. The Digital Heritage Center is located on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill at Wilson Library.

The itinerary consisted of first traveling to Chapel Hill that morning, and Duke University in the afternoon. In between the two visits, we had lunch with both parties.

Lisa and Kristen Merryman were our Chapel Hill hosts that morning. Kristen is the digital projects librarian at the Digital Heritage Center. The organization is independent of UNC Chapel Hill, but the two groups share the Digital Production Center in Wilson Library. So this gave us the opportunity to also meet some UNC staff–specifically Kerry Bannen, a digitization support technician for the library’s preservation department, and Fred Stipe, who heads the Digital Production Center.

Mike Adamo demonstrates scanning film negatives with the Fextight X5

Mike Adamo demonstrates using the Flextight X5.

Both Kerry and Fred were in the midst of digitizing materials when we were escorted to the lab. The two were using Zeutschel overhead scanners similar to the Zeutschel workstations within ZSR. Kerry proved to be very knowledgeable about Omniscan, which is the designated software used to operate Zeutschel scanners. A drawback with Omniscan is that there is scant literature or other resources on how to use the software outside of its basic functions. So it was great to meet people who have extended knowledge.

In particular, Kerry shared awesome tips and ideas on the value of using additional clips in Omniscan, which we have now implemented. Clips represent an individual scan in Omniscan. In typical scanning sessions, we used two clips. Kerry provided some insight on how to add additional clips for different functions. For example, we applied a clip that will now generate a thumbnail image within a session.

This proves useful because we create thumbnail images for use in Wake Space to represent a digital object. A 300-plus biographical files upload will also need that many thumbnail images. Prior to our visit, we automated this process with an Adobe Photoshop script. But incorporating this step within Omniscan streamlines this process even further.

Setup at Duke for ldigitizing arge-scale materials

Setup at Duke for digitizing large-scale materials

Color management was also a key topic of discussion at both Chapel Hill and Duke. Having appropriate color calibration on a PC ensures colors and black levels on the screen are true for best results when editing and viewing images. At Duke, Mike Adamo demonstrated the color calibration and profiling system performed on their PC monitors. Mike is the digital production developer at Duke’s Digital Production Center, located at Perkins Library.

Molly also introduced us to the other staff at Duke’s lab: Alex Marsh, digitization specialist; Zeke Graves, audio digitization specialist; and Will Sexton, head of digital projects and production services. In addition to still images and documents, the staff also works heavily with audio and video. Alex spends much time digitizing analog video such as VHS tapes. And Zeke specializes in digitizing audio, such as vinyl records, cassette tapes and reels.

Audio station at Duke’s Digital Production Center

Both Alex and Zeke revealed to us that the equipment they use is hard to come by, mainly because electronics such as high end VCRs and cassette players are no longer manufactured. Coincidentally, that same week it was announced on many news outlets that the last company making VCRs would stop producing them in July. Alex said that some of the audio equipment used in the lab has been purchased on eBay.

Our meeting with Will closed out the the visit. In-part he presented a walkthrough of their digital collections. It was also a nice gesture that he invited us to attend upcoming Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) meetings. One of the group’s areas of interest is a Shared Digital Production, Access and Preservation platform.

What was pleasing about the two visits were how our hosts were so willing to accommodate and answer our questions, and even share their documentation. It was also great to make new connections and come back with new ideas.

Words and Pictures: Megan at Rare Book School

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 1:40 pm

I spent last week looking at pictures. Sounds relaxing, no? But since I was taking a class at the University of Virginia’s summer Rare Book School, it was enlightening but intense week, with a large amount of information absorbed in a very short time.

Illustration from Wenceslaus Hollar's Theatrum Mulierum

An illustration from Wenceslaus Hollar’s Theatrum Mulierum (1643) is an example of Chine-collé technique, in which a print is made on very fine, thin paper and then mounted onto a thicker backing page. From the ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives copy.


Rare Book School offers a variety of classes every year, on a wide array of special-collections-related topics. This year I was keen to take “History of Printed Book Illustration in the West,” taught by Erin Blake of the Folger Library.

ZSR’s special collections have a wealth of illustrated materials. And in recent years I’ve noticed a rapidly growing demand for our visual resources in teaching, research, social media, and other special projects.

Bernard Salomon woodcut from Vitruvius, De Architectura (Paris 1586)

Bernard Salomon’s woodcut illustrations for Vitruvius’s De Architectura went through many editions during the Renaissance. This example from ZSR’s Special Collections was printed in Paris in 1586.


I went into the class with a basic knowledge of the history of book illustration, but after a week under Erin’s tutelage, I now have a much enhanced understanding of illustration techniques, and I know more about the innovative and influential artists of the past 600 years. I can now with some confidence tell my etchings from my engravings and my collotypes from my photogravures.

American Entomology butterflies

An illustration from Thomas Say’s American Entomology (Philadelphia, 1824) is an etching hand-painted with watercolors. From the ZSR Library Special Collections’ copy.


I’m eager to deploy this new information in next year’s teaching. But I’ve also realized that I need to enhance the metadata for the visual aspects of our books. Academic library cataloging has traditionally viewed the text as primary, with illustrations, in most cases, of secondary importance. With better documentation, we’ll be able to make even more extensive use of special collections’ exciting visual resources.

Amanda at Immersion 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016 4:36 pm

Lake Champlain, overlooking the Adirondacks

What is Immersion?

From July 24-29th I visited Burlington, Vermont to attend Immersion, a week-long, intensive training for librarians working on information literacy. Immersion was located on the campus of Champlain College. I attended the “Teacher Track,” which is ideal for early-career instruction librarians who are interested in strengthening their knowledge of instructional techniques and theory. Here were some of my key takeaways:

Transformative Learning

We began the week by considering information literacy through the perspective of “GeST Windows.” In this model, learning outcomes (as in, what we hope students learn) are seen as fitting into one of three categories:

  • Generic – skills-based (e.g. search strategies for library databases)
  • Situational – situated within an authentic social/cultural context (e.g. giving correct attribution for a Creative Commons image in a blog post), or
  • Transformative – transforms oneself or society (e.g. writing a social critique that challenges the status quo/questions assumptions)

These perspectives are hierarchical, and (I think) they can be in tension with one another. For those like myself, who have both the time and the desire to focus on the transformative, it’s still all too easy to default to teaching only “generic skills,” rather than engaging in the difficult work of teaching ideas that might be transformative for the student. However, generic skills are still essential, and I think it is important not to negate the very real benefits that “generic skills” can have for our students.

Williams Hall on University of Vermont's beautiful "University Row." I climbed up this four story(!) fire escape to catch a better glimpse of Lake Champlain. /brag

Williams Hall on University of Vermont’s beautiful “University Row.” I climbed up this four story(!) fire escape to catch a better glimpse of Lake Champlain. /brag

Learning to “Unlearn”

Perhaps my favorite “tidbit” of the week is the notion that a big part of learning is un-learning the things that we think we know. We began by learning about assumptions — particularly our own assumptions, which can be hard to uncover because often we don’t know that we are making them. We grouped assumptions into three types, based on Brookfield’s Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher:

  • Causal Assumptions – an assumption about how something (like learning) works, and how to change it (e.g. making a mistake in front of students increases their trust in us). These are considered the easiest to uncover
  • Prescriptive Assumptions – an assumption about how we think something should be (e.g. What does a good teacher do?) These are often extensions of paradigmatic assumptions
  • Paradigmatic Assumptions – these are the hardest to identify, as to us they appear to be things that we know to be true, and deal with the way that we have ordered the world into fundamental categories (e.g. “adults are self-directed learners”)

So, we had a great activity in which we attempted to uncover our assumptions about our students (e.g. what do we “know” about our students vs. what we “think” we know). So, an assumption I’ve been known to have about Wake students is that they are generally well-prepared, academically speaking, for college. I’ve met a few students who have challenged that assumption, but it’s one that I know I hold and it directly relates to my classroom and instruction. Recognizing these assumptions, or having a critically reflective awareness of them, is important for furthering student-centered learning.

More of Lake Champlain at sunset, overlooking the Adirondacks

More of Lake Champlain at sunset, overlooking the Adirondacks

The Neoliberal Library Classroom

Immersion came at an interesting time. This summer, there has been a bit of controversy in the information literacy world over ACRL rescinding the Information Literacy Competency Standards in favor of the new Information Literacy Framework for Higher Education.

There have been a variety of different responses to this action, ranging from hurt to happiness to apathy. I like both documents, I find them both helpful, and I will continue to use both, but neither are the end-all-be-all for information literacy.

One of the smartest and more interesting responses I read was Emily Drabinski’s blog post What Standards Do and What They Don’t. It echoed many of Drabinski’s thoughts from Towards a Kairos of Library Instruction, which we discussed at Immersion. Essentially, both articles question our assumptions (there they are again!) about “standards” (and frameworks, for that matter) and what they do (e.g. create professional identity, allow us to bargain for resources) and don’t do (e.g. reveal “the truth” of information literacy, tell us how to teach/what to teach in our classrooms).

In the Kairos article in particular, Drabinski reminds us of what brought about our desire to create professional standards in the first place – an increasing notion that a liberal arts education be tied directly to employment/job-preparedness. Because of this, the “about-ness” of information literacy became defined by a set of skills meant to help students in the workforce. Drabinski reminds us that the focus of instruction should be, “on the particular students in a particular classroom with a particular set of learning experiences and needs” not defined by a list of frames or standards.

I think these ideas have been particularly revelatory (and dare I say, transformative) for me and my instructional practice. I’m super pumped to consider all of these ideas as I continue to revise LIB100 moving forward.

Obligatory Food Photo from Sherpa's Kitchen. This was my first experience with Nepalese cuisine.

Obligatory Food Photo from Sherpa’s Kitchen. This was my first experience with Nepalese cuisine.

Learning Outcomes, Peer Observation, Assessment, Oh, my!

We also spent a lot of time on the bread and butter of good instructional practice — learning outcomes, assessment, incorporating technology, peer observation. I can’t claim to be an expert in any of these areas, but I’m happy to share what I learned.

I will say Immersion served as a nice reminder to not backslide into poor instructional habits (“Lesson plan? I’ve taught this lesson over 30 times! I know what I’m doing!”). See those assumptions? It definitely inspired me to write learning outcomes for each and every lesson this semester, especially since I’m making a pretty big change by having my students create Wikipedia articles. So, thank you Immersion!

Everything Else

Burlington, Vermont was a neat town. The weather was amazing. The town was very walk-able and you can see Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from just about anywhere. There’s also a lot of beer and ice cream, so, what else do you need to hear, really?

I could talk about Immersion for days. And I did, apparently. If you made it this far, I owe you a Heady Topper! (If it can be found!)

My dorm (yes, this beautiful home is a dorm!)

My dorm (yes, this beautiful home is a dorm!)

Sarah at the 2nd Science Boot Camp for Librarians Southeast

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 5:06 pm

On July 5th, I drove to the University of Georgia (UGA) to present at the 2nd Science Boot Camp for Librarians Southeast. It was great to be immersed for 3 days in presentations on coral reefs, climate change, public health, and science education by renowned researchers and faculty from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Georgia, Emory University as well as librarians who work at the CDC, Coca-Cola, and the Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. James Porter, who coined the term “coral bleaching” through his research on ocean temperature with graduate students (see second photo below), poignantly focused on the global effect of climate change into context of its impact on coral reefs. His history of science presentation highlighted Thomas Jefferson’s second expedition, the Marine Science Expedition, which returned after Lewis and Clarke’s Terrestrial Expedition.

On July 7th, the UGA Special Collections Library hosted a gala, which exhibited Dr. Porter’s “Antiquarian Books on Coral and Coral Reefs”.

Another talk on climate change by Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, former NASA Scientist and Past President of American Meteorological Society (AMS), was compelling in his analogy that “weather is like one’s mood” but “climate is like one’s personality” in order to demystify myths about climate change.

Public Health was another theme of this conference, and it was great to hear how Dr. Katherine Hendricks, Medical Officer in the Bacterial Special Pathogens Branch, collaborated with a CDC librarian to publish a systematic review of sytstemic anthrax. Dr. Hendricks spent 4 months cleaning the data that she collected, which was reassuring as I returned from short-term research leave after spending considerable time cleaning the data that I had collected for analysis.

Dr. Patricia Marsteller provided an engaging talk about her “Case-Based Learning (CBL) teaching methodology with science students and her grant-funded project on the Science Case Network.

There were also numerous librarian lightning talks, and I presented on the instructional technologies I used to flip my LIB220 course. This conference, organized by UGA science librarians, was especially meaningful, since I served as one the founding conference organizers two years ago, and worthwhile.

Kaeley at ATLA 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016 3:50 pm

I attended the 2016 American Theological Library Association Conference June 14-19 in Long Beach, CA. The location was great and I enjoyed cool temperatures, ocean breezes, and a water view from my hotel room!

Before the conference began, I attended a pre-conference excursion to the Getty Center. In addition to getting to see the Getty art collections, gardens, and amazing views of the city, we were taken on a behind the scenes tour of the Getty Research Institute Library. The Library supports the work of the curators and staff of the Getty, as well as the many outside researchers and grant recipients who come to use their extensive art resources. Their collections were originally stored in eight vaults on the Getty property, but have grown too large to be accommodated there (though one of the vaults we visited seemed to be larger than our off-site facility). The majority of the book collection has been moved to a storage facility about 30 miles away (along with their annual supply of toilet paper!) and their special collections and scanning operations are moving into the vaults. It was fascinating to see how such a large, but specialized, library operates!

Before discussing a few of the sessions I attended, I want to mention the three really interesting plenary speakers who were invited to present at the conference, and I would encourage you to check out their twitter feeds and projects:

  • Bobby Smiley, previously of Michigan State and currently at Vanderbilt , spoke about Theological Librarianship in the Age of Digital Humanities
  • Rahuldeep Singh Gill, Director of the Center for Equality and Justice and Associate Professor of Religion at California Lutheran University, spoke about Diversity: A Catalyst for Innovation. The soundbite I took away from his presentation was, “Diversity and pluralism is not the ‘why,’ it is the ‘what.’ You have to figure out your own ‘why.'”
  • Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, previously the Dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan, currently UC Berkeley’s University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, discussed Wasn’t Digitization Supposed to be Easy? And Good For Us? He discussed some of the complex issues relating to the impact of the release of records held by UC Berkeley in their special collections, including politically and personally sensitive undercover documents from the Cold War era, and anthropological records of Native American tribes that some feel are too sacred for the public to see, while other tribal members think are important for their own cultural history.

As the Secretary of the Public Services Interest Group, I attended our panel presentation on “Ideas for Serving Distance Learners and Alumni.” We had four panelists representing differing service models and student populations, with about 50 attendees in the audience. Regarding alumni service, all the panelists mentioned the importance of the ATLAS for Alums program, which gives access to the ATLA database to alumni (ZSR includes this in our alumni offerings as well).

Two other sessions I would like to briefly highlight:

  • Make DIY Look Professional: Technology for Designing, Mapping and Connecting the Dots: Sarah Bogue of Pitts Theological Library at Emory gave examples of several free(ish) programs that can help us with visualizing data and updating our presentations:
    • canva: template based graphics, which you can use for PowerPoint slides and websites
    • voyant: a tool for data visualization and text mining of large files
    • carto: for use with datasets, she demonstrated a torque map of a twitter hashtag to show tweets on a topic over time
    • tiki-toki: allows users to create interactive timelines
  • Investigating the Needs of Scholars (Ithaka S+R): Danielle Cooper, an analyst at Ithaka S+R, described the partnership between ATLA, Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and 18 academic libraries, to study the research needs of religious studies scholars. At the 18 libraries, librarians and graduate students used the same set of questions to interview religious studies faculty members on their methodological/theoretical approaches to their scholarship, how they develop research projects, when and where their research is conducted, and their publishing habits and data storage. Interestingly, they also took photographs of the researchers primary research/work space. Each library will be writing up their own local report, and then a final report will be issued in January. This gives me some time to read the report they did on art history researchers in 2014, which I have printed out but not actually read!

I also attended sessions on the following topics. If you want to know more about any of them, let me know!

  • On Publishing Essay Collections
  • Determining the Value of Theological Journals
  • Relational Librarianship
  • Luke, Luther, Logos, and Libraries: Resources Preachers Use in Weekly Sermon Development
  • Which Should We Buy: Reconsidering Best Practices in the Purchase of Print versus Electronic Resources in Theological Libraries
  • Reframing Plagiarism: Problems of Virtue and Vice for International Students


2016 Z. Smith Reynolds Library Award Celebration

Monday, July 11, 2016 3:02 pm

On May 27, 2016, the Z. Smith Reynolds Library held its annual employee recognition luncheon. At the luncheon, Z. Smith Reynolds Library faculty and staff members were recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Unsung Hero Award winner is Patrick Ferrell

Helping Hand Award winner is Travis Manning

The 2016 Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Outstanding Employee of the Year award winner is Ellen Makaravage

Dedicated Deacon Award winner is Amanda Foster

Congratulations to all!



Lauren at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando

Friday, July 8, 2016 5:32 pm

Productivity with vendors (book and ILS), committee obligations, and future of cataloging were the three main themes for me in Orlando. Meetings by chance also played a key role in making this an above average conference for me.

I caught up with our Casalini sales rep on how to implement a more Gobi-like version of their fresh interface which will help me and Linda, along with a few others here at ZSR. I met our Eastview sales rep, who had helped us with one of our year-end purchases and I finally broke a logjam around finalizing a license agreement with Springer. For about a year I’ve been talking with colleague and Springer employee Robert Boissy about overcoming discovery discovery problems (with linked data), so he mentioned an interesting new vendor, Yewno. The shortest way I can explain is that it is like a discovery service (e.g. Summon, EDS) but uses artificial intelligence and visualization. They ingest content after they have agreements in place, but I was told at the Yewno booth that it isn’t pre-indexing like the discovery services we know right now. It definitely bears watching as they grow. Maybe the Google of academic content? It reminds me of an internet search engine I used over a decade ago, KartOO, which has been completely closed down, but maybe it was just ahead of its time.

(captured from the Yewno website for illustration)

(captured from the Yewno website)

I continued work on two division-level committees: the ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and the ALCTS Advocacy and Policy Committee. Now that the conference is over, I’m officially the chair of latter. The group will be working on ALA’s Advocacy Implementation Plan. I saw WSSU colleagues Wanda Brown and Cindy Levine at the Opening Session. I commented to them that I felt like I had been to church after hearing the speaker, Michael Eric Dyson. (I believe he said he was a minister earlier in his life. His inflection surely seemed indicative of it!) Cindy may be joining the Advocacy Committee as a result of that chance meeting. I also attended the Closing Session where Jamie Lee Curtis captivated me with the way she revealed her forthcoming book and perspective on belonging and immigration, at a level that kids get. The title is This Is Me: The Story of Who We Are and Where we Came From — the library edition will not have the pop-up, because Curtis understands how that is a problem for libraries. Both speakers were highly complimentary of libraries and librarians, and far more dynamic and poignant on their topics than I can illustrate. You simply had to be there. I had the good fortune to get in line for the Closing Session with the exiting President of ALCTS, Norm Madeiros, and we conversed about the state of ALCTS membership (declining, like others) and the wonderful value we get from our association. Norm is sincerely worried and he has raised my level of concern, which I think will nicely feed into my work with ALCTS Advocacy. (See also Thomas’ post re: ALA Divisions and membership decline. Norm was at the same “free” lunch with Thomas.) Incidental meetings like this at ALA are just as important as the unexpected exchanges we have with colleagues in crossing the building here at ZSR in our daily work.

At Norm’s President’s Program, Dr. Michael R. Nelson, spoke about “Enabling Innovation in the Era of the Cloud–A Syllabus.” He had a great long list of books as “recommended reading.” In random order from my rough notes, here are just a few sample titles and my memory jogs about them: Drive by Daniel Pink (bonuses are bad unless done in way everyone thinks is fair); Words That Work by Frank Luntz (get complicated ideas into simple bumper stickers and add two good factoids); Beyond the Gig Economy (today’s kids will have about 20 jobs in their career); Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age by Steven Johnson (or watch this); Art of the Long View by Peter Schwartz (or his short essay in Wired in 2009, “Your Future in 5 Easy Steps” and see also the “app.”)

Regarding the future of cataloging: I attended a number of sessions where I heard updates about BIBFRAME and linked data and a little about library migrations from an integrated library system (ILS) to a library service platform (LSP). Come see me if you want more details. Carolyn’s , Jeff’s and Steve’s posts also offer some insights and they can also tell you more than they wrote. I heard details from them when we gathered with members of Special Collections earlier this week to share what we learned. Also Steve recently sent email about a series of webinars from ALCTS that many of us will watch. To my mind, the future of cataloging is a heavy consideration as we investigate next generation systems. I stopped by the booths of multiple vendors of LSPs and will share some observations at an upcoming meeting of the ILS Task Force.



Carolyn at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:24 pm

At this year’s Annual conference, most of my time was spent attending various committee meetings and fulfilling my duties as Secretary of the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL by taking minutes at said meetings. After serving on the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee for the past five years in some capacity (e.g. member, Co-Chair, Chair), I chaired my last meeting of the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee. Additionally, I attended the Anthropology Librarians’ Discussion Group where Dr. Richard Freeman, who is a librarian at the University of Florida at Gainesville, presented on the topic of visual anthropology in which he provided historical background on the topic and shared information about his own personal work in this area.

I was able to attend a few cataloging programs. At the Copy Cataloging Interest Group (CCIG), I heard Philip Schreur discuss Stanford University’s involvement with Linked Data for Production (LD4P), a project funded for 2 years by the Mellon Foundation that involves 5 other institutions (Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Library of Congress, and Princeton). Schreur reported the goals of LD4P are to redefine technical services workflows (acquisition to discovery) to ones based in Linked Open Data (LOD), produce metadata as LOD communally, enhance BIBFRAME (BF) to encompass multiple formats, and engage the broader academic community. Stanford has looked at their vendor supplied records from Casalini and have utilized tracer bullets in redefining their workflows. Stanford is working with Backstage so that they will become familiar in receiving BF records, and they’re also working with OCLC to be able to send them BF records instead of MARC. Also at CCIG, Dianne Hillman spoke on the benefits using Open Metadata Registry (OMR) to develop specialized vocabulary for specialized collection needs. Inclusion in OMR can help prevent the abandonment of good vocabulary. Catherine Oliver spoke about the issues she’s faced in cataloging Holocaust denial literature at Northern Michigan University. Having these works included in a library’s collection is challenging. They promote hate and often appear scholarly which in turn makes it difficult to know what to do with it. Ms. Oliver pointed out that the Library Bill of Rights provides guidance on avoiding prejudicial labeling of materials. Library of Congress does separate out Holocaust denial literature with 2 subject headings (Holocaust denial and Holocaust denial literature). Determining which of the 2 headings to apply can at times be tricky. She decided to examine cataloging records in OCLC of every English expression of 6 specific Holocaust denial titles, looking specifically at the records call numbers and subject headings. When cataloging Holocaust denial works, she made the decision to not include other subject headings (e.g. Anne Frank, Auschwitz) in the records because she did not want these titles collocated together. She does include additional access points for Holocaust denial literature presses so that people can search for works by a publisher’s name.

“It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN: Migrating to a Next Generation ILS” was the title of the program hosted by the Catalog Management Interest Group that I attended. Library staff from the University of Minnesota Libraries and University Miami Libraries both spoke about their individual experiences transitioning from Aleph and III’s Millennium respectively to Ex Libris Alma, and a librarian from Rutgers University Law Library spoke about her institution’s experience going from Millennium to Koha’s open-source system.

Steve Kelly and I both attended a program on open editorial and peer review that we heard about at the Technical Services Quarterly editorial board meeting/dinner. Cesar Berrios-Otero, Outreach Director for Faculty of 1000 (F1000), spoke about fixing scientific publishing’s archaic model and speeding up discovery. Per Mr. Berrios-Otero, the anonymity of peer review have caused journal retractions to skyrocket. At F1000, the publishing process has been flipped. Once a author submits their paper and open data, a cursory review takes place, and within 7 days or less, the paper is then published. Peer reviews by invited reviewers, which lends transparency to the publishing process, commences. Authors can resubmit revised versions of their paper after addressing reviewers’ comments. Referees and their affiliations are named, and their reports and comments are visible to anyone. The benefits of this new model include:

  • Publishing process has sped up.
  • There is visible discussion between referees, authors, and editors which aids in putting the paper in context.
  • Authors can demonstrate that their papers were reviewed by top people in their field.
  • Reviewers can take credit for their hard work as well as their experience as a reviewer.

Matthew Gold, Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at CUNY, Graduate Center, wants to see a hybrid publishing model utilized (i.e. a peer review stage with community feedback that then moves to a more traditional editorial mediated process with substantive comments). He outlined the benefits and dangers of a completely open peer review model tied to open access.

Benefits include:

  • Building a community around a text before it it’s published as well as an audience.
  • Enlarging the diversity and the number of perspectives brought to bear upon a text under review.
  • Connecting scholarship with public at an earlier stage of publishing process.

Dangers include:

  • Superficial comments rather than comprehensive, structural feedback or lack of feedback.
  • Reluctance to offer strong critique in public venue.
  • Opening up authors to abuse and mistreatment. Moderation must be considered.
  • Open review exhaustion. It takes time to build a community of reviewers.

Karen Estlund, Associate Dean for Digital Strategies and Technology at Penn State University Libraries, discussed the open peer reviewed journal with which she is involved publishing, Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. The journal’s origins came out of a conference and began publication in 2012 by Fembot and the University of Oregon. Experts in the field were recruited to set the journal’s standards. Experts in the field review submissions and provide authors 1-2 page reviews with suggestions on how to make their paper publishable elsewhere or suggestions for resubmission. Interactive works that the journal publishes also go through an open peer review process as well. Pizza and soda are served at the journal’s peer review editing parties.





Wednesday, July 6, 2016 4:27 pm

ALA Annual marked the end of my year as president of LITA, which was a rewarding experience, even if it did lead to a number of Thomas @ ALA posts that were almost entirely about process and policy.

And this is another of them (lucky you!).

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (or breakfast or dinner). You’d better believe it: I had one of each this trip. ALA for me started a day earlier than normal because the presidents and vice presidents of ALA and the separate divisions held a Thursday night meeting (free dinner!) to discuss ALA’s divisional structure, potential restructuring as membership numbers continue to shrink, and what the future holds for all professional membership organizations (it isn’t just us, it isn’t just a trend – it’s the new normal. ALA reported a May-to-May bump in members, but that’s largely from a one-time influx of library donors). A very informal group was given permission to think completely outside the box, stir up hornets’ nests, and rip off 25-year old bandaids to consider how ALA might be structured in the future to maintain and strengthen its place in the information world’s landscape. There’s interesting potential there, so we’ll see what happens.

My free lunch on Saturday was with my cohort – all the presidents in the same year as me. This was partly a debriefing on our presidential years, partly a strategy discussion, partly a check in on the first year of ALA’s “Libraries Transform” initiative.

And Sunday was the divisional presidents breakfast (at 7:30). Don’t be fooled by the name – at least five people from every division attend along with core ALA staff. All told, it’s about a 55-person meeting that, again, focused on strategy and making membership more attractive and useful to a generation of librarians that are increasingly being pulled elsewhere.

Those non-free meals aside, I spent my time chairing two LITA Governing Board meetings, largely focused on our own early work on a new strategic plan; meeting with LITA committee chairs and with the LITA 50th Anniversary Task Force, and waving the presidential flag at a few other LITA events.

My one actual “Why we go to conference in the first place” moment was hosting the LITA awards ceremony and president’s program. I had the pleasure to introduce Safiya Noble, who gave an illuminating and quite moving talk about the subjective aspects of search engine algorithms and how they disenfranchise and delegitimize at-risk communities. Dr. Noble referenced her own work from 2013, noting that a Google search for “Black girls” returned almost entirely pornography; more recent examples included a search for “Unprofessional hair” that returned images of African-American women; and an example from just last month on the stark differences between searching “three black teenagers” and “three white teenagers”. It’s worth noting that Google tends to tweak their algorithms to improve search results when incidents like these go public, but that might just prove that it’s a fixable (and ultimately preventable) problem. While Google and other search engines apply algorithms to raw web content, this meshes very closely with the growing awareness among librarians that the naming and description of things that are intrinsic to cataloging are not objective and neutral.

So that was my conference. And can I just say, this is the only Orlando I want to see again for a long, long time.

Tony Orlando and Dawn

ALA Annual
ALA Midwinter
Career Development for Women Leaders
Carolina Consortium
CASE Conference
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
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Digital Forsyth
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Elon Teaching and Learning Conference
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Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)
Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA)
First-Year Experience Conference
Handheld Librarian
ILLiad Conference
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
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Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
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Music Library Association
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
North Carolina Serials Conference
online course
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Society of North Carolina Archivists
Southeast Music Library Association
Sun Webinar Series
TALA Conference
UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
University Libraries Group
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
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