Professional Development

In the 'Uncategorized' Category...

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!



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

Tanya and the Archives Leadership Institute (Berea College), 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 2:22 pm

I recently attended our second funded round of the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI), now based at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Funded by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC), the goal for the Institute is to “bring to tomorrow’s leaders the insights and understanding necessary for increasing public use and appreciation of archives.” I am a member of the Steering Committee: (Rachel Vagts, ALI Director) is now at Berea College as well as representatives from New York (Geof Huth), Massachusetts (Beth Myers), Ohio (Dan Noonan), Oregon (Terry Baxter), Texas (Brenda Gunn), and of course, North Carolina (Tanya).

View from Berea College, Kentucky

View from Berea College, Kentucky

For our first year at Berea, we worked with the faculty to revise the schedule and again reviewed applications (there were nearly 100 submissions for 25 slots). The Committee conducted daily evaluations of the curriculum, and monitored the overall process by serving as facilitators for small groups in the cohort.

My ALI Small Group

My ALI Small Group

We also had a new curriculum coordinator, Mark Nigro of Berea College’s Brushy Fork Institute. We started our week with Christopher Barth, from West Point, who spoke on Strategic Visioning and Team Development. Chris also incorporated a small group ethics discussion, focusing on an incredibly thought-provoking case study authored by our ZSR Dean Tim Pyatt. The CoHort held many opinions about various aspects of the case and there was lively discussion.

Sharon Leon (Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and Media, George Mason) who oversees OMEKA and Scripto, focused on project management for day two; our Coordinator, Mark Nigro presented on StrengthsFinder for Day 3; Barbara Teague (Library of Virginia) presented on Advocacy (Day 4); and we concluded with Dr. David Gracy (retired from the archives faculty at UT-Austin) Skyping in to have a discussion with us and answer questions. In between, there were team puzzles, energizers involving rubber chickens and creativity, broom making, diversity presentations, and lots of candy. One of the week’s highlights was visiting the bell hooks Institute, and listening to bell speak and answer questions.

bell hooks

bell hooks

Kathy at #ALAAC16

Friday, July 1, 2016 1:27 pm

This was my first ALA Annual in 6 years, my first as a ZSR librarian, and my first with a subject specialty, so I tried to focus my sessions this year on building my knowledge and network around two of my main subject areas, History and Psychology, as well as larger issues related to teaching and reference.

My conference started on Saturday morning with a Connection breakfast hosted by the RUSA History Section, which was intended to connect new history librarians with experienced ones. This 90-minute breakfast turned out to be one of the best events of the entire conference for me, as it genuinely did connect me with new and experienced academic librarians doing the same work and asking the same questions that I am. I had some great conversations during our informal meet and greet, and those continued when we moved into our committee meetings. I am on the RUSA-HS Instruction and Research Services Committee, and this group is definitely active! I learned about their past projects (such as updating their Primary Sources on the Web page) and their priorities for the coming year, and I’m really excited to be a part of that work. I later attended the History Librarians Discussion Group, where I saw many of the same people, as well as new ones, and was able to discuss issues surrounding transnationalism in digital sources, creating context for digital sources, the Google News Archive (and why its search function is so terrible), and PDA/DDA models. I’m really grateful to RUSA-HS for enhancing the conference experience for me – I already feel like I have a great network of history librarians to call upon!

I didn’t neglect Psychology – I attended an intro session (along with Roz) on the new APA Style Central on Sunday and asked LOTS of questions about this new platform, and I also attended an APA Lunch and Learn on Monday, where I heard about updates to the PsycINFO interface (mostly to better support health sciences researchers), PsycINFO platform differences across vendors, and about how the cited references feature actually works. APA also recently translated its PsycINFO Topic Guides into 8 additional languages.

Later on Saturday, I attended the EBSS/IS panel, “Authority is Constructed and Contextual: A Critical View.” This was a panel session with 6 librarians, who were each able to give their perspective on this particular frame and respond to questions submitted via email and Twitter. The panel included such people as Nicole Pagowsky, Kevin Seeber, and James Elmborg, all of whom brought a different perspective on how this frame has impacted their practice. Some are pro-Framework, some were not, but all found something in this frame they could use in some way. I’m still wrapping my brain around everything that they said, but a few takeaways:

  • We as librarians often make library work look invisible and easy, but we aren’t just facilitators. The work we do requires expertise and authority, and we need to be able to assert that to our faculty and our larger community.
  • We need to remove the binary, oppositional language from our discussions of scholarly (i.e. good) and “other” (i.e. bad) sources. Start using “and” instead of “versus” when talking about these sources. Focus on contextuality and emphasize the connections/conversations between different kinds of sources and what contribution each source makes.
  • Libraries and librarians have a certain measure of authority, but we must also acknowledge that we are flawed and that our systems are flawed so that we can make steps toward fixing them (even when that may actually require an act of Congress to do).

This was a really engaging panel, and I hope they’ll make a recording or transcript available for everyone to watch/read. This session was followed by the ACRL/SPARC Forum (described here by one of the speakers, Emily Drabinski) and the ACRL-IS Current Issue Discussion Group, which was on creating a first year experience for graduate students.

On Sunday, I attended the Readex breakfast, where I heard Dr. Mark Summers from the University of Kentucky give a fantastic talk entitled “Politics is just war without bayonets: Dirty politics in the Genteel Age: 1868-1892″ (very appropriate given our current political climate). If you think politics are dirtier now than ever, just watch his talk. (He is also a very lively presenter who had a tendency to jump on and off the stage.)

Later that morning I went to the RUSA-RSS Reference Research Forum, which featured three presentations. Laura Hibbler from Brandeis discussed what she discovered about the research process of first year students after conducting 15 in-depth interviews with them throughout the course of a semester. Tara Cotaldo from Florida presented the early stages of an IMLS grant-funded project in which they are exploring how STEM students evaluate sources. Their methodology for this is really unique, because they are studying 180 students ranging from 4th grade all the way up to graduate students, and they’re gathering this data through creating a Google search simulation contained in a module (in order to control variables). More on this project is available on their libguide. Finally, Amanda Folk from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg shared what she found regarding the mindsets (based on Carol Dweck’s research) of students who schedule PRS. I was really interested in this topic because, right before I left HPU, they had chosen Growth Mindset as the topic of their next QEP, and not much research has been done on growth mindset in the academic setting (most has come out of K-12). If you’re interested, Amanda has shared more about how mindsets and librarians intersect in a recent C&RL article.

My last session on Sunday was the LITA President’s Program, which was presided over by our very own Thomas Dowling. However, no offense to Thomas, I attended this program because Dr. Safiya Noble was the featured speaker, and she was just as amazing as I expected. Dr. Noble’s work around race, gender, and media reinforces that search engines and algorithms aren’t neutral, because they are ultimately created by biased people. Her talk (which I’m hoping will be up on her website at some point) was titled “Toward an Ethic of Social Justice on the Web.” She shared some powerful examples of the ways that bias reveals itself in web searches and how the purchase of keywords affects search results. (If you’re interested, she’s detailed some of these examples in her previous publications.) She brought up issues around how the internet and Google, specifically, can impact elections, citing a study by Epstein and Robertson (described in this Politico article), as well as work by Nicole Cohen on the ways journalists are pressured to change stories in real-time based on metrics and Matthew Hindman’s book, The Myth of Digital Democracy. Although most of her work is centered around Google, she urged librarians to consider how our systems and practices impact those who are searching for meaning on the web. In particular, how do we help people create context? 1.2 seconds isn’t enough time to answer really complicated questions, particularly those we’ve struggled with for centuries, yet many people expect to have a quick and authoritative answer from a single Google search or two. I’m still thinking through how this impacts my own practice, especially in LIB210, and I’m really looking forward to reading the essays in Dr. Noble’s upcoming edited book, The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online. Thanks to Thomas and to LITA for bringing her to ALA!

These were my highlights from this year’s conference, and I’m happy to talk more with anyone about any of the sessions/topics that I mentioned above. It was well worth braving the 100+ degree heat to be in Orlando for this experience…and yes, I also went to Harry Potter World (as did, I think, every librarian at the conference, based on the conversations I overheard).

Steve at ALA Annual 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:20 pm

The ALA Annual Conference in Orlando was an unusual one for me, in that it marked the end of my four-year stint on two committees, CC:DA (Cataloging Committee: Description and Access) and the Continuing Resources Cataloging Committee. For eight conferences over these past four years, the meetings for those two committees have dominated my ALA experience (especially CC:DA which always involves a 4.5 hour meeting on Saturday and a 3 hour meeting on Monday). It’ll be interesting to see what Midwinter in Atlanta is like without those two committees eating up the bulk of my time.

But that’s in the future. As for ALA in Orlando, CC:DA continued to be on of my major obligations. This committee develops ALA’s position on RDA and entails reading and voting on proposals to revise RDA. This past year has been very quiet on the proposal-front, especially since Midwinter. Now, the fact that we had relatively few proposals compared to years past (particularly my first year) could mean that RDA is just about finished and doesn’t need much further tinkering, but I doubt it. I think it’s probably due to the fact that the draft of FRBR-LRM (Library Reference Model) was made public in March. The FRBR model provides most of the conceptual underpinnings of RDA, and FRBR-LRM is a big enough change to the model (it adds new entities such as place and timespan) that it will have ripple effects that will change RDA. I think the cataloging community is holding their breath until FRBR-LRM is finally officially adopted by the RDA Steering Committee (RSC), before trying to figure out what it means for the future of RDA.

And, according to a presentation by Gordon Dunsire, the Chair of the RSC, FRBR-LRM will likely be revised, but it will remain substantially unchanged from the draft model. Dunsire also talked about the development of RDA application profiles, which can be set locally and which provide guidance to catalogers using RDA in original cataloging. In addition, Dunsire touched on an interesting problem related to the attempt to adopt gender-neutral language in RDA, because English is the primary language of RDA, and it is then translated into other languages. Gender-neutral uses of terms in English do not make sense in languages where nouns are gendered (for example, “actor” can be used for men or women in English, but in French, “acteur” is for men and “actrice” is for women,” and it sounds bizarre in French to call a woman an “acteur”). This problem will have to be ironed out by the translation teams.

In addition to this RDA business, I also heard a fair amount about BIBFRAME. At the Cataloging Norms Interest Group meeting, I heard about LC’s BIBFRAME pilot project, which started in October, 2015. This involved having LC catalogers create original catalog records in both MARC and in BIBFRAME, using the BIBFRAME Editor software. The project was difficult, because searching BIBFRAME (or BF) data was problematic, they couldn’t create authority records in BF, and they couldn’t import BF. BF 1.0 has been replaced by BF 2.0, so hopefully some of these problems have been resolved. During the pilot project, one of the lessons learned was realizing that catalogers are too used to thinking about cataloging in terms of filling specific MARC fields rather than the more conceptual ideas of RDA. Furthermore, the mismatch between RDA terminology and BF terminology caused problems (for example, BF has a work record, which combines the RDA/FRBR concepts of work and expression). Additionally, catalogers still continue to think in terms of ISBD, which is no longer a constraint in a post-MARC world.

The problems involved in using BF were also touched on at the Continuing Resources Cataloging Forum, in a presentation by Kevin Balster of UCLA. He pointed out that BF 2.0 and the BF Editor are out of synch, and that BF has many unspecified and/or unconstrained domains and ranges, and that it is not yet ready to handle recording serial holdings. So, BIBFRAME still has a ways to go.

Getting back home from Orlando was far more of an adventure than I would have preferred. I was already scheduled for a fairly late flight that left me hanging out at the airport in Orlando for about 5 hours before taking off, and when I landed in Atlanta, I found out that my 11:20 pm flight to Greensboro had been delayed until 6:45 am the following morning. I asked for a flight to either Charlotte or Raleigh, figuring I would rent a car and have to go pick up my bag in Greensboro the next day. But, as luck would have it, I was given a seat on a flight to Raleigh, just one row in front of Chelcie. She lives in Greensboro, so she kindly offered to drive me to drop me off at the airport in Greensboro, where I could pick up my car and drive home (I had Delta deliver my suitcase to my house the next day). That’s cooperation, and the power of Z!

Jeff at ALA Annual 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 4:01 pm

Assuming you are six years old, Orlando is a dream destination. If, like me, you’re 37, you need some compelling reason to go. Enter ALA Annual 2016.

On Saturday I attended the program “Linked Data: Globally Connecting Libraries, Archives, and Museums.” Reinhold Heuvelmann of the German National Library described his library’s system of metadata creation, in which they use their own standard, called Pica, and are able to export in numerous formats, including MARC, Dublin Core, and BIBFRAME, among others. This kind of cross-walking will be essential in the future as we move into linked data, it would seem. Mr. Heuvelmann pointed out that with linked data, library users per se are not the intended audience; general web searchers are. I’d never exactly thought of it this way before, but it’s worth doing so, if only as an exercise in humility. Our library catalogs aren’t the be-all and end-all.

Later that morning, because I am an incompetent convention center navigator and sometimes you’ve walked too far to turn back, I ended up watching Canadian author Margaret Atwood talk about her forthcoming contribution to the Hogarth Shakespeare series, of which I was already aware. Her contribution is a prose retelling of The Tempest. Ms. Atwood’s sense of humor was a delight, and it made me happy to scan the packed house and be reminded that, however our jobs and our profession might change, we are still in the end essentially a bunch of book lovers.

That afternoon I met with my ALCTS AS Organization and Management Committee, which I will be chairing as of 7/1. We brainstormed ideas for a program for next year’s annual conference in Chicago; something about sourcing difficult-to-get materials, maybe; or the oft-inadequate amount of personnel committed to e-resources. Or something else; I’m working on it. I spent that evening waiting for over two hours to eat mediocre-at-best “Louisiana” food, as did several of my colleagues. No one was having much fun, except the keyboardist, and Chelcie, who, as it turns out, loves jaunty synth solos every bit as much as Steve hates them.

But in my heart of hearts, all this was mere precursor to the talk I gave on Sunday morning at the ALCTS-sponsored program “Re-Tooling Acquisitions for Lean Times.” My co-presenter was John Ballestro from Texas A&M. I titled my presentation “What if Help Isn’t on the Way?” and talked about 1) our experience as a tech services department that has realigned to maximize efficiency and 2) some simple time-savers that can be embraced without any significant infusion of cash or personnel (hence the title). It went well. After our talk, hands shot up, and the questions didn’t stop until the fifteen minutes we’d allowed for Q&A were gone. We’d either confused them or sparked their interest. Either way, it was over.

Later that afternoon I met with my ALCTS Planning Committee. Our primary responsibility these days is to review committee reports and assess the degree to which ALCTS committees are advancing the Strategic Plan that we wrote the previous year. On Sunday afternoon Erica Findley of Multnomah County Library talked about their local Library.Link project, in which ten public libraries in Oregon have gotten together to publish linked data to the web in cooperation with Zepheira. They are currently assessing results using Google Analytics; so far most referrals have come from the libraries’ websites, but a good amount came from the open web as well, and the hope is that the latter will only increase. Participating in this endeavor has meant no change to the libraries’ cataloging process, as Zepheira does the web publishing for them, using data extracted from their catalogs. I look forward to hearing an update on this project in the future.

Roz @ ALA 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:51 pm

The majority of my time at this ALA was spent carrying out my duties as the Chair of the Law and Political Science section of ACRL. I attended ACRL Leadership Council, LPSS Executive Council, our program, our awards breakfast and our general membership meeting. The big news from our section is that after the ACRL Board of Directors voted, we are now going to be the Politics, Policy and International Affairs Section (PPIA). It will take a while for the name to trickle down through official channels, but that was a big part of what I had worked on over this last year. We are also going to begin the process of adaption our IL Standards for Politics to the new framework for Information Literacy model. That will be a big task.

I did squeeze in a couple of programs. The ACRL President’s Program was on Data curation in libraries. Nothing earth-shattering there but does seem like an approaching storm for libraries over the next 5 years. I also attended the Top Tech Trends panel that LITA puts on for each conference. The final program I went to was the most useful and it was a discussion group sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) of ACRL and was about the process they, and the Communications Committee of the Educational and Behavioral Science Section (EBSS) have undergone as they approach translating their IL Standards to the new Framework model. They have approached it differently but I got good ideas to pass on to our committee once it has been formed. A formal procedure is coming soon from ACRL so we want to be ready to go with it.

Aside from my duties for LPSS and the sessions I attended, I managed to visit a few vendors that I needed to see in the exhibits area. There was lots of chatter about Proquest’s purchase of Alexander Street Press and unless I missed it, ASP did not have a booth at Annual. I visited with Gale, Sage/CQ Press, Proquest, Springshare among others and Mary Beth and I visited most of the furniture booths to start getting ideas about what is out there for new public spaces at ZSR.

I have to admit that ALA in Orlando was not as bad as I had expected, logistics wise. It was hot – but the hotels, shuttles and convention center seemed to be fairly well located and organized. I give it two thumbs up but admit that this conclusion is helped, perhaps, by the fact that our hotel had a lovely pool area that included a lazy river – perfect for unwinding after hectic conference days. Also helped by the fact that Mary Beth and I had a spectacular day before the conference began at Universal visiting Harry Potter. It was truly magical.

NC-LITe Round-Up

Friday, June 24, 2016 9:57 am

On Thursday, June 9th, we (Sarah Jeong, Kathy Shields, Meghan Webb) attended the Summer 2016 NC-LITe meeting at Duke University in the newly designed commons for Research, Technology and Collaboration– called The Edge. What Follows is a brief overview of this meeting and our take-aways!

In step with previous NC-LITe meetings, after some initial mingling and settling in, the group shared Campus Updates with information about recent and/or upcoming changes at each institution’s library. The meeting was well attended (approximately 20 attendees) and included representation from UNCG, Elon, NCSU, NCCU, Central Carolina Community College, UNCC, UNC-CH, East Carolina and Duke University libraries.

Next, the group broke out into small group facilitated discussions. Each attendee was able to select two discussion sessions that centered around the following topics:

Engagement Outside the Classroom (Meghan)
It was wonderful to hear all of the creative ways that our neighboring institutions are promoting library resources and services through outreach efforts. Some ideas that stuck with me include:

  • “pop-up library instruction” or “pop-up exhibits”: attempts to market research services and/or special collections materials through a more informal set-up in a public, more heavily-used space in the library (or even outside the library). I really like the idea of “pop-up library instruction” outside of the library/classroom. It could offer an opportunity to reach underserved students or students that are less aware of resources/services available to them. Just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
  • low maintenance book club: One librarian has had good results with introducing a low-maintenance book club for undergraduate students, faculty and staff. They have experimented with various selections (short story collections, various titles selected around a similar theme or discipline, etc.)
  • digital outreach efforts: A few of the librarians were working with campus populations that are more commuter-based and have to design methods of engaging these patrons in an online environment. They are working to develop and improve upon online portals to encourage engagement with their community members.
  • walking club: an attempt to build community, network with campus affiliates, and promote health and wellbeing– one librarian shared her efforts to develop a walking club with planned routes around campus. She used this time to informally check-in with campus walkers and share library resources.

Assessment (Sarah)
Emily Daly (Duke) led a discussion of assessment of library instruction sessions. At some universities, it is up to each individual librarian to assess their library instruction. Some librarians refer to the Claremont Colleges Library’s “Start Your Research” Tutorial Quiz for pre-class instruction. Some librarians use the “3-2-1 Assessment” approach as a Qualtrics survey associated with a course:

  1. What are three things you learned?
  2. What are two things you still don’t understand?
  3. What is one thing you’ll do differently when you research? (Alternatively, some librarians assess the affective learning domain by asking: How do you feel at the end of this class?)

If students would like to ask questions privately, ask them to write their email address.

Curriculum-mapping (Kathy)
Hannah Rozear (Duke) shared a curriculum map that she created for her liaison department, Global Health. She was inspired by the curriculum maps that Char Booth and the Claremont Colleges libraries created and have made available through their institutional repository. Curriculum maps have numerous benefits, including helping to visualize connections between courses and research initiatives, to identify opportunities for outreach, and identify shared goals between the curriculum and library instruction. As a new liaison, I am really interested in how they can help me gain a better understanding of my departments. Hannah used Mindomo to create her map and had to purchase a pro account (although a free program called LucidChart was suggested as an alternative). She used the course catalog, departmental websites, and course syllabi to gather the content for her map. What I thought was really interesting was that she also added clubs and organizations that were related to the major, as well as research labs, initiatives, and other projects, as these are all potential targets for outreach. Hannah recognized that this wasn’t a giant checklist – there was no way you could provide outreach to every single group or course, but what it did do what help her see the areas where she could have the greatest impact. Hannah will hopefully share the map she created, but in the meantime you can take a look at the Claremont Colleges maps I’ve linked above for more info.

Critical Pedagogy (Kathy/Sarah)
Kelly Wooten (Duke) led a discussion of critical and feminist pedagogies for librarians. Our group was small (just 3 total) so we mainly discussed why were interested in it, what we had already done, and what we were hoping to do with #critlib. Kelly showed us how to make zines and shared some zines that she had created (Sarah and I grabbed the ones on Beyonce and Taylor Swift, if you want to see them). Zine creation is a fun activity to start off an instruction session and students get to take something with them that isn’t a traditional handout but still gets the message across. Kelly works in Special Collections, and she shared some ideas for how to get students engaged in using primary sources in a more critical way, which I’m hoping to incorporate in LIB210 this fall!

Support of New Literacies (Meghan)
Kim Duckett (Duke) led this small group discussion and participants shared a wide-range of instructional content areas/literacy needs related to library instruction. Common literacies discussed included:

  • digital content literacy: knowledge and appropriate use of digital content, including open access, open-education materials, and how to use media effectively in the classroom.
  • intersections of scholarly communication and information literacy.
  • project management: we discussed the observations of students, even graduate students, sometimes struggling with team-based projects or working together in research teams.

After the small group facilitated discussions, attendees were led on a tour of the Duke Library teaching and learning spaces (a full layout and more detail about the space can be found on the Duke University Libraries site):

The Fischer-Zernin Family Help Desk at The Edge.

The Fischer-Zernin Family Help Desk at The Edge.

View of available seating in the Lounge. Notice the writable wall space along the partition.

View of available seating in the Lounge. Notice the writable wall space along the partition.


The enclosed booths located in the Jones Open Lab area of the Edge are one of the most popular study spots for students (so much so that each booth was occupied and I was unable to steal a photo as the booths were turned to the windows).

The enclosed booths located in the Jones Open Lab area of the Edge are one of the most popular study spots for students (so much so that each booth was occupied and I was unable to steal a photo as the booths were turned to the windows).

This is one of the structural columns at The Edge, which doubles as a writable surface for student use. It was impressive to see spaces used in a very efficient, creative manner.

This is one of the structural columns at The Edge, which doubles as a writable surface for student use. It was impressive to see spaces used in a very efficient, creative manner.

Students (and university faculty and staff) can use stand alone touchscreens at the entrance of each meeting space to reserve the rooms (and check on availability). Project spaces can also be reserved online in advance.

Students (and university faculty and staff) can use stand alone touchscreens at the entrance of each meeting space to reserve the rooms (and check on availability). Project spaces can also be reserved online in advance.


Lightning Talks: What We Can Learn from Our Failures

After the tour, a Lightning Talk session on the F word (that’s right: failure) was held and colleagues had opportunities to share the shame *and lessons learned* from a teaching sessions, outreach events, technology demos or other work events gone awry. Here are some quick take-away lessons from these shared stories:

  • Communication matters and feedback transforms.
  • Students need to know WHY – context matters!
  • Good to plan for students’ individual differences.
  • It’s okay to let go of a project that’s not working out. (And learning from the mistakes makes it worthwhile!)
  • Every project needs a champion! Technology can’t solve every problem– owners/stakeholders need to care if a project is to succeed.

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