Professional Development

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 11:12 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014 2:08 pm

MLK Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Persian book exhibit
Persian Book Exhibit at Library of Congress

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

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

SNCA-SAA-Dolmen-poster

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

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

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

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

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

This was an important and moving presentation.

Protecting Our Heritage: Holdings Protection Training for Your Institution

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

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

Library of Congress dome

Susan at the Library Assessment Conference

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 5:30 pm


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

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

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

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

Jantti

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

Gilcrist

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

Kay

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

Students

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

Nuggets from various sessions:

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

Tours

Odegaard Undergraduate Library | 2012-2013 Renovation


Main Floor of the Odegaard Library


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


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


Railing Detail (now this is a word cloud)

Research Commons


UW Research Commons


Dawg Prints


Snacks but No Deliveries

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

Tools mentioned by presenters

Interesting Concepts/Links/Readings

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

ILL goes to Asheville

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 11:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rebecca at NCPC Scrapbook Workshop

Monday, July 28, 2014 5:03 pm

Last Friday, I traveled to Elon University Preserving Scrapbooks: From Acquisition to Access put together by the North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC). Led by Katie Nash, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Elon University, and Beth Doyle, Head of the Conservation Services Department at Duke University Libraries, this workshop was a comprehensive overview of all aspects of scrapbook acquisition, preservation, and access.

The day was broken down into the following categories: intellectual control, physical control, care and handling, and hands-on assessment. Katie started the day giving a wonderful overview of how to gain intellectual control over your holdings, specifically scrapbooks. Her discussion included collection development policies, acquisitions and accessions procedures, deeds of gift, use policies, and scrapbook cataloging. Once this foundation is established, gaining physical control over scrapbooks in a collection is the next challenge. Katie discussed various strategies from interleaving, to stabilization, to disbinding, and disassembly of scrapbooks. Elon’s practice over the years has been to disbind and disassemble scrapbooks. Their concern is more with content than artifact. Beth Doyle tended to cringe at this, but the discussion left everyone in agreement that each scrapbook is different and there is “silver bullet” way to gain physical control. The nature of scrapbooks makes them unpredictable in their physical organization as well as their contents, their users, and their usefulness as an object. Depending on the creator and the original purpose of a scrapbook, archivists and conservators can approach preservation differently.

The afternoon session was led by Beth and took a more technical turn. As a conservator rather than an archivist, Beth’s primary goal is to understand the needs of the materials and how best to preserve them. As an archivist, Katie’s concern was use, access, and content. I learned quite a bit from Beth as she highlighted specific standards when buying supplies, gave quick and easy tutorials for housing best practices, and highlighted treatment options for the myriad materials you may find in a scrapbooks (including hair, teeth, and candy!). The end of the day gave people a chance to show Beth scrapbooks they brought in for the workshop. We all had a chance to talk about best practices, but also took into consideration realistic barriers like time, budget, and space. Although it would be ideal to have a conservator like Beth to look at and recommend preservation for each of the scrapbooks in our collections, this workshop also taught us that doing our best is better than doing nothing.

As Wake Forest’s University Archives has many scrapbooks, as well as significant scrapbook holdings in our manuscript collections, I found this workshop quite helpful. As always, professional development opportunities leave me with two thoughts: “We’re not the only ones who have weird stuff” and “The answer to many archival questions is ‘it depends’.” Many thanks for the opportunity to attend this workshop!

Sarah at the first Science Boot Camp SE 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014 10:22 am

 

Modeled closely on the wildly successful Science Boot Camps that originated in the Northeast US and have spread West and to the far North in Canada, I worked as a conference organizer with science librarians from NCSU, UNC, ECU, Duke, and Elon and hosted the first Science Boot Camp for Librarians in the Southeast. Over 90 science librarians and medical librarians from the Southeast to Pennsylvania to California attended this 2 ½ day science immersion conference in mid-July at the Hunt Library at NCSU. ZSR Library was one of the many sponsors of Science Boot Camp SE. I served as a member of the Program Committee and as Co-Chair of the Librarian Lightning Talk sessions, and coordinated 15 lightning talks by science librarians from all over the U.S.

Science faculty from UNC, NCSU, and ECU were invited speakers on alternative/sustainable energy, data sharing, data visualization, and climate change. Other invited speakers were from Wake Forest School of Medicine on data management and data sharing of clinical trials and also from Duke University Libraries on data visualization services.

A major highlight of the conference was dinner with colleagues at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. It turned out to be an excellent conference with inspiring talks by science faculty, researchers, and science librarians. I’d be happy to talk more about it if anyone would like to chat!

Roz at SAGE Advisory Board Meeting

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:51 pm

As some of you know, I serve on a Library Advisory Board for SAGE/CQ Press. These boards were begun several years ago by former ZSR librarian Elisabeth Leonard when she became the market researcher at SAGE. SAGE/CQ press, for those who don’t know, is a publisher of textbooks, academic monographs, journals and online products. They focus on the Social Sciences primarily, but do have some products in primary sources, humanities and hard sciences. The board I serve on is for Reference works including their online products. Each year they bring members of their various boards out to their US headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA for a meeting and this year I was invited to attend. This meeting allows them to get feedback on a variety of things and present ideas to librarians to get their feedback. Some of what we discussed is confidential and involves new products they are considering, but I thought I’d share a few of the things that might be of interest.

We had a wide-ranging discussion about ebooks – how are libraries buying them, what are we taking into account when doing so, what pricing models are we seeing, etc. As we are well aware, most publishers are wrestling with the ins and outs of ebooks and libraries and the discussion helped them see what libraries are doing. What was fascinating to me was the range of ebook experiences among the various libraries represented by the board members. We had an Ivy League, a massive R1 ARL, a branch campus of a massive R1, a smaller state school, a comprehensive state institution, a large intra-state library consortium and WFU. Among us there were a huge range of ebook practices and experiences from ‘we buy it all on any platform’ to ‘we are just now starting to consider it’ and ‘our default in GOBI is set to ebook and we only buy print if specifically asked’ to ‘we still buy everything in print and sometimes as an ebook, too’. Clearly there are as many approaches to ebooks as there are institutions out there and the problems the create and the problems they solve are numerous.

Another interesting discussion was about discovery services and how publishers can make their materials more discoverable. This led to a lively discussion about whether the issues of discovery lie with the publishers, the metadata, the discovery service providers or the type of content needed. It’s probably a bit of all of those, to be honest, but again it was so interesting to hear how other libraries approach their discovery services. We discussed how the document type (i.e. encyclopedia article or CQ Researcher report) would be lovely to have appear at the top of a search so students get to those good context sources before scholarly journals perhaps, but the reality of making that happen is far more complicated.

Other discussions related to new products (some of them are VERY interesting), products in the pipeline and products just being kicked around as ideas. We also talked about the larger SAGE/CQ Press areas of emphasis, pricing models and communication strategies. I love hearing about these things and do hope some that were discussed come to fruition without being a bazillion dollars :) All in all it was a great trip. I don’t love southern California but the weather was lovely, the hotel was great, dinner on the beach in Malibu did not stink and the company both from SAGE and the other librarians was really wonderful – so more pluses than minuses I guess.

 

Embedded Librarians and the LENS Program

Monday, July 14, 2014 4:03 pm

This is the fifth year of the LENS (Learn, Experience, Navigate, and Solve) program at Wake Forest, and librarians from ZSR have been embedded in the program since the first year! Each year the program as grown, but this year the number of students increased from 35 to 51, requiring the students to split into two teams, and doubling the number of workshops we held for these students! In addition to all the sessions the librarians lead for the LENS program, we also participate in LENS planning meetings before, during and after the program! About half the LENS students will end up as freshmen at WFU and all LENS students receive an admissions interview while on campus!Fortunately, with the increase in students participating in the program, the leaders of LENS increased the number of writing faculty involved in the program and increased the number of student program assistants. Meanwhile, the ZSR Library’s LENS team grew to three with the addition of Meghan Webb to the existing team of Hu and Bobbie! These additional resources allowed for a smooth and successful LENS 2014!

The Library kicked off its role in the program with a brief technology orientation on Monday, June 23rd, then continued with an Introduction to Google Tools on Tuesday and “Capture the Flag” on Wednesday! On Friday, Bobbie and Meghan led a scavenger hunt in the Library and a session on scholarly research. On Tuesday, July 1st I lead a session on presentation tools and on July 3rd we hosted a game of Humans v Zombies in the Library with the BTFT (Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute.) We wrapped up our time with the LENS program on Thursday, July 10th, with a clicker question survey of the program and attended the LENS concluding ceremony on Friday, July 11th. At the ceremony each group gave a final presentation of their sustainability project with a local community partner! The community partners included, Campus Kitchen and the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, just to name two!

This is always a rewarding project, and this year was no exception! Even with the larger crowd, the students responded very favorably in the final evaluations and based on the citations in their final presentations, many of them were paying attention during the research instruction session! Many thanks to Meghan Webb, the newest ZSR staff member on the LENS team! Adding another person to the team was a huge help in meeting the needs of the LENS students!

-Hu Womack, Bobbie Collins, and Meghan Webb

Wanda @ ALA 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014 8:33 am

ALA in Las Vegas was indeed a hot and draining adventure for me, but surprisingly not for my hair. I have decided that climate (one that lacks humidity) works perfectly and that I should move west some day. Recently re-elected to a two year term on the Executive Board, I was happy to join my colleagues at the BCALA leadership retreat on Thursday evening. Friday BCALA Executive Board members continued discussing issues around membership recruitment and retention, web page design and upkeep, as well as the 2016 ALA meeting in Orlando. BCALA has written a formal letter of concern over the American Library Association’s decision to convene in Florida because of its’ take on the “Stand-your-ground law.” We did decide not to boycott, but to go specifically in support of the businesses of color. BCALA would love to have Trayvon Martins’ parents, Sybrina Fulton and/or Tracy Martin join the membership meeting as keynoters. I will work with a task-force charged to further investigate this idea.

Saturday I began familiarizing myself to the LLAMA Vice Chair Human Resources section responsibilities. From what I observed, this year I just attend meetings and acquaint myself with others in preparation for my task in 2015 of appointing members and chairs to the six sub-committees within the HR section. My Leadership Skills committee continued to finalize program proposal ideas for our program at annual. We are also planning for a pre-conference for annual of 2016 tentatively entitled “Out With the Old, In with the New: Recruitment and Retention Strategies that Work.”

The ACRL Personnel Administrators Group meets twice at mid-winter and at annual. Both meetings centered around issues on hiring practices, organizational development and work life balance. One presenter who spoke about using the Strength Finders assessment tool as the foundation for reorganization, quoted someone from here at ZSR referring to Strengths Finders as a life changing good thing. Not sure who you were, but you did make an impression! I really enjoyed the discussions around diversity recruitment. One library representative shared their practice of having applicants answer a question around how they as individuals would contribute to diversity on that campus. I really liked the concept behind this and think I would like to form a similar styled question for use during my interview with potential new hires. I’m not so sure I buy the written statement approach, but I do plan to follow up with the presenter to get more insight into this practice.

In a session that puts together Diversity Counselors and others, the topic of cultural competence and retention arose. It was this session that re-energized my desire to have a Diverse Librarian in residence here at ZSR. You may remember that Lynn submitted a funding proposal for this concept via the appropriate campus channels a few years back. Though unsuccessful, Lynn has continued in her fight to diversify library staffing with implementation of programs such as the “Sutton Rule.” Perhaps now would be a good time to consider resubmitting since we will have “Friend” in the Provost office who just might be in a position to advocate for us.

I was introduced to what appears to be a spectacular 2014 class of ARL Leadership and Career Development Program participants. Graduates showcased details of their individual projects during the poster sharing session. A few of the topics I noted were, the role of the digital humanities librarian, use of multimedia in reference and instruction, social sciences librarian attitudes on data research, community engagement and scholarship, reference and instruction for international students and how to support Latino librarians. You can meet the entire class here. ARL LCDP 2013-14.

This conference was full of meaningful conversations around personnel related issues. It was a most worthwhile trip. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Chelcie at ALA Annual 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014 4:27 pm

Despite the exotic setting in Vegas, for me this summer’s ALA felt very routine in that I attended all my old standby sessions — ACRL Digital Curation Interest Group, ACRL Digital Humanities Interest Group, and programs sponsored by the ALCTS CAMMS Metadata Interest Group, among others.

Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege

My favorite session of the conference — scratch that, my favorite ALA session of all time — was a program titled Digital Humanities and Academic Libraries: Practice and Theory, Power and Privilege organized by the ACRL Women and Gender Studies Section. The session did a fabulous job of collapsing the distinction between theory and practice; rather, thinking deeply about how the digital humanities are practiced “increases our ability to partner with and be valued on our campuses.” During this program I experimented with taking notes on Twitter—both because it enabled me to participate in a broader conversation (inside the conference center room and beyond) and because live tweeting forced me to think about to think about what I found most meaningful rather than simply transcribing. A few tweets that capture the program’s most memorable talking points are below.

ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group

As co-chair of the ALCTS PARS Preservation Metadata Interest Group, I was sad to bid goodbye to outgoing co-chair Sarah Potvin (Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas A&M University) and delighted to meet incoming co-chair Drew Krewer (Digitization Operations Librarian at the University of Houston). I feel really grateful to collaborate with such wonderful people, whom I wouldn’t get to know so well without sharing these service responsibilities.

The program that Sarah and I developed focused on the use of the BitCurator tool to generate preservation metadata for born-digital materials. (I wrote at greater length about BitCurator in an earlier post.) We experimented somewhat with the format of the program in the hopes of facilitating a dialogue between BitCurator developers and current BitCurator users as well as those considering incorporating BitCurator into their workflows for processing born-digital materials. The format of our program was an in-depth overview of BitCurator from its PI Cal Lee, as well as two lightning talks from current BitCurator users, Jarrett M. Drake (Princeton University) and Rebecca Russell and Amanda Focke (Rice University). Many of the people who are on the ground using BitCurator to acquire disk images and generate metadata are SAA-goers rather than ALA-goers, but our program exposed preservation administrators to a helpful tool from the perspective of its builders and its users at more than one institution. Afterward more than one person who was in attendance expressed interest in joining the recently announced BitCurator Consortium. Fabulous slides from all the presenters are available in the Preservation Metadata Interest Group’s space on ALA Connect.

Discussion with Digitization Equipment Vendors

I valued the opportunity to speak in person with representatives of the Crowley Company (distributor of Zeutschel overhead scanners) and Atiz (maker of the BookDrive). I got a clearer idea of various models’ technical specifications and list prices, which is helpful information to tuck away for future reference.

Favorite Publishers in the Exhibit Hall

Like many people, I find the exhibit hall overwhelming, but since I’ve started going to ALA I’ve been on a quest to find my favorite small press publishers so that I know exactly which booths to visit for the best literary fiction and non-fiction of the coming year. I like visiting the smaller publishers because often the marketing staff in the booth are actually the people who did editorial work on the titles they’re promoting, so they speak from a place of deep knowledge and love when they share their favorite new works. This was the first year when I’ve felt as though I’ve found the presses that most appeal to me — Coffee House Press, The New Press, NYRB, Workman Publishing, and SoHo Press — so I’m totally indulging myself and sharing all of my favorite finds below. I hauled them all back to my office to create a tiny library of things to read during lunch, so drop by if you’d like to borrow any. I’m curious to hear from others, too. What are your go to booths for books for personal reading at ALA?

My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas

Above: My favorite finds from the Exhibit Hall at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Vegas.


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