Professional Development

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!

Mary Beth @ ALA16-Orlando

Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:59 pm

My ALA conference was focused on two primary objectives: begin work related to the Sustainability Round Table, (SustainRT, to which I was just elected Member-at-Large) and get as much information on diversity and inclusion through ALA’s diversity programming as I could squeeze into my schedule. The work of the SustainRT board started early as I was representing SustainRT to the Round Table Coordinator Assembly on Friday morning. Since no other member of SustainRT arrived in Orlando early enough to attend, I was invited to represent the group. This group was made up of all of the chairs or coordinators of the round tables in ALA. The agenda was mostly about issues related to round tables’ functions within ALA, (like how to archive the born digital meeting minutes, and how libraries are using the ALA “Libraries Transform” media campaign.) I was rather surprised at how many Round Tables ALA has. (Disappointedly, we actually sat at rectangular tables.)

I am also SustainRT’s representative to The Office of Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services in ALA. This office supports libraries in their efforts to expand Equity, Access and Diversity. I participated in a SustainRT panel discussion called “Planting the Seeds: Libraries and Librarians as Change Agents for Sustainability in Their Communities,” which happily also got a mention in the American Libraries Magazine blog. I discussed ZSR’s efforts to reduce waste generated during our semester’s end Wake the Library events.

It was quite serendipitous that John Lewis, fresh from his sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington DC, was scheduled to speak about his graphic novel series called “March”.

ALA president Sari Feldman introduced John Lewis, his co-author, and his illustrator to a very full ballroom. His words were moving, heartfelt and inspiring. My favorite quote when talking about the influence public libraries have over youth was when he said “Encourage kids to get into trouble, necessary trouble, continue to do just that!” He and his co-authors earned several standing ovations. Earlier that morning, I also attended a memorial service for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. John Lewis also made a brief appearance there and offered words of support. The memorial had speakers Sari Feldman along with members of the GLBT Round Table and Social Responsibilities Round Table. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere around me.

The most helpful Diversity and Inclusion session I attended was one entitled “No Room at the Library: the Ethics of Diversity” in which the programmers offered, through skit form, four different situations related to marginalized people and had us react to the question “how would you handle that situation?” The members of the audience then got up and gave their reactions, based on library policy, or sometimes just on what they thought was right. One situation discussed how to handle a request for a community room for a group who wanted to have a meeting that excludes white people so they can have a frank discussion about racial inequality in their community. Another was about whether it is important to intercede in a conversation between a youth and his mother when his mother is committing a microagression to a staff member wearing a hijab. The reactions to these important questions were fascinating as we frankly discussed options. Everybody’s position was “right” even if they were very different. Such is the nature of ethical dilemmas.

ALA Annual in Orlando will go down as one of the best, and certainly one of the hottest ALA’s I’ve attended. (The humidity even made it feel as though it were hotter than Vegas to me.)

Also, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Member-At-Large of SustainRT if I didn’t encourage you to join the round table. The cost is just $10 per year and you can add it to your ALA membership at any time!

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.

Heat, humidity, & a provocative conference experience

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 12:44 pm

ALA Annual 2016 turned out to be one of my most thought-provoking ALA experiences.

Emerging Leaders

This annual conference concluded my participation in the Emerging Leaders program. My team and I developed policies and practices for MAGIRT (the Map & Geospatial Information Round Table) to contribute their records to ALAIR (the ALA Institutional Repository). The intention of the project was to serve MAGIRT, but also to provide a model to other ALA units. In fact, I learned of several other groups that are working to the same end — ALCTS PARS Preservation Standards & Practices Committee, GameRT, ACRL’s Anthropology & Sociology Section — so we’re also continuing to reach out and make our resources known for others to build upon. Our outputs are undergoing approval by MAGIRT Exec right now, and when they become publicly available in ALAIR (of course!) I’ll share them here, too.

During the Emerging Leaders workshop on Friday, I learned about ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries led by Miguel Figueroa, whose charge is to:

  • Identify emerging trends relevant to libraries and the communities they serve
  • Promote futuring and innovation techniques to help librarians and library professionals shape their future
  • Build connections with experts and innovative thinkers to help libraries address emerging issues

I immediately subscribed to the Center’s weekly newsletter, available as an email or via RSS. Highly recommended! You might also explore the ‘manual for the future of Librarianship’ and Miguel’s analysis of emerging trends with implications for libraries.

Socially Conscious Librarianship

The programs I attended clustered around a theme of social consciousness — from collecting subversive materials, to facilitating community archiving of social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter. Memorably, Jarrett Drake (digital archivist at Princeton) asserted that traditional archives are imbued with patriarchy & structural inequalities. If organizations are interested in archiving activism, they should do so as critical allies & anti-racist institutions. Libraries & archives must build trust, not in the name of collection development (give us your stuff), but in the name of allyship. We can, for example, partner with communities to meet their own needs through instruction, resource-sharing, advising upon community archiving efforts, and providing non-surveilled meeting spaces for activists. ZSR’s partnership with the congregation of St. Benedict the Moor engages these very questions, focusing first on the needs of the congregation.

Of particular interest to me was a panel of women in AUL-level positions focusing on library technology, including Jenn Riley and Karen Estlund, about their career paths and managing structural inequalities that they encountered even in libraries.

Designing ACRL Communities of Practice

Since the ACRL’s Digital Humanities Interest Group was formed a few years ago, it has been the beating heart of my ALA communities. After a few years of fabulous programming and initiatives such as dh+lib, the group is thinking about its future. Interest groups are not permanent units in ACRL, but rather start-ups. They exist for a term of 3 years with one renewal. DHIG will certainly renew; then, looking ahead, there’s the question of what’s next. Section status? Allying with the Digital Curation Interest Group, Digital Scholarship Centers Interest Group, and others to make the case for section status? For now, though, possible goals of the DHIG we articulated include:

  • cultivating a community of practice and/or learning communities
  • cross-pollinating across ALA units
  • cultivating individuals’ personal, experiential development as librarians engaged in digital humanities

Expanding upon that last point, we talked about emboldening librarians to see themselves as DH practitioners, as people with expertise & experience to bring to bear on digital humanities scholarship & pedagogy (metadata, preservation, subject knowledge, project development, design, and still others).

Lots of thought-provoking conversations at ALA — but I’m looking forward to not conferencing for a while!

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.

Bob at ABLD in Singapore

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 2:30 pm

In May I attended an international joint meeting in Singapore of three groups of business school librarians. The group to which I belong is the North American-based Academic Business Library Directors (ABLD), which is a small group of librarians from most of the business schools that are generally ranked among the top 50 in North America. Our international counterparts are the European group (EBSLG) and the Asia-Pacific group (APBSLG). This meeting was the fifth time since 2000 that ABLD took part in such a joint meeting (previous meetings have taken place at INSEAD in France, the University of Virginia, Copenhagen and Stanford).

This meeting took place on the campus of Singapore Management University, which is situated in the heart of this crossroads city in Southeast Asia. Though it is a relatively new institution (founded in 2000), SMU has quickly matured into one of the leading universities in Asia. It has about 10,000 students and 370 faculty studying and teaching in the subjects of business, law, information science, economics and other social sciences. It grants degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels.

The city-state of Singapore is the business center of Southeast Asia. As my photo below suggests, it is a large, prosperous and modern city. It is a former British colony whose residents are now made up of a majority of ethnic Chinese with significant minorities of ethnic Malay and Indian people. There is also a large contingent of British, European and American expatriates. English is widely spoken. As a travel destination, Singapore is known as a mecca for food and shopping and as a jumping off point for visitors to the other countries in Southeast Asia.

Our meeting began with a visit to the National Library of Singapore which is within walking distance of SMU. The National Library contains an impressive collection of colonial-era documents and maps documenting the founding of the colony of Singapore and its founder, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

After the tour we boarded buses and traveled to the suburban location of another well-known business school, the Asia campus of INSEAD, a highly ranked international business school located near Paris in Fontainebleau, France. We enjoyed a tour of INSEAD Asia, a reception and music provided by an Indonesian gamelan group.

The main part of the conference started the next morning with a thought-provoking talk by the Belgian-born president of SMU, Prof. Arnoud de Meyer. Prof. de Meyer has extensive experience in teaching, research and administration in top business schools in several countries. His career is a good example of how the “industry” of business schools has evolved into a truly global industry during the last few decades.

During the first day of meetings I participated in a panel discussion on the topic of “Thinking about work: what issues keep you awake at night.” Though I noted that work issues don’t keep me awake at night I talked about a trend that does concern many of my ABLD colleagues, i.e. the downsizing or elimination of a significant number of business school library facilities in North America.

I pointed out that many business school libraries have coped with downsizing by eliminating print collections and evolving into business information centers similar to our own Business Information Commons in Farrell Hall. My advice to my fellow business school librarians who have not yet experienced a big change in their physical facilities was to embrace the downsizing trend and to become advocates of the information commons model of the business school library.

There were lots of individual presentations over the course of the meeting, most of which are listed and linked on an SMU site here. We also had time for visiting a room set aside for the 18 vendors who attended the conference. They were available to demonstrate their products and answer questions.

One of my favorite aspects of the meeting was the way the local organizers wove cultural activities into both the presentation schedule and the social events that took place during the evenings. For example, a group of Malay SMU students performed traditional Malay drumming during a meeting break one morning.

During the dinner at the famous Raffles Hotel on the last night of the conference a local group of Indian dancers provided a colorful Indian dance demonstration.

During our evening at Raffles we also enjoyed a talk about the history of the hotel by the hotel’s resident historian and a demonstration on how to make a Singapore Sling, a drink invented by a Raffles bartender.

Another highlight of the meeting was a workshop on negotiation led by SMU Professor Michael Benoliel.

The best part of a meeting like this is the opportunity to meet and get to know lots of people whose jobs resemble mine. Despite the fact that the members of the three groups work in a diverse group of institutions in lots of different countries, we have so much in common, including many of the same budget and space challenges, similar faculties performing similar tasks, similar students pursuing similar degrees and vendors whose information products are sold worldwide. Here are photos of everyone from the three groups and some of the attendees from North America.

The rest of my meeting photos can be seen here.


Steve at 2016 NASIG Conference

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 5:23 pm

On June 7th, I flew out to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the NASIG Conference, and for my last NASIG Executive Board meeting as Past President–completing my three year stint as Vice President/President/Past President–even though the conference-proper ran from June 9th to 12th. My duties as Board liaison to our Conference Planning Committee and as fundraising coordinator (a job that goes to the Past President and involves soliciting sponsors and vendors at our expo) meant that I was often too busy to attend conference programs, but I did manage to make it to a few interesting sessions, which I will highlight.

T. Scott Plutchak, the Director of Digital Curation Strategies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, delivered the conference’s initial plenary address (or as NASIG calls it, a Vision Session) entitled “Dialectic On the Aims of Institutional Repositories. Plutchak talked about two articles about institutional repositories (or IRs), one by Raym Crow from 2002 and the other by Clifford Lynch from 2003, to frame his discussion of how IRs have developed over the intervening decade-plus. In Plutchak’s reading, Crow is interested in using IRs to challenge traditional models of scholarly publishing and to use IRs to demonstrate the importance of faculty research. Lynch, on the other hand, wants to use IRs to provide access to new types of digital scholarship, to preserve material that might be lost, and is primarily interested in transforming scholarly communication, not scholarly publishing, per Plutchak. In the years since these articles were published, IRs have grown to host a wide variety of content, and there is increased awareness in academic circles of the importance of preserving data. Traditional peer review has continued in various publishing models, including Green Open Access models. Crow’s concern about using IRs to demonstrate the importance of faculty research has fallen by the wayside. Plutchak points out that this was a good idea at the time, but it hasn’t really held up, and that IRs are not necessarily a good way to showcase faculty research. However, IRs can be very good as research management systems that provide metadata about and general preservation and management of faculty research. Plutchak then addressed what he sees as the inner contradictions of the Green Open Access model, which he argued is parasitic on traditional non-open access journals, because it relies on a robust environment of peer-reviewed journals. Accordingly, it is not an effective transition model, because the OA models will always be outnumbered by the non-OA journals. Furthermore, he argued that it is intellectually dishonest for librarians to tell publishers that embargoes aren’t needed to protect their business interests, when we know that a lack of embargoes threatens their business model. Plutchak further criticized the Green OA model by noting that OA journals may not provide the best version of an article for the users needs. It may provide an acceptable version, but not the version of record. With these considerations in mind, Plutchak argued that we need to reassess the role of open access in institutional repositories (which may be better suited to managing research and data).

Another interesting session I attended was “The Canadian Linked Data Initiative: Charting a Path to a Linked Data Future,” presented by Marlene van Ballegooie, Juliya Borie, and Andrew Senior. They discussed how, in September 2015, the five largest research libraries in Canada (University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, Universite de Montreal, University of Alberta) formed a joint initiative to develop a path toward linked data. They were inspired, in large measure, by the American group Linked Data for Production, or LD4P, which consists of six large institutions. The Canadian libraries realized that they were somewhat behind the curve and needed to catch up, while recognizing that such an large undertaking cannot be accomplished by one institution on its own. The group has developed a number of cross-institutional working groups to coordinate their activities, which primarily are focused on educating and training their staffs about linked data issues. They also have a BIBFRAME Editor Working Group, which is investigating how to make practical use of the BIBFRAME Editor tool developed by Library of Congress as well as the BIBFRAME Scribe tool developed by Zepheira. The presentation got more technical than I can really get into here, but my big takeaway from this session was the importance of collaborating with other institutions to facilitate learning and training about linked data, because the members of the initiative are right: this is too big a think for any one institution to tackle.

Overall, the conference seemed to be well received, and the worst management issue I had to tackle as Past President and liaison to Conference Planning was a recurring struggle with the hotel management to keep the bar open later than 10:30 pm. I’m relieved to have rotated off the Executive Board, but I’m not quite out of the woods yet, as I’m going to chair the Program Planning Committee for next year’s conference. Out of the frying pan, etc.


Molly in Cambridge for Copyright

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 4:36 pm

Last week I escaped the extreme heat of NC for the gorgeous weather of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to attend a two-day meeting about all things copyright. This was my second year attending this small, intimate gathering of copyright experts from across the U.S., and I loved it. Our group operates under the Chatham House Rule, so details of our discussions are confidential. But I can tell you that we touched upon everything from recent court rulings to legislative updates to rights statements to model publishing contracts to ereserves to take-down notices to career paths to activist scholarship. Discussions were lively, thoughtful, and well-informed, and I was privileged to spend two days geeking out on copyright.

A few key takeaways:

  • Yoga poses, recipe compilations, and chicken sandwiches are NOT copyrightable – but cheerleading uniforms may be (awaiting SCOTUS ruling)
  • Attribution of CC-licensed materials is no different than scholarly citation
  • The Batmobile is a copyrightable character
  • Madonna, Led Zeppelin, and Disney (now there’s a combo!) are all – individually, not jointly – involved in some manner of copyright litigation
  • Half of all pre-1950 films and approximately 90% of all nitrate films are gone, as the Library of Congress has no “body of record” on file (sad!)
  • When collecting activist scholarship (e.g., tweets, photographs, record, etc.), libraries are not neutral, so if we can’t protect, maybe we shouldn’t collect; also, preservation trumps access

This year’s meeting was jointly hosted by the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication and MIT Libraries, and we met at the Harvard Law School Library. In addition to being a lovely library (hello, it’s HARVARD!), we got a chance to see their spiffy high-speed scanner in action. And when I say high-speed, I mean high-speed: averages 230 pieces of paper, or 460 pages, per MINUTE, and 2.5 MILLION pages per MONTH. It was a marvel!

Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall

Harvard Law School Library, Langdell Hall

Reading Room, Harvard Law School Library

Reading Room, Harvard Law School Library

Super spiffy scanner!

Super spiffy scanner!


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