Professional Development

ALA Annual 2014 Las Vegas – Lauren

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:08 pm

Three segments to my post: 1) Linked Data and Semantic Web, 2) Introverts at Work, and 3) Vendors and Books and Video — read just the part that interests you!

1. Linked Data and Semantic Web (or, Advances in Search and Discovery)

Steve Kelley sparked my interest in the Semantic Web and Linked Data with reports after conferences over the past few years. Now that I’ve been appointed to the joint ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee and attended a meeting at this conference, I’ve learned more:

Google Hummingbird is a recent update to how Google searching functions, utilizing all the words in the query to provide more meaningful results instead of just word matches.

Catalogers and Tech Team take note! Work is really happening now with Linked Data. In Jason Clark’s presentation,” in Libraries,” see the slide with links to work being done at NCSU and Duke (p. 28 of the posted PDF version).

I’m looking forward to working with Erik Mitchell and other Metadata Standards Committee members in the coming year.

2. Introverts at Work!

The current culture of working in meetings (such as brainstorming) and reaching quick decisions in groups or teams is geared towards extroverts while about 50% of the population are introverts. Introverts can be most productive and provide great solutions when given adequate time for reflection. (Extrovert and introvert were defined in the Jung and MBTI sense of energy gain/drain.) So says Jennifer Kahnweiler, the speaker for the ALCTS President’s Program and author of Quiet Influence. Another book discussing the same topic is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Many ZSRians attended this session!

3.Vendors and Books and Video

I spent a lot of time talking with vendors. Most notable was the meeting that Derrik, Jeff, and I attended with some of the publishers that are raising DDA short term loan prices. This will affect our budget, but our plan is to watch it for a bit, to develop our knowledge and determine appropriate action. It was helpful to learn more from the publishers. Some publishers are able to switch to print on demand, while others cannot because traditional print runs are cheaper than print on demand and their customers still want print. Print-driven publishers have to come up with a sustainable model to cover all of the costs, so they are experimenting with DDA pricing. DDA overall is still an experiment for publishers, while librarians already have come to think of it as being a stable and welcome method of providing resources.

Derrik and I also started conversing with Proquest about how we will manage our existing DDA program in regards to the addition of ebrary Academic Complete to NC LIVE.

“The combined bookshops of Aux Amateurs de Livres and Touzot Librarie Internationale will be called Amalivre effective July 1, 2014.”

Regarding video, Mary Beth, Jeff, Derrik and I attended a presentation by two Australian librarians from different large universities (QUT and La Trobe, with FTE in tens of thousands). They reported on their shift to streaming video with Kanopy and here are a few bullets:

  • Among drivers for change were the flipped classroom and mobile use
  • 60% of the DVD collection had less than 5 views while streaming video titles licensed through Kanopy averaged over 50 views
  • 23% and 15% (two universities) of DVDs have never been viewed once
  • 1.7 and 1.8 (two universities) times is the true cost of DVD ownership
  • They have a keyboard accessibility arrangement for the visually impaired
  • Usage is growing for PDA and non-PDA titles in Kanopy [reminds us of our experience with e-books]
  • Discovery of the streaming videos came largely through faculty embedding videos in the CMS
  • Other discovery is not good for video, so they had Proquest add a radio button option for video to Summon to help promote discovery [can we do this?]
  • They concluded that because of greater use,online video is the greater value for the money spent


Leslie at NCLA 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011 2:50 pm

It was really nice to be able to attend an NCLA conference again — one of my music conferences, as it happens, has been held at the same time for years.

I attended a session on RDA, the new cataloging standard recently beta-tested by LC. Christee Pascale of NCSU gave a very helpful, concise reprise of that school’s experience as a test participant; the staff training program and materials they developed; and advice to others planning to implement RDA.

Presenters from UNCG and UNCC shared a session titled “Technical Services: Changing Workflows, Changing Processes, Personnel Restructuring — Oh My!” Both sites have recently undergone library-wide re-organizations, including the re-purposing of tech services staff to other areas, resulting in pressure to ruthlessly eliminate inefficiencies. Many of the specific steps they mentioned are ones we’ve already taken in ZSR, but some interesting additional measures include:

  • Eliminating the Browsing Collection in favor of a New Books display.
  • Reducing the funds structure (for instance, 1 fund per academic department — no subfunds for material formats)

There also seems to be a trend towards re-locating Tech Services catalogers to Special Collections, in order to devote more resources to the task of making the library’s unique holdings more discoverable; outsourcing or automating as many tech services functions as possible, including “shelf-ready” services, authority control, and electronic ordering; and training support staff (whose time has putatively been freed by the outsourcing/automation of their other tasks) to do whatever in-house cataloging remains. That’s the vision, at any rate — our presenters pointed out the problems they’ve encountered in practice. For instance, UNCC at one point had one person doing the receiving, invoicing, and cataloging: they quickly found they needed to devote more people to the still-significant volume of in-house cataloging that remained to be done even after optimizing use of outsourced services. They’re also feeling the loss of subject expertise (in areas like music, religion, etc.) and of experienced catalogers to make the big decisions (i.e., preparing for RDA).

NCLA plans to post all presentations on their website:




Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:02 am

Yesterday Mary Beth, Mary Scanlon, Sarah, Kaeley, Barry, and I went to NCSU for an NC-LITe meeting.

from nc-lite

This gathering has evolved quite a bit in the past few years. The first meet up was at UNCG, when Steve Cramer got in touch to see if we wanted to share information about some of the new and interesting work happening at both our libraries. Over time it’s evolved and grown and now includes representatives from NCSU, UNC-Ch, Duke, UNC-G, High Point, and WFU. Each time we get together we experiment with different approaches to the day, but we generally share information about Library Instruction & Technology.

This year’s was the most well attended with about 25 participants. We started the day with a round robin where we heard a bit about what different institutions are up to. UNC-G has created an instructional technology toolkit and a new tutorial, High Point is moving to OCLC Web-scale Management, Duke is about to host a retreat for librarians on data in the classroom, UNC is looking to move from Library à la Carte, NCSU has a new elearning team within their instruction unit and are looking at redoing their tutorial (that I remember taking a version of when I went there!). There was also a theme around new spaces as NCSU has a new building and grant for next generation learning spaces and UNC-G has a new Journal of Learning Spaces. All in all, it was a very informative round robin!

Next up, we heard more in-depth from UNC about their assessment strategies for their library instruction for first year english classes. They have 60-80 session for just these classes, and 4 full time librarians and 10 library school students to teach them. Given the scale, they are able to do a lot of custom training for these classes and want to make sure the experience is similar, so they talked about getting feedback from instructors, the value of qualitative feedback, and how to share the feedback they got. One of the most practically useful tips of the day for me was about an online stickies service. They highlighted how you can use this to get anonymous feedback or in active learning exercises. I look forward to experimenting with it!

UNCG went next, sharing about their PATH tutorial. I am generally not sold on library tutorials in this format unless academic faculty ask for it and build it into their classes. At UNCG, though, that is exactly the case. And if you’re going to make a tutorial like this, PATH has all the right elements: multimedia and text, varying quizzes (so you can’t just click each answer until you get it right), information and humor. It’s a really nice product. They also addressed possible ways to improve it over time. And since faculty have requested this, there is a way to email a professor after you’ve completed it (or along the way). This makes it really easy for any professor (think: first year seminars, introductory english, etc) to assign the tutorial as homework at some point in the semester and then they are able to mark the assignment as complete when they get the notification email.

Next up we broke up into groups: one on technology lending, one on teaching, and one on spaces. I was torn between the first two, and when I saw how big the teaching group was I went with technology lending. Maybe others who attended can speak up to the other group discussions. Barry and I were part of a small group that included someone from UNCG, High Point, and NCSU. We talked about using data (often quantitative from circulation records) to make decisions about technology purchases, about ebooks (together andseparatefrom readers), and the future of the book. The future of the book was about multimedia and text blurring with Our Choice as an example (thanks for the tip, Kevin!):

Al Gore’s Our Choice from Push Pop Press on Vimeo.

We stayed for a late lunch, but had to miss the technology tour to be back by 5:00 for various obligations. It was a great day and NCSU did a great job hosting. We’re up next, and they set the bar high!!

NCSU/UNCG/Duke Meet Up

Monday, January 25, 2010 4:57 pm

transparent reference desk and large screen monitor

On Friday, Susan, Erik, Jean-Paul, and I went to NCSU for a gathering of librarians working at the intersection of libraries, instruction, and technology.

This gathering has evolved quite a bit in the past few years. The first meet up was at UNCG, when Steve Cramer got in touch to see if we wanted to share information about some of the new and interesting work happening at both our libraries. We got together here next, and extended the invitation to NCSU as well, since we knew they were doing some similar types of projects. Then, NCSU hosted and invited someone from Duke. We’re now at the point of having to think more carefully about the purpose of the group, what size we’re comfortable with it growing to, and how to maximize the time for those involved. Along the way I set up a wiki, which the group is using to keep track of what we’re covering.

So, this was the first time this group met at NCSU, and it was a really good time. We had a packed agenda, and ended up spending most of our time on specific projects from each institution. This was a really good use of time, though, to see what people are doing and to go a little further in depth with each project.


  • GroupFinder is a project created to get around the fact that many cell phones don’t work within the library. Students can use the GroupFinder website to let their friends/classmates know what part of the library they’re studying in. Students can see this information on the website or the large display panels around the library. When doing usability testing on this, library staff approached people in their coffee shop saying they’d buy their cup of coffee for 5 minutes of their time. This gave them all kinds of relevant feedback that they incorporated into the product.
  • Wolfwalk is a project that is still in development, but is one I’m really interested in and that I cited in the Top Tech Trends panel. It’s a step towards augmented reality, where they’ve created an app that displays photos from their archives for wherever you happen to be standing. It’s really neat, and I was glad to have a chance to actually see it in action. Again, I think there’s a lot of promise in augmented reality (further down the road) and this is one example of how libraries can really do some interesting and useful work in that area.


  • Google Forms for assessment: UNCG is using Google Forms to collect data on all kinds of things. They highlighted using it for pre and post assessment for one-shot instruction sessions, but also for stats for reference and instruction. We talked about how it would be useful to have a bank of assessment questions to share amongst different institutions.
  • Assignment Calculator: Like many libraries, UNCG has implemented an assignment calculator. However, the really interesting work they’re doing with it comes from the next steps… They are looking at how to build in social features. For example, including ways to share assignments with groups for collaborative papers, or having the calculator send Tweets to students about deadlines as they come up. They’re also looking at how to incorporate faculty input for specific resource to look at in the process of writing a paper or deadlines that professors might have along the way that are slightly different from the ones given by the calculator.


  • Susan discussed the Social Stratification course and some of the ways it has impacted the larger campus.
  • Erik explained the mini studio, how we came to host it, and the service we offer.

People seemed very interested in both of our topics!


We also talked about instructional technologies in general, and spent a good portion of that time on LibGuides. We were pointed to usability studies from the University of Michigan. Fascinating stuff!!

I think this is a really interesting group, because all the institutions are fairly forward looking about instructional technology, but we’re all very different. UNCG and NCSU are state schools that face some different restrictions than Duke and WFU. NCSU and Duke are research 1 schools, and UNCG is still really big compared with WFU. We also have very different staff sizes and organizational charts. Yet, with all these differences, we still face a lot of the same issues, and could possibly collaborate in some areas.

The WFU crowd left at lunch, part of the group due to meetings back here, and me so that I could go see my soon-to-be nephew. However, the group is continuing discussions virtually about what type of future it might take on. Let me know if you have any ideas or recommendations!

TRLN Instruction Group Meeting

Thursday, December 17, 2009 10:27 am

Yesterday I went to Duke for the inaugural meeting of the TRLN Instruction Group. The TRLN is the Triangle Research Libraries Network, comprised of Duke, Central, NCSU, and UNC. However, the organizer of this meeting invited several folks from other libraries including UNCG, Guilford, and here, making it something she referred to as “TRLN Plus.” At the end of the meeting everyone agreed that the group was a good one and discussed possible names for the Triangle/Triad group rather than affiliating with TRLN. I think that this meeting fits very well with the informal WFU/UNCG/NCSU meetings we’ve had a few times, and perhaps the two groups could be combined into one.

Tomorrow you’ll hear all about the WFU/UNCG/NCSU meeting, so this post will focus on yesterday’s meeting.

The Lilly Library at Duke hosted the event, providing refreshments as people arrived and a place to meet and network. I saw several familiar faces from the North Carolina library instruction world, including our friends at UNCG, some folks I’ve met along the way at Duke, someone that I know from Twitter, and another person who I should have known given that she and I were at NCSU running in the same circles at the same time!

The main event of the day was a one hour presentation by NCSU on their “back story” tutorial project. You can see their tutorials on their website or YouTube channel. This project has been going on for a little while, I think I first heard about it at MERLOT, but has been in the works long enough now that there are several tutorials available for use.

Their take has been about as different from ours as you would expect, given that their institution is so different from ours. Whereas we have a lot of face-to-face contact, and place high value on classroom interaction, there is no way that the NCSU libraries could have the same level of face-to-face contact and classroom interaction based on size of the institution alone. So where our tutorials are being built to deal with technical issues to free up our instruction time to do the critical thinking, NCSU creates tutorials to focus on the critical thinking since they know they won’t be able to cover that content with all students.

NCSU also puts a lot of time, energy, and resources into each tutorial, whereas ours are created inexpensively and quickly. There are certainly arguments for both, but in the case of their tutorials, which focus on longer term issues that aren’t likely to change, it makes sense to invest more energy into making something that will be useful for years. Ours focus on tools and resources that change fairly quickly (for example, we need to redo all our toolkit tools on the catalog already), so we have to use a quick and dirty method to produce them in quantity.

NCSU’s tutorials focus on the “back story” of information: how peer review works, what a literature review is, how Wikipedia works, the anatomy of a scholarly article, etc. (Does this sound to anyone else like a lot of what gets covered in Lib100?) One of the particularly lovely things about the tutorials is that they are about concepts that apply to all libraries, regardless of what vendors you use or products you provide. So NCSU is intentionally creating them to be unbranded so that anyone could include them in their teaching. (Hint, hint, you could embed these in Lib100!) A lot of work and energy goes into the creation of their tutorials, so they’d like to see them be useful to a lot of people.

The NCSU back story project has been up and running long enough now to begin thinking about marketing and assessment, so that’s where some of the future work lies. I, for one, am very excited about their project, and can’t wait to see what they do next!

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