Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Code4Lib Preconference: Archival Discovery and Use

On Monday, March 24, I attended a day-long preconference on Archival Discovery and Use, held as part of Code4Lib 2014 in Raleigh. This workshop proved interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that it wasn't being led by archivists but by two technology/development librarians. This allowed the archivists in the room (about 1/3 of the 30+ people in attendance) to hear how others understand archival use.

Throughout the day, we had short (10-15) presentations followed by 20-30 minute group discussions, with each group focusing on the presentation from a different angle. Presentation topics ranged from the effectiveness of archival finding aids to integration of finding aids and digitized components to crowdsourcing as a means of enhancing archival description. My group was tasked with questioning the presentations from a point of view related to assessment -- how do we measure the effectiveness of our practices and programs, and how do we interpret user data to inform our work/development?

In these small group discussions, it became clear that the archivist's notion of the archival researcher and his/her needs doesn't always match that of the technology folks. One prominent question framed most of our conversations: should discovery systems be optimized for those conducting in-depth research in the archives (an audience which varies based on your archives' focus), or do we need to present our archival finding aids and digital collections in a way that best reaches the masses and garners more hits (an approach driven largely by analytics)? Most archivists in the group advocated for a focus on the former, while most of the developers and digital collections librarians advocated for the latter.

The framing of the discussions as well as the ensuing conversations reiterated the need for archivists to be (very) vocal in terms of advocating for their researchers in the development or use of technologies aimed at enabling archival discovery. Of course, this is predicated on understanding your users' needs and workflow. This requires a focus on assessment -- particularly qualitative assessment -- as well as an understanding by all staff of who the primary audiences for archival discovery tools are in your particular archives. If archivists don't prioritize this type of user assessment, who will?

Monday, November 18, 2013

3 Archivists, 3 Conferences, 3 Presentations...

Let me set the scene. It's mid-October, the days are getting sorter and the leaves prettier.  Three archivists set out to do the impossible: give three unique presentations at three different conferences in less than one week....

October 16th brought Keith Gorman, Kathelene Smith, and I to the North Carolina Library Association conference in Winston-Salem for our first presentation with Curtis Rogers from the South Carolina State Library.
Evolution of the South Carolina Literary Map
Dr. Curtis R. Rogers
Curtis' portion of the presentation was titled "Evolution of the South Carolina Literary Map."  He gave an overview of the history of South Carolina Literary Map, which began in the early 2000s as a class project in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina.

The project had stagnated in the last decade, having outdated information as well as hard to navigate features.  Curtis worked with SLIS at USC to launch a revamped site (www.scliterarymap.org) which went live just days before our presentation. 

He then discussed future plans for sustaining the project, which included having a 'memorandum of understanding' with SLIS to define roles and responsibilities of each party and creating an author submission form for users to suggest writers to be added to the map.

The North Carolina Literary Map:
How to sustain online projects once they are launched

Keith, Kathelene, and I presented on sustaining the North Carolina Literary Map (http://library.uncg.edu/nclitmap).  We discussed the push for state online literary maps from the National Center for the Book as well as the differences in mission and institutional support between our map and other state map projects. 

Research of other online literary maps lead us to some surprising discoveries.  Of the 22 state maps, only 6 had been updated in the last 2 years.  Sustainability is definitely an issue with these projects!

In seeking to sustain the North Carolina Literary map, we set the foundations for sustainability by identifying the map's audience, securing funding, and promoting outreach.  We then redesigned the website and enhanced search functions.  And finally, we are continuing to evolve by adding new collaborators to our advisory board who can assist with funding and assessment.

Reception at the Upcountry Museum,
 Greenville, SC
Following our brief stop at NCLA, we headed to Greenville, SC for the Tri-State Archivists Conference, October 17-18.  This conference provided a rare meeting among archivists from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  Kathelene and I served as the Programming Chairs for the Society of North Carolina Archivists.  Kathelene also headed up Local Arrangements for North Carolina.  I oversaw the call for panel proposal and worked with speakers and presenters to schedule the entire two-day conference.  Kathelene worked tirelessly to ensure registration, catering, and venues were organized and ran smoothly throughout the conference.  She also single-handedly organized a lovely wine and dessert reception for conference participants at the Upcountry Museum in Greenville.

But organizing the conference wasn't enough for us...we needed to present as well!  Keith, Kathelene, and I, along with Gene Hyde from the University of North Carolina at Asheville presented current students, recent graduates, and those re-entering the job market with tips for creating quality cover letters and CVs as well as important considerations for each step of the interview process. 
Keith beginning our talk on Career Planning 101 
Keith began by giving a survey of the archival field and informing participants of relevant literature.  Gene Hyde showed the results of a ACRL survey conducted in 2010 titled, "Academic Library Search Committees: What They Want You to Know."  The survey gathered qualitative and quantitative data from academic librarians through the United States.  Results confirmed what we and others involved in the search committee process had know only anecdotally until then; mistakes in cover letters and resumes greatly impacted whether or not candidates were asked for an interview.

Kathelene gave considerations for creating cover letters and resumes, including practical advice such as spellchecking the documents and avoiding confusing fonts and colors.  I presented the real-life example of my recent job search, citing examples of how I tailored my cover letter and CV to highlight how I fit the qualifications listed in the job posting.  Keith talked about both phone and in-person interviews, giving tips for how to prepare and successfully navigate the process.  We concluded by working one-on-one with those who had submitted cover letters and resumes to us prior to the conference, giving personalized

On Monday, October 21st, Kathelene and I set out to once again promote the North Carolina Literary Map.  This time we presented with Gail Buckner at the North Carolina Association for Elementary Educators (NCAEE) Conference.

As part of the 2012-2013 LSTA grant for the NC Lit Map, Gail had worked on creating lesson plans
A slide from our NCAEE presentation
which integrate using the map with various learning objectives.  We spoke about the history of the NC Lit Map, demonstrated how to effectively search for books and authors, and showed participants how they could use the newly developed tools in their classrooms.

This was a busy week in October...we are all still recovering...

Friday, November 8, 2013

NCLA highlights

At my professional blog I posted some takeaways from NCLA 2013.  --Steve

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Ethics in the Library" Presentation

Good morning all,
Last week, Professor Wade Maki gave a very insightful and engaging talk on ethics and how it relates to libraries.  He began his talk by focusing on the three different philosophies on ethics:
Virtue Ethics – Aristotle
Bumper sticker(s):
  • Virtue is the mean between excess and deficiency
  • Character counts!
  • Good people make good decisions
 Kantian Ethics – Immanuel Kant
 Bumper sticker(s):
  • Do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason
  • Always show respect for humanity – don’t use people
  • Treat people as ends in themselves not a means to your ends
 Utilitarian Ethics – Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Peter Singer
 Bumper sticker(s): 
  • Achieve the greatest good for the greatest number
  • The end justifies the means
  • Happiness is the ultimate  
He then discussed some general information on ethics noting that “ A “code of ethics” does not entail ethical behavior just ask the Mafia.”
We then broke out into small groups and discussed seven ethical scenarios related to libraries and discussed how we would have approached them.
For those who could not attend, I have provided a link to the handout HERE. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

DLF Forum Live Streaming

For those of us who can't be in lovely Austin, Texas, next week for the Digital Library Federation Forum, DLF is live streaming a number of presentations on Monday, November 4 and the keynote address on Wednesday, November 6. From the DLF website (note that the times are CST):

Live Stream Schedule (CST)

Monday, November 4
9–10:30 am — Welcome by Rachel Frick, Director of the DLF, Keynote Address by R. David Lankes
10:45 am–12 pm — Carpe Data: Data Curation Services at Four Different Institutions
1:30–3 pm — Geospatial Data and Digital Libraries
3:30–4:30 pm — Big Archival Data: Designing Workflows and Access to Large-Scale Digitized Collections
4:45–5:30 pm — Pathways to Stimulating Experiential Learning and Technological Innovation in Academic Libraries

Wednesday, November 6
10:45 am–12 pm — Keynote Address by Char Booth, Closing Remarks

Live stream link:

Other ways to participate:
Follow the conversation on Twitter #DLFForum.
Review the Community Notes Google docs (link in session description): http://www.diglib.org/forums/2013forum/schedule/.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Global Learning Technology Conference Notes

Oct 10-11th I attended a day and half conference -  the 2nd annual Global Learning Technology Conference hosted by UNCW.  My favorite session was the  Keynote Speaker: Disruptive Innovations  by Dr. Kyle L. Peck  Principal Investigator for the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project, Co-Director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning (http://coil.psu.edu/) and Professor of Education at Penn State University.  Peck discussed what he sees as 3 things that will together are disruptive innovations to higher education and learning.

1) open educational resources
2) moocs
  • Started in Canada actually, but really got going at Stanford. Dr Thrun taught comp science class online and had thousands sign up, some people in the end took the same quiz his real class took and his mooc class did and 200 better than his top kid at Stanford!!
  • Growing faster than Facebook.
  • Coursera now offers a "Signature track" which can track user keystrokes, students submit photo and using webcam show photo id, can then take tests w webcam, and with a fee, get certification they took the course - including access to a Coursea hosted “detailed course performance” (or their record of their performance)
  • Key for MOOCs  - must build in peer support. These apps and tools can be applied to other courses too.
  • BB now has mooc platform, "course sites"
  • Google will work with EdX to create a platform.
  • Though many sign up for moocs and don't finish, even with 200 finishing the mooc, out of 200,000 that is still more people than take the class on campus!
  • Idea- have alumni (or grad students) host a week in the mooc (give back to the campus) discussion board monitoring mainly
3) digital badges
  • Signifies life learning learning
  • Need to complete X criteria to earn the badge. Details on badge indicate the assessment, criteria, evaluation skills required...beyond just for motivation.
  • Recognize significant accomplishment such as a flipped classroom badge for faculty.Why not give  badges along the way like as you work through a phd program benchmarks. Can document people skills through badges beyond the degree.
  • Mozilla badge backpack. http://backpack.openbadges.org/backpack/login
  • Penn State has a badge within their LMS so easy for faculty to use!
  • Have potential to change things -- can allow lower level not big name school  to move ahead with creating real badges that align w rubrics and skills and applied!
  • one size doesn't fit it all. Differentiation will be expected.
  • can be called micro credentialing (aka digital badging)
  • can be considered competency based learning
Kyle's predictions--
  • Big changes are coming so we need to lead the way before outside HE started doing it
  • Moocs will grow (coursera is adding one engineer a week!)
  • Moocs will develop  tools to scaffold peer support and evaluation.
  • Course credit will be given soon. Credit by exam, by portfolio review, for a fee. (Pearson is creating centers around country now for this -  we in HE need to jump in and do this!)
  • Curriculum in all fields will be redesigned. According to taxonomies of cognitive design. Look at blooms taxonomy. Competency based approach. (Competency - take midterm get a c but final get an a, why should final grade be an a instead of b? you learned those skills right?). Make these skills into chunks of badges. Makes these little chunks aka badges into mooc.
  • "Flex mooc" users can pick their plan, personalized learning plan, what they want or need to learn. Can earn badge by peer reviews  by others and peer review of others. Can take a test too, over and over if necessary. Add to eportfolio. Submit portfolio with badges and at a cost to get credit. More flipped classroom all over education
  • Will end up with more students on campus but less time. So much on their own before or during actual classes. Also synchronous from a distance work too.
  • "Knowmads" - wander from school to school to earn badges
  • More collaboration w real world companies on competencies. But note -- there is a difference between education and training. Some good competencies come from companies for employment there, but students also need to learn general (critical thinking) skills to apply everywhere in real world and any job.
The first afternoon offered some hands on session  - something I love, as most of us really do learn when we are able (and have time!)  to play with the tool and not just sit and listen.  So I attended a very useful and fun session by some excellent  instructional designers/faculty at Appalachian State called Mobile Learning in Schools: Turning Distance Education Theory into Classroom Practice. They led the session using Apple TV and Airplay which was very cool to see in action. walking around the room, they could each throw up their ipad screen on the big screen for us to see. In turn as they had us do activities we could share via our ipads on the big screen too. They had ipads for each of us for the session though some people used their own. We did an actual activity you could do with students they called "place based education"  Each group had an image to view and QR code to scan with our ipad (using a tool called Qrafter) that pulled up google form with a few questions to answer reflection on the image. We also had to take a photo of the image as well do some research on what it was  (these were all dust bowl era images) and then record ourselves with a reflection on the image and our research. This mini project lead into the next tool we used called Explain Everything ($2.99 but worth it!) This tool allows you to annotate, animate,  narrate explanations and presentations.to create  interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials! We took our stuff from the first mini project and then created a "presentation" using explain everything. Several people then used the AirPlay option to show their results to the whole "class."  Lastly one of the coolest apps I have seen which ventures into the Augmented Reality arena called Aurasma. This free app uses  image and pattern recognition to take real-world "things"  such as a painting or an object that leads the explorer  to interactive content such as videos and animations which they call “Auras”. (confused? watch some of their video tutorial for more examples)  You have to follow a channel on Aurasma or create your own channel to share with others.

The next day I attend a few more lecture style sessions. One was by a librarian (yeah!)  Anne Pemberton, from UNCW discussing some very interesting research she conducted "Can personalized learning improve motivation and student success in online  learning?"  (her ppt slides)  Anne did some major research and study to see if  by personalizing online learning could be a motivational factor for students. She discussed the  "Market of one" concept in companies advertising " it's for you, you are our only customer!"  Examples: iTunes personal music, grocery store coupons of what you bought, amazon recommending books, fb customized ads, etc. Can we apply this in education (wolf 2010) --- big shift in our culture to do so.  She applied a theory by Margaret Martinez on the whole person approach - an inventory combined with learners interests and goals using a learning orientation questionnaire. With one control group, one differentiated learning group and a full on personalized learning group of first year students in a required library skill courses she took the existing materials, aligned w learning objectives for course for all. All students took pretests. But only the second two groups took the the learning orientation inventory, got to view their results and then got  pushed only materials and activities related to their learner orientation style  - with the last group the ones who actually got to choose their options to make it truly personalized to them. This last group  got to see how well their did in each area and decide what they want to learn or not as some people got 80% and wanted to take that module/objective again and others said they did good enough to skip. Also at end of class they took a Motivation survey by John Keller instructional materials motivation survey. Unfortunately there was no statistical results that showed it mattered to have it personalized! And the group 3 actually scored  worse on post test!  Her conclusions were:
  • too time consuming to implement
  • First year freshman might not be the best for personalized learning
  • All asynchronous online so hard to get in and mentor and bring that personalized aspect to the course
  • Each group had solid instructional design so maybe it was so good it didn't matter about personalization
  • It would be good to talk to the students, focus group etc to learn what they really liked on not about it.
  • Should students really be able to select their own objectives ?

I also attended a few sessions focused on how to use virtual environment to enhance collaboration around the world global connections. Two sessions were about East Carolina U's global understanding program with  over 50 universities over 30 countries. My favorite quote to sum up these sessions  "Strangers in a new culture only see what they know (Arab proverb)"
  • Why global?  Only about 4%of us college study abroad -- but 100%of our students face challenges associated w globalize world.  Misunderstandings and stereotypes, from tv and media too, risks and fears about foreign travel, the diversity of the world
  • Goals are to build meaningful relationships and intercultural skills, how to work w people who see the world differently than you. "Global competence" ; Better understand their own culture by having to explain it to others; Learn to communicate better
  • Global understanding course offered in 19 classes at ECU could be matched w totally other course abroad, all disciplines, but with this shared components, academically and disciplinary independent.  But the core is shared format, procedures and board topics like:  college life, family and cultural traditions, meaning of life and religions, stereotypes. They learn 3 cultures each semester  (plus "your own" culture); 4-5 weeks long; Facilitated discussion by students , little lecture; Collaborative project - presented last day of class
  • Some of their global courses:  Youth Theatre course  (Learn other cultures, folk tales, fairy tales. One country class them performs one of those from another culture and perform via web conferencing for that country to see and vice verse);  Global climate change course started in 2010; Medical lecture series (Series for med students, various topics, panels of doctors volunteering their time ask the other countries how they would handle problems, alternatives bc they don't always have the tech in those countries); Lecture exchanges either w/in a class or as as a special lecture exchanges too; Special events- at international women's day, international education week.
  • Looking at having every English 101 section to have one time global session once, since they can't do global understanding  course in every class
  • Plan for:  Internet must be 256k upload and download; Videoconferencing H323 protocol; Web co,freeing (Saba meeting); Chat (irc) basic level works for all/no distracting like other chats might be;  Wiki (confluence); Skype as backup
  • Benefits:   Connects students to share stories w each other internationally about life studying abroad; International collaboration too (Faculty doing research on same topic connect virtually  to talk and share ideas);  Global partners in education journal created -  Online peer reviewed;  Global conference every 5 years
  • Challenges:  Comprehension; Accents; Meaning varies; Timing of semester schedules  (create a master calendar); Time zones; Different academic goals; Different standards; Technology access & proficiency 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Presenting at the Tri-State Archivists Conference

For the first time ever, the Society of North Carolina held its 2013 annual meeting in conjunction with the Society of Georgia Archivists and the South Carolina Archival Association from October 17-18 at Furman University in Greenville, SC. A number of UNCG Libraries staff members attended and presented at the conference.

On Friday morning at 9am, Richard Cox and I co-presenting on "Collaborating for a 21st Century Archives." I spoke about ways in which archivists can work effectively with library IT staff in order to truly document and provide optimal access to modern archival records. Richard then talked about the development process for our born-digital records management (BDRM) tool, and did a quick demonstration of the tool's key capabilities. We had about 70-80 folks attending our session, and we fielded lots of questions (and some queries from others about how they can use BDRM!).

Yes, that's a corgi photo on the slide
Also, as the second part of our time slot, Rachel Trent from the State Archives and Kathleen Kenney from the State Library discussed the State of North Carolina's efforts to manage the permanent records produced via social media (for instance, the Governor's official Facebook page). Of particular interest to me was their use of a newly-developed product (from a Durham-based start up) called ArchiveSocial. As we proceed in our effort to manage born-digital records across campus, tools like ArchiveSocial will come in handy in documenting some of the campus's most visible social media outlets.

The conference also presented numerous opportunities to talk with colleagues from across North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. I'm a member of both SNCA and the Society of Georgia Archivists, and I always enjoy learning more about what's happening in our neighboring states. Our Thursday evening reception at the Upcountry History Museum was fun (in spite of the fact that the "Snoopy Soars with NASA" exhibit was closed because our reception was outside of their normal operating hours). And, for those who have not visited, downtown Greenville is quite nice -- lots of good restaurants and shops.