Friday, May 20, 2016

SAA Council

I'm officially going to be starting my three-year term as an elected member of the Council of the Society of American Archivists in August BUT the organization brought the newly-elected folks out to headquarters in Chicago earlier this month for orientation and observation of the May Council meeting. These trips are funded by SAA itself, so, aside from my time away from work, there is no burden on UNCG.

One thing that SAA hears frequently - particularly from newer members - is that members wish they knew more about the inner workings of the organization. SAA itself is pretty transparent when it comes to releasing agendas, minutes, budget reports, etc. But it's also a large organization, with membership and leadership spread across lots of different types of archives all across the country.

In an effort to provide yet another venue to provide information about organizational action and to help newer members learn more about how the organization operates, I started a blog to give insight into the work I'm doing as a new Council member. If anyone is interested in how a large professional organization's main governance body works, you can follow along here: Our next Council meetings will take place at the SAA Annual Meeting in early August -- one at the start of the meeting and one at the close.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CNI Conference

Tim Bucknall and I attended the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Conference April 4-5 in San Antonio.  Tim presented a breakout session on the Slavery Database and I did a very informal presentation on our OER initiatives at a roundtable discussion.

I came away feeling very good about our work here.  We are providing many of the services that large ARL  libraries do with far fewer resources.  So bravo!  If there was one theme it was about seeking partnership both on campus and externally.  I think we've done a good job with that, too, and we'll continue to grow.

Our efforts on OER are on par with many other libraries as well.  Some libraries have worked more closely with student groups which is a great idea.

All of the presentations are here:

One I found quite useful was The Role of Next Generation Libraries in Enhancing Multidisciplinary Research.  The 2d half had some good recommendations.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dr. Husain at MAC-MLA - free meducation

In October I attended the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, Medical Library Assn conference.  I presented on one of my projects, supporting online Kinesiology doctoral students.  I also picked up some interesting ideas.

Dr. Itifat Husain, founder of, discussed free medical apps and other info in medical education.  He reported heavy use of smartphones among the medical community, with over 75% of medical students and physicians using iOS devices.  His advice could have come from our own information literacy sessions "They key is to use Google and Wikipedia appropriately. Look at the references and summaries to get you into PubMed." 

Free Medical App - Legit or Not? 
  • Last updated? If more than 18 months, it might be an orphan app
  • App developer - is it a medical society or well known health care provider? what other apps have they developed?
  • Clear, detailed descriptions available before download?
  • Is there a landing page? not just a download page in iTunes or other app store or facebook page
  • References included so that you can verify the content?
  • iTunes and Google Play ratings are useless
The #FOAM movement
Free Open Access MEducation
  • free resources with open commentary: blogs, tweets, online videos, etc.
  • coin was termed by emergency physicians
  • advantages: free, appealing, rapid dissemination (authors don't want to wait months to years for traditional publication process)
  •  disadvantage: at this point a lot of the content is unusual/attention gathering rather than core foundational topics
  • concerns: sustainable? (MDs doing this in spare time); students shouldn't try to use FOAM w/out solid foundational knowledge
Peer review debate
     public comments are a form of "post publication" peer review
    a more formal open peer review process like the one being promoted at Academic Life in Medicine

Dr. Husain's predictions
  • digital medicine tools like these will be a core part of med ed curriculum  
  • medical textbook use will decline, but there is still be a need for foundational knowledge sources
Yes, this movement has spread to nursing!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Southeastern Library Assessment Conference

I attended this conference November 16-17 in Atlanta.  It was very useful. Below are some of the highlights for me.  All of the presentations are here (or will be soon).

Two librarians from UNC Charlotte presented on assessing e-resources.  They focused on Political Science but had a good protocol that could be applied to other subject areas.  The liaison to that area worked w/ their E-Resources Librarian.  They collaborated closely with teaching faculty to gain their input and used the data to cancel or promote underused resources.  See "Give e-resources a chance" on the program.

Librarians from MIT presented on "Design Thinking."  They worked with teams of students for a marathon over 2.5 days to gain input on library space design.  It was somewhat similar to our Idea-Thon and working with the IARC students a few years ago but with a different twist.

One of the most valuable presentations was from Grand Valley State.  The Information Literacy librarian conducted a study to examine the impact of library instruction on student retention.  She found a definite correlation. Interestingly, she used a method similar to what we've started here by recording the Genie course code for each instruction session.  She then worked with a statistician to compare it to retention rates.  Because she is working toward a publication she didn't post her PPT on the conference web site but will send it to individuals.  I've requested it and will share.

I presented with Crystal Baird from SACSCOC about how libraries can use assessment to prepare for accreditation.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Research Design and Librarianship - free ACRL webinar on 9/29

I just received message about this free webinar on 9/29, 2-3 pm EST -

Conducting research is an integral part of academic librarianship. To help equip librarians to design and conduct research projects the Loyola Marymount University William H. Hannon Library created the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship ( Hear from participants of this intensive two-week crash course in research methods and get their tips on research design. They’ll describe the projects they’ve created using their new skills and offer insights to inspire fellow librarians to conduct their own projects.


September 29, 2015 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm ET

Featured Presenter(s):

  • Marie R. Kennedy is the Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. She is the IRDL project co-director.
  • Frans Albarillo is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. His research focuses on how immigrant students use academic libraries. Frans has finished his first IRDL project on foreign-born students, and is writing up the results. He is preparing to start a second project with an IRDL fellow in the second year cohort that focuses on how graduate students and faculty use mobile devices for teaching and research.
  • John Jackson is the Reference & Instruction Librarian for Wardman Library at Whittier College. His current research examines the values that undergraduates place on the knowledge practices outlined in the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.
  • Lisa Zilinski is the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries Research Data Specialist. As part of the Scholarly Publishing, Archives, and Data Services Division, Lisa consults with faculty to identify data literacy opportunities, develops learning plans and tools for data education, and investigates and develops programmatic and sustainable data services for the Libraries. Her research experience focuses on research data management education and literacy principles; integration of data services into the research process; and assessment and impact of data services and activities.
  • Moderated by Bronia Flett, Editor, Online Library Products, SAGE Publications


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Society of American Archivists annual meeting

From August 18-23, I was in Cleveland for the Society of American Archivists annual meeting. The week was packed with SAA committee meetings, section meetings, and sessions.

On Wednesday morning, SAA's Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) met to discuss our work plan for FY16 as well as our promotional events that were tied to the 2015 meeting (everything from branding to a StoryCorps booth to a promotional video that was played during the first plenary session). Because of this meeting, I missed the first half of a day-long pre-conference on Teaching with Primary Sources that I helped organize at the Cleveland Public Library. But, after lunch, I was able to join the pre-conference, where I sat in on sessions focused on integration of special collections into non-humanities curricula and ways to balance one-shot classes/presentations vs. in-depth instruction and teaching. I was particularly interested in a number of universities that have integrated critical primary source document analysis into their basic freshman writing course.

Outside of the Cleveland Public Library

On Thursday morning, the conference itself began. The plenary session debuted our video and featured speakers discussing the importance of storytelling in advocacy and awareness efforts. Effective storytelling was actually a theme that ran throughout the conference and tied into the work of COPA and outgoing SAA president Kathleen Roe to encourage archivists to tell stories of how "archives change lives." Many speakers throughout the conference noted the importance of telling the right story in the right way to the right audience -- something that is drilled into your mind when you're doing any kind of public relations work. And we also stressed that these aren't just stories that you find in the archives themselves, but stories of how the archives and the work of the archivist made an impact on someone's life in a critical way.

View from the park across the street from the convention center

On Thursday afternoon, I participated in the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section meeting. I'm an elected member of the RAO steering committee, and my responsibility throughout the section meeting was to use the RAO Twitter account to take the topics of conversation at our meeting (which was done in a kind of "world cafe" style) to SAA members who were unable to attend the conference.

Friday morning was a second plenary session where outgoing president Kathleen Roe once again emphasized the importance of stories, and incoming president Dennis Meissner unveiled that his presidential focus will be on building standards for assessment that will give us hard, reliable statistics to back up our stories. We also heard from one of the members of SAA Council about Council's new initiative on cultural competence for archives and archivists. This tied into another theme that ran through many of the sessions I attended -- archivists may have professional expertise in recordkeeping but they must recognize that the members of the communities they are documenting are the experts in their communities. More and more, this is manifesting as a post-custodial model of archives, where the archivist is simply educating community members on how to better manage the records of their community (as opposed to acquiring the records and bringing them into the holdings of the archival institution). While my primary responsibility focuses on university records (which are legally required to be transferred to our holdings), I'm hoping I can take the post-custodial model to some of our community groups and educate on recordkeeping (particularly digital record keeping) without an eye towards acquisition.

Statue behind the convention center

Friday was also the day for my session -- "No More Silence in the Library: Documenting Fans and Fandom in Special Collections and Archives." We had seven speakers crammed into an hour time slot, but we heard about the value of fan mail in the Louisville Underground Music Archive, outreach activities (including concerts in the library basement) at the DC Public Library's DC Punk Archive, a sci-fi zine digitization and cataloging project at the University of Iowa, a class project at UW-Stout where students create graphic novels based on historical campus events researched in University Archives, and a game (with cute badges and an armadillo guide) that the University of Texas is using to crowdsource cataloging of their local zines. It was a well attended session -- over 120 attendees and standing room only -- and was the 3rd most tweeted about session of the whole conference.

Outside of the sessions and committee meetings, I was able to explore Cleveland. Our all-attendee reception on Thursday night was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was also able to visit the Western Historical Society (where they have a fabulous collection of early American cars and planes) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (which is one of the best art museums I've visited in the US). The most exciting, however, was a trip to visit the Christmas Story House and Museum -- yes, Ralphie's house.
A Christmas Story house