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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Digital Library on American Slavery

Richard Cox did a very interesting session on this resource, and I would urge all to take a look.  It's one of our most heavily used resources, around 300,000 hits per year, mostly by users outside of the University.  https://library.uncg.edu/slavery/  is the main website and the largest portion is the Race and Slavery Petitions Project - used heavily by African American (and other) genealogists and researchers on the history of slavery.  The online source is an index but we also have microfilm of the actual handwritten petitions (the title is Race, Slavery and Free Blacks)  - there's a guide in the Ref collection at E441 .R280 and the Film numbers are 5294 and 4939.  We are one of the few libraries in the country that owns the entire set - most locations have the records only for their own states.    It's a tricky set to use because you need to use the PAR number which is explained in depth in the print volumes,   Essentially, you must have the state and the year from the online index to find them easily. We do appear to have online access to these through Proquest's History Vault but for some reason it's not on the Database list.  

Catalog Stuff - East Coast WMS User Gathering

This week I had the chance to go to the WMS East Coast User Meeting with a few others from our library.

The location was beautiful. And there were several sessions on WorldCat Discovery Services! A few takeaways from my perspective:
  • Beta testing for WorldCat Discovery will officially end after the July update
  • FirstSearch is supposed to go away in December 2015
  • OCLC has not yet set a "sunset date" for WorldCat Local, so libraries aren't being forced to move from WorldCat Local to WorldCat Discovery.  OCLC still supports WorldCat Local but won’t be developing it.
  • Apparently we're not supposed to be abbreviating WorldCat Discovery Services to WCD, but to WDS.  I'll spell it out frequently in case you don't want another set of acronyms in your life.
Upcoming developments for WorldCat Discovery 
  • "Knowledge cards" will appear in a banner across the top of the list of results.  These are brief blurbs, for instance biographical info with links to our holdings by an author and about an author (scheduled for June)
  • WorldCat Discovery records should have suggested citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago style (scheduled for July) & fyi they're working on getting Discovery to work with Zotero (not sure when this will happen)
  • Call numbers will be added to the temporary "bookmarked" list in Discovery (scheduled for July)
  • Users will be given some sort of mechanism for moving lists saved in WorldCat Local accounts over to WorldCat Discovery (scheduled for July)
  • "Editions and formats" lists don't have the cue of your library name next to the edition you own, as WCL does.  That sort of cue will be added to Discovery (not sure when)
  • Emails from the system - Don't include a permalink back to the record so you can check availability and other info like you can with emails from WorldCat Local.  This will be added (not sure when)
  • Although some librarians continue to request a comprehensive results display, for instance brief info for a book followed by a list of all locally owned years/formats/copies, "in the short term" OCLC will continue to display only "representative sample" of what a library owns. OCLC will start displaying your most recent copy as the sample. Those catalog records won't be quite as appealing, for example after this change we'll see less cover art in the results list (not sure when).  OCLC is exploring other results display options.
Other things to expect in June
  1. A new Community Center
--One user forum that will replace the WCL and WMS User Support Centers - existing centers will be available through the end of this year
--Users can create profiles that are private or are visible to other customers who subscribe to the same OCLC products
--Posting an enhancement request in the Community Center will automatically: send an email to a member of the product development team, and post the request to the community center where other members can rate and comment on it
--The listservs will continue
  1. WorldShare Report Designer - Product that allows customers to create customized reports. Available as an add-on (extra subscription fee required)

I don't have details on some of the things listed here, but feel free to ask me directly if there's anything else that I've heard from OCLC or from other librarians. 

In case you'd like other perspectives from the meeting, Terry, Mary Jane, Cathy G., Marcie, and Darinlee attended. Most of them also presented!!

Remember, we do have a library staff guide to WorldCat Discovery: http://uncg.libguides.com/wcdstaff  

It has a search box pre-limited to UNCG holdings, a link to Terry's blog and more.

Thanks!
Lea


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

IASSIST Data Professionals Conference

I attended the IASSIST conference from June 1-June 5 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can read about a few sessions and the plenaries on my blog. The conference is popular for data-related topics and trends.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Zotero workshop this Thursday 5/7, 4-5:30 pm

Jump start your summer research with an introduction to Zotero, a free tool for saving and organizing your references.  Get a free Zotero account!  Create in text citations and bibliographies in MS Word!

This Thursday 5/7, 4-5:30 pm (last 30 minutes for extra questions and practice).  Please register through the UNCG workshops calendar: https://workshops.uncg.edu/workshops-by-category.jsp?cat_id=77000580


Friday, April 24, 2015

Kathy C's ACRL report

After a month I'm finally getting to this! It was a great conference and certainly a wonderful venue in Portland.  I'd never been there before and definitely want to go back purely for vacation.  I hadn't been to ACRL in many years either and I was glad to attend again.

ACRL is pretty overwhelming with many choices every hour which makes it hard to decide what to attend.  As Steve Cramer mentioned, it's heavy on information literacy and I usually find that we are certainly up to speed with our program here.  I found some sessions and posters on student employees very useful and would love to try out some ideas here -- look out supervisors!

I also went to some sessions on digital sources and incorporating them into the curriculum.  We have really ramped up our work in this area and, again, I got some good ideas.

I attended Steve & Lynda's presentation on our liaison reorganization and they did a super job!  I had the pleasure of presenting on our work with high impact practices and felt proud to showcase everyone's hard work in this area.

The final keynote by  Lawrence Lessig was inspirational.  He's know for his work with Creative Commons and open access but the broader theme was on the haves and have nots and he had many people in tears,  especially when talking about Aaron Swartz. 

On a personal note I had a wonderful reunion with a friend I hadn't seen in almost 30 years.  Where does the time go?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Librarians visit Welborn Academy

Post by Kathy Bradshaw.

On April 17, Gerald Holmes and I were guests at a career fair held at the Welborn Academy of Science and Technology in High Point to discuss librarianship as a career choice. Welborn Academy is a middle school. The students were curious about what we do as librarians (many of them didn't know about libraries other than school and public libraries) so were we able to share information about different kinds of libraries. Gerald talked about the teaching that academic librarians do, and told them about all the support librarians give to students. We were also able to tell the students about volunteer opportunities in libraries for students which would allow them to learn more about what libraries do, or as places to work as college students.

The students were excited to learn more about libraries (although we did have stiff competition from the Honda Jet 18 wheeler outside) and they even gave us thank you notes.


Here's a thank you note we received: