Thursday, March 19, 2015

Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference

This year's annual meeting for the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) was held on March 11-13 in Greenville, North Carolina.   Archivists from across the state gathered to hear presentations on the theme "Removing Barriers: Diversity and Outreach in Action."

UNCG was well represented among the presenters at the conference, including presentations by Stacey Krim, David Gwynn, Jada Jones (LIS student) and me.  On Thursday afternoon, I presented on the Diverse Approaches to Collection Development panel.  My talk, "Where are all the donors? In-reach and outreach as a means of building and growing collections at UNCG," focused on my efforts to increase collecting of creative writing collections, neighborhood organizational records, and women's organization organizational records.

At the plenary session, Wesley Hogan, Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, delivered a presentation entitled "Framing Stories from the Inside-Out: Piloting a Fresh Approach to Collaborating with Groups on the Margin."  She discusses her work with SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and how she and her colleagues at Duke were able to bring members from this group together to tell their history through the website One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights.  Wesley also talked about the challenges in fostering collaboration between Duke and SNCC; ownership of the materials being a deal-breaker for earlier talks of a project between the groups.  If successful, the collaboration methods used during this project could become a model for future collaborations with underrepresented groups.

Other highlights from the presentations included "Outreach With a Purpose" from Tom Flynn, Winston-Salem State University Archivist.  His efforts to increase the holdings of the archive through the capture of micro oral histories are unique and effective.    Pam Mitchem from Appalachian State University gave a lightning round presentation on experimenting with treatment methods for mold and insects.  They used CO2 fire extinguishers to quickly kill insects in infected collections before bringing them to the archives for processing.

The conference included the annual business meeting, which was presided over by SNCA President Kathelene Smith.  Sean Mulligan gave a rousing treasurer's report and I, as Nominating Committee Chair, presented the slate of candidates for next year's SNCA executive board.

Overall, a busy and informative conference.  Looking forward to meeting next year in Charlotte.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Empirical Librarians Symposium

A few of us recently attended the first Empirical Librarians Symposium hosted at NC A&T. If interested, you can read my notes and thoughts on my blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Meeting

From Rosann:

CNI Fall Membership Meeting 2014, Washington, DC—Notes and Musings

Clifford Lynch says that digital scholarship centers seem to be on the minds of many CNI members. They will likely hold a pre CNI spring membership meeting session for those libraries who are investigating the development of these centers. 

Clifford Lynch says his next big question is how to get a handle on how we are providing access to and archiving cultural heritage.  He claims this is a very big issue and area of concern.

Lynch recommended that everyone should read OCLC’s “Evolving Scholarly Record” report.

Ex Libris (Christine Stohn) said they will have automated holdings updates in 2015. 

Marshall Breeding:   Libraries and vendors need to collaborate to shift everything to comprehensive secure page delivery.  There needs to be a defined audit methodology for assessing the privacy and security of library technical infrastructure. 

Eric Hellman (Gluejar): Remove tracking systems from library websites. NYPL was able to do that after a visit from Eric Hellman to their library. With current tracking systems, it can be determined the books our students and faculty are reading, their friends, geodata, websites visited, purchased data –from advertiser networks who are picking up books that students have searched and/or checked out from our library catalogs. One easy fix:  change your library catalogs to https.  Install “ghostery” to see what information is being tracked. 

Northwestern University (Geoffrey Swindells):  He is their new User Experience Department Head.  The department is made up of the following units:  Assessment, Outreach and Learning Services, Undergraduate Services and User spaces, Web and Mobile Services.

Ohio State University (Beth Warner): She is their AD for Information Technology. Their IT division has been restructured. It contains:  Infrastructure (7 staff), Applications Development and Support (8 staff), Digital Initiatives (1 staff).  They moved servers and storage from central IT back to the library. They wrote “Guiding Principles” and “Digital Preservation Policy Framework” documents.

Wake Forest University (Chelcie Rowell): She is their Digital Initiatives Librarian. They have created three tiers of service for faculty digital project proposals:  Provision-Customization-Creation.

Berkeley, Bancroft Library (Mary Elings): She is their Head of Digital Collections.  They did a Hackathon –humanities focus, included students, explore APIs to expose digital archives, develop new infrastructure for digital archives site, selected on collection for the Hackathon, included mentors and coding support, prizes were awarded, offered work spaces in the library, students did final presentations. 

University of Iowa (Tom Keegan): He is their Head of Digital Research and Publishing.  He developed “IDEAL”. Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning. One project used WWII letters – worked with students – their project was to transcribe the content.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Access Services Conference in Atlanta

November 13-14, 2014, I attended the Access Services Conference: Unlocking the 21st Century Library at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta.  This annual conference is organized by staff from libraries in Georgia. The attendees are mainly Access Services staff from academic libraries in the US with a spattering of public and international attendees.

Trevor A. Dawes, 2013-14 President of ACRL, was the key note speaker and addressed the future of Access Services.  With trends shifting more and more towards electronic products and library as place, he advocated rethinking the roles of librarians and used the University of Kansas Libraries User-Focused Organization Structure and the 2CUL partnership between Columbia and Cornell as examples of structures providing new roles for librarians. Skills he discussed as being needed for future success in the profession include project management, assessment, communication and marketing, instructional design, digital information management, data analytics and visualization, and programming.

I attended sessions on participatory management, customer service, emergency preparedness, staff orientation, open educational resources, marketing library services, developing a space plan, floating collections, and patron driven access services.  Ideas gained from these sessions to consider here include:
  •  Keeping lists of everything to which we say no and using them to reconsider services and policies.
  • Circulating patron comfort items things like umbrellas and blankets.
  • Giving out earplugs to use while studying.
  • Providing document delivery for undergraduates.
  • Having a "print for free" day each semester.
  • Having bullhorns available to use in emergency situations and power outage.
  • When planning department orientations, ask the audience to describe what the department providing the orientation does, how they have interacted with the department in the past, and what questions they have. Then ask the staff in the department providing the orientation to explain the department as if they were explaining it to their mothers, to explain how the department interacts with other departments, and to discuss what the department staff wishes people outside of the department knew about them.
  • Expanding library staff orientation to areas outside of the library…to the TRC, MRC, and EUC for example. 
  • Providing technology equipment petting zoos for library staff and student employees.
  • Providing “table share” signs that patrons can use to designate whether they are open to sharing tables with others.
  • Having a space usage agreement form for outside groups wanting to use library space for promotions or events.  The form should outline policies and serve as an empowerment tool for staff in explaining why certain spaces are not appropriate for some activities. 

The session I attended on patron driven access services was provided by staff at the University of Michigan library where napping stations were provided during exams recently.  The library will not be offering them again as it turns out that the building is not designated for sleeping according to the campus fire and safety inspector. Instead the stations will be offered in a properly designated building, and the library is considering a relaxation zone where students can kick back and play with no studying allowed.