Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Texas Conference on Digital Libraries/Vireo Users Group, April 27-30, 2014

University of Texas at Austin

Place-based online data management for documenting the built environment

Josh Conrad, UT Austin

The fields of cultural resource management and historic preservation often have government agencies asking what buildings and other physical structures in a particular area are worth saving. They need to plan what needs preservation before they build new stuff.

Josh and his team go out into field and find built environment features, take pictures, and document with metadata. This data is all used to decide whether or not the building would be eligible for National Register of Historic Places. Places can be referenced by polygons on a map--usually known as "districts". But you also have features within places such as bridges. These can be connected to other features via lines.

Problem is how to represent this in a database. Josh tries to combine controlled vocabulary with free form notes. When you are out in the field, you often run into something that you haven't seen before
Local residents can provide a wealth of knowledge about unusual structures. Josh has been developing the Austin Historical Survey Wiki, a multi-layered approach to combining data contributed by experts with those contributed by the public. In addition to the wiki, his firm is developing a tablet-based web app that can allow everyone from professional historians to motivated neighbors to easily collect and view information, photos and scanned documents about the historic places in their area.

Using IR's to archive websites

Colleen Lyon and Katherine Miles, UT Austin

Many departments at UT want the library to archive blogs and twitter feeds in the DSpace IR.  Even though DSpace is not designed to archive complex items like websites, the library decided to give it a trial with a few trial departments. This project raised many interesting questions such as: what to capture in a website, how do you generate metadata, and how do you deal with the fact that websites, blogs, and feeds are constantly changing. DSpace and other IR platforms are designed for more static materials. 

It was a useful exercise, but it will not scale. They are taking raw files and uploading to DSpace and generate metadata. Very labor intensive and it loses the look and feel of a website. The tool ArchiveIt might work, but it is far too expensive to use on this scale. The library will continue to experiment with a small group of departments, but they find the prospect of continuing this daunting.

Vireo Users Group

David Reynolds and Stephanie Larrimer

I co-chair the Vireo Users Group along with Stephanie Larrimer of Texas State University. Vireo is the open-source electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) software that we use at Hopkins. The half-day session focused on the upcoming development cycle and how we would go about gathering a list of new features and prioritizing them. The software is used by both graduate schools and libraries for different reasons, so it is difficult finding a fair way to get both sides involved. While we had a list of prioritized features that was developed a couple of years ago, we decided to start over. Lots of new schools are using the software (JHU included) that did not participate in the previous round and others have had two additional years to figure out what is important. We will develop and prioritize the list this summer, and the first development sprint will start in August. The tech team will use an Agile project management approach in order to create useful updates more quickly and distribute them more often.

The other big discussion was about the connection of Vireo to ProQuest. We have been working with ProQuest to develop a method to export from Vireo and upload theses directly to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Only Texas A&M has done this so far, but they found it to be straightforward. JHU will wait until we have ETDs published in our repository this fall before doing the ProQuest upload. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Joint Maryland Library Association/Delaware Library Association Conference, May 7-9 2014, Ocean City, Maryland

Joint Maryland Library Association/Delaware Library Association Conference
May 7-9 2014
Ocean City, Maryland
Mark Cyzyk

One of the highlights of this conference for me was the poetry reading by Linda Pastan, former Poet Laureate of Maryland and current recipient of MLA's Maryland Author of the Year award, at the luncheon on Thursday. Pastan's poems, a selection featuring books and beaches, were stunningly beautiful and profound.

I presented at this conference: "Introducing Calibre and Sigil:  Two E-Book Software Packages."  It went well (I think!).

Notes below:

Wednesday, May 7
4:30 - 6:00 PM General Session: Garry Golden
"Designing a 21st Century Roadmap for the Future of Libraries"

Garry Golden: Futurist
Degreed in Future Studies
Libraries ideally poised to educate about online privacy.
Privacy data literacy
Micro-certifications.  "Badges."  Libraries supporting lifelong learning.  Broker of micro-credentials.
Badges from libraries.
Libraries helping with resumes, portfolios, online presence, technology skills building.
Word Gap, difference between families where infants/toddlers hear the most number of words in a given day and those where they hear the least.
Libraries, early childhood literacy.  Libraries can help close the Word Gap.
The Word Gap is thirty million words!
In house word monitoring -- crosses the Creepy Line!
What are the Creepy Lines that libraries might be asked to cross?
More change, lots of change.
Most of what public libraries do:  Will not go away.  Constants.
Disciplined/constrained organization --> Transformed
Placed-based experiences.
Building new libraries, SURGING.
Place matters.
Maker-Spaces, maker movement, DIY, 3D printing
Should libraries have these tools, make these tools available?
Cultivate a design-maker culture and talent pipeline
Creative aging environments
Age 55 is the peak of civic engagement.  Drops off after that.
20-somethings.  Public libraries do not have a good connection with them.  They fall into a gap between young adults and adults with kids.
How to gear collections toward them.  Events geared toward them.
Retooling local
Citizen science in the local environment.  "Project Noah"
Civicware, with open community data
Libraries as community data dashboard operators?
MOOCs for the public library audience, summer reading, parents and families, workforce training, etc.
Web as platform for behavior change, for getting better at things
SCORM, "Experience API"

[Lots of tablets and phablets.  I'm the only one here with a laptop/netbook/ultrabook!]

Thursday, May 8
9:00 - 10:00 What Do They Want, When Do They Want It: Increasing Circulation through Merchandizing and Collection Strategies
Sharon Laucher: Library Collections Coordinator, Frederick County Public Libraries

The book store model.  Dramatic circulation increase.  Displays.
The Power Wall.  Power aisles in retail shops
Power Wall of nonfiction books
Browseable items
Not tied to local library classification
BISAC -- Book Industry Standard and Communication classification system
"glades" "neighborhoods"
New items on top
Proven to increase circulation
Have a rotating seasonal section
Slat walls.  Versatile
Power bays
Lots of face-outs,  face-outs on bottoms shelves
Low tables on wheels
Stacking.  Small of stacked books with display book on top, face-out.  Patrons may take all
2-3 per stack,  by theme, by author
At least one easel or faceout on every shelf
Weeding will increase your circulation
Staggered displays on shelves.  Bring books to the edge
Fiction, multiple copies, stacking
Fiction in the BACK of the library.  The pull through your Power Aisles
"If you like [author], try [author]" posters.  Readers advisory tool
"Staff favorites"
Children's Discovery Wall -- can shelve nonfiction and fiction together based on themes
Magazines.  Promote Zinio.
Movies.  If you can do without a security system, do it.  Circulation goes up.
File non-fiction DVDs with non-fictions books.  Circulation goes up.
End panel displays
Entrance displays.  WOW factor.  Frequent change of stock on display tables.  The less signage, the better.  Let the books speak for themselves.
Impulse checkouts, at checkout station.
Renewals, allow more than 1
Carroll County allows TWENTY renewals

10:30 - 11:30 iPowered One-Shots: Tablets in Library Instruction
Kimberly Miller: Research and Instruction Librarian for Emerging Technologies, Towson University

Library instructional one shots
Library-based computer lab used for instruction.  Moveable white boards.
iPad cart.  30 iPads.  Only for use in instruction.  Locked cart.
Students and mobile devices.  Tablet ownership tripled 2011 to 2012
Tablet:  Swiss Army Knife of educational technologies
Learning must be tied to the properties of the learning device.  Otherwise, DISTRACTION ensues.
Survey of Towson librarians, Library Instruction Confidence levels.  High general levels of confidence.
Mostly "comfortable" using technologies in instruction.
BUT larger percentage feeling "uncomfortable" specifically using iPads in instruction.
Monthly teaching group.  Lesson repository.  iPads for Librarians program.
One-Shot case studies,  Calkins and Bowles-Terry [2013]; Julian [2013]
The technology promotes active learning, bolsters information literacy concepts
Activity example:  Concept mapping, live
Ability to hold instructional sessions in non-traditional settings.  Class held in the stacks.
Not tethered to the classroom.
Scavenger hunts
"Padlet" - Web app
"Go out to stacks and take a 'shelfy' of you and what you found.  Post it to your Padlet board."
Time constraints, theft, WIFI going down, battery life concerns.
Flash is a problem on Apple devices.
Some subscription databases simply do not work on iPads.

1:45 - 2:45 Everyone is a Designer
Elizabeth Eadie: Design Consultant at Wellmade Design; Senior Designer at Democratic National Committee

Decisions about how something looks, about how something functions
UX online:  Give users what they want.  Users first.
Resources, logistics, processes, policies
Place search functions high on the page
Put library hours right on front page -- get rid of button, get rid of extra Click
Show resources available now right on the homepage
Have good FAQ, have good error pages
Measure the experience
USE Google Analytics
Develop baseline data, what pages, what links are being clicked, how long they remain on the site see site in different browsers
Test for 508 compliance
Offline wayfinding in the library building, color coded
NC State live, electric Twitter feed on spiral screen in lobby!
Minimal color palettes
Parallax design:  Static background, moveable foreground
Web fonts include icons, use them
Blurred background images
Stripping out heavy content
Hamburger navigation.  Click the Hamburger Nav!
Kill the Slider
Right mix of content and design on social media
Info graphics
Countdown to milestones
Historical photos
Change cover photo on Facebook
She's showing lots of photos/screens from Johns Hopkins as examples!
Digital toolkit:
Editorial calendar, have one
Standards Guide, have one
Tone of Voice document
Focus on fewer things, do them better
Twitter -- Tweetdeck, Hootsuite management utilities
Each feed should have its own voice and standards guide
Share messages more than once
Cross-post content
Email marketing, probably not emailing enough
Make sure emails are mobile ready
Bring art into the email
Pinterest.  Some libraries using it.  NYPL, University of Louisville
Tumblr, historical photos.  Have a content strategy if using
Instagram, for promotion

3:30 - 4:30 Discovery Based Learning in Delaware Academic Libraries
Sarah Katz: Assistant Librarian, Referral and Instructional Services, University of Delaware
Michael Gutierrez: Associate Librarian, Reference and Instructional Services, University of Delaware
Paul Page: Instruction Librarian, Delaware Technical and Community College

Unassisted discovery learning:  Students left on their own.  Sink or swim
Enhanced discovery learning
If they discover it themselves, it will stick
Major problem:  Students have a wide range of pre-existing expertise in research methods, so expecting them to "discover" what you are trying to impart can be problematic.  Some will; some won't
Having faculty in the room for instruction sessions really "helps" students to focus.
Students want demonstrations, not lectures.  (But 3% DO want lectures.)
Maybe an intro session [via video?] and a discovery session?
***Guide on the Side: Open source, free.  To create online tutorials bolstering active learning.  Easy to use. To create interactive learning experiences.  From University of Arizona.
Install on server
Wilmington University using Guide on the Side in English 121 courses throughout their several Delaware campuses.
Complete quiz, get certificate.  Certificate emailed to professors, etc. 

Friday, May 9
9:30 - 10:30 Knowing Your Audience: User Centered Design Principles Applied to Library Websites
Ben Kutil: Owner, Make Things Studio; Adjunct Graphic Design Faculty, MICA

Human centered design process.  HUMANS
Focus on people.  Research, immersion in their world to understand them.  What do they do, how do they do it?
Sketches, prototypes, iterations
What do they want?
Unintended design.  Craigslist, was not purposely designed
Self design: Scratch own itch
Genius design: Use our own knowledge and experience, generalizing
Activity design: Address primary tasks rather than underlying needs
HCD's Downsides:  Heavy -- lots of time, resources, people, analysis involved.  Removes style: Sometimes the designer's style and sensibilities are lost.
Library centered design
Persona, representation of a site's target audience
Persona: name, motivations, needs, scenario
Paint a picture of who that person is
Multiple discrete personas -- stock images of faces.  Pick one for your persona -- stock names.  Pick one.  male/female, by geographic region
Tanya = Tanya the Teacher
Motivations:  "Tanya is researching material for a report" and wants to save her materials for later reference.  She wants to store them in related groups.
Scenarios:  Realistic scene, what the person brings to the Website, and how they interact
Personas:  Give life to a previously-generic population.
Google Analytics. Goal funnels, page flow diagrams
Surveys.  Qualaroo Insights -- widget, unobtrusive, place on problem page.  Survey Monkey, embedded into Website

10:40 - 11:40 Introducing Calibre and Sigil
Mark Cyzyk

"a [breathtaking] [achievement]"
"the presenter's obvious [expertise] was [astounding]"
"barely ... then ... severely [awesome!]"

Friday, April 18, 2014

Maryland Distance Learning Association Conference (MDLA)

I attended the Maryland Distance Learning Association Conference (MDLA) on March 6th.
This conference focuses on distance education trends and emerging technologies. It is a local conference held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum.
The Keynote speaker was Dr. David Wiley, “Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to increasing student success and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources by middle schools, high schools, community and state colleges, and universities.”
 He addressed open educational resources and the concept of whether “open” is really “open” and how it means different things to different people.  His definition included addressed copyright and what he called the 5R’s-retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. He suggested using Creative Commons resources because they lack the restrictions that most other “open” resources.  His conversation was very thought provoking and enlightening!
Other sessions I attended were: Gamification presented by Dr.Liliana Meneses-UMUC
Using Google Overdrive to enhance collaborative Group Projects-Paulette Comet, Michelle Clements-CCBC

Blind Men and the Elephant-Developing a Social Science Toolkit: Interdisciplinary Online Learning Tools for Undergraduates—UMUC

The Transition to No-Cost Electronic Resources: Lessons Learned University wide Initiative for No-Cost Resources for all UG & Grad Courses-Emily Medina, Thomas Bailey & Megan Wilson-UMUC

Feel free to contact me if you want to chat about any of the sessions I attended.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Computers In Libraries April 7-9, 2014 by Renee Hall

I’ve created this 6 minute video with audio walking you through some of the highlighted areas of my notes here:

Some recurring themes/highlights:

• Libraries should start operating and thinking like a start-up. Several presenters recommended to read: The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries o Build>Measure>Learn process

• Use an online card sort to see how our users would categorize our services, then make changes based on that

• Theme of getting to the non-library users

Please email me if you'd like a copy of my 10-page typed notes from the many, many interesting talks I attended.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

DLF Forum November 2013

Following are summaries of the sessions I attended at the recent DLF Forum, including links to community Googledocs and abstracts for the papers. Videos of some of sessions are available here:

Opening Keynote by David Lankes 

David focused his talk around the idea of the ‘mortal in the portal’. He addressed the common sense notion that ‘libraries are good and necessary things’ and unpacked this notion throughout his talk. He emphasized that when we say ‘libraries’, we really mean ‘librarians’ and that it is in fact rather odd to think about a building or an institution as doing something when in fact it is the inhabitants who are providing services and maintaining the function of an institution. He advocated that a professional service is more than just a series of functions and that the provider is an essential part of the service.

At the heart of his message was the idea that librarians have a mission to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. Being a librarian is more than helping people get to stuff, as this ‘stuff’ can take a variety of formats including conversations, arguments and training, and is not just books on shelves or websites. Further, training people and imparting knowledge is not just about how to use the library’s facilities, but teaching the norms of scholarly communication.

Turning from the first half of the sentence ‘libraries are good and necessary things’ to the second, he unpacked why libraries [librarians] can be considered good and necessary things. He questioned who gets the benefit and why. In his opinion the word ‘information’ means nothing – he prefers talking about knowledge since this is fundamentally a human phenomenon and refers to what’s in people’s heads. Libraries [librarians] are helping people to do something that they couldn’t do before.

In essence ‘libraries are good and necessary things’ under David’s examination mutates into ‘librarians improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities’, or, put more simply ‘librarians make the world a better place’. One of the themes that ran alongside this unpacking of the initial thesis of the speech was the idea that we need to stop worrying about saving libraries and to concern ourselves, instead, with responding to the needs and dynamics of the community in which the library is immersed.

He gave the whole talk via Skype as he was at home recovering from chemo – what a fab dude!

Digital collections: if you build them, will anyone visit? 

In addition to being an excuse for a picture of Kevin Costner, this session looked at how visible digital collections of newspapers are in online searches. The choice to look at newspapers was on account of them being particularly highly used, and therefore you would expect them to have high visibility in a Google search or similar. However, this is rarely the case. This was because, to quote the speakers, sites for digitized content often “suck”. 89% of college students start their research with Google rather than the library website, and are, therefore, in danger of missing resources. The session discussed how digital collections might be marketed more effectively and it was suggested that too much focus and money went on content and not enough on publicity, presentation and SEO. There are some further details in the community Googledoc.

Metadata First: Using Structured Data Markup and the Google Custom Search API to Outsource Your Digital Collection Search Index 

Community notes googledoc: same as previous googledoc link – the notes follow straight on from the Digital Collections discussion, and has links to the slides, a demo and a download.

This talk was about creating indexable content and how library resources need to be discoverable in other venues and systems (the community notes contain a link to a video of Lorcan Dempsey talking about this). They noted that while Solr and Blacklight were flexible, faceted and had stable URLs, the development time was often prohibitive. It was suggested that Google Custom Search might be an alternative as it was already optimized for web search. One commentor noted that making a site more accessible for users with disabilities would improve visability to search engines. There are further notes and links in the community document.

Hunting for Best Practices in Digital Library Assessment

This was a workshop session. It focused on the problem that while research and cultural heritage institutions are creating more and more digital resources, the funding for such institutions is being eroded. As such, we need to hone our skills in being able to measure the value and impact of these resources.

After breaking out into groups with different members of the team presenting, we discussed what the challenges are in assessing digital libraries. There are a large amount of community notes available on the googledoc above, summarizing the thought from the various groups. However, one point that I felt was particularly important was the suggestion that assessment criteria can’t be an afterthought – they need to be built into a digital resource from the outset. That is, we need in creating any kind of web-based collection to determine from the outset what success would look like and how we might measure it (this is often a requirement of grant agencies). This was a huge topic and the conveners decided that we should continue the discussion, so I’ve signed up to the mailing list.

Big Archival Data: Designing Workflows and Access to Large-Scale Digitized Collections 

There was a very cool musicological section to this presentation. Tanya Clement discussed the need to think about how researchers will use digitized audio. This is very broad and can include things like psychoacoustics (understanding what sounds mean to people) and creating spectrograms to analyze audio files visually. In the latter case spectrograms can be used to show the machine what is meaningful to you to search for. In one example she took a particular clip from a sound file and asked the computer to look for things that were spectrographically similar. This method turned up a bunch of examples that initially seemed to be useless, however, they later discovered that although the computer had found clips that contained different words and speakers, it transpired that the speakers had the same accent and came from the same area. There were also examples of how a person speaking two different languages appeared spectrographically and how the computer could find the moments where the speaker changed language. These methods can also be used to look at how different speakers have approached the same content (combined with psychoacoustics this could have all sorts of implications for giving speeches, advertising, drama…).

Pathways to Stimulating Experiential Learning and Technological Innovation in Academic Libraries

This presentation had some very nice examples from three institutions about how students were being used to hack apps and gadgets for their libraries.  They made their experiential learning programs a regular part of library life, and fought to maintain the budget for this when it was under threat. Students gained an insight into library workflows and policies, but at the same time were able to bring their experience as users to the planning table. In most cases the structure of the students’ working teams was non-hierarchical and seemed to allow for some dynamic and creative brainstorming. The library benefitted from a regular turnover of enthusiastic students working for them and giving their perspective, while the students gained a lot of skills for the workplace (in one example, the library provided a form the students could fill in with work they had undertaken and what skills this developed listed – apparently the students found this very helpful for designing their CVs and explaining the usefulness of their experience in job interviews).

Determining Assessment Strategies for Digital Libraries and Institutional Repositories Using Statistics and Altmetrics

This session had some similarities with the session on the previous day that discussed assessment in digital libraries, although this one focused specifically on metrics. It also had a workshop element and I joined the group discussing qualitative vs quantitative metrics. The questions we discussed have been summarized here:

Influence of Academic Rank on Faculty Members’ Attitudes Toward Research Data Management

Presented by Katherine Akers, a current CLIR fellow in her second year. Katherine examined the ways in which humanities faculty differ from members of other faculties in their approach to data curation, and how different ranks within academia also differ within the humanities – see the community notes above for the questions she asked and the responses she collated. As a result of her findings, Katherine suggested some ways in which libraries can better support humanities faculty and how. For example, non-tenure staff tend to desire more outreach and training than senior faculty, while humanities academics in general need better cloud storage since they tend to travel more and some university systems can be very off-putting, slow, or difficult to use. All ranks expressed a desire for more digitized materials to be made available and easily accessible. See the community notes for more of her suggestions and results.

Humanities Data Curation in the Library: The Preservation of Digital Humanities Research Now and To Come

Harriet Green explored 3 case studies that she felt represented three tiers of data curation. The first was the Walt Whitman archive, which she classified as ‘basic’ – it has xml, html, image and recording files stored on optical discs with some basic backup of older iterations; they are beginning to work with university archives. The second project representing the mid-tier was the Victorian Women Writers project, which, in addition to xml files of texts, has annotations and biographical summaries, html files workflow with a fedora repository for storage and another one for creating and editing files [better detail on this is available in the community googledoc]. It was suggested that this project needed more staff to be sustainable. The third example was the Valley of the Shadow and represented a high-level of data curation. As well as having the kind of scope of the VWW project, this online resource had extensive documentation regarding its structure/workflows/programs used etc. The subject librarians were part of the project and costs for the project at each point were clearly calculated and known by both the library staff and faculty.

Based on her analysis of these three projects, Harriet recommended some principles for best practice and suggested that the UVa Sustaining Digital Scholarship was very useful as it identified criteria for defining levels of curation. She also suggested that libraries needed to provide further education and training on digital project curation, and that they needed an evaluation rubric and long term planning.

Her bibliography is available here:

Services for Research Data and Open Access: Strategies and Toolkits Being Implemented at Virginia Tech, the University of California, and Duke

This was a discussion of OA policies. UC recently moved to a policy of required deposit from which people have to choose to opt out (rather than choosing to opt in). One part that interested me was how they were attempting to make it easier for faculty to use their repositories – often in response to complaints from faculty about overly long and confusing deposit forms. This prompted UC to create a new interface which simplified the process (for example if an article has not yet been published, by clicking on that option the request for publication details like ISBNs and issue numbers are removed from the interface). Also they are refining their data harvesting tools in order to make the process simpler. The harvesting program goes and hunts down articles and collects all the metadata, it then adds these articles to a staff member’s profile but in a pending status. The staff member, when they log on to their repository profile can then just click a box to accept the article with its metadata if it is correct (they can adjust this if needs be). The article can be uploaded through a drag and drop mechanism. Alongside making the process easier for staff education and outreach was needed from the office of scholarly communication to dispel the enduring myths of OA! Generally they have found that publishers have not put up resistance to the green OA offered by institutional repositories.

Closing Keynote by Char Booth

In some ways Char challenged (respectfully and graciously) some of David’s remarks in the opening keynote. She felt that libraries do need saving, and in many respects have always needed saving.

She expressed concern that those who are creating tools and those who are disseminating the tools don’t continue communicate with each other, and we need to maintain this dialogue in order for our tools and for our libraries to be a success.

The idea that libraries don’t need saving is an important point for those in the grassroots who are dealing with budgets. Also for students whose local libraries have been closed down, their first experience of libraries and librarians is at university level – this makes our interaction with them and presentation of the institution to them a crucial thing. Furthermore, Char argued that we represent something that is fragile because our not-for-profit, OA ideals do not chime with those of publishers and other for-profit organizations. She believes we are an activist profession.

Char discussed the notion of information privilege. She feels that we need to confront the ‘dark side’ of information privilege, whereby society’s divides are exacerbated by access not being universal. She also looked at  what motivates us to do what we do, and to think about our narratives. There are narratives about libraries which are extremely negative – she mentions a techcrunch article, which asks why libraries are needed when you can just download things to your ipad (see above re ‘dark side’ of information privilege), and ‘libraries in crisis’on Huffington Post.

In essence we need to work together and be involved in the process all along the way. So: we need to create great tools and resources, but then we need to communicate with those who disseminate and those who use them (which, from my perspective, is part of the mission of a CLIR fellow), and also those who unexpectedly come across our tools and resources. We need to follow through on the impact of those tools and understand when and how and if they are being used. She notes that making online resources disability friendly is a good way of ensuring more general good practice in websites and other resources (this point came up in some of the other sessions).

There’s lots more I could say, but the whole speech is online, and she says it better than I do, so do take a look, it will be an hour well spent.

Friday, August 9, 2013

ASERL Summertime Summit

This was a one day event, titled Liaison Roles in Open Access & Data Management: Equal Parts Inspiration & Perspiration.
Our own Sayeed Choudhury was the keynote speaker. His talk, Open Access & Data Management are Do-Able Through Partnerships was very good. What stuck in my mind was the point he made about data becoming an economic driver. The traditional three economic drivers are land, labor, and capital. Data has been added as a fourth driver.
During Marketing Open Access Services & Tools to Faculty, Sean Lind, Georgia State University, made the point that mass marketing of open access services and tools to faculty does not work. He has found that one-on-one conversations, small workshops, working with campus research offices to contact faculty works better than campus-wide announcements and email blasts.
During Library Staffing/Responsibility Models for Data Management and Open Access, Kathy Crowe, UNC Greensboro, talked about how they re-evaluated the roles of their liaison librarians. They decided to change their approach to collection development to allow the liaisons for more time to learn about and promote OA and data services. She also pointed out that the people directly responsible for OA and Data services need to accompany liaison librarians for specific conversations, since the liaisons still didn't feel comfortable discussing specific situations, even after training.
Lorraine Harricombe, Dean University of Kansas Library, gave the closing address, Embracing Change = Empowering Scholarship.She urged us to get out and advocate OA. But she also warned that OA mandates, where faculty agree to make their journal articles open, take a lot of time and must come from the faculty themselves. Her other point, in this time of continual change, is this: It is not acceptable to say "I don't know anything about this."

If any of you has a chance to attend an ASERL event, I highly recommend it. The people I talked with were interesting, knowledgeable, and fun.

Robin N Sinn

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Institute

I recently participated in the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Institute. EDUCAUSE is an organization for folks in IT in higher education, so of the 60 or so participants I was one of three librarians.

While the examples used to illustrate points were related to learning and information technologies, the Institute as a whole focused on leadership. It ran pretty much non-stop from Monday noon to Friday noon. During the day we attended lecture/workshops that ran between 30 minutes to 2 hours. In the evening we worked on a small group project (8-9 people). The group chose/developed a made up institution and scenario where your group was responsible for pitching the implementation of a new learning technology to university administration. I'd be happy to discuss the format further if you have questions just let me know.

Overall, I felt this was a great learning opportunity that provide both immediate takeaways and lessons that will require lots of reflection and practice in the coming months/years. Some immediate takeaways on effective presentations were:
  • It will be boring unless you take active steps to avoid causing boredom
  • You must do something emotionally relevant every 10 minutes or you will lose them
  • PowerPoint is not evil, it has cognitive style that you have to resist
  • Stop the bullets, lists are not interesting, we don’t pay attention to boring stuff
  • Present your ideas in visual ways (more compelling and will stay with them)
  • Slides and presentation should be complimentary, slides should be useless without you
  • Educate your voice: conversational, amount of relaxation, contributing to the effectiveness
It stipulates that everyone can and should take part in leadership. Instead of the traditional model where everyone falls behind one larger than life leader, leaderful practice teaches a new path to effective leadership where a successful leader builds a team of concurrent, collective, collaborative and compassionate leaders all working together towards a common goal. These tenets are known as the Four Cs:
  • First, the idea of concurrency stipulates that there can be more than one leader and that by willingly sharing power multiple leaders inspire teams to work together thus increasing organizational effectiveness.
  • Second, leaderful practice is also collective. Since an organization can have multiple leaders, no one person is solely responsible for mobilizing others and decision making. The work is shared and ultimately more is accomplished.
  • Third, collaborative leaders encourage open dialog where everyone feels they can contribute and is equally sensitive to the opinions of others. Strength in numbers occurs when everyone sees their role contributing to the co-creation of an organization.
  • Lastly, leaderful practice requires compassion. Compassionate leaders value every member of the team because of, not in spite of, their diverse backgrounds and levels of experience. All opinions are solicited and those that differ from the current thought process are encouraged
It was an intense and valuable week. Again, let me know if you would like to hear more. ~Carrie