dance research – now an article and a presentation!

I’ll be wrapping up my research on the information needs of dance faculty this year! I first wrote about it when I transcribed the interviews and developed a resource list – organizations, journals, websites, and tools that were mentioned by at least one dance faculty.

The article has been accepted for publication in College & Research Libraries, an open access, peer-reviewed publication. A pre-print of the article is available on the site.

I’ll also be presenting my research and recommendations at ALA Annual in Orlando. It looks like the ACRL Arts session will be Saturday, June 25 at 10:30am, but not confirmed. Stay tuned for more!

DLF Forum 2015

The DLF Forum conference was so much of a whirlwind that I didn’t quite keep up. But I did come away with an enormous reading and learning list. Here are some highlights as I ran between sessions over two days.

Seriously. These were the best (pre-conference and main) keynotes I’ve ever heard at any library conference. A few must-reads I caught from Safiya Noble’s talk are The Relevance of AlgorithmsDo Artifacts Have Politics? (pdf), Google is a Significant Threat to Democracy and Must be Regulated, and Shaping the Web: Why the Politics of Search Engines Matter (pdf).

I also ended up in an improv class (yes, really, thanks DLF!) where we used improv techniques to raise issues within digital scholarship. It was refreshing and enlightening, a wonderful way to have “a-ha” moments.

My Monday afternoon was a bit scattered as I prepared for the poster session. I presented on our digital project The Expanding Archive: Denison LGBTQ Past/Present/Future.


I had really nice support and folks were very impressed with the initiative and development of the project.

I did tune in and out of other sessions and learned about the Grateful Dead Archive Online that is using Omeka. I also discovered Cornell’s Hip Hop Flyer Collection and (mega OMG) Project Mirador working off IIIF (yet another acronym I learned).

A fantastic project from UNC is Multimodal Librarians, “librarians connecting technology to teaching and learning.” Subject liaisons like myself need this cross-training and support!

There is also some beautiful student work from Haverford including Permanent Spread from Ebony Magazine (a critical analysis of an article presented in Neatline) and Testimonies in Art and Action (in Omeka).

There is a tremendous project out of the University of Virginia called Take Back the Archive which preserves and contexualizes rape and sexual assault on campus. This project also introduced me to Feminism and the Future of Library Discovery. Another feminist-strong collection is College Women from the Seven Sisters schools.

Though I am not a digital librarian – I may work on digital projects but it is not what I am trained to do nor have ample support for – I learned so much from the collaborative and community-based projects shared at DLF.

DLF Forum 2015: Liberal Arts Preconference

Yesterday’s DLF Forum’s Liberal Arts Preconference was terrific, start to finish. There was food, community note-taking for sessions, and plenty of tweets to stay critically engaged throughout the day (despite the freezing temperatures in Salon A). Here’s my recap.

Interestingly the keynote was given by two folks not at liberal arts institutions, Chris Bourg, Ph.D. and Director of Libraries at MIT, and Cecily Walker, Assistant Manager for Community Digital Initiatives & eLearning at Vancouver Public Library. Their talk, Digital Library Matters, reminded us that the Digital in these initiatives we are are undertaking are actually about people – about communities and events and identities, individual and collective, that Matter. It was important to start a digital scholarship conference by immediately reflecting on the community, the community that the scholarship is about or for and the community that is doing the work to provide access to that scholarship. It set the tone for the rest of the day.

The first session I attended was The Professional is Personal: Reflections on Personal Digital Archiving Day in Four Liberal Arts Colleges. I hadn’t heard of this initiative that the Library of Congress so throughly documented for organizing your own Personal Archiving Day and was impressed with the success the speakers had at their own institutions. The speakers discussed workshops that were targeted to faculty and students. I really like the idea of working with student groups and in the classroom to educate students about how to curate and preserve their scholarship, regardless of format.

In the arts, more and more practitioners are wanting to both preserve their creative process (not just output) and more and more practitioners want access to other practitioners’ creative process. This may be a toolkit I could introduce to artists and designers. I am also interested in discussing these practices with students. Faculty may be given resources and support for preservation, but students frequently are not. This suggests we don’t value their work when often it’s some of the most innovative and transformational.

With students on my mind I next attended Beyond Grunt Work: Putting Students at the Center of Digital Scholarship. I think I’ve done ok with this for the digital project in which I’m involved and I wanted to hear what others were doing. I learned that some schools are going directly to the students. At Haverford, they have a digital fellowship program where students initiate, plan, and execute a digital project. An example is The Cope Evans Project. Sure, the projects are limited in scope and less ambitious, but perhaps this is more sustainable? And, in the long run, more valuable to both the students?

After lunch (where I met colleagues I’ll be seeing again at the Bucknell Digital Scholarship conference in a few weeks!), I listened to Barbara Rockenbach (and see tweet above) discuss the Studio@Butler in the libraries at Columbia. Rockenbach calls this space “a collaboratory for educators, scholars, and librarians.” No matter how many times autocorrect tried to change “collaboratory” I am completely smitten and will use it in conversation, regardless if relevant to the topic at hand. She also said, ahem, THIS IS NOT WORK FOR FACULTY, THIS IS WORK WITH FACULTY (screaming emphasis mine). I love that the Studio is about bringing people together, not technology. This echoes everything this conference has been about so far.

The next session had two presentations, Beyond a Cabinet of Digital Curiosities and Collaborating Liberally, Creating Critically. Both were about student digital projects in the classroom. Whitman College is using Omeka as a platform for students to engage with primary sources. At Smith College, students chose the appropriate platform to develop “tours” or guides to their scholarship question. The work the students did was phenomenal and critically engaging. As part of this conversation, Brendan O’Connell brought up Smith’s Design Thinking and the Liberal Arts framework that just melted my heart. This school is going to continue to be a leader in Liberal Arts DH!

Speaking of leaders, the day wrapped up with an interactive session, Lead, Follow, or Listen. A set of questions about when and how liberal arts colleges can (should) participate in DH were presented to both panelists and the audience. The comments were provocative, especially Kevin Butterfield who dubbed himself the “non cranky library director” on the panel.

It was great to end the day with renewed energy and motivation. Looking forward to the main conference today and tomorrow!


alao’s collection management workshop

This month I attend the Academic Library Association of Ohio Collection Management Interest Group’s day-long workshop in Columbus. I was impressed with the variety of presentations; all were useful and engaging.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.10.13 PMI was introduced to Weeding Helper, created by reference librarian Ken Irwin at Wittenberg University. This is a web-based tool that can help with collection management including weeding and assessment. You create an item list and upload this to Weeding Helper. The program creates an editable spreadsheet which includes the usual suspects like title, subject heading, and call number, but it also includes the number of copies in OhioLink (most helpful for us Ohio librarians!) and fields like “best book” (a don’t-discard-regardless-of-circ) and condition. The final column is the “fate” of the item – keep or no. Weeding Helper also analyzes your collection. It can show you the age of a collection, usage by title, and recency of circulation.

Kristin Cole at Muskingum University has been using Weeding Helper for many years. Tasked with reducing their overall collection by tens of thousands of items, she found the program to help her make quick decisions and share collections with faculty for input on an item’s “fate.” She is now using it to help her assess a large donation so she can determine which items to accept.

Librarians at the University of Toledo shared an incredible rubric they developed for assessing electronic resources. By using a rubric “qualitative assessments become quantitative scores” and evaluation is less subjective. Electronic resources are scored 1-3 on relevance, authority, uniqueness, user experience, usage, and value. For example, for authority a low score includes “publisher has poor reputation” and “few or no cited references” while a high score includes “publisher is a leader in the field” and “appears on core disciplinary lists.” Scores are assigned based on the extend to which it matches characteristics of a score, not that it matches all characteristics. This rubric not only helps them make decisions about keeping a resource or negotiating its price, but also helps in talking with faculty about why a resource may not be purchased or renewed.

Finally, Hannah Levy from Case Western Reserve University and Jessica Hagman from Ohio University shared ideas for promoting library resources and services. One great idea is an end-of-semester survival guide for students. This can be an online resource that’s promoted through email and flyers. The guide has information like exam hours, quiet spaces in the library for studying, and any events sponsored by the library. Another idea is an e-newsletter, one for students and one for faculty, on “5 Things You Should Know.” This is something that can easily be updated each semester or year. Hannah shared Case Western’s annual report, which is incredible (she’s also their Marketing and Communications Officer with a background in design, so that helps). Jessica has students help her maintain active Facebook and Twitter accounts.

It was a day well-spent with old friends and new. I came away with a lot of great ideas.

moving the needle: advancing the profession through publishing

For this year’s ARLIS/NA conference I asked a group of terrific editors and writers to talk about publishing. I moderated the entire session, Moving the Needle: Advancing the Profession through Publishing.

First we had an excellent paper from Eric Wolf who talked about scholarly publishing outside librarianship. He encouraged us to use our subject expertise (many of us in art librarianship have a second masters) and to write within that field. This is something I have been considering for a few months now – pursuing my interests in outsider art, tattooing, and other “low brow” art forms. Hearing Eric talk about the benefits and seeing his enthusiasm for writing outside information science has convinced me to move in this direction.

The lightning talks I arranged were also a success. In about an hour, seven speakers presented on a range of topics about writing and publishing. Three editors from ARLIS/NA discussed writing for them – Hannah Bennett represented the editors of ARLIS/NA Media & Technology Reviews, Terrie Wilson talked as a co-editor of ARLIS/NA book reviews, and Judy Dyki encouraged us to write for the scholarly journal Art Documentation. I have written book reviews for Terrie; she is great to work with and it was my first foray into writing in librarianship. I published my first peer-reviewed article in Art Documentation. Judy was very encouraging and considerate as an editor.

These three were followed by Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet who shared her experiences writing as a MLIS student and being a consulting editor for the great blog Hack Library School. I have been impressed by the work she’s done as a student! Then Laurel Bliss talked about publishing in relation to tenure for academic librarians. Laurel is an accomplished writer and had great ideas on making writing “easier” for the beginner.

Patrick Tomlin had an informative presentation on online scholarly profiles. He introduced us to many online tools like ORCID. Wrapping up the session was a presentation by Alex Watkins on open access publishing. Another accomplished writer, Alex discussed why open access matters and how authors can ensure their work is freely available.

I created a Zotero bibliography, Writing Opportunities in Art Librarianship, for the session. I linked to all the resources shared by the panelists and included some of my own recommendations. This proved to be worth my time as it was viewed by many ARLIS/NA participants over the course of the conference!

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Thanks to all the session speakers and attendees for making Moving the Needle a success! See you all in Seattle!

alao instruction interest group workshop, part 2

Michelle Millet’s presentation was our morning exercise. In the afternoon we had presentations on one-shot instruction and I’ll highlight two.

Vera Lux presented on multiple literacies in library instruction. She mentioned visual, digital, media, data, and meta literacies and mentioned that they began with a need to address subject-specific (discipline) literacies. All of these literacies, including the new standards from ACRL, include elements about finding, interpreting, evaluating, using, and creating.

Vera then detailed two instruction activities. In one, she gives students popular articles of studies on science research. The students use the popular article to find the original study discussed in the popular article. They then do a visual analysis of both articles – just on visual facts, get the gist of the article (popular versus original scholarly). Students also find what the popular article is saying about the science research and then find the discussion component of the scholarly article to compare the two articles Did the popular article do justice to the original study? I think this could work well for the CRAP test (currency, reliability, authority, and purpose) and teaches them to maximize their research time.

In her second example of multiple literacy instruction, Vera tells students “You used this photograph of a track & field athlete crossing the finish line in a web project. You just learned that it would be unethical and likely even illegal to use the image without permission if it is copyrighted. You don’t remember how you found the image and the project is due tomorrow.”

Students then find the image (need to determine keywords from image) and trace it back to original source to see if they can use it. If it’s copyrighted, they need to find a suitable replacement that is ok to use (i.e.: athletes crossing finish line – winning, victory, successful – find one with similar idea but no sports). This makes students think about ethics and copyright as well as use images meaningfully.

Melissa Bauer talked about using problem-based learning (PBL) in the one shot session. Problem-based learning is a constructivist approach. This means that knowledge isn’t something that can be given. Rather, students need to actively discover knowledge and reflect on it, constructing knowledge from one’s own experiences. It is student centered and inquiry based; the problem drives the learning/solution.

Melissa sets up a problem based on student learning outcomes for the class, either from real world current events or course content. This way it is relevant to the student. In developing the problem, Melissa must make it authentic, collaborative (comprehensive – takes time to answer; controversial problem makes them choose sides), and reflective (resources support solution).

She has students work in small groups with a limited amount of time to accomplish solution. She breaks up the typical one-shot 50 minutes:

5 minutes – review and analyze

10 minutes – librarian instruction

25 minutes – find & evaluate

10 minutes – class debriefing

The librarian’s role in problem-based learning is as facilitator, guiding students through the learning process, asking probing questions, limiting direct instruction, and coaching students.

PBL makes the connection between search terms, resources, and quality of information because students are finding and applying information in a short amount of time.

emerging roles for academic librarians

I finally had a moment to listen to the archive of ACRL Art’s Virtual Midwinter Meeting. I was particularly interested in Joe Clark’s presentation about the Emerging Roles for Academic Librarians. He mentioned that we are moving away from collection-center service to an engagement-centered one. As this happens, the role of subject specialists and reference librarians is changing. This correlates with the recent publication from ARL New Roles for New Times: Transforming Liaison Roles in Research Libraries.

One of the virtual places he pointed us toward is the University of Illinois’ Subject Specialist Task Force Report. At first glance, these tasks seem obvious for a subject liaison. However, there are responsibilities creeping in to the role: such as creating exhibitions, “serve as a resource for scholarly communications, copyright, open access, and the institutional repository” (that’s a hefty load), involvement in fundraising, and outreach to the local community. There is also a whole section just on digital initiatives.

These roles are similar to the ones in the works at Kent State. Joe focused on four:

Programming & Event Planning

Kent State’s libraries host events – over 20 in a year. At the Performing Arts Library, Joe has many recurring events. Open Mic Lunch happens once a month; students and community members can perform. The Director Speaks series usually happens twice a semester. Performing arts directors talk about their approach to their work, usually the week before the theatre production opens. The Colloquium Series covers all of the performing arts and allows faculty, students, and others to present their research or ideas.

Outreach, Engagement, & Promotion

Programming ties in well to outreach and promotion. An event can bring new users to the library. The Performing Arts Library has an annual open house with live performances. There is a Welcome Week that attracts students who haven’t yet discovered the Performing Arts Library space. Student Appreciation Day is simply hot drinks and cookies. We all know cookies will bring a crowd!

Joe reminds us to be patient – attendance may not be large the first few times and some events may be complete duds, never to be tried again. Events take time and energy but the rewards are well worth it!


This isn’t about going out and getting donations. But we can help to identify donors and encourage development officers to bring donors to library events. So programming leads to outreach which leads to fundraising.

User Assessment

Assess user needs through surveys, focus groups, or even informal means. By continually assessing we can continually improve our services and spaces.