Tag Archives: conferences

Come hear Amy Buckland (also me) talk repositories at NYLA!

16 Aug

Amy Buckland and I will be presenting a pre-conference CE workshop on digital repositories at the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference this year. The date is September 25, and here’s the low-down:

Digital Repositories

Sponsor: ASLS
Half Day PM  2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
This workshop addresses key issues surrounding the creation, maintenance, and cultivation of digital repositories. Drawing on the latest literature, case studies, and personal experiences, speakers lead a discussion that covers planning the digital repository, selecting a methodology for its establishment, populating it with content, marketing it to the library’s constituencies, and meeting the various challenges and questions along the way. Participants have the opportunity to bring their own experiences to bear, as well as engage in group discussions regarding how to get the most out of a digital repository.

Jim DelRosso is the Digital Projects Coordinator for Cornell University’s Hospitality, Labor, and Management Library, where he is responsible for such projects as DigitalCommons@ILR, the digital repository for Cornell’s ILR School. A digital librarian since 2009, Jim is also the President for the Upstate New York Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and has served as the Communication & Social Media Chair for the SLA’s Academic Division.

Amy Buckland is the eScholarship, ePublishing & Digitization Coordinator at McGill University Library, where she is responsible for scholarly communication, publishing initiatives, and making rare items from special collections available to the world through digitization. She loves information almost as much as Fluevog shoes, and thinks academic libraryland is ripe for a revolution. You can find her online at informingthoughts.com and in most social networks as Jambina.

So, if you’re heading to NYLA, or just thinking about it, give us a look. We’ll be entertaining and informative!


Saying goodbye with an unconference

7 Jun

This month, I finish up my time on Cornell University Library’s Reference and Outreach Committee. I served for three years, two of those as co-chair. (That second year was my fault, too, as I talked them into setting up a staggered co-chair system to address the fact that the committee’s leadership and membership change right as we’re gearing up for orientation, R&O’s biggest responsibility. And I figured I shouldn’t recommend that if I wasn’t willing to do it myself.)

R&O was a committee I wanted to be on ever since I started attending their monthly forums: any group who gave librarians regular opportunities to talk about cool stuff they were working on was a group I wanted to be involved with. All in all, it’s been a great experience, though at times difficult and trying. I will miss it, even as I enjoy getting a little bit more time back each month.

Welcome!One of the last events of my tenure was the first annual R&O Unconference, which we held back in May. We’d been asked to take on something new this year, as a long-time responsibility had been taken off our plate; the Unconference was what we came up with. We started planning it in the fall, figuring out what mix of structured and unstructured activity to include, and how to convince the CUL community (most of whom had never been to an unconference, including most of the R&O Committee) to buy into the latter.

We ended up getting two rooms and running the event from 10am to 3pm in Mann Library (and providing lunch from Manndible, which was key). The one structured piece was a series of lightning talks in the morning, with most of the speakers signing up in advance. We took care to have the talks occur in a different location than the registration, coffee, and danishes; this paid off when, even as a majority of attendees went to hear the talks, at least two groups of them stayed to participate in breakout discussions. We also had two folks sign up to give lightning talks on the spot, which was awesome. (And my lightning talk on the DigitalCommons@ILR user survey contained what could be the greatest slide I’ve ever made.)

2013-05-21_14-22-30_745The breakout discussion model carried the afternoon, with folks migrating from group to group and groups transitioning from topic to topic with an ease that filled me with joy. Overall, the event was very well received, at least one or two new projects seem to be spawning out of it, and it looks probable that the R&O Committee will be holding one next year, as well.

That one, I just get to attend.

I posted pictures to both Facebook and Google+, if you’re interested in checking them out. But I want to wrap this post up by thanking everyone who’s been on R&O during my tenure: Kaila Bussert and Susan Kendrick, who set great examples as chairs when I joined; Jean Callihan and Jeff Peterson who were my fellow members during my first year; Hilary Wong who’s been my co-chair this past year and has done such a phenomenal job; and Virginia Cole, Sarah How, Kevin Pain, Marsha Taichman, and Jill Wilson, who have contributed so much as committee members and all did such great work preparing for the Unconference. And my thoughts and thanks especially go to Nan Hyland, who passed away in 2011, and whom we miss and mourn.

Thank you all. It’s been amazing.

On my way to SLA, British rock ‘n’ roll edition

13 Jul

That song doesn’t have much to do with SLA that I can tell, but it’s been stuck in my head for days. Librarianship is about sharing.

In something absurd like 16 hours, I will be boarding the first of two planes whose travels shall, in theory, bring me to Chicago in time for the Special Library Association’s annual conference, expo, and generalized shindig. It’s gonna be a packed couple of days for me: at least two meals dedicated to BUSINESS, a board meeting, karaoke, and a four-hour continuing education workshop that I am apparently delivering.

Good news: it’s based on one that Amy Buckland and I have given at the last two Computers in Libraries conferences. Bad news: Amy can’t make it. I’m gonna be like Wings covering Abbey Road out there. Or, more accurately, like someone trying to remember not only the points that they’re used to making, but also the points that their very smart collaborator always made.

That being said, we’ve got over twenty folks signed up to hear about best practices in digital repositories, which seems to indicate that they’re not a lost cause quite yet. It’s frustrating to see so many repositories struggle, especially because so many of them seem struggle due to a lack of institutional or administrative commitment. Doing this stuff right requires people, and requires people who see the repository as another tool for the creation of digital collections and digital libraries… not just a box to throw faculty papers into. (Certainly not just a box we ask faculty to throw their papers into while we sit by and hope for the best, because c’mon people that’s not suddenly gonna work.)

The other thing I’m looking forward to is seeing all the folks whom I haven’t gotten a chance to hang out with since last year’s SLA, or maybe since CiL. Networking is really the part of the conference that shone for me last year, and after doing what I can to make sure people don’t feel like I wasted four hours of their Sunday morning, that’s what I’m gonna focus on until I hop a plane or two back here on Tuesday.

That and karaoke. Gonna bring some Rolling Stones this year, I think.

Day 3, or 10, of #cildc: In which I present

30 Mar

This past Monday, I tweeted, “We could not purposefully design a more elegant and hideous tool for crushing post-conference enthusiasm than the flooded email inbox.” Turns out, the tool in question also works on blogging.

A week ago, we was getting ready to check out of the Washington Hilton, not yet realizing that our car’s battery had died during the week and we would be spending a decent chunk of the morning wondering if it was just a dead battery, or if your venerable Honda CR-V had decided to permanently give up the ghost in a valet garage 350 miles from home. Luckily, it was the former, and the issue was resolved two solid hours before I had to present.

Plenty of time, that.


My first presentation, on prezi: http://prezi.com/vljiwo6wy3gd/plural-of-anecdote-cil2012/

Birth to earth, baby.

First off, thanks to all who enjoyed the presentation, including all the folks who tweeted about it. Y’all warmed my cold, cold librarian heart.

Secondly, I want to make clear one quote that shouldn’t be attributed to me directly: the bit about needing to learn how patrons work, rather than asking them what they need. I saw that on twitter, missed who said it, and it came to mind as I was talking. I explained that, but saw someone tweet it like it was mine. It’s not, and I don’t want to claim credit. (Also, I think we need to do both. But that’s a side note.)

Some things I did say, and I’m glad they seemed to get some traction:

There is no antagonism between data and anecdotes. An story without data to back it up has no foundation. And as soon as you start collecting data, you’re beginning to build a narrative — simply by deciding which questions to ask. By the time you start putting that data into charts and graphs, there’s absolutely a narrative involved, so you need to know what it is rather than shying away from its existence. If you don’t put the story in someone else will.

Stories will tell you what data to get, and the data you get will always lead to more questions, which will be answered by a combination of more data and more stories.

The surest path to obsolescence for our profession is to design systems and resources that put us between our users and their work. If we instead aspire to create systems and resources that make positive changes in our users, and those changes both manifest and propagate without us, we will never be obsolete.

That was a really fun one.


Right after that, I went and talked first-year experiences. I co-presented with the most excellent Jenn Colt-Demaree from CUL’s web team, and we talked about the Get Started! 2011 efforts I described in part last August. Our prezi is here: http://prezi.com/terkzxm3l1un/cil2012-get-started-2011/

We only had ten minutes or so, as we were sharing the time slot with folks from Washburn and Drake. But it was great to present with Jenn; she got to tell them about the excellent changes we made to the first year website, and what our goals were the future were. And people loved the video and the Z-cards. (I’m thrilled Jenn remembered to bring several of the latter; we gave them all away.)


After that, there was bourbon and farewells in the lobby, and then I hopped on a train. Another great CiL. Looking forward to next year.

Day 2, #CILDC 2012: Maker culture, falafel, podcasts, BattleDecks, and KARAOKE

23 Mar

I gotta say, I think the high point of this day for me was Fiacre O’Duinn talking maker culture. He laid out a very understandable historical content for hackerspaces and other elements of maker culture, spoke a while about the more common variations of same, put out a call to librarians not only to embrace that culture but push it further, and quoted Audre Lorde and Ani DiFranco along the way.

I was hooked. I posted a bunch of stuff on twitter about it, but he really did get me questioning my day to day, and how much I was actually using my privileged position as a librarian to make the world around me better. My mind’s bubbling with ideas, and I’m glad I’ve already set up time with some folks back at the Big Red Ranch to talk about them. It’s gonna be tough to push any of this to fruition, and there’s no way I could do it alone.

Then there was some awesome falafel for dinner, the speaker’s reception, a brief appearance on the T is for Training podcast, watching my first ever BattleDecks competition, and finally: karaoke. Some of these are CiL traditions for me, others were firsts. All were crazily fun.

So yeah: good day.

Day 1 of #CILDC, CiL2012 that was

22 Mar

I’m worried I’m gonna run out of interesting ways to incorporate both hashtags before I run out of conference days.

My major item(s) of note from Wednesaday came from Track F, Library Issues and Challenges. Organized and moderated by Jennifer Koerber and Michael Sauers, the track mixed a bit of the traditional presentation stuff with a whole lot of discussion and break-outs, complete with microphones being flung around the audience and craft paper and crayons on the table for work and feedback.

It was awesome. I got to hear some great stuff from Hamilton Public Library’s Ken Roberts and others that was exciting, and hearing about what different people in the room were working on was really inspirational. There are some great ideas out there, and they need to be acknowledged, celebrated, and then mercilessly stolen.

I confess I’m feeling a bit of a session grind this go-round. Non-traditional nigh-unconferences like this ameliorate that tremendously.

Day 0 of #CILDC, Day 1 of #firecon

21 Mar

I’ll say this: it makes the first day easier when you only do one pre-conference workshop. My first and only was at 1:30PM, when Amy Buckland and I talked shop about repositories with folks.

I really dig this workshop; I feel like we really pack in a ton of info, and we do some nice interactive stuff, too. We had the attendees, whose repository background and staffing situations were nicely varied, list all the possible stakeholders in a repository project, and then figure out what these stakeholders could bring to the project — not vice versa — and then how we could get them to buy in.

Good stuff.

After that it was the Gaming and Gadgets Petting Zoo. It’s really cool how that eventy has evolved in the five years I’ve been attending. This year it was all about tablets, and the biggest draw was folks playing Plants vs. Zombies on a big screen.

The evening ended with dinner and FireCon, two elements that help make the DC location far superior to Crystal City. The restaurants are great, and sitting around a fire with a drink and a crew of badass libraryfolk is an experience that simply cannot be beat.

Looking forward to Day 1.