Tag Archives: Professional Development

Looks like I get to be an Associate Librarian

7 Dec

I’ve been waiting on the official letter from HR to make the public announcement, and now it’s arrived, so:

On August 17, 2016, I will be promoted to the rank of Associate Librarian at the Cornell University Library. I put my promotion packet in last July, and it seems as though it was sufficiently convincing. To say that this is an exciting moment and a load off of my mind would be a grand understatement.

There’s a lot of folks to thank for this: first and foremost my family, who have been hugely supportive of my pursuit of this whole librarian career thing. Thank you, and I love you.

I am also deeply appreciative of the people in my supervisory chain who lent their support to my promotion: Anne Kenney, Kornelia Tancheva, and Curtis Lyons.

I am exceedingly grateful to those who were willing to write letters of recommendation to the promotion committee on my behalf: Cheryl Beredo, Esta Bigler, Amy Buckland, Suzanne Cohen, Aliqae Geraci, Jill Hurst-Wahl, Michelle Paolillo, Oya Reiger, and Jill Wilson.

And massive thanks to Suzanne, Curtis, and Deb Lamb-Deans, who gave me great feedback on my promotion packet.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the folks with whom I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with during my career at Cornell, not only within the university but also through organizations like SLA. There is very little that I’ve done as a librarian that I feel comfortable claiming sole credit for, so thank you for working with me on so much cool stuff.

A terrible keynote, but a very solid DrupalCamp

6 Dec

On Monday, I attended DrupalCamp here at Cornell. Overall, the event was great. Though I was hindered by a nasty cold that had set in over Thanksgiving break, the sessions I attended were excellent: one talked about web accessibility, providing both historical and legal context and then providing practical advice for using the tools of responsive web design to create accessible sites. Another talked about preparing for Drupal, and again gave an excellent overview of what was involved in the creation of a Drupal site before digging into the pragmatic needs of such an endeavor. Wonderful stuff, and just the sort of thing that got me to sign up in the first place.

The keynote, sadly, was another story. For whatever reason, the organizers gave over this important task to a representative of one of the vendors, and it was disastrous. I documented this on Twitter:

(NOTE: I am not sure why WordPress won’t let me embed the Storify. I’ve tried several times and no longer care.)

Like I said, the rest of the event was excellent. In fact, I’m willing to assume at this point that the speaker — or more likely, his employer Acquia — promised the organizers a very different speech. But the “you need to think like a business!” rhetoric we got was wholly inappropriate; whether or not you think that mindset has any validity*, it’s certainly not new thinking. We’ve been living it for as long as I’ve been working in academic libraries, and playing buzzword bingo*** with us isn’t inspirational, it’s insulting.

I went to DrupalCamp to get a bit more insight into using Drupal; I’m not a developer, but I wanted a better context for working with the developers on several upcoming projects. I got that, and would attend similar events in the future. I also got a good story out of it, so all in all I’d call the event a success.


* Note: I don’t. It’s better served in another post, but the short version is that academic institutions aren’t businesses, and the principles that currently drive business in Western society don’t even produce successful businesses, so we can’t expect them to produce a viable academy. Not to say there aren’t things that can be learned from other sectors and spheres, but we can’t expect success by pretending that they aren’t other sectors and spheres.**

** Actually, that might be my whole post on the topic. We’ll see.

*** I almost shouted “BINGO!” when he put up the “THE FUTURE IS AGILE!” slide, though to be fair that might be the free square in the middle of the board.

NYLA: Repositories and Open Access

30 Sep

Last week, I got to go to my first New York Library Association conference, and it was a blast. As I mentioned previously, Amy Buckland and I gave our workshop on digital repository strategies and practice. It’s a workshop I love, because no matter how many times we’ve given it it’s never the same: Amy and I always have new experiences to relate, and the groups we work with are always so different that their questions and insights are new and revelatory each time.

Items of note this go-round: it was the first time that just about everyone in the room seemed to have adequate or nigh-adequate staffing for their repository projects — hallelujah! — and the folks running Digital Commons @Brockport are doing some amazing things.

I also had the honor of sitting on a panel with Amy and Jenica Rogers, talking about Open Access in scholarly publishing. We went with a simple format: we put what we hoped would be a provocative statement up on a slide, and then got a discussion going with the audience about it. There were six statements in total, and if you read Jenica’s blog*, you’ve likely seen them already. I’ll reproduce them here because they got great discussion at NYLA, and great discussion on her blog, and I’m curious to see if we can pull off a great discussion trifecta. Or hat-trick.  Or similar sports metaphor for something happening three times. In any case, here they are:

  1. A child born today will use nothing but open access materials for research in college.

  2. Textbook companies will go out of business as faculty realize they can write, compile, and publish their own customized open course texts.

  3. Future discussions of the quality of library collections will focus not on the collections a library owns, but on the collections a library creates.

  4. The adoption of open access collections will obviate proprietary discovery layers.

  5. It is irresponsible for federally-funded researchers not to make their work available in an open format.

  6. True change in the scholarly publishing system will come from smaller liberal arts colleges, and not the big guys.

Oh, and Amy provided what’s probably the best opening slide ever.

So, discuss in the comments if you have a mind to, or head over to Jenica’s and jump in the discussion there. In any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


* And if you don’t, why the hell not?

2nd Call for Proposals, UNYSLA Fall Meeting, 11/8/2013 in Syracuse

26 Aug

Please submit your proposals, folks! The deadline in September 3.

The Upstate Chapter of the Special Libraries Association invites you to submit a proposal for our fall conference that will be held in Syracuse on Friday, November 8, 2013.   We are reprising one of our most successful conferences in the past few years – The Librarian’s Toolbox:  Reopened!

We are inviting proposals for presentations of either 15 or 30 minutes, or posters, showcasing innovative or cutting edge tools: software, hardware, services or techniques.

Examples of topics might include software, strategies or practices you have developed or worked with that support your colleagues or constituents.  This could include:

·      Productivity software

·      Collaborative tools

·      Innovative technique

In your proposal, please provide the following:

·      Title of proposal

·      Indicate whether this is a poster or a 15 or 30 minute presentation

·      Abstract or brief description of about 100-300 words

·      Your name, title, and affiliation (employer or school)

·      Contact information (email address)

Submission of proposals:

Please submit your proposal via our web form no later than September 3, 2013.  Selected presenters will be notified no later than September 9, 2013 (the date registration opens).

See you in November!

Linda, UNYSLA President-Elect, on behalf of the UNYSLA Board

New year, new gig (kinda): Digital Scholarship Fellow

23 Aug

Okay, so it’s really an additional gig, but who am I to deny the lure of parallelism?

First things first: it’s new student welcome day here at Cornell, so campus is something of a zoo. (Well, that’s unfair: zoo denizens generally know where they’re supposed to be.) As chaotic as this day can be, I love it: so many folks on the threshold of new knowledge, connections, and perspectives. My general cynicism about universities’ conversion into worker mills is forced to recede in the face of today’s breathless enthusiasm. This institution still holds the power to be transformative, and I love being a part of that, and love seeing new members of our community engage with it.

Also, as I’ve said before: some of these folks will fall in love with Ithaca and never want to leave, and I know how that tune goes.

Now onto the new, additional gig.

As of September, I will be one of three newly-minted Digital Scholarship Fellows here at the Cornell University Library. My peers are the awesome Dianne Dietrich and Erin Eldermire, whose work to date leaves me humble, whose Fellowship goals get me excited, and whose names make me oddly jealous with regards to alliteration.

My Fellowship is a one-year term, taking up 25% of my time. In that time, I’m going to work with folks from within the Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services (DSPS) unit and around CUL to take a look at how digital repositories are handled around campus and try to forge a coherent policy on issues like software, staffing and workflows, collection development, and sustainability. Truth be told, I’m not sure how much will get done in a year, but the situation on campus demands this kind of analysis and the Fellowship should give me access to the resources and very smart people necessary to at least make a dent in this thing.

Of course, I’ll still be doing at least 75% of my current job; I have to give up my ref desk shifts, tough, which I’m actually quite sad about. I’m always apprehensive about digital projects folks getting silo’d away from their community, and so I’ve tried to protect my public services responsibilities. But there was no way around the fact that they’d be the first to go if the Fellowship came through, so I’ll deal. I’ll likely get to come back to them in a year’s time.

I say “likely” because there’s another bit of parallelism to all this: with all the potential for change and new ideas in the way CUL deals with repositories, it’s quite possible that this next year will be transformative for me and my career, too. The job I’m doing a year from now may not have all that much in common with the one I’m doing today. One of the reasons I went for this Fellowship is to make sure I had a voice in how that plays out, but even so the amount that’s unknown is scary and exciting.

As a great philosopher once said, bring on next year.

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.

Refusal anxiety

1 May

It’s a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon. I just ate lunch out on the quad in the sun, enjoyed a delicious iced coffee, and am feeling reasonably prepared for the rest of my work day. And yet, I’m oddly anxious.

Why? Because the annual call for committee volunteers ends today, and I’m not putting my name in for anything. And it is freaking me out.

This decision wasn’t taken lightly, nor is it an issue of procrastination. It’s a planned refocusing of my time for the next year. I’m still on or otherwise involved with a couple of committees at the Cornell University Library level. Within the Hospitality, Labor, and Management Library, I still sit on the leadership group and an ongoing search committee; it’s likely I’ll be leading a search committee of my own before the year is out. I’m the president of UNYSLA until December, then I’ll be past president and nominations chair for a year, and I plan to stay on the (admittedly casual) steering committee for SLUSH for the foreseeable future.

I’m not exactly avoiding group work, is what I’m saying.

There’s plenty of other stuff to occupy my work time over the next year, too; I’ve got at least two major projects that I’ll likely write about here when they’re better fit for public scrutiny, and the possibility of another that’d be even bigger. And that’s not even touching the three — three! — outstanding research projects I should be working on. All of these things, taken together, indicate that not only will I have plenty to do, but the chances of anyone (even the promotional committee of my darkest nightmares)  looking at this decision askance are slim to nil. Plus, it’s not like these committees won’t be around next year.

And still, I’m twitchy about this. Let’s see if I can make it the next few hours without caving and throwing my name in for something.

EDIT: Oh gods, the call’s open until Friday. I’m doomed.


30 Nov

If you’re expecting another job listing, you are gonna be disappointed and possibly confused. We’re actually done with those for a bit (though you have a couple hours left to put in your name on the most recent one).

I spent the first part of this week home sick, the better part of the month scrambling among various projects, and to be completely honest the semester’s been kind of a blur. I think I helped organize a conference at one point, but that could be something of a fever dream. No right-thinking organization would give me responsibility for something like that.

(Though I seem to have a gavel, now, what with me stepping up as Chapter President for UNYSLA in January. I should post a picture of myself brandishing it, like the bookish and administrative Mjolnir that it is.)

But what’s brought me out of my ‘Quil-induced haze this week — and a good thing, too, with search committee duties in my present and jury duties looming — is the publication of this:

Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide

Edited by Jane D. Monson

The skills of digital librarianship are more crucial than ever, and these same skills are in high demand outside the field, from tech startups undertaking digitization projects to digital humanities centers bringing together professors, computer scientists, and information technologists. Map out your career in this fast-growing field with the full range of perspectives gathered in this clear, concise overview of the core concepts and competencies of digital librarianship. Twenty-one experienced practitioners from a variety of settings offer realistic views of today’s job market, typical project dynamics, and employer expectations. Whether you’re a new graduate just starting out or a seasoned professional transitioning from a more traditional area such as cataloging or archives, you’ll benefit from this book’s valuable coverage of topics such as

  • Activities and roles of the digital librarian, including management of digital projects and collaboration
  • Developing and using transferable skills
  • Becoming familiar with metadata
  • How digital librarians are re-shaping scholarly publishing
  • The concept and framework of digital preservation best practices
  • Technical competencies such as XML and content management systems

Familiarity with digital practices is increasingly important for all information professionals, and this book offers a solid foundation in the discipline.

I co-authored the first chapter — “So You Want to Be a Digital Librarian—What Does That Mean?” — with the formidable Cory Lampert of UNLV. It was a great experience working with her, and I’m glad what we put together is now in print.

The rest of the book looks phenomenal, as well: there are some very smart people talking about what they’re doing, and that’s always worth reading. So, and I say this with a lot of love and more than a little bias in my heart: check it out.

And have good and safe weekends, y’all. Don’t break anything that didn’t have it coming.

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.