Monthly Archives: June 2011

ala 2011 annual conference: leaders wanted

CC image courtesy of dolescum on Flickr

Honestly, I didn’t have any high expectations when I left for New Orleans last Friday morning. Now that I’m back in DC, all I’ve been thinking about is the conference and how I left New Orleans inspired to take action in a variety of ways. It was great to finally meet other library students I’ve been in contact with through Twitter, notably writers and readers from the Hack Library School community. I had such a great time with all of you, and I’m proud to call you my friends! The time spent just hanging out with people was definitely the highlight of the conference. I would go back just to hang out again!

As for the conference itself, the session that stuck with me the most was “Leaders Wanted / LIS Doctoral Programs Options Fair: Cultivating Diversity in LIS Education.” I quit my Anthropology Ph.D. program three years ago, and I never considered pursuing a doctorate again until this conference session. I have quite a few issues with academia, but one of the panelists — Camila Alire, 2009-2010 ALA Past President — definitely got me thinking about changing my position on pursuing a Ph.D. She stated that it’s important for librarians/library students of color to get their Ph.D.’s because we need to diversify the profession. Additionally, earning the doctorate makes you a role model — not only for other LIS students of color, but all the patrons of color you’ll interact with. One out of three people in the United States is a person of color, and the library profession should reflect this diversity.

Camila’s comments really resonated with me and got me thinking. I can’t just wait for other people to step up to the plate — or wait for others to provide my perspective in the greater body of LIS knowledge. My goal has always been to perform research on issues important to me, regardless if it related to my job or not. If I’m going to be doing this research anyway, I might as well get that other “union card” at the same time — and the institutional resources and support that come with being in a doctoral program would be immensely helpful. It’s also unfortunate, but a reality, that having a doctorate gives you a certain credibility to some (or many) people. If that credibility would give my research more weight, then I seriously need to consider that. I do not plan on ever becoming a full-time professor — I enjoy working in libraries and archives too much! And if I pursue a PhD, I also don’t intend on becoming a full-time student. I just want to work with people in a library or archive, connecting them with their information needs, and at the same research issues that interest me — is that too much to aim for?



#ala11 playlist

Below is my playlist for this weekend’s ALA conference.  I looked for a legal way to share this music but didn’t find anything satisfactory, so the list will just have to do with random YouTube links.  The song order is still being perfected, but here are my picks.  What will you be listening to?

  1. TV on the Radio – Wolf Like Me
  2. The Dodos – Don’t Try and Hide It
  3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth
  4. Menomena – Wet and Rusting
  5. Coconut Records – Back to You
  6. Andrew Bird – Heretics
  7. Radical Face – Wrapped in Piano Strings
  8. Okkervil River – No Key, No Plan
  9. The Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running
  10. Band of Horses – The Great Salt Lake
  11. Flake – Mieke
  12. Blind Pilot – The Story I Heard
  13. Magnolia Electric Co. – The Dark Don’t Hide It
  14. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Janglin
  15. St. Vincent – Actor Out of Work
  16. The National – Squalor Victoria
  17. Loney, Dear – Saturday Waits
  18. Man Man – Mister Jung Stuffed
  19. The Rosebuds – Leaves Do Fall
  20. Wilco – Heavy Metal Drummer
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in conferences, links, pop culture


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hyping links

How Wikipedians-in-Residence Are Opening Up Cultural Institutions
I love the idea of using an existing popular medium to actively promote archival collections and make them more accessible to the public.

“The National Archives maintains national records and preserve cultural heritage, but they don’t do a great job of presenting this information to the public in a searchable, digestible format,” says McDevitt-Parks. “This is exactly what Wikipedia does: presenting history and cultural in a way that people use every day. For the Archives specifically, the mission is not just preserving documents, but promoting their use. Through some sort of collaboration, we can make these records available for regular use by the public at large.”

I hope to hear of more Wikipedians-in-Residence in the future!

100 articles that every librarian should read
This list is a great resource, and I really should make time to read all of them.

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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in links


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three fun (and free!) library/archives ipad apps

I’ve only had my iPad for a few months, but it’s interesting to see how I actually use it now versus how I thought I’d use it.  I definitely thought I would use a larger number (and variety) of apps than I actually do.  I blame this on lack of time due to grad school, but really it’s out of habit.  Just like when I go to my favorite restaurants, I can’t help but order the same few dishes — because I know what I like and I don’t want to “waste” my money on something that isn’t as good.  Or when a favorite band releases a new album — if it doesn’t capture me the first couple times I listen to it, chances are I’m going to choose the older tried-and-true albums over the new one every time (I’m talking about you, Iron and Wine).

But I’ve become more adventurous these days, so here are three very cool — and very free — iPad apps that I’ve been playing around with.  I can’t wait for more to come out!  Please share if you know of any other apps worth checking out.

Biblion: The Boundless Library
New York Public Library

Right now, the app is focused on the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, but I think future “issues” of Biblion will focus on a variety of other collections.

19th Century Historical Collection
British Library

Read (or skim) over 1,000 nineteenth-century books for free!  The book scans look great, and I foresee this app distracting me for many hours to come.  Later this summer, over 60,000 books will be made available for a not-yet-released price.


Today’s Document
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Also available on Android devices and iPhones, this app features a different archival document every day.  A few days ago, the featured document was the oath of allegiance signed by Marquis de Lafayette.  Later this week, it will be the Watergate building’s security officer log from June 17, 1972.

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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in archives, photographs, pop culture


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hyping links

After 40 Years, the Complete Pentagon Papers
Next Monday, all 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers will be declassified.

Why non-academics should be following the Georgia State U case
Anyone interested in copyright and technology policy should be paying attention.

Moving Forward in E-Readers
David Pogue compares the newest Nook and Kobo models.

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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in links


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#askarchivists day 2011

Not only is today International Archives Day, but it’s #AskArchivists Day on Twitter!

If you’re interested in what archivists do and what’s in their collections, just ask.  Archives and archivists from all over the world will be taking your questions.  Check out the Ask Archivists blog for a list of participating archives.

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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in archives


thatcamp chnm 2011: project management bootcamp

Here are my notes from Friday’s THATCamp BootCamp session on Project Management with Tom Scheinfeldt, Managing Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.  You can find more detailed notes in this crowdsourced GoogleDoc.

1. Pick Projects

  • Is it fundable?
  • What adjustments can be made in order for the project to be fundable?
  • Do you have the capacity to implement the project?
2. Build Partnerships
  • Institutional collaborations are important — collecting organizations have the data you want to use.
  • Partnerships build trust among audiences.
  • Manage expectations on both sides: who is doing what and how much time can you each spend?
3. Fund Projects
  • Read the grant proposal guidelines.
  • Follow the guidelines!
4. Set Budgets
  • 99% of your budget should be labor.
  • Ask for the maximum amount of money.
  • What can you promise?  Work backwards from the budget amount.
  • Underpromise and overdeliver.
5. Staff Projects
  • Assess what skills the people in your organization already have, and find projects that match those skills.
  • CHNM looks to hire people with a proven track record in learning things quickly (and are self-taught) and a proven track record in finishing projects.
  • Hire based on personality!  Staff must be able to work in a team.
  • As a manager, you should protect your staff from the administrative aspects of your job — let your employees do what they do best, and get out of their way!
  • Individual meetings are more important than meetings with the entire staff — people are more open in one-on-one meetings.
  • In those individual meetings, ask: What are you working on? What do you think you should work on next? Are there any obstacles preventing you from getting things done?
  • If you want staff to do things differently, give the feedback in a regularly scheduled meeting — not as a surprise at the end of the day.  Feedback feels constructive only in the right setting.
6. Develop Workplans
  • Workplans don’t often survive reality.
  • Come up with 3-4 key deliverables for funders, administrators, etc.
  • Outline those 4 deliverables and give funders 5 — underpromise and overdeliver!
  • Regarding project management software, start “lightweight” (with just GoogleDocs) and progressively get more heavyweight only if necessary.
7. Report to Funders/Administrators
  • The reporting schedule is already laid out in the grant guidelines and/or proposal — report on time (and well)!
  • Make progress notes along the way of things to report.
  • Report in public — blog your project!
8. Publicize Projects
  • If you don’t shout, no one’s going to hear you.
  • Don’t just publicize at the launch of a project.
  • Live blog the project, and give substantive content.
  • Engage an audience before the project even exists.
  • Speak and present as much as possible.
  • Use social media.
  • With partnerships, both sides should publicize.
  • Create a strong web presence that is well-designed and substantive.
  • Give out swag!  Stickers, etc.
9. Sustain Projects
  • Building a committed audience/users is the best way to sustain a project.
  • Funders are increasingly wanting a sustainability plan.
  • Build your project with a move in mind — someone else will probably inherit the project.  Document all your work!
  • Think in advance about a second project.  Funders won’t fund the same exact work again — think about how you will move the project in new directions.
  • Think about a revenue model in line with your values.
10. Lead
  • No one will give you a leadership role — you take it.
  • Meet your funders, and establish a working relationship.
  • Make sure you are always moving forward — if not, see what’s stopping you.
  • People forgive bad decisions, but they don’t forgive indecision.
  • Admit your mistakes.
  • Leaders are first doers.
  • The best collaborations are about shared doing.
  • You have to manage, but you should aspire to lead.
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in conferences


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