Hope is the thing with feathers: a poetry project

Despite the fact that it’s now May, I’d like to peep back into April.

April is National Poetry Month – a highlight for my fellow ALA members, I bet, since every year the April issue of American Libraries includes a unique poster created especially to celebrate the month. I’m sure many of your office doors, like mine, have been brightened with those posters.

The global pandemic nixed some programming we’d hoped to present around National Poetry Month. I expect we’re not alone in that!

But we really love poetry! And we love our community, too, so our team came up with a really neat idea – we’d do an online ‘exquisite corpse‘ poem, then we’d record ourselves reading the whole thing through and share the recording. We decided to call it “Exquisite Hope” because, well, reasons. And hope and stuff.

The community came through with some really lovely words that made a beautiful and timely poem [text here], and the process of recording it with several colleagues was also a real pleasure. Special kudos to Caroline Sinkinson for her work producing the awesome video.


Library-Authored Web Content and the Need for Content Strategy

After a lengthy absence, I’m back to share (somewhat old) news about an article I co-authored with Heidi Burkhardt: Library-Authored Web Content and the Need for Content Strategy [freely available].

Somewhat old news, I say, because this was published in September 2019 in the open access journal Information Technology and Libraries.

In it, we trace a bit of the history of the adoption and use of content management systems (CMS) in academic libraries, and consider how content strategy can help us manage our increasingly prolific library-authored content. Then we finish big, providing an answer to the question, “What is the library website anyway?”, making some opinionated statements about how we ought – or ought not – to do things, and defining the properties of library-authored web content. We also rage against ‘the web committee’ on principle and toss in the word ethos.

Heidi and I sure enjoyed writing it, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as well.

Stay tuned, because we’re at it again and, we hope, will soon have an article for you sharing the results of a survey of academic library web professionals focused on current practices related to content strategy.

Open access article: Account-based recommenders in open discovery environments

Earlier this year, Jim Hahn & I published an article, “Account-based recommenders in open discovery environments” in Digital Library Perspectives – it is of course findable through the publisher’s site via https://doi.org/10.1108/DLP-07-2017-0022, but it’s also openly available through both the Indiana U and U of Illinois open repository sites.

open access iconSince this is my blog, I’m going to point you to my copy of the article ? – available via IU Scholarworks Open.

I shall try and tempt you with the big finish of our abstract:

… In the age of big data and machine learning, advances in deep learning technology and data stream processing make it possible to leverage discovery system data to inform the development of personalized recommendations.

I’ve been acquainted with Jim since my I-Share days, and he’s been a marvelous colleague and a great collaborator, in addition to being super smart. If our article is of interest, do definitely take the time to read about the cool stuff he and his team have done with Minrva.

I also want to give a shout out to the amazing work of my former colleagues in the IUB Libraries’ Scholarly Communication department. Since IU Bloomington’s Faculty Council passed an Open Access Policy in February 2017, they’ve been hard at work to launch a number of new services to support open scholarship & research on the Bloomington campus, including IU Scholarworks Open, a repository that will enable discovery of and access to faculty research output that falls within the scope of the OA policy. Read more at their site: https://openscholarship.indiana.edu/

Furthermore, I want to acknowledge the assistance and advice of Naz Pantaloni, Copyright Program Librarian. He generously gave of his time and expertise to help me as I worked with the publisher to negotiate rights. As a direct result of his support, we were able to retain full rights to our article – which is why I am able to openly share it today and in perpetuity. Thanks, Naz!

Goodbye, Hello

I’m back! And only 515 days after my last entry. [As my former colleague Anne Haines and I frequently used to say to each other: “Content strategist, heal thyself.”?]

Plenty has transpired since my last post in March 2017, but I’ll skip to the biggest news. This spring, my husband Robert McDonald was named the Dean of Libraries at the University of Colorado Boulder – exciting and happy news to be sure, but news that required us to pack our things and say our goodbyes to our wonderful colleagues at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries.

This new chapter follows on, as all new chapters do, with the closing of the previous one. I can’t say enough about the eight years I spent at the IUB Libraries, so I’ll just be brief and say: Thanks for everything! We had a great run. I’m proud of what we accomplished together. I may even circle back and write about some of our projects, like our migration to Drupal 8 (which occurred my penultimate day in the office! Way to go out with a bang! ?).

Earlier this month, I joined the library faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries as the Learner Experience & Engagement Librarian. In my new role, I’ll continue my focus on user experience & user research, which will inform (among other things) the development of programming for our Norlin Commons. As ever, I’m glad to be working in the service of enhancing student learning and engagement as part of a learner-centered library community.

Many thanks to my new colleagues at CU Boulder [1] for being so warm and welcoming. I look forward to the adventures we’ll have together.

[1] Yes, it really is CU, even though it’s the University of Colorado. But if you mess up, you’re in distinguished company.

Baked Good: The Pastry Box Project

A couple weeks ago, a piece I wrote was published on the Pastry Box Project.

My essay is called The Stuff of Life. It’s about my grandma, and library websites, and content strategy. I got to reference metadata in the context of black holes. I think I might be addicted to essay writing.

What is the Pastry Box Project, my librarian colleagues may be asking?

Well, it’s super cool. As put by founder Alex Duloz, the Pastry Box Project’s interest is in enabling “people to share their thoughts about their work, the industries they’re developing in, and themselves. The topic was so obvious that I didn’t even consider another option: people shaping the web would be put at center stage, people who contribute to building the touch and feel of an era, with an emphasis on UX and design.” I encourage you to read a bit more about their philosophy, format, etc.

Contributors are called bakers. For a person with my cookbook collection, it was like destiny. A super-awesome destiny where you suddenly realize your name is on a web page surrounded by the names of people you recognize from your bookshelf and Twitter feed.

Happily, the fine folks at the Pastry Box Project are still taking submissions through the end of this month. Go on, send in your thought.

A final note: The Internet is a wondrous place. You can buy a rubber duck for nearly any theme you fancy – stop right there, I was thinking of graduation ducks, we have student employees, our department used to be called DUX – and you can also make connections with people you’d not likely otherwise encounter, like, say, the person who owns contentstrategy.com

So that was really cool too! Thanks to all the kind souls who took the time to comment. And many thanks to Anne Haines for her strong encouragement that led to me submitting my thought. 🙂

new year, new site

Happy 2015!

I’m not much for resolutions, but I do like to take some time at the new year to think about what I might keep, what I might change, and what new things I’d like to look into.

This year, I decided it was time to put together a home on the web for career and professional type things … I hope you like it! I’d be glad to hear any thoughts or suggestions, so be sure and share them.