Showing posts with label Syracuse University. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Syracuse University. Show all posts

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sit With Me Advocacy Campaign: Recognizing the value of women's technical contributions

Earlier this year, the Syracuse University iSchool recorded videos for the Sit With Me Advocacy Campaign and I was one of the women recorded.  The campaign as people to “sit to take a stand” and recognize the value of women’s technical contributions by sharing their own stories and thoughts. The campaign was launched by the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT).  Below is my video and two others from the iSchool.  You can view all of the videos here.

Yes, there is an unfortunate typo in my name within the video itself and it's not easy to fix. Honestly, my name is misspelled frequently, even by people who know me.  C'est la vie!  It does not change the message of the video.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Using Big Data for Library Advocacy (webinar recording)

Erin Bartolo
Yesterday, Dec. 17, Erin Bartolo and I did a one-hour webinar entitled "Using Big Data for Library Advocacy."  This webinar was based on the presentation that we did at the New York Library Association Annual Conference in September.   A recording of the sessions is available on this page, which also contains a link to our handout.  Since this was so what we did at NYLA, I'm placing below the slides from NYLA.

One question that we did not receive was about how libraries are currently using big data/data science. I know from the NMC webinar that we did that we don't have good library examples yet, because we (libraries/librarians) are just thinking about how to use data science in our work.  I expect that those examples will come, as we begin using big data to help us with assessment and advocacy.  For now, we need to talk about what is possible and get people interested in using these techniques, which are already widely used in business.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I'm reading this summer

Often at conferences there is that "what are you reading?" moment, when people talk about what they are reading for work or for pleasure. (Beth Tribe is a good one for starting that conversation.) Since that conversation didn't happen at my conferences so far this year, I thought I'd start the conversation here.  This is what's on my table or device this summer...

First, Dave Lankes has created a MOOC (massive open online course) on new librarianship that opened on July 8 and I'm one of the instructors. (Details) The book being used for the MOOC is Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today's Complex World, which is available in digital and paper formats.  This is a very readable book geared primarily for library supporters and the communities that libraries serve.  Library staff, who read it, should recognize the challenge that they are being given.  That challenge?  Meet the expectations of your communities, because they expect more than what you are likely offering.

To go along with  Expect More, I've also got Dave's The Atlas of New Librarianship  in front of me.  I'm not reading it from cover to cover, but doing as many others have...referring to it as we talk about "new librarianship."  [BTW Ruth Kneale and I wrote the agreement on special libraries that is in the book.]

The avid gardener is me is reading - slowly -  Mike McGrath's Book of Compost.  This is actually a quick, short read, but I'm stretching it out and thinking about the sections as I deal with my own compost.

On the audio front, I've been listening to podcasts by RN Future Tense as I walk from my car to campus, which is much further distance than you can imagine. Future Tense covers a wide range of topics and I find the format engaging.  I often refer people to specific podcasts because of their excellent content.

I'm also got Testimony queued up on my iPhone.  This is the first album that I've purchased purely in digital format, which is a huge move for me.  (Remember when we would intently read album covers, and marvel at their cover and label art?)  Mayo - composer, arranger, singer, saxophonist - has produced a nice companion for those long walks back to my car after a full day at work.

So...your turn!  What content - books, podcasts, etc. - are you consuming?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Year in Review: My life as teacher and director

A friend asked me recently if - when I began teaching at Syracuse University - I thought I would become the director of its library and information science program...and the answer was "no!"  In 2001, teaching graduate students was something I was going to do for a couple of years.  But then, I kept doing it part-time and then...well...I realized that it was what I really wanted to do.  But be the program director?!  It wasn't until Dave Lankes became the director that I saw something that I wanted to do and so here I am.  [BTW Dave and I are like "two peas in a pod" as well as like "ying and yang."  It can be quite interesting, especially for the students!]

My SU officeTeaching - I now teach four different graduate courses over the course of an academic year, two each semester.  In addition, I co-teach the graduate gateway course in the iSchool, with several other faculty members.  Teaching dominates my weeks during the academic year.  Besides class prep and time in the classroom (or on the computer for my online classes), there is time grading assignments.  Grading assignments is not something that goes quickly, so when you multiply the time for each student's assignment  by the number of students in the class, and then by the number of assignments in the class, it can be overwhelming.  Yet it is the feedback on assignments - whether individually or en masse - that makes a difference, so all of those hours sitting, reading, and commenting are worth it.  (I do have to remember to get up occasionally and exercise, as well as get another cup of tea!)

Directing - Add to the hours of teaching the task of directing the program, which is not a trivial task.  Which is more important?  That depends on the moment - literally. Some days are filled with meetings, emails and tasks that must be done then in order to keeps things - recruitment, marketing, course scheduling, new initiatives, etc. - moving forward.  And there are evenings when I come home with the best of intentions to grade papers, only to be faced with a slew of emails that need to be answered. My colleague Dave Dischiave says that email is not communication tool, rather it is a to-do list because every email requires an action.  True.

[By the way, my school does not have departments, so no one has the title of "chair."]

Jill, Nick Berry, Loranne Nasir, Colin Welch & Topher Lawton. Photo by Sara Kelly Johns
Jill & LIS students at NYLA 2012
What does the director do?  What don't I do!
  • Meet and communicate with prospective students.
  • Get involved in admission and scholarship decisions.
  • Meet and advise current students.
  • Write letters of recommendation.
  • Hear complaints and hear words of praise.
  • Arrange...stuff.
  • Run and attend meetings.
  • Email...about...stuff.
  • Meet with prospective employers.
  • Explain the program to....
  • Assist with course scheduling.  (This is more work than you think!)
  • Represent the program/school at events/conferences. Juggling conference attendance with teaching is an interesting act.
  • Oversee accreditation related activities.
  • Care about...everything.
  • In the face of all adversity and disenchantment, stay calm and try to smile.
  • Try to maintain a home life and stay healthy.
The last is important to mention because academic institutions do not have a start or end time to their days.  Things are happening all the time (literally) and that often translates into long days (and weeks).  I learned from Kenny Crews the importance of engaging in activities where you cannot do work at the same time.  Thank goodness then for bowling, gardening, canning, and walking.

The March Toward 2015 - For every director, chair or dean of an LIS program, the re-accreditation of the program is a huge responsibility.  Our next review is in 2015 and it has already been on my mind since I said "yes" to this position.  Look at my to-do list and you'll see tasks that are tied it.

I'm not sure where to put those that are critical of LIS programs (and who isn't), a hint...understand the accreditation activities that the program is involved in, whether that's ALA or NCATE (which is changing to CAEP) or something else.  Can you turn your criticism into a help as the program prepares for re-accreditation? Yup, that will get their attention!

Aldo LeopoldAs I look ahead to 2013 - two years before 2015! - I see a full year in front of me...teaching, conferences, admitting new students, graduating current students, meetings, email, and more. (Can you say accreditation tasks?) Hard to believe that in May, I will be one of the people to shake hands with our graduating LIS students as they walk across the stage.  Yes, another duty of the director and one that I will do with great joy! In the end, it is seeing them graduate, land jobs, and become members of the profession that makes everything else worthwhile.

Here is hoping that your 2013 is as full, challenging and rewarding as I believe mine will be!

Friday, December 14, 2012

T is for Training (podcast): In Theory or But Really In Practice

For the last several years, I have participated in a podcast called T is for Training hosted by Maurice Coleman. Begun in 2008, T is for Training is a podcast (or "call" as we often say) by library trainers for library trainers.  However, sometimes the conversation isn't about training, but rather about other things that affect libraries. 

Two weeks ago, it was just Maurice and I on the call, and Maurice turned his interviewing skills on me and asked me lots of questions about my role as director of the library and information science program at Syracuse University. If you're interested in knowing what I'm up to, this will clue you in (60 minutes).

T is for Training's Talkshoe  page,
T is for Training's web site (not up to date):

Monday, May 14, 2012

It Matters! (Jeffrey Katzer Professor of the Year Award speech)

Photo courtesy of J.D. Ross, (c) 2012.
On Saturday, graduating library & information science student Sylvie Merlier-Rowen presented me with the Jeffrey Katzer Professor of the Year Award.  Established in honor of former Professor and Interim Dean Jeffrey Katzer, this award recognizes a full-time faculty member for outstanding teaching, advising and service.  This year, the recipient (me) was selected by iSchool graduate students.

I was thrilled, shocked and humbled when I heard that I had been selected, especially since it also meant that I would have the opportunity to speak at the iSchool's Convocation, which honors all of its graduating students.  What could I say that would be appropriate and memorable in three minutes?  Below is my written text and yes I did deviate from the text in a few spots, including the addition of a little audience participation ("repeat after me...").

Since the Convocation, I have been heartened by the number of people - including students, parents and grandparents - who have commented on the speech, including people that I had not met before.  Clearly it resonated and I hope it is remembered.

Addendum (5/18/2012): Diane Stirling wrote a blog post about my speech.  If you're curious, you can read it here.

I want to thank all of the graduate students for this award. It has been an honor to stand before you in the classroom and to help prepare you to be leaders in the information profession.

I have been allotted three minutes in order to impart some words of wisdom. I have been wondering what I can say in three minutes that will be important and memorable.

In three minutes?!

Well...this is it…

It all matters! Every class you took – even the ones that you didn’t like –…every assignment that you did, every ah-ha and oh-no, every late night and every early morning.

All of it. It matters.

You will argue, of course, that some of what you did here didn’t matter. You can likely think about something that you did that didn’t seem to make a difference in your life. To that, I would add the word “yet”. It hasn’t made a difference in your life yet.

The full impact of what you have done here at Syracuse and what you have learned in your classes is not immediately apparent. In fact, the importance of some things you have learned may not become apparent until you have become a seasoned professional.

Remember that we were not trying to prepare you for your first day of work, but for your career. Thus some of the lessons you have learned will not become apparent until the time is right.

I have stood in your shoes. Wondered why. And then seen the fruits of my academic efforts come…in…due…time.

And that brings me to a second message for you.

Everything you will do from this day forward also matters. You will make a difference in the world, both in large and small ways. You will connect people and organizations with the information that they need. You will develop new tools and technologies. You will help us finally eliminate the digital divide. You will even help your parents understand how to use their mobile devices!

What you will do – with all that you have learned here – will matter. And we will all be proud of you!

Thank you.

Friday, February 24, 2012

David Smith: Inferring and Exploiting Relational Structure in Large Text Collections

This week, I heard David Smith talk about "Inferring and Exploiting Relational Structure in Large Text Collections."  Interesting that digitized books in the public domain are becoming testbeds for these research endeavors.  He is also using translated text (e.g., books that have been translated into several languages) in order to discern the words used to describe specific concepts across languages.

I am so used to thinking about the digitization effort, that I rarely think about all of the ways that these now digitized texts can be used.  That is one of the reasons why I found Smith's talk to be of interest.

Abstract: The digitization of knowledge and concerted retrospective scanning projects are making overwhelming amounts of text in diverse domains, genres, and languages available to readers and researchers. To make this data useful, our group is working on improving OCR, language modeling, syntactic analysis, information extraction, and information retrieval. I will focus in particular on problems of inferring the relational structure latent in large collections of documents, such as books, web pages, patent applications, grant proposals, and social media postings. Which books or passages quote, translate, paraphrase, and cite each other? This research requires improvements in modeling translation and other forms of similarity, as well as improvements in efficiently comparing large numbers of passages. Finally, I will discuss how passage similarity relations can be used to improve tasks such as named-entity recognition and syntactic parsing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I want LIS students to know

100_0488Every fall, a new group of graduate students arrives in the classroom on their way to becoming librarians and information professionals.Each group is full of energy and ideas, and ready to take on the world. Each student believes in the power of information, even before they fully realize the power that information holds. Every person is willing to make sacrifices in order to reach his/her goal. While the wide-eyed "this is awesome" attitude remains during the semester, it often becomes tempered as students attend to the details of their classes and their lives as graduate students. We're at the point in the semester where stress and elation are hand-in-hand.  The end of the semester is in sight, but there is so much to do before then!

With that as a backdrop, this is what I want LIS students to know (no matter where in the world you are)...

You have selected a noble professional, no matter what name you use to describe it. Every organization and person needs help locating and using information, and you are becoming poised to assist them. You can help them with its organization and retrieval. You can help with its interpretation and dissemination. You can work to ensure that information is available to those who need it, no matter who the person is or where the person is located.

Yes, what we call ourselves is in flux.  We do seem to be hung-up on labels, which is unfortunate.  What really matters are the knowledge and skills that we have.  Your knowledge and skills will open doors for you, and land you in positions that you might not have imagined when you first said, "I want to be a librarian."

100_0539Your coursework won't teach you everything you need to know. While you will learn a tremendous amount during your coursework, LIS programs are not apprenticeships and we're not like medical schools where students do full-fledged residencies as part of their programs.  We aim to teach you theory and introduce you to practice.  We give you opportunities to learn and to dive into your practice through specific assignments and your internship.

Although there are some thing that you'll need to pick up on the job (and this does happen in every profession), you can take opportunities that present themselves to extend your learning outside of the classroom.  If you see an opportunity, grab it!  And if you don't see an opportunity, create one!

Every information professional you meet during your graduate program is a person who can connect you to a job.  It doesn't matter if you see the person in the classroom, at a conference, or on a library tour...that person has connections that could help you, if only you asked. mmm...and there is the have to engage the person in order to ask about opportunities. I know that it isn't easy talking to strangers, but your joining a profession that likes to share information and be helpful (those really are our traits), so just start with "hi" and let a conversation start.  Remember to exchange contact information and then, when you're comfortable, ask about the opportunities that person sees on the horizon.

SculptureYour reputation, CV/resume and portfolio matter.  I believe in having a portfolio of work that you can share with a prospective employer, as well as your resume/CV.  Many people are creating their portfolios online and including in them samples of their work (e.g., papers and presentations).  Keep in mind that your portfolio doesn't need to be fancy; it just needs to be a good representation of you.  Placing this information online -- either on a web site, in a blog, or in LinkedIn (perhaps with a connection to SlideShare) -- allows you to present what you want people to know about you and your work.  It also makes you more findable.  Someone searching on a topic of interest may stumble upon something you have and then be interested in you as a professional. And - yes - you want to be findable.

As you think about your resume and portfolio, also think about your reputation.
According to a Microsoft survey of more than 1,200 hiring managers in December 2009, 79% of companies and recruiters reviewed online information about job applicants and 70% had actually rejected candidates based on what they found. - Information Today, Nov. 2010, p. 1
Take time to clean up that information that is online about you in Facebook and other social networking site.  Review the photos that you're in and make sure that they reflect the you that an employer would like to hire.  And check your profiles - even in places like Twitter - to ensure that they say what you truly want to communicate.   

The bottom line is - Don't lose out on a job opportunity because you either were not findable or what was found wasn't deemed professional.

By the way, this guide can help you think about your resume/CV, cover letter and job interviews.

Use all of the resources that are available to you.  I suspect that you haven't explored all of the resources that are available to you on campus that will help you prepare to find a job as well as ensure that you're prepared for that job.  Have you stopped into Career Services?  Have you done mock interviews?  Have you check out other resources that have been mentioned on syllabi, in classes or during orientation?  Odds are that you haven't and that's a shame.  Those resources are there to help you (and you've paid for them), so you should be using them.

I need some me time. Please do not disturb.There are also resources on campus to help you when your stressed or when your world seems to be crashing around you.  If you need them, please - please - please use them.  If you don't know what those resources might be, please ask. (Think you have no one to ask, then ask me!)

Yes, there are also fun resources on campus. We tend to get caught up in all the work that needs to be done and forget that relaxation is important.  So do schedule time to walk through a building that you think is interesting or to check out an art exhibit.  Those few moments will help to refuel you.

Ingest more content about the profession.  That includes reading blogs as well as the professional literature, watching videos and presentations, and listening to podcasts.  You might start with:
Of course, these are a few of hundreds of resources available to you!  So explore and find those that challenge your thinking as well as inform you. Develop an informed opinion about the profession and what we do (or should be doing).

If you haven't joined a professional association, do so and then read its discussion lists, blogs, and journals as well as attend its meetings.  (I'm partial to SLA, but you should join whichever you believe will help you reach your goals.)

St. Charles Ave. trolleyYour view of your future depends on where you are sitting.   Where are you sitting?  By yourself? In a group? With movers-n-shaker? With those that are fearful of the future? With those that are innovative and entrepreneurial? Are you in a vehicle that is moving forward, staled, or headed in reverse?  Think about those questions and, if necessary, switch your seat!

Finally, no matter the day or the time, there are people who are supportive of you and your desire to be a librarian (or knowledge professional or information professional or...).  Grad school is a stressful time for everyone, so do reach out to family and friends and allow them to heap words of encouragement on you and maybe a little help to get you through a rough spell (e.g., dinner, a game of cards or help with laundry).  Don't some point, you'll repay their efforts by being there to give them or someone else needed support.  Who might find yourself lending support to a stressed LIS student.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Event: Announcing “Conversants :-) A Participatory Conversation,” a new idea in professional development for challenging economic times

I am part of the group that is organizing this global event. Please read this "call" and think about how you can participate. Everyone who is involved will have a part in shaping Conversants. There is also a video about the event, which you can access at the bottom of this blog post.

Call for Participation and Collaboration:

Announcing “Conversants :-) A Participatory Conversation,” a new idea in professional development for challenging economic times.

We invite you to join the movement to create and share information through worldwide coordinated conversations. Library communities and organizations are uniquely poised to employ the latest collaborative resources; the conversations that result from these collaborations hold great promise for students and practitioners across the information professions. Sharing knowledge and expertise via these collaborative conversations as part of a united effort is both beneficial and necessary, so we invite you lend your voice and join us in this unique event. Become a Conversant!

This effort is spearheaded by R. David Lankes with support from the Information Institute at Syracuse University, librarians and library students.

Theme: Participatory Librarianship

Save the date: Session Proposals are Due April 16th and Ongoing Virtual Sessions will begin April 30th, 2009. A Hybrid Event will take place at ALA in Chicago.

Call for participation:

Virtual sessions will be coordinated through the conference site, but can take place anywhere on the Internet. Blog posts, Second Life presentations, FriendFeed rooms, videos, etc., are all encouraged.

We need participation in the following two areas:

Proposal submissions

We will be soliciting involvement at many levels of participation. Some ways that you can contribute include:

Papers – Traditional long-form papers will be considered for publication in Conversants, an online open-access journal. These papers will use CommentPress to allow participants to comment upon and discuss the paper on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.

Events – We are also seeking time- and/or place-based events that can be archived and shared. Examples might include a SecondLife presentation, which can archived as a streaming video and shared with participants, or a podcast of a workshop or discussion that took place at a physical library.

Cases – Do you have an example of something that you did at your library that worked really well? Or that flopped spectacularly? Share your experience with your fellow Conversants! Creativity in format is encouraged.

Posters – Present your research, tackle an idea or controversial topic, or present conflicting viewpoints of a current event. Everyone is welcome to submit poster proposals, but library students are especially encouraged to participate at this level.

Postings – Blog postings, open Facebook posts, etc., that will carry a conference badge (that links to the conference hub with an associated conversation).

Conversations – All Conversants will be encouraged to participate in the conversations that will be happening throughout the event. In addition, special “water cooler” threaded conversations on a topic or issue of your choosing will be encouraged. Proposals should include an overview of the topic, starter questions, and a core of at least 5 people to seed/start conversation.

Conference Facilitators

In addition to the above, in order to ensure that this global conversation goes smoothly, people are needed to assist the core group in the following ways:

  • Technical support – Assist with the managing the Conversant web site, which will include pointers to the various conversations.
  • Participant support – Create tutorials, pathfinders, publicity, etc.
  • Reviewers – Review and qualify papers and posters.
  • Session moderators – To act as hosts or conversation facilitators.

Please send Proposal submissions and Conference Facilitator offers to:

For Proposal Submission, please include “Proposal for Conversants” in the subject. For Conference Facilitators, please include “Facilitation for Conversants” in the subject.

Introducing Conversants from R. David Lankes on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Syracuse University's School of Information Studies

As you likely know, I teach part-time in Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (also known as the iSchool). Over the course of the last 2+ years, the School has been moving into a newly renovated building called Hinds Hall. The grand opening (or iOpening) will be on May 10 as part of graduation weekend. The local newspaper shot video of the facilities. While the video is showing off the technology that is geared more towards the non-library sciences programs in the School, it is important to realize that all of that technology is also available to the library and information science faculty and students.

Library schools all over are including more technology in their programs. The must -- our libraries contain more technology and the methods that our patrons are using to access information are often reliant on technology. And what would digitization be without technology?

As we engage new professionals in our programs, I think it will be important to look not only at the classes they have taken, etc., but also at the environment they were in. Were they in an environment that really understood and used technology? Were they in an environment that gave only a nod to technology? And what technology was present? We will benefit if the new professionals have been immersed and can use what they have learned to move our programs forward.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

In Memoriam, Ray von Dran, Dean of SU's School of Information Studies

Many in the Syracuse University community were shocked this morning to hear that Dr. Raymond von Dran, Dean of the School of Information Studies, had died suddenly this morning in New York City at New York Presbyterian Hospital. (He had taken ill over the weekend.) Ray leaves behind his wife, Dr. Gisela von Dran, and a daughter, as well as many colleagues and friends.

Ray came to SU in 1995 after being Dean of School of Library and Information Sciences, University of North Texas. In August -- yes, in just a few days -- Ray was stepping down as Dean and was going on a year's sabbatical. After traveling extensively for a year with his wife, he was going to return in August 2008 to SU to teach, do research, and assist with fund-raising activities.

Under Ray's leadership, the School of Information Studies grew and flourished. The number of faculty increased as did the number of students. The number of courses also grew and new Certificates Advance Studies were implemented, including one in digital libraries. Within the last couple of years, the School had moved into a beautifully renovated building on campus, right on the quad (prime real estate).

Ray was a delight. Always smiling...always with a kind word. I last saw him on June 20 on a flight to Washington, D.C. Ray waited for me after we deplaned and we were able to chat for a few minutes as we walked to get our baggage. He was very happy and was so looking forward to his sabbatical. It sounded like the perfect vacation, and now one that he will not be taking.

Ray's death reminds me of two lessons. First, be sure to tell those people around you what they mean to you. Thankfully, at his going away reception in May, I did tell Ray about the positive impact he had on my life. Second, don't put off those things you want to do. Tomorrow may never come.

Related post from Remaining Relevant.

Addendum (7/26/2007): The family is not planning to hold calling hours or a formal service. There will be a memorial service on campus (SU) in September. In the meantime, there will be "Our Sorrowing for Ray von Dran” on July 30 in the I-School at 4 pm. The following day, which would have been Ray's 61st birthday, there will be “A Celebration of Ray’s Life” from 3 - 5 p.m. in Helroy. Both events will allow for memories to be shared and sorrow expressed with each other and the family.

Cards may be sent to the family in care of the I-School (c/o SU School of Information Studies, 343 Hinds Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244)
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