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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#SLA2014 : Closing General Session 

Brandy King  
- Her topic is "Having It All"

  • Those here have a career and not just a job.
  • To be here we've given up commitments.
Our careers are just one part of our busy lives.  50% of our lives are spent a work.  We need work-life balance.  It is fuzzy where work ends and life begins.  You can think of our lives as being divided into three areas: family, career and volunteering.  Some people have clear borders between these areas.  King has blurred the borders of her life. Flexibility has a price and may mean readjusting multiple schedules.  What works for each person will be different.  And priorities will need to reassessed, because things change.  

Having it all means successfully negotiating the borders. Can we arrange our priorities into a fe pew major categories? Can we then define the borders between them?

Josh Maleeff  - His topic is "Virtual Learning/Training"

The training room is becoming less common.  What changed?  Technologies have changed to allow elearning.  If you remove travel, you should save time and money.  With elearning there is the temptation of having other distractions.  Technology can be a great tool for enhancing learning.  With a webinar, keep it small and follow best practices.  For example, engage people regularly (every four minutes).  How do you engage and motivate learners?  Gamification is one option. Two types of gamification: structural and content.

Maleeff noted that our conference badges have game elements (those ribbons). He then pointed to a element on LinkedIn that is a game element and has gotten people to further complete their profiles.  Yes, there are both easy and advanced ways of implementing gaming elements.

Heather Piwowar - from - We cannot be satisfied in how people build on our digital content. We need to build better tools for discover and learning.  We need better infrastructure.

What allowed us to build skyscrapers?  Elevators.  What are the elevators of the information world?  She suggests open borders on our data/information (open licenses, etc.).  It will take a while to understand what we need.

Sarah Glassmeyer - Professional Communication - It is something that we do every day, in words, dress, etc.  People think she's provocative, but really she's a human cat.  She is provocative because she tells the truth.  Truth is a funny thing.  We say that we value it, but we act differently than that.  When you have to speak up and tell the truth, you are disrupting the current status quo of the situation. We must speak up and be honest, if we're going to improve.  

"I just have a bad case of I can't shut the f***-up-itis."

Her rules for her self:
  • Act, not react.
  • It is okay to just drop the mic and just leave.
  • Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean that they are wrong.
  • Own your sh*t.
  • F*ck 'em if they can't take a joke.
Yes, you have emotions and have blood in the game.  And yes, it hurts when people don't get along.

Addendum (6/16/2014): Sarah has posted the text of her talk at

#SLA2014 : SLA Annual Business Meeting

The World (globe / art)
John DiGilio - SLA Treasurer - DiGilio mentioned the diversity of SLA members.  He noted that the sun never sets on SLA,  because we have members around the world.  He reminded us that we are one SLA.  SLA is our home.

Challenges - Protracted period of global instability.  Changes in how our industry world.  

Challenges in balancing revenue and expenses. A decade ago, our revenues were higher than our expenses.  That has changed.  We have had to bring our expenses in line with our shrinking revenues.  We have cut expenses and even staff.  Our staff has helped with this effort.

Our membership has decreased from just under 12000 in 2003 to about 8000 in 2014.  (I believe I notes those numbers correctly.). We need to grow our membership and engage our members.

Our last challenge is our conference.  We rely heavily on having a successful conference financially.  We need to have a conference that is worthy of our attendance.

Opportunities -  We must rise and meet these challenges.  We must turn these trends around.  We must seize the possibilities.  We all must be in this together. 

  • Invest in yourself
  • Invest in SLA
  • Invest in tomorrow
  • Invest in the NEW!
Be the change that you want to see in the industry.

There are many activities occurring to create that change that us needed.

The solution to the puzzle requires involvement from all of us.

Cost is seen as a barrier to greater involvement in SLA.  Rather than seeing SLA as a cost, see involvement in SLA as an investment in our futures.  SLA is an investment in tomorrow.

SLA was founded by a few people in 1909.  It will now take many more people to ensure its future.

Janice Lachance - SLA CEO - More than 360 first timers at this conference.

The first law of any association is that it won't succeed, unless its members succeed.  She thanked us for investing in our own success.  

Lachance recognized and thanks Kate Arnold, Board of Directors, and other volunteer leaders.  She also thanked the 2014 Annual Conference Advisory Council.  Finally, she thanked IHS and LexisNexis, who funded three new conference scholarships.

Our fastest growing chapters are the Arabian and Asian chapters.  Those that live outside the U.S. report being more satisfied with the Association than those inside the U.S.  The member survey showed that most members are planning on renewing their membership and are willing to recommend SLA to others.  The Annual Conference is our highest rated product/service.

This year, the Annual Conference had new elements, including the quick takes and spotlight sessions.  Lachance said that she looks forward to what our feedback will be on those elements.  

We need to take advantage of new technology as we deliver services to our members.  Lachance spoke specifically about the Twitter chats that have occurred this year and the report that was developed by the Financial Times (  Finally, she pointed to the special conference issue of Information Outlook, which is only available in print and is focused on jobs.

Lachance spoke about recruiting new members and developing loyal members.  

The Competencies Task Force was mentioned and the work it is doing to update the competencies, which were last updated in 2003.

Finally she talked about the work that is being done at HQ in Alexandria. Staff has been identifying its strengths and focusing its efforts, including a new format for Information Outlook, new abilities for members to update their membership info, and more.

Kate Arnold - SLA President - She began by recognizing the SLA staff, whose hard work keeps the Association going.  She also thanked the 2013 and 2014 Boards of Directors for the challenges that they have taken on.

Her theme has been "Beyond Borders."  She has been living her theme by visiting members around the world.  Through these visits, she sees the diversity of our members.  What she heard:
  • The need to expand skills sets to include project management
  • Demands for expanded services
  • Doing mor with less
  • Needs to share best practices
  • Need for up to date competencies
  • Information management
  • Need to work globally across time zones
Top concerns from our member survey:
  • Not enough budget
  • Not enough staff
  • Career stagnation
  • Lack of value to our organizations 
Arnold then talked about the decision to put our HQ building on the market.  It could take a year for it to sell. In thinking about the Association's future, there are three things that are important:
  • Value of the information profession 
  • The value of SLA
  • The value of member experience 
Arnold recognized and thanked those that are running for the Board of Directors, pointed out the Nominating Committee, and thanked SLA volunteers.

#SLA2014 : Data Caucus

Elaine Lasda Bergman and Kimberly Silk (@SLAdatacaucus) ran the meeting.

This caucus is new and is now accepting members. Currently the email list is open, but will become closed later this year.

The caucus will want to create a program in the 2015 conference and the group brainstormed a long list of possible topics.  In addition, the group discussed other SLA units that it might partnership with.  Caucuses can have sponsors.  The meeting ended with discussion of how people wanted to communicate and a call for volunteers.  

#SLA2014 : 60 sites in 60 minutes - goes global encore...

Samuel Wiggins, John DiGilio, and Gayle Lynn-Nelson

Because this is a fast-paced session, I have only captured the barest of information.  The full deck will be available next week at
View from the back of the Convention Centre

#SLA2014 : Amy Affelt - The Accidental Data Scientist: A new role for librarians and information professionals 

What is big data? You know it when you see it.

McKinsey: amount of data collected will grow by 40% per year.
15 out of 17 industries will have more data than the information stored in the Library of Congress.

How is the data different?  It is being collected in the background and automatically, as well as being user generated. 

Gartner's five V's:
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety
  • Verification
  • Value
Verification and value are places were information professionals can have a role determining the value is challenging, risky, and expensive.

Cool big data applications...

  • Msft readmissions manager
  • Stanford drug pairings
  • MyAchoo
  • Street bump
  • Xerox ExpressLanes
  • Fixed
  • My magic +
  • RUWT
  • Qcue
We have the skills to work with big data.  We think about things in a critical way.  We should not say "it is easy", but we should work to ensure that our skills are valued. 

Big data busts:
  • Google flu trends
  • Crimson Tide v. Auburn
  • Target "targeted" coupons
  • Lego - did not use big data methods 
  • Boston Marathon Manhunt - did not take a big data approach
Bad big data advice
  • Sketchy citation algorithms - what if the citing article states that the citation is junk?
  • Re-use of data - how do you ensure that the recycled data is clean?
  • Global data sharing - garbage in, garbage out.  How do you prevent garbage in?
We can help people find data and make sure that it is authoritative.
Did you consider alternative data sources?
What biases are inherent in the interpretation?

We'll take it from here:
  • Search
  • Discover
  • Analyze
  • Communicate impact
  • Create deliverables
What's in it for me?
  • Look for big data projects in your industry.  How could you fit into those projects?
  • What are the vexing issues?
  • What is our mission?
  • Set the context to build connections between data points.  Patterns v. Predictions, Coincidence v. Causation
  • Embed into IT and Bog Data teams to provide point of need research
  • Curiosity = high quality
  • Data science v. Data intelligence - not bigdata but better data
Big data communications framework
  • Understand the business platforms
  • Determine impact measurements
  • Discover data available
  • Decide which data is most valuable
  • Formulate hypothesis
  • Communicate the results - what's the story?
How do you get hired as a data scientist? article.  Also...
  • Core competencies
  • Learn totally a story
  • Exercise creativity and curiosity/healthy skepticism 
  • Show up and be ready to learn 
New big data roles
  • Data policy expert 
  • Data release expert  
  • Exit survey on data expert

#SLA2014 : SLA Compentencies Task Force

Overview by Kim Dority:

The last iteration of the competencies were released in 2003 and were aspirational.  Work began by the Task Force in 2012 with looking at what other associations had done.  They also researched what was going on in the world of information and its use.

As corporate libraries closed, some corporate librarians moved into different roles in their organizations.  In other words, those organizations retained their greatest library asset - the person.  People began "integrated librarians."

The goal is to make the competencies relevant for a person's entire career.  They are the competencies that people need to survive in the field.  

We have been used to being in a service mode as librarians.  That no longer is what we need to be doing.  We need to gather information, analyze it, and draw conclusions from it.  We need to be confident in our skills to do this type of work. Thus we need to also have person competences around how we do our work.

What they discovered through their research:

What will we do?
  • Collaboration
  • Decision support
  • Data analysis
  • How to shape questions
Where will we do it?
  • Embedded
  • Integrated
  • Included in strategy debriefing meetings
  • Visualizations
  • need to be part of the decision
  • Evaluating conclusions
  • Combining information and analytical skills
  • Not just information delivery
  • Will need to understand our organizations and their competitive landscape 
Comments by members of the Task Force:

Anne Caputo - when we graduated by library school in California (mid 1970s), there were no library jobs in California.  She interviewed at Lockheed/Dialog and became one of their early employees.  While she didn't know about computers and Boolean logic, she had been a teacher and had been a SILS member of her high school debate team.  What she brought to the job was personal competencies and that is why they hired here.

Chris Vestal - He began coming to the conference while he was still a student, and has been to every conference since then.  Because he work was the same everyday, he has volunteered heavily with SLA.  At work, he has gotten into the habit of doing more in depth reference interviews in order to better understand what his patent examiners need.  Again, personal competencies have been important to him.

Nancy Gershenfeld - As part of a information school, she noted that iSchools are user-centric. They prepare information leaders.  Because of the library market in Seattle, students are instead going into industry.  In conducting focus groups and SWOT analyses, people have said that they need graduates to hit the ground running and to come with skills that existing employees don't have.  Graduates need to be able to tell employers what needs to be done, i.e., to be leaders.  They need to be able to run projects.  They modified their curriculum based on what they heard, which includes a capstone project.  She believes that they have a better balance between theory and practice.  Project management is important.  

From the Q&A:

In response to Mary Ellen Bates question about those that are being attracted to the profession, Caputo said that she believes that when people are admitted to a library science program, they need to be given a realistic expectation.  

Gershenfeld noted that the model of what librarians do in traditional libraries in changing.  Many of the traditional jobs are going to paraprofessionals (paralibrarians).  Those that have traditional jobs have jobs that are changing. The challenge is to go out and recruit the people that fit the model of the librarian of the future.  

Dority teaches a class on alternative career paths for librarians.  Students often don't know what else they can do with their degree.  We need to let people know what jobs are available that are non-traditional.  Information on special library careers needs to be more widely available.

What is the differientator between hiring a librarian and hiring an MBA, for example?  Is our domain represented in the competetencies?

At NIH, librarians run a service to help researchers get published.  As professionals, we cannot be afraid to write.  We need to continue to write after grad school and continue to get better at it.

Librarians see the red thread that weaves through the fabric of information. - quoted by David Shumaker.  Originally said by someone at  UCLA.

How should the competencies be communicated? Toolkit, personas, information on how to create depth in a competency, examples of competency-based resumes, link our conference programs to the competencies....

  • "The Difference" by Scott Page
  • Kim Dority's book, Rethinking Information Work
  • David Shumaker's writings on embedded librarianship

Monday, June 09, 2014

#SLA2014 : Big Data & Job Opportunities Panel

This session was moderated by Jane Dysart.  
Book - The Human Face of Big Data
Promotional video for the book,

Data is the exhaust of our lives.

Amy Affelt (@aainfopro) - Librarians have always worked with data.  Librarians have a role in working with data.  We may not be the programmers.

We could have roles around describing data and helping with its use.

She is writing "The Accidental Data Scientist" (provisional title), which will be out next year.  It can be preordered.  

She mentioned the article  on six big data tools that anyone can use.  See

Daniel Lee (@YankeeInCanada) - small data enthusiast and a big data wannabe.  Need to learn how to scale from small data to big data.

How do you catalogue data at the question level? 

We need the business acumen, a long with the data skills.  Some librarians do have the technology skills that a data scientist needs.

We need to understand the privacy issues.  This could be an area for information professionals.  Professional associations could be providing education around privacy.  

We could also get involved in helping organizations understand the security concerns.

Getting involved in data doesn't necessarily require a huge upfront cost.  There are open source tools.  He notes that our SLA vendor partners have data and data tools. He talked about using data created at an SLA conference through twitter and analyzing it.

Kim Silk (@KimberlySilk) - she is contributing to Amy's book. Her job title is data librarian.  She supports the research team at her institution. There is more than one data librarian at the University of Toronto. One person works with the licensing of data.  They help students with analysis.

It doesn't take a long time for data to get big.  Data can get too big for Excel quickly.  Then you need to use SAS, SPSS, or something else. 

Data is just another media type.  There will be a need for data policy librarians. 

She mentioned "data ferret" as a tool for converting data sets.

She showed a graphic on "Toronto Public Library creates over $1 billion in total economic impact".  The graphic is on page 1 of this report, The tables used to create the graphic are in the appendices of the report.  The graphic is something that could help the community understand the economic impact and would be something that the media could use.  The table uses the market value for equivalent services that libraries provide.  

Visualizing data makes big, hairy information understandable.  Allows you to overlay data.  She described a project in Toronto that surfaced and demonstrated transportation/transit deserts.  A single map can tell you a million things.

Jane Dysart (@jdysart) - mentioned a library that hired a number of data visualization people.   

In order to make decisions using data, we need to be able to understand it.  Visualizations help.

Consider what data would impress your boss.

What skills are needed (from the panel):
  • Coding - scripting languages 
  • Classification (coding, metadata)
  • Data privacy
  • Comfort with technology
  • Ability to understand your data collection (and their subject areas)
  • Sense of curiosity
  • Analysis
  • Can tell the story that the data is telling
Code4lib has job ads for data focused jobs.

Q&A :

Is there a need for backend computer skills or graphic design? - Silk has acquired more of her skills on the job.  Some of the work in her organization (e.g., graphics) are done by other people.  Lee asks why some information professionals are reticent to offer analysis.  It is a hump that we need to get over.

Places to get additional training? - Lee is believes in training himself.  He looks for free tools like Udacity, MIT, Code Academy, MOOCs.  The problem is choosing the training, not finding it.

#SLA2014 : Julie Clegg - Social Media for Investigative Professionals

(I was not able to stay for the entire session.)

Clegg is a former UK police officer both as a uniformed officer and worked undercover.  Then moved into the intelligence unit.  She used what was then the traditional internet.  Has been in candidate since 2004.  She now teaches companies and people to use the internet as an investigative tool. Toddington International teaches internationally and also does project work.

Living in a digital world is our new reality.  How we communicate is different, as is our language and how we look for information.  There is the surface web, the deep web and the dark web.  She is not going to talk about the dark web today.

34% of the global population is using the internet.  Searching the internet means using different language tools.  English is the largest decreasing language on the internet (less than 40%).

How we connect to the internet is changing.  We're accessing the internet through apps, more than any other way.  The internet of things will also affect how we communicate.

Technology change is happening so quickly and we cannot keep up.  Social change is increasing at half the rate of technology change.  Business change occurs at half the rate of social change.  Legislative change occurs at half the rate of business change.  

"The value of a network grows as the square of the number of its user's increase." - Metcalfe's law

Social platforms:
  • Collaboration and crowd sourcing
  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Content communities
  • Social networks
  • Virtual games
  • Virtual worlds 
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.  
Gaming platforms are very valuable in research and investigation. 

Social media categories
  • Internet forums - Google groups, vBulletin discussion boards
  • Blogs - blogger, Wordpress, livejournal, typepad.  The hayday of blogs was 2007.  People may have older information in their blogs that reveals information about their lives. 
  • Microblogs - Twitter, tumblr, weibo
  • Wikis - gamepedia, wikipedia
  • Social networks - qzone, Facebook, etc.
  • Image repositories 
  • Video sharing - daily motion, live leak
  • Ratings - yelp 
  • Social bookmarking - Pinterest. Redding, Fark
  • Space timers - Foursquare
  • Space locators - Yelp
  • Quick timers - Twitter
  • Slow timers - YouTube
Social media building blocks (identity is in the middle of this graphic):
  • Presence -Foursquare 
  • Relationship - Facebook
  • Sharing - YouTube, Twitter 
  • Indentity - LinkedIn 
  • Conversation 
  • Reputation
  • Groups
A tool can relate to multiple building blocks.

Even if you delete something after 2 minutes, it has already left a trail.

People are using social media during crises and even criminals are updating social media during their crimes.  Unknowingly, people help criminals by posting information about what the police are doing. - you can geo-fence a location and then check of postings from that location.  Free tool. - another geo-fencing tool.  You can begin to de-anonymize people based on their postings.

(I look forward to someone else's blog post on this, since I had to leave early.)

Addendum (6/23/2014): LibraryBuzz has a detailed blog post of this session, with images from her slides, available at 

Addendum (9/26/2014): I never added to this blog post about one of the activities that Julie Clegg did during the session, which involved me.  Here is what I wrote on Facebook on June 10:
My Lack of Privacy: I had to leave one conference session early today. A session where the speaker was a former British cop and who had worked undercover for six years. This speaker was talking about how to discover information about people, using social media, that they didn't want found. And I left early. And then I learned that she had done a search of photos related to the conference, come across one of mine, and the told the crowd what type of phone I owned (which is part of the data stored with the photo). I don't know what she tried to locate on my after that. I just know that a cop that had posed as a hooker, when she worked undercover, had tried to out me!
BTW she talked about tools that would allow you to create a geo-fence to limit what you found to a very specific location. She said that she was going to de-anonymize someone during the session. Heaven help the person that she picked!
In response to the comments that friends made - and some were horrified by what had happened - I wrote:
[Clegg] had already talked with us about the tools used in/with social media/internet information, and what information can be gathered. The bottom line is that we all share an inordinate amount of information without knowing it. That was the point of the demo. She had already demonstrated the information that criminals had shared (stupidly) and talked about how that data can be used. I'm not upset at all with her using one of my photos and telling people what type of phone that I own. That is harmless information. I'm sure that she would not have dug real deep publicly. And given her past life, I don't think she would have put any of us in harms way.
Finally, the session was standing room only, with a crowd listening in the hallways. It is hoped that she might speak at another SLA Annual Conference and perhaps do a workshop on how to use the tools.  If she does that, I can imagine another standing room only situation.

#SLA2014 : Monitoring Social Media: Beyond Lurking

Zena Applebaum (@ZappleCI): Social Media - Turning Noise into Action

What are the leading social media tools?

Monitor social media for tone, content frequency, trends.
Put context around what you're looking for and why.
Figure out your key intelligence topic (KIT). The basic categories are:
  • Strategic decisions and actions
  • Early warning topics
  • Descriptions of key players
Is any of the information that you need likely be shared through social media?
Start small and be specific.
  • Get smart before you buy anything
  • Learn each platform's search and monitoring functions
  • Try to start with social medial input into current projects
  • Define a clear collection plan.
Are these social media sites really where people are sharing the information that you will need?

Do remember your ethics, when collecting information through social media.  Know what is ethical.  

Social media sits between primary (interviewing people) and secondary research.  Social media is people talking about stuff, and gathering that information, without talking to them.

Track information and people over time.  Consider tracking information yourself, rather than outsourcing the effort.

For companies, check for official business presence:
  • PR
  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Recruiting
Also following/check individuals:
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Experts
To search Twitter, make a list of search times.  Consider using's advanced search feature, as well as third party applications. 

Consider creating and tracking Twitter lists.

Use to find tweets that have been deleted.

LinkedIn is the more professional place to find people. Contains active discussion groups.  You can track the number of employees that work for a specific company (growing/shrinking).  You may be able to find competitor offices/locations by noting where employees say that they live.

In specific groups,check to see what jobs are being posted.  What type of people are your competitors trying to hire?

There are queries that you can run in LinkedIn for preliminary information, before going to a fee-based service.  Remember that the data is being self-reported and is not verified.

Company profiles have a wealth of detail.  Statistics, hiring, promotions, open positions, culture.

Get to know LinkedIn's advanced search feature. 

Quora is a site for Q&A.  It is built specifically for Q&A, which can make it better than other platforms that allows Q&A. (You may want to search those other sites, too.)
  • Users ask questions and other users answer them.
  • Sometimes industry and company-specific topics.
  • Users vote up their favorite answers.
  • Based on real identities, so you can assess respondents expertise.
  • Follow topics and users of interests.
Use Quora to find out what people are discussing today about your topics of interest.

Slideshare is a great place to find what your competitors are sharing.  (BTW don't put up info in Slideshare that you don't want your competitors to see.)

DYI your analysis by using Excel, but it may take time and effort.  You can also by tools to help you do analysis.

Marie Kaddell (@LibraryFocus): Social Media - track it, monitor it, analyze it

Social media gives you a bigger view.  It expands what you are hearing.  Can hear information from different perspectives. Helps you spot trends.  You can identify thought leaders.

You need to recognize that people use different social media channels.  Who is talking where?

Monitoring social media:
  • - real time social media analysis tool. Provides graphics and other details.  You can receive alerts and download information.
  • TweetDeck - now owned by Twitter ( - you can monitor multiple feeds and hashtags.  Consider following what is being said about your own company.
  • - can monitor several social media sites.  Versatile like a Swiss Army knife.
  • - gathers information from a broad number of resources.  Has an RSS feed and apps.
  • MyYahoo - allows you to create a dashboard.
  • - also allows you to create a dashboard.  Works across platforms.
  • - RSS reader.  A good replacement for iGoogle.  
  • - another dashboard tool
Specific social media sites to check:
Searching social media:
  • - searches across several sites.  Provides some analytics.
  • (meltwater) - search across social media and blogs.  Provides some analytics.
  • - shows you the prolific users of a hashtag and some analytics.
  • - provides some in depth intelligence
  • - can narrow by date/time
  • - for search blogs. No cost to sign up
  • - for searching images.
  • - for images 
  • - advanced image search 
  • iTunes - podcasts, videos 
  • YouTube - 100 hours of new video every minute
  • - videos
  • - videos 
  • - videos 
Make sure that a government social media account is truly a government account.  For example:
  • There is a place on that lists government social media sites.
Note that free tools may be all that you need to use.