Hello again from the BHL NDSR cohort! It’s hard to believe, but we only have about six weeks left in our residency. We’ve been busy reviewing our research and data to finalize our projects and recommendations for BHL this Fall along with presenting our work. Here are some updates on our recent presentations:
Marissa and Pam here! We had the opportunity to attend the DLF Forum in Pittsburgh, PA at the end of October. Our proposal, “An Evolving Portal: Planning for the Future of the Biodiversity Heritage Library” was accepted into the User Experience Panel session.
Marissa (left) and Pam (right) presenting “An Evolving Portal: Planning for the Future of the Biodiversity Heritage Library” at the DLF Forum 2017.
We joined a great group of presenters sharing about best practices and case studies involving the incorporation of user informed decision-making in digital library projects. Our projects complemented each other with Marissa’s focused on digital library best practices and Pam’s focused on user needs studies. Since one was informed by the other, we were able to share how we collaborated and incorporated both aspects in recommendations for BHL. Marissa explained how issues logged in BHL’s internal tracking system Gemini informed her research into digital library best practices. Pam was able to work with Marissa to integrate some of those topics in her user surveys, and then she could provide Marissa with results from the surveys and Marissa could then incorporate that into her follow-up research.
The DLF Forum was an extremely well-organized and informative conference with many wonderful presentations, and its largest year yet with 650 registrants. We were able to attend some highly engaging panels including topics such as data management strategies, open source programs, metadata projects, and project management. Also, we heard an update from our BHL colleague, Adriana Marroquin, on her work with the BHL Field Notes Project as a part of the CLIR Hidden Collections panel.
Adriana Marroquin at far left in CLIR Hidden Collections panel discussing the BHL Field Notes Project.
Pam also had the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh and attend the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Digital Preservation conference right after DLF Forum as well. DigiPres had an excellent keynote speaker, Eira Tansey, discussing environmental justice and the role of libraries and archives. She gave a thoroughly researched presentation with a focus on environmental issues in Pittsburgh and the importance of record preservation (and therefore record management!) in documenting the environmental issues. She discussed Rachel Carson who was born just a few miles from Pittsburgh and was the author of Silent Spring. Her work led to the ban on DDT and was the catalyst for the modern day environmental movement. Seeing the link between libraries and environmental issues was of unique interest to me having previously worked for an environmental conservation organization. In sharing about Rachel Carson’s work, Tansey gave this quote about the importance of librarians in assisting Carson with her work:
Every writer of a book based on many diverse facts owes much to the skill and helpfulness of librarians. — Rachel Carson
That quote is from Carson’s acknowledgements in Silent Spring where she especially thanked a librarian from the Department of the Interior Library and another from the Library of the National Institutes of Health.
There were several great sessions at DigiPres as well, but I especially enjoyed hearing the DC NDSR cohort share about best practices learned over the course of their residencies that wrapped up in September of this year. As we’re soon to be finishing up our residencies as well, it was reassuring to hear more about the DC cohort’s experiences and how they completed their projects. The title of their presentation “They’re More Like Guidelines: Reflections on Best Practices from New Professionals” was fitting as we too found that the best practice and theory of library school didn’t necessarily translate exactly into how a project should be implemented on the job. The DC cohort, as well as ours, found that it was a very iterative process of discovering what worked best in each unique project and institution to come up with the right solution.
As another deliverable for our NDSR program, we’ve all been working on webinars about our BHL projects including the methodology, case studies, and results of our data analysis and research. Alicia, Katie, and Pam have already presented. You can find links to recordings of their presentations below:
- Alicia – Collections Analysis
- Katie – Transcriptions, Crowdsourcing, and Metadata
- Pam – User Needs Studies
We’ve been receiving some great feedback and really appreciate the interest in our work. Marissa gave her webinar on Digital Library Best Practices earlier this week and a recording will be made available soon. Ari’s webinar on Image Discovery will be next Tuesday, December 5 at 2pm Eastern. You can find out more about the BHL NDSR Webinar Series on the BHL blog! Thanks for following along!
Just a couple more items to share. Katie just recently gave a presentation on the BHL NDSR project at the Best Practices Exchange in Boston. And her and Alicia are headed to the SWIB conference (Semantic Web in Libraries) in Hamburg next week. Watch for an update in the coming weeks!