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Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Jobs in Information Technology: October 7, 2015

Wed, 2015-10-07 14:18

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week:

Head of Special Collections, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Agile Development: Sprint Retrospective

Wed, 2015-10-07 10:00

In my last two posts I’ve discussed how to carry out sprint review and sprint planning meetings. This month we’ll look at the final component of the sprint boundary process, the sprint retrospective, which is where the team analyzes its inner workings.


The sprint retrospective is an opportunity for the development team to review their performance over the previous sprint, identify strengths and weaknesses, and modify processes to increase productivity and well-being.


The retrospective should take place near the end of the iteration. It usually follows the sprint review, and can be held immediately following, but some sort of boundary should be established (take a short break, change the room, etc.) to make it clear that these are two very different meetings with very different purposes. The length of the meeting will change from sprint to sprint; budget as much time as you think you will need to fully explore team performance. If there isn’t much of substance to discuss, you can always end the meeting early and gain hero status within the team.


This is the most intimate gathering of the three we have looked at so far. No one other than the core iteration team should be present. Select stakeholders (Product Owner, department managers) may be included for some part of the meeting in order to gather feedback on specific issues, but at its core the retrospective should be limited to the people who performed the work during the iteration. Peripheral stakeholders and authority figures can dampen the effectiveness of this meeting.

Meeting Agenda

The “traditional” retrospective agenda consists of a quantitative review of team iteration metrics, followed by each team member answering the following 3 three questions to encourage dialogue:

  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • What can be improved?

That’s as good a place to start as any, but your retrospective’s format should adapt to your team. Such a tightly-formatted agenda may cause some teams to fall into rote, uninspired contribution (“here, let me give you one of each and be done”), while more free-flowing conversations can fail to surface critical issues or avenues for improvement. You will want to provide enough structure to provoke meaningful exchanges, but not so much that it suppresses them. You know your team better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to identify the format that fits best.

The point of the meeting is to get your team into a comfortable critique space where everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts on how to make the development process as efficient and effective as possible. Team members should avoid playing the blame game, but shouldn’t be afraid to point out behavior that detracts from team performance.

Of the three sprint boundary meetings, the retrospective is the hardest one to facilitate: it has the largest qualitative component, and it explores sensitive subjects like team dynamics and team member feelings. This is the meeting that will test a scrum master’s interpersonal and leadership skills the most, but it is also the one that will have the biggest impact on the development environment. When the user stories are flying fast and furious and time is at a premium, it’s easy to think of the retrospective as a luxury that the team may not be able to afford; however, it is crucial for every development team to set aside enough time to thoroughly analyze their own performance and identify the best potential avenues for meaningful and lasting change.

If you want to learn more about sprint retrospective meetings, you can check out the following resources:

I’ll be back next month to discuss how to build an agile organizational culture.

What strategies do you use to make your retrospectives fruitful? How do you encourage team members to be both forthright in their evaluations and open to criticism? How do you keep retrospectives from becoming exercises in finger-pointing and face-saving?

BIS-Sprint-Final-24-06-13-05” image By Birkenkrahe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.

Categories: Library News

LITA Forum Student Registration Rate Available

Tue, 2015-10-06 16:28

2015 LITA Forum
Minneapolis, MN
November 12-15, 2015


LITA is offering a special student registration rate to the 2015 LITA Forum to a limited number of graduate students enrolled in ALA-accredited programs. The Forum will be held November 12-15, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in Minneapolis, MN. To learn more about the Forum, visit .

In exchange for the discounted registration, students will assist the LITA organizers and the Forum presenters with the on-site operations for the Forum. We are anticipating an attendance of 300+ decision makers and implementers of new information technologies in libraries.

The selected students will be expected to attend the full LITA Forum, Friday noon through Saturday noon, but attending during the pre-conferences on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning is not required. They will be assigned a variety of duties, but will be able to attend the Forum programs, which include 3 keynote sessions, approximately 50 concurrent sessions, and 15 poster presentations, as well as many opportunities for social engagement.

The student rate is $180 – half the regular registration rate for LITA members. This rate includes a Friday night reception at the hotel, continental breakfasts, and Saturday lunch.

To apply for the student registration rate, please use and submit this form:

You will be asked to provide the following:

1) Complete contact information including email address,
2) The name of the school you are attending, and
3) 150 word (or less) statement on why you want to attend the LITA Forum

Please complete and submit this form no later than October 17, 2015.

Those selected for the student rate will be notified no later than October 23, 2015.

Check this link for Why Attend?

Categories: Library News

Great Library UX Ideas published at Weave

Fri, 2015-10-02 11:28

Announced today by Matthew Reidsma of Grand Valley State University and Editor-in-Chief of Weave, the Journal Of Library User Experience, the publication of the submissions of the winner and first two runners-up for the 2015 Great Library UX Ideas Under $100.

In June 2015, the LITA’s President, Rachel Vacek, Program Planning Team partnered with Weave to hold a contest for great, affordable UX ideas for libraries. The winner won some fabulous prizes, but the committee had trouble choosing just one of the entries they received for recognition. Therefore they choose a winner and first two runners-up for the 2015 Great Library UX Ideas Under $100.

Congratualations to all the winners:

  • Conny Liegl, Designer for Web, Graphics and UX Robert E. Kennedy Library at California Polytechnic State University
  • Rebecca Blakiston, User Experience Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries
  • Shoshana Mayden, Content Strategist, University of Arizona Libraries
  • Nattawan Wood, Administrative Associate, University of Arizona Libraries
  • Aungelique Rodriguez, Library Communications Student Assistant, University of Arizona Libraries
  • Beau Smith, Usability Testing Student Assistant, University of Arizona Libraries
  • Tao Zhang, Digital User Experience Specialist, Purdue University Libraries
  • Marlen Promann, Graduate Research Assistant, Purdue University Libraries

Weave’s primary purpose is to provide a forum where practitioners of UX in libraries (wherever they are, whatever their job title is) can have discussions that increase and extend our understanding of UX principles and research. This is our primary aim: to improve the practice of UX in libraries, and in the process, to help libraries be better, more relevant, more useful, more accessible places.

For questions or comments related to LITA programs and activities, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

Managing iPads – The Volume Purchase Program

Fri, 2015-10-02 10:00
Photo (c) John Klima

This is part 2 in a series of managing iPads in the library. Part 1 (about the physical process of maintaining devices) was posted back in August. Part 3 (how to manage the software aspect of your devices) will come out next month.

If you’re going to offer iPad services to your patrons—either as a part of programming/instruction or as items they can check out and take home—you’re going to want some way to get apps in bulk. If you’re only looking at free apps then you’ll want to wait for the next post where I talk about how to get apps onto devices. But if you’re going to use pay apps (which is really what you want to do, right?) then read on.

You could set up each iPad individually and add a credit card/gift card to each one and buy apps as you needed them. That might not be too onerous if you’re managing a handful of devices. What if you have more than 20? What if you have hundreds? Then you’ll want a different solution.

Thankfully Apple has a solution called the Volume Purchase Program (VPP). You’ll notice there are two links on that page: one for Education and one for Business. If you’re an academic or school library you can probably use the Education link (you might need to work with some in your finance department to get things set up). If you’re at a public library, like I am, you’ll have to use the Business link. If you’re not sure which you should use Apple defines institutions eligible for the Education program as:

Any K-12 institution or district or any accredited, degree-granting higher institution in the U.S. may apply to participate.

If you qualify for the Education VPP you’ll get discounts on app purchases (typically in volumes of 20 or more) and you’ll also be able to purchase books for classrooms through the iBooks store. Apple has a wonderful guide on how the VPP program works for education. A Business VPP account doesn’t get the discounts that an Education account does but it can still be used to buy apps in bulk and buy books from the iBooks store.

The process of creating the account is roughly the same for either the Education or Business VPP. First, you need to verify that you are authorized to enroll your institution in a VPP account. In my case this involved using a verified email address and then accepting terms and conditions on behalf of my library. It’s more complicated for an Education VPP account and you can read the details on the link above. The Business VPP account has a fairly comprehensive faq for any questions not covered in this post.

After that you create a special Apple id that works as an administrator of the VPP account. This id will only be used to purchase apps/books through the VPP. You can have as many administrators as you want, but I find having only one or two works best so that can better manage how the VPP account is used. I find having too many people working on the same thing ends up with people inadvertently working against each other.

Quick note: if you are a Business VPP user, you cannot set yourself up as tax exempt (assuming you are a tax-exempt institution). All is not lost, however. You can submit your email receipts to Apple to be reimbursed for taxes after you send them your paperwork showing that you are a tax-exempt institution. The process, despite being an extra step, works pretty well. I email my claims to Apple and we get a check for the taxes within a few weeks.

The whole process of creating a VPP account is pretty straightforward*. It makes the whole process of managing multiple iPads/iPhones a lot easier so it’s worth doing. All that’s left at this point is getting your purchased apps onto the devices.

When you buy apps in bulk you’re given a list of redemption codes to download. I use Apple’s Configurator to deploy apps and manage devices. With the release of iOS9 Apple is rolling out Mobile Device Management and I’ll address both of those in the next post. Honestly the VPP is one of the easier pieces of managing multiple iPads but it’s a step you need to take.

Jump in the comments if you have follow-up questions!

* If you run into any problems, contact Apple support. They are super helpful and will get you the answers you need.

Categories: Library News

Creative Commons Crash Course, a LITA webinar

Wed, 2015-09-30 10:00

Attend this interesting and useful LITA webinar:

Creative Commons Crash Course

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Since the first versions were released in 2002, Creative Commons licenses have become an important part of the copyright landscape, particularly for organizations that are interested in freely sharing information and materials. Participants in this 90 minute webinar will learn about the current Creative Commons licenses and how they relate to copyright law.

This webinar will follow up on Carli Spina’s highly popular Ignite Session at the 2015 ALA Mid Winter conference. Carli will explain how to find materials that are Creative Commons-licensed, how to appropriately use such items and how to apply Creative Commons licenses to newly created materials. It will also include demonstrations of some important tools that make use of Creative Commons-licensed media. This program will be useful for librarians interested in instituting a Creative Commons licensing policy at their institutions, as well as those who are interested in finding free media for use in library materials.

Carli Spina

Is the Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian at the Harvard Law School Library. There she is responsible for teaching research and technology classes, as well as working on technology projects and creating online learning objects. She has presented both online and in-person on copyright and technology topics. Carli also offers copyright training and assistance to patrons and staff and maintains a guide to finding and understanding Creative Commons and public domain materials. Prior to becoming a librarian, she worked as an attorney at an international law firm. You can find more information about her work, publications, and presentations at

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.


  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

To tweet or not to tweet: scholarly engagement and Twitter

Wed, 2015-09-30 10:00
by Colleen Simon, via Flickr

I’ve been thinking a lot about scholarly engagement on Twitter lately, especially after reading Bonnie Stewart‘s latest blog post, “The morning after we all became social media gurus.” Based on her research and writing for her thesis, she weighs exactly what we as academic librarians and LIS professionals are getting out of digital scholarly engagement and how we measure that influence in terms of metrics. I’d like to unpack this topic a bit and open it up to a wider reader discussion in the comments section, after the jump!

Debating the merits of networked scholarship via Twitter is a topic that has been bouncing around in journal articles and blog posts for the past 8 years or so. But as notions of scholarly publication and information dissemination change, it’s worth returning to this topic in order to assess how our presence as academic librarians and LIS professionals is changing as well. Addressing social media training in her blog post, Stewart poses the question, “Are the workshops helping…or just making people feel pressured to Do Another Thing in a profession currently swamped by exhortations to do, show, and justify?” I am both a lizard person Millennial and early-career librarian, so navigating through Twitter is easy for me, but not in the sense of establishing myself professionally. I feel that I’ve only just gotten the hang of professional information dissemination, and am learning more every day about how what we as information specialists tweet out reaches others in our community and what we get back from that.

But how do we understand and frame the practical benefits of digital and networked scholarship through Twitter specifically? The amount of times a single tweet is cited? How many followers, retweets, or favorites a professional has?

The pros of using Twitter as a form of scholarly networking are very clear to me – being able to contribute to the conversation in one’s field, creating new professional connections, and having an open venue in which to speak on scholarly matters – to name a few.

But the more tangential aspects are where it gets a lot grayer for me. How do we view ownership of tweets and replies to tweets? Does the citation of a viral tweet hold as much weight as a citation to an article published in a scholarly journal? How do we weigh the importance of scholarly tweets when we sometimes have to parse them out between the pictures of our pets being adorable? (I mean personally I see them as being equally important.)

This is all to say that if and/or when Twitter and other social media venues become a default environment for digital scholarship, should there be more of an effort to incorporate social media and networked scholarship as the norm that all “successful” LIS professionals should be doing, or is this just another signifier of the DIY-style of skill-building that librarianship is experiencing today as Erin Leach has written in her blog post? Should academic institutions be providing more workshops to train and guide professionals to use Twitter as professional development? What is the mark of a truly connected scholar and information specialist? I have a lot of questions.

I’ll round out my post with a quote from Jesse Stommel from his presentation New-form scholarship and the public digital humanities: “It isn’t that a single tweet constitutes scholarship, although in rare cases one might, but rather that Twitter and participatory media more broadly disperses the locus of scholarship, making the work less about scholarly products and more about community presence and engagement.” Community presence and engagement are such important factors in how I see academic librarians, LIS professionals, and information specialists using Twitter and connecting in the field.

So to open this up to you the readers, how do you measure your digital identity as a scholar or professional? How much weight do you give to digital networked scholarship? 

Categories: Library News

It’s a Brave New Workplace

Tue, 2015-09-29 16:08

LITA Blog Readers, I’ve got a new job. For the past month I’ve been getting my sea legs at the University of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Library. As CORC (Coordinator of Online Resources and Collections), my job is supporting data-driven collection decisions and processes. I know, it’s way cool.

M.D. Anderson – Ain’t she a beaut?

I have come to realize that the most challenging aspect of adapting to a new workplace may well be learning new technologies and  adjusting to familiar technologies used in slightly different ways. I’m text mining my own notes for clues and asking a ton of questions, but switching from Trello to Basecamp has been rough.

No, let’s be honest, the most challenging thing has been  navigating the throngs of undergrads on a crowded campus. Before working remotely for years, I worked at small nonprofits, graduated from a teeny, tiny liberal arts college, and grew up in a not-big Midwestern town. You may notice a theme.

No worries, I’m doing fine. The tech is with me.

In upcoming installments of Brave New Workplace I’ll share methods for organization, prioritization, acculturation, and technology adaptation in a new workplace. While I’ll focus on library technologies and applications, I’ll also be turning a tech-focused approach to workplace culture questions. Spoiler alert: I’m going to encourage you to build your own CRM for your coworkers and their technology habits. Be prepared.

And stay tuned! Brave New Workplace will return on October 16th.




Categories: Library News

Teaching Patrons About Privacy, a LITA webinar

Mon, 2015-09-28 14:00

Attend this important new LITA webinar:

Teaching Patrons about Privacy in a World of Pervasive Surveillance: Lessons from the Library Freedom Project

Tuesday October 6, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA and FBI dragnet surveillance, Alison Macrina started the Library Freedom Project as a way to teach other librarians about surveillance, privacy rights, and technology tools that protect privacy. In this 90 minute webinar, she’ll talk about the landscape of surveillance, the work of the LFP, and some strategies you can use to protect yourself and your patrons online. Administrators, instructors, librarians and library staff of all shapes and sizes will learn about the important work of the Library Freedom Project and how they can help their patrons.

Alison’s work for the Library Freedom Project and classes for patrons including tips on teaching patron privacy classes can be found at:

Alison Macrina

Is a librarian, privacy rights activist, and the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative which aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries by teaching librarians and their local communities about surveillance threats, privacy rights and law, and privacy-protecting technology tools to help safeguard digital freedoms. Alison is passionate about connecting surveillance issues to larger global struggles for justice, demystifying privacy and security technologies for ordinary users, and resisting an internet controlled by a handful of intelligence agencies and giant multinational corporations. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s reading.

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.


  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

Triaging Technologies

Mon, 2015-09-28 10:00
Flickr/Etienne Valois, CC BY NC ND

I manage digital services and resources at a small academic library with minimal financial and human resources available. For almost a year, I served as solo librarian for fixing and optimizing the library website, library services platform, electronic resources, workflows, documentation, and other elements of technology management vital to back-end operations and front-end services. Coping with practical limitations and a vast array of responsibilities, I resorted to triage. In triage management, the primary consideration is return on investment (ROI) – how stakeholder benefits measure against time and resources expended to realize those benefits.

Condition Black: The technology must be replaced or phased out because it is dysfunctional and impossible to fix. Into this category fell our website, built with the clunky and unusable Microsoft SharePoint; our laptops running Windows XP and too old to upgrade to a more current operating system; and our technology lending service, for which we had no funds to upgrade the dated technologies on offer. Down the road we might write this last item into the budget or solicit donations from the community, but at the time, the patient was DOA.

Condition Blue: The technology is current, optimal for user needs, and can be left essentially to run itself while library technology managers focus on more urgent priorities. Into this category fell the recently upgraded hardware at one of our campus libraries, as well as LibCal, a study room booking system with faultless performance.

Condition Green: The situation requires monitoring but not immediate intervention, not until higher-order priorities have been addressed. This was the situation with OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS). This LSP offers only limited functionality—scandalously to my mind, subscribers still have to pull many reports via FTP. But the platform is cheap and handles the core functions of circulation, cataloging, and interlibrary loan perfectly. For us, WMS was low-priority.

Condition Yellow: The situation needs to be salvaged and the system sustained, but it is still not quite the top priority. In this category fell the OCLC knowledge base and WorldCat discovery layer, which in Hodges University’s instance experiences incessant link resolution issues and requires constant monitoring and frequent repair tickets to OCLC. A screwy discovery layer impacts users’ ability to access resources as well as creating a frustrating user experience. BUT I decided not to prioritize knowledge base optimization because the methodology was already in place for triaging the crisis. For years my colleagues had been steering students directly toward subject databases in lieu of WorldCat.

Condition Red: The system is in dire need of improvement – this is Priority 1. Into this category fell the library’s content management system, LibGuides. My first priority on taking over web services was to upgrade LibGuides to Version 2, which offers responsive design and superior features, and then to integrate the entire library website within this new-and-improved CMS. I would also argue that internal customer service falls into this category – staff must documentation, training, and other support to do their work well before they can exceed expectations for external customer service. These are the critical priorities.

A few additional points.

1. Library technologists must revisit traige placements periodically and reassess as needed. Movement is the goal – from conditions Red to Blue.

2. Library technologists must eschew using triage as a stopgap measure. Triage is vital to long-range planning in terms of budget allocation, project management, and other responsibilities. Triage is planning.

3. Where each priority is placed in a triage system is contingent on local needs and circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all generalization.

How do you use triage at your library? Is it a useful approach?

Categories: Library News

Understanding Creative Commons Licensing

Fri, 2015-09-25 10:00

Creative Commons (CC) is a public copyright license. What does this mean? It means it allows for free distribution of work that would otherwise be under copyright, providing open access to users. Creative Commons licensing provides both gratis OA licensing and libre OA  licensing (terms coined by Peter Suber). Gratis OA is free to use, libre OA is free to use and free to modify.

How does CC licensing benefit the artist? Well, it allows more flexibility with what they can allow others to do with their work. How does it benefit the user? As a user, you are protected from copyright infringement, as long as you follow the CC license conditions.

CC licenses: in a nutshell with examples

BY – attribution | SA – share alike | NC – non-commercial | ND – no derivs

CC0 – creative commons zero license means this work is in the public domain and you can do whatever you want with it. No attribution is required. This is the easiest license to work with. (example of a CC0 license: Unsplash)

BY – This license means that you can do as you wish with the work but only as long as you provide attribution for the original creator. Works with this type of license can be expanded on and used for commercial use, if the user wishes, as long as attribution is given to the original creator. (example of a CC-BY license: Figshare ; data sets at Figshare are CC0; PLOS)

BY-SA – This license is an attribution licenses and share alike license meaning that all new works based on the original work will carry the same license. (example of a CC-BY-SA license: Arduino)

BY-NC – this license is another attribution license but the user does not have to retain the same licensing terms as the original work. The catch, the user must be using the work non-commercially. (example of a BY-NC license: Ely Ivy from the Free Music Archive)

BY-ND – This license means the work can be shared, commercially or non-commercially, but without change to the original work and attribution/credit must be given. (example of a BY-ND license: Free Software Foundation)

BY-NC-SA – This license combines the share alike and the non-commercial with an attribution requirement. Meaning, the work can be used (with attribution/credit) only if for non-commercial use and any and all new works retain the same BY-NC-SA license. (example of a CC BY-NC-SA: Nursing Clio see footer or MITOpenCourseWare)

BY-NC-ND – This license combines the non-commercial and non-derivative licenses with an attribution requirement. Meaning, you can only use works with this license with attribution/credit for non-commercial use and they cannot be changed from the original work. (example of a BY-NC-ND license: Ted Talk Videos)

Categories: Library News

LITA Forum early bird rates end soon

Thu, 2015-09-24 10:00
LITA and LLAMA Members

There’s still time to register for the 2015 LITA Forum at the early bird rate and save $50
Minneapolis, MN
November 12-15, 2015


LITA Forum early bird rates end September 30, 2015
Register Now!

Join us in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis for the 2015 LITA Forum, a three-day education and networking event featuring 2 preconferences, 3 keynote sessions, more than 55 concurrent sessions and 15 poster presentations. This year including content and planning collaboration with LLAMA.

Why attend the LITA Forum

Check out the report from Melissa Johnson. It details her experience as an attendee, a volunteer, and a presenter. This year, she’s on the planning committee and attending. Melissa says most people don’t know is how action-packed and seriously awesome this years LITA Forum is going to be. Register now to receive the LITA and LLAMA members early bird discount:

  • LITA and LLAMA member early bird rate: $340
  • LITA and LLAMA member regular rate: $390

The LITA Forum is a gathering for technology-minded information professionals, where you can meet with your colleagues involved in new and leading edge technologies in the library and information technology field. Attendees can take advantage of the informal Friday evening reception, networking dinners and other social opportunities to get to know colleagues and speakers and experience the important networking advantages of a smaller conference.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Mx A. Matienzo, Director of Technology for the Digital Public Library of America
  • Carson Block, Carson Block Consulting Inc.
  • Lisa Welchman, President of Digital Governance Solutions at ActiveStandards.

The Preconference Workshops:

  • So You Want to Make a Makerspace: Strategic Leadership to support the Integration of new and disruptive technologies into Libraries: Practical Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Solutions for bringing making, fabrication and content creation to your library.
  • Beyond Web Page Analytics: Using Google tools to assess searcher behavior across web properties.

Comments from past attendees:

“Best conference I’ve been to in terms of practical, usable ideas that I can implement at my library.”
“I get so inspired by the presentations and conversations with colleagues who are dealing with the same sorts of issues that I am.”
“After LITA I return to my institution excited to implement solutions I find here.”
“This is always the most informative conference! It inspires me to develop new programs and plan initiatives.”

Forum Sponsors:

EBSCO, Ex Libris, Optimal Workshop, OCLC, InnovativeBiblioCommons, Springshare, A Book ApartRosenfeld Media and Double Robotics.

Get all the details, register and book a hotel room at the 2015 Forum Web site.

See you in Minneapolis.

Categories: Library News

September Library Tech Roundup

Thu, 2015-09-24 10:00
Image courtesy of Flickr user kalexanderson (CC BY).

Each month, the LITA bloggers share selected library tech links, resources, and ideas that resonated with us. Enjoy – and don’t hesitate to tell us what piqued your interest recently in the comments section!

Brianna M.

Cinthya I.

I’m mixing things up this month and have been reading a lot on…

John K.

Hopefully this isn’t all stuff you’ve all seen already:

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: September 23, 2015

Wed, 2015-09-23 14:39

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week:

Systems and Web Services Librarian, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

A Linked Data Journey: Introduction

Wed, 2015-09-23 10:00

retrieved from Wikipedia, created by Anja Jentzsch and Richard Cyganiak


Linked data. It’s one of the hottest topics in the library community. But what is it really? What does it look like? How will it help? In this series I will seek to demystify the concept and present practical examples and use-cases. Some of the topics I will touch on are:

  • The basics
  • Tools for implementing linked data
  • Interviews with linked data practitioners
  • What can you do to prepare?

In this part one of the series I will give a brief explanation of linked data; then I will attempt to capture your interest by highlighting how linked data can enhance a variety of library services, including cataloging, digital libraries, scholarly data, and reference.

What is Linked Data?

I’m not going to go into the technical detail of linked data, as that isn’t the purpose of this post. If you’re interested in specifics, please, please contact me.

At its core, linked data is an idea. It’s a way of explicitly linking “things” together, particularly on the web. As Tim Berners-Lee put it:

The Semantic Web isn’t just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. With linked data, when you have some of it, you can find other, related, data.

Resource Description Framework is a framework for realizing linked data. It does so by employing triples, which are fundamentally simple (though RDF can become insanely complex), and by uniquely identifying “things” via URIs/URLs when possible. Here is a quick example:

Jacob Shelby schema:worksFor Iowa State University

Behind each of those three “things” is a URL. Graph-wise this comes out to be:

courtesy of W3C’s RDF Validator

This is the basic principle behind linked data. In practice there are a variety of machine-readable languages that are able to employ the RDF model, among them are XML, JSON-LD, TTL, and N-Triples. I won’t go into any specifics, but I encourage you to explore these if you are technologically curious.

What will it be able to do for you?

So, the whole idea of linked data is fine and dandy. But what can it do for you?  Why even bother with it? I am now going to toss around some ways linked data will be able to enhance library services. Linked data isn’t at full capacity yet, but it is rapidly becoming flesh and bone. The more the library community “buys into” linked data and prepares for it, the quicker and more powerful linked data will become. Anywho, here we go.

I should clarify that all of these examples conform to the concept of linked open data. There is such a thing as linked “closed” (private) data.


Right now the traditional cataloging world is full of metadata with textual values (strings) and closed, siloed databases. With linked data it can become a world full of uniquely-identified resources (things) and openly available data.

With linked data catalogers will be able to link to linked data vocabularies (there are already a plethora of linked data vocabularies out there, including the Library of Congress authorities and the Getty vocabularies). For users this will add clarification to personal names and subject headings. For catalogers this will eliminate the need for locally updating authorities when a name/label changes. It will also help alleviate the redundant duplication of data.

Digital Libraries

The “things instead of strings” concept noted above rings true for non-MARC metadata for digital libraries. Digital library staff will be able to link to semantic vocabularies.

Another interesting prospect is that institutions will be able to link metadata to other institutions’ metadata. Why would you do this? Maybe another institution has a digital resource that is closely related with one of yours. Linked data allows this to be done without having to upload another institution’s metadata into a local database; it also allows for metadata provenance to be kept intact (linked data explicitly points back to the resource being described).

Scholarly Data

Linked data will help scholarly data practitioners more easily keep works and data connected to researchers. This can be done by pointing to a researcher’s ORCID ID or VIVO ID as the “creator”. It will also be possible to pull in researcher profile information from linked data services (I believe VIVO is one; I’m not sure about ORCID).


Two words: semantic LibGuides. With linked data, reference librarians would be able to pull in data from other linked data sources such as Wikipedia (actually, DBpedia). This would allow for automatic updates when the source content changes, keeping information up-to-date with little effort on the librarian’s part.

To take this idea to the extreme: what about a consortial LibGuide knowledge base? Institutions could create, share, and reuse LibGuide data that is openly and freely available. The knowledge base would be maintained and developed by the library community, for the public. I recently came across an institution’s LibGuides that are provided via a vendor. To gain access to the LibGuides you had to log in because of vendor restrictions. How lame is that?


Maybe I’m be a little too capricious, but given time, I believe these are all possible. I look forward to continuing this journey in future posts. If you have any questions, ideas, or corrections, feel free to leave them in a comment or contact me directly. Until next time!

Categories: Library News

Personal Digital Archiving – a new LITA web course

Tue, 2015-09-22 13:23

Check out the latest LITA web course:
Personal Digital Archiving for Librarians

Instructor: Melody Condron, Resource Management Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries.

Offered: October 6 – November 11, 2015
A Moodle based web course with asynchronous weekly content lessons, tutorials, assignments, and group discussion.

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Most of us are leading very digital lives. Bank statements, interaction with friends, and photos of your dog are all digital. Even as librarians who value preservation, few of us organize our digital personal lives, let alone back it up or make plans for it. Participants in this 4 week online class will learn how to organize and manage their digital selves. Further, as librarians participants can use what they learn to advocate for better personal data management in others. ‘Train-the-trainer’ resources will be available so that librarians can share these tools and practices with students and patrons in their own libraries after taking this course.


At the end of this course, participants will:

  • Know best practices for handling all of their digital “stuff” with minimum effort
  • Know how to save posts and data from social media sites
  • Understand the basics of file organization, naming, and backup
  • Have a plan for managing & organizing the backlog of existing personal digital material in their lives (including photographs, documents, and correspondence)
  • Be prepared to handle new documents, photos, and other digital material for ongoing access
  • Have the resources to teach others how to better manage their digital lives

Here’s the Course Page

Melody Condron is the Resource Management Coordinator at the University of Houston Libraries. She is responsible for file loading and quality control for the library database (basically she organizes and fixes records for a living). At home, she is the family archivist and recently completed a 20,000+ family photo digitization project. She is also the Chair of the LITA Membership Development Committee (2015-2016).


October 6 – November 11, 2015


  • LITA Member: $135
  • ALA Member: $195
  • Non-member: $260

Technical Requirements:

Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date. The Moodle-developed course site will include weekly new content lessons and is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructor. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. The course web site will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open for 90 days after the end date for students to refer back to course material.

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

Putting Pen to Paper

Fri, 2015-09-18 10:00

Back in January, The Atlantic ran an article on a new device being used at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York City. This device allows museum visitors to become curators of their own collections, saving information about exhibits to their own special account they can access via computer after they leave. This device is called a pen; Robinson Meyer, the article’s author, likens it to a “gray plastic crayon the size of a turkey baster”. I think it’s more like a magic wand.

Courtesy of the Cooper Hewitt Museum website

Not only can you use the pen to save information you think is cool, you can also interact with the museum at large: in the Immersion Room, for example, you can draw a design with your pen and watch it spring to life on the walls around you. In the Process Lab, you use the pen to solve real-life design problems. As Meyer puts it, “The pen does something that countless companies, organizations, archives, and libraries are trying to do: It bridges the digital and the physical.”

The mention of libraries struck me: how could something like the Cooper Hewitt pen be used in your average public library?

The first thing that came to my mind was RFID. In my library, we use RFID to tag and label our materials. There are currently RFID “wands” that, when waved over stacks, can help staff locate books they thought were missing.

But let’s turn that around: give the patron the wand – rather, the pen – and program in a subject they’re looking for…say, do-it-yourself dog grooming. As the patron wanders, the pen is talking with the stacks via RFID asking where those materials would be. Soon the pen vibrates and a small LED light shines on the materials. Eureka!

Or, just as the Cooper Hewitt allows visitors to build their own virtual collection online, we can have patrons build their own virtual libraries. Using the same RFID scanning technology as before, patrons can link items to their library card number that they’ve already borrowed or maybe want to view in the future. It could be a system similar to Goodreads (or maybe even link it to Goodreads itself) or it could be a personal website that only the user – not the library – has access to.

What are some ways you might be able to use this tech in your library system?

Categories: Library News

My Capacity: What Can I Do and What Can I Do Well?

Wed, 2015-09-16 10:00

I like to take on a lot of projects. I love seeing projects come to fruition, and I want to provide the best possible services for my campus community. I think the work we do as librarians is important work.  As I’ve taken on more responsibilities in my current job though I’ve learned I can’t do everything.  I have had to reevaluate the number of things I can accomplish and projects I can support.

Photo by
Darren Tunnicliff. Published under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

Libraries come in all different shapes and sizes. I happen to work at a small library. We are a small staff—3 professional librarians including the director, 2 full-time staff, 1 part-time staff member, and around 10 student workers. I think we do amazing things at my place of employment, but I know we can’t do everything. I would love to be able to do some of the projects I see staff at larger universities working on, but I am learning that I have to be strategic about my projects. Time is a limited resource and I need to use my time wisely to support the campus in the best way possible.

This has been especially true for tech projects. The maintenance, updating, and support needed for technology can be a challenge. Now don’t get me wrong, I love tech and my library does great things with technology, but I have also had to be more strategic as I recognize my capacity does have limits. So with new projects I’ve been asking myself:

  • How does this align with our strategic plan? (I’ve always asked this with new projects, but it is always good to remember)
  • What are top campus community needs?
  • What is the estimated time commitment for a specific project?
  • Can I support this long term?

Some projects are so important that you are going to work on the project no matter what your answers are to these questions. There are also some projects that are not even worth the little bit of capacity they would require.  Figuring out where to focus time and what will be the most beneficial for your community is challenging, but worth it.

How do you decide priorities and time commitments?

Categories: Library News