Meet Kristin Sullivan- the new UX GRA

Hi all! I’m Kristin Sullivan, the new User Experience GRA with TIS. I recently wrapped up my first year in the Information Studies Master’s program at the UT iSchool. Prior to joining TIS, you could find me working as a teaching assistant (or Purple Shirt) in the iSchool’s IT Lab.

A bit about me: I majored in history and environmental sciences at the University of Vermont In Burlington. Following completion of my undergrad degree, I started to gradually move southward. I worked in a bookstore in NJ and then moved on to work with the Free Library of Philadelphia in their digital resources department. With the Free Library, I managed a computer hotspot that provided resource access and digital literacy training to community members. After almost a year of working with the Free Library, I decided to apply for graduate programs in information science and ended up enrolling in the UT iSchool.

I found my way into the world of UX through the iSchool. Initially interested in building upon my knowledge of web development, I enrolled in the more user experience focused courses offered through the program, such as information architecture and usability. I also used my time as a lab teaching assistant to increase my own technical skills in these areas and to teach others how to use design software programs through one-on-one instruction, tutorials and short courses. Currently, I’m trying to soak up all the UX knowledge that I can and apply user-oriented design to the projects that I work on.

I’m excited to join TIS this summer and work on UX for a library site. I am currently helping to wrap up work on the Geology branch site and implement the guidelines that the very talented, previous GRA, Stefanie Roberts established. Through this position, I am excited to get more hands-on design and user-testing experience. I also would like to build upon my previous teaching experience to create UX-oriented tutorials for TIS and contribute to the TISandboxes.

When I’m not around TIS, I will be working 10 hrs in the IT lab (at least for this summer), taking a summer class at the iSchool, and co-directing the student groups UT Association for Information Science & Technology and Advocating for Women in Technology. As for outside of the UT scope, I like to go on social bike rides and try to do the fun things in Austin.

Harvard & M.I.T. sued over lack of captions

The importance of educational media accessibility is in the spotlight, as lawsuits against both Harvard and M.I.T. were filed by the National Deaf Association last week. The lawsuits are over the failure of the two schools to adequately caption their online learning content. This content includes various video and audio material, including online lectures and podcasts.

New York Times article link

This should be an informative legal proceeding and one to keep an eye on. It may impact interpretation and enforcement of already existing laws that relate to electronic media access like ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, especially as online learning increases in higher education.

Here at UT, we’re very concerned with accessibility and are proud of the efforts made to caption campus media. However, even with significant progress made thus far, there’s more to be done. These lawsuits emphasize the importance of our university’s efforts to level the playing field and provide access to the benefits of online learning to everyone.

Students captioning
Two student-workers captioning video content at the University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

If you are a content owner and have questions or need captions please contact me or visit our site for more info.

Daniel Jacobs –







Digital Humanities/Scholarship Updates

Survey overview

Last fall we conducted an internal survey of staff to find out what kinds of digital scholarship activities are happening around the Libraries and what kinds of requests folks are getting from faculty, students & staff. The survey has been analyzed and it indicated that a wide range of activities are already happening in the Libraries, but that many scholarly needs are still not being met. This is primarily due to a lack of resources and established workflows.

Jean Fusoris planispheric astrolabe in Putnam Gallery
Jean Fusoris planispheric astrolabe in Putnam Gallery By Sage Ross (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Medievalist metadata workshop

On May 11-12, 2015, UT Libraries will host a CLIR-Mellon-sponsored workshop, “Linking the Middle Ages,” which will pull together an expert group of medieval scholars and librarians. The goals of the workshop are:

  • A clear definition of medievalists’ scholarly and technological needs.
  • A clear definition of the scholarly and technological limits and parameters of what is possible to achieve.
  • Come to an agreement about a set of vocabularies that define basic/essential medieval data fields.
  • Come to an agreement about Linked Data formats and common reference points (e.g. what gazetteers to use), and get feedback on ways to represent those data sets online so that they can be connected to each other via reused APIs.


TxDHC’s “Introduction to OpenRefine” webinar

Jennifer Hecker recently collaborated with Liz Grumbach of Texas A&M University’s Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture to present the first training webinar in what we hope will become a series coordinated by the newly-formed Texas Digital Humanities Consortium. The session offered an overview of the “tool for working with messy data” and a live demo. If you missed it, check out this blog post, where you can access the slides, sample data set, and a recording of the webcast.


Next DH/DS meetup

If you’re interested in this digital humanities/scholarship stuff, this month’s campus-wide meetup will be from 4-6pm on March 3rd at the Cactus Cafe in the Student Union Building here on campus. Join us!

What are digital humanities & digital scholarship? brown-bag feedback

I thought I’d share a couple of themes that emerged while I was reading through the survey responses from yesterday’s brown-bag.

First, a number of people were relieved to know that they aren’t alone in struggling with some of these topics – especially what is and isn’t digital humanities and how it is different from digital scholarship.

A number of participants think this is exciting and important work, and that the Libraries should be talking about what our role is and how we can catch up with what our many peers are doing and become more involved in what is already going on here at UT.

Several other participants were interested to learn how much knowledge and expertise the Libraries already has scattered throughout the staff.

In our short time, not everyone’s questions were addressed. For example, one respondent left unclear about how digital scholarship work fits into the Library’s responsibilities. [Ed. Note: I’d answer that many parts of the scholarship lifecycle have always been and continue to be part of library work, including preservation of and increasing access to information, whether analog or digital.]

UT digital humanities & digital scholarship meetup at the Dog & Duck Pub
UT digital humanities & digital scholarship meetup at the Dog & Duck Pub (RIP), Fall 2014.

If you are interested in joining in the DH/DS conversation at UT, consider joining the Digital Humanities Discussion List. Since last fall, monthly networking meetups have been providing a space for folks involved in or curious about DH/DS work to come together. Collaborations have already been born there and, as I think about the Library’s role, I’ve found it very helpful to hear what’s already happening around campus and what challenges students and faculty are facing. The next one is 4-6pm on February 5th at the Hole in the Wall / East Side King. Join us!

Fall Conference Roundup

The Library Staff Council presented a wonderful Fall Conference Roundup today and several of our colleagues discussed conferences they attended in 2014. For my part, I focused on two of the more unusual conferences I attended last year. Here’s some selected information about these two conferences:

Attendees of the 2014 Zine Librarians (un)Conference at Duke University in July.
Attendees of the 2014 Zine Librarians (un)Conference at Duke University in July.

Zine Librarians (un)Conference

Digital Frontiers

What are digital humanities and digital scholarship?

sticky notes with questions from the brown-bag
At the beginning of the brown-bag, participants were encouraged to write on a sticky note a) what are you expecting &/or hoping for today, b) what you think of when someone says “digital humanities” or “digital scholarship”, and then post it on the whiteboard at the front of the room.


Today, we had a lively & well-attended lunchtime discussion exploring digital humanities and digital scholarship. We looked at some examples of DH/DS projects and then discussed some of the questions folks had like

  • What’s the difference between digital humanities and digital scholarship?
  • What about open access and copyright?
  • Can you talk about DH/DS without using jargon?
  • What is and isn’t digital scholarship?

Here are some links to some of the projects and resources we looked at, along with some additional information to help you continue exploring the topic:

project examples

text analyis


GeoHumanities (maps)

network graphs


examples of academic “centers” of varying scope

toolboxes, training, participation

more information

Introducing TISandbox

This fall, TIS started a new thing we’re calling TISandbox. Every Friday afternoon, anyone who has the time and inclination meets in our conference room and explores a technology topic that we don’t have an opportunity to explore in the normal course of our work. Sometimes the topic is familiar to someone in the group & they lead the session, but sometimes we all explore an unknown area together. In the spring, we plan to invite the Libraries staff to join us occasionally, so keep an eye out for an invitation. So far, we’ve had seven Sandboxes. Here is a list of them, along with links to some of the resources we used/explored/identified for a couple of the sessions. The lists were intended as jumping-off points, so we may not have actually explored every link during the actual session. Additionally, they aren’t comprehensive, and they shouldn’t be taken as endorsements of any kind, but we thought we’d go ahead and share anyway. October 17: Open Refine October 24: Open Street Map November 7: November 14: software versioning

November 21: exploring the Geology ETD data set with Open Refine December 5: text analysis tools December 12: wireframing tools