Category Archives: Professional Development

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


Hi, there, folks. I’m Jennifer Hecker, an archivist who has just joined the TIS team to help out with the development of digital access strategies.

My background in cultural history and archives — American Studies undergrad from UT-Austin, Masters in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Enterprise from UT’s iSchool, and a decade of experience cataloging large (mostly literary) manuscript collections at the Harry Ransom Center and here at UT Libraries — will inform my work to help faculty and staff incorporate our digital collections into their teaching materials and research projects, and to help the library evaluate, select, and implement new technologies and tools.

I have some development experience, but I also have a lot to learn. I’ve made some websites using HTML, CSS, WordPress, and Drupal Gardens, and I have a little experience programming with Ruby on Rails. One of my first priorities in this new role is to get down and dirty with Drupal 7. In 2014, I’ll be using Drupalize.Me to accomplish some online training.

I am also currently leading a team evaluating ArchivesSpace, a new, open source archival management tool, for possible implementation at UT Libraries. We are hoping this new tool can help us, among other things, manage information about our archival collections more efficiently.

In the new year, Dustin Younse (UT Libraries Webmaster) & I will be attending a three-day intensive Islandora training called Islandora Camp, CA at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on these three new tools, so I can better contribute to their deployment and implementation here at UT!

Reflecting on SXSW 2012

I saw a theme of optimism running throughout South By Southwest Interactive this year.  There was a lot of discussion of abundance and how the world is getting better, not worse.  We’ve used technology to increase life expectancy and quality around the globe.  And there’s data to back that up.

SX also seemed more self-aware in 2012.  It was like we were moving up Maslow’s Hierarchy and talking about our emotions and desire for belonging.  I attended a great panel called Why Happiness is the New Currency with the creators of Path, Formspring, and Kiip, three social sites that are moving beyond the Facebook paradigm and making their users’ happiness an explicit business goal.  I also saw a great talk by danah boyd, The Power of Fear in Networked Publics.  She talked about how we live in a culture of fear, which can grow unchecked in the attention economy, which is magnified by social media.  Historically we have always been afraid of new technology and it biases us toward thinking that the new technology of each generation is ruining the young.  The invention of the sewing machine sparked a moral panic because elders worried that women’s purity would be destroyed if they spent all day rubbing their legs up and down together!

In keeping with the theme of making the world a better place, Jennifer Pahlka gave a great keynote on participatory government, civic responsibility, and the ways the SX community can get involved in improving government….from picking up trash and adopting a fire hydrant to joining the Code For America Brigade.

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Kicking off our redesign planning with a webinar

As part of our redesign research efforts, yesterday we watched a an ALA TechSource webinar: 10 Steps to a User-Friendly Website.

I found it to be full of useful, practical information as well as great confirmation that we’re talking about the right things and floating good ideas.

A few takeaways that stood out for me:

Reduce your site. 

  • Our site should be smaller, should not use the “just in case” model of information.  Most of it is noise.
  • The one-pager concept.  Our site can probably not become one page but it can be dramatically reduced.

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