Category: Blog (page 1 of 10)

my experience as a projectCSgirls mentor

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 4.40.22 PM

computer screen showing MIT’s App Inventor 2 in action

I started the year in a bleak place. My personal life had turned upside down and I was struggling to feel okay, much less find joy or meaning or purpose. As the days progressed one of the decisions I made was that I needed to start trying things. I needed to engage with the world instead of hiding myself away. I needed to start saying yes.

Shortly after this realization, maybe a week or two, I went to a women in tech meetup in Madison. One of the women there was a mentor for a local Technovation team. She was looking for a mentor for two middle school teams participating in ProjectCSGIRLS. The idea was that the girls on these teams would work together to build an app using MIT’s Android-based App Inventor. I recognized my moment. I said yes.

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LIS Education Symposium [pt. 2]

LIS ed

with co-panelists Annie Pho (seated) and Micah Vandegrift (virtual)

Part two of my reflections on #LISed15 focuses on my presentation. To read my overall thoughts, go to part one.

I’ll cut to the chase: here are my slides if you’d like to quickly page through them.

I also wanted to annotate them a bit, though, given that they are so driven by visuals that might not be terribly easy to interpret. I should note that our panel was recorded, so obviously that will be the version of record as far as what I actually said. But given the chance to make that delivery more elegant here and now I will gladly take advantage! I’m also going intersperse tweets from the event throughout, my very own haphazardly cobbled together storify. FYI, tweets stolen from the actual legit #LISed15 storify.

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LIS Education Symposium [pt. 1]

LIS Ed organizers

with the amazing #LISed15 organizers, from left to right: Alice Mitchell, Sarah Crissinger, Kate Rojas, Madison Sullivan, Jamie Wittenberg, Sveta Stoytcheva, me!, Nicole Helregel.

This is part one, where I share general thoughts on #LISed15. Check out part two to read through an annotated version of my presentation.

I found out about the LIS Ed Symposium in February, when I was contacted by HLS writer Nicole about participating in a keynote talk aimed at bringing together a handful of Hack Library School alumni, namely Micah, Annie, and myself. When I found out I could duck out early from NADDI I was in! I took Friday off, made the drive to Urbana-Champaign, and arrived that afternoon in time to hear reporting back from some of the unconference sessions as well as Emily Weak from Hiring Librarians.

I am awed that this event was organized by just a crew of students, especially as I reflect back on how in my role as SAA student chapter president in library school I organized our small archives conference. I was totally unoriginal. I followed the template set by student chapters in previous years, which was of course very helpful but probably could have used a bit more attention. For whatever reason, I didn’t feel that I could or should deviate from it, though, or at least I was too lazy to. I can’t quite recall my headspace at the time, I just know I went through the motions and didn’t go beyond the basics. And even though I had this template and an awesome group working with me to make it all happen, I remember how stressful it was to wrangle everything.

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archiving legacy academic work in an institutional repository

In early April, I was lucky enough to be invited to give a talk to the UW Retirement Association, which runs a really great continuing education program. Paul Hedges of the Wisconsin Historical Society extended the invitation and it ended up working out really well – he focused on an overview of best practices for preserving various formats and I specifically talked about options for archiving academic work like research articles. This dipped back into projects I worked on as the Science Data Management Assistant at Indiana University. Nostalgia! How time flies.

The audience was great! I was really happy about the turnout.

My slides are fairly comprehensive. I’m happy to answer any questions about them. If you have experience in this area, please do share!

my job hunt: interview! [pt. 4]


This is the fourth post of a multi-part series where I talk about my job hunt. Read part one (prepping through library school jobs and classes), part two (library school extras), and part three (cover letter & resume/CV).

So we’ve made it this far. The interview! The scary part. Let me share some snippets of my experience.

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ACRL 2015


I loved ACRL 2013 in Indianapolis and it seems a little crazy that ACRL 2015 in Portland, Oregon, has already come and gone! Let me ramble through my conference experience, per usual.

On Wednesday I attended the data management preconference offered by several data management librarians I’ve enjoyed interacting with on Twitter for a while now. Check out #acrldatasvcs for tweets.


Despite my above tweet, the preconference was great! Lots of food for thought, captured adequately in an email I shared with Research Data Services that I’ll share with you as well.

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recent presentations

I am zooming headlong into the fog of library conference season. I’m doubtful that I’ll be anything but on autopilot for the next month and a half, starting this month for ACRL and ending with the LYRASIS eGathering in May. With this in mind I thought I’d share some of the recent talks I’ve given before heading into the next round!

Wayyy back in December I gave a talk at the UW Digital Humanities Research Network, one of the more inspiring groups I’ve found myself involved with on campus.  I never get bored of talking about data management 101. It’s one of those topics that I think gets breezed over because people assume it’s too basic or already known but no – it’s the bread and butter. I’m convinced that everyone, myself included, needs a reminder about these concepts every six months! I was also excited because this was the very first slide deck where I included an image of a scrapbook layout (my data).

Last month my student assistant Elliott and I gave a talk in SLIS about data curation stuff. You know, this talk made me a little sad. We marketed specifically and heavily toward SLIS students and had two show up (plus a librarian and a professor). I mean, SLIS promoted it, Dorothea and Bronwen promoted to their classes; what else can be done? I feel bad griping because we had two students show up and I’m not trying to undervalue their presence. I was just underwhelmed. And can I be real and say I was a little annoyed? I came in with a thousand and one ideas about how I could work with current students, open doors for them the way doors were opened for me… and I’ve found that excitement quashed repeatedly.

Most recently, I presented as part of the RDS Holz brown bag series. This series was dormant for a while but we brought it back this spring. Attendance to these talks, too, has been dire. In particular, I thought that this talk, which brought together an associate university librarian plus two established librarians – would draw a broader audience. Sigh. The slides I link to below are just my portion of the talk on open data; you can find the complete slides in MINDS@UW.

project life CT: february

If there was any doubt that I am a cat lady, the layouts that I submitted for February’s Project Life creative team roundup should clear it up. I opted to create two of my layouts featuring Francine and Magnus, though my trip to Washington DC for OpenCon was ultimately featured by Becky.

I will admit that my PL process changed drastically right around the time that I became a member of this year’s creative team. I fell out of my PL groove a little bit. Sometime this next month I’ll share a little bit more about the whys and hows but for now I’m just happy to say that I love it again. I am taking so many pictures of this spring’s adventures and I can’t wait to share them!

DSC_0876 DSC_0884 DSC_0855 DSC_0865

my job hunt: cover letter & resume / CV [pt. 3]

you are not hot

what your cover letter attempts will tell you every day. don’t believe it.

This is the third post of a multi-part series where I talk about my job hunt. Read part one (prepping through library school jobs and classes) or part two (library school extras).

Giving advice about application materials like cover letters and resumes is tricky business because there’s such a wide variety of valid opinions out there, and of course it’s a topic that has been covered (ha) at length all over the place. I’ve chosen to focus on cover letters specifically because they’re so weird and mysterious and horrible to write, though I also share a bit about my resume/CV.

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my job hunt: library school “extras” [pt. 2]


mtdyb indeed. spotted in detroit.

This is part two in a multi-part series about my job hunt. Read part one here.

I almost didn’t write this post – and in fact had other posts queued up and ready to go – but something was bothering me. I wrote about my library school jobs and classes, yes, but that tells such an incomplete story of the things that I did in library school that affected my job hunt. Here are a few of the things that I so often hear referred to as extras – but I don’t think they’re extras at all. Lemme bring back a throwback phrase from my younger days: “Let’s be real – extras are everything.” (And when you get to your job hunt, they pay dividends.)

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