Category Archives: General information

Conference notes, ALA goings-on, and other miscellaneous items of interest to LITA members

Jobs in Information Technology: April 16

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

Senior Network Administrator,  Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

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

LITA Bylaws Review Underway

Based on conversations at Board meetings, as well as an attempt to fix a number of issues that have arisen over the last 2-3 years (specifically issues around officers and timing of elections) the Bylaws committee has began work on analyzing the LITA Bylaws.

For those of you that are new to LITA, or just haven’t been enthralled by parliamentary process like some of us, the Bylaws are the rules by which the Division operates. The LITA Manual lays out responsibilities and operational issues, but the Bylaws are the rules by which the organization operates. Want to know how to start an IG? That’s in the bylaws.

After discussions within the Bylaws Committee, and examining how such a review of those specific sections relating to elections and officers would need to occur, our conclusion was that a large part of the current issues have been caused by just this sort of partial-rewriting over the years. Because the Bylaws are an interconnected document, we felt like the best way to tackle solutions to the issues presented would be with a comprehensive review, starting at the sections that are most needed, but then following the implications throughout the Bylaws in order to ensure that we cover all possible areas of disagreement.

As a result, we’ve begun this process. Our goals are twofold: to specifically close the holes that we have uncovered over the last few years, but also to compare/contrast our bylaws with those of ALA proper and harmonize them when that makes sense to do so.

Our timeline is to try to review 2 sections of the Bylaws per month, and then review and discuss at monthly meetings to ensure that we all understand what’s been done and agree that the changes are appropriate. We are doing this in a public google doc:

We have just met and discussed our first round of comments and suggested changes…we wanted to test the process before we presented it to both the Board and the membership.

The google doc is open to editing by the Committee, but open to comment by anyone with the link. We would like to have as transparent a process as possible, by asking for commentary and inviting members to follow along as we work our way through a more streamlined set of bylaws. We will also be publicizing our next few meetings and streaming them here on LITABlog so that members can chime in with questions, or just follow our progress.

The goal that we have set for ourselves is to have a draft of the revised bylaws to present to the Board prior to the Annual meeting, with the expectation of discussing issues at that meeting. Assuming the discussion is satisfactory, we’ll then begin the process of moving to to membership for formal review, before putting the Bylaws changes up to vote. There’s a process in, you guessed it, the Bylaws about how this is done. This isn’t going to be something that happens tomorrow; it will likely take most of the rest of 2014 to complete. But I think that at the end we’ll have a set of bylaws that will enable LITA to be a more flexible and nimble division moving forward.

Jobs in Information Technology: March 12

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

Information Systems Coordinator, University of Miami,  Coral Gables, FL

YouMedia Manager, Hartford Public Library,  Hartford, CT

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

A Report on LibHack


What happened at LibHack? Wait, what was LibHack? LibHack was a library hackathon held during ALA Midwinter on Friday, January 24 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections. Organized by the LITA/ALCTS Code Year Interest Group and sponsored by OCLC and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the event featured two separate tracks — one specifically catered to beginners that worked on the OCLC WorldCat Search API, and another track open to beginners and advanced hackers that worked on the DPLA API.

OCLC Track

Of the 55 attendees, there was a 50-50 split between the two tracks. The OCLC track was led by Steve Meyer, Technical Platform Project Manager at OCLC, and several other OCLC staff members were on hand to lend support. Since the track was designed to meet the needs of beginner programmers, Steve led a workshop that used the WorldCat Search API to introduce participants to some of the basics of programming. For example, Steve provided a walkthough of PHP and XML using lesson files, making sure people understood the connection of the code back with the API output.

The OCLC track filled a need within the ALA community for introductory level programming at ALA conferences. Based on the success of the Intro to Python preconference at the 2013 ALA Annual conference in Chicago and data gathered from an initial planning survey gathered by the LibHack organizers (Zach Coble, Emily Flynn, and Chris Strauber) in August 2013, it was clear than many librarians were interested in a more structured learning opportunity. LibHack’s old-fashion, synchronus, face-to-face environment contributed to the OCLC track’s success in teaching participants the basics and helping them to become more comfortable with the challenges of programming.


DPLA Track

The DPLA track, on the other hand, was more loosely organized and was open to all levels of hackers. As with the OCLC track, we were fortunate to have four DPLA staff members on hand to provide guidance and technical assistance. At the beginning of the day, people pitched ideas for projects, and groups quickly formed around those ideas. Some of the projects that were worked on include:

  • WikipeDPLA, by Jake Orlowitz and Eric Phetteplace, a userscript that finds DPLA content and posts relevant links at the top of Wikipedia pages.
  • @HistoricalCats, by Adam Malantonio, a DPLA Twitter bot that retrieves cat-related items in DPLA.
  • #askDPLA Twitter bot, by Tessa Fallon, Simon Hieu Mai, and Coral Sheldon-Hess, replies to tweets using the #askDPLA hashtag with DPLA items.
  • [Exhibit Master 2000[(, by Chad Fennell, Nabil Kashyap, and Chad Nelson, aims to create a simple way for users to create exhibits based on DPLA search terms.
  • Thomas Dukleth, Jenn (Yana) Miller, Allie Verbovetskaya, and Roxanne Shirazi, investigated how to systematically apply rights for DPLA items. While DPLA’s metadata is CC0, the items themselves have a spectrum of rights and reuse rights tied to them, all in free-form metadata fields.
  • VuDL DPLA extension, by Chris Hallberg and David Lacy, created a DPLA extension to VuDL, the open-source digital library package Villanova University develops. The extension can be seen at
  • Other projects included Francis Kayiwa, who started work to apply LCSH subject terms to DPLA items, and Dot Porter and Doug Emery, who worked on integrating DPLA’s medieval holdings with the Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance’s federated search.

Since LibHack was a one day event, many projects were not completed, although some groups made plans to continue working. Chad Fennell and Chad Nelson’s project Exhibit Master 2000 was continued as last weekend’s GLAM Hack Philly. And the project investigating copyright and reuse rights is a long-term DPLA project that will take many more hackathons to complete!

Future Plans

Given the overall success of the event, the Code Year Interest Group is exploring the idea of hosting another LibHack, possibly at the 2014 ALA Annual conference in Las Vegas. If you are interested in organizing or sponsoring, contact

How has LITA made your life awesome? Tell us at #becauseLITA

Are you a member of LITA? Has LITA helped you in any way? Perhaps you’ve taken an online workshop, attended a preconference, read a useful article in LITA’s journal, participated in a conference, expanded your professional network, or even just had fun socializing and interacting with colleagues interested in libraries and technology. If LITA has impacted your job or your career, we want to hear about it!

How has LITA made your life awesome?

Tweet, blog, use instagram, use facebook, make a video, record a sound byte, or use your favorite flavor of social media to share LITA’s impact on you and be sure to include the hashtag #becauseLITA. We are aggregating everything with that hashtag on our Tagboard.

At this upcoming Midwinter Conference, an amazing team of LITA folk have been helping me, Rachel Vacek, your LITA Vice-President, plan the LITA Town Meeting on Monday, January 27th from 8:30-10:00 am in the Convention Center Room 120C. In support of the activity that we’ve planned for the Meeting, we are launching a campaign called #becauseLITA to help focus on the benefits of membership, celebrate our amazing accomplishments as members and leaders within the association, and to share with prospective members how LITA has enriched our lives.

Throughout the conference, and primarily at the Town Meeting, we will be conducting interviews, taking photos, shooting video, and encouraging members to tell stories about how LITA impacts our life and work. We’ll even have #becauseLITA ribbons for your name badge!

If you have a story to tell about how LITA has made YOUR life awesome, there are a few places where we’d love to meet with you:

Thanks to Annie Gaines, Kyle Denlinger, Ayla Stein, Joanna Messer Jordan, and Melody Condron for helping plan and run the activities around the Town Meeting and the #becauseLITA campaign. Thanks also goes to Executive Director Mary Taylor, President Cindi Trainor, and the LITA Board for their ongoing support!

LITA/Library Hi Tech award nominations sought

Nominations are being accepted for the 2014 LITA/Library Hi Tech Award, which is given each year to an individual or institution for outstanding achievement in educating the profession about cutting edge technology through communication in continuing education within the field of library and information technology. Sponsored by the LITA and Library Hi Tech, the award includes a citation of merit and a $1,000 stipend provided by Emerald Group Publishing Limited, publishers of Library Hi Tech. The deadline for nominations is December 2, 2013.

The award, given to either an individual or an institution, may recognize a single seminal work or a body of work created during or continuing into the five years immediately preceding the award year.  The body of work need not be limited to published texts, but can include course plans or actual courses and/or non-print publications such as visual media.  More information and a list of previous winners can be found on the LITA web site in the Awards and Scholarships section.

Currently serving officers and elected officials of LITA, members of the LITA/Library Hi Tech Award Committee, and employees and their immediate family of Emerald Group Publishing are ineligible.

Nominations must include the name(s) of the recipient(s), basis for nomination, and references to the body of work and should be sent to Susan Sharpless Smith, LITA/Library Hi Tech Award Committee chair, at smithss (at)  Electronic submissions are preferred, but print submissions may be sent to Susan Sharpless Smith, Wake Forest University, Z Smith Reynolds Library, 1834 Wake Forest Dr, P O Box 777, Winston Salem, NC 27109-6000.

The award will be presented at the LITA President’s Program during the 2014 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Las Vegas.

About Emerald Group Publishing,

Established in 1967, Emerald Group Publishing is the world’s leading publisher of management research.  In total, Emerald publishes over 700 titles, comprising 200 journals, over 300 books and more than 200 book series as well as an extensive range of online products and services.  Emerald is borht COUNTER and TRANSFER compliant.  The organization is partner of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archive preservation.

For further information, contact Mary Taylor, 312-280-4267.

September ITAL available

The September issue of Information Technology and Libraries is now available, issue contents are listed below. To receive automatic notifications of future issues, please subscribe to ITAL.

Suggestions and feedback are always welcome, please send to:

Bob Gerrity
ITAL Editor
gerrityr (at)

Information Technology and Libraries
Volume 32, Number 3 (September 2013)


Cindi Trainor
President’s Message

Bob Gerrity
Editor’s Comments


Gina Schlesselman-Tarango
Searchable Signatures: Context and the Struggle for Recognition

Social networking sites made possible through Web 2.0 allow for unique user-generated tags called “searchable signatures.”  These tags move beyond the descriptive and act as means for users to assert online individual and group identities.  A study of searchable signatures on the Instagram application demonstrates that these types of tags are valuable not only because they allow for both individuals and groups to engage in what social theorist Axel Honneth calls the struggle for recognition, but also because they provide contextual use data and sociohistorical information so important to the understanding of digital objects.  This article explores how searchable signatures might be used by both patrons and staff in library environments.

Jenny Emanuel
Digital Native Academic Librarians, Technology Skills, and Their Relationship with Technology

A new generation of academic librarians, who are a part of the Millennial Generation born between 1982 and 2001 are now of the age to either be in graduate school or embarking on their careers. This paper, as part of a larger study examining Millennial academic librarians, their career selection, their attitudes, and their technology skills, looks specifically at the technology skills and attitudes towards technology among a group of young librarians and library school students.  The author initially wanted to learn if the increasingly high tech nature of academic librarianship attracted Millennials to the career, but results showed that they had a much more complex relationship with technology than the author assumed.

Kristina L. Southwell and Jacquelyn Slater
An Evaluation of Finding Aid Accessibility for Screen Readers

Since the passage of the American Disabilities Act in 1990 and the coincident growth of the Internet, academic libraries have worked to provide electronic resources and services that are accessible to all patrons. Special collections are increasingly being added to these web-based library resources, and they must meet the same accessibility standards. The recent popularity surge of Web 2.0 technology, social media sites, and mobile devices has brought greater awareness about the challenges faced by those who use assistive technology for visual disabilities. This study examines the screen-reader accessibility of online special collections finding aids at 68 public US colleges and universities in the Association of Research Libraries.

Ping Fu and Moira Fitzgerald
A Comparative Analysis on the Effect of the Chosen ILSes on Systems and Technical Services Staffing Models

This analysis compares how the traditional integrated library system (ILS) and the next-generation ILS may impact system and technical services staffing models at academic libraries. The method used in this analysis is to select two categories of ILSs—two well-established traditional ILSs and three leading next-generation ILSs—and compare them by focusing on two aspects: (1) software architecture and (2) workflows and functionality. The results of the analysis suggest that the next-generation ILS could have substantial implications for library systems and technical staffing models in particular, suggesting that library staffing models could be redesigned and key librarian and staff positions redefined to meet the opportunities and challenges brought on by the next-generation ILS.

Megan Johnson
Usability Test Results for Encore in an Academic Library

This case study gives the results a usability study for the discovery tool Encore Synergy, an Innovative Interfaces product, launched at Appalachian State University Belk Library & Information Commons in January 2013.  Nine of the thirteen participants in the study rated the discovery tool as more user friendly, according to a SUS (Standard Usability Scale) score, than the library’s tabbed search layout, which separated the articles and catalog search.  All of the study’s participants were in favor of switching the interface to the new “one box” search. Several glitches in the implementation were noted and reported to the vendor.  The study results have helped develop Belk library training materials and curricula.  The study will also serve as a benchmark for further usability testing of Encore and Appalachian State Library’s website. This article will be of interest to libraries using Encore Discovery Service, investigating discovery tools, or performing usability studies of other discovery services.

LITA is now accepting program proposals for ALA Annual 2014

The LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC) is now accepting innovative and creative proposals for the 2014 Annual American Library Association Conference.  We’re looking for full day pre-conference ideas as well as 90 minute conference presentations. The focus should be on technology in libraries, whether that’s use of, new ideas for, trends in, or interesting/innovative projects being explored – it’s all for you to propose. In 2013, we received roughly 40 proposals, resulting in 20 great LITA programs at the 2013 Annual Conference, all of which came from contributions like yours. We look forward to hearing the great ideas you will share with us this year.

New ALA Conference Guidelines [June 2012]

  • All divisions are limited to accepting 20 programs each.
  • All programs will be 90 minutes, located in the convention center, and will be recorded.
  • All proposal submissions will need to choose a Conference Track. Please see Appendix A in the Roadmap here ( for more details.
  • Vendors wishing to submit a proposal should partner with a library representative who is using the product. The library/librarian should submit the proposal.

*When/Where is the Conference?*

2014 Annual ALA Conference, Las Vegas, NV: June 26-July 1, 2014

*What kind of topics are we looking for? *

We’re looking for programs that can scale to all library types, inspire technological change and adoption, or/and generally go above and beyond the everyday.

Some successful topics in 2013 included Gamifying Your Library; Makerspaces; MOOCs. Some topics we are interested in are: Data Management & Curation; Responsive Web Design; Homegrown Technology Tools.

*When are proposals due? *

August 25, 2013

*How I do submit a proposal? *

Fill out this form

**Program descriptions should be 75 words or less.

*When will I have an answer? *

The committee will be reviewing proposals after August 25; final decisions will be made in September.

*Do I have to be a member of ALA/LITA/an IG/a committee?*

No! We welcome proposals from anyone who feels they have something to offer regarding library technology. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial support for speakers. Because of the limited number of programs, LITA IGs and Committees will receive preference where two equally well written programs are submitted. Presenters may be asked to combine programs or work with an IG/Committee where similar topics have been proposed.

*Got another question?*

Please feel free to email me (PPC chair) ( and the group will figure it out.

Introduction to Python at ALA Annual (or: awesome = True #ala2013py)

On Friday of ALA 2013, the LITA/ALCTS Library Code Year Interest Group taught about 40 librarians the basics of Python programming at a LITA preconference. Chicago was so excited about this that two million people showed up to celebrate!1

Topics included installing Python; data types; if/then/else statements; for and while loops; variables; lists and dictionaries; modules; and functions. By the end of the day, students were using these concepts to write and modify their own Python programs. If you want more details, or are wondering what these terms mean, you can check out all the course materials.

We also had some lightning talks to showcase real-world applications of Python. The lightning talks were over lunch, which we were able to offer due to generous sponsorship from the Python Software Foundation and PA Farrington Associates. Thank you!

All in all, the day was a fire hose of learning, in a great way. You can read some of co-teacher Eric Phetteplace’s lessons learned, or see the whole day at our Storify. If you blogged/tweeted/Instagrammed/etc. about the event, we’d love for you to post the link here, too.

And we’re not done. Whether you were a preconference student who’s looking for next steps, or an interested observer who wants to get involved, we have ideas and questions for you!

The interest group is planning a hackathon for 2014; go join the Connect group if you want to be a part of making that happen. The Python Software Foundation has lots of local user groups you can join, and the call for proposals for PyCon just went live. And what do you think? Should we offer more courses like this, or courses that build on basic programming skills? What would help you take your next steps?

I’ll leave the summary to one of our amazing students:

1. Or maybe that was something about hockey.