Category Archives: General information

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

Call for Proposals: Midwinter 2015 Workshops (Chicago, IL January 2015)

The LITA Education Committee is now accepting innovative and creative proposals for workshops to be presented at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago in January. We’re looking for interactive full day workshops on technology in libraries–use of, new ideas for, and trends.

*When/Where is the Conference?*
2015 ALA Midwinter Conference; January 30-February 3, 2015, Chicago, IL
Workshops will be presented on Friday, January 30.

*What kind of topics are we looking for? *
We’re looking for workshops that offer a deeper dive into subjects and provide hands on experience with technology currently being used and emerging in libraries.

Workshops and Preconferences offered recently included:
Strategic Social Media: Creating Library Community Online
Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries
Managing Data: Tools for Plans and Data Scrubbing
Practical Linked Data with Open Source
Web Therapy
Building Web Applications with HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript: An Introduction to HTML5

*When are proposals due? *
August 4, 2014

*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 4, final decisions will be made before 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. If you are submitting a proposal on behalf of an IG, please let us know!

*Got another question?*
Please feel free to email Abigail Goben, LITA Education Chair, at  ( or find me on twitter @hedgielib and the committee will figure it out.

Vegas: not just gambling and shows

As many of you may know, I spend a decent amount of time in Vegas every year as a result of covering CES every January. I really enjoy it, but know that it’s not really for some people…and with tens of thousands of librarians descending on Vegas for ALA Annual, it’s likely that a lot of us won’t enjoy the ever-present gambling or the overly-expensive shows that make Vegas so popular. So I thought I’d point out a few things that I really like about Vegas that don’t revolve around the typical Vegas activities.

Thrill Seekers
If you’re a fan of thrill rides, amusement park style, Vegas has a couple of things for you.

  • The Fremont Street Zipline: A zipline that takes you down the length of the original Vegas Strip, Fremont Street. You can fly above the crowd, surrounded by the neon and LEDs of Freemont Street.
  • Thrill Rides at the Stratosphere: On the top of the Stratosphere hotel, you can ride a rollercoaster that takes you over the edge of the 866 foot tall tower, get shot over 1000 feet into the air, or simply jump off the Tower entirely. Whatever level your adrenaline need, this should take care of it.
  • World Largest Observation Wheel: at 550 feet tall, the newly opened Linq High Roller is the largest Ferris Wheel in the world. Each of the “cars” (actually massive observation pods) can hold 40 people, and the trip all the way around takes over half an hour.

Museum Lovers
Vegas has some of the most unusual museums that you will find anywhere, guaranteed.

  • Pinball Hall of Fame: My favorite place in Vegas, the Pinball Hall of Fame is a non-descript building that has pinball games going back to the 1950s and even earlier, along with modern pinball machines. All the machines are 25-50 cents, and all are playable. The museum is a non-profit, and dedicated to just giving people the opportunity to experience these games as they were designed to be played. Fantastic place, and I highly recommend if you are even remotely into pinball.
  • The Neon Museum: More of a graveyard than museum, still a fascinating look at the art of the neon sign from Vegas past. Beautiful and if you love design and typography, you can take enough pics here for inspiration the rest of your life.
  • The National Atomic Testing Museum: Just what it says on the tin, a museum that is dedicated to the nuclear programs that took place in the desert southwest. Another of my favorite Vegas museums, it’s incredibly well done and full of cool exhibits.

Other Things to See or Do
Here’s a few very random suggestions for other activities. :-)

Other tips for a positive Annual experience: Use the monorail to get around, remember that everything is much farther apart than you think (just navigating the casino inside the hotels can take 10-15 minutes), and be careful in the heat. Have a great time, and I hope to see you in Vegas!

Technology Speed-Dating at ALA Annual in Las Vegas

The LITA/ALCTS Library Code Year Interest Group is hosting a   technology speed-dating event during their session at ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas on Saturday June 28th from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.!

LCY wants you to be a part of the technology speed-dating.

What is technology speed-dating anyway? Part informational, part discussion, completely useful. Several experts will be stationed around the meeting room and talk about a specific topic, software, piece of code, programming language, etc., to attendees for a set amount of time and then they will rotate to a different expert until the time ends. While the LCY IG session is 90 minutes total, the technology speed-dating will be 60 minutes and is meant to be a more casual, conversational, learning experience.

What are you knowledgeable in? Using Python or Ruby, Drupal or WordPress? Have you written a useful script? Can you explain a code snippet to non-techies well? Have you modified a Kinect or some other hardware for library purposes? Sign up to share your knowledge and experiences as an expert for the Library Code Year Interest Group technology speed-dating!

Email LCY Co-Chairs Emily Flynn, emilyflynn (at), or        Chris Strauber, chris.strauber (at), by May 15th with your idea(s) to sign up to be an expert for the technology speed-dating or for more information. Also, please consider telling someone you know going to ALA Annual, and are possibly thinking of right now, who would be a great expert too!

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.

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.