engaging with the profession

Last week I presented and participated in ACRL 2015, the biennial national conference of the Association for College and Research Libraries.  As always, even though I stress out for weeks about my presentations, the ACRL Conference was an incredibly stimulating experience where somehow everything comes together and I learn so much.

This time around, I gave my very first short Contributed Paper, which was about my user study for Emblematica Online:


I also presented a research poster on the Virtual Verse in the Library IMLS project I co-led with Dr. Rachel Fleming May at the University of Tennessee.

Altogether, I have to admit that ACRL conference often ends up as a “mountaintop” experience: I get excited about others’ inspired projects and initiatives, I LOVE catching up with old friends and former students, and the keynote speakers always send our spirits soaring with messages that we academic librarians are the linchpins in the world of knowledge. And then you come back home…. a bit more refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges once again.

I actually didn’t go straight home, though, but rather flew over to Michigan for the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) UnCamp at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  There I met a host of scholars, computer programmers, and librarians who came together to learn about the HTRC’s newest tools and services for data mining content in the HathiTrust Digital Library.  It was an interesting 2 days of discussion and exploration, all with the aim of building up a community of researchers and users around the HTRC.  Hopefully the coming months will see a sustained community around the HTRC, as well as advancements in the tools put out by the HTRC.

In any case, I’m ready to take a break from traveling for the rest of the spring, and instead focus on the final stretch of P&T. . . .

The refreshment of the fall

Hello 1.25 readers, I’m back with a long overdue update. . . . The year of 2014 has been quite a whirlwind of traveling, research, and teaching from Stockholm to Sandycove!  But I’m back in the C-U for the time being and ready to settle in for my favorite season of all, autumn.  Here’s an overview of some of my summer research adventures:

“Libraries and Digital Pedagogy,” given at the Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library conference, College of Charleston:


“The Role of the Librarian in Digital Humanities,” given at 2014 ALA Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada:  


“Digital Humanities and the Academic Librarian,” invited lecture to the HAB Wolfenbuettel, Wolfenbuettel, Germany:


“Enhancing User Services in the Emblematica Online Portal,” paper presented at the 2014 Society for Emblem Studies meeting, Kiel, Germany:  



“Collaborative Digital Pedagogy: Teaching Digital Humanities in the Classrooms through Faculty-Librarian Collaborations,” given at the 2014 IFLA Information Literacy Section Satellite Meeting, Limerick, Ireland:


I’m going to be in my hermit cave of writing this fall, but look forward to working with students and faculty again and exploring new avenues of research!

A June of Thought

I’m sitting in John Wayne Airport at the end of yet another marathon ALA Annual meeting where I gave three presentations in four days.  The first was a tutorial  at the ACRL preconference we organized, “Digital Humanities in Theory and Practice: Tools and Methods for Librarians,” and I taught a tutorial on how to use the web-based text mining tool MONK:

I also gave a brief presentation at the reception/informational session for the Text Creation Partnership about how the EEBO-TCP and ECCO-TCP collections have been invaluable to our faculty and students at Illinois.  Then yesterday, I was a member of a panel for the ACRL Research Program on “Data Curation as a Form of Collaborative Research”:

And the presentation handout is available here.
It was an intense but invigorating weekend:  Librarians and information professionals are eager to be engaged in the digital humanities and all forms of digital scholarship, and at our inaugural ACRL Digital Humanities discussion group, we had a wide-ranging and diverse talk on the ways in which we as librarians can become involved in the digital humanities.  (Keep an eye out for our forthcoming blog. . . . )
Now I have four weeks to pack up my apartment and get a couple articles out the door before I wing my way eastward for the next journey!