My friend and colleague Laura Pearle and I presented a general session on personal archiving at ALA 2012 (embedded below).  The presentation focused on the basics of personal, scholarly archiving, and was attended by a great mix of librarians!  Some of the initiatives we discussed during the presentation included

MITH (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities)
Muse (email archive visualization program)
Thanks to all who attended!

Yesterday, I presented another session in the series of webinars I have created as part of the Digital Navigator series for area public librarians.  This session focused on the basics of saving important scholarly and personal documents for future access.

Our online group had a terrific discussion about the challenges in accumulating, organizing, curating, and migrating personal information collections.  Some of the resources and initiatives we discussed include:

Archive Team---Archiving endangered web-hosted content
The Library of Congress's Personal Archiving Initiatives---Great resources for disseminating information about the importance of personal archiving in your local community.
Dropbox---A back-up and cloud storage solution
Google Drive--Google's new Dropbox competitor, and a similar service (but with more initial, free space)

The presentation recording is available here, and the slides are available here.  My thanks to everyone who participated in the presentation!
At this year's Personal Digital Archiving conference, I met Mike Ashenfelder from the Library of Congress' Digital Preservation Office.  Mike's presentation on educating users about personal archiving was inspiring.  It gave me so many ideas for my own work, and as a result, I'm doing two presentations (for public and school librarians) in the coming months on helping students learn how to build, manage, share and archive their personal information collections.  The LOC's Digital Preservation Office has some great resources on this subject (did you know you can hold your own Personal Digital Archiving Day?), and I'll be using some of their materials when I present.

At the conference, Mike asked me to contribute a post to the Library of Congress's Signal blog on some of the concepts I covered in my presentation.  I discussed the critical literacies relevant to personal archiving at the conference, and you can see my resulting blog post here.  Thanks to Mike (and his Library of Congress NDIPP colleagues) for this terrific opportunity!
Today marked my second presentation for the Digital Navigator grant:  Exploring iPads and Apps.  This presentation was attended by nearly 30 public librarians from the Central Pennsylvania region.   You can view the session recording here, and the session powerpoint here.

For this presentation, I used Reflection, Mac software that allows mirroring of your iPad 2 / iPhone 4 onto your Mac desktop.  This was wonderful---it let me display and demonstrate the iPad interface within Adobe Connect.  Of course, there were limitations!  Trying to use Jump (remote desktop app) to remote into my laptop, while displaying said iPad on my desktop was just a little too iterative for my computer to handle.  And, if you watch the recording, there were also a few instances where I went into my iPad but forgot to 'share' it with my audience.  Ah well.  Live and learn.

My goal in this workshop was for attendees to understand the general basics of using an iPad, downloading apps, etc..., as well as exploring a few apps for reading, productivity, and education.  I also shared ideas for structuring iPad workshops that help patrons explore the device's possibilities.

Some of the apps we explored include:  Notesy, Notability, iAnnotate, Science360, Khoya (an amazing, interactive digital book), and Annotate PDF.  My thanks to everyone who attended and participated in today's session!
Today marked a reprise of my original webcast on Digital Cameras and Digital Storytelling, as part of the State Library-funded Digital Navigator series I am developing in collaboration with area public librarians.

The presentation itself is located here.  One of the photo editing sites we discussed last fall, Picnik, was bought by Google and is now available as a photo tool within Google+.  This led to an interesting discussion about the half-life of web services in general, and the importance of backing up photos and other materials in more than one place, either on or off the cloud.

As always, if anyone in attendance has questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!  I am already looking forward to our next session in the Digital Navigator series---'Using iPads' on Thursday, March 29 at 1 pm.  Thanks to all who were online for today's session!
I am back from my second year at the Personal Digital Archiving conference---it didn't disappoint!

I participated in a series of presentations with Laura Gurak and John Butler from the University of Minnesota, Smiljana Antonijevic from the Royal Academy of Netherlands, and Cal Lee from UNC-Chapel Hill.  The title of our shared session was, "What's being Lost, What's being Saved: Practices in digital scholarship and personal archiving."  Each of us covered a specific area of personal archiving relevant to academia.  The title of my individual presentation was, "Faculty Member as Microlibrarian:  Critical Literacies for Personal Scholarly Archiving", and can be viewed here.  This presentation really focused more on students (or perhaps scholars of tomorrow) than faculty, and continues on my string of papers and presentations proposing different elements of change for the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, including the inclusion of affective competencies and a greater connection with K-12 learning standards.  We'll see---maybe this will be the year for some nice changes to occur with regard to the Standards!  ;)

The other presentations at the conference were thought-provoking, and creative.  The conference itself is small and attended by a mix of archivists, programmers, researchers, and people working on new start-ups.  This year's conference had more of a focus on the importance and social elements of personal archiving---with less emphasis on the technical aspects (which was great---from my perspective).

Some of the more interesting tools I heard about at the conference include:
Muse---a system for archiving (and contextually searching) your email.  Amazing. 
Pinboard---a bookmarking service---the creator, Maciej Ceglowski, gave two terrific talks.
Findings---Sort of a text-based Pinterest where you can store, organize and share textual clips.

The conference will be at the University of Maryland next year, and I can't recommend it enough.  Great food for thought about the current and future lifespan of online information.
I am participating in a grant, through the PA State Library, to help public librarians gain digital literacies.  This $55K grant provides equipment for the librarians to use in outreach initiatives with their community (iPads, digital cameras, and Mac laptops) and I am providing the training to the librarians on how to get the most out of these tools, for themselves and their patrons.

As a former public librarian, it is always wonderful to have a chance to re-connect with my public library colleagues.  Yesterday's session was the first workshop in the series, and focused on using digital camera photos to create narrative and tell stories.  Forty four area public librarians attended online.  While I am no expert on digital cameras (or photography in general) this was a chance to discuss the educational and social value of digital storytelling.  Thanks to my friend Chris Millet's work, the notion of framing online content creation as a powerful (and sometimes personal) narrative has resonated with me, and informed the design of this workshop.  

The workshop covered the following areas:
--Free tools for editing and optimizing photos
--Navigating online privacy when sharing photos via Facebook, Flickr, Twitter
(this was also a great opportunity to discuss the forthcoming Facebook Timeline interface (which I have on my profile) and how this may re-frame how our users see Facebook as a digital scrapbook / memory storage platform.
--Creating new works with photos (Storify, physical books, etc..., online scrapbooking)

Feedback from our initial workshop was positive, and I'm looking forward to continuing work with this group of dedicated librarians!

For further info, the presentation powerpoint is available here, and the recording of our session is available here.

This has been an incredibly busy semester, and one of the many activities I've participated in includes my first experience co-curating an exhibit.  The exhibit centers on the Benson Political Protest Collection in the Special Collection Library at Penn State, and was collected by one of my favorite professors at Penn State, Dr. Tom Benson.

The collection is available online here, and we are also hoping to bring it to Flickr in the near future, to enable more community-oriented commenting and sharing of the posters.
If you are in the State College area, please join us Tuesday, November 29 at 4 pm. in Foster Auditorium or live on MediaSite at for a gallery talk by Dr. Benson on the collection.

This presentation centers on the Special Collections Library's Benson Political Protest Collection---student-created posters from the late 1960's University of California Berkeley campus. Personally collected by Dr. Benson, these posters capture the tumult of student voice during an incendiary time period and provide food for thought on the rhetoric of more recent student participation in political activism, including the Occupy Movement.   

The gallery talk complements an exhibit featuring political protest art from the Thomas W. Benson Collection, on display from Nov. 18 to Feb. 1, 2012, in the Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library.

For more information, please visit

I hope that you can join us!

Why Isn't Local News More Open?

Cole Camplese, a Bloomsburg, PA native (and Senior Director for Teaching and Learning with Technology here at Penn State) raised an important question on his blog about open access to local news sources.  Cole's family was recently impacted by the severe flooding in Bloomsburg, and he questioned the local newspaper's (the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise) decision to place their content behind a paywall (after several days of free access following the flood.)

Cole and his colleague Darcy Norman both commented on (as Darcy called it), the "cone of silence" over the Bloomsburg flood news.  I remember doing a study of Pennsylvania newspapers by county a few years ago, and this problem (while terribly disheartening) is not unique.  Small, rural newspapers are run by individuals with an eye for profit and little vision towards web-based, open access.  It is unbelievable how inaccessible many small newspapers are.  Every state in the U.S. is dotted with many "cones of silence."  How can we make access to news occurrences in rural areas more equitable and accessible?

I was curious to see if the lack of Bloomsburg news ran to subscription news databases.  Sure enough, it does.  While Access World News provides access to many Pennsylvania newspapers, the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise is not one.  A search in our library catalog turns up nothing as well.  A search of the Bloomsburg Public Library catalog turns up nothing.  Finally, a search of the Bloomsburg University catalog turns up an (old) resource--a project to scan backfiles of the Bloomsburg Daily---an early predecessor of the Press Enterprise, and a record that indicates that the University has access to backfiles of the Press Enterprise on microfilm.

What this tells me is that a researcher studying the recent Bloomsburg flood (and wanting access to local news coverage) would have to travel to Bloomsburg to access the articles.  It's a similar story for any other news events occurring in Bloomsburg, including the 1972 flood.  

I wrote earlier this year about social media as a renaissance for local news.  If the Bloomsburg citizens (present and past) want to share local news in an open manner, they will need to take it upon themselves to build new resources.  In our community,, Onward State, and numerous individuals on Twitter (like Jamie Oberdick's Centre Cast) have done this.  

We can't depend on local news institutions to look any farther than their print subscription proceeds.  They've already proven that they are myopic and doomed to eventual obsolescence.   It's just a matter of time for that.
I upgraded to Lion on my Mac laptop last week.  Very exciting!  Not so exciting was the fact that in upgrading to Lion, I lost access to a few critical, yet dinosaur-like resources---the Oracle calendar client and the Cisco VPN.  I can make do with the Oracle web calendar, but one thing I could not do without was my trusty LIAS-VPN.

My love of the LIAS-VPN is well-founded, my friend.  The LIAS-VPN is just one of the VPN connections that you can choose in the old Cisco VPN client, right alongside ISP to PSU, etc...  The magic in the LIAS-VPN is that it is a simply invaluable tool in helping you authenticate with library databases and other subscription-based resources.  Essentially, the LIAS-VPN is an extra layer of authentication that helps other web services recognize you as a Penn State user, on campus or especially, off-campus.

This is essential when you are using things like WorldCat (which has a whole layer of special services---like request an item automatically via ILL--that only come when you are using it on campus or are connected to the LIAS-VPN.  It ensures that you are always recognized as a Penn State user (which can also help you bypass the need to authenticate repeatedly.)

So you see why I was a little dismayed when I realized that with Lion, I would need to use my built in VPN client, and I did not know how to configure it for the LIAS-VPN.  Essentially, I thought that connection was dead in the water---no more special services on WorldCAT for me.   Oh well.

But thanks to my friend Emily Rimland (and Derek Morr in ITS), I now have the configurations to make the LIAS-VPN work with Lion!  (You knew that was coming, didn't you?)  It works, once again, and I can happily request my ILLs automatically (it populates the ILLiad form for you) through WorldCat.  Happiness.

Here's how to do configure the LIAS-VPN, if you too have installed Lion on your Mac:

Step two:  In your Network Preferences, click on 'Authentication Preferences' and enter LIASVPN (don't forget the all caps) as the group name and LIASVPN as the Shared Secret.

That's all there is to it.  Don't forget to thank me silently in your head the next time you are seamlessly requesting all of those ILLs.