Interest Groups News

CMIG & TEDSIG Workshop 6/16/17 Register now!

The Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services Interest Group and the Collection Management Interest Group are happy to announce that we are teaming up for a Summer Workshop!

Technical Services & Collection Management: A Match Made In Heaven will be held on Friday, June 16th 9:30 am-3:00pm at the State Library.

As collections move further into digital spaces, the overlap between collection management and technical services is becoming more pronounced. What issues do these departments share? Where do we run into roadblocks of communication? Where are we going as things like streaming media and open educational resources become increasingly important? These are some of the questions we hope to tackle – and we hope you’ll be there to discuss them with us.

Registration is $30 for ALAO members, $35 for Non-Members

If you have any questions, please contact the chairs of either group. We hope to see you there!

CMIG Co-Chairs:
Calvin Cleary,
Ken Irwin,

TEDSIG Co-Chairs:
Cara Calabrese,
Rich Wisneski,


Support Staff Interest Group (SSIG) 2017 Workshop

The ALAO Spring Support Staff Workshop, “Discover your Superpowers!” had 29 total attendees and went very well. It was on March 15, 2017 at the State Library of Ohio. Participants especially enjoyed the World Café session proctored by Melanie Blau-McDonald, director of SWON Libraries Consortium and Deanna Pina. SSIG received valuable feedback from the evaluations about conference ideas and continuing educational resources for the 2018 Spring Workshop.

New Upcoming Co-Chair for SSIG

Chasity and I are delighted to announce that Jennine Vlach from the Kelvin Smith Library-Case Western Reserve University will be SSIG’s newest co-chair in July.

 2018 Spring Workshop

The ALAO Spring Support Staff Workshop will be at the University of Cincinnati-Clermont College Monday March 12, 2018. The SSIG webpage has been updated to reflect the announcement.

-Chasity Gragg, Co-Chair, SSIG, Ohio University
-Natalie Winland, Co-Chair, SSIG, University of Cincinnati-Clermont College

Scholarly Communications Interest Group (SCIG) Update

The newly formed ALAO Scholarly Communications Interest Group (SCIG) is looking to recruit members of the Ohio library community who have an interest in or work with scholarly communications issues as a regular part of their job responsibilities. Members of this group will work to identify, address, and promote scholarly communications issues that impact libraries and higher education.

The group is being co-chaired by Mark Clemente, the Scholarly Communications Librarian for the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University, and Carla Myers, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications for Miami University. Their contact information as well as additional information about the group can be found here.

SCIG will be holding their first meeting on Thursday July 6, 2017 from 1pm-3:30pm on the Miami University campus. SCIG members are encouraged to attend as are members of ALAO who are simply curious about scholarly communications or are considering joining the group. At this kick-off meeting participants will be discussing the group priorities for the year as well as making plans for a professional development event in the fall.

The registration form for the SCIG meeting can be found here.  A WebEx option will be made available for those who wish to attend virtually.

-Carla Myers, SCIG Co-Chair, Miami University
-Mark Clemente, SCIG Co-Chair, Case Western Reserve University

TEDSIG is accepting Nominations for its “TEDDY” Award

The TEDDY award recognizes Distinguished Service by an ALAO member in the fields of Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services. It recognizes an individual’s significant contributions to the technical, electronic or digital services fields.  Contributions may include service, innovative practices, presentations, publications, and leadership in the profession.  The TEDDY is awarded annually at the ALAO Conference.   The award includes two waivers to a future TEDSIG event and TEDS, the TEDSIG mascot.

Nominees must be current ALAO members, who have worked in or are currently working in an Ohio academic library in the area of technical, electronic, or digital services.

To nominate a colleague, please send an email directly to

Deadline for nominations is August 15, 2017.

Posted in Vol. 36 no. 2 (June 2017) | Tagged | Leave a comment

People & Library News

Cedarville University hires Humanities Librarian

Cedarville University’s Centennial Library is pleased to announce that Kirsten Setzkorn has been hired as Humanities Librarian commencing July 1, 2017.  Kirsten is a 2016 graduate of Kent State University’s MLIS program and has a B.A. in History from Cedarville University (2013).  She has worked at Centennial Library as a student assistant, library intern, and Digital Services Specialist.  The role of Humanities Librarian is a new liaison role designed to provide research support to faculty and students in five departments across the humanities.  Primary responsibilities include coordinating the library’s First Year Instruction program, delivering research and information services as part of the library’s Research Center, and promoting the integration of information literacy and research skills into the humanities curriculum.

-Joshua Michael, Cedarville University

Cleveland Institute of Art News

Laura M. Ponikvar, who was previously the Instructional Services and Image Librarian, is now the Library Director of the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Jessica R. Gund Memorial Library.

Jackie Lagunzad has also joined the library staff as our new Library Assistant.

-Laura M. Ponikvar, The Cleveland Institute of Art

 Ohio State University News

Rocki Strader, Associate Professor in The Ohio State University Libraries Collection Description and Access Department, has been awarded the Music Library Association’s (MLA) Richard S. Hill Award for best article on music librarianship or of a music-bibliographic nature, for her article, “Cataloging Music Sound Recordings in the United States: An Evolution of Practice and Standards,” Notes v. 72 no. 2 (Dec. 2015): 276-327.

As the MLA Publication Awards Committee wrote: “Strader provides historical context and analysis, chronicling bibliographic description of and access to sound recordings from card catalogs to the digital age. She thoroughly addresses the issues surrounding the persistent question of the “unit of catalog” for sound recordings, charting the change in practice over time. Strader’s article is useful to catalogers, researchers, and library educators and contributes to the body of research documenting library history and the development of cataloging standards.”

The project that resulted in this article and award was supported in part by an ALAO Research Grant in 2014.

-Rocki Strader, Ohio State University



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President’s Report

Welcome to spring in Ohio everyone! Here that could mean anything from 6” of snow to 75 degree days and tornado warnings. For ALAO, spring means opportunities for member engagement.

O15513 Kristy McDonald

Krista McDonald

Board elections are fast approaching. The Nominating Committee did a great job of recruiting a terrific slate of candidates this year, and now it’s up to our members to stay engaged and cast their votes. Please watch your email for the election ballot in the coming weeks.

Our Interest Group Co-Chairs have been hard at work planning their annual workshops. Several have opened registration already. Please scroll to the IG section of the newsletter for workshop dates and descriptions as well as registration information where applicable.

The Interest Groups will soon be seeking new Co-Chairs for the 2017-2018 year. These positions are a great way to become involved with ALAO and network with colleagues who have professional interests similar to yours. Watch your email later this spring for announcements describing the role of the Co-Chair and telling you how to volunteer.

Finally, I’d like to encourage our members to join the ALAO Mentoring Program. We are looking for both mentors and mentees. The Professional Development Committee provided details about the program in their section of the newsletter below and provided a link to the sign up form. I have been both a mentor and a mentee in my career and have benefitted greatly from both roles. This is a wonderful way to get support if you are starting your career or find yourself in a new role, and it’s a great way to give back if you are at a more advanced point in your career.

I hope all of you will take advantage of these opportunities to engage with ALAO this spring!

-Krista McDonald, President, Miami University Hamilton

Posted in Vol. 36 no. 1 (March 2017) | Tagged | Leave a comment

Annual Conference Update

Annual Conference Call for Proposals

It’s time to submit proposals for presentations, posters and/or roundtable sessions for ALAO’s annual conference on October 27, 2017 at the Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio.katy-kelly-vice-president

Presentation proposals will be accepted until April 10, 2017. You have a bit more time to submit posters and roundtables: Those are due May 15, 2017. More information and submission guidelines are available on the conference website. Please note that all presenters are responsible for their own registration and travel costs, see the information below regarding the availability of presenter grants.

Think creatively about how your work connects to this year’s conference theme, “Libraries Act, Respond, Transform: The A.R.T. of Empowerment.” Explore how academic libraries and librarians provide resources and initiate programs, partnerships, and policies that empower patrons, staff, and stakeholders while advancing equity and social justice. Remember, small actions in any area of the library can lead to big transformations.

Ideas can include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical Librarianship
  • Nontraditional resources and services
  • Services for and inclusion of diverse populations
  • Collection development trends and models
  • Open Access/Scholarly Communication
  • Programming/Outreach/Marketing
  • Accessibility
  • Leadership, and Mentoring
  • Discovery and Metadata
  • Information Literacy
  • Sustainability

ALAO encourages library support staff and library student growth, career development, and participation in conference activities, and awards two presenter grants, one for support staff and the other for students. These grants (up to $150 each) are intended to assist with the costs incurred in preparing the presentation and modest travel costs associated with the presentation. Additional information will be sent to those who indicate eligibility on their submission forms.

If you have questions, please visit the website or contact Cara Mia Calabrese or Eric Johnson at

Remember to save the dates:

October 26, afternoon: Preconference workshop, details forthcoming.

October 26, evening: OhioLINK’s 25th anniversary social.

October 27: Annual conference.

-Katy Kelly, Vice President/President Elect, University of Dayton

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Past President’s Report

Please watch for the announcement about the ALAO elections in the next few weeks. I feel there is an exciting slate of candidates.

Announcing Innovation Conversations Webinars

In partnership with SWON Libraries, ALAO is very excited to offer new learning opportunities for members. ALAO members and staff at SWON supporting member libraries may attend for free and access recorded archives of the webinars. We plan to offer 3-4 webinars a year as part of a series called “Innovation Conversations.”

Innovation Conversations gives people a chance to hear from and speak with library leaders on hot topics, new trends, or exciting initiatives. The first part of the online meeting will feature a short presentation on the topic that brought this library leader(s) to our attention. The second part is a live interview and Q&A session.

Stay tuned to the “Upcoming Events” section of the ALAO homepage and sign up for the ALAO listerv here for further announcements.

-Brian Gray, Past President, Case Western Reserve University

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AAAS Annual Meeting 2017: report from the ALA Liaison

The American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, held February 16-20, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, focused on “Serving Society through Science Policy.”  Evidence-based science policy has always been essential for a healthy, prosperous, and just society.  Meeting, as we were, just weeks after the inauguration of President Trump and literally on the day that the Senate confirmed climate-change denier Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, sparked a new urgency among conferees to “speak up science.”  Nearly every session I attended, as the American Library Association liaison to AAAS, made mention of the critical need to effectively communicate science research to the public.  Working productively with Congress and federal agencies, amid unease and uncertainty regarding anticipated changes in administrative policies, was a repeated theme.

That unease was brought to the open in the Rally to Stand Up for Science held on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Copley Square.  The rally was not sponsored by AAAS, but hundreds of conference goers left the Hynes Center to march a block north, where scientists, advocates and science enthusiasts listened to speeches and voiced their approval.

Plenary lectures and selected other live-streamed events are archived online, open access, for public perusal.  I highly recommend “The Scientist as Sentinel” by Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming (co-authored with Erik M. Conway).

Beyond the high-profile plenary lectures and rally, there were dozens of symposia – panel sessions of brilliant people, talking about gene editing, climate science, honey bees, social responsibility, implicit bias in STEM education, the perils of newsfeed algorithms in social media, the ability of “super sharers” in Twitter to perpetuate fake news, teaching critical evaluation skills through editing Wikipedia, and a packed session on using Reddit to communicate science directly to the public, to name just a few.  We heard that Reddit is the 7th most popular website in America, that 60% of its traffic comes from mobile devices, and that the majority of Reddit users rely on it as their primary news source.  Scientists in the audience were given a brief tutorial on hosting an effective AMA (Ask Me Anything) on – a platform with 1400 moderators, with strict posting and commenting rules.

AAAS again paid the meeting registration fee for 30 librarians, and I facilitated the session for sponsored librarians and anyone else interested in attending.  We heard presentations from AAAS staff and lightning talks from colleagues.  The slideshow from that session is posted on Slideshare.

The mood at AAAS regarding likely decreases in federal funding for fundamental science research, potential loss of access to science data on federal websites, and perceived threats to scientific integrity in the Trump administration led me to collaborate with Joseph Straw, ALAO Government Relations Liaison, to write a letter in support of science and evidence-based policy from ALAO members to the White House.  As of March 2, 2017, that letter was co-signed by more than 90 members.  The letter, with its signatures, will be sent to the White House on March 6, 2017.

Related news stories

-Alison Ricker, ALAO Procedures Manual Coordinator, Oberlin College

Posted in Vol. 36 no. 1 (March 2017) | Leave a comment

Notes from the Trenches: Anecdotes and Best Practices from the Library World

Adding Theses and Dissertations from OhioLINK to our bepress Digital Commons IR, CORE Scholar

This past summer, 1,443 Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) were uploaded to CORE Scholar. We had talked about adding the ETDs for nearly a year, and decided Summer 2016 was the time for this massive undertaking. Fears of having to download each paper from the OhioLINK ETD Center permeated our thoughts and drove our workflow toward finding a way for automation. I know several schools are eyeing their ETDs for inclusion in their repository, and I hope this short explanation of our process can help those who can’t quite figure out how to undertake such a giant project. Please note, however, that these instructions are specific to a Digital Commons repository. Below is our process:

Step 1 – Request the Metadata

Request the metadata from OhioLINK. It gets sent to you as a massive spreadsheet. There are probably fields you don’t need, and several fields you’ll have to play with to fit your repository’s schema.

Step 2 – Tests

Bepress provides a demo site/sandbox for all Digital Commons users. We were able to figure out a few things using our Demo Site. First, uploading one record at a time, besides being incredibly laborious, would not allow us to simply import the record from the OhioLINK site. However, we were able to import the ETD via a batch upload spreadsheet. This led to our second breakthrough.

Each ETD has a unique identifier, called the Accession Number, which was included in the metadata given to us by OhioLINK. By adding “!etd.send_file?accession=” before the Accession number, and “&disposition=inline” after the Accession number, one has created the direct URL to the document. Luckily, as I said, the batch upload tool in Digital Commons allows for the import of the document. By adding a column with the first part before the Accession Number, and one with the last part after the Accession Number, we were able to merge all three cells to create the direct link to the document. Read, we did not have to download each ETD. We simply needed to merge three columns. That’s it.

Step 3 – Metadata cleanup

This past spring, a volunteer came to us seeking experience working with Institutional Repositories. She was a huge help in the metadata cleanup process. Capitalizing titles, merging columns, adding consistent keywords, disciplines, department names, etc. We downloaded ASAP Utilities, a wonderful add-in for Microsoft Excel, which helped her accomplish a large chunk of the cleanup quickly and concisely.

Our volunteer left in April, putting this project on hold until June. In the meantime, we investigated OpenRefine. Using OpenRefine for this project was a lifesaver. It detects duplicates, clusters information to find inconsistencies, has a plethora of faceting and editing tools, and is an all-around powerful software for data cleanup. I’m nowhere near an expert, and have yet to completely implement all of OpenRefine’s tools, but what I did use was incredibly helpful both in speed and consistency of data.

Step 4 – Uploading

It was time to actually push the upload of our ETDs. Early on, we had decided that our ETDs would go into one container, and would then be sorted by department into smaller collections. This made the upload process that much easier.

I ran into two snags during the upload process. First, DON’T TRY TO UPLOAD 1443 RECORDS AT ONCE. That is a terrible idea. After learning my lesson, I uploaded the records in batches of 100. This helped speed up the process, and if I got an error, it was much easier to fix. Second, Digital Commons does not allow HTML entities in the Title or Abstract fields in a batch upload. And we had A LOT of HTML entities. Thankfully, find and replace took care of most of that cleanup.

I am confident that adding our Theses and Dissertations to CORE Scholar has increased the visibility of the ETDs and has highlighted the unique research being performed at Wright State University. To date, the ETDs have been downloaded over 23,000 times.

If you have any questions about our workflow, CORE Scholar, the ETDs, etc., please don’t hesitate to contact me.

-Elisabeth Shook, Second Year Board Member, Wright State University

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