Educating the 21st century librarian

Funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant , our new digital library fellows have been tracking their progress with a suitably 21st century learning tool: the blog. During the next two years of their program, these students will be blogging their way through a series of half-time clinical rotations in various departments and programs around campus. The four fellows who have chosen to start their work projects in DLS will learn how to build a digital collection from the ground up: from artifact selection to production to collection launch and promotion. By documenting their experiences online, they’ll be better able to articulate what they’ve learned, while also creating a record to help current and future students navigate their way through similar situations.

We encourage you to bookmark the sites below and enjoy vicariously as our intrepid fellows battle forces like scope creep, copyright restrictions, and obsolete AV formats on their paths to becoming digital librarians.

— Jen Wolfe
Metadata Librarian

Student: Shawn Averkamp
Project: African American women students at The University of Iowa, 1900-1950
Blog: Digital Library Seminar
“I learned from Wikipedia that scope creep ‘refers to uncontrolled changes in a project’s scope. This phenomenon can occur when the scope of a project is not properly defined, documented, or controlled. It is generally considered a negative occurrence to be avoided.’ Over the course of the next week, I would learn how easily scope creep could, uh, creep into a digital library project.”

Student: Jane Monson
Project: Recipe pamphlets in the Chef Louis Szathmary Collection of Culinary Arts
Blog: Notes From the Library
“Now begins the time consuming task of poring over the thousands of pamphlets, in search of the most interesting and informative ones to include. It feels a little like digging through a treasure chest. I was very excited about a Wrigley Spearmint gum pamphlet from 1915, which features a ‘spear-man’ reciting nursery rhymes. I’m trying to muster the same enthusiasm for the kitschy ads of the 50s and 60s…they’re less unique, and I’m easily distracted by more arcane products like the Air-O-Mix ‘Whip All’ food aerator (which, according to early 20th century experts, makes food somehow magically more nutritious).”

Student: Bryan Stusse
Project: Artists’ Television Network
Blog: IMLS Fellowship
“The most significant problem facing this project is that of copyright. I searched to print materials associated with this collection for a few days and finally came across some University of Iowa documents from when the collection was being built and funding secured stating that artists would retain all copyrights unless otherwise noted on the tapes. I did find release waivers from Gregory Battcock and Steven Poser, who were involved in discussions and interviews. Basically this means I will need to start contacting artists directly for reproduction rights.”

Student: Jill Wehrheim
Projects: Iowa Civil War Diaries; Iowa Railroad Depots
Blog: Jill’s Weblog
“The biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far (besides being from Illinois and having to take a little extra time learning about towns and counties in Iowa) has been figuring out where towns are that are not on current maps. Of the approximate 60 photos of depots in Dallas County, there are about 10 towns with depot pictures that are not on current maps. Although this makes my task harder and take longer, I have enjoyed the challenge of tracking down where the depots once existed.”