October 22, 2015

Make it Matter @ #NCLA15

I've been very involved in the North Carolina Library Association 61st Biennial Conference, and I've been able to collaborate with my colleagues and students at UNC's School of Media & Journalism as part of that involvement.

I served as chair of the publicity committee, which involved all aspects of promotion for the conference. To start with, I asked two MEJO design students to create the conference logo, which was used on all of our material and on our conference bags:

Thanks, Katie King & Camille Romac-Gullo!

Katie King also designed our program and pre-conference brochure, and both look terrific.

I've also worked to promote the conference on social media and other methods -- and filled in content for the pre-conference brochure. Fortunately, my awesome colleague April Everett from the Rowan County Public Library filled in all the content for the final program. Follow the conference tweets at #ncla15.

At the conference, I collaborated with two colleagues from the Durham County Library to present a three-hour pre-conference session discussing the use of social media in libraries.  We primarily talked about using Twitter and Facebook (DurhamCountyLib is awesome on Twitter), and we covered issues such as content, social media clients, and control & coordination of the accounts. We also talked about social media policies, visibility, and analytics -- and we ended with a brief discussion of the other social media tools we use.

We created a guide with notes and links from the session: Social Media Hacks: Tips & Conversation for Enhancing Social Media Use in Libraries - and we had a great time talking to academic and public library colleagues across the state about using social media.

Finally, I had a poster session presenting results of my research with MEJO professor Jim Hefner: Does Forcing Students to Ask for Help Work? Assessing the Effect of REQUIRING Term Paper Consults The short answer is: YES, forcing students to ask for library help does work. See my earlier post Requiring Students to Meet with a Librarian for more details of that research.
Stephanie discusses the results with Brigitte Blanton, director of Greensboro Public Library.

It's been a great conference, and I'm thrilled to incorporate so much of my daily work into the association and the conference.

August 19, 2015

AP Videos - free! online!

The Associated Press has just uploaded "one million minutes of historical footage" to YouTube! It's an impressive collection.  Check it out on YouTube, or read their July 2015 press release AP makes one million minutes of historical footage available on YouTube; they say there will be over 550,000 videos from 1895 to present.

If you're a librarian or a search geek, however, you might want to head on over to the AP Archive page at http://www.aparchive.com/ which offers more search and browsing options. The search box is decent, permitting quotes and Boolean operators. The Advanced search pulldown, right next to the search box lets you search by date or decade, and also lets you specific color, aspect ratio, and original source.

The "Compilations" section offers pre-selected content on several subjects, such as
I discovered a challenge with dates on YouTube, which is troubling, because those are so important in searching for past events.

On YouTube, the dates range from unclear to actually wrong. I've seen some videos that say "published on July XX, 2015" which could be true. But I've seen videos about the death of Princess Diana (for example), that also say "published on July XX, 2015."  This could be true, if they are saying that the video was published to YouTube on that date. But it's impossible to find the video's original date - aired or shot - on YouTube.

The archive site is much better on date display. A story about the Ferguson police chief has a "Date: 08/10/2014 05:18 PM" field. Presumably, that's the date that the video was aired, which was also presumably close to the date that it was shot.

It's much easier to share / reuse AP videos on YouTube, since they use the usual share and embed options. Here's a video of Panda Awareness Week in 20102 (tho' I don't know when in 2012):

I found a neat video of the Macy's Day Parade on Nov. 24, 1966, but I cannot easily share it. I emailed it to myself and have the link: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/view/13e43ef12e802047edf49dc863668a46?subClipIn=00:00:00&subClipOut=00:01:31 but it would be nice to be able to embed that too.

Still, for free, this is pretty awesome.

August 08, 2015

Fresh Cooked Edamame

As I was perusing the gorgeous displays at the Durham Farmer's Market today, I lingered at Piedmont Biofarm ... and discovered some fresh edamame. I've made it before, but this time I decided to research recipes to see if I could recreate the yummy experience of the edamame at Dashi.

This wasn't Dashi's, but it was QUITE DELICIOUS!

I couldn't find one, so I made up one, which I'll gladly reproduce and source here.

Stephanie’s Fresh Edamame
  • Sprinkle edamame generously with salt, rub vigorously, and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, add the beans and boil over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Don't cover the pot or the beans will lose their bright green color.
Drain cooked edamame in a colander and pat dry.

In same pot … heat:
  • Teaspoon of sesame seeds for 30 seconds, then add: 
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or sesame oil
  • 2 cubes frozen garlic (or 2 teaspoons if you use fresh; I used Trader Joe's frozen for this quick meal)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper paste (or equal measure of your favorite red pepper flakes
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • Smidge of fresh ginger
Cook for ~3 minutes

Add edamame to the sauce and toss; heat until edamame is warm

First part (i.e., tossing the edamame with salt & letting it sit for 15 minutes)
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved, at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/edamame-cooked-fresh-soybeans-recipe.html
Read more at:

Second Part adapted from:
Chili Garlic Edamame Recipe | Cooking with Coley http://cookingwithcoley.com/chili-garlic-edamame-recipe/

June 25, 2015

Podcast from @ProPublica, or, how news sausage is made

My new favorite podcast is from online news outlet ProPublica.

The official blurb about it is:

The ProPublica Podcast is a weekly program featuring interviews with reporters about the latest investigations published by ProPublica.

I love the interviews with reporters, most of whom write for ProPublica. But they also interview reporters covering stories for other news organizations. These interviews are on all topics, though health reporter Charlie Ornstein has interviewed a lot of reporters recently. His podcasts include:

Meet the Reporter Behind That Bogus Chocolate Study (Ornstein talks with John Bohannon about his reporting of a fake scientific study about the health value of chocolate; June 8, 2015)
Inside an HIV Epidemic (Ornstein talks with WTHR's Bob Segall about southeast Indiana's recent HIV outbreak; June 1, 2015)
MuckReads Podcast: When Diet Drugs Harm Instead of Help (April 27, 2015)

The New York Times two-part story on conditions for nail salon workers was a both health story and a long-term investigative piece; ProPublica reporters Lois Beckett and Marian Wang spoke with Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir in Behind the Scenes of Your Mani-Pedi (May 26, 2015).

If you like investigative journalism, or if you're interested in any of these topics, the ProPublica podcast is excellent listening.

May 26, 2015

PR Collaborations with Students: #ParkLibSavesTime

I worked with 2015 PR major, Michelle Park, to promote the Park Library to students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Our goal was to persuade students that talking to me could save them time and help them turn into more efficient searchers.

Michelle's idea was to serve food and inspire students; she named the event "S'mores with Stephanie" and baked a s'mores cake (chocolate cake with marshmallows - mmm!). She designed a terrific graphic, and we developed the #ParkLibSavesTime hashtag.

We targeted two classes whose students had to use the library in their spring classes. We also invited students from the entry-level news writing course to come and cover the story as an assignment for class.

The session featured a student-led panel of students who had worked with me for classes and talked, in their own words, about how using library resources improved their classwork. We also had a three-question treasure hunt, with prizes for those who answered the questions quickly (there were also "Easter egg" prizes for students who chatted with us, tweeted the session, or clicked on a tab on the S'mores website.

The evaluations were positive from students in all groups: we received post-event feedback from 12 attendees (almost 50%), most of whom had never met with a librarian before but said they were more likely to do so in the future.

Our collaboration caught the attention of JOMC professor Nori Comello, who encouraged Michelle to submit the campaign to the N.C. Public Relations Society of America. And in fact, Michelle won their InSpire Award, with great feedback from the judges.

These notes included (emphasis mine):

  • "love that your hashtag included an actionable message ... not just "ParkLib" but "Saves Time." Brilliant. Again, most professionals don't think to use this ..."
  • "Really thoughtful ideas here - doing the reverse interview was brilliant. I remember having to go through Library orientation, and even though I do a lot of research for my current job and love libraries, the term "library orientation"just scares everyone. "
  • "Really good results, especially for a first time event! I'm only surprised that the Library plans to limit it to an annual event. I would think that doing this at least every semester (if not 3 or 4 nights at the start of each term) would benefit not only freshman but all students as they navigate new class demands. "

Michelle has graduated, and I'm left pondering the advice to do this several times each semester.

For more info:

May 13, 2015

Because cats are essential to any presentation ...

@teodor_thecat icons are essential. There are some great free ones on iconarchive, and there are some additional free ones on the iconka website (here are the Cat Power icons). You can also purchase a full set of the "cat commerce" icons for $18.99.

The best part of all this is Teodor the Personal Catness Instructor at http://mycatfit.com.

This all makes presentations so much more fun!

May 11, 2015

Collecting News Style Guides; need Visual Style Guides

I'm building a collection of stylebooks for newspaper and other news outlets. The collection primarily includes titles from various newspapers in the United States, such as the the "AJC (Atlanta Journal & Constitution) Style : Style and Reference Guide Covering News, Sports, Business and Features Issues"(1998);  "The Kansas City Star Stylebook" (1987); "The Los Angeles Times Stylebook" (1979 & 1995) … and so many more. Browse the titles in our collection.

We have local stylebooks: The News & Observer, 2001-2005; the Daily Tar Heel (1932 and 2001); plus the "Stylebook of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication" (1983-present), and which is now online only (pdf).

We have books for usage when covering different groups, such as the "CNS (Catholic News Service) Stylebook on Religion;" the "GLAAD Media Reference Guide;" and the "Manual de Estilo" from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

We have stylebook from various wire services — of course we have the Associated Press stylebook for many years (our first edition is from 1953), as well as "A handbook of Reuters Journalism : A Guide To Standards, Style, Operations" (2008); various editions of "The Bloomberg Way : A Guide for Reporters and Editors;" and the "United Press Radio News Style Book" (1943).

There are some for non-journalism entities, such as the "Style book and editorial manual" from the American Medical Association (c1965)

Most of our stylebooks are from the United States, but we have one from Canada ("The Gazette Style" c1995) and two from the UK ("Stylebook of the Manchester Guardian Style," 1928 and "BBC News Style Guide," c2014).

HOWEVER, we don't have any guides to the use of graphics, fonts, or illustrations in a newspaper, magazine, or website. Our books focus almost exclusively on the use of text, grammar, and punctuation. Earlier this semester, the design & graphic editors at the Daily Tar Heel asked for some graphic style guides, thus illuminating a glaring hole in our collection.

At my colleague Andy Bechtel's request, I solicited the assistance of visual journalist and social media savant Charles Apple, who blogged my request for visual style guides: The University of North Carolina seeks your style guides.

Happily, I received one from Stacie Greene Hidek, the Online Editor at the (Wilmington) StarNews. We're sending it to the bindery so that it will withstand use by patrons for many years to come.

March 16, 2015

Requiring Students to Meet with a Librarian, @launcch

My SILS grad assistant and I presented some interesting research at the Librarians' Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conference on March 13, 2015.

Check out our slides:

More details:

I've worked with students in Jim Hefner's JOMC 424 (Electronic Media Management) class, spending more and more time with his students. In spring 2014, he began *requiring* students to meet with a librarian, rather than encouraging them to do so, as they prepared to write their 12-15 page research paper. He had tried all manner of encouragement with little success; requiring students to meet with a librarian was much more successful.

In fall 2014, we received IRB approval to survey Hefner's students to assess if their meeting with us had an effect on their confidence in writing the paper (somewhat) and they perceived it would have an effect on meeting with a librarian in the future (they said it did).

This presentation highlights our research findings and discusses our plans for future interactions with Hefner's students.

Takeaway message: Tell faculty to require students to meet with a librarian!

February 28, 2015

Birds in the Snow, in North Carolina

The recent snow was a great opportunity to take bird photos - from the comfort of my own living room (and occasionally on the deck).

This is my favorite from the 1400+ photos I took during the snow. I was standing underneath the sourwood tree on our deck, hoping for a bird to come within my camera's range.

And along came the brown-headed nuthatch!

I went outside early the next morning and captured some amazing images of sun shining through leaves, ice, and snow. This is oak leaf is my favorite. Click on the image to see more from the snow, or browse my "Outside in the South" album on Flickr.