Understanding and Using APIs NEASIS&T Winter Conference Schedule


Looking forward to seeing so many of you at our conference on Monday, January 8, 2018! If you haven’t had a chance to register, go to our Eventbrite!

Here is the schedule of events:

Understanding and Using APIs
Finding ways to connect information is one of our biggest challenges. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are sets of requirements that govern how one application can talk to another and share data. These capabilities are great for library users and researchers, as well as librarians and staff! Our morning speakers are experts in APIs, and through them you’ll understand what APIs are and learn the practical uses of how APIs can enhance your data. In the afternoon session, you’ll see hands-on demonstrations and learn about API tools you can bring back to your organization.

Beginners are welcome and encouraged! This is a great chance to see how other librarians are using APIs, and to figure out which applications are useful for you in your organization. And if you already use APIs, here’s a great chance to find a community of practice.

8:00 | Coffee and Networking

Morning Keynotes

9:00 | Getting Started with APIs

Amber Stubbs, Assistant Professor, Simmons College

10:15 | Enhancing Content Discovery through APIs

Rob O’Connell, Director of Discovery and Access, Smith College Library

Rob O’Connell has been the Director of Discovery and Access at Smith College since 2013. He was previously the Head of Technical Services at Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates. Rob has been working with APIs and discovery systems for the past 10 years and has created several tools based on their architecture including Smith College’s new bento box interface.

11:15 am | Fun & Games with APIs

Jeff Steward, Director of Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technology, Harvard Art Museums

Jeff Steward directs the museums on the use of a wide range of digital technology. He oversees the collections database, API, and photography studio. For the opening of the new Harvard Art Museums in November 2014, he helped launch the Lightbox Gallery, a public research and development space. Steward has worked at museums with museum data since 1999. Areas of research include visualization of cultural datasets; open access to metadata and multimedia material; and data interoperability and sustainability.

Lunch, provided by NEASIST (Noon – 1:00 pm)

API Demonstrations (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
Brad Coffield – APIs for Librarians and Saint Francis University Library

Eben English – Digital Commonwealth

Kayla Hammond – formerly of the Boston Open Data Project

Doug Loynes – OCLC

Martha Meacham – E-utilities from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (the people behind PubMed)
We’re sorry to announce that this E-utilities demo is canceled, as of 1/5/18. For people who are interested in this resource, there will be some self-guided activities to explore.

Whitney Christopher & Ian Callahan – Harvard Art Museum

David Moore – WBUR and the NPR API

Bill McKinney, Ellie Collier, David Podboy – EBSCO

API Uses — Looking forward to our winter conference on APIs!


I’m looking forward to our conference on January 8th on APIs in libraries! You can sign up for the event here: On Eventbrite

Because of this excitement, I feel like I’m seeing API information everywhere! Here is the recording of a session called Trends and Technology Accelerating Scholarly Research put together by ACRL/Choice. ACRL/Choice Webinars: Trends and Technology Accelerating Scholarly Research The link will take you to the beginning of Judy Russell’s (Dean of University Libraries, University of Florida) presentation on using Elsevier’s API to help populate her institutional repository with the metadata for articles written by University of Florida faculty all the way back to 1945.

Are you excited about our conference? Have you seen or given any presentations about the practical application of API technology? Tell us about it in the comments!

All my best!
Catherine Dixon

Understanding and Using APIs – Save the Date for Our Winter Conference 2018!


NEASIST January Conference theme: APIs

Research, reporting, and metadata management. APIs are available from all areas of the library and information science field and beyond. They have a lot of power, but how do we use them? Explore this topic with us at the January conference, Understanding and Using APIs!

Please save the date for Monday, January 8th, 2018!

If you are interested in presenting or running a workshop, please email our program committee chairs Rachel (rjuskuv@bryant.edu) and Joshua (joshua.dull@yale.edu).

Meet Your Board Members for 2017/2018!


We have a wonderful new group of folks on the NEASIS&T board and they are all looking forward to working with you, our members, to create great programming, explore new topics in information science, and learn from each other in this vibrant network of curious information technology enthusiasts. They introduce themselves below! Don’t forget, if you are interested in meeting other NEASIS&T members in your area, we are interested in working with you to create meet-ups and events, so send us your ideas and if you are curious and just want to hear what we have going on, join us at the next Programming Committee meeting!

Program Committee Co-Chair: Rachael Juskuv, Bryant University, rjuskuv@bryant.edu
As a research & instruction librarian at Bryant University, Rachael works in information literacy. She’s just accomplished a certificate in Applied Analytics with a SAS certification and has just recently joined NEASIST. As co-chair, she’s looking forward to connecting all of New England and developing programs that build the professional community.

Program Committee Co-Chair: Joshua Dull, Yale University, joshua.dull@yale.edu
Joshua is the Research Data Support Specialist for Digital Scholarship Services within the Yale University Library. Joshua provides research data support to faculty, students, and staff through instruction and consultations bringing expertise in data visualization, linked open data, Continue reading Meet Your Board Members for 2017/2018!

Chapter Service Award Winners: Announcement and Interview


Louisa Choy and Kate Nyhan have been selected as our inaugural co-recipients of the ASIST New England Chapter Service Award for 2017 and will each receive $750 as a travel award.  Together, Louisa and Kate have worked tirelessly as our Programming Committee Chairs after years of active membership and participation on the Programming Committee and Board.  They have helped facilitate and lead many chapter meet-ups, events, and the 2017 annual chapter conference.  Next year, they will lead the New England Chapter toward future endeavors as Chapter Chairs.  We thank them for their service, leadership and commitment to the mission and vision of ASIST and the New England Chapter.

The ASIST New England Chapter Service Award is a new, annual travel award that is designed to recognize active members whose participation in chapter leadership contributes significantly to the development and sustainability of the New England Chapter.  The recipient(s) each year will be selected by the current Chapter Chair and the most recent past Chapter Chair.



Catherine Dixon, a member of the NE-ASIS&T board, interviewed Louisa and Kate after NE-ASIS&T’s successful 2017 conference on user experience design. They discussed their involvement with NE-ASIS&T over the years, their experiences with putting together the January 2017 NE-ASIS&T conference, and their thoughts on the benefits to new members of joining active participation in NE-ASIS&T


How did you get involved in NE-ASIS&T?

Louisa: I started out in Simmons ASIS&T while I was in school, so when my coworkers, Rosalind Bucy and Maric Kramer, at Wheelock College, encouraged me to join NE-ASIS&T, the organization was already familiar. Roz and Maric were great coworkers and so I checked out a few NE-ASIS&T meetings. I really liked that there wasn’t a hierarchy in the group and everyone just worked to put events together, so I decided to get involved. I attended some free events and then helped with the Data Visualization winter conference in January of 2015.

Kate: My NE-ASIS&T origin story goes back to when I was in grad school too. I was changing careers and I needed to build technical skills and a good professional network, no matter what branch of librarianship I went into. I spoke with Michael Leach, of Harvard, Simmons, and ASIS&T, and he recommended NE-ASIS&T, so I joined Simmons ASIS&T as the liaison to the regional chapter. I had the same experience with NE-ASIS&T as Louisa: having a group of people on the programming committee who are easy-going, productive, with no sense of “well, you’re a student, so you have to listen to the people who have it figured out” – except on my part I really was there to listen to the people who had it figured out!

Louisa: Just no hierarchy. That’s what’s really attractive about it.

Kate: Exactly. The people there were interested in welcoming volunteers and new members with any kind of skill-set. An organization like NE-ASIS&T is so flexible that really, almost any skillset can be applied in some way in this context. And so in that early period, a lot of what I was doing was publicity and outreach. Then I started hosting some meetups, especially since we were on a twelve meetups a year schedule. That was great: whoever was passionate about a particular topic would host a discussion; we’d be open to continuing that.

One of the difficulties about that kind of programming is that it is in person and synchronous. And so one of the things I’m really interested in, and this has been a strategic push for NE-ASIS&T, for several years (not only because I moved to Connecticut, although that does give us an interesting way to test whether it’s actually happening) is to make NE-ASIS&T more accessible for people in the rest of New England, not just Boston. New England includes a lot more than Boston. And that could be Western Mass, it could be northern New England, it could be Connecticut. And I think we have a ways to go in making sure that we are catering to this wider audience, but things are getting better!

Louisa: Yeah, our former Chair of NE-ASIS&T, she moved away and became the ASIS&T Membership and Outreach chair and was able to get us access to the ASIS&T GoToMeeting so we’re really excited about trying that out and this will really expand our ability to host webinars.


What was the first program you each assisted with?

Kate: Hmm. I know that for the last one at MIT, which was “Big Data: What Is It and How Will It Affect Libraries,” I was still teaching and it was not a flexible position. I went in in the morning and set up the room, and then I went back and I taught for the day and then I came back afterwards to help clean up. And that made me feel jealous of the people who had consumed the content. Then I found out later that when you are one of the organizers at an event like this, you are not paying attention to the content even if you are actually on the premises! So my jealousy was a little misplaced.

Louisa: I think the first one was the Data Visualization event so I think I did registration and I did get to see maybe one out of the three talks and didn’t participate in any of the hands-on sessions because of all the work it took to get things running.


Let’s talk a little about the conference that just happened. It was very well attended and excellently pulled off, especially in the small amount of time you had. What was it like organizing the conference?

Kate: I don’t know how anyone has ever done one of these things without a Louisa.

Louisa: Or without a Kate!

Kate: This is not the kind of thing you should be doing alone. I think part of the genesis of co-chairs this year was that no one stood up to do it. I would not have done it by myself. Tom or Annie, current and past board chairs, suggested we lead the PC together.

Louisa: I was sort of interested, but it seemed way too overwhelming to think about doing this all by myself and when Tom was like “maybe do it with Kate” I felt much better about it.

Kate: So then we actually met up together and thought “Can we? Will we be able to do this?” I think that we’re very in sync. We have complementary working styles and Louisa is very forgiving if something slips off my schedule until the weekend or something.

Louisa: Kate has amazing ideas and I’m always ready to make spreadsheets!

Kate: We are a good match… but part of the late start in fall 2016 was that it was unclear how we were moving forward, and that lack of clarity about transitions and hand-overs is deadly. We can avoid that happening again.

Louisa: I think if we had been able to start the event planning much earlier it would have been easier to delegate some stuff. There were some things I couldn’t delegate because I was on a time crunch. It was faster for me to do all of this myself or Kate to do all of this herself for some of her tasks than to pass it off.

Kate: We had a relationship where we trusted each other. I certainly trusted Louisa, for instance, when Louisa says it’s ready to go out, it’s ready to go out! I don’t need to look at it. Ideally the entire PC is working towards that kind of mindmeld, but it doesn’t just — boom– happen when you meet each other.

Louisa: I think we’ve had a pretty new group. I think a lot of the people we started out in the PC committee with also became board members. So now we have a fresh crop of PC people.

Kate: And speaking of crop, we need to plant more seeds, we need to take care of them better and make sure we water them, and I think that’s somewhere where we’ve fallen down. With the time crunch, we were really focused on getting the January event to come together. And it did come off. It was great. It was very successful; we got tons of money for the student and professional travel awards. Short term it was great. Long term, I look back and I think I could have leveraged some of these opportunities to put NE-ASIS&T in a better position going forward. But it’s easy to say that now. As of December 28th it was not so easy.

Louisa: Agreed. If we had more time to plan this, we would have had time to get the PC folks more engaged. It would be a good opportunity to say “Let’s work together on this and on tailoring this message” but because we were on a time crunch we were like “OK. This needs to go out. It needs to get done.”

Kate: On the plus side we do have a lot of contacts from this, we do have a lot of feedback. I think that the response rate was 30%! Which, you know, it’s not 100% but …

Louisa: They actually went to the Google form. It wasn’t a written form handed around. People actually went to a link!

Kate: And a lot of people made detailed suggestions. So the people who bothered to do this weren’t just saying “yes, it was good,” “yes, we’ll come back.” They shared their ideas and thoughts.

Louisa: It was interesting to see comments from previous years and then this year to see if there are running themes that we can better address.


When did it really start to feel like it came together? Was there a moment when you felt “Oh, this is really happening now”?

Kate: For me, it was when we saw we had enough registrations to pay for the travel awards. And that was great! But I had definitely felt some pressure. The annual event has gotten bigger and better over several years now; the travel award has been getting more generous for several years now.

Louisa: I feel like I was nervous until the very end. Having enough registrations was certainly a huge load off my shoulders because I thought, “well, we have to make at least enough to cover catering.” And then, “Okay, well give us at least enough to cover one travel award. Please!” And then it got to two and it was a big relief.


But at that point you had actually already done most of the work of putting the event together.

Kate: Well, there is another moment where we fistbumped which was when — and this one was all Louisa — When Louisa got so many people to say “yes, I want to present for free on your schedule at this event.”

Louisa: And then, but Kate suggested some of the names of who we could contact and I said “oh, okay, that sounds like a great person to contact! Let me just contact that person right now!”


Did you have any trouble getting people to agree to speak, or were they mostly excited to participate?

Kate: In general they were really excited about it. Most people who refused had existing commitments that day and, you know, that happens especially when we were scheduling it so late. Here’s a lesson we learned. Even though Wayne Gretsky is not my favorite hockey player, if he really said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” it’s true. “Ask and ye shall receive.” The thing that I feel more confident about now than I did then was, while we were asking for a favor, we were also offering something. We were offering 100+ people who were mostly librarians who were interested in your ideas.

Louisa: I mean, you’re getting name recognition professionally for your resume, or even in the business context although we don’t promote specific businesses.


What sort of lessons did you take away from your experience with this conference?

Louisa: With the lessons learned from this event, we have been keeping track of the planning documents in Google Drive, which will be accessible to future leaders and I’ve organized some of the information in our Google Drive so it is neatly packaged for the next person.

Kate: Quite early we started a “lessons learned” document, so it’s not purely retrospective, it’s what we were learning in the thick of things.


Do you have any top take-aways?

Louisa and Kate: Start early!

Louisa: I think this was one of the biggest lessons learned.

Kate: Communicate expectations clearly with everyone involved.

Louisa: Don’t take for granted that the information you had from the previous year will be correct for this year. Locations change their policies both in what they offer and how much they cost. And the January event has changed this year as well.  It actually changes from year to year depending on topic and who we can get involved.  In the past, we’ve had one room and a half-day program.  Last year, it was a full day program.  This year, we got a little bit ambitious and had breakout sessions that required the booking and managing several rooms and off-site tours. There are good arguments for doing a streamlined program too — nothing is set in stone.

Kate: I think being clear about timelines, expectations, whose job it is to do what… That reduces some of the stress and gives everyone a better experience and also better language to talk about what they have accomplished for their job or in interviews or on their resume. We want to keep in sight that people do this because it pays back to the community, but also because they can get experience that looks really good. I used this: I was transitioning from my teaching job to a job in libraries, and I was lucky to get a great personal recommendation that really helped me find my current position.

Kate: During the hiring process when I was applying for my current job at Yale, it was definitely a big selling point that I had – partly the project management experience, partly committee experience — getting people to achieve a goal when I’m not their boss. Right now we may be co-chairs of the programming committee, but we can’t fire someone and even worse, we can’t reward someone except in the most ephemeral of ways. I can’t give you a raise. I mean, I can give you a 100% raise from your salary of zero dollars for participating in the programming committee. So having the communication and social skills to build a team of people that will get great things done, even when you don’t have any of the traditional levers or carrots or sticks — I think that was really interesting to them. But most importantly, even though I was a new librarian, I had a network of colleagues who considered me to have a thoughtful approach and ideas worth considering. I think that gave people a level of comfort with me as a new librarian that would have been really hard to demonstrate in any way other than having experience but, you know, you need experience to get experience.

Kate: Catherine, you had the same experience, so what was it like for you? How interested were people in your involvement with either ASIS&T or Simmons ASIS&T or PLG when you were interviewing?

Catherine: There was definitely a high level of interest. I think especially going for academic librarian positions, that’s something that they look for because being part of professional organizations and publishing and so forth is expected of you going forward. I work at a publishing company now, so it is a little bit different in that any involvement that I have in the library world in terms of committees is purely out of my own interest on my own time. I think it’s really exciting to be part of an intellectual community of people who get really nerdy and excited about all of the same things that I get nerdy and excited about, and I think that shows if you’ve been part of a group like this. It shows when you are in a job interview how excited and devoted you are to the principles behind your profession. The employers are looking for somebody who is excited about what they are doing because they are going to do a better job. And being part of a group like this shows that on paper in a very concrete way.

Louisa: Because this kind of involvement shows that you have people skills and initiative. It shows not just how you interact with patrons.  They are looking for people who will be their new colleagues. So it’s really important to show association with a professional organization. You show you can actually work with people and you’ve had that colleague-type experience before.

Kate: And paying the membership fee is not what does it. You have to be active. I feel like I look very differently at someone who had somehow been involved in planning. I’m not knocking sitting at the registration desk and welcoming people, but I’m thinking a little more substantive. It doesn’t have to be a year-long commitment, but being the moving spirit behind some project or event.

Louisa: And at NE-ASIS&T you don’t have to be involved in our conference. You can create a meet-up. Something small. A one-shot deal.

Kate: We’re not a one-trick pony with the January conference. There are lots of models and opportunities for people to be involved — work-togethers, skillshares, book talks….

Catherine: Blog posts!


Well, that sounds just great! Do you have any other pieces of wisdom or projects you are excited to get started on that you want to share?

Kate: Be the change that you want to see in your profession. And particularly in NE-ASIS&T, because I can’t promise that every aspect of our profession is interested in change, but NE-ASIS&T is interested in change. We really are highly driven by requests and suggestions and interests of people who are active at our events and discussions. If you have a topic that is interesting to you and you think it should be interesting to colleagues, than we would like to find a way to convene discussion about that topic, whether it’s an event or a webinar or a meet-up, or a whole conference — the door is open. The inbox is open.

Louisa: neasist@gmail.com! And I know Kate and I are academic librarians, but we actually want to reach out to all information professionals with that message.

Kate: Yes. We‘ve talked about this trend of academic or health sciences librarians becoming data scientists or data-aware librarians; a lot of other allied professions, developers, information architects, there’s a lot of professions facing the same challenges that we are: challenges of organizing information, of understanding users’ needs, and of telling how our specialties add value. And if we can come together to share our experiences and our questions and our disasters, and our good examples and best practices, I think we can all learn a lot.

May Program Committee Meeting — In Person!


Our next Program Committee meeting will be the 2nd Monday of May – May 8th from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Thornton’s Fenway Grille at 100 Peterborough St, Boston, MA 02215.    This is a completely open Program Committee meeting.  You don’t have to be in the Program Committee to join.  Nor do you have to be committed joining the Program Committee meeting.   If you’re even just a little bit curious about the NEASIST PC Committee (like who are these shadow people who plan these awesome NEASIST events?), please stop by!

For existing PC members:
We’re not only trying out having the 2nd Monday of the month as our regular PC meeting date, but we’re also trying out having a few in-person PC meetings after work that are a little more social so we can get to know each other, which we don’t get to do when we’re just barreling through an agenda over Skype in the middle of the day.  We will be providing some apps so we can chat without growling stomachs drowning out the conversations.

If you can’t get there by 5:30pm – no worries!  Get there when you can get there and we’ll be hanging out there until 7:30pm.

I’ve given the Thornton’s Fenway Grille folks a rough head count, but I don’t want to end up completely off.    It would be great if you can RSVP via meetup.com, https://www.meetup.com/neasist/events/239647508/.


Up to $750 to support your participation at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting


Application Deadline: Friday, April 21

Notification of Award Winners: Wednesday, May 3

About the Awards: Professional/Practitioner and Student

The Association for Information Science & Technology, New England Chapter (NEASIS&T) is pleased to announce two awards to support participation in the ASIS&T Annual Meeting.  Our goals are to support scholarship and connect research and practice, bringing new voices to the chapter. There is a student award and a practitioner award.  Each award will support your year-long membership in ASIS&T as well as your conference registration and part of your travel costs up to $750.

The ASIS&T Annual Meeting will take place in Washington D.C. from October 27 – November 1, 2017 and will be focused “on the diverse ways in which people from different backgrounds, cultures, and disciplines forge connections with each other, discover and use information, and engage with technology”.  For more information, you can visit the annual meeting webpage.  It is still 7 months out from the annual meeting, so the schedule has not been fixed yet.

In addition to the conference support, the award provides ASIS&T membership, offering significant benefits:

  • Membership in our New England regional chapter

o    Mentorship and networking with experienced NEASIS&T members

o    Opportunities to build professional skills (including project management, budgeting, marketing, etc.)

  • Discounted conference registration for ASIS&T and NEASIS&T events
  • Webinars and discounts on other publications
  • A year’s subscription to the Journal of ASIS&T and the Bulletin

Eligibility & Applications

Applicants must be either current graduate students or practitioners in the field of information science at the time of their application. We define information science broadly: librarians, archivists, data/knowledge managers, information architects, web developers, etc., are all encouraged to apply. Applicants do not need to be current NEASIS&T members, nor do they need to live or work in Boston. However, award winners are expected to participate (in person or remotely) in NEASIS&T programming in 2017-18.

Here is the application link: https://goo.gl/forms/mztQHFQBwgWqimmj2

Terms of Awards

Each award winner will be welcomed into our New England regional chapter by participating in events in person (at least once) and remotely. As a travel award winner, you will:

  • Meet with a NEASIS&T representative at the conference
  • Share your conference experience with the NE-ASIS&T chapter
  • Participate in a NEASIS&T meet-up based on the winners’ professional interests
  • Review award applications for the 2017 Travel Awards
  • Submit receipts documenting travel- and conference-related expenses, such as registration, airfare, food, and lodging, up to the value of the award

*If a winner is unable to meet all of the terms due to a relocation, NEASIS&T should be notified immediately.
Questions? Contact Kate Nyhan at kate.nyhan@yale.edu

Library Carpentry – May 15 @ MIT


This Library Carpentry, one-day, hands-on workshop will cover jargon busting, data structures, using regular expressions for pattern matching, use of the Bash shell (aka the command line) to speed up and automate tasks, and using OpenRefine for data cleanup.

We welcome groups enrolling as this helps with post-workshop integration of the skills. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own work. You don’t need experience to participate — beginners are welcome.

Register for the event here.


Belinda Weaver

Belinda Weaver organised the 2016 global sprint that took Library Carpentry from a single London workshop to a growing global community. A former librarian and repository manager, she now provides eResearch infrastructure to researchers at Queensland universities. Based in Brisbane, Australia, she is a certified Software Carpentry instructor and instructor trainer and serves on the Software Carpentry Steering Committee. She runs local skills and outreach events such as Research Bazaar and Hacky Hour and tweets as @cloudaus.

Juliane Schneider

Juliane Schneider has had a long, weird library career, with data and discovery as the common thread. She has worked as an insurance librarian, a medical librarian, as a database designer for EBSCO, a research data curator and is now the Lead Data Curator for Harvard Catalyst, and eagle-i.net. In 2016, with fellow UCSD librarian Tim Dennis, she organized and taught the first Library Carpentry workshop in the United States, and is a certified Data Carpentry instructor.


We’re grateful to these sponsoring organizations for making this workshop possible and affordable.

Library Carpentry
National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region
New England Chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology

Service Design: The Holistic Experience 1/12/2017 — Program



Thursday, January 12, 2017, 8:30am – 3:45pm EST
8:30-9:30 Breakfast and Registration
9:30-9:40 Welcome, Tom Hohenstein
9:40-10:25 Keynote: Meeting People Where They Are: An Introduction to Service Design in Libraries  [slides, pdf]
Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara

10:25-11:10 Keynote: Designing for Participation: Dignity and Autonomy of Service
Miso Kim
11:10-11:30 Break
11:30-12:15 Keynote: User Input and Feedback In the Design Process [slides, pdf]
J.Stewart Roberts
12:15-12:45 Keynote Speakers Panel
Callan Bignoli, Lauren Stara, Miso Kim, and J. Stewart Roberts, moderated by Kate Nyhan

12:45-1:45 Lunch

1:45-2:25 Student Lightning Talks

  • Usability Evaluation and Design Recommendation for WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting [slides]
    Beth Vargas and Mel Petricko
  • Usability Evaluation and Design Recommendation for EBSCO, LaunchPad Mobile App
    Jean Thrift, Anna Wada, and Zhan Hu
  • Usability Evaluation and Design Recommendation for MBLC, Massachusetts Libraries [slides, pdf]
    Jonathan Golden
  • Usability Evaluation and Design Recommendation for BPL, Digital Commonwealth  [slides]
    Maggie Anderson, Stephen Humeston, Irina Sandler, and Krystal Stevens
  • Usability Evaluation and Design Recommendation for Simmons Admission and Student Life, Simmons College Website [slides, pdf]
    Rachel Karasick, Sawyer Newman, Saffana Anwar, and Douglas Upton

2:45-3:45 Breakout Sessions

Abstracts & Bios


Meeting People Where They Are: An Introduction to Service Design in Libraries

Callan and Lauren will kick off the conference with an exploration of service design – what is it and how can it make your library better tomorrow? Digital, physical, and the space in-between: it’s all about service.

Callan Bignoli, Assistant Library Director for Technology, The Public Library of Brookline
Callan is a web designer/developer and a librarian, currently managing technology for the three busy public libraries in Brookline. Before that, she served as web coordinator for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). She takes a user-centered approach to her work and believes that librarians ought to keep a sketchbook at the ready for capturing their ideas and experiences.

Lauren Stara, Library Building Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC)
Lauren Stara is an architect and a librarian, specializing in library building design. She is currently a Library Building Specialist for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Her past library experience includes everything from front desk clerk to director in public libraries, as well as adjunct instructor for library education.

Designing for participation: dignity and autonomy of service

This presentation will deepen our understanding of the social and ethical aspects of service, such as human dignity. The basis of dignity is autonomy. However, current frameworks of service, which are often based on the logics of mass production and information control, attempt to control customers’ perceptions and actions. There is a paradox of action and passion. Miso Kim proposes a framework of service based on the concept of participation for the purpose of achieving a shared goal.

Dr. Miso Kim, assistant professor, College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University
Dr. Kim holds a PhD in Design, an MDes in Interaction Design, and an MDes in Communication Planning and Information Design from Carnegie Mellon School of Design. She also holds a BS in Architecture from Sungkyunkwan University in Korea. Prior to joining Northeastern, Miso was a Senior User Experience Designer in the Cloud Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley, leading efforts to redesign WebEx’s virtual meeting experience. At Carnegie Mellon, she developed and taught service design, experience design, and information design courses, while working on diverse interdisciplinary research projects.

User Input and Feedback In the Design Process

User input is critical for successful architecture. Good architectural design requires both a careful assessment of the needs of the building’s users, and a collaborative design process that explores a full range of creative design solutions. The design process for the public library must take into account the needs of the diverse collection of patrons who come to the library for different reasons. We will examine some of the methods that have been successfully employed to get user input and feedback at the right time in the design process, and share some of the lessons learned along the way.

J. Stewart Roberts is the founding principal of Johnson Roberts Associates, an architectural practice in Somerville, MA, that specializes in architecture for communities. The design of public libraries has been the focus of Mr. Roberts’ career for the past twenty-nine years. He has been responsible for over one hundred library feasibility studies and the construction of thirty public libraries in New England and the Midwest.

Breakout Sessions

Assessing the Library with Service Design

Librarians are not new to designing or assessing services, but we tend to develop each service in isolation from the other services we offer, with little to no user input prior to implementation. Service design allows for a more holistic and systemic look at the various systems that make a library function. Assessing services through a systems lens helps bring the barriers and issues that users and staff may be confronting to light. This methodology is also unique in that it is a co-creative process conducted with library staff and library patrons. By working together, the librarians and patrons can create more relevant services, or refine current services to be more effective and efficient. This presentation will cover service design and tools used in the service design process. Joe and Annie will also share insights from their work currently being done at Reed College using service design.

Joe J. Marquez is the Social Sciences and User Experience at the Reed College Library. He has presented and written on service design, UX tools, library space assessment, website usability, and marketing of the library. He recently co-authored a LITA guide on Library Service Design with Annie Downey. He has an MLIS from the University of Washington iSchool and an MBA from Portland State University.

Annie Downey is the Associate College Librarian and Director of Research Services for the Reed College Library. She has written and presented on service design, critical librarianship, information literacy, K-20 library instruction, assessment, and academic library administration. She recently co-authored a LITA guide on Library Service Design with Joe Marquez. Her book Critical Information Literacy: Foundations, Inspiration, and Ideas published by Library Juice Press in June 2016. She received her PhD in higher education in 2014 and her MLS in 2004 from the University of North Texas.

Talk ‘n Tour: the Newly Renovated Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons at Wentworth Institute of Technology

Long a space of consumption, the 21st century library is a place of discovery, engagement, and production. To realize these unprecedented opportunities, Kevin will talk about how library staff, administration, students, and faculty came together to plan an ambitious renovation of the (then) Alumni Library into an array of learning spaces that will inspire, ensure connectivity, and support all modes of learning.

Kevin Kidd was appointed Director of the Library at Wentworth Institute of Technology in February 2015. Immediately after his appointment, he began working with administration, students and faculty to plan an ambitious renovation of the (then) Alumni Library. The renovation was completed in August 2016, and the Library was renamed the Douglas D. Schumann Library & Learning Commons. Kevin holds an MS in Library and Information Science and an MA in Irish Literature, and has been a Senior Research Fellow at the European University Institute.

So You Want to Do User Testing: Operationalizing a Plan

Work towards designing or revising library services often begins with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm. A successful re-design project will require careful planning and a clear understanding of the steps necessary to bring a library service project to a successful conclusion, without which disillusionment and frustration can set in quickly. In this workshop we will:

  • Review the phases and steps involved in library service design projects
  • Examine different types of methods involved in service design projects
  • Practice designing a library service design project plan

Participants will walk away with materials that will guide them through the planning and implementation stages, which they can use for work in their own facilities.

Denise Hersey is the Assistant Director for Clinical Information Services at the Yale Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, where she has worked since 2005. She currently leads a team of clinical librarians who work with clinical staff of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, assisting them with finding information and literature for their research needs and clinical questions. Denise is the library’s liaison to the Departments of Anesthesiology, Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine and the Yale Smilow Cancer Center. She participates in clinical rounds in critical care and provides clinical information at the point of care. She also has experience managing qualitative studies such as Yale University Library’s “Understanding the Research Practices of Humanities Doctoral Students at Yale University,” on which she was the principle investigator.

Kelly Marie Blanchat is the Electronic Resources Support Librarian at Yale University Library, where she has worked since 2015. Prior to joining Yale University, she worked as the Electronic Resources Librarian at Queens College Libraries (CUNY), and in Academic Licensing at Springer Science + Business Media. Kelly has published on workflows for electronic resources, including the book Fundamentals of Electronic Resources Management (American Library Association, 2017), and is a contributing author in the Critical Library Pedagogy Handbook (ACRL, 2016).

Translational User Research: Turning Results into Quick Fixes and New Visions

In this breakout session, Rong will outline the phases that usability and UX researchers go through to process, code, and analyze data based on various metrics or measurements that reflect usability principles of efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction. She will also discuss the process of translating research results into meaningful practical solutions including quick fixes and long term overhaul in design. Strategies concerning how to triangulate quantitative activity patterns with qualitative narrative insights will be introduced. Approaches to articulate and visualize recommended changes using tools such as content inventory, wireframes, and wireflows will be presented.

Dr. Rong Tang is an Associate Professor at School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College. She is the founding and current Director of Simmons Usability Lab. She has conducted multiple usability research projects, and has presented and published her findings at a variety of conferences and research forums including ASIS&T Annual Meetings, iConference, Boston CHI, and Liberact Workshop. Dr. Tang helped to establish a User Experience Lab at multiple locations, including National Taiwan University, Jiangsu University, and Harvard University Library.

Service Co-Design: Using Participatory Design Methods to Empower Users


When we design user experiences, we often work directly with users during discovery research and evaluation phases, but the work in between—generating ideas, designing solutions—is conducted in isolation from the very people we’re designing for. Especially in service design, we sometimes lose the ability to ensure our users are truly empowered by the experiences we create for them! However, participatory design methods can help us bring users into the heart of the process—empowering them as active participants in the creation of products, services, and experiences for themselves. When we move beyond the practice of designing for people and instead design with them, the outcomes are more innovative, human centered, and meaningful.

In this session, we’ll cover:

  • Core concepts in participatory design and service design – and how they intersect
  • Basic participatory service design methods, including fundamental tools and exercises
  • How to choose activities, frame design prompts, and facilitate participatory service design activities with to generate the best results
  • How to use the outputs of these activities to create actionable insights

Jen Briselli’s first love was science, but while earning her physics degree she fell in love with the challenge of communicating as much as she loved researching. She spent several years designing learning experiences as a physics teacher, then earned her Master of Design degree from Carnegie Mellon University where she studied service design and design strategy. She is currently the managing director of experience strategy & design at Mad*Pow in Boston.

She considers herself a strategist and storyteller, more than a problem solver, because she dislikes framing every design opportunity as a problem to be solved. Her design philosophy is less about solving people’s problems for them, and more about building the tools, environments, and circumstances that enable people to solve their own problems, and improve their own lives.

Talk ‘n Tour: the Newly Renovated Boston Public Library in Copley Square


The renovation of the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square puts the BPL on the cutting edge of library services – reshaping and redefining the patron experience at a 21st-century urban public library


Gianna Gifford is the Chief of Adult Library Services at the Boston Public Library

Service Design: The Holistic Experience 1/12/2017


User experience remains a hot topic after NEASIST’s 2016 UX conference, and now you can deepen your understanding with a holistic view of service design. Do you want to tailor your entire ecosystem — personnel, spaces, and systems online and offline — to improve your users’ experiences?
The New England Chapter of the Association for Information Science & Technology, together with the Simmons College Student Chapter, invite you to participate in our 2017 Winter Event…

Service Design: The Holistic Experience
WHEN: January 12, 2017 ||| Thursday ||| 9:30 AM – 3:45 PM (registration starts at 8:30 AM)
WHERE: Simmons College in Boston, MA
HOW MUCH: Registration $75 ||| NEASIST/SLA members $50
SO: Register today!

With participatory breakout sessions and thoughtful keynotes, this one-day conference will give you the concepts you need to talk to stakeholders in your organization about service design. It will give you tools you can use to gather the data that will inform your organization’s service design discussions. It will give you a platform to share your ideas and experiences designing better services. Visit our event site to check out the roster of event speakers and see the topics to be discussed.