United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) 2016 Conference

Earlier this week the United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) held its 2016 conference in Columbus, OH. This 6th annual conference was jointly hosted by the Ohio Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (OEDTA) along with OhioLINK and USETDA on Monday September 26th through Wednesday September 28th, 2016. Below are links to the content for the conference on the USETDA website but for more, search the official Twitter hashtag #USETDA2016.

This three day conference focused on ETDs, discussing topics ranging from improving submissions, instating open access, accepting creative works, correcting metadata, and handling retrospective (older) ETDs. A mix of librarians and graduate school professionals attend, which further enriches the discussions since both groups have different perspectives and priorities. Since every institution handles ETDs in their own way, with some libraries and graduate schools working together and others dealt with in one or the other depending on workflows and processes. For some, conference such as USETDA are crucial for connecting with their other counterparts including vendors. Plus, there are always useful takeaways or considerations learned by attending conferences with ones colleagues.

USETDA 2016’s theme Discovering Connections: Illuminating the World allowed for many interesting presentations and posters. New this year, the conference held a 3-Minute Theses (3MT) competition with four graduate students from Ohio universities. The competition demonstrated how it works, complete with judges and a people’s choice award, as a way to encourage more schools to run them. 3MT has many benefits for the students including concisely explaining their research to the general public in a brief period of time and working on public speaking skills. For the schools, it can generate a more interest and awareness for the graduate school and student research, especially if cash prizes are awarded.

Next year the 7th annual USETDA Conference will be combined with the 20th international Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) Conference in Washington, DC. The joint conference theme is Exploring Global Connections and should be valuable for anyone who works with ETDs as the two associations are coming together for the ETD 2017 Symposium.

It was a joy to host USETDA 2016 in Columbus and show off the city and everything that we do in Ohio for ETDs. Thanks to all of the sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who made it a great conference! I am already excited for next year’s conference in DC.


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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) 2016

This was my first time attending the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) and I enjoyed myself and learned a lot. When the conference emcee is a comedian magician, it’s hard not to have a good time.

OETC is a conference for P-20 (pre-school through college) educators to learn about and discuss educational technology and innovations. The conference has a wide variety of breakout sessions in addition to the keynotes and a vast vendor floor. Many sessions focused on coding and how to teach it in the classroom, several were about gadgets and gamification, and even LEGOs. Other session covered ideas and advice, such as literacy instruction, digital content resources, grant writing, and classroom planning. Much of the conference seemed tailored to grade and high school teachers.

The conference began on Tuesday and went though Thursday afternoon but I was only able to attend on Wednesday and Thursday morning.


My day started off with the general session, which I had assumed would be the keynote speaker the whole time but it was so much more. Chancellor John Carey and Dr. Lonny Rivera commenced the conference, then emcee David McCreary got the show going. First up, Veronica Lynagh introduced the Invention Convention‘s scientists who grabbed 6 attendees from the audience and held 5 minute invention competition in which the paired up attendees came up with 3 great ideas on stage even in that short span of time. One takeaway is that change can make something that currently exists substantial different and thus new. Next, Jaime Casap Chief Education Evangelist at Google spoke about innovation and iteration in education. In his view, there needs to be a culture shift in the approach to education in America, one that makes use of the technology available and emphasizes iteration instead of the success/failure dichotomy. An excellent point of his that really stuck with me is changing the question of asking kids “what do you want to be when you grow up?” to the more expansive and creative question “what problem do you want to solve?” and its follow up “what do you need to know in order to solve it?”

Mid-morning, I met with librarians and graduate school staff to continue planning for the 2016 United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) Conference coming to Columbus in September. Even though it is still months away, a lot of planning has already been done and yet there is so much more to do.

In the afternoon, the keynote Hadi Partovi co-founder for talked about the success of their efforts to get more kids coding. A surprising figure that he presented is that 9/10 parents want their kids to learn computer science but only 25% of all schools teach it. They offer many options and even the ability to make a game on their website and then download it to your phone to play. What a great way to get kids excited about an ever-growing field in our technology-reliant world. I wish I had these great opportunities when I was young; while growing up, I knew very little about it but began truly learning programming in graduate school and really enjoy it…and should devote more time to it. co-founder Hadi Partovi presenting

Ohio has its own contact if you want to plan a Code Hour event or learn about teaching code at your school.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the break out session about Open Educational Resources, which was an open discussion about the tools teachers use, how they find them, and what they do when they either go away or are monetized and no longer free. The room was mostly grade school educators and it was interesting to here there take, as I interact with people in higher education. INFOhio lead the session and has lots of resources available for  P-12.

The entire day, the conference was buzzing with people. In the hallway there were various activities set-up: a MIDI Band from Capital University played and a pop-up makerspace showed off many cool tools and toys, including a BB-8 droid controllable by a smartphone.


The morning general session started with a presentation of awards to honor excellent teachers in Ohio, then Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, began his keynote address. Unlike other speakers, he did not use slides and actively engaged the audience. He covered current facts and figures about the state of education in America, quizzing attendees who usually overestimated the numbers. One key difference that he had noticed with younger generations is that there is this concept that students are good at this OR that instead of being good at everything; the main key is developmental math and the lack it in skills taught. In other countries, kids are more well-rounded yet that is no longer the case here. For more about his views on education, check out his  TED Talk “4 pillars of college success in science”.

Later in the morning, I presented at the OH-TECH booth on the vendor floor about the OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Center and its Google Scholar and ORCID Identifiers integrations. The ETD Center has over 56,000+ open access, freely available original student research.


Quick tips for OETC

If you aren’t staying in a local hotel, go early, as snow might be an issue since it’s in February, plus it makes it more likely that you can park in the closest ramps. Or take the bus if possible.

Since OETC is held at the Columbus Convention Center, consider crossing the street to a local restaurant or the nearby North Market for tasty treats and meals. Plus, 4th street isn’t too far away and there are new additions all the time, like the 16-Bit bar+arcade.

Browse the entire program and consider going to at least 1 of the general sessions. There are so many great sessions whether you are looking for a practical tool or advice to put into use right away, or wanting to consider where the future of education and technology is headed. I am already excited for OETC 2017!

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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


Ohio IR Day Fall 2015: Open Access

The third Ohio Institutional Repository (IR) Day on Friday, October 23, 2015, focused on open access topics and was a great finish to Open Access Week.

The morning began with introductions around the room, with many new attendees, some of who are starting to set up IRs. It is always interesting to hear about concerns and questions from people beginning IRs. While some of it is technical, gaining support and driving use are crucial to success as well.

For the keynote, Dave Stout (Bepress) announced the new Ohio Research Commons, a free resource that complies all Ohio Bepress IRs into a single resource for searching. In addition to statewide collections, there are also legal resources, open educational resources (OER), and many other topics that Bepress is creating.

The lightening round presentations covered an array of open access topics, from advice from those just beginning to integrating an IR into other systems on campus. Alan Boyd (Oberlin College) began the round with his talk about Oberlin’s open access policy and how they were able to put it into place. Along with his advice, he acknowledged that every campus has a different culture which should factor into how schools wanting to discuss or set up such a policy must take into account.

Anne Davies, Michelle Early, and Alison Morgan (Xavier University) spoke about adding syllabi to their IR. While this might sound straight forward, they faced challenges with making them open access since it isn’t a true publication of the professors and many were cautious with having it freely available when they worked to make their courses unique. As a compromise, the syllabi are limited to campus access or by request for non-campus users.

Eric Johnson (Miami University) presented on their Scholar’s Portal, which serves as a bibliography page for their campus. Since the capabilities stretch beyond their IR, it took additional software and programming skills to set it up. Unveiled the week before, they are now promoting it and even have short how-to videos that explain how to create and populate a profile.

Amy Koshoffer (University of Cincinnati) discussed self-submission of researcher data into their IR. While convenient for those running the IR, they found that there needs to be education around how to submit so that their faculty enter their work with the most benefit to themselves, with complete description to help others find and use their work. Also, UC created short videos of their faculty proponents to promote the library’s preservation services with Scholars@UC.

Cindy Kristof (Kent State University) gave an overview of open access, the different types of OA and copyright. She even detailed specifics of copyright law and was a great review for those already familiar in addition to being a helpful introduction for those new to it.

The day wrapped up with birds of a feathers conversations, which are always interesting discussions. The six topics as focused on particular OA access aspects, from creating a campus policy to how public domain factors relates to OA.

Slides for all presentations are available in the WSU IR.

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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in conference


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USETDA 2015 Austin: Day 3

Even though USETDA is a short conference of only three days, it has been one of these most jam-packed (in a good way) that I have attended. Many of the sessions are practical while even the more theoretical sessions had takeaways that could be put to use right away. It is clear that there are many commonalities in dealing with ETDs even though every institution’s program is at different stage. Concern about supplemental files, creative ETDs that are more than just text, embargoes, preservation, and accessibility are all universal topics.

To finish out the conference today, there were two final all-morning workshops offered. Nick Krabbenhoeft (Educopia Institute) held a workshop on the Lifecycle Management of ETDs (Abstract, PDF). He walked through the Lifecycle document that covers the entire process starting with setting up an ETD program through preservation and assessment, and provided additional insights. We also had several discussions of our different experiences with ETDs locally. The last portion of the workshop covered curation tools and brief demonstrations of a couple of them, including Hiberlink and PREMIS Event Service.

While I couldn’t make it to everything, I kept hearing about great sessions that others attended and thankfully all of the materials are shared on the conference proceedings page, which is where all of the abstract and PDFs links in my USETDA blog posts are from.

I enjoyed my first USETDA conference and look forward to helping host it next year in Columbus, OH. Hope to see you there!

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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in conference


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USETDA 2015 Austin: Day 1

First time in Texas and I have already had fried catfish as well as fried alligator, which is actually quite delicious. Keeping with other firsts, this is my first United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations (USETDA) Conference, too. USETDA celebrates it’s 5th annual conference this year and Austin is the perfect location.

 USETDA welcome sign 

The conference started off strong today, with many excellent presentations and workshops which made it difficult to chose between everything. I began my day at the morning-long ETDs heart ORCID workshop (Abstract) in which Gail Clement (Caltech) talked about the current ORCID landscape for ETDs both nationally and internationally. Next, Laura Paglione (ORCID) covered the basics of ORCID identifiers and their profiles, along with the different levels of ORCID integration. Katherine Johnson (Caltech) shared her experience with setting up an ORCID initiate on campus and plans to do more promotion this fall since it is an optional part of their submission process. Catalina Wilmers (ORCID) then demonstrated creating a new ORCID and filling out the profile, showing the search and link wizard that makes completing the profile even easier. Finally, Ryan Steans (Texas A&M) wrapped up the workshop by showcasing their open source submission system Vireo that is now use by many institutions outside of Texas. This workshop provided a great introduction to ORCID ids for beginners while giving lots of details about their use and the initiatives going on worldwide so that even I learned a lot from it even having worked with ORCID ids prior.

The afternoon was just as busy and packed with great sessions. Renee E. Babcock (UT Austin) presented One Size Does Not Fit All: ETD Submission of Creative Works (Abstract). On the whole, ETDs are still considered to be the electronic version of a printed work which stifles creativity in submissions. There was much discussion in the room about finding a balance between accepting anything as an ETD submission and having strict, traditional formatting for electronic items when some of it is not as relevant as it was for print submissions.

Continuing the trend of though-provoking presentations, Teri Green (University of Toledo) spoke about accessibility and ETDs. Her presentation Sudden Impact: The Changing Landscape of ETD Production and Dissemination under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) (Abstract) was a crash course in compliance and how ADA and Section 508 accessibility would work with ETDs. Currently, GVSU and CSU San Marcos require all students to submit accessible ETDs. Certainly, this could be a worthwhile endeavor among ETD professionals as more institutions tackle on-campus compliance more broadly.

In the last round of sessions for today, I presented with Tim Watson (Ohio State) about Fostering state-wide collaboration for open access ETDs: OhioLINK ETD Center and the ETD Center Advisory Council (Abstract, PDF). The ETD Center hit the milestone of 55,000+ ETDs recently and the newly formed ETD Council is working on various topics to create guidelines and policies as well as deciding on new enhancements and updates to the ETD Center.

Although it has been a busy day, I am looking forward to tomorrow’s presentations and the poster session.

Also, the conference proceedings contains links to abstracts and presentation slides or posters as they are made available. I linked to all available above at the time of this blog post but the rest should be added soon.

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Posted by on September 29, 2015 in conference


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TEDSIG 2015: Escaping eBook Purgatory

Every day, it seems, the number of eBooks exponentially grows and we as librarians are dealing with the multitude of records that are needed for providing access to our users. However, most records need at least some editing and enhancement before even loading into the system. What is the best way to deal with all of these records? What do they need for the best access? What are the benefits and concerns with demand driven acquisitions for eBooks? To address these topics and more TEDSIG created a workshop for dealing with the technical services side of eBooks.

On May 29th, 2015, OHIONET hosted the ALAO Technical, Electronic, Digital Services Interest Group (TEDSIG) workshop “Escaping eBook Purgatory” which looked at eBooks from the technical services point-of-view.

The morning began with 20-minute presentations. I started off the day by explaining how I catalog and provide OhioLINK record batches for our different vendors’ eBooks that are available to our members for local use. Next, Daphne Miller (Xavier University) shared her process and tips for vendor provided records, including what edits to consider making to them. Jeff Trimble (Youngstown State University) walked through the process of handling overlay records from multiple vendors. Wrapping up the morning session, Marty Jenkins (Wright State University) and Rich Wisneski (Cleveland State University) showed how to set up MarcEdit and pointed out several handy features including macros.

During lunch, each of the presenters held a Birds of a Feather discussion table. At my table, we circled back to some points brought up in the presentations and I answered further questions about the OhioLINK eBook process and how the discovery layers fit in.

The afternoon session began with a brief lightening round. Marty Jenkins (WSU) demonstrated how to manipulate a record batch in MarcEdit to find and remove unwanted records prior to loading into the system. Brittany Hayes (University of Akron) described what it is like being new to eBook loading and shared not only her advice for creating workflows and documentation but also passed around the room her color-coded tracking spreadsheet for loads. Jeff Trimble (YSU) talked about managing eBooks and technical services with a focus on demand driven acquisitions (DDA) of eBooks. Finally, Daphne Miller (Xavier) and I discussed considerations for planning and implementing DDA programs or projects.

To conclude the workshop, Frank Bove (University of Akron) joined all of the lightening round presenters on a questions-and-anwsers panel, which became an open discussion among everyone in the room with the panelists weighing in.

While it was a packed day that covered a lot of ground, everyone including the panelists learned something new from one another. At the end of the workshop, it was clear that if we are ever going to escape the eBook purgatory, it will certain be by working together to share our knowledge with each other.

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Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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