Happy One Year to Me!

Happy One Year Anniversary to me! It has most definitely been a whirlwind of a year! I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about how I wanted to write this blog. The obvious thing to do would be to highlight all our accomplishments over the last year (and, of course, subtly take credit for all of them…), but really all I’ve been able to think about is how much more we still need to accomplish. We’re fine tuning a new workflow management system in Trello, Lorrie and I are working on overhauling the setup of our participating faculty list, the list of projects goes on and on!

With that in mind, I think I will highlight my favorite project from the last year AND my favorite project for the year to come.

Favorite Project from 2014-2015: The Metadata Glossary

Granted, this is still a work in progress and I would like to pretty it up in the coming year, but I really believe the Metadata Glossary (MDG), has moved us forward leaps and bounds.

Prior to the MDG, we were creating step by step instructions for the various types of series (publications, conferences, reports, etc.). These instructions were incredibly  detailed and spanned several pages. The problem with this model was that it required us to create a lot of long repetitive documents and any time we revised a portion of metadata, we needed to go through an update every set of instructions.

With the MDG, we have laid out a comprehensive list of every metadata option in our repository. From there, we have also included more specific instructions for how that particular piece of metadata should be used for various series. Below, I’ve included an excerpt from our MDG explaining what to do for copyright dates, which is standard in all series for our repository. While this may seem pretty straightforward, all of us in the DR, myself included, have spent at least a half hour anxiously searching for a piece of information, only to find out that we can’t find it because it doesn’t exist! The MDG has been helpful in not only streamlining our metadata, but also in helping us avoid those moments of temporary madness.

  • Copyright Date:
    • If applicable, enter the copyright year (i.e., the publication year). Leave blank if work is not copyrightable.
    • Patents: Not applicable
    • Technical Reports: Not applicable

Most Exciting Project for 2015-2016: Return of Trello!

I’m told that before I started in September of last year, we were using Trello to track certain projects, but then it eventually fell out of use. While each member of our staff has specific departments assigned to them, over the past year we have realized that this system for processing vitas needs to not only be flexible to adapt to the ebb and flow of vitas from various departments, but also needs to be easy to track, so that Harrison or myself can know at any point in time who is responsible for what.

We’ve recently started using Trello to track our vita processing and it is far and away my favorite project for the coming year! Here are just some of the reasons I love this project:

  1. Tracking: It is possible to color code and add photos to each card, so that it is easy to quickly see who is working on what. This is super handy when, for example, Susan is bogged down with tons of engineering vitas. We can still keep Susan tagged on the card, but we can also add someone else, in this case, let’s say Lorrie, as a co-owner of the card. Lorrie will go through and process the vita, all the while Trello will keep Susan up to date with emails every step of the way.
  1. Deadlines: I am someone who definitely works better under deadlines, so this is a feature that I am especially interested in using in the future. While every vita varies in size and complexity, it would be nice in the future if we could give faculty an estimate on when their vita will be completed. Enter: the deadline function of Trello. Right now, we are having trouble designating the end point, but I am optimistic that with a little more playing around this feature will be my new best friend.
  1. Notes: With a staff of five, it is sometimes hard to keep everyone on the same page. Instead of wondering why they did this or that, the notes field allows us to better communicate while working on vitas. For example, if a faculty member lets us know they would rather not use manuscripts, I can easily add that to the notes and anyone who works on the vita in the future will know not to fuss over manuscripts.
  1. Checklists: There is a lot that goes in to checking a vita and integrating it into the DR. Not only that, but there are several stages of processing a vita. The checklist function allows us to create checklists for each phase of the process so that we can be sure everyone is following through on every step of the process.

    Screenshot of a faculty member card displaying several of the checklists we use.

    Screenshot of a faculty member card displaying the various co-owners and several of the checklists we use.

Overall, it has been a wonderful year! I can’t wait to see how all these projects continue to unfold and I’ll be sure to check back in with updates as we go!

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