Sleuth without a Deerstalker Cap

I love Sherlock Holmes. I have read all the novels and short stories, seen almost every movie (maybe missed a couple of Basil Rathbone entries), and really like Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern turn on the detective. And THAT is the operative word.

shieldI am a detective of many things. I find obscure articles from obscure journals and even more obscure conferences. I locate publishers who have gone on to other existences or just went out like a candle flame. I can track a Russian publisher through its various name changes when I don’t know the language and still find the object of my hunt. I dig large holes to find little things, but those little things are important links in a chain of research and knowledge.

Working in Interlibrary Loan was a natural step from having worked in Cataloging, Public Service, and Acquisitions. I knew cataloging metadata well enough that I could search in WorldCat to find the right book, right translation, right journal so that I could order the book, the report, the article that our patron needed. I read well enough in a foreign language to know if I was on the right track or if I needed to look elsewhere. Dates, volume numbers, places of origin, these can all point to the publication that the researcher requests.

Although I rarely have to use the cataloging metadata to locate items in the Digital Repository, the skills in sleuthing still come into play almost every day. Finding permission to publish a journal article or a book chapter is usually fairly easy. We in the DR are familiar with most of the publishers and what the publishers will allow. However, there are a number of publishers that allow publication, but finding a copy of the item requires detective work. Another good situation that requires looking deep into search engines is when the publisher has changed hands or the conference has a new committee every year and you just need that one person to give permission. Finesse. Like a good game of bridge.

Hunting for items, hunting for permissions, it’s a game in many ways but it is important in how it affects the world. If my search finds the right article for another researcher and leads to newer knowledge, then what I do is successful.

So all I can say now is “The game’s afoot!”8TEo6kBzc

All clipart provided by

Marketing Presentation

A couple weeks ago, Hope Mitchell and I were lucky enough to attend a presentation by University Marketing Director, Carole Custer. Since we are in the process of developing marketing and promotional materials for DR@ISU, this was a great opportunity for us to
learn more about how we can align our marketing with the universities’. So let me tell you folks all about what I am learning regarding marketing and
what it can do for us here in the Digital Repository.

Nameplate = Primary Identifier = Digital Repository @ Iowa State University

Typography = Conveys your Message = Open Access Scholarship

Color = Foundation for your Communication = Cardinal/Gold (also known as Pantone 186 and Pantone 142)

Photography = Draws Attention to your Message = Logo? Or the Download Map?

University Seal = Official Recognition = ISU Nameplate

Editorial = Tone of Message = Knowledgeable & Accessible

Brand = Public Image = Still refining..

This whole presentation got us think a lot about not only all the details that go into marketing, but the emotional appeal of marketing as well. We all have a favorite commercial that made us laugh or cry; while we certainly, don’t want to make anyone cry, we also don’t have the budget to create some big catchy commercial, which makes our marketing materials and branding message all the more important! What do we want people to think of when talking about DR@ISU? What is the best way to convey all of that information in a short amount of time and really make it stick in their memories? These are the questions we will be pondering as we continue to work on developing marketing materials for DR@ISU.Hope Mitchell and Lorrie
Lastly, we would like to give a big thank you to Carole Custer for taking the time out of her busy schedule to come and meet with us at the library! We truly appreciate all her advice and insight!

Iowa State University Veterinarian

Back in December, I wrote about my summer project of organizing and uploading the proceedings of the International Conference on the Epidemiology and Control of Biological, Chemical and Physical Hazards in Pigs and Pork (Safe Pork) conferences for Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Now, I am back to write about another project I undertook for the College of Veterinary Medicine—albeit a much smaller one. After completing Safe Pork, I picked up work for a campus student journal, the Iowa State University Veterinarian. Beginning in the Fall semester of 1938 and up until the Spring of 2001, the students of the College of Veterinary Medicine published a veterinary student journal for the CVM community, which was the first of its kind in the nation when it began as “The Veterinary Student”. In 1950 (vol. 12) the journal’s name changed to “Iowa State College Veterinarian”, and in 1960 (vol. 22) the name changed for a final time to “Iowa State University Veterinarian”.


Screenshot of the “Iowa State University Veterinarian” event community in DR@ISU

Continue reading

Research to Beat Your Winter Blues!

DR@ISU would like to offer our congratulations to Dr. Halil Ceylan, Associate Professor with the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering here at Iowa State University for the recent recognition of his research! I’m sure I can speak for most

Dr. Halil Ceylan of the Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department at Iowa State University

Dr. Halil Ceylan of the Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department at Iowa State University

of us when I say that I am done with all this snow. Hazardous commutes, slick side walks and delayed flights are just some of the many hurdles presented by winter weather. Thankfully, Dr. Ceylan might just have a solution to all our winter woes! His research, which was highlighted in a story by KCCI, is exploring the technology behind applying a superhydrophobic coating (comparable to Teflon) to pavements, which would prevent liquids from adhering to the pavement.

Dr. Ceylan has been an active and enthusiastic member of DR@ISU! You can view more of his research, here.

If you’re curious about more information regarding Dr. Ceylan’s research into pavement technologies, the following articles might be of interest:

Global Feedback

For today’s blog, I thought I would share with everyone an email we recently received,

Here is an example of the many engineering publications, papers, reports and proceedings available in DR@ISU.

Here is an example of some of the many collections of engineering publications, papers, reports and proceedings available in DR@ISU.

An engineering student from India wrote to DR@ISU after recently coming across some very useful research in our repository. He said, ”I read so many article[s] which are so useful and helpful in [my] course study subject like production and planning, CAD/CAM, advance welding process and advance engineering materials, etc. Thanks for providing essential information.”

When we talk about DR@ISU with our staff and faculty, we often focus on the ways in which they will benefit by reaching a global audience, but it is really great to get feedback about how the research coming out of Iowa State is helping other people!

Happy Wednesday!


Challenges in Training

New Department, new co-workers and new students, which means we are all starting from scratch.  Training is a must and training helps everyone to stay on top of their work.  This insures you to keep organized, up to date and focused.  Challenges are always there and folks, we are no longer one or two steps ahead, thanks in part to our ever-changing technology.

There are some major challenges when starting a new department. Why, you ask?  Things are not in place, things are not organized, and things are not yet structured.  Where is this file on this author, what department is that author from, and when did this author submit this item?  How do I put this patent in again? What does the EU mean in front of this patent number? How do I link this again?  Questions and more questions and no one seems to have all the answers…YET!  TRAINING anyone?  We have a love-hate relationship folks with training around here.

First off, you got to have help; this means assembling a staff with a boss (Harrison), a supervisor (Hope) and the worker bees (a.k.a. Susan, myself and Sue).  Okay, step one was completed by the start of September 2014 when we finally had all of our full time staff officially in place. Moving on to step two, which was getting the office organized. This process actually began shortly after I started in May. I decided the best way to keep our paperwork organized was to come up with a basic filing system (organize files by department, then last name).  This allows us to maintain a better work flow and keep track of where each Author’s file is, where in the work flow each staff member is, and send the Author updates as needed.  Okay, time to move on to the actual training portion…there is that word again.

Step three means putting that staffing and organization to best use by creating some kind of instruction manual.  Instructions are important for all staff, and yes, that includes the bosses. Instructions ensure that there is a uniform process for the work that is being done, so that we end up with, you guessed it, a uniform product! Having an instruction manual in place is an ideal jumping off point in any training process, which is why I worked with Harrison to piece one together before the rest of our new staffers started in September. Since then, we have come to realize the inevitable step four…

Actually putting this all into practice. Having only been here a few months, I was charged with training my new supervisor, Hope. She would sit down with me in the morning, instruction manual and pen in hand, and try to make sense of what I was telling her. Then, that afternoon, she would sit down and train our other Library Assistant II, Sue Rappenwolf. It is a messy and hectic process that raised all sorts of questions I didn’t have the answers to. Training another employee really tested everything I thought I knew about repositories and forced me to put all my knowledge to the test.

If I could pass right by step four I would! It is this really long drawn out process and right when you think you’ve got it all figured out, someone comes along with a seemingly innocent question and makes you rethink the entire process. But that makes us stop and ask, “What are we training, for what?” For all those questions you have and are unable to locate the answer on your own. Training will aid you in getting your job done more efficiently, timely manner, and accurately.  Training does help you but like exercising you don’t want to get “started” doing it but feel so much better when it is over. You realized you got something out of it and you don’t want to admit it to anyone.  Well, at least I don’t!!!

Ultimately, what I’ve learned since joining this very new department is that training is a never ending journey. Next week, Hope will expand on this and describe the on-going challenge of trying to create a set of instructions for an ever-evolving process.

New Position for an Old Hand

I’d like to introduce myself, Susan Rappenwolf, Library Assistant II in the Digital Repository and I’ve been here since September 2014. I am so excited by the work being done by the DR—it gives me pride and energy to make this department the success it is and will be.Susan_actressI am an actress, singer, (used-to-be) dancer, director…if it has to do with theater and being on stage, I’ve been doing it since I was four years old. I started college as a music and theater major, but ended up majoring in English literature at Texas Wesleyan College. I earned my Master’s degree in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Arlington because it was my personal challenge. I’ve done needlework and spinning and other arts and crafts. I love to travel anywhere with my spouse, Sue Wolf. And I have three Yorkshire terriers who make my life full.

I’ve been at Iowa State University’s Parks Library since November 2000 and worked in Interlibrary Loan for fourteen years. But I have been working in libraries just about my whole life. I started in junior high school and high school, working in the school libraries, checking books in and out and shelving books. My first college, Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, has a world-famous work program and my job was in the library, maintaining the card catalog and lettering and prepping books for the shelves. I worked for ten years at the Fort Worth Public Library in Cataloging, Public Service, and Acquisitions and was a volunteer there for two years before being hired. I spent two years working at the tiny Boyce Ditto Library in Mineral Wells, Texas, in Circulation and Cataloging, and helping out with Adult Reference and Children’s Services. I worked for a few month at the Ames Public Library in Circulation and the Bookmobile before finally finding my home here at Iowa State University. I really tried to break away from library work, but I figure my destiny in this life is to be attached to libraries. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am in love with the Digital Repository. I so appreciate the philosophy of making research free and open to the world. I enjoy working with faculty and staff with all their varied interests and subjects on which they write. I’ve worked on articles about mosquito-vector-borne diseases, fashion merchandising, and condensed materials physics. I feel like a sponge soaking up all this wonderful research and teaching and then squeezing it out to the world in carefully packaged and crafted entries.

Yes, I’ve got the best job in the world right now.

Introducing our New Students!

DR@ISU is proud to introduce our two new student employees, Caleb Burt and Lance Durand. Caleb a sophomore Aerospace Engineering student enrolled in the concurrent B.S.-M.B.A. program, while Lance is a junior Marketing major. Currently, both students are getting acclimated to the DR workload by working through Sketch. As described in an earlier post by Lorrie, Sketch is an English journal produced by students here at Iowa State. When it came to training new students, we decided that Sketch would be a great way of exposing them to a wide variety of tasks that they will encountering while working with DR@ISU, including splitting PDFs, working with the Library’s Digital Initiatives Unit and uploading metadata into the repository.

As they become more confident and comfortable with the workload, we plan on giving them more specialized projects, comparable to the work that our current student Ben did with the SafePork project. We are excited to have them join our team and can’t wait to see how their progress.

Caleb is a sophomore majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

Caleb is a sophomore majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

Lance is a junior majoring in Marketing.

Lance is a junior majoring in Marketing.

Annual DC+GLUG Conference in Valparaiso, IN July 30th – August 1st 2014.

Susan Knippel and Lorrie Smith attended the Annual DC+GLUG Conference in Valparaiso, IN July 30th – August 1st 2014.  Here is a little insight in what we both learned at the Conference.

Susan’s Observations

Being a fairly new member of Digital Repository at Iowa State University, I went to the Annual Meeting feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  I did not fully understand all the issues with copyright compliance or why a Digital Repository was important to the university as a whole.  The following comments are some of the highlights that I took away from the Annual Meeting.

  1. Permissions arrive from multiple places (authors, publishers, etc.) and come in various formats (e-mail, word processing, etc.). How can we preserve these permissions digitally in Digital Commons? One suggestion was to keep a copy of the permission as a PDF and attach it as “Supplemental Content”, but leave the “Show” box unchecked, which is how we also currently preserve permissions in Digital Repository@ ISU.
  1. Digital Commons randomly selects a “Paper of the Day” and highlights it on the DR@ISU home page. In order to help with outreach and to encourage others to submit to the repository, we think it would be nice send an e-mail to the authors informing them their paper was chosen. Currently, we have not devised a way to automatically inform authors their paper was chosen. I have asked Digital Commons to consider this feature request.
  1. One of the things Digital Commons helps support is establishing a publishing program. There was a lot of talk at the conference about what are the risks and rewards in establishing library-led publishing services? This is a feature we have just started establishing within our own library. I think with more outreach and staffing, we could provide a valuable service to the university.
  1. How do we promote open access and growth in our institutional repository? At the conference it was generally agreed that meeting with faculty and academic departments is a good way.  When presentations and meetings are held, it was beneficial to use marketing tools like pens or coasters with logos to remind faculty of our services. Currently, we are working on setting up schedules for meeting with faculty to remind them of the benefits of submitting their vitas to our institutional repository.  We are also looking at marketing tools to see what best represents our services.
  1. Bepress has several new features offered. They include an image viewer with pan & zoom, Featured Collections, New Download Count Filtering, a Readership Activity Map and Readership Reports with things like how many publications are available, number of downloads in the past month, total number of downloads. These new features provide a lot of great new feedback and insight to our authors and really help to get faculty excited about DR@ISU.

Lorrie’s Observations

Attending this conference was so helpful because I have a lot to learn about digital repositories. While at the conference, I realized that working in repositories is an ongoing learning experience because the digital world is changing and facing new challenges each and every day.  How to educate our faculty on the importance of digital repositories, how to use our faculty to help spread the word about our digital repository to other faculty members, and how universities are trying to find more efficient ways of processing permissions. Here is a list of some of the major points I took away from the conference.

  1. Growth: Digital Repositories are constantly growing, some faster than others. Universities are trying hard to keep up with the demand of staff, equipment and space to house a department.  Some universities only have one person staff person and a student or two to help with the incoming vitas from their faculty. We are incredibly lucky to have such an active and supportive faculty.
  1. Scholarly Communications: would be more effective if all parties involved [everyone from Faculty to Library Staff] understood the importance of the “how and why” of the digital repository. Working closely with scholarly librarians is one way in which we can help to increase the presence and understanding of DR@ISU across campus.
  1. What about the General Public? Institutional repositories are funded by tax payers’ dollars. Why doesn’t anyone mention them and how they can benefit from this open access scholarship? How can we get the word out to the General Public or should we? This was far and away the most interesting thing I took away from the conference and it leads into my next point…
  1. Marketing Digital Repository @ Iowa State University: Some institutional repositories give out items like coasters, magnets, etc. to hand out after a meeting or conferences. This helps in reminding the faculty where the item came from and hopefully inspires them to talk to another member of their department, which in return helps us spread the word about our repository. Currently, I am working on putting together a marketing program for DR@ISU which includes promotional cards, items, and attendance at events that would target a broader public audience like alumni events or the Iowa State Fair.
  1. Working with Faculty: Harrison  spoke on this, “When you have a short amount of time to explain Digital Repository and its importance get on their level, don’t waste time trying to explain certain details of the Why and How of DR, but what it will do for them, the monthly reports they would get will show them who is using their materials and how often”. While it is important for our DR staff to understand all the intricacies of DR@ISU, this other information is what makes folks get excited. Seeing who is looking at their work, how often it is being used will help them to see the importance placing all their works into the repository and making it accessible.