BepressU: Repository Manager Certification Course, 2015

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Bepress Repository Manager Certification Course in Berkeley, CA. The training took place over three full days where we covered what feels like almost every topic under the sun in relation to repositories and was hands down some of the best training I have ever received!

A final photo after graduation with the official Digital Commons mascot.

A final photo after graduation with the official Digital Commons mascot.

Day one of the training went over some of the more basic functions of the Digital Commons software. Our repository is several years old, but this was still an excellent overview of various functions that we have been slacking on, such as including Search Engine Optimization terms and descriptions. Day two dived into some more in depth uses of the Digital Commons software, such as publishing, open educational resources, generating reports, and storing data sets. On day three, we wrapped up with some sneak peeks of the new Selected Works updates and offered us a chance to explore more topics in depth with lightning round tables.

Continue reading

First Year Seasoning

srapp102015I finished my first year with the Digital Repository and it has been a year of learning new search strategies and finding my comfort zone. The department is teaming up to make sure every vita that comes in has been checked, rechecked, and checked again. There are so many different pathways for each item we handle and the DR handles every vita, every article, and every presentation, as the precious item it is.

I have come to respect the work our faculty, staff, and students put into their research. I see the bibliographies, the charts, the evidence of laboratory experiments, and I realize how much people put of themselves into their works. The scope of my tasks revolves mainly around the Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, thus I have the opportunity to scan articles concerning plants, animals, and the interaction and evolution of life on Earth.

As a team, the members of the DR are always stepping up to help each other, giving me the opportunity to work with faculty members from science, engineering, and the liberal arts. My friends who teach are encouraged to submit their vitae if they haven’t done so. I promote our efforts outside the library. I must seem at times like a passionate fool, but the philosophy behind the Digital Repository is what moves a library, sharing ideas freely, without reservation.

This is one of the coolest jobs I have ever had.

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!

Continue reading

My First Year


Looking back at my first year in the Digital Repository:  Well it started on May 19, 2014 at 1pm in the afternoon….alright, I promise I am not going to give you play by play of each day!  My time here did start on that lovely sunny day and I am still very happy I made this jump into the Digital Repository.  As I said, time flies by and I feel on one level I have learned so much and on another level I know I still have so much more to learn.

Continue reading

Meg Johnson, English faculty member, wins award!

Meg Johnson, a lecturer in the Department of English, was recently named the winner of the 2015 Vignette Collection Award for her second book, The Crimes of Clara Turlington. The prize comes with a cash prize, publication of the book, and 20 author copies. Congratulations, Meg!

Continue reading

ACRL Scholarly Communication Road Show: Community Sharing of Ideas

ACRL RoadshowOn Wednesday, April 16, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) brought their Scholarly Communication Road Show to Ames at the Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State University campus. Colleges and universities from all over the Midwest sent representatives to have a discussion about scholarly communication and copyright in our age of information and technology. The whole Digital Repository unit was able to attend and engage in what was an informative and collaborative gathering.

Continue reading

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!