In defense of Women in Tech (WiT) groups


  I’ve been rolling this post around in my head for a couple of days, in between attending conference and binge-(re)watching Firefly. It turns out, I have put a lot of time and effort—and, more importantly, thought—into creating and running a WiT group, so I have a lot to say on this topic. Also, Rebecca Stavick’s post isn’t the first anti-WiT-post I’ve read by a woman (great response to that one, here), never mind dealing with men’s arguments against these groups; so I’ve had time to think through a lot of these issues.   Myth #1 – Meeting as a … Continue reading

Invisible disabilities and healing


I started to write this post as a Facebook update, but (well, for one, it’s long, but more importantly,) it’s actually pretty relevant to my recent professional life: it’s one person’s set of anecdotes about an Issue In Our Field, if you will. Although it’s hard, I think writing it is the right thing to do. I feel like I owe this post to other people who have been brave and made posts along a similar theme. (I hesitate to link, based on the subject; but please let me know if you’d like to do more reading, to get others’ … Continue reading

Getting buy-in on user centricity

I’m working on a post about professional association involvement, but honestly I got sidetracked by some other projects, including the LITA Forum. And the post is taking forever, because, seriously, it turns out that people had a lot to say. I think it’s going to be several posts, over the course of a week, rather than one gargantuan post. Anyway, I had a great time and learned a lot at the LITA Forum! I also gave my first solo national-level talk there, and I think it went fairly well—people discussed during the discussion period (20 of the 50 minutes), and … Continue reading

UX, consideration, and a CMMI-based model


I have a theory: user experience (UX) thinking (which I’ll also call user-centricity) is an attitude that follows you into daily life. An organization that’s doing a great job of UX thinking is visibly better than one that isn’t, and you see the differences not just in the seamless ease of its patron touchpoints or the usability of its website or its well-designed physical wayfinders, but in the way its staff treat one another. When an organization is well and truly steeped in UX, with total awareness of and buy-in on user-centered thinking, its staff enact those principles, whether they’re … Continue reading

Usability testing on our OPAC

I have a confession to make: until last week, I hadn’t ever done any formal usability testing.* In many ways, we’re still working our way through the findings of a usability test done several years before I got here.** So when the Joint Library Catalog (JLC) Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) Working Group kept going around and around, between ourselves, about interface decisions, I suggested maybe we should test the interface with some of our users. Happily, they agreed! So last Friday I headed over to one of the public library’s branches. The branch manager is a pretty great guy … Continue reading

Career Direction, Women’s Work, and Other Musings


Anyone I talked to at ALA Midwinter (and probably anyone who reads my social media accounts closely—which I suspect is no one :)) has caught on that I’m thinking about next steps in my career. I’ve passed the magical “three years of experience,” after which many more jobs seem to open up and become possibilities. More importantly, I’ve laid some really good groundwork at my current job, which I can use over the next two years to improve not only my organization’s web presence but how the organization makes decisions about our web presence. That is real, lasting change. Coincidentally, … Continue reading

ALA Midwinter 2013

I’m combining my obligatory “lessons learned” post (past ones: here… and the others all got left in draft format) with my “how’d conference go?” post. I didn’t learn that many lessons—not enough for a full blog post—and, spoiler, I had a great conference. Quickly, my lessons: Get a prescription for sleeping pills before conference. Because, seriously, I laid in bed for hours before sleeping, each night, and it wasn’t even an uncomfortable bed. Sounds crazy, but here’s my theory: I squash down my inner introvert all day, at conference, and I act totally extrovert-like. But, as social as I enjoy … Continue reading

Product Review: FitBit (but this post is secretly about libraries)

This isn’t normally a product review blog. Nobody sends me free samples (including FitBit). But I kind of want to write about the FitBit One because it connects to some of my library-related thoughts, recently, and because (spoiler) I really, really like it. And I know it isn’t technically the latest and greatest FitBit has to offer—they have that new wristband, to compete with the Nike Fuel. Or is that not out yet? Anyway, I looked at wristbands and ended up going with the One. It was the right call, for me. First off, before we get into the interface, … Continue reading

Book Review: Creating the Customer-Driven Academic Library

I think I’ve mentioned that I asked my Web Team to read Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think together. We talked about a different pair of chapters at each meeting until we were through the book. And I’ve heard that another group on campus, also working on a website, is taking a similar approach! That made me happy. Another group within the library is also reading a book more or less together, though I think we’re just each individually reading the whole book as we get to it. The book is Creating the Customer-Driven Academic Library, by Jeannette Woodward. I finally … Continue reading

Evolution of a Website

Because I’m working on my “fourth year”* tenure and retention** file, I’ve been reflecting, lately, on the progress I’ve made while here. And, in particular—unsurprisingly—I wanted to see what kinds of changes the website has undergone. I didn’t do a great job of grabbing screen captures, early on, so this is not a perfect reflection of every step in the site’s progress. I know there’s an intermediate step between the first two, where “More »” went away, and a Site Search popped up beside Site Index, briefly, among other things. My note-taking, back then, was good enough to confirm that … Continue reading