The Hangout Factor

Last Friday, August 7, 2015, Sha Towers and I presented our poster “The ‘Hangout Factor’ in Library Liaison Work: An Exploration” at the Cross Timbers Library Collaborative 2015 Conference. You can find our poster here.

We got some great feedback from the conference attendees, which was nice to hear, since we’ve been kicking around this idea for a long while now. People recognized along with us the importance of the social and informal aspects of library liaison work and liked our proposals about reporting and assessing this type of activity.

Coming up – academic identity presentation

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, two colleagues and I will be presenting on “Everything you need to know about your academic identity” at the Women in the Academy conference at Baylor. We’ve got a research guide to go along with the talk currently in the works and hopefully it’s going to be a helpful, practical workshop for the women graduate students in attendance.

Curating conversations on the web

I’ve been investigating ways to curate conversations that take place on the web, via social media and in other places. I’m doing so at this point mainly to be able to display some of the great conversations that happened in the two New Media Studies first year seminars (#nmsf09 and #nms_f10) where I was the Twitter-embedded librarian. So far I’ve been looking at (where I have put my name in for an invite),, and, which I have signed up for and begun to play around with.

Here is an example of a conversation that took place during #nms_f10 that spanned several social media tools.

What happened was that one student in the class had seen a CNN article about viral hits on the web, bookmarked using using the class’ designated hashtag. During the class that day, I asked him via Twitter (using our class hashtag) whether he was the one who had bookmarked that (I was still trying to get Twitter handles, blog names, usernames, etc. sorted out at this point in the semester…) and when he responded positively, I sent him the link to one of my favorite timelines that someone created using

I like fairly well – they have a nice bookmarklet that you can use to create your “bundles” but so far I haven’t been able to see a way to easily reorder the items you put into your bundle. I’d like to add the final tweet in this conversation that I forgot to add originally, but if I added it in now, it would add to the top of the bundle, which would make no sense. I’ve contacted their support to see if I’m just missing something or whether that function is just not in the application. We’ll see. It looks like, from this Professor Hacker post, that let’s you reorganize your content in the way I’d like. (Anyone have an invite they want to send me?)

So far, I’m really liking this type of social media curation, to tell stories, display conversations across different platforms, to archive content, or for marketing purposes. The possibilities are myriad.

Wired Campus Article

I’m very excited to be the subject of an article by Jeff Young in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog called “Embedded Librarian on Twitter Served as Information Concierge for Class.”

The experience I had being the “Twitter-based librarian” to Dr. Gardner Campbell’s New Media Studies classes is really the highlight of my career so far. It stretched me professionally, to be sure, but it was also a whole bunch of fun! The students in last semester’s class took to calling me their “Guardian Librarian” and I truly feel like all of my Twitter students are my “charges.” Any time they want to tweet me a question, I’ll be there!


Written for the first session of Baylor’s New Media Faculty Development Seminar, January 26, 2011

Blogging is one of the most important aspects of Baylor’s New Media Faculty Development Seminar.

The syllabus states:

“Understanding new media is almost impossible for those who aren’t actively involved in the experience of new media; for deep understanding, actually creating new media projects is essential to grasping their workings and poetics. The ideas described in these selections can open important new creative areas for beginners and professionals alike.”

Blogging is one very important way to be actively involved in the experience and creation of new media. Blogging is not just a more informal medium than academic writing for professional journals. It’s an inherently different animal. It is a medium which allows us to be free to use pictures, video, links (which can function as both citation and conversation). It is a medium in which we can be free to share how we are learning and growing in understanding. As Gardner puts it in another blog post,

I think blogging is utterly (and radically) unlike writing for professional journals. Maybe part of the problem here is that folks don’t have a deeper understanding of blogging itself. It’s freer, looser, more voice-filled, more exploratory, more goofy, more fun, more multimodal. I’ve written for a number of professional journals, and blogging isn’t that at all—and shouldn’t be in this context either. It should be thoughts, scraps, false starts, stories of the progress of one’s own learning and missteps and questions and problem-finding….

I think the fact that blogging is utterly unlike writing for professional journals is one of the reasons it’s so hard for faculty to do (or at least to start doing). They feel lost and vulnerable without those professional journal structures. And they’ll say weird things to me like “who wants to read what *I* have to say?” This from people who are professors making their living from people who pay to hear what they have to say! No, I truly believe that blogging in this context should free us for authentic learning and sharing of our learning.

The how-tos and technical aspects of blogging I will demonstrate during the seminar today, as well as the rest of the way the seminar network will be set up. But for now, just know that blogging is one of the most important aspects of the seminar. It might be strange at first, and it might take some discipline as you get started, but it will ultimately be very valuable both to the seminar as well as to yourself.

Marshall McLuhan understanding blogging