Issue 28, 2015-04-15

Special Issue on Diversity in Library Technology Guest Editorial Committee

The guest editorial committee for Code4Lib Journal’s Special Issue on Diversity in Library Technology (issue 28) was developed in order to include new voices and perspectives on the journal’s practices and how they support inclusivity. The committee is comprised of eight guest editors and two regular editorial committee members. More information on the development of […]

The guest editorial committee for Code4Lib Journal’s Special Issue on Diversity in Library Technology (issue 28) was developed in order to include new voices and perspectives on the journal’s practices and how they support inclusivity. The committee is comprised of eight guest editors and two regular editorial committee members. More information on the development of the guest editorial committee can be found here.

Shawn Averkamp, Manager of Metadata Services, NYPL Labs at New York Public Library, oversees metadata production and directs the development of metadata infrastructure for NYPL’s unique digital resources. Prior to joining NYPL, she supported metadata management, digital humanities, and data curation at the University of Iowa Libraries as Data Services Librarian and Interim Head of Digital Research & Publishing and as a Metadata Librarian at the University of Alabama Libraries. She earned her MLIS from the University of Iowa and holds a BA in Music from Luther College.

Laurie Bridges, Associate Professor and Instruction & Emerging Technologies Librarian at Oregon State University, received her MLIS in 2006 from the University of Washington and an MS in College Student Services Administration with a minor in Women Studies in 1999 from Oregon State University.  She has co-authored several articles about mobile technologies and libraries, including a 2009 article in Code4Lib.

Scott Carlson, Metadata Coordinator at Rice University’s Fondren Library, received his MLIS in 2007 from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and recently completed an Archives Certificate in Digital Stewardship from Simmons College in Boston. Prior to his position at Rice, Scott was the Cataloging and Metadata Librarian at the American University of Sharjah, an accredited, multicultural institution in the United Arab Emirates.

Tara Das is the Government Information Librarian at Columbia University. She previously was a Director in the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene where she managed electronic records, operations, and outreach for vital records. She has a joint PhD in anthropology and political science, and an MPH in quantitative methods. She is completing an MSLIS at Pratt Institute.

Heidi Dowding, Issue 28 Coordinating Editor, has worked as a librarian and researcher around the world.  Her most recent work at the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Science’s Huygens Institute for Dutch History has involved researching long-term digital preservation interventions for digital scholarly editions.  Previously she worked as a National Digital Stewardship Resident at the Library of Congress and Reference and Digital Services Librarian at Nazarbayev University.

Jane Foo, Digital Systems Librarian at Seneca College, credits an undergraduate course on environmental psychology with sparking a lifelong interest in human-computer interaction and the impact of technology and visual design. Her experiences include testing, user-centred design and usability testing, adult teaching and training, and a large variety of systems implementation and management projects. Lately, she’s gone back to her undergraduate statistics roots and is pursuing a MOOC based data science specialization.

Shirley Lew is the Interim Director, Library and Learning Centre at Vancouver Community College. Her usual position is Coordinator, Library Systems and Technical Services. She has taught courses in library automation and is also active in the local literary arts community.

Yuan Li is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Princeton University, where she manages the Princeton University Library’s efforts to support scholarly publication innovations and reforms, and supervises and coordinates activities related to the Princeton Open Access policy and the Princeton Institutional Repository. Prior to joining Princeton, she served as the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Syracuse University, the Digital Initiatives Librarian at University of Rhode Island, and the Digital Repository Librarian at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Yuan has a Master degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Rhode Island, a Master of Engineering degree in Applied Computer Science from the National Computer System Engineering Research Institute of China and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science and Technology from Yanshan University (China).

Renée McBride, Head, Special Formats & Metadata Section, Resource & Description Management Department at UNC-Chapel Hill, received her MA’s in Music Theory and Library & Information Science from the University of Iowa. At UNC-Chapel Hill she supervises catalogers responsible for audiovisual, cartographic and music materials, geospatial data and statistical datasets, and resources for the Carolina Digital Repository. Prior to her current position, she worked at Hollins University, UCLA and the University of Oklahoma. Renée’s passion for diversity in the LIS world spans two decades, from UCLA to the Music Library Association to UNC-Chapel Hill, where she is currently co-chair of the Library Diversity Programming and Education Committee.

Ethan Pullman is a Humanities Librarian & Coordinator of Library Instruction at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is also pursuing his PhD in Rhetoric.  He held various positions as a public services librarian at the University of Pittsburgh and adjunct instructor of Arabic and Library and Information Sciences Special Topics in the Humanities.  He received two awards for excellence in teaching, support, and providing significant impact and guidance to students’ academic and extracurricular lives from students and staff at both universities. More information about his professional involvement is available here.


Why Diversity in Library Technology?

Shawn Averkamp: I got involved in library technology by fluke. The library school I planned to attend had received an IMLS grant to train new digital librarians. I had little experience in technology, but I needed the funding, so I applied. I was incredibly fortunate to have a diverse string of mentors who not only helped me navigate my early career in libraries, but created and fostered safe spaces to explore technology, ask questions, and fail without negative consequence. My interest in diversity in library technology comes from my gratitude to mentors and a sense of responsibility to pay it forward by supporting and creating welcoming spaces for all voices in this field. As a regular member of the Code4Lib Journal editorial committee, I was also interested in learning from our guest committee how to push our limits of the scope of this journal as well as how to adjust and improve our processes to make the journal a more welcoming venue for potential authors and editors from all backgrounds.

Laurie Bridges: During my childhood, dinner conversations between my parents usually revolved around computers. My dad was an Air Force programmer who worked with Arpanet beginning in the 1970s and he eventually obtained a BS in Management Information Systems in 1987; my mom was also a programmer who got her BS in Computer and Information Systems in 1983. In addition to talking about computers my parents routinely discussed my mom’s experiences as a woman in programming. While my dad’s career in programming and eventual management spanned decades (he retired only two years ago) my mom’s was short-lived and lasted approximately 15 years; she eventually opted out of the male-dominated profession. My mom is a brilliant woman, but she left the field of programming disillusioned as a direct result of the negative workplace gender-dynamics she experienced every day. Serving on this editorial committee is a tribute to my mom, and it is my hope that this issue of Code4Lib can be a step toward revealing the accomplishments and struggles of marginalized persons and groups within (library) technology.

Scott Carlson: My interest on this topic stems from a career where I have been tasked with providing as much of a common background as possible to the people I’ve worked with. In the United Arab Emirates, I provided technical service guidance and training to a team of paraprofessionals with a wide array of library experience and cultural backgrounds. Nowadays, my position at Rice affords me the opportunity to liaise with all of my fellow library departments — as well as the rest of the university — on issues related to metadata, not all of whom may be aware of what it is (or how it might be put to work for them). What all of this has taught me is that an array of backgrounds enriches the work that we do and the ways in which we do it. I am eager to participate in a larger discussion on diversity in library technology.

Tara Das:  I come to the libraries after having worked in public health research and technologies. In my work, I have always considered how technologies will be experienced and acted upon by users and user groups. I have many interests in library tech, but the underlying themes have been examining technology trends (and their implications for different groups) and openness to diverse uses, interpretations, and needs.  My own research currently focuses on critical examination of trends in government use of social media and open data.  Having worked in New York City government, and now in an NYC academic library, I am comfortable working with diverse people and needs where available technologies can be used and/or re-purposed in unanticipated ways. People may not view technologies in the same way, and it will strengthen our programs and services if we enjoy and engage with these differences.

Heidi Dowding: On a personal level, I am a first generation college student and have a great interest in helping similar students as an academic librarian.  As a graduate student assistant on the reference desk at Wayne State University in Detroit, I worked with underserved communities and saw how even basic technical skills can open up an entirely new world in terms of employment and education.  As one of the newest members of the Code4Lib Journal editorial committee, I have been thrilled by how supportive the committee is of new ideas within our small group.  In pushing for this special issue, I wanted to see how that could be expanded to support the discussions that have been happening in the Code4Lib community and beyond.

Jane Foo: The ultimate goal of talking about diversity in library technology is to eliminate the need for this very topic. While I believe that the library technology community is diverse, it is obvious that the public side of library IT (publications, presentations, and leadership) lacks variety. It is time to shape the existing knowledge sharing processes and policies within this community into a more inclusive and supportive set of practices that encourages new ideas and opinions from the less vocal and visible members, and I look forward to aiding Code4Lib on the special issue on diversity.

Shirley Lew: I have held technical positions in libraries for the majority of my professional career. I have worked in environments and engaged in technology communities where I am in the minority in terms of race and gender. I am interested in understanding the reasons for this, the immeasurable loss due to conscious and unconscious systems of exclusion, and how we go beyond diversity metrics to meaningfully transform the environments in which we work and innovate together. I hope this special issue will deepen our collective understanding and appreciation of diversity in the Code4Lib community.

Yuan Li: As an Asian American woman, I always pay a close attention to the diversity issues of the organization where I work(ed).  It’s not only because I am the one who will likely get impacted by the issue, but also because of the importance and benefits of diversity to an organization.  I had been a software engineer and a web developer before. And I am now a librarian. My experience allows me to observe the diversity issues across the professions, to learn how the diversity can be improved, and to witness the benefits of the improved diversity to an organization. In many library tech situations, there is still gender imbalance, far more males than females. I am very interested in helping improve the situation. As Roy Tennant said in his article “Fostering Female Technology Leadership in Libraries”, “It doesn’t need to change for (simply) equity reasons, but because we need women in library technology. Diversity in your workforce is a good thing. Diversity of perspectives, skills, experiences, and ways of working strengthen any organization.”

Renée McBride: I was first struck by the positive impact of openness to diversity in libraries in 1994 when I interviewed at UCLA, where I was asked how I might contribute to diversity in the library. It was a joy to interview as the comfortable, open lesbian I was. Eventually I served on the UCLA Library Committee on Diversity and as a diversity representative on a wide range of library search committees. Diversity plays a role in my service to the Music Library Association (MLA), for whom I have served as Publicity & Outreach Officer, which involved focused efforts at broadening our outreach, and on the ARL/MLA Diversity Scholarship Publicity Task Force, which dealt with a scholarship awarded by MLA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) under the ARL/MLA Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. In my current position at UNC-Chapel Hill, I serve as co-chair of the Library Diversity Programming and Education Committee, through which I have been delighted to see diversity become an increasingly vital part of our library’s strategic planning. I am honored to continue my work in support of diversity in the LIS world as a guest editor for this issue ofCode4Lib. In case any of us wonder if there is indeed a need for more diversity in the technology community, I want to share that just last week an Asian friend had to send her regular, quarterly email to her IT department to remind them to correct her name, which is incorrectly displayed at the beginning of every quarter at her institution. As my friend noted, this is “a systemic problem within the field of programming that continues to insist on standardizing information systems to certain cultural norms.”

Ethan Pullman: I have been an early promoter of online learning systems such as blackboard and have used it extensively in my teaching.  My expertise lies in online/distance learning pedagogy and best practices, including assessment in online environments.  My interest in diversity is demonstrated in creating and coordinating non-English library instruction sessions taught by a team of librarians at the University of Pittsburgh,  working in public and academic libraries, including a semester as Head Librarian of a ship library (semester at sea), and teaching at Carnegie Mellon University’s satellite campus in Doha, Qatar.

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ISSN 1940-5758