Students Host Personal Archiving Day

Oct 2015

Personal Archiving Day was developed by the Society of American Archivists Student Chapter. October is Archives Month and students wanted to celebrate by creating an outreach opportunity between the archival community and the Madison community. The students are lending their skills to interested individuals with questions about materials they might have at home: film, photographs, paper, and so on. It's so common for people collect family memories on items prone to deterioration, so it's important to understand how to properly care for these materials.

On October 10, students and local experts from the Madison area will gather at the Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin Street. Local experts include: Amy Sloper (WI Center for Film and Theater Research), Sally Jacobs, Dorothea Salo (UW-Madison SLIS), Brianna Marshall (UW-Madison Libraries), Joyal Holder (Holder Printworks), Dana Gerber-Margie, and Matthew Blessing (State Archivist, WI Historical Society). They'll be on hand to answer questions members of the Madison community have about their archival objects

Activities include:

12:15 Samantha Abrams will give an introduction to archives – what archives are, what archivists do, and what it means for people in attendance

2:30 Joyal Holder will talk about film

3:30 Amy Sloper will do a film screening in association with Home Movie Day

Here's a link to the Facebook event.

Another creative event from the minds of SLIS students!

OCLC features SLIS partnership with a WI Tribal Community

Oct 2015


SLIS is proud to be part of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa's efforts to maintain its community library. Congratulations to the students, retired Professor Louise Robbins, and staff member Omar Poler ('10) for recognition from OCLC on this unique, important partnership. Read the full article to learn more. 

Kristin Briney ('13) publishes Data Management for Researchers

Sept 2015


Alum Kristin Briney ('13) authored her first book, Data Management for Researchers, released September 1. Congratulations, Kristin!

A comprehensive guide to everything scientists need to know about data management, this book is essential for researchers who need to learn how to organize, document and take care of their own data.

Researchers in all disciplines are faced with the challenge of managing the growing amounts of digital data that are the foundation of their research. Briney offers practical advice and clearly explains policies and principles, in an accessible and in-depth text that will allow researchers to understand and achieve the goal of better research data management.

Learn more about Kristin here:

Alumni Profile: Lisa Berrones

Sept 2015


Lisa Berrones ('08) IT Business Analyst at Prent Corporation, a global thermoform packaging company based in Janesville, WI.

What was your career path that led you to working as the IT Business Analyst at Prent Corporation?

While at SLIS I took as many of the technical courses that I could, with an intent to focus on emerging library technology, e-resources and license negotiation. I had a deep interest specifically in intellectual property, and hoped to work in any of these areas upon graduation, but things don’t always work out as planned.

After graduation, I took a job with a very small, private university in the Chicago suburbs doing instruction and reference, rapidly learning that small academic libraries were not for me. I wanted more of a focus on research and really using information; I had always thought that I was drawn to librarianship by the information, which it turns out, I was almost correct about. I realized it wasn’t necessarily information that I was interested in, but data and analytics specifically. So when I found a position that was part training, part project management and part analytics, I applied on a whim and was hired within a week.

It was a terrifying first few months: new industry, new position, new location, but three years in I cannot imagine doing anything else. I’m constantly busy, constantly challenged and have found a career that I can spend a lifetime in and never get bored.

You have an a-typical job for someone with a degree from SLIS, so how do you use your degree in the position that you have?

The most important thing from SLIS that I use is the ability to critically think about information and data. A huge amount of my time is spent on process development and business analytics; the ability to clearly think through these are a lot like working through a really difficult reference request, where someone asks you for information but their initial question isn’t actually what they want. Instead you have to go through a reference interview to discern what they really need.  In my job, I’m given a general point of information or a topic, and then have to work through it from top to bottom, identifying issues or points of interest, until reaching an ultimate conclusion.

Will you describe your typical day?

Communication, lots of communication. I spend a huge amount of my time talking to people, formally in meetings, informally when I run into them in the hall, and talking about how they do their job, what they need to better do their job and just observing them actually doing their jobs. I take this information and put it together with what we already know and processes we already have and determine which parts are fixed and which parts are flexible. Then I meet with my developers when I have an idea of how things need to work and we discuss the required changes to our system and how long it’s going to take to get there. Every month we deploy between 20 and 40 improvements to our system that are based on the communication with the users of our system, which is a lot coming from a shop with only three dedicated developers.

Beyond this, I troubleshoot a lot of issues. Our systems, despite our best efforts, can be very complicated, and errors are made. As the point person on all processes for our company, any error that could have downstream effects typically runs through me to make sure all participants are aware of what changes can be made, what can’t and who has access to make the changes. I take about five to ten calls a day requesting assistance of this type from all eight of our global locations.

Please tell us about a goal or two you have in your current position.

My biggest goal is expanding the role of the BA (Business Analytics) at Prent. Right now, we are working through a backlog of things necessary to get the company working where we think we should be, but the exciting part is using analytics to answer the questions that we don’t even know to ask. That’s where I see us really having an opportunity to have an effect on tangibles for Prent as a whole- hard data to drive change.

My other goal is to increase my networking and start presenting at conferences. I never thought the things I worked on were interesting or applicable to people outside Prent, but having been to a few user group meetings it’s becoming increasingly apparent that I do have something that I could share with others to help them improve their use of technology or change how their perception of how manufacturing environment has to work.  Prent is on the cutting edge in a lot of their uses of technology, which isn’t always the case in manufacturing environments, and it is exciting to think of being able to share that and work to improve even a segment of the industry in some way.

How has your time at SLIS influenced your career?

My time at SLIS really taught me that work can be fulfilling, if you’re doing work you really care about. It’s easy to understand that librarianship is fulfilling on a personal level, but I think it’s more surprising to realize that working for a corporation and in the manufacturing industry also has the ability to be very fulfilling. To me, a fulfilling job is one that allows you to be constantly learning, and that is definitely true in my position; it’s a constant stream of new ideas, new ways of doing something and making use of new technologies that ensure I’ll be able to leave my office everyday knowing I learned something new.

Meeting Health Information Needs Outside of Healthcare, Dr. Arnott Smith's new book

August 2015

“Meeting health information needs outside of healthcare: Opportunities and challenges” is a book about the problems of delivering health information outside the clinic.  This is an edited volume featuring contributors not only from library and information studies, but from medical informatics, linguistics, journalism and health communication. The goal is to show practitioners in all these fields – as well as future practitioners – what these different domains have in common and what makes health information particularly challenging to work with.

For library and information professionals specifically, Prof. Smith has contributed a chapter on the history of health information delivery to the public in libraries; Michelynn McKnight and Nancy Seeger’s separate chapters focus on ethical reference practice; Ann Chernaik, the community college setting; Mary Grace Flaherty, the public library setting; and Ellen Sayed and Alan Weber, cancer information services in Qatar.

The book can be ordered in different formats from the publisher, Chandos (a division of Elsevier), Amazon, or Google Books.