After a tumultuous two-year relationship, I’m finally at peace with my website. Creating a web portfolio can be a big commitment, but it’s also a great way to take control of your online identity. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…
1. Consider Squarespace
During my last semester of library school I started a blog as a course requirement. I wasted hours working with Wix, WordPress, and Tumblr-trying to get the right look and feel. I finally landed on Squarespace and can’t say enough good things about it. Squarespace is ridiculously easy to use and it’s tough to make an ugly website. The options for templates, fonts, and images are streamlined and curated, unlike many other platforms that overwhelm you with hundreds of options. The only downside is the cost. $12/month is a little steep-especially when you’re a student, but I’ve found that it’s worth it to have a low-maintenance platform.
2. Establish Brand Guidelines
When I started creating imagery for my site, I made an executive decision to use a color palette of yellow, black, and white only. Sounds limiting, but it’s saved me from my indecision. I make a lot of my own graphics and I’ve been known to get lost in a Photoshop vortex. Choose your color palette, fonts, and a couple images before you even set foot in a website builder.
3. Decide What to Share
There’s no hard and fast rule for what to include in your personal website. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable sharing with the world. I’ve opted out in a lot of ways. For instance, I don’t have my CV or even a real picture of myself on my site. Instead I created an illustration of myself and have included examples of my work and a Google map of libraries where I’ve worked. I like keeping some things off the web, but I also admire people who put it all out there. Case in point, fellow LITA member Brianna Marshall has an incredible website with slide decks, her Twitter feed, blog posts, and lists of projects and publications. Start thinking about where you fall on the spectrum before you start building.
4. Save Everything
Don’t forget to backup any content you create for your website. I save everything in Google Drive and on my computer so that if I decide to switch platforms I can easily access all of my materials.
5. Purchase a Domain (or Don’t)
Once I got a real library job I decided to spend a little more money and purchase a domain without “.squarespace.com” at the end. I like the clean look of my new URL (it looks great on my resume), but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, especially if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re on the job hunt, chances are your potential employer is going to Google you before they take the time to type in your URL. Instead of spending the extra dough on a custom domain, consider working with a free domain and driving traffic to your site through Twitter or Facebook.
6. Be Yourself
The tone of my website is very playful (ahem, not academic). When I made the move from public to academic libraries, I started to wonder if my site was inappropriate. Certainly an argument could be made either way, but the whimsy of my site is an honest representation of me. If I were to apply for a position in the future that found my website too playful, I suspect that wouldn’t be a good place for me anyhow. If your site reflects your personality while still looking professional, then don’t be afraid to own it.
Have you designed your own personal website? What have you learned along the way?
DuraSpace News: Thomson Reuters to Provide Institutional Support Services for VIVO as Registered Service Provider
Thomson Reuters will help VIVO users enable collaboration and discovery
Last updated August 5, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 5, 2016.
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A Fedora User Group Meeting will be held on October 7 in Bern, Switzerland. The event coincides with the iPRES conference and will take place at the University Library of Bern. The agenda will include an update on Fedora 4, presentations from regional Fedora users, and group discussions. If you would like to deliver a short presentation or project update please indicate your interest on the registration form. There is no charge for this event.
Last updated August 5, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 5, 2016.
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A multi-institutional open-source collaboration building a better way to find and share geospatial data.Package Type: Discovery InterfaceLicense: Apache 2.0 Package Links Production/StableOperating System: Browser/Cross-Platform Releases for GeoBlacklight
- GeoBlacklight - 1.0 27-Jul-2016
Last updated August 5, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 5, 2016.
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Hydra Connect will take place October 3-6 in Boston, MA. It is a chance for Hydra Project participants to gather in one place at one time, with an emphasis on synchronizing efforts, technical development, plans, and community links. The meeting program is aimed at existing users, managers, and developers and at new folks who may be just "kicking the tires" on Hydra and who want to know more.
From Mike Giarlo: Sufia 7.0.0 has been released after 4 beta releases and 2 release candidates. In addition to the words I wrote below, I’d also highlight the amount of work that has gone into getting from a first beta release to 7.0.0 proper: since beta1 was released on June 3rd, 11 contributors have made 307 commits touching 417 files.
The 7.0.0 release does not include upgrade/migration docs or tools but rather is focused on greenfield adopters. In the meantime, developers at Penn State, Alberta, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation are actively working on migrations, so those of you running Sufia 6.x who are eager to upgrade to 7.x… stay tuned!
The top priority for the next release will be exposing in the UI the ability to create arbitrarily nested works, and I’m happy to share that that feature is nearly ready thanks to the dedicated team at Oregon State University.
Thanks again, everyone, for all you’ve done to make this release what it is!
I just got finished listening to Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology lectures from 1989. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know about her work until the news of her passing went around in social media a few weeks ago.
There are five lectures in all, each an hour long, which can be streamed directly for free. I ended up downloading the mp3s that the flash player uses so I could easily listen to them on my commute to work. If you’d like a copy get in touch. If you prefer there is a book too … but you’ll be missing out on Franklin’s delivery, which is a big part of the wit and warmth of the lectures.
The lectures are ultimately about re-centering technology on the needs of people, rather than capital markets, the machinery of war, and natural destruction. Even with a gap of 30 years her message still rings clear as a bell today. We’re in the middle of talking about principles or values at work, so when Franklin talked about her own principles I wanted to jot them down. You probably will need to listen to the lectures to get at the meaning behind words like, but I imagine they will mostly make sense.
I can’t emphasize enough that we need a great deal of principled discourse. That discourse is political, in the sense that feminists say the personal is political. The discourse should be authentic in the sense of giving priority to experience and to genuine and verifiable information rather than to hearsay. It should seek out those with direct experience, those on whom technology impacts.
One needs also to pay particular attention to the language of this discourse. A lot of clarification can occur by simply attending to the language. Whenever somebody talks to you about benefits or costs of particular development don’t ask what benefits, ask whose benefits, whose costs. To come back to the discourse that we have to have with each other: on the basis of these discussions we could make up a checklist … let’s make a civic list. When one looks at projects that are under discussion … one can ask:
- Whether it promotes justice.
- Whether it restores reciprocity.
- Whether it confers divisible or individible benefits.
- Whether it favors people over machines.
- Whether the strategy of implementation maximizes gain or minimizes disaster.
- Whether conservation is favored over waste.
- Whether the irreversible stands back because the reversible is favored.
We are thrilled to announce that the collections of Recollection Wisconsin, are now ‘live’ in DPLA! As our newest Service Hub, Recollection Wisconsin has made some 400,000 new records representing photographs, books, maps, artifacts and other historical resources from more than 200 Wisconsin collections accessible in DPLA. Like all of our Service Hubs, Recollection Wisconsin represents a collaborative effort among a wide range of institutions, large and small. We want to send a special shout out and welcome to the Recollection Wisconsin governing partners: Wisconsin Library Services, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Historical Society, Milwaukee Public Library, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University.So what exactly can you find in Wisconsin’s collections?
We know what you’re thinking… cheese and beer! Or, try mixing both for a tasty appetizer as the recipe below for Beer-Cheese Bites from the Historic Recipe File at Milwaukee Public Library suggests.
- “Beer-Cheese Bites,” Milwaukee Sentinel, December 20, 1979, from Milwaukee Public Library’s Historic Recipe File.
- “Cheese with a Made in Wisconsin Trademark” from UW-Madison Archives via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- The first class in cheesemaking, Wisconsin Dairy School, 1907, from UW-Madison Archives via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- "Fred Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, U.S.A." ca. 1895, from Turning Points in Wisconsin History via Wisconsin Historical Society.
Find some of the best local highlights from Wisconsin in the State of Wisconsin Collection, from University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s postcard collection, the Exploring Cultural History Online collection from Winding Rivers Library System; the Ozaukee and Sheboygan Memories community archive from Eastern Shores Library System.
In addition to highlighting Wisconsin’s local specialties, the collections from the new Wisconsin Hub will help tell the local stories that bring to life broad ideas and landmark events in our nation’s history. For example, Francis Deleglise’s letters, from the collection of Langlade County Historical Society, capture his experience on the front lines of the Civil War as a member of Wisconsin’s famous Iron Brigade. The Great Lakes Maritime History Project reflects the rich history of maritime trade and travel on the Great Lakes and other Wisconsin waterways, while The Home Front: Manitowoc County in World War II collection adds to DPLA’s body of resources on the impact of World War II on the lives of men, women, children, and families on the home front across the country. Finally, the College of Menominee Nation’s Termination and Restoration collection documents the Menominee Nation’s successful grassroots effort to restore their status as a federally recognized tribe after the government’s termination of that status in 1954, speaking to crucial struggles for Native American sovereignty and rights during the twentieth century.
- The first page of a letter in French from Civil War soldier Francis Deleglise to his father from Baltimore describing treatment for his injuries sustained at the Battle of Gettysburg, August 14, 1863, from the collections of Langlade County Historical Society.
- Advertisement of the Diamond Jo Line Steamers and the St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Co., from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Murphy Library Special Collections.
- A special wartime edition of The Ship, a school newspaper at Manitowoc Vocational School in honor of Citizenship Day, from Manitowoc Historical Society via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Women employees of Globe Shipbuilding Company, 1942, from University of Wisconsin-Superior via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Invitation to the second annual DRUMS (Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee Shareholders) Convention and Pow Wow, 1972, from College of Menominee Nation S. Verna Fowler Academic Library/Menominee Public Library.
Our newest hub also makes important contributions to our coverage of LGBT History and the Civil Rights Movement. Wisconsin’s LGBT History collections, including the Gay People’s Union Collection, ACT UP Milwaukee Videos, Milwaukee Gay/Lesbian Cable Network Programs, and the Milwaukee Transgender Oral History Project represent the experiences and activism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Milwaukee. As part of DPLA, these collections can now be explored alongside the rich LGBT history collections of other hubs such as Minnesota Digital Library, New York Public Library, and Digital Library of Georgia.
- "GPU Band Poster" advertising "Liberated Together," 1973, part of the Gay People's Union Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Cover of the Gay Liberation Organization Manifesto, a handbook describing the Gay Liberation Organization’s mission and purpose, part of the Gay People's Union Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Screenshot from "Brand New Queer Program," October 5, 1993, part of ACT UP Milwaukee Records, 1990-1996, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.
- Screenshot from "Queer Program," April 1994, part of ACT UP Milwaukee Records, 1990-1996, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.
Wisconsin also adds to the rich field of materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement. The Freedom Summer Digital Collection from Wisconsin Historical Society adds hundreds of manuscript documents and photographs detailing the diverse civil rights campaigns organized by SNCC, CORE, and other groups in Mississippi during the summer of 1964 and beyond. The March on Milwaukee collection brings together resources from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin Historical Society and highlights the important role of Milwaukee, “the Selma of the North,” as a battlefield of the Civil Rights Movement. In DPLA, these collections now join such collections as the Civil Rights Digital Library contributed by the Digital Library of Georgia, Washington University of St. Louis’ Eyes on the Prize interview collection, the Freedom Riders 40th Anniversary Oral History Project, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s civil rights collections, and PA Digital’s civil rights collections also documenting the Civil Rights Movement beyond the American South.
- Freedom Day School Poster, May 18, 1964, from the collections of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, part of March on Milwaukee - Civil Rights History Project.
- Children coloring during Freedom Summer, 1964, from the Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Fair Housing Demonstration, Milwaukee, 1967, from the collection of Wisconsin Historical Society, part of March on Milwaukee - Civil Rights History Project.
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party fundraising letter to Freedom Summer participants’ parents, signed by Annie Devine, Victoria Gray, and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964, Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) volunteer Richard Gould reflects on nonviolence during Freedom Summer trainings, 1964, part of the Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society. Richard N. Gould Papers, 1963-1965.
As you begin your exploration of all things from and about Wisconsin, remember we have only scratched the surface here! Recollection Wisconsin also makes new archaeological artifacts, maps and atlases, photos documenting twentieth century Native American communities, and audio recordings of Wisconsin’s folksongs available in DPLA, to name a few more highlights.Join us in sending a warm welcome to Wisconsin and look for more highlights from our newest hub on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
Library of Congress: The Signal: The NEH “Chronicling America” Challenge: Using Big Data to Ask Big Questions
This is a guest post by Leah Weinryb Grohsgal of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Historic newspapers offer rich histories of American life, with glimpses into politics, sports, shopping, music, food, health, science, movies and everything in between. The National Digital Newspaper Program, a joint effort between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, seeks to preserve and provide open access to America’s historic newspapers via Chronicling America. The site now contains over eleven million pages of digitized newspapers as well as a digital directory of over 150,000 titles from small towns and big cities across the United States.
Not only are the newspaper pages openly available, but the data is too. The Library of Congress has developed a user-friendly Application Program Interface, which can be used as a doorway into the newspaper data in Chronicling America. Because of this commitment to openness, users can now interact with these rich sources both as individual pages and as big data sets used to show trends over time and space.
NEH recently asked the public, “How can you use open data to explore history?” We invited members of the public to produce creative web-based projects demonstrating the potential for using the data found in Chronicling America. Entries could be data visualizations, web-based tools or other innovative and interesting web-based projects. Entries came through Challenge.gov, the U.S. government’s hub for federal prize and challenge competitions. The nationwide competition garnered extremely high-quality entries on a variety of subjects, which showed the importance of and potential for making this rich historical data openly available.
The results are in. NEH has announced six open data challenge prize recipients. The winners will receive cash prizes and will attend the National Digital Newspaper Program annual September meeting in Washington, D.C. to present their work. We join with the Library of Congress in celebrating the questions and insights that can be gained from making open data and excellent primary sources accessible to the public.
And the winners are…
American Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers
Entry By: Lincoln Mullen, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
This project tracks Biblical quotations in American newspapers to see how the Bible was used for cultural, religious, social or political purposes. Users can either enter their own Biblical references or choose from a selection of significant references on a range of topics. The project draws on both recent digital humanities work tracking the reuse of texts and a deep scholarly interest in the Bible as a cultural text in American life. The site shows how the Bible was a contested yet common text, including both printed sermons and Sunday school lessons and use of the Bible on every side of issues such as slavery, women’s suffrage and wealth and capitalism.
Second Prize (Tie)
American Lynching: Uncovering a Cultural Narrative
Entry By: Andrew Bales, PhD Student in Creative Writing, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
This project explores America’s long and dark history with lynching, in which newspapers acted as both a catalyst for public killings and a platform for advocating for reform. Integrating data sets on lynching created by Tuskegee University, the site sheds light on the gruesome culture of lynching, paying close attention to the victims of violent mobs. The site allows readers to use an interactive chronological map of victim reports and see their state-by state distribution, linking to Chronicling America articles.
Second Prize (Tie)
Historical Agricultural News
Entry By: Amy Giroux, Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
This site allows users to explore information on the farming organizations, technologies and practices of America’s past. The site describes farming as the window into communities, social and technological change and concepts like progress, development and modernity. Agricultural connections are of significance to those interested in various topics, including immigration and assimilation, language use and communication, education and affiliations and demographic transitions.
Third Prize (Tie)
Entry By: Kristi Palmer, Associate Dean of Digital Scholarship, Indiana University-Purdue University (Indianapolis, IN)
This project tracks the origins of the word “Hoosier.” The site’s maps visually demonstrate the geographic distribution of the term “Hoosier” in the Chronicling America data set. This distribution is measured by the number of times the term appears on a newspaper page. Each point on the map shows a place of publication where a newspaper or newspapers contain the term. Another feature on the web site is the Word Clouds by Decade visualizations, which are created by looking at the word “Hoosier” in context. The text immediately surrounding each appearance of the word is extracted and from this the most frequently occurring terms are plotted.
Third Prize (Tie)
Entry By: Claudio Saunt, Professor, Department of History, Co-Director, Center for Virtual History and Associate Director, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
This site discovers patterns, explores regions, investigates how stories and terms spread around the country and watches information go viral before the era of the internet. The site argues that newspapers capture the public discourse better than books do because of their quick publication schedule. For example, users can track “miscegenation,” a term coined in 1863 by a Democratic Party operative to exploit fears about Lincoln, and “scalawag,” a recently arrived term that quickly gained currency after 1869. Other examples for use are tracking regional differences in language, tracing the path of epidemics and studying changing political discourse over time and space.
K-12 Student Prize
Digital APUSH: Revealing History with Chronicling America
Entry By: Teacher Ray Palin and A.P. U.S. History Students at Sunapee High School (Sunapee, NH)
These students used Chronicling America newspaper data to create a variety of visualizations —- maps, charts and timelines -— to explore questions about U.S. history. The projects use word frequency analysis -— a kind of distant reading -— to discover patterns in news coverage. Some examples of investigations include geographic coverage of Plessy v. Ferguson, temporal trends in the use of the words “secede” and “secession,” articles about Uncle Tom’s Cabin by year, state-by-state coverage of the KKK and geographic trends in coverage of labor unions.
An organisation website is its main public image or at least this is what we believe in at Open Knowledge International. For a while now, our website has needed design attention and update of content. We have therefore decided to revamp our website and give it some new look and features.
Our primary thinking behind our site is how to make the work and the people of Open Knowledge International more relatable. How can we take complex terms like open data and civic tech and make them something that anyone can relate to? Also, we wanted to see how the OKI team can use the website to connect and learn more about one another. Also, we wanted the site to reflect our how we are working towards our mission, to make “A world where knowledge create power to the many, not the few.” We highlighted our projects and how they strive towards that goal.
Our work on the site is not done, and probably will always be a work in progress. We believe in “release fast, release often” approach, and hope that you can give us feedback about the website, as well as help us to find bugs (although we tried to catch them all in advance!). Like all of our work, you can get the source code for the website here, and use it for your work if you see something that you like.So what did we do?
A new homepage – We believe that people are in the focus of our work and we tried to reflect it on our homepage. Here you can see highlights of our work, latest projects and navigate to sections that explain to you who we are and what we are doing.
Project page – For the last two years, the OKI website didn’t have a project page. Since our projects are the core of our work, we added a project page where you can see all of our past project and all the projects that we are currently working on.
Network Guidelines – We move our network guidelines from a google doc to the website so it will be easier to find them.
New page templates – We gave our general pages a new look and improved the navigation on the site.
A new team page – We are very proud of our diverse and global team, but we wanted to make our team page a bit more than that. As a remote team, our office is our “Slack” channel (yes, yes, we don’t have a physical office!). Working in the virtual space has a lot of advantages, but it is very hard to get to know your teammates on a closer level. We, therefore, decided to use both our website and Slack to create a feature that will allow both the team and you, the users, to get to know team members better. OKI team members can update their team member page status by updating Slack in 5 categories – reading, eating, listening, working and location. This way you can know in real time where are we and what are we doing. It already provoked some excellent conversations in within our staff, and I hope it will make you closer to us as well.
Network page – we want to give the network page a new look so it will be easier to understand who is part of the OKI network and what different parts of the network are doing. The content there is up to date, and we will keep updating it.
Research – During the years we have done a lot of research in OKI. We want to give it a dedicated place on the site (in the meanwhile, you can find our work on our research repository).
Funding – We would like to improve our funding page and give you more information about or sources of financing. We are now examining what will be the best way to do so.
Press page – The current page has outdated content. Sierra Williams, our incoming Communication Manager, will update this page and will lead the future work on the whole website.
Let us know what you think about our site by leaving some feedback about it on our forum.
We are excited to announce Washington University of St Louis (WUSTL) as a Hydra Partner!
At HydraConnect 2015, Andrew Rouner and Chris Freeland expressed interest in getting more deeply involved in Hydra and moving toward partnership. That fall, WUSTL partnered with DCE and went into production with their “Goldenseal” repository (http://repository.wustl.edu) in February, followed quickly by their production instance of Avalon (http://streamingvideo.wustl.edu) in March. Andrew shared “These launch efforts concluded with a Hydra “Stop and Learn” event we held May 13th, aimed primarily at WU personnel but extending to colleagues from various cultural organizations regionally. The event featured sessions on an overview of Hydra, a closer look at the technology stack, a review of the Hydra community development model, and a poster session (a la HydraConnect) on subjects we currently are now or are hoping to explore with Hydra.” Additionally they have become involved in Hydra interest and working groups.
This represents not only major development efforts and engagement within the Hydra Community but also acting as strong advocates among regional cultural organizations. Join us in welcoming Washington University of St Louis and see everyone at Hydra Connect 2016!
With only one full-time employee, the Belgian Open Knowledge ship is only a small one to sail. Nonetheless, Pieter-Jan Pauwels has proven to be a worthy captain. The rest of the crew consists of a bunch of student positions, interns, volunteers and of course, the Open Knowledge Belgium board.
Even though Open Knowledge Belgium is such a small team, we’re quite proud of what we’ve achieved the past few months. Let’s start with Diplohack Brussels. In April we co-organised the first Diplohack Brussels in the Council of the European Union, together with the Dutch Presidency of the EU. The 24-hour hackathon focused on creating more transparency within the Brussels Bubble with the Council of the European Union introducing their Council vote Open Dataset.
Then, we got to present a crowdsourcing project we’ve been working on for quite some time. W4P (“We For Progress”) is an crowdsourcing tool that allows you to build your own crowdsourcing platform! This project was funded by CHEST Project, a European consortium of partners working around streamlining funding for small to medium scale social innovation projects.
At the moment open Summer of code 2016 takes place. That’s a four-week programme that allows students to work on open innovation projects. While having a student job for the summer, they learn more about coding and other hard skills, and gain more soft skills such as working in a team and giving pitches. We act as a sort of match maker between companies and students. Organisations come to us with open source projects and meanwhile we recruit students and put the right student on the right project. Only skilled and enthusiastic students who are willing to learn, may enter #oSoc.
According to us, open Summer of code is one of the most important projects for Open Knowledge Belgium. We educate students and companies about open source and open innovation at one hand, and provide students with real-life experience. Experience that can make a difference when you’re looking for your first job. It’s also one of our projects that doesn’t have any governmental funding. It’s our sixth edition so far, but we’re thinking about rebranding it next year. Open Summer of code is no longer only about code: It’s about so much more. Beside front- and back-enders, we need students who are skilled in UI/UX design, business development, marketing and communication. Also, we don’t only deliver pure code, we aim for complete projects. Going from brainstorming and coding to marketing and presenting, you need to be a jack of all trades, not only a king of code. By rebranding, we hope to attract more diverse profiles and spread the open knowledge word among other publics too.
We’re curious what the future will bring. The Belgian government tries to implement more open data and open knowledge, but those are still baby steps. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and thus a lot of room for Open Knowledge Belgium to grow. At the moment, we have five working groups about themes such as mobility and tourism, but we got a few requests for working groups about new themes such as university (college) data and open badges. Yup, the Belgian chapter most certainly has a bright future ahead of it – one where our little raft might turn into a nice ship.
This race must be familiar for many women: she’s overqualified for the promotion, he’s unqualified, and yet it’s still a contest.
— (((Touré))) (@Toure) July 29, 2016
I had lunch with a friend recently and we talked about a guy we both know (let’s call him Joe) who rapidly rose through the ranks at the university where he works. He went from an entry-level position to being a co-director of a unit within a year, and recently became the sole director of that unit. Joe’s co-director was a brilliant woman (let’s call her Jane) who had served faithfully at the university for years and years, was a solid manager, and was well-liked by pretty much everyone. But instead of her, Joe the wunderkind was made Jane’s superior in a unit they previously had supervised together. Joe’s a really nice guy (though not a very direct person), but there was no logical reason why he should have gotten the job over her other than that the Associate VP the whole unit reports to took Joe under his wing from the start. We talked about how often this kind of thing seems to happen, even in libraries, and how, in most cases we could think of, it was men who saw a meteoric career rise.
And in cases where we could think of women who had meteoric career trajectories, it was usually a result of having a powerful male mentor or champion. Look at Sheryl Sandberg. Without Larry Summers, would she have achieved all she did? He set her up in many ways for her later successes. Of course there are great female mentors and champions out there, but it’s unusual to see them giving their proteges anything other than good advice and access to their network. The only mentors in the OLA Mentoring Program that I’m aware of having directly hired their mentees were men and research studies have suggested that male mentors are more likely to provide more concrete support and promotion.
Of course a lot of this is anecdote, but I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard stories like the one I mentioned from women in our profession. And the data backs up the notion that men have an easier time climbing the ladder, even in our female dominated profession. According to Jessica Olin and Michelle Millet’s terrific Lead Pipe article “Gendered Expectations for Leadership in Libraries,” men make up only about 20% of our profession, yet they represent up around 40% of all ARL library directors (which was a significant drop actually!). They also cite a Harvard Business Review blog post which suggested that “manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.” They go on to describe the characteristics of effective leaders and how those characteristics more frequently occur in women than men. It made me wonder: Do we have an archetype of a library leader/manager and are those characteristics more common in men than women? I think we do. And I think, as Jessica and Michelle suggest, we often punish female leaders for not fitting that mold (or complaining that they’re too aggressive if they do).
This got me thinking about this historic (and often disturbing) presidential election. I was a huge Bernie Sanders fan from the beginning because I believe, as he does, that income inequality is at the heart of of so many problems in our society. I rooted for him until the bitter end, when he left the race. I wasn’t even going to watch the Democratic National Convention, as disgusted as I was with politics, but the historic nature of a woman accepting the nomination for President made me change my mind. And I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about Hillary Clinton that I didn’t previously know. I got swept up in the historic victory for women in America. And the more I thought about Hillary and what she’s done over the years, the more I see the universal struggle of women toward leadership positions in her story.
Look at the barriers to women becoming leaders in their chosen fields now. Now look back to the 1970s and 80s, when things were much worse. In the mid-1970s, 89% of all ARL library directors were male (at a time when they had even smaller % representation in our profession). Imagine how much worse it was in politics. Imagine how many more compromises a woman had to make to get to the top than a man did. Hillary Clinton accomplished so much for women, children, and access to healthcare in the 70s and 80s, as a law student, a lawyer, a law professor, and as the first lady of Arkansas. She then faced criticism as First Lady of the United States for her involvement in developing policy for the White House as if she wasn’t sufficiently qualified to do so. So many of the criticisms launched against Hillary Clinton both then and now are gendered (if I hear the term pantsuit one more time I’m going to scream). She was criticized for following her heart over her political ambitions and supporting her husband’s political career. Then she was criticized for not being a meek wife and first lady. Then she was criticized for pursuing her own political ambitions. At one point she was criticized for being too feminist. Now she’s not feminist enough. Her clothes are too expensive. Her clothes are too ugly. Would any of these things be said of a man?
I’m still a big fan of Bernie Sanders, and am grateful that he pushed the Democratic Party a bit more to the left. And, there are many things Hillary Clinton has done and positions she’s taken and flip-flops (gay marriage anyone?) she’s made that I disagree with, but that’s been pretty much true of every presidential candidate I’ve ever supported (including Bernie, with his lack of support for gun control). I don’t feel I can trust her, but I trusted Obama and his support of domestic surveillance and his lack of transparency was a huge slap in the face to so many of us.
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m with her. And I’m grateful for the historic example she has set for women in America. And I hope one day a woman will have the exact same opportunities to become a leader as her male counterparts without having to change or compromise who she is or get help from a man.
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.
New This Week
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.