“Paradise is Everywhere We Build it” – Ethelbert Miller (posted to Facebook on October 25, 2014)

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Being a literary activist over the years has been very challenging. One often has to make decisions or give advice that is not popular. Hopefully one keeps the big picture in mind and thinks about the future and not simply the present. Recently Toni Morrison decided to give her papers to Princeton.

This generated “Internet static” and sunspot commentary about why she didn’t donate her life work to Howard University. This overlooks the serious situations that continues to haunt historical black colleges and universities. Many keep struggling just to survive. Those that have turned the corner often have more interest in business and science matters. Art is good if it makes money. How many black colleges would sell their art collections if it could help raise money to build a new dorm?

It makes no sense for an institution to acquire a collection if they don’t have the staff to catalog material. Preservation is very important. Climate control within buildings is essential to maintaining documents. Storage and access is critical. At the end of the day one is creating a sacred place for scholars. We save things so that memory is not lost and history does not become homeless.

I’ve worked at Howard for over forty years. I’ve given many things to the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. These items I felt were best kept at the University because they were part of an ongoing narrative. I gave everything I collected about Sterling Brown to Howard. I felt it was the proper place. I was responsible for Howard obtaining material that once belonged to Kwame Nkrumah. I donated my correspondence with June Milne to the university so that a record of how Nkrumah’s material arrived at the school would not be lost. Milne was Nkrumah’s literary executor.

Many years ago, I gave a lecture at George Washington University and mentioned the need for a DC literary archive. I was encouraged to write a proposal – which I did. The performance artist and writer Chasen Gaver (who died of AIDS in 1989) was the first person who understood how important this type of archives could become. Chasen left his personal collection to the Gelman Library at George Washington University. He turned over to me the copyright of all his work. The Gelman Library at George Washington has taken a very active role in helping to preserve Washington’s literary history. Today, I now serve on the advisory council to the Gelman Library. My own collection is part of the Gelman’s special collections and can easily be accessed by going online.

No one institution has a monopoly on black culture. In fact as we move into the future there will be more sharing of resources. Instead of complaining where material is being donated we should be encouraging our young people to develop the research skills so that the material collected will be examined and explained to the beautiful ones not yet born.

Let us not be a race of hoarders or a race that keeps believing every white person is out to steal our blackness or make money out of it. At the end of the day – what we collect and save are our stories.  They are for everyone to share, celebrate and enjoy.

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Blogging #SAA14

Some tweets from #SAA14:  hsifnihplod-timeline-08102014-08152014-68a4aa5e

Some tweets in Storify from #ThatCampSAA2014: http://sfy.co/iq14

August 10-11, 2014 (Sunday and Monday)

I started off #SAA14 with the two day pre-conference course, Archives: Principles and Practices. It was a good overview of the basics: acquisition; appraisal; accessioning; arrangement and description all in the first day. On the second day we covered preservation, access and use, and outreach. The grounding in the basics helped me make sense of stuff I heard in sessions throughout the week, so I think I will try to include a two day course in future years. The course included group exercises, a review of principles, and exposure to excellent references and sources, all good stuff! I made a new friend, Meredith, and we will be comparing notes in the months to come (Meredith is a real archivist!).

August 12, 2014 (Tuesday)

Tuesday was taken up by the Research Forum: “Foundations and Innovations.” It was a steady stream of folks presenting their research and several projects caught my attention: the talk on linked archival data; archivists in popular culture; activist archivists; using literary archival material to establish relationships between writers (can’t wait to try this with Baraka and O’Hara and the beat poets); curating culturally sensitive archival holdings; personal digital archives; visualizing interactions between agencies and local governments using archival material; and trends in archival education. Then, in the afternoon we had a presentation on managing scientific research records at the Smithsonian, using linked data in resource description framework (rdf), and interoperability across metadata standards and schema.

August 13, 2014 (Wednesday)

Wednesday the Marriott Archives visit got cancelled, so I didn’t arrive until lunchtime. I spent some time browsing in the bookstore and checking out the job prospects on the bulletin board in the Network Cafe/Career Center. I am so far from being able to compete for an archivist position, but there may be opportunities here and there to get some good experience as a volunteer. My appointment with Meg for a resume review and chat was at 2pm. Happy to learn that although she works as an archivist at a foundation on the west coast, her roots are in NC! She advised me not to rely on HR staffs to make the connection between the experience of my former career and potential job requirements (of course, to me it seems obvious!). Good advice.

I had intended to go to the Business Archives Colloquium, but never made it there. Hopefully I will catch bits and pieces of it on the video replay. At 3:30 I attended the Archivists and Archives of Color business meeting. Several interesting topics of discussion there: the Alex Poole article, The Strange Career of Jim Crow Archives; work being done on the Mary McLeod Bethune archives; information about the National Digital Stewardship residency program at the LOC; an announcement about the State of Black Research Collections at Schomburg in late October which I will have to try to attend; and an excellent presentation by Lae’l Hughes Watkins on using outreach to connect with under-documented communities (and a side reference to Dr.Ibram Kendi).

The SNAP roundtable featured independent consultants Rachel Binnington, Elizabeth Keathley and Danielle Cuniff Plumer. They shared their experiences as consultants and how they came to the decision to become entrepreneurs.  Always music to my ears.  There were some tweets!  .   

Going to get coffee, I met Elizabeth, another archivist, and we struck up a conversation that lasted until the newcomers and first timers reception. We both had been assigned navigators, more experienced archivists, who met up with us at the reception. All good. There were external events for the evening, History and Halfsmokes at Ben’s, and the AV group at the Black Cat, but I was pretty exhausted and caught the Metro directly home.

August 14, 2014 (Thursday)

Busy day. Ran into an old friend and had breakfast at Foggy Bottom Whole Foods before heading out to Woodley Park for the conference. Arrived in time for Plenary Session 1 – The State of Access. The 10am session on oral history collections in the digital age was amazingly choked full of really cool examples of oral histories, but the presentations that stood out were: the oral histories about the displacement of people on Rag Mountain just a few miles away in Virginia (JMU, didn’t write down the guy’s name); a presentation on metadata for political collections; Slack Water Oral Histories at St. Mary’s College (MD, Kent Randell); using contentDM for a Southern Maryland folklife project; FBI agent oral histories; WW2 oral histories at UTenn.

Attended a lunch forum, Diversifying the Archival Record, where I learned about the upcoming Friday session featuring the Alabama archivists. More on that later. After lunch, I attended Ed Summer’s panel, A Trickle Becomes a Flood: Agency, Ethics and Information. He was joined by Hillel Arnold (HIghways, Wires and Tubes, an interesting talk about regulation, structure and standards of communications networks) and Elena Danielson (she talked about the Information Security Oversight Office and mentioned the US spends $11 billion per year to keep secrets. She also mentioned 10 points in secret-keeping history, starting with Bismark and ending with Snowden (1. Bismarck, 2. Keith Murdock, 3. Zimmerman telegram, 4. Winona Project, 5. Zerox machine, Daniel Ellsberg, 6. Pentagon papers, 7. Pollard case, 8. Assange and manning, 9. Schwartz, and 10. Snowden. For each she asked, was there money involved, did they do it for a higher principle, and did they screen the info for potential hazards). Ed’s talk can be found here: http://inkdroid.org/journal/2014/08/14/one-big-archive/.

August 15, 2014 (Friday)

Friday’s big events were the presentations by the Alabama archivists and the presentation on Palestinian archives. The Alabama archivists program, Integrating History: A Search and Recovery Effort in Alabama Archives was just stupendous! Leading off was Rebekah Davis, Archivist at Limestone Archives in Northern Alabama, then Susana Leberman from Huntsville Public Library, Veronica Henderson from Alabama A&M, and Dana Chandler from Tuskegee. All were amazing! Here is what I posted to Facebook:

Too many stories to tell today. But I do need to highlight the session I attended at #SAA14 on Integrating History and the outstanding work being done by Alabama archivists Rebekah Davis, Susanna Leberman, Veronica Henderson, and Dana Chandler. What a presentation on documentation of hidden, ignored and discouraged African-American history!

Here are some links:





The second session was entitled Access Under Occupation: Archival Collections in Palestine. See tweets below: 

Some tweets from #SAA14:  hsifnihplod-timeline-08102014-08152014-68a4aa5e

Some tweets from #ThatCampSAA14:  http://sfy.co/iq14

Some final thoughts on #SAA14. (to be posted Sunday, August 17, 2014)

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Shifting gears

OK.  Shifting gears here with anticipated completion of the LIS program, completion of the summer internship, blogging #SAA2014, and possible move to a different part of the country.  In the next few days I’ll be changing the header, possibly changing the wordpress theme, going for a whole new look and feel.  It’s a new world, baby, several new worlds!  

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LSC 610 Information Architecture and Web Design Final Project


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18th Special Libraries Symposium

What: 18th Special Libraries Symposium

When: Thursday, July 31st, 2014, from 6:00-8:00 PM (guests can start arriving at 5:30)

Where: Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, 3600 John McCormack Road, N.E. Washington, DC 20064, Room 303

Why: Held each year for LSC 888, The Special Library/Information Center, the course taught by Bruce Rosenstein; adjunct, Department of Library and Information Science

Who: Guest panelists from the local library/information science field, and CUA LIS students; moderated by Bruce Rosenstein

Because there are so many panelists this year, we will adopt a modified ‘knowledge café’ format: the panelists and students will be divided into groups, and there will be rotating meetings of students and panelists to discuss the state-of-the-art in the profession, plus best practices in careers and job-hunting. The bios of the panelists will be distributed by email ahead of time.

There will also be built-in time for networking between panelists and students.

The panelists are from a wide range of organizations, including SLA/Special Libraries Association, Library of Congress, U.S. Department of Justice, ProQuest, Consumer Electronics Association, Covington & Burling LLP, The George Washington University Himmelfarb Health Library , U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, American Library Association and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In previous years, students have gotten jobs and internships as a direct result of the symposium. If you are interested in a career in special libraries, this event is not to be missed.

Roster of panelists:

Deena Adelman- MacroSys, LLC/ Federal Highway Administration Research Library

Joanne Berger- FDA

Linda Broussard- SLA/Special Libraries Association

Cameron Gowan- Jones Day

Michael Gruenberg- Gruenberg Consulting, LLC

Larry Guthrie- Covington & Burling LLP

Richard Huffine- ProQuest

Alan S. Inouye- American Library Association

Lois Ireland- Freddie Mac

Margaret Kavaras- 2014 Google Policy Fellow, American Library Association

Rick Kowalski- Consumer Electronics Association

Anne Linton- The George Washington University Himmelfarb Health Library

Thomas Mann- Library of Congress

Michele Masias- U.S. Department of Justice

Gretchen Sauvey- United States Institute of Peace

Sabrina Springer- National Institute of Standards and Technology

Angela Titone- Consumer Electronics Association

Joan Weeks- Library of Congress and The Catholic University of America Department of Library and Information Science

Tanya Whippie- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Moderator: Bruce Rosenstein, Instructor, LSC #888

Special Guest: Margaret Pooley, Academic Systems Manager, The Catholic University of America Department of Library and Information Science


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Disruption, Alignment, and Embedded Librarianship at the SLA Conference

Originally posted on The Embedded Librarian:

I thought the session on embedded librarianship at the SLA Conference last week went very well. It was a 90-minute session, so I used the first 30 minutes to explain the knowledge cafe format and introduce the topic; and the remaining 60 minutes were devoted to small group discussions (three 15-minute segments) and closing.

My presentation is on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/davidshumaker/sla-spotlight2014-embeddedlibrarianship  by the way.

There were about 60 people in the room when we began the group discussions, and over 50 remained at the end. That was too many participants, and too little time, for the classic knowledge cafe conclusion of having every participant make a closing statement. Instead, I set up a couple flip charts and put out some sticky notes, and asked everyone to write down their closing comments. Several people spoke up to request copies of all the comments, and there was unanimous agreement that I…

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#SLA2014 – Day Five

June 11, 2014

Last conference day. Breakfast with the Military Librarians group again. Just as I was about the tip toe out of the SLA Competencies session, my faculty advisor approached the microphone, adding clear and logical reasoning to the conversation. So I stayed.

Sat through the whole session on The Accidental Data Scientist – A New Role for Librarians and Info Pros. Good session, lots of notes and later lookups. The Government Information Access session included panelists from the U.S. and Canada and was very revealing and enlightening, for very different reasons.

Spent lunch walking through the Douglas Coupland exhibit at the Vancouver Gallery of Art. Good head-clearing exercise. I’ve never seen an artist of any genre come closer to the artistry of Whitman’s poetry. Coupland does for the 21st century what Whitman did for the 19th (well, maybe Whitman is a bit more timeless, but saying so reflects my own personal bias about the superiority of poetry as an art form. Coupland is still with us; it is not too late for him to heed the higher call and write poetry…). Lunch at the gallery café was a delight, insofar as one can experience delight unaccompanied.

Returned to the conference site in time for a 2pm session with Ken Haycock on Career Transitions When Money is Not the Motive. Good stuff: Myers-Briggs; Strength-Finder; Enneagram; Good to Great in the Social Sector; Work the Pond. Good food for thought. Business meeting was interesting, and closing session left me slightly unsettled. but got my questions answered at the Military Librarians reception later.

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#SLA2014 – Day Four

June 9, 2014

Breakfast with the Military Librarians! Nice spread. Great conversation with Sharon, PJ, Marrette, Fani, Marianne and Stephanie and co-alums (CUA), Julie and Angela. Finally made it to a Taxonomy Division session, The Search for Meaning and Semantics. Outstanding session. I so love taxonomy! Took tons of notes, and a long list of “latter lookups,” concepts, published papers, books. Next was a roundtable with Rising Stars and SLA Fellows, recommended by co-alum Angela, one of the rising stars. Four consecutive components, different formats kept it lively and interesting. Mary Ellen Bates provided a futuristic presentation of what a new rising star might say in 2019, including mention of a SLA working Group, #SLAforTomorrow, so, me being me, I immediately tweeted it out. No response yet, though. I think the idea is still germinating. Nice chat afterwards with Mary, Jill, Angela, and Kevin, talking about the future of SLA, present trends inside and outside. Will tweet it out again tomorrow (no pun intended!). We need some future thinking!

Picked up signed copies of The Accidental Taxonomist, then attended another Competitive Intelligence session, Analytic Frameworks that Deliver Value. Loving this competitive intelligence stuff. But alas, too much extroversion. Time for Ray to retreat. Found a quaint used bookstore on the way back to the hotel, McLeods. Excellent poetry section, All I needed. Yes! Found a rare Frank O’Hara volume, Poems Retrieved, and an original of Yeats’ A Vision, both reasonably priced. Got directions to a nearby chain bookstore, Chapters, and found a book by Native American scholar Vine Deloria, The World We Used to Live In. Picked up some fruit and water at a grocery store and returned to the hotel.

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#SLA2014 – Day Three

June 8, 2014

Sunday was the official opening of the conference. A local First Nation leader (Canadian version of Native American), Elder Shane Pointe, gave a stirring invocation (I later learned that it is standard practice to have opening invocations provided by local natives — the public lands, including the waterfront properties, are all theirs, after all). He referred to us as medicine men who seek the gift of information from the Spirit and make it available to the people who need it. Can’t wait to see the video of the opening on the SLA website. (see more notes on the opening at http://hurstassociates.blogspot.ca/2014/06/sla2014-notes-from-opening-general.html)

After the opening session, I split a competitive intel session, a panel of Borderless CI, with a session on MOOC challenges and ops for librarians. Then I split a session, The Evolving Information Professional (mostly government in the first half), with another CI session, Applying Elicitation Methods for Social Media Research. Then I attended a full Mary Ellen Bates session, Information Alchemy: Adding Value Where It Counts.

On the way to the hotel, I passed a curious rally/event at the Vancouver Art Museum, the commemoration of an attack on a Sikh temple by Indian officials in 1984. People were slaughtered, and books and artifacts were destroyed, and apparently it never made it to the western press. Was it an attempt at cultural genocide? Gotta learn more about this…

Exhausted from jet-lag and being up late the night before, I stumbled upon a Five Guys, took a burger and fries back to my room, dined, and crashed early.

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#SLA2014 – Day Two

June 7, 2014

Woke up very early. Four AM-ish and time-disoriented. Decided to surf the SLA2014 website. Figured out that I needed to buy a ticket for the day-long Taxonomy Integration Session. But wait! No option to put it in the shopping cart! Whoops! Already sold out! Doggone it, brought the laptop for nothing! OK, decided instead to get tickets for Maximizing Consultant-Client Partnerships in the morning, and Competitive Intelligence for Librarians and Information Professionals in the afternoon. More to be said about both, but right now I have to head out to the conference site for breakfast with the Military Librarians…

So, back to it!

The morning session was led by two professional consultants, Ulla de Stricker (www.destricker.com) and Cindy Shamel (www.shamelinfo.com), both obviously at the top of their game (I immediately linked to them both on LinkedIn). They shared the “stage” with two members of a client team with whom they had worked, and together they shared real-life examples of aspects of the consultant-client relationship that worked well for them. While they described very well the efforts that resulted in success, I was waiting to hear about efforts that failed, despite best efforts. So I asked. And they provided honest answers.

Good tips in the first half on knowledge mgmt. practices, the project “journey,” the importance of making a business case, knowledge audits, and the idea that you can’t fight the culture of an organization. Good tips in the second half on integrity and ethics, on the need for consultants to focus on the big picture of a project, and the importance of knowing clearly what the client is seeking.

Finally, their presentation included references to case studies, journal articles, and chapters of books they had written that are available and freely downloadable from their websites.

The afternoon session on competitive intelligence exceeded expectations. It was so interesting, in fact, that later that evening I reconfigured my schedule to include more competitive intelligence sessions over the next several days.  The presentation as entitled “CI Success for Librarians and Info Pros,”  and was led by Zena Applebaum.  We started with the idea that librarians should be transitioning from gatherers of information to synthesizers of information as part of a new professional competency.  We zoomed through the CI cycle, the intelligence function and cycle, we spent some time on the SCIP.org code of ethics, and we dove into a section entitled “Meeting Clients Needs,” where I thought I was back with Ulla and Cindy!  At some point it all runs together.  We spent some time on on problem solving, on primary and secondary sources, and on researching public and private companies.  It just kept flowing and I became convinced to check out other CI sessions throughout the conference.  (CID has a very active website with juicey stuff!  Here is the link http://ci.sla.org/).

At the end I went with some of my classmates to the First Timers Reception.

Following a First timers reception, a small group, Ann, Sara, Alicia, Bronwyn and I had dinner, then returned to the Marriott for a Trivia contest. Our team, Team Sara, took the bronze! A late night…



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