The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Adam Townes, the new research support coordinator in Liaison Services.
In this role, Townes will help UH faculty and graduate students with data management planning, and will address research-related inquiries. He is also working to strengthen the Libraries’ partnership with the UH Division of Research in order to better align the Libraries’ data management services with the needs of the University, and to help expand the Libraries’ role in the broader scope of research activities on campus. Other projects include collaboration on the creation of an institutional repository.
While working in the library at the University of Alabama as an undergraduate, Townes was encouraged to pursue a PhD in information science at Drexel University. There, his research focused on low-income populations and public libraries. He then moved on to a grant-funded project with the Federal Aviation Administration, in which he led a software development team on streamlining data repository functions for researchers. The project involved bringing data management systems into compliance with federal mandates stating that National Science Foundation researchers must file a data management plan, including the sharing and preserving of data.
Townes’ focus in the next six months to a year will be on instructing graduate students with data management issues and serving as a consultant on the use of research tools and methods.
Miscellany about Adam
- Favorite books are The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.
- Favorite movie is Saving Private Ryan.
- He is an avid computer gamer.
- First impressions of the University and Libraries: “It’s a beautiful campus. The institutional culture of Liaison Services and the library has helped me get acclimated to the way of life and the workflows here. It’s been a positive experience for me.”
University of Houston Libraries honored librarians and staff for outstanding performance at an awards ceremony this month, held at the Rockwell Pavilion. Dean Lisa German addressed the gathering with a message of appreciation for the exemplary service, collaboration, and dedication shown by the recipients of the 2016 awards.
The Dean’s Library Advocate Award was presented to Paula Myrick Short, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. This award recognizes a University of Houston employee who has worked closely with the Libraries during the past year, and who has made a significant contribution to the success of the Libraries.
The Outstanding Group Award recognizes a group that has made an impactful contribution to its overall success. Marissa Aiello, Kelsey Brett, Melody Condron, Lisa Martin, and Porcia Vaughn of the Walk and Learn microgrant committee received this award for their work in promoting health and workplace wellness.
Nora Dethloff received the Trailblazer Award for Leading Organization Change, for her work in spearheading multiple new projects, including a new reserves system and an open hold service that increased item request and delivery.
The John P. McGovern Rookie of the Year Award winner is Melody Condron, who, in a short time frame, has made significant contributions to her department and the library.
The Student Achievement Award recipients are Hortensia Barrios (Information and Access Services) and Maria Ferreira (Special Collections), both demonstrating superior performance and accomplishments. The McGovern Outstanding Student Award went to Thao Nguyen (Information and Access Services), who has demonstrated high performance, commitment, and a pleasant, upbeat attitude in the course of her duties.
Greg Yerke was honored with the Staff Achievement Award for providing excellent customer service and collaboration in Special Collections. Abra Schnur received the Staff Achievement Award for bringing innovative ideas and a collaborative spirit to every work situation. The McGovern Outstanding Staff Award recipient is Matt Richardson, whose project management skills, thoroughness and collegiality have contributed to substantial changes and improvements in Special Collections.
The Librarian Achievement Award recipients are Jesse Sharpe and Josh Been. Sharpe is a dedicated and distinguished liaison who welcomes collaboration and looks for new ways to work with professors, librarians, and students. Been, known for his interdisciplinary collaboration, has significantly changed not only his department, but the perception of what libraries are and what they can do for users across campus.
Mary Manning received the McGovern Outstanding Librarian Award for providing leadership and advocacy in Special Collections. She has expanded outreach efforts, brought in new collections, and collaborated with various groups to promote and increase access of historical university materials.
Microgrant recipients were also recognized at the event. The 2015-2016 teams included LinkedIn at the Library, Walk and Learn for Wellness, Information and Access Services Student Empowerment Project, and African American Read-In.
The 2016 Staff Awards was brought to fruition through the efforts of Rebecca Arizmendi, Kelsey Brett, Wenli Gao, Anne Gaynor, Chris Holthe, Mauricio Lazo, Stephanie Lewin-Lane, Carolyn Meanley, Susan Ryan, Bethany Scott, and Jyoti Vyas.
Kelsey Brett, discovery systems librarian at the University of Houston Libraries, has been chosen as the Texas Library Association (TLA) District 8 chair-elect. The unit provides training, advocacy, and networking opportunities for members from 28 counties in southeast Texas.
Brett has also been selected to participate in the TLA Texas Accelerated Library Leaders program, commonly known as the TALL Texans Leadership Institute. TALL Texans is a transformational program designed to provide advanced leadership and management development for attendees, who become better equipped to take new initiative for the benefit of their institutions and stakeholders.
“I have been a member of TLA since I was in library school, and I love the community that is shared among its members,” Brett said. “It is a great opportunity to connect with other types of librarians like school and public librarians, and learn from each other’s similarities and differences. I value TLA for the professional development opportunities, and also for the opportunities it opens for me to help shape the future of Texas libraries.”
Brett came to UH in 2012 as a resource discovery systems fellow. She was then promoted to her current role, in which she works to enhance and promote discovery systems. She also focuses on licensing and management of electronic resources. Brett has published and presented in the areas of usability studies, user-centered discovery system redesign, electronic resource management, and student-centered services. She was influential in starting a twice-yearly therapy dog program at UH, and is a strong advocate for student success. Brett holds a master of science in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Lisa Martin, business, economics and hospitality librarian, and Josh Been, social science data librarian, were able to facilitate the research process for two economics faculty members. Andrea Szabo and Gergely Ujhelyi needed normalized India elections data for their project. They asked the library to acquire this very expensive data from a company in India.
Martin and Been decided to come at the problem from a different angle. Previously, Been had worked with a political science faculty member, Ryan Kennedy, on a similar project. In fact, Kennedy had normalized the needed data already.
The data that Been already had located for Szabo’s and Ujhelyi’s project needed to be reformatted to work with the additional data from Kennedy’s research. He was able to accomplish this using ArcGIS, a geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information. Been then connected the two economics faculty members with Kennedy so they could access his data for their project.
Librarians help faculty with their research by making connections between people and information. Sometimes they save time and money as well.
Wenli Gao, liaison librarian for communication, sociology and anthropology at the University of Houston Libraries, has been accepted to the well-regarded Data and Visualization Institute for Librarians. This is a week-long program that will be held at North Carolina State University this coming May.
The Institute will allow participants to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to communicate effectively with faculty and student researchers about their data and to be able to provide useful consultations on course topics. Led by expert instructors, sessions will be interactive and will focus on core concepts, with hands-on exposure to select open source and highly used commercial tools.
According to Gao, “Participation in this program will benefit my own research by enhancing my statistical and textual analysis skills. I currently am working on collection assessment projects and a semantic network analysis project. The training provided by the Institute will assist with the exploration and analysis of these data. Topic modeling and network analysis as outlined in the program will offer new ideas and guidance on my research.”
Additionally, Gao says “Learning how to gather and analyze textual data, as well as visualizing data will help support faculty research and teaching. There is an increasing demand for social media analysis in both the Communication and Anthropology departments. I have been working with advertising classes to visualize social media data to understand consumer sentiment. Knowing how to work with APIs to gather social media data and understanding the capabilities of qualitative data analysis programs will prepare me to better help researchers and students.”
The University of Houston celebrated the accomplishments of tenured and promoted faculty and librarians at a reception held last month.
The UH Tenure and Promotion Recognition Program was created to honor faculty and librarians who have recently achieved tenure or have been promoted. In the program’s inaugural year, 2015 honorees were invited to select a book that has offered inspiration or encouragement in their professional journey. Book selections were added to the Libraries catalog and book-plated, serving as an enduring tribute to the pursuit of excellence in service, scholarship and learning.
The University of Houston Libraries welcomes Anne Gaynor, the new metadata librarian in the Metadata and Digitization department.
Please describe your role at UH Libraries and talk about some of your professional goals and/or research areas.
My primary role is to manage metadata creation and maintenance for the UH Digital Library. I’ll also be working with the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) Implementation Team on the development and deployment of the new digital repository. I also would like to become involved with outward facing work, consulting with students and faculty on how to use metadata for their projects and research data. My overall goal as a metadata librarian is to increase visibility, discoverability, and accessibility for information through quality metadata. To that end, I am especially interested in emerging technologies, such as linked data, that have the potential to more broadly expose and connect resources. I also seek to take a user-centered approach to developing digital library metadata and repository services.
Please share a bit about your background and interests. How do these inspire and shape your approach as a librarian?
I studied anthropology as an undergraduate and received a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies and my MLIS with a concentration in information organization from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I focused on metadata, the semantic web, and linked data; and these areas are where my interests remain today. I worked as a digital collection project coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries and a metadata librarian at the University of Virginia Library where I gained experience in metadata creation and strategy. In these positions I learned the value of thinking about metadata strategically and holistically across collections and systems, which is key to information access and sharing. I also was able to explore my interests in linked data. One benefit of linked data technologies is that they allow you to combine data across libraries, archives, museums, and other knowledge bases to create new discovery experiences for users. I hope to help guide metadata strategies at UH Libraries to adhere to standards that will allow us to share our content more broadly and leverage emerging technologies.
Please describe your first impressions of the University of Houston.
The University and the UH Libraries have an energy about them that’s very motivating. The library is a supportive environment that values and supports both student and employee success. It’s also clear that UH and the Libraries value diversity and that is very important to me. I appreciate the collaborative environment and look forward to working with my new colleagues on projects and committees.
What are some of your other interests?
I love the arts! I’m really looking forward to visiting the art museums on campus and in Houston, and attending various live performances.
The University of Houston Libraries Learning Commons team will be hosting a Technology Showcase on April 5 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Everyone is invited to stop by for a demonstration of the technology and equipment that is available for check-out at the Libraries Service Desk.
The Learning Commons is an academic computing facility located on the first floor of the MD Anderson Library, meeting the high-end multimedia and collaborative needs of students, staff, and faculty of the University of Houston. It not only provides a wide array of digital media creation resources, but also gives its users opportunities to learn about new technology, receive assistance with specialized research software, and collaborate on projects with one another in a space designed for group work. Learning Commons staff are trained in the many software titles and equipment resources offered and are available to help with any questions.
University of Houston Libraries invites faculty and staff, students, researchers, and anyone interested in discovering unique materials to attend a brown bag presentation on Tuesday, April 12 in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion at the MD Anderson Library.
Modern and classical languages, and ethnic studies librarian Andrea Malone, English and linguistics librarian Jesse Sharpe, and library specialist Kristine Greive will present “Once Upon a Time,” a discussion of the evolution of fairy tales, featuring rare books housed in UH Special Collections.
The April 12 talk is part of Unique Holdings, a presentation series that highlights the rare archival items held by Special Collections and available for use by faculty, students and researchers.
Future Unique Holdings talks will feature liaison librarians discussing other books and manuscripts of Special Collections that can inform and shape scholarly endeavors in any discipline.
Bring your lunch and enjoy an enlightening discussion.
What: “Once Upon a Time” brown bag presentation
When: Tuesday, April 12 at noon
Where: Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, MD Anderson Library
The University of Houston was established in 1927 as the Houston Junior College. It grew and prospered to become the University of Houston in 1934. In 1939, the institution acquired land for a permanent campus and opened its first building. The university became a state institution in 1963 and joined the newly created University of Houston System in 1977.
The Board of Regents Records include the minutes from the meetings of the Board of Trustees between 1939 and 1944, and later, the Board of Regents, the governing body of the University of Houston system. The meeting minutes provide insights into the evolution and governance of the University. Digitization of these records is ongoing, and subsequent volumes will be added to the UH Digital Library as they become available.
The original materials are available in UH Libraries Special Collections.
Director of Communications