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Online Doc RUSA's Town Hall on 1/12/17

by Melissa Tracy (staff) on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 03:33 pm

Dear Colleagues,

With every new year comes some changes and this is a perfect time to let you know about some upcoming improvements planned for RUSA and to hear your thoughts.

Dear Colleagues,

With every new year comes some changes and this is a perfect time to let you know about some upcoming improvements planned for RUSA and to hear your thoughts.

A key objective of RUSA's current strategic plan is to develop a proposal to transition RUSA to a new organizational structure to reduce the complexity of our organization and better serve member needs. The Organization & Planning Committee has developed a set of recommendations and draft plan (attached) of implementation that was presented to RUSA Board in December. Our next step is to get your feedback as a RUSA member. Feel free to leave your feedback here.

The RUSA Executive Committee and Organization & Planning Committee will be holding a RUSA Town Hall meeting on Thursday, January 12, 2017, 9am PT / 10am MT / 11:00 AM CT / 12pm ET to gather member feedback on the recommendations. Access instructions are:

  • To join the meeting:
  • Meeting Name: RUSA Town Hall, 1-12-16
  • When: 01/12/2017 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Time Zone: Central Time (US and Canada)
  • If you have any trouble with the audio, please dial in using: 1-888-935-0782
  • Participant Code: 94018206#

I hope you can join us! If you are unable to attend the Town Hall meeting, please send your comments to Beth German, Chair, RUSA Organization and Planning

Alesia McManus RUSA President


Online Doc RUSA Name Change Task Force Report, Final, September 2016

by Susan Hornung-IL (staff) on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 12:44 pm

A Name Change Task Force was formed in March 2016 to look deeply at the pros and cons of changing the RUSA name. Read the final results.

Online Doc History Section History Librarians DG, Midwinter 2016

by Eileen Bentsen on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

The History Librarians Discussion Group met on Sunday, January 10th, from 1 - 2:30 in room 205B of the BCEC.  Discussion on two topics: Digital Tools for History and the ACRL Framework and RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Students: Beyond the Classroom.

Digital Tools:

The History Librarians Discussion Group met on Sunday, January 10th, from 1 - 2:30 in room 205B of the BCEC.  Discussion on two topics: Digital Tools for History and the ACRL Framework and RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Students: Beyond the Classroom.

Digital Tools:

Discussion opened with a brief discussion of the list of tools on Megan Martinsen's research guide on Digital Scholarship ( All of the tools are open access so regardless of library type or funding level these are available to all. Purpose, ease of use, limitations, and examples of how these tools are being used were reviewed.

Attendees were invited to mention digital projects they or their institution created and/or how they were using digital tools for outreach. 

  1. The Kentucky Historical Society has digitized and provided transcripts for the Civil War Governors of Kentucky ( The beta web site will be available soon to this important record of local and regional history.  As local disruptions to courts and other methods of redress were sparse after the Civil War the governors were petitioned to resolve disputes
  2. The Minnesota Historical Society provided an outreach program designed to introduce patrons to the depth of it's digital collections. The service provided a mash up of an item of interest to the patron and a random item from the digital collections. Considered successful and wondered if anyone else had used similar programs to raise awareness.
  3. Report on a North Carolina State program encouraging faculty to visualize the data of their scholarly their research with interdisciplinary areas (weather, architecture, etc.) to create experiential learning modules for their students (and the public?).
  4. University of South Florida is using both Omeka and Skalar for digital exhibits.  See:
  5. The University of Florida is introducing a graduate certificate in Digital Humanities (
  6. Historical Information Gatherers ( briefly informed attendees of their fee-based collection of national maps.
  7. mentioned their collection of land ownership maps. Search is free, subscription required for use. 
  8. Missouri and the Great War at
  9. Massachusetts WWI Soldiers Portraits:
  10. Efforts underway to archive the Twitter feed of the #BlackLivesMatter; various locations but central archive at ArchiveIt:

Discussion followed regarding uniform metadata standards for the many individual institutions and projects. Omeka is using Dublin Core but no one present was able to address the larger issues. Suggested that we contact the appropriate catalog group in ALA.

Discussed the possibility/value of a portal listing the many digital projects underway. Several were mentioned: 

  1. LC's Web Guide to State Digital Resources (
  2. Digital Public Library of America (
  3. University of Southhampton (UK) ROAR:

Suggested that it would be most useful if links were posted to the existing LC or DPLA sites.

Most attendees did not have a digital humanities librarian at their institution. Several attendees recommended "The Programming Historian" ( website as a useful independent learning tool.

ACRL Framework, RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Majors - Beyond the Classroom

RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Majors: 

ACRL IL Guidelines:

ACRL Framework:

For library and patron education beyond the academic environment it was suggested that IL be framed from the "scholarship as conversation" perspective. In non-academic settings patrons must often be taught without it appearing that the librarian/library staff member is actually teaching them. Suggestions for achieving this included building trust by responding to the inquiry with respect and to emphasize what you do have in your collection to help the patron first prior to discussing what you don't have or how difficult the question is to answer or research.

The group next discussed how to move beyond just providing access to the necessary sources to working in a way that incorporated the guidelines. Many raised the need to work with teachers (high school/middle school) to provide some initial training and a desire to incorporate the RUSA IL Guidelines into their teacher training workshops (existing or planned).  Other points raised included:

  • Improving access for teens, both to primary source materials and to the thinking skills contained in the IL Guidelines
  • Working with Local History groups and Local History Commissions to provide opportunities to move beyond providing access to sources. Use and share the Guidelines as a rationale for why the sources and the work of these Commissions are valuable
  • Consider using the IL Guidelines and the Framework as organizing principles for our websites - as a means to encourage scholarly thinking (would this work? How could we make it work?). Promote the Framework in this way beyond the traditional classroom applications
  • Using the Guidelines and Framework when working with faculty/teachers to provide more realistic timelines for assignments they give for students to use local history sources and archives.
  • Introduce the Guidelines and Framework to Boards, teachers, etc. to demonstrate that librarians and library staff have a degree of authority and ownership in the educational role we have when working with these groups and users.

Similarly, share the Guidelines and the Framework with your State History Day organizers to enlist their help in crafting good research schedules for History Day events.

There is a need to emphasize the ethical components of the Guidelines and the Framework to students, teachers, general users, and faculty. An understanding of privacy (of records, interviews, etc.) as an ethical issue is often overlooked.

Work with First Year Student programs to incorporate a required meeting with the appropriate librarians to discuss the research process and introduce the assistance Librarians can provide.  For upper division and graduate students use a workshop approach.

For historical societies, museums, state libraries, tag team with the academic institutions liaison librarian to resolve problems. 

Create a Lib guide (ex. direct patrons/students to as a preparatory assignment.

Discussed issues and concerns with the ACRL Framework document,  esp. the issue "does the Framework define what students/users find or does it address what they need to know?  See second item in this bibliography:

Lastly it was requested that links to the Guidelines and the Framework be posted to the site as this is used by many organizations and individuals outside of academia. This would disseminate this valuable information more widely.



Online Doc RUSA Executive Committee Meeting, April 2015

by Susan Hornung-IL (staff) on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 04:07 pm

Online Doc AC 2015 Preliminary Schedule

by Susan Hornung-IL (staff) on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 02:17 pm

Attached please find the preliminary schedule for Annual Conference programs, meetings, and event for San Francisco, 2015. As soon as the rooms are assigned, we will post it here.


Susan Hornung

Online Doc Hotel map for Midwinter Conference in Philadephia

by Susan Hornung-IL (staff) on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 06:05 pm


The hotel map for Midwinter Conference in Philadephia is here:


Susan Hornung

Online Doc 2012 MIDWINTER SCHEDULE with room assignments

by Liz Markel (staff) on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 04:29 pm

See attached for the Midwinter Meeting schedule with room assignments (Excel file). This meeting report was created on 11/11/11.


Here are the acronyms for the hotels:


DCC – Dallas Convention Center

FAIR – Fairmont Hotel

HYATT - **Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion

MAG – Magnolia Hotel

MAR – Marriott City Center

OMNI – *Omni Hotel Dallas

SHER - **Sheraton Dallas Hotel




Online Doc RUSA E-Participation Task Force Status Report

by Celia Ross on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 08:51 am

RUSA E-Participation Task Force Status Report

Submitted: July 2, 2009

RUSA E-Participation Task Force Committee members:


RUSA E-Participation Task Force Status Report

Submitted: July 2, 2009

RUSA E-Participation Task Force Committee members:


  • Celia Ross: RUSA E-Participation Task Force Chair, BRASS Vice Chair (Kresge Business Administration Library, University of Michigan) 
  • Elisa Addlesperger: 
  • Shelley Arlen: 
  • Jaclyn Bedoya: RSS/MARS Preconference Committee Co-Chair 2008-09, MARS User Access to Services Co-chair, 2009-11 
  • Bobray Bordelon: John Sessions Memorial Award Committee, 2008-2011; Chair 2009-2010; RUSQ Task Force, 2009-2010 (Firestone Library, Princeton University) 
  • Laura Jordan: MARS-L moderator and "Messages from MARS" editor (Library West, University of Florida) 
  • James 
  • Daniel Mack: Editor, RUSA Update, 2006-2009. Director ex officio, RUSA Board of Directors, 2006-2009, Member, RUSA Communications and Publications Committee, 2006-2009, Member, CODES Executive Committee, 2002-2009, Chair, CODES Communications Committee, 2007-2009 (University Libraries, The Pennsylvania State University) 
  • Janice Schultz: History Section Genealogy Committee Chair (Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO) 
  • Erin Silva: STARS ILL Committee member (University of Nevada, Reno)  
  • Charles Thurston: Former Chair, RUSA Standards & Guidelines Committee (Univ. of Texas at San Antonio Library)

Summary of RUSA E-Participation Committee Charge:

  • Examine the need for all committees to meet at Midwinter, draft a recommendation concerning registering for Midwinter if attending virtually and draft a plan for implementation at both the Section and RUSA levels.
  • Explore ways that E-Participation could improve the overall efficiency of committees. 
  • Suggest tools needed to implement more electronic participation. 
  • Seek Section input.



The RUSA E-Participation Task Force was formed in anticipation of a much-reduced member attendance at the 2010 ALA Midwinter meeting resulting from the current economic downturn and related budgetary cuts.  The Task Force charge, summarized above, includes a focus on this Midwinter Meeting but it should be noted that e-participation can have additional impacts on RUSA.  The Task Force defined e-participation broadly to include any kind of committee communication and collaboration that occurs through electronic means (i.e. not face-to-face).  We focused less on the technological requirements of holding "real time" virtual meetings and instead examined how committees could function effectively without requiring members to travel for face-to-face meetings twice a year and what impact this shift in workflow might have on RUSA and ultimately on ALA. 

The RUSA E-Participation Task Force has never met face-to-face.  All work was accomplished asynchronously via email and use of a pbwiki space.  Given more time, the Task Force likely would have arranged for a synchronous conference call or chat session to review progress and address future steps.  Additionally, the Task Force did not utilize the ALA Connect system which likely would have provided comparable (or better) functionality.  It is interesting to note, though, that this Task Force has thus far operated completely through e-participation of some sort or another.


Midwinter Meeting

The Task Force examined the impact expanding member e-participation would have on the Midwinter Meeting.

Note: It is important to understand that the Task Force was not focusing on eliminating the Midwinter conference outright.  Indeed, in the full charge of the Task Force it is noted that unless there are significant changes made involving all of the other ALA divisions, the RUSA Executive Committee will need to continue to attend Midwinter to remain active in its role in representing RUSA as part of ALA overall. Rather, the Task Force investigated ways in which most of RUSA and its sections' committee members might still be able to actively contribute without the explicit requirement that they agree to attend in person both the ALA Annual conference and the ALA Midwinter meeting.   

One potential outcome that expanded e-participation could have is that members would do committee work via electronic means throughout the year and make the need to meet face-to-face at Midwinter unnecessary.  It will be increasingly difficult to get volunteers to do the work of the organization if they must pay to travel to meetings that are, in effect, unneeded because the work of the committee has already been done.   While fewer people attending Midwinter would result in a loss of revenue for ALA and RUSA, continuing to require attendance at two meetings/conferences per year in order to serve on committees could result in not only a decrease in RUSA committee volunteers overall but also eventually a loss of RUSA membership revenue. 

Another possible outcome of expanding e-participation is that the face-to-face meetings at Midwinter would require additional software and other technology to support members who would be "attending" virtually.  This outcome would present a number of logistical, technological and financial challenges.  The Task Force reviewed and ultimately rejected the idea that committee members could pay a nominal registration fee to be allowed to "attend" Midwinter virtually.  Potential technical difficulties and other snags aside, it didn't seem right to require additional fees from committee members who are already volunteering their time and efforts.

ALA and RUSA will have to make choices.  The Task Force understands that Midwinter is an important revenue source for both ALA and RUSA, but most organizations do not have face to face meetings except for boards.  In essence, RUSA (and other ALA division) members are paying additional costs, significant ones in many cases due to the travel requirements, for the "privilege" of doing committee work.  Regardless, given the state of the global economy and its effect on library and personal budgets, many RUSA members are facing cuts that will prevent them from being able to travel, let alone pay for professional memberships.  Many people will rethink their professional memberships and their ability to commit to committee participation that requires their attendance at two conferences/meetings per year.

Accessibility should be considered, too.  Many members are eager to support their sections and divisions through committee work but are discouraged from volunteering due to a perception that to accept a committee position will require a committment to attend multiple conferences and meetings for up to two or three years.  Expanding e-participation could open up opportunities for these "shadow members" to become active participants in their professional organization and RUSA could capitalize on this new accessibility through a marketing and outreach campaign.

Midwinter was established as a business meeting before other means of communication and collaboration between members and amongst committees were readily available and the reality remains that, while there are some committees where it may be more convenient to get a portion of their work done face to face, most work will occur (and is occurring) virtually anyway.

Note: The schedule of Midwinter needs to be considered.  Here is a (partial) list of events that essentially require people in attendance to be successful as well as representatives who are required to attend both Annual and Midwinter.

Events held specifically at Midwinter

RUSA Book and Media Awards

BRASS Publishers Forum

Institutes (i.e. midwinter preconferences)

Midwinter is able to go to smaller cities so different local audiences.

Face to face meetings for Awards Committees (note all BRASS awards committees have been virtual for several years)

Events exclusively at Annual

RUSA Awards Ceremony

Section Programs

BRASS Academic/Public Libraries Forum 

Events at both Midwinter and Annual

RUSA Board

Section Executive Committees

Literary Tastes Breakfast

Discussion Groups

RUSA Organization evaluation of sections and committees (could all work be done exclusively at Midwinter; could reviews take place virtually)

Representatives required to be at both Midwinter & Annual

RUSA representatives to ALA committees

RUSA Board

Recommendations and next steps:

  1. Review all RUSA-level and RUSA section committees to determine which meetings and events require face to face meetings at Midwinter. 
  2. For those committees that believe they do require real-time and/or face-to-face meetings during Midwinter, investigate what technological solutions might be implemented that could support the portion of the work that requires "meeting".
  3. Identify some trial committees and/or sections that will be willing to test the impact of e-participation on their work.  Note:  BRASS had expressed an interest in leading these e-participation explorations.  Based on an informal survey of BRASS members, it was determined that many will not be able to attend Midwinter 2010 this year so there are already plans to have most committees meet virtually. 
  4. Consider the marketing potential of opening up e-participation options for members.
  5. While investigating the impact of e-participation was not part of the Task Force's charge, we also encourage a further look at reducing the meeting times/requirements at Annual so that members can spend more time going to programs, exhibits, discussion groups and also reduce the cost of Annual to ALA by requiring fewer meeting rooms. 


Improving Effeciency

The Task Force examined the impact expanding member e-participation would have on improving the overall efficiency of RUSA and RUSA section committees.

As noted above, many committees (if not all) are already incorporating e-participation into their workflow throughout the year, if not at a specific "real time" synchronous virtual meeting.  For many committees, e-participation is the de facto standard.  When the charges of committees are clearly defined and each respective committee chair is given flexibility to use the technologies and tools that will work best to support their committee's communication and collaboration needs, e-participation is the key to bringing the committee together.  With effective oversight and communication from the Section leadership, committees that involve a lot of e-participation can ultimately be more efficient because they save everyone time and money.  Working out the best modes of communicating and collaborating can be a challenge, but ALA is already providing tools like Connect that help support enhanced e-participation.  The RUSA Technology Task Force and others, including this Task Force, have investigated various software and other applications that can support real-time virtual meetings, if it's decided that additional resources are needed.  It is also feasible that committees who are not counting on a face-to-face meeting at Midwinter will, in fact, work more efficiently year round through e-participation rather than putting off tasks and then scrambling in the weeks and days before the face-to-face meeting to get everything together.

Recommendations and next steps:

  1. After identifying RUSA and RUSA section committees that are willing to test the impact of e-participation on their work, these committees should track their progress.  A questionnaire or online survey could be developed that would collect successes and failures, what worked and what didn't, and the impact, positive or negative, that e-participation has on committee workflow and deliverables.  
  2. Some committees are already operating all-virtually, all-the-time.  A list of these committees should be reviewed (BRASS Committees already meeting virtually include: All BRASS Awards committees, BRASS Nominating and BRASS Vendor Relations) and included in any surveys as well as turned to for input on best practices, tools used for e-participation and the impact on overall committee efficiency.
  3. Continue to promote and support Connect and ensure that all sections and section chairs are kept informed of training opportunities and other useful information regarding the successful incorporation of Connect into RUSA and RUSA-section workflows.
  4. Establish some general guidelines for committees, but focus on simplicity when it comes to e-participation and resist the urge to equate it with "increased technological or software needs."  Allow committee chairs to determine which tools and methods of communication and collaboration will work best for the tasks they are charged with while maintaining open communication between the entire RUSA community.


Support Needed

The Task Force did not spend much time investigating the support that will be needed (from RUSA and/or ALA) to implement any of the recommendations.  Rather, the Task Force is waiting to see which recommendations are chosen to be acted upon before determining what kind of support might be needed and from where it would come from.


Section Input

Recommendations and next steps:

  1. RUSA should survey each section about e-participation and about plans for reduced attendance at Midwinter.
  2. All RUSA sections should be coordinating with each other regarding any e-participation efforts that are already underway (like LITA's E-Participation Task Force: and the RUSA Technology Task Force:
  3. Consider bringing the e-participation issue to an ALA-level task force.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials to adults, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, and resource sharing for all ages, in every type of library.

Learn more about RUSA on the ALA website.

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