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Summer Projects

The library staff is using a team-based approach to collaborate on high impact projects that will have demonstrable benefits to Vanderbilt teaching and research. Below are descriptions of the current projects. Some projects will take a major commitment of staff time; interested library staff should speak with their manager about opportunities to participate on a project.

Digital Initiatives

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    Art Collections

    Goal: to digitize, describe, and share artistic resources with the campus and the public

    Members: Carla Beals, Kali Mason, Jamen McGranahan, Phil Nagy, Fay Renardson, Emily Wiener

    Representative Materials: Gallery Collections, Visual Resources Collections, Contini-Volterra, etc.

    Systems: Alma, JSTOR Forum, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, WordPress

    "In just 8 weeks, our team photographed more then 1500 objects in the art collection."

    Outcomes: The team was able to photograph 1,916 objects between July 7th and August 31st. Many objects that previously had no photograph (or had a poor photograph) are now documented. These photographs are all currently being uploaded to ArtStor so they can be searched by faculty, staff, students, and researchers. Our goal is to increase access to the collection and with having 1,916 objects photographed. we've made great strides in meeting that goal.

    Next Steps: The team will continue this project in the fall, working to digitize the larger works of art in the collection, which consist of paintings and sculptures. If time allows, another goal will be to photograph the University portrait collection in Kirkland Hall. Images of these portraits are often requested by researchers. We will also gather more data that relates to the creation of records in Fedora.

    Download the full report.
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    Articles, Theses, Dissertations

    Goal: to describe and share scholarly products from Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students with the public

    Members: Zora Breeding, Regina Berry, Sarah Swanz, Tao You

    Representative Materials: capstone projects, faculty publications, doctoral dissertations, open access journals

    Systems: Alma, DSpace, Open Journal Systems, Vireo, Wikidata

    Did you know? Vanderbilt Libraries host 8 open access journals that have published over 1,300 articles in 77 issues.


    • Created three metadata crosswalks to import data from the old ETD databse to the Vanderbilt University Institutional Repository (VUIR), from the ETD submission deposit system (Vireo) to VUIR, and from the VUIR ETD collection to the library catalog (Primo).
    • Migrated over 4,900 ETDs from the old database to the institutional repository.
    • Researched and documented how to enhance access to our open access journal titles and articles in the library catalog (Primo).
    • Researched and documented best practices to enhance the web crawlers’ harvesting of open access journal articles from the journal platform (OJS).

    Next Steps:

    • Monitor ingest of ETDs into the Vanderbilt University Institution Repository and automated harvest into the library catalog for continuous improvements.
    • Modify configurations as needed to ensure that all open access articles are harvested by Google Scholar and other platforms to maximize discoverability and access.

    Download the full report.
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    Archives, Books, Pamphlets, Journals

    Goal: to digitize, describe, and share publications from the library's general and special collections with the campus and the public

    Members : Zach Johnson, Chris Ryland, Kathy Smith, Dajin Sun, Scott Walker

    Representative Materials: select archival collections and published materials from general and special collections

    Systems: ArchivesSpace, HathiTrust, JSTOR Open Community Collections

    In total, over 1130 publications and manuscripts were uploaded or transferred in just 8 weeks.

    Outcomes: The team built pages on Open Community Collections to clearly and effectively showcase our digital collections. Nearly the entire catalog of freely accessible content in our collection scope from Islandora and the Vanderbilt University Institutional Repository was transferred, and many other files from network shares were uploaded. In total, over 1130 publications and manuscripts were uploaded or transferred in just 8 weeks. The team also learned to navigate JSTOR Forum and created the best strategy for uploading content.

    Next Steps: Future digitization efforts will use this project as a foundation to further showcase our wealth of collections. JSTOR will be used in conjunction with other venues to build a comprehensive long term digital collections strategy. The team identified hundreds more scanned items that can be uploaded after assessing copyright. We also created a file outlining digitization priorities and projects t opursue in the coming years.

    Download the full report.
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    Campus and Event Photography

    Goal: To transition campus event photographs to OrangeLogic for campus use and for licensed public consumption

    Members: Mary Anne Caton, Jodie Gambill, Teresa Gray, Shore Griffin, Kim Yandell

    Representative Materials: Special Collections' photographic database, ACE network files (lower priority)

    Systems: OrangeLogic

    In one month, our team researched over 3,000 photographer name variants.

    Outcomes: SInce the beginning of the project in June, the team has completed original copyright research on 3,294 photographer name variants. Copyright decisions were tracked in a shared document to ensure consistent results. While the rest of the team did research, Jodie Gambill cleaned up our data, making over 31,800 updates. Once copyright research was complete, she updated copyright statements for 44,369 records. The rest of the team gathered information on ACE photos stored on multiple servers to prepare for a future move to Orange Logic.

    Next Steps: The migration to Orange Logic continues as the various technical issues are being resolved. Once this is complete, testing will need to be done to resolve any data migration issues. We have 650 photographer names which need to be researched. We also have 3,000 images which need to be added to the database, and the ACE photos will need metadata before being migrated to their own collection in Orange Logic.

    Download the full report.
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    Digital Preservation

    Goal: To develop a dark archive of websites and digital assets for long-term preservation

    Members: Stacy Curry-Johnson, Jim Duran, Dale Poulter

    Representative Materials: university websites and digital assets in the systems listed above

    Systems: Archivematica, Fedora, Heretrix, OpenWayback

    Digital presesrvation is not easy. The ground is constantly shifting as we strive to ensure that the cultural record, the prepanderance of whaich is now created, stored, and distributed digitally, does not slip through our hands and into the dustbin of history.
    - Kyle R. Rimkus, 2016. "Digital Preservation: A Challenge for Our Time." Digital Preservation Essentials, Society of American Archivists. P.3.

    Outcomes: The Digital Preservation Summer Project Team met with each of the other digital initiative summer project teams to determine how to assure that digital preservation is part of the project plan. Other outcomes from the project include:

    • New digital project intake form and questionnaire
    • Decision flowchart to assist staff in selecting the appropriate library preservation platform
    • Improved documentation for the preservation platforms and the availability of the documentation

    Next Steps: The team was able to accomplish several tasks during the summer but also recommends several additional goals for the future:

    • Standing Digital Preservation Group should be established to assist prioritizing collections for preservation and reviewing future requests
    • A central repository for documentation for digital preservation best practice, procedures and guidelines
    • Establish a training program for additional staff members in the process of ingesting into fedora.

    Download the full report.

Teaching and Learning Projects

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    Development of Digital Pedagogy Skills

    Goal: Create opportunities for librarians to build skills around teaching online in order to prepare them for revamping LibGuides and lesson plans to support an online teaching environment

    Members: Melissa Mallon, Clanitra Stewart Nejdl, Rachel Walden

    Representative Deliverables: T&L Committee Summer Series on Digital Pedagogy (3-part workshop series for teaching librarians + a digital pedagogy resource guide); participation in Center for Teaching's Course Design Institute; creation of mini Teaching Communities of Practice for librarians

    Timeline: Summer series training sessions for librarians on June 11, July 9, and August 6. The Center for Teaching's Course Design Institute runs throughout the summer. Communities of Practice will be launched during the summer and continue through the academic year.

    Active Learning
    Educational Technology
    Engaging with Students
    Learning Objectives

    Tracks Graph:
    Librarians are essential partners in teaching and learning. We're continually adding to our 'Pedagogy Toolkits' and are ready to support students in all learning environments.
    - Melissa Mallon, Team Leader

    Outcomes: The Digital Pedagogy Team completed the following activities:

    • Surveying librarians on their needs related to online teaching and training (39 respondents)
    • Collaborating with the Teaching and Learning Committee on offering a digital pedagogy summer learning series for librarians (54 total participants)
    • Promoting the Center for Teaching's two week Online Course Design Institute (23 library participants), and hosting a re-cap event (5 panelists and 18 total participants)

    Next Steps: As online teaching and learning continues to expand on campus, Vanderbilt librarians will continue to develop digital pedagogy skills in order to further the academic mission of the University. Starting in fall 2020, library staff will have the opportunity to participate in virtual teaching Communities of Practice (CoPs), which will be centered around the five online teaching and learning tracks. The Teaching and Learning Committee will continue to develop synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities related to digital pedagogy.

    Download the full report.
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    Virtual Research Services

    Goals: Improve and expand virtual research services, including Ask a Librarian services such as chat and online FAQs.

    Members: Amy Corbitt, Robbi DePeri, Camille Ivey, Frank Lester, Sarah Stevenson

    Representative Deliverables: Coordinate schedule for Heard Libraries online reference services (both live chat and asynchronous help); develop best practices and guidelines for training and providing reference services. Update language for help guides, including the Ask a Librarian FAQ.

    Timeline: Chat services go live by end of spring semester; best practices guidelines developed by July 1; FAQ updated by start of fall classes.

    Since going remote in mid-March, the system has handled 1187 Live Chats, and 2749 LibAnswers tickets.


    • 35 Library staff members covered 740 chat shifts equal to 1480 staff hours.
    • LibChat staff : the initial triage point for PUP (Book Pick Up Process) requests.
    • 225 FAQ entries edited and 17 new added.
    • Benchmarking survey sent to 50+ ARL and peer libraries; 70% response rate.
    • Best Practices for LibAnswers/LibChat guide updated to reflect current practice and procedures.
    • 2 training sessions held for staff.
    • Bibliography of chat related literature compiled.

    Next Steps:

    • Determine ongoing staffing model for Fall 2020 balancing patron needs and staff availability.
    • Determine the most sensible management strategy for the various virtual research service platforms
    • Continue testing of the SMS function.
    • Monitor usage of all platforms this semester.

    Download the full report.
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    Workshop Series

    Goal: Using a team-based approach, design curriculum and plan for delivery of 2-3 synchronous virtual workshop series (with 4-5 topic areas in each series) - have staff trial runs in the summer and launch in fall semester for students.

    Members: Josh Borycz, David Golann, Pam Morgan, Andy Wesolek

    Representative Deliverables: workshop series to include "Research Productivity" series on information literacy skills (including job-ready skills in collaboration with the Career Center; primary source instruction; presenting research – e.g. creating research posters, graphic visualizations of data); Digital/critical information literacy

    Timeline: Workshop curriculum and schedule developed during the summer for fall deployment; program dates publishable by August 1. Some ad hoc workshops will be offered virtually during the summer and fall.

    We developed curricula for two exciting, scalable, and reproducibile workshop series to enhance research productivity and cultivate thoughtful digital citizens.

    Outcomes: The team developed frameworks for research productivity and digital literacies that can be expanded over time. They also identified collaborators across the libraries to develop six workshops, along with learning outcomes, in each series that will be delivered in the fall semester. To enhance asynchronous learning and reproducibility, the team also created learning objects for each series as well as an internal file structure to house slides, talking points, and other teaching aids for future presenters.

    Next Steps: All workshops have been designed and scheduled and presenters have been identified. Developments of the learning objects and internal file-sharing are ongoing, as is publicity. Next, the team will host workshops and connect with the Teaching and Learning Committee for future workshop development within the series framework.

    Download the full report.
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    Undergraduate Experience

    Goal: Investigate VU plans for undergraduates fall 2020 and propose opportunities for librarians to innovatively engage undergraduate students, particularly incoming students (i.e. first years and transfers) who may be joining the Vanderbilt community for the first time virtually

    Members: Yuh-Fen Benda, Mariah Ford, Leslie Foutch, Judy Johnson, Jason Schultz

    Representative Deliverables: librarians participating in Campus Connectors Program; review Immersion requirements and brainstorm possibilities for supporting students in the four Immersion pathways; identify concrete methods of connecting with incoming students in the fall semester.

    Timeline: Develop list of concrete methods for connecting with students, by August 1st. Selection of librarians to participate in the Campus Connectors program will happen in May, with selected librarians participating in training in late June. Create and send Personal Librarian communication for undergraduates by end of August.

    Vanderbilt Libraries and the Undergraduate Experience

    In order to properly visualize the undergraduate experience --and how the Vanderbilt University Libraries interact with it-- the Undergraduate Experience [UG] team created a concept map.

    The purpose of this map has a two-fold purpose:

    1. To visualize the undergraduate experience, and
    2. To identify where the library can and does interact with the undergraduate population.
    This process will permit us to see what proactive steps the Libraries can take in the future. Ideally, the map will also allow us to distinguish the different types of interaction the Libraries has with the undergraduate population.

    Outcomes: The team created the following:

    • A mind map illustrating the different elements of the undergraduate experience and how the library can be involved;
    • A summary of the library staff survey results;
    • A summary of the team recommendations for how the library can improve our undergraduate engagement.

    Next Steps: The team has developed several recommendations, which have been grouped into three categories:

    • Academic Partnerships
    • Engagement within the Curriculum
    • Residential Life

    Download the full report.
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    Online Instruction

    Goals: Develop asynchronous learning materials that can be embedded in LibGuides and/or Brightspace and to develop a template for subject librarians to more easily create high-quality subject-specific asynchronous learning tools on their own. Enhance current instructional embedded librarian services in Brightspace.

    Members: Alex Carroll, Sarah Dunaway, Heather Laferriere, Rachel Lavenda, Sara Manus, Ramona Romero, Sarah Stevenson

    Representative Deliverables: self-paced virtual instructional videos and/or interactive tutorials that can be used by librarians in all areas; a template for others to do the same; librarians will review research guides connected to courses in Brightspace for providing point-of-need research support.

    Timeline: Have template ready for tutorials by end of July; have several asynchronous materials available by start of fall semester.

    Who knew how much of a difference an autozoom can make in the context of an asynchronous instructional video?

    Outcomes: Two videos were produced: an explainer video for databases and an explainer video about citations. In addition, the team produced templates for more general videos introducing librarians and libraries. Two screencasting and video editing software were investigated, Camtasia and Screencast-o-matic, as part of the effort to refine and polish library videos. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a reference guide was created that includes links to tutorials, advice for planning videos, and examples of scripts.

    Next Steps: The A(sync)-Team recommmends that Screencasto-matic be made available to all staff who are producing video content. We also recommend Camtasia licenses for only those making longer instructional videos that require more sophisticated components. Moving forward, the Teaching and Learning committee will provide continuity, guidance, and support over time.

    Download the full report.
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    Connecting with Students

    Goal: Develop a plan and implement 2-3 virtual events to connect librarians with students (undergraduate and/or graduate students); at least one single event and one sustained through the semester; develop a template for campus libraries to replicate for their student constituents.

    Members: Melinda Brown, Kashif Graham, Shahpar Kamtarin, Robert Rich, Debra Stephens

    Representative Deliverables: a series of new virtual engagement opportunities for students (e.g. book clubs related to first year reading, game or trivia nights, co-curricular events with campus partners)

    Timeline: Develop programming during the summer, program and plan dates publishable by August 1, and be ready to deploy in the fall.

    Virtual Engagement Opportunities

    • A monthly series of brief, 30-minute Zoom interviews on current issues
    • Scheduled for the first Fridays at 1:00 PM (CST)
    • September 4th with Dr. Rosevelt L. Noble, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Residential Colleges, Director, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
    • October 2nd with Rick D. Burr, Assistant Chief of Police, Vanderbilt University Police Department
    • November 6th TBD
    • Zine (pronounced “Zeen”) are miniature booklets, created on any topic and in limited quantities, usually an artistic expression of the creator.
    • Friday, September 18th, 1:00 PM (CST)
    • Students will be encouraged to make zines on their COVID-19 quarantine summer experience. Students will be asked if they’d like to donate their Covid-19 zines to the COVID-19 Archive.
    • Learn more at What Exactly is a Zine? and We Make Zines
    • Engage students with fun activities outside of academic study
    • Repeat several times throughout the academic year
    • Date and Time TBD
    • Interest Meeting on September 10th, 6:30 PM (CST)
    • Co-sponsored by the libraries and Office of LGBTQI Life
    • Details and date TBD

    Download the full report.

Access Projects

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    De-Duplicating Government Documents

    Goal: To identify government document duplicates using reports created from Alma Analytics

    Members: Tristan Keen, Will Stringfellow, Jim Thweatt, Glen Waters

    Material: MARC

    System: Alma

    Over the course of four months, the team reviewed over 40,000 government document catalog records.

    Outcomes: Over the course of 4 months the project had over 10 student assistants and 10 library staff members from 6 different library units work on the project during the work from home period. Since April 12, the team reviewed over 40,000 gov doc catalog records, completing 42% of the 91,000 records needing review. In addition to identifying duplicates across the entire Jean and Alexander Heard Library system, the team also identified material type of duplicates, which will be utilized for strategic weeding of duplicate documents.

    Next Steps: Government Document student assistants and library staff will continue to review the remaining 58% of gov doc catalog records needing examination throughout the fall semester. Upon completion, the government documents unit will begin to strategically discard duplicate documents balancing the need for long-term preservation and library space.

    Download the full report.
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    The Enumeration Project

    Goal: To clean up Alma records that have incorrect Item call numbers

    Members: Terri Bante, Yolanda Campbell, Gregory Collins, Linda Davis, Nancy Dolinger, Caroline Grinham, Shahpar Kamtarin, Machelle Keene, Aiden Layer, Charlotte Lew, Laura Matthews, Caleb McLoud, Thanita Sweat, Karen Swoopes, Daisy Whitten, Debbie Williams

    Materials: MARC

    System: Alma

    In only four months, close to half a million records were fixed and the chances of finding specific journal issues and book volumes were enormously enhanced.

    Outcomes: In only four months, close to half a million item records were fixed by the project staff and the chances of finding specific journal issues and book volumes in Primo were enormously enhanced. In addition, the success of this enumeration project has set a fine example for future acrossdepartmental collaborations on a large scale.

    Next Steps: With the majority of the problem records resolved, we will reexamine the remaining scope of work, develop a new strategy and workflow for the next phase, and utilize both cataloging and noncataloging staff available to complete the remaining work of the project.

    Download the full report.
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    Transcribing Television News

    Goal: To improve the searchability of television news by transcribing broadcast news shows

    Materials: TV News Shows

    Members: Dana Currier, Alla Foliyev, Ryan Peak, Karen Pillow, Kathy Turbeville

    System: Trint

    Between April and August of 2020, 847 new TV news episodes were transcribed and captioned.

    Outcomes: The summer project team overcame several obstacles including multiple personnel changes and the switch to remote work due to COVID-19. The number of team members varied from as many as 20 to as few as 2. Still, over 847 new TV news episodes were added to the collection. VTNA was able to provide meaningful work to staff members who would not otherwise have been able to work remotely.

    Next Steps: The transcription program has been ongoing since January 2019 and will continue as VTNA's primary method of adding new content to our database. Several of the summer team members have committed to continuing their work with the program. Additionally, 5 students were added to the Trint team. A new uploading task was added so staff members could continue working.

    Download the full report.
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    WikiCite for Vanderbilt

    Goal: To foster scholarly communications by increasing the number of faculty items and items about faculty publications on Wikidata

    Members: Chris Benda, Marymae Jansson, Jeff Taylor, Greg Weldy, Sue Widmer

    Materials: Bibliographic records

    Systems: VanderBot, Wikidata, Zotero


    • We created over 1,000 records to represent faculty and publications.
    • We added nearly 25,000 details to new and existing records.
    • Team members became familiar with linked data concepts and searching linked data.
    • Our project was featured in a myVU news article on August 10, 2020.

    Next Steps: Our ambition is to represent all Vanderbilt faculty, faculty publications, and clinical trials in Wikidata. To this end we should:

    • increase our use of automated tools.
    • plan for onboarding new team members.

    Download the full report.
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    Web Accessibility

    Goal: Modify the library webpages to aspire to achieve the standards set forth by WCAG 2.0, Level AA

    Members: Matt Dillingham and Leanna Myers

    Representative Materials: library domain webpages

    Systems: Omni and Wordpress

    Over the course of the summer our team fixed 8054 violations related to accessibility on the library website.

    Outcomes: Running an automated AXE test for each page resulted in a total of around 600 reports. From these we identified and fixed 8054 violations, including 326 critical and 301 serious issues affecting the accessibility of our site. Remediation included adding alt text to images, providing more descriptive link text, improving landmarks, and ensuring form inputs have associated labels

    Next Steps: For our next steps, we plan to train the library staff on how to create accessible content for the web, run manual tests on our main library web pages, and implement this workflow to check our other library websites for accessibility errors.

    Download the full report.