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A Conversation with Sidney Berger

Sid-Berger.jpgEsteemed scholar, prolific writer, and adjunct professor at Simmons SLIS Sidney Berger last spoke with Infolink in 2009, as then Director of the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (now Director Emeritus), overseeing a massive construction and expansion endeavor that continues today. Earlier this year, ALA Neal-Schuman published his newest book, Rare Books and Special Collections. This magnum opus presents an in-depth examination of the rare books and special collections worlds never before collected under one title, from one of the field's most venerable and respected authorities.

December 2014 | Faculty Profile | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

Children's Literature and the Dual-Degree Experience

The Picturebook. Poetry for Young Readers. Fantasy and Science Fiction. Victorian Children's Literature. Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults. These are just a sampling of the rich course offerings available to students pursuing their Master's degree in Children's Literature at Simmons. The program, explored here this summer in an interview with its director, Cathryn Mercier (also Director of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature), provides students with a theoretical framework and unique approach to children's literature, and has earned an unparalleled reputation in the exploding children's-literature industry, with graduates finding success in all sectors.

Unique to Simmons are the program's four dual degree offerings, combining the Master of Arts in Children's Literature with either a Master of Science in Library and Information Science, a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Arts in English, or a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children. These distinct tracks attract students with diverse career goals, thus bringing together a rich array of perspectives not typically housed in one program.

December 2014 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | Student Profile

Creating Histories through Outreach, Collaboration, and Digital Stewardship

John CampopianoJohn Campopiano '13LS never envisioned working with world-renowned journalists, yet as the records manager for FRONTLINE/WGBH-TV in Boston, he is the point person among journalists and editors, production companies in the field, the legal department, accounting, and the media library and archives. "You have to be perceptive to know people," he said. "Everybody needs different things; they come at it from different perspectives. You have to be able to navigate all of that."

December 2014 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

Creating Creative Communities: 3D Printing in Library Programming

It can be challenging to keep up with technology's persistent, rapid developments. Even for the most digital-savvy among us, the breadth of innovations introduced and improved upon every day is staggering. The progress in 3D printing technology over the past few years has led to its application in myriad settings: medical prosthetics, geographic visualizations, replications of artifacts, and even, announced recently, "nutrient-dense" food for deployed soldiers that interfaces directly with their biochemistries. A sharp decline in price for 3D printers and supplies has led to a surge in purchases by public and academic libraries, often supported by grants aimed at democratizing access to new technology and often fueled by makerspace philosophies that are permeating the library world. According to the American Library Association, "Library 3D printing is empowering people to engage in creative learning, launch business ventures and solve complex health problems."

The School of Library and Information Science announced the arrival of a MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer and a MakerBot Digitizer 3D scanner to its Collaboratory this October thanks to a generous gift from a trustee. Assistant professor Laura Saunders explained, "It is a great start for the Innovation Space we are developing. It is going to help us grapple with the questions that emerge: What are the intellectual-property issues? What can we do beyond making little trinkets; and, how we can get access to the community in the best way?"

December 2014 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

Connecting Past and Future: Libraries on the Lewis and Clark Trail

wilkins_jordan2011_rdax_400x266.jpgLewis and Clark's expedition in search of a water route to the Pacific has a near-mythic place in American history. In 1803, on the heels of the Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson charged his personal secretary, Merriweather Lewis, with a mission to explore the newly acquired territory. Lewis enlisted skilled frontiersman William Clark, who would co-command the group known as the Corps of Discovery. The team spent the next two years traversing the western half of the country, a journey that would irrevocably impact U.S. expansion policy and relationships with Native Americans.

Simmons SLIS Professor Mary Jordan chose the Lewis and Clark Trail as the inspiration for a unique research project--not just the geography, but the concept, as well. Dubbed the Library Corps of Discovery, Jordan plotted a road-trip across the nation following the Lewis and Clark Trail to visit public libraries and collect data about libraries at each stop.

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | October 2014

Usability, UX and MOOCS: A Global Perspective

rongtangnewphoto.jpgUsability testing, UX, user behavior research: these terms may not have originally been a part of the Library and Information Science lexicon, but these concepts are inescapable these days--and with good reason. In a field focused on meeting users' needs, using the right tools to test the end results is crucial.

Lucky for Simmons School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), we have preeminent usability scholar and educator Rong Tang. Since the fall of 2006, Tang has taught courses at the master's and doctoral level, including Usability and User Experience Research, Evaluation of Information Services, Digital Information Services & Providers, and Library Automation Systems, and has been director of the Simmons Usability Lab since its inception in 2008. This fall she returns to Simmons after a yearlong sabbatical spent conducting research and teaching at National Taiwan University and Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China, as a visiting professor.

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | October 2014

New SLIS Concentrations Provide Students Skills to Meet Today's Technology Needs

In Fall 2014, Simmons SLIS will offer concentrations in Information Science & Technology (IST) and Cultural Heritage Informatics to provide students with the technology competencies they need for today's information institutions.  The new concentrations will help librarians, archivists, and other information professionals manage their digital assets in effective and efficient ways as services and end-user needs evolve.  The new concentrations offer students a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | September 2014

Transforming Passion for Children's Literature into Opportunities


"We seem to have entered a New Age of the Child," said Cathryn Mercier, Director of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature (CSCL) and Director of the Children's Literature Graduate programs at Simmons GSLIS. "Harry Potter was more a cultural phenomenon than a literary one.  It visibly changed the reading audience for children's books. Adults began reading children's literature for their own enjoyment rather than simply as gatekeepers of children's reading. The film versions of Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass, Coraline, and Matilda, to say nothing of the blockbusters like The Hunger Games, continue the momentum as they bring adult readers to literature for young people. In addition, publishing initiatives, such as the genre of "new adult" books, make our critical lenses on the field that much more important."

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | Summer 2014

How Prison Libraries Can Make a Safer World

At some point, 95% of the incarcerated will be released into the general public. They need programs and services to help them re-enter society peacefully and productively. Libraries offer that opportunity. -- Julie Steenson '14LS


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Alumnae/i News | April 2014 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | Student Profile

Behind MOOCs: What are They Worth to Higher Education and Students?

JeffPomerantz2Headshot-20130218.jpgAfter offering the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information on Coursera in 2013, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Library and Information Science, Associate Professor Jeffrey Pomerantz '97LS has taught more students in one MOOC than he has throughout his twelve-year career in academia. With random strangers approaching him in airports and at conferences since he offered the class, Pomerantz has achieved YouTube-quality celebrity.

Although faculty may enjoy their star status and ability to connect with students worldwide, are MOOCs a worthwhile investment for academic institutions? 

Alumnae/i News | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | March 2014

Inside the Digital Public Library of America: A Social Movement for Information Professionals

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Photo13DanCohenLaunchofDPLA.JPGBeyond providing open access to a variety of collections on an online portal, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a social movement that is bringing together information professionals and resources for the public good. Chief architects Maura Marx '04LS and John Palfrey knew they wanted to "capitalize on the collective initiative of librarians and archivists," said DPLA Project Coordinator Kenny Whitebloom '12LS, who helped the organization grow from its infancy while he was a project coordinator at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Feature story | February 2014 | Infolink Newsletter

Jason Wood Unlocks Simmons College Archives' Treasures

"You constantly need to be creative. A collection is only as relevant as you make it."

                                    - Jason Wood, '01LS, '11SOM

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for jason-wood_rdax_400x266.jpg"Archives peddle nostalgia," says Jason Wood '01LS, '11SOM the Simmons College Archivist and Head of Discovery Services in the College Library. A recent New York Times article features research supporting that nostalgia can "counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety making people more generous toward strangers and more accepting of outsiders." Yet the Simmons College Archives offers more than warm and fuzzy sentiments associated with the school's past.

Alumnae/i News | Career | December 2013 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News

American Theatre Archive Project Takes Boston

"A world without the arts is a world lost," says Elizabeth McGorty '15LS, a GSLIS dual master's degree candidate in archives and history. "The arts allow us to understand life and give meaning to it."

Thumbnail image for DSCN3179_2013-09-12_11-22.JPGMcGorty became fast friends with fellow GSLIS student Anne Mansella '14LS after they met in a history class. Sharing a love for the performing arts, archives, and history, McGorty and Mansella were recently appointed co-chairs of the Boston chapter of the American Theatre Archive Project (ATAP), an initiative of the American Society of Theatre Research. Learn how these students are helping organizations preserve their histories and sustaining the intimate connection between performing artists and their audiences.

December 2013 | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | Student Profile

Simmons GSLIS's New Dean Eileen Abels by Jennifer Moyer

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Dr._Abels_6232_rdax_160x215.jpgAfter an exhaustive, year-long search, the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) welcomes Eileen Abels as the new dean. As the current president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), Abels has more than 30 years of expertise in the library and information science field. During her tenure as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at Drexel University's iSchool, she oversaw ipl2, a digital library that resulted from the merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarian's Internet Index. Dean Abels brings new strategies to lead emerging 21st-century librarians at GSLIS. 


Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | September 2013

Creating Your Own Career: Andromeda Yelton by Jennifer Moyer

Dean's Editorial Fellow Jennifer Moyer interviews GSLIS graduates who have gone on to become entrepreneurs in the LIS field. Read more about their strategies for creating dynamic new tools for librarians and library patrons.

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Emerging Entrepreneur: Andromeda Yelton '10LS

"I do things that need doing. I learn things I don't know yet so I can do six impossible things before breakfast," Andromeda Yelton '10LS states in her LinkedIn profile. She was the third employee of, a start-up that creates a win-win situation for authors, publishers, readers, and libraries by making books accessible online for free.

Alumnae/i News | Career | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | Summer 2013

Creating Your Own Career: Abby Blachly by Jennifer Moyer

librarything.jpgSeasoned Entrepreneur: Abby Blachly '05LS

LibraryThing has become a household name in the library world since Katherine Dunn interviewed Abby Blachly in 2008. In five years, the company has quadrupled in size, created a new division, and developed a host of new products used by hundreds libraries worldwide.  LibraryThing's social book cataloguing application has more than 1.6 million users around the globe. Yet success didn't come easy for the start-up.


Alumnae/i News | Career | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | Summer 2013

Creating Your Own Career: Mary Ellen Heinen by Jennifer Moyer

 MaryEllenHeinmenphoto.jpgThe Veteran: Mary Ellen Heinen

With more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, Mary Ellen Heinen is proof that a degree in library and information science has market value that extends beyond a traditional library or archive. Her latest venture involves a curation and preservation app called Timebox; Heinen shares lessons learned from taking a product from concept to marketing.

Alumnae/i News | Career | Feature story | Infolink Newsletter | News | Summer 2013

Future of Online Education for LIS Schools

Will students still need to make a six-figure investment in higher education in the future? Will college students still receive instruction in classrooms in the next ten years? GSLIS professors have been offering online education programs since the nineties, and the innovations in online education present exciting opportunities and challenges for U.S. academic libraries and LIS schools.

"Online learning offers more control over time and the flexibility of choosing where and when students and professors want to work," says GSLIS Senior Lecturer Dr. Ross Harvey, a recent recipient of a WISE Consortium Excellence in Online Teaching Award. "The faculty and staff's high touch approach to connecting with students can easily be replicated in virtual environments."

As students juggle work, family, and school, an increased demand for online courses is a result. Students seek the flexibility such programs offer. According to a 2009 report by the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than 12 million students in the U.S. participated in distance education courses, with 77% of the enrollments in online courses, 12% in hybrid courses, and 10% in other forms of distance delivery.

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

Maureen Sullivan Offers Promising Plans as GSLIS's Interim Dean

As a professor of practice at Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), Maureen Sullivan saw the chance to be interim dean as "an opportunity of a lifetime" to further GSLIS's forward-thinking educational programs. Bringing more than 30 years of organizational consulting experience to libraries and with a vast professional network as president of the American Library Association, Sullivan shares a wealth of expertise and connections that will enable Simmons GSLIS to continue to educate 21st-century leaders and innovators.

Q: What do you think library and information science schools need to do to keep up with the changes in the field?

With the many changes occurring in libraries, archives, and other information organizations today, we need to identify and introduce a new set of competencies for information professionals. Specifically, we need to determine the core competencies required in a growing digital world. We also need to clarify the competencies necessary to lead community engagement and to guide transformational change. We need to create work environments that support innovation, continuous improvement, and the ability to solve complex problems. Library and information science schools need to engage alumni, employers, and other stakeholders to
identify what is required in practice and to determine what changes need to be made to the curriculum.

Keeping current with changing needs is a continuous challenge for educators. It also is an essential practice for everyone involved in professional education today.

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

Shifting the Shape of Today's Libraries

Feature story | Infolink Newsletter

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