Cataloguing Novice


Earlier this month I volunteered with the ASIS&T CUA Student Chapter to help out at the Washington Middle School for Girls library. About a dozen of us worked on cataloging, processing, shelf reading and shelf signage.

After a very brief lesson on cataloging, and adding a few dozen books to the system, I discovered I missed one key step – adding the books to the list needing labels! It was déjà vu reading Yasser’s article for this week in digital libraries course – I was the cause of the missing information (elements essential for functionality of the system are not present). Without this bit of information, you could not search for my entries by date added to the collection.

Thankfully the mistake was caught and corrected!

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My Very First LIS Symposium

This post was started last week. But, what with due dates, work, papers, and snow storms, it kinda didn’t get done. So, here it is, for your enjoyment!

A few weeks ago, I gave a poster presentation at CUA’s 6th annual Bridging the Spectrum symposium. And while this wasn’t my first LIS conference/symposium/get-together, it was — in fact — my first time presenting at one. My topic? Identifying Thesauri Selections of Repositories of Digitized Medieval Manuscript Collections.

Symposium Poster (1)

Thrilling stuff. Really, it is! Click the image for a larger format. You can also access the image through the symposium website at

My poster session was a great success. Loads of interested symposium attendees stopped by, asked good questions, and seemed generally interested in the topic at hand (namely, just what sort of thesauri do digital collections of medieval manuscripts use and why do they use them?) Now, fair reader, I can sense your budding excitement as you read this. Wish you had been there to see the poster in action? Well, look no further! A fellow cohort member was kind enough to capture my spiel on camera.

And while I could prattle endlessly about my survey, the interesting findings, and the possibilities for future research (if anyone reading is in a position to offer grant money, I won’t say no), I’d rather focus the environment of the symposium itself.

As with any profession, the work that we do as graduate students, as librarians, as information pros can sometimes be overwhelming. And when the responsibilities start to build up, we can bury ourselves in our own little worlds, focusing on the mountains of work that require our attention. I think that this is precisely why symposiums are so important: they allow us an opportunity to step away from our work and to be around similarly-focused professionals who wish to share their accomplishment in a public forum. Thanks to the many panelists, poster presenters, and attendees, I had the opportunity to learn about a whole host of new and interesting studies that are going on as I type this. Everything from indigenous modes of recordkeeping among the Sioux people to new approaches to faculty engagement at research libraries was on display. Conversations simmered at every table and the Twitter conversation was at a continual boil for most of the day (for those interested, check out #cualis14. Some great comments and a link to the Michael Edson’s keynote presentation, video is now available at CUA LIS’s homepage). While I won’t use the word ‘impossible,’ it would have been pretty difficult to have walked away from this event without feeling revitalized, fascinated, and totally revved up for the future of the Library and Information Science discipline.

After having such a wonderful time learning about new research, studies, and initiatives, I began to wonder about what some of the other motivations for attending conferences, symposia, and other LIS events. I was somehow reminded of John Falk’s “The Museum Visitor Experience: Who Visits, Why and to What Effect?” In this essay, Falk identifies several classes of museum patrons, including Explorers, Facilitators, Professionals/Hobbyists, Experience Seekers, and Rechargers, all of whom have a variety of legitimate but unique reasons for attending museums. While the format, structure, location, attendees, and overall attitude of a conference is different from a conventional museum, can some parallels be drawn between museum attendance and conference attendance? Some attend to expose themselves to new innovations in their given field while others attend to develop their professional calling or individual passion. Others still attend to meet others and make professional connections, others yet use conferences as an opportunity to refresh their professional outlook and workshop ideas & projects. While the comparison may be tenuous on first pass, it may bare up with increased consideration.

But still: the conference as a cultural engagement is an interesting idea.

Regardless, the Bridging the Spectrum symposium was a great experience. In the future, I would highly recommend attending. Major thanks to CUA and the Department of Library and Information Science for their efforts to organize such an awesome event.

Passing by Remnants of the Past

Written by Justine Rothbart


Since starting at Catholic University almost two years ago, I have seen many changes during my metro commute. I see the burgeoning development in NoMa (North of Massachusetts Avenue) among remnants of the past. I see the new glass office buildings rising as the 1970s Greyhond Bus Terminal is being demolished. I wonder if this place will even be recognizable in five years. There are still a few icons that ground this area to it’s history. Some of these historic icons include Union Station’s “K” tower and Woodward & Lothrop Service Warehouse. But my favorite building I pass is actually one that is not the most beautiful one to look at. Some people might even call it an eye sore. But it is my favorite building because of the event that happened there fifty years ago. It is the site of The Beatles’ first concert in the United States.

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Just two days after their television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles performed their first US concert at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C. While riding the metro to class, I pass the crumbling brick facade of this building which is seeped in history. Through the concrete curved roof accented with graffiti, I can almost see the 8,000 screaming fans packed into the arena. I can almost hear The Beatles sing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as I the metro speeds by.

As we remember this event fifty years later, we hear tales of the people who were there to witness the historic event. We hear about the previous owner of the Washington Coliseum and the historical society which recently acquired his scrapbook. We hear about other concerts that took place at the Washington Coliseum in 1964. And we hear about today’s re-enactment events inside the historic building.

Our collective memory is what makes the Washington Coliseum important. It’s the photographs and the oral histories. It’s the stories and the memories. Anniversaries like this one, shines light onto what happens to our history fifty years later. What happens to the buildings? What happens to the photographs? Where are the memories stored?

As cultural heritage information professionals we need to think of the whole picture. Let’s think of the photographs, the oral histories, and let’s even think of the brick and mortar. We need to blend historic preservation with archives. Preserving a building is preserving information.

So the next time you’re riding the metro to Catholic University, take a look outside the window. Through the noises of new buildings being constructed, you might be able to hear in the distance the voices of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.


While in jeopardy of demolition, the Washington Coliseum was added to D.C Preservation League’s “Most Endangered Places for 2003.” In 2007, the Washington Coliseum was added to the National Register of Historic Places. After being used as an indoor parking lot for several years, the Washington Coliseum will soon begin a $77 million renovation into retail and office space.

Click here to watch the documentary video “The Washington Coliseum – The Forgotten Landmark” created by the DC Preservation League. 

NEH Humanities Grant Writing Workshop

Hey cohort!

Interested in learning about how to write proposals for NEH Humanities grants? Want to hear NEH representatives discuss strategies for developing competitive applications? Well, this is the event for you!

CUA is hosting an NEH Humanities Grant Writing Workshop on February 26. The workshop will be led by Russell Wyland (Deputy Director, NEH Division of Research) and Mary Macklem (Senior Program Officer, NEH Division of Research. The program will be broken up into sessions that focus on individual grant proposals, an introduction to programs and initiatives, and an overview of the NEH review process.

More information on this event will be available soon, so keep your ear to the ground. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact Ralph Albano of the Sponsored Research Department.



Dr. Kules forwarded me the invitation information about the NEH workshop. However, there is a caveat: The workshop is primarily geared towards faculty members. That being said, he did not say that we are prohibited from participating. Space is definitely limited, so if you’re interested, please get in contact with Ralph Alban0 as soon as possible.

For more info on the workshop, please click the link below.

NEH Humanities Grant Writing Workshop