Reading Recommendations Roundup!

As American aphorist Mason Cooley wrote, “Reading gives us somewhere to go when we have to stay where we are.” In this spirit, the DUX department offers you a delightfully diverse list of what librarians and staff at IU Libraries are reading right now. When possible, we’ve linked to where you can read a ebook or purchase through a local bookshop.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (2019)

by Marlon James

Cover of "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" by Marlon James with teal leopard and red wolf.
Image from Penguin Random House

Read by:  Jaci Wilkinson, Head of Discovery and User Experience

Details: According to NPR: “Our critic likens reading Marlon James’ new epic fantasy to being slowly eaten by a bear that occasionally cracks jokes— painful and strange, but upsettingly beautiful for all that.”

War and Peace (1865)

Light blue cover of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Image from Amazon

by Leo Tolstoy, Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (Note: Link is to a different translation.)

Read by: Jamie Wittenberg, Research Data Management Librarian and Head of Scholarly Communication

 

 

Heavy: An American Memoir (2018)

Cover for book heavy with word "heavy" down red cover in large lettering.
Image from Amaz

by Kiese Laymon

Read by: Anne Haines, DUX Web Content Specialist

Details: Kiese Laymon got his MFA in creative writing here at IU!

Abaddon’s Gate (2013)

by James S. A. Corey

Cover of Abaddon's Gate which features what looks like two or three metal spaceships.
Image from Amazon

Read by: Anna Marie Johnson, Head Librarian, Scholar’s Commons

Details: “Hopefully, this is a judgement-free zone,” says Anna Marie. This is the third book in a sci-fi series that her thirteen-year-old recommended. Anna Marie adds, “One of the two authors is a research assistant to George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones, and the series was apparently made into a tv/internet series called The Expanse.”

The Water Dancer (2019)

Cover image of The Water Dancer with black man with arms stretched over his head while under water.
Image from AbeBooks

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Read by: Theresa Quill, Map and Spatial Data Librarian

How Long ’til Black Future Month? (2018)

by  N.K. JemisonCover of How long til Black future month features the profile of a younger black girl with flowers in her hair and a big necklace.

Read by: Rivkah Cooke, Head of Electronic Research Acquisitions

Details: For more on this book, see Amal El-Mohtar’s review on NPR’s website, “Gorgeous ‘Black Future Month’ Tracks A Writer’s Development.”

The Lions of al-Rassan (1995)

by Guy Gavriel KayCover of The Lions of al-Rassan that is red and features a row of tan buildings in medieval Spain

 Read by: Karen Stoll Farrell, Head of Area Studies

 

My Struggle (2009-2011)

by Karl Ove Knausgård (six volumes)

Cover of book 6 of My Struggle that shows three people on a pier. One stands while two jump off.
Image from AbeBooks

Read by:  Ian Carstens, Public Services and Outreach Manager

Note: Link above is to Book 2, the only e-Book available. Ian is on book 6  pictured below.

The King Whisperers: Power  Behind the Throne, from Rasputin to Rove (2011)

by Kerwin Swint

Read by: Rachael Cohen, Discovery User Experience Librarian

The Nightingale (2015)

Cover for Nightingale with Eiffel Tower in background on rainy day.
Image from AbeBooks

by Kristin Hannah

Read by: Jackie Fleming, Visual Literacy and Resources Librarian

Details: Jackie recommends this book if you like historical fiction.

Some of our librarians have more than one current read!

Allison McClanahan, Collections and Cataloging Librarian at the Archives of Traditional Music, is “rereading a favourite from my teen fiction days,” the Great Tree of Avalon series (2004-2006), as well as  Himself and I (1957) by Anne O’Neille-Barna. Allison adds that Anne O’Neille-Barna is a pseudonym for folklorist Elaine O’Beirne-Ranelagh.

The cover of Child of the Dark Prophecy features a big tree and its roots and a starry sky.
Image from Google
The cover of Himself and I features two people on bikes, one a woman, riding into a gated area with a stone fence and building in the distance.
Image from Abebooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilana Stonebraker, Head of Business/SPEA Information Commons, usually reads four books at a time, “so I don’t get bored of them”. Here are three she’s reading right now:

Covers of Big Burn, Gone World, and Great Spring, and a cartoon worm in glasses holding a book
Images from Amazon and Google.

We hope some of these choices bring you somewhere new or help widen your range of usual genres as many of us read a bit more than usual while we all stay at home.

Accessing Library Resources Off Campus

UPDATE: permanent service information about EZProxy is available on the IU Bloomington Libraries website.

On 3/24/20, IU modified its SSL VPN configurations to employ split tunneling for most users due to heightened use of VPNs. According to UITS:

“Implementation of VPN split tunneling may affect your off-campus access… Because split tunneling routes external (non-IU) traffic outside the VPN, your connection will appear to the provider as coming from a device outside the IU network; consequently, you will be denied access to resources that are reserved for IU users.

In this post, we’ll discuss the best way to access online library resources with an emphasis on how this change to IU VPNs will change your experience accessing these resources (if you use a VPN, that is).

The best way to ensure full text, free access to all the resources IU Bloomington Libraries subscribes to is to start your research journey on the IUB library website or using IUCAT, the library catalog (used by all IU campuses). Why? Because IU Bloomington pays for faculty/staff/students to have full text access to a lot of academic resources that aren’t freely available online. These resource providers make sure that all of us have proper IU credentials using three methods: IP address/network connection, proxied links (through a service known as EZProxy), or IU Login. Sometimes, your credentials will be verified without you even knowing it. This post describes, in-depth, how these processes work and why it matters.

By starting on the IUB library website, you can easily see and navigate to our full array of databases, online journals, and ebooks. Some of our most popular databases can be found in the footer of every page of the website: Footer of website showcasing some of our most popular databases

Off Campus

Accessing library resources off campus presents a different situation because you no longer have an IU Bloomington location/IP address and/or your machine isn’t connected to the IU Network, even if you’re using a VPN. In these scenarios, it is even more important to use the library website to access online resources so that the version you access is the IU-purchased version. A service called “EZprozy” is added to URLs on the library website to link you to the IU version of the resource.

Previously, when an off campus user connected to the VPN, they could access resources directly without going through EZproxy, as if they were on campus. With this change, an off-campus IUB or IUPUI user connected to the VPN will no longer be able to get to IU-purchase library resources without using EZproxy.

This is a significant change for our patrons who are not used to using EZproxy when connected to the VPN.  Please see details and instruction outlined below to access your online library resources.

Before you can access most of these online resources from off campus, you must first establish your “online identity” as a member of the IU Bloomington community. Specifically, you must be a current student, staff member, or member of the faculty.

Summary

1. Make sure you search academic journals and articles starting with a link from the Resources A-Z list. (Note that this is a list of resources for IU Bloomington: to find resources or databases for other campuses, start at each campuses’ library website.) These links are proxied through EZproxy which means that wherever you are in the world, it will take you to the IU-purchased version of that resource. Proxied links are also known as permalinks.

2.  The next step depends on whether you are using a VPN or not:

VPN: You will be directly taken into the resource.

No VPN: You will authenticate using the IU Login screen before being taken into the resource.

3. These proxied links all end with proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/ or begin with https://proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/login?url= 

In-Depth Explanation

Here are three click path journeys to get to the academic database JSTOR:

Journey #1

  1. Search for “jstor” using your favorite search engine.
  2. Click on the first result, which is likely www.jstor.org.
  3. Do a search for the article you want and click on the result.
  4. Get asked to pay for full text access.

Journey #2

  1. Do a keyword search in your favorite search engine or Google Scholar.
  2. Find an article in a journal found in JSTOR.
  3. Click on the article.
  4. Get asked to pay for full text access.

Journey #3

  1. Go to the IU libraries website.
  2. Find JSTOR in the footer of every web page OR under “J” in the Resources A-Z list.  
  3. Click on JSTOR and go to https://www-jstor-org.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/ .
  4. If using a VPN, you’ll probably be taken directly to JSTOR. Otherwise, you might need to authenticated using IU Login.
  5. Access all the full text content IU subscribes to!

The only way you have consistent, full access to IU-purchased content is through the proxied version of the resource, as seen in journey #3. Using a regular search engine, like Google, will not route you through the proxied version of the resource to ensure you have full text access as an IU faculty/staff/student.

What about Google Scholar?

Google Scholar isn’t a database that IUB subscribes to but it is possible to access IU-purchased online resources in Google Scholar using proxied links IF you are properly authenticated. Watch this video made by the IU Libraries Teaching and Learning department to learn the two different ways to use Google Scholar to access IU-purchased online resources.

Why is it different on campus?

On campus, it is typically seamless to access many academic resources without starting on the library website because your browser recognizes and authenticates you based on your location on campus (through your IP address) and/or your machine’s connection to the IU Network. Sometimes you’ll have to use IU Login once on campus to trigger that recognition.

Getting started with scholarly research at IU Bloomington Libraries? Learn how to search with OneSearch@IU, our metasearch engine.

Sharing Links to Databases, Journals, or Articles

If you are sharing URLs to databases, journals, or articles, you need to make sure you are using a proxied version of the URL, or permalink, so that the IU person you share with can properly authenticate to access the full text resource. Each database has permalinks in different places but our linking to library resources page gives an overview and has some short videos about where to find permalinks in EBSCO databases (e.g. OneSearch@IU or Academic Search Complete) and other databases.

What’s the difference between a DOI and a permalink?

Both are a type of “persistent URL” that do not get updated or changed. A DOI (or digital object identifier) is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object. Permalinks, unlike DOIs, have university affiliation attached to them. To make sure an IU-affiliated person can access the full text of the published digital object, the IU permalink prefix should be added to the beginning of the DOI. For example:

https://proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/login?url=

+

https://doi.org/10.1080/10520295.2020.1735520

=

https://proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/login?url=https://doi.org/10.1080/10520295.2020.1735520


Questions about accessing library resources? Research help is available via chat, email, and phone. Read full closure and virtual services information on our Library COVID-19 Updates page.

Find Yourself (and a Librarian) at the CEWiT Summit

The Center of Excellence for Women and Technology (CEWiT) will be holding their annual Summit Friday and Saturday. The CEWiT Summit is aimed at showing women in a variety of different fields that they can interact as women and as technology users. While the workshops may be aimed at women, the Summit is open to anyone.

I’m not a woman in technology. What’s there for me?

This Summit is an opportunity to guide you towards excellence in your career and leveraging technology know-how. It also addresses social issues that arise in our increasingly tech-driven world. Therefore, to take away value from this event, you don’t need to know hard and fast tech skills, just be someone who exists in or is soon to enter a career impacted by rapidly changing technology in our daily life. If you’re a student or a librarian, that probably includes you!

Why should I check out librarian speakers while I’m there?

You may not realize that librarianship is a field that offers many tech-focused career options. Because librarianship is a primarily female-dominated field that involves a lot of technology and information management, these librarians can provide an interesting perspective on women and technology. Additionally, different librarians use technologies in different capacities and may open your eyes to the diversity of the career field.

Who should I see speak at the Summit?

Well, ideally, you will get to see all of the librarians who are speaking at the event this weekend. But if you can’t, this might help you narrow down which breakouts you want to attend.

If you’re interested in social awareness in the development of new ideas…

Jaci Wilkinson is the Head of the Discovery and User Experience department at Wells Library. She will be leading a session on algorithmic awareness and the research that lies at the foundation of the topic.

Algorithmic Awareness – Gender and Race

Friday, March 6, 2:00 PM

Walnut Room, Indiana Memorial Union

If you’re interested in getting started with searching digital archives…

Jackie Fleming is a Visual Literacy and Resources Librarian, who will be leading a session on how to use Artstor, one of the largest digital archives of images, available to students through the library.

Artstor: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Friday, March 6, 11:00 AM

Persimmon Room, Indiana Memorial Union

If you’re interested in makerspaces and how women interact in them…

Leanne Nay is the Digital Engagement Librarian. Leanne created a Mini Makerspace in Wells Library; a makerspace is a community workspace for people with shared interests to work and collaborate. She will be presenting more on makerspaces, and how women interact with them, at the Summit.

Women & Makerspaces: Explorations of Gender in the Maker Movement

Saturday, March 7, 1:30 PM

State Room West, Indiana Memorial Union

 If you’re interested in learning more about unique educational resources…

Julie Marie Frye is the head of the Education Library & Sarah Hare is a Scholarly Communication Librarian who focuses on Open Educational Resources (OER) as well as outreach to undergraduates. They will be presenting on developing chalk talks, which are lectures accompanied by drawing works and visuals during the lecture to highlight points.

Creating Chalk Talks for Higher Education

Friday, March 6, 3:00 PM

Walnut Room, Indiana Memorial Union

We’re Hiring a User Experience (UX) Designer!

Join a small but mighty department of deeply committed UX professionals!

Position Summary

Provide user experience design services to the Libraries’ content management systems and key technology-based projects. Work with stakeholders across IU Bloomington Libraries’ departments to understand requirements and design web-based user interfaces, mobile user interfaces, and online visual elements to support delivery of library services to faculty, staff, students, and other customers through the library website, blogs, research guides, and other platforms. Conduct user research, accessibility evaluations (FAE, WAVE), and run web analytics reports and other user experience work for the department as needed.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in a user experience discipline (human-computer interaction design, interaction design, etc.) or related field and two years of experience in interface and visual design (as demonstrated by a portfolio) or a related professional position.

Combinations of education and related experience may be considered.

Experience with interaction design, visual design, image formats and properties, web design, web fonts, and mobile design. Experience with the relevant interaction and visual design tools (Adobe Creative Suite or equivalent). Experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript or PHP. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

Knowledge of and experience with academic libraries or higher education work environments. Experience with Drupal, WordPress, Blacklight or other comparable open source CMS / discovery layer applications.

Working Conditions / Demands

Physical demands will be limited to moving computing equipment, running cables between equipment, and operating computers of various types. Most duties of this position will involve use of computers for long periods of time and require good mental concentration.

Find and Apply

Navigate to the full position description and apply now. Alternatively, search by the position ID (#291371) or title (User Experience Designer) in the Indiana University Jobs Portal.

Questions? Contact the head of DUX and this position’s supervisor, Jaci Wilkinson.

Gutenberg WordPress Editor Tutorial

What is Gutenberg?

Gutenberg is the new block-based blog post editor in WordPress. Elements including images, text, galleries, and columns are now encapsulated in blocks, which you can use to easily arrange elements up and down on the page.

What You See Is What You Get Editing (WYSIWYG)

Besides the ability to add new elements in blocks, the other key difference between Gutenberg and the classic editor is that Gutenberg is What You See Is What You Get Editing (pronounced “Wizzy-wig” – fun, right?). That means that while writing in the Gutenberg Editor you are able to see exactly what your post will look like once it is published.

Start Your Blog Post

  1. At the top of the editor, there will be a block that says “Add title”. This is the only block that cannot be adjusted around the page. Click the block and type in the title of your post.
  2. Immediately below the Title, you will see some text that says “Start writing or type / to start a block”. Hover over this text and you will see a number of options for choosing your block type. This is how you will add your first block of content.    

Add a Block

If it is your first block, you will already be prompted to select a type of block. If it’s not, you select the block you would like to add a new block before or after. Select the three vertical dot icon to see an options menu. Select either “Insert Before” or “Insert After”, depending on where you would like to place your next block.

There are several ways to select a type of block. If you want to simply add a paragraph, the simplest way to add a paragraph block is to just start typing your paragraphs.

Forward Slash Shortcut

By typing “/” into the content block, you will be prompted with a list of popular types of blocks. Select one from the list to start working in that type.

“+” Icon

If you click on the “+” Icon on the far left side of the block, then you will be prompted with a menu. At the top, you can search for a specific type of block. Below the search bar, you will see a group of most used blocks to choose from. Scroll down below the most used blocks and you will an accordion with all of the available types of blocks. You can click on an option through any of these means in order to begin working in your desired type of block.

Moving a Block Up or Down

If you would like to move a block up or down relative to other blocks, you may do so by clicking on the block you would like to move and then clicking the up or down arrow on the far left side.

Deleting a Block

To delete a block, highlight the blocks that you would like to delete and hit “backspace” on your keyboard.

Want to Learn More?

Visit WordPress’ Go Gutenberg site for a tour, FAQs, and explanations of all the different blocks.

Using IUCAT Folders Just Got Better

The DUX (Discovery and User Experience) department would like to share a new feature available to users: the ability to transfer their IUCAT folders to other IU library users. 

Here, we will briefly explain how to use IUCAT folders and describe how to use our new folder transfer feature. 

What even IS this?

In IUCATFolders let you organize groups of items owned by IU Libraries and refer back to them later.

To access your folders, sign in to IUCAT and select “Folders” under the green button on the top right of the IUCAT page.

gif showing the Hello, user dropdown in IUCAT and highlighting the folders option

When logged into IUCAT, you can use the Folders feature to do the following:  

  • Save items for use in later sessions 
  • Re-order references within folders 
  • Create multiple folders in which to store items 
  • Choose to share folders publicly 
  • Export references within folders as citations or to EndNote and RefWorks 

 You can learn to use IUCAT Folders to save and organize search results as well as these other features above. 

Remember that IUCAT folders can already be shared with any one at any time by changing the visibility through the folder edit feature and then sharing the URL. This allows people to view and cite items in the folder but not add or delete them.  

And I can do what?

Now, you can transfer ownership of one or all of your folders to another IU Libraries user. Then, new folder owners can modify the folders of library materials while also sharing it with other users. 

What can you use the new folder transfer feature for?

  • To share a list of course materials with a colleague who is teaching a new class.  
  • To share a folder of related resources on a specific topic of project with other professional staff or students. This might be a librarian collecting sources on a research project or a student group president that is graduating and sharing a reading list with the new president. 
  • To share whatever materials you store in folders if you leave IU. 

If you have any questions or comments about our IUCAT Folder Transfer feature, please email libweb @ indiana.edu.  

Improving Accessibility in Our Blogs

This is a collaborative post written by Jaci Wilkinson, Head, Discovery and User Experience (DUX), and Alexis Guilbault, the Web Content Assistant in DUX.

Accessibility is a critical component of equitable, usable web content creation. There are many steps people who manage websites, social media accounts, and blogs can take to structure content for the benefit of all readers. Creators need to ensure their content is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers that “speak” webpages and other online information to blind readers.

In late April 2019, the DUX department audited 47 posts from IU Libraries blogs and assessed the use of three key accessibility practices. This post highlight the results and explains these three practices:

  1. embedding videos with closed captioning,
  2. strategizing content organization with heading tags, and
  3. providing descriptive captions and/or alternative text for images.

As a result of this review, we’re rolling out definitive guidelines in these three areas that we ask blog creators to follow for content created in WordPress moving forward.

Videos and closed captioning

Closed captions provide text and additional interpretive information for viewers who are hearing impaired and are also helpful to viewers who do not speak English.

While only 6 of the 47 IU Libraries blog posts had videos, 2 of the 6 did not have closed captioning available. Embedded videos need closed captioning available in the video player.

How to make embedded videos accessible

First, only embed videos that have closed captioning available. Check if a video has closed captioning by checking the “CC” button in the video player. If you make your own video and upload it to YouTube (0r another service like Vimeo), be sure to add closed captions.

For now, we cannot auto-enable closed captioning on WordPress. However, if you upload your own video to YouTube, you can auto-enable closed captioning through the Video Manager.

Headings

Content organization is critical to any work on the web, and headings play a central role in how users with and without screen readers engage with our work. Skimming is made possible for all users when headings with heading tags are used. A heading tag is a small piece of HTML code that differentiates headings and sub-headings from the rest of your content and give your blog post structure.

Screen readers preview headings with heading tags at the start of each article, ignoring text that is bolded or a larger font size. Thus, with the use of heading tags, more users are able to preview content and skim sections.

For example, look at the structure of this post. It is made more readable by use of two heading sizes. Each of the three practices we’re highlighting in this post starts with an explanation section. Then, a smaller heading distinguishes the “How to” portion of each practice.

On IU Libraries blogs, only 6 of the 47 blogs used headings. Only 2 posts using heading tags, and the other 4 bolded the text to make it appear like a heading. Headings are important to insert as signposts for readers and should indicate what a paragraph or as section is about. As mentioned above, they also facilitate skimming, allowing a user to get to the content they are looking for as efficiently as possible.

How to insert heading tags

To insert heading tags, first select the text you want to make a heading. Then, click on the drop-down menu with “Paragraph,” and select the numerical heading tag you want to add. This will add the heading tags to your post. You can see them in the “Text” tab, next to “Visual” in the GIF below. For example, for the heading below, the code would read <h2> Hello world. </h2>.

GIF of process of adding heading tags. It begins with the user typing Hello world and selecting the text. It then shows the user selecting Heading 2 and the text gets bigger.

There are six sizes of heading tags, beginning with <h1>and ending with <h6>. H1 is usually reserved for blog titles. H2 tags are used to create sections within your blog post, and H3 tags allow for easier navigation within those sections. You use heading tags in numerical order. For example, you would use H4 for creating sub sections under a section that was headed with H3.

Alternative text and captions

Alt text, or alternative text, allows screen-reading tools to describe images for users with visual impairments. Web content creators must add descriptive, useful alt text when uploading images for blog posts. Descriptive captions can take the place of alt text. Images that are mostly text, like an infographic or a poem, should include a “text version” for screen readers within the body of the blog post.

30 out of the 47 IU Libraries blogs consulted (64%) had issues with image accessibility. Some posts did not have any descriptions of images for screen readers, while some had vague captions that did not accurately communicate what is pictured.

How to add alt text and captions

To add alternative text to images or GIFS, like the one included above, click on the media you have added to your post and select the pencil or “Edit” button. Here, you will be able to add alternative text and/or a caption.

Remember that captions and alt text should not repeat information directly from the text, but, instead, should describe what the image is and what the viewer is able to see. For example, let’s say we wrote a post about the legacy of the Bloomington-classic Breaking Away. We might include this image of the movie poster.

Breaking Away Movie Poster from 1979 courtesy IMDb. The poster depicts four young men sitting on a grassy hill with the quote ‘The movie that tells you exactly what you can do with your high school diploma’ above them in the sky.
Breaking Away Movie Poster, (1979), Courtesy IMDb.

This caption describes what the image is, a movie poster, while indicating it is for the movie we are writing about, the year it was made, and the source of the image; however, it doesn’t describe what is in the image itself. To make this a better “descriptive” caption, we could add this in the alt text: “Breaking Away Movie Poster from 1979 courtesy IMDb. The poster depicts four young men sitting on a grassy hill with the quote ‘The movie that tells you exactly what you can do with your high school diploma’ above them in the sky.” This caption describes what the image is and gives the reader a sense of what the poster looks like.

A note on WHO authors blog posts

Student work is critical to the services and resources we provide. A student worker primarily wrote this blog post! But unfortunately, our blog audit showed that many posts written by students or temporary employees were less accessible than other posts. Please educate all blog creators about how to create accessible content. (Hint: this post is a great way to do it!)  This is a skill they can tout in their next job interview.

Accessibility is usability

By ensuring embedded videos have closed captioning, organizing blog posts with headings, and providing alternative text or descriptive captions for images, we can make IU Libraries Blogs more usable for all viewers. At some point, the practices outlined here will likely be compiled into a larger accessibility policy or practices document that will cover more than just library blogs. If or when that happens, this post will be updated to provide links to any new documentation.

If you have questions about the methods featured here or want to learn about other ways to make your web content more accessible, email DUX department head, Jaci Wilkinson, at wilkinj @ iu . edu. She also welcomes your feedback about these guidelines.

 

The Faces of DUX Presents: Jaci Wilkinson

Greetings from DUX, where big changes have been afoot! (Or at hand… pick your extremity of choice. “Extremity” is going to be a theme we come back to in this post, so stay tuned.)

We’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our new department head, Jaci Wilkinson. Jaci (pronounced like “Jackie”) comes to us from the University of Montana, where she was the Web Services Librarian. Prior to her time in Missoula, she held a visiting position at her undergrad alma mater, Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Jaci received her MLS from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015. You may also have spotted her name in the Journal of Web Librarianship, where she serves as a book reviewer, or as a regular contributor to the LITA blog. And her latest publication is “Accessible, Dynamic Content Using Instagram,” which appeared in Information Technology & Libraries.

Jaci Wilkinson at the reference desk
Jaci Wilkinson

I spoke with Jaci about her move to Bloomington, and although we don’t have the mountains and wide open spaces of Montana, it’s pretty clear that she’s already discovering we have a lot to offer here in Indiana! She arrived in Bloomington about a month before her start date here in the Libraries, so she’s had some time to explore, and she’s made great use of that opportunity.

When I asked Jaci about her favorite thing about Bloomington so far, her face lit up and she exclaimed, “The food FOR SURE!” She’s been delighted to discover our many restaurants offering excellent Korean, Indian, sushi, and other multi-cultural cuisines, as well as the winter Farmer’s Market . As a practicing musician herself (she is a cellist), she’s also dived quickly into Bloomington’s music scene and has already attended several concerts. She is particularly impressed with the Bach Cantata Project, where they will perform a cantata, then present a lecture about that piece, and then perform the cantata again – allowing the audience to re-experience the piece armed with new knowledge about it. She’s also already attended film screenings at the IU Cinema as well as in the Libraries’ own Screening Room.

When I asked her what she misses about Montana, she mentioned that local shops and co-ops there carry shampoo and conditioner in bulk, and she hasn’t been able to find that in Bloomington – so if you know of someplace that offers this, let her know! She also talked about the people in and around Missoula, who are especially friendly and warm – a mix of outdoors people, park service employees, and people who work multiple odd jobs for part of the year so that they can devote themselves to doing what they really love the rest of the time, such as outdoor adventures. Jaci said she admires that spirit.

You’re wondering what I was foreshadowing when I mentioned “extremities” earlier (I know you were!). Well, Jaci is a runner – and not just any old runner. She participates in “ultras,” which is any running event longer than a marathon. This past October she ran a 100K (100 kilometers is 62.1371 miles, according to Google… if you started running from the Wells Library, that would take you about to Keystone at the Crossing on the north side of Indy).  That was “the Hootenanny” in Missoula; she loved the experience and plans to go back to Montana and do it again in order to remain a part of that community. Upcoming, she has a fifty-mile race and a 100K relay on her calendar.

Jaci Wilkinson crossing the finish line
You’d smile that big, too, if you’d just finished a 100K race!

Y’all might need to catch your breath a bit at the thought of running for 15 hours and 34 minutes, which was Jaci’s time in the Hootenanny. (And it’s Montana, so the course is not flat.) I know I’m feeling a little winded just typing this! She says that she isn’t interested in running as competition so much as she just enjoys it for her own wellness, and she is also interested in the science around health and fitness awareness.

I also asked Jaci about her hopes and fears around her new position here at IU. She said she is especially excited about being enveloped in the “well-developed systems and services” here; in her previous job she had to break a lot of new ground and start things from scratch, but here in the IU Libraries she sees a more mature UX-thinking mindset, and she is looking forward to building on that momentum. She seems pretty fearless to me, but when pressed, she said that her biggest fear as the incoming head of DUX is of not being an effective communicator (which to her means most especially being an effective listener).

Lastly, Jaci is a tea enthusiast, and has plans to set up a tea station in her office. She invites colleagues to stop by – the kettle will be hot!

(You might want to touch base with her first. Many of us have already laid siege to her calendar – so. many. meetings!)

 

Revisit past installments in The Faces of DUX to learn more about current and past members of the department. 

 

Understanding the 4 principles of accessibility

According to the CDC, 22% of adults in the United States are living with a disability. Therefore, it’s important that we ensure our web content is accessible and inclusive for everyone. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has developed a set of guidelines to set the foundation for accessible web content. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), these guidelines have 4 main principles which are Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR).

Understanding the 4 principles of accessibility

Text version

Need to know more? The WAI has an in depth reference on the 4 principles with success criteria and techniques.

Admit You are a Tourist

Over winter break I was staying in Lévis, Canada and desperately needed some food since my Airbnb had an overabundance of essential oils, but no actual food for human consumption. When I got to the nearest grocery store, and went to the front to check out, the cashier started speaking in French. This makes sense as French is the preferred language of Quebec. I, however, do not speak French, except to say the phrase, “hi, I do not speak French.” A long standing tradition on my ventures nationally and internationally is telling the least amount of people that I am a tourist.

What does any of this have to do with content inventories and audits? While I was running a content inventory on a website recently, I ran into a similar situation. I was lost but as per usual I did not want to admit to being lost. I found myself in a similar situation as the one I was in in that grocery store in Canada. I was a tourist in an environment that I did not speak the language or know my way around.

After reading through an article by Lisa Maria Martin, called What to Ask Before You Audit, I found that I was approaching the inventory incorrectly. I did not realize that I was actually running a content inventory, not an audit. Instead of beginning the auditing process through the lens of the website’s stakeholders, I was viewing it as a seemingly omniscient outsider. I was not a native of the environment that composed the content of this website, and instead of admitting to being an outsider, I came in expecting to understand the motivations behind the content on the website and the different reasons for why it might be there.

After reading through this article by Lisa Maria Martin, and talking through the content with a few people, I realized it was time to admit I was a tourist in someone else’s website. I read through Martin’s article and understood that I needed to reevaluate the way that I was approaching this inventory and then later on the audit. This article has helpful pointers on where to begin even if you are a seasoned auditor or someone that has never ran a content audit before. It explains the differences between a content audit and an inventory, which are actually two completely different terms. This article helps to figure out the “why” behind the reason for running content inventories and audits. Once you admit to being an outsider in an environment that you are unfamiliar with, you can then proceed with navigating more successfully through the content in ordered to get to the questions that you need to ask before beginning a content audit.

After figuring out why you are auditing a website, you can proceed to the next step in the process. This step considers what you are actually auditing. If you do not know what you are auditing or what the audit is going to be used for, this will not take you very far in an auditing process. The end goal is to figure out the “what” behind an audit. What is the purpose of this audit that you are working on? Sometimes it is helpful to write out some notes on the different sections you may want to include in your audit. Is it important that you go through every single page? Do you want to list out all of titles on the various website pages?

Asking questions about what content is important is… well, important. And it is paramount in any website evaluation to ask the stakeholders what they think, because they are the ones that are familiar with the website and its environment. Sometimes it is okay and even pertinent to ask questions when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. Being a tourist might actually be a positive label to have in certain instances.

Helpful videos on content audits: