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Wayne State University

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May 5 / Christine Illichmann

Dr. Kafi Kumasi Presents 2017 Gryphon Lecture

On April 28, SLIS faculty member Dr. Kafi Kumasi delivered the 2017 Gryphon Lecture at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. Her lecture, entitled “Check the Rhyme: Harnessing Hip Hop’s Enduring Literacies with Teens Through Libraries”, focused on “…the enduring literacies of Hip Hop that teachers and librarians can use to honor students’  knowledge and social justice concerns in the learning process.” (

The Gryphon Lecture is presented each Spring at the iSchool at Illinois and is sponsored by the school’s Center for Children’s Books. The lecture series features leading scholars in the field of youth and literature, media, and culture.

Dr. Kumasi’s lecture can be watched in its entirety by clicking the image below or by clicking here.

Dr. Kumasi is a research fellow at the iSchool at Illinois for the 2016-2018 academic years. At the conclusion of her fellowship, she will return to the School of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University where she teaches courses related to school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods.

More information on the Gryphon Lecture:

Gryphon Lecture Announcement Featuring Dr. Kumasi:

Screenshot from original video by the iSchool at the University of Illinois.

May 4 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

By Alexandrea Penn, MLIS student

For my Alternate Spring Break project, I went to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to work on the Condolence Mail Project. The title Condolence Mail Project implies that it is a collection of the letters, cards, and other items received after the death of President Kennedy; however, the collection also includes letters that are unrelated to his death, birthday cards for John Jr. and Caroline, Valentine’s Day cards, St. Patrick’s Day cards, Christmas cards and other items.

After the death of Kennedy, millions of letters poured in. Letters continued to poor in for months afterwards. In January of 1964, Jackie Kennedy made a TV announcement, with Bobby and Teddy Kennedy, regarding the letters. She announced that all letters would be responded to. The link to the video is below.

Within the video, Mrs. Kennedy announces that all letters will be saved and housed at the library being built in her husband’s honor in Boston. She goes on to promise that all the items will be kept at the Kennedy Library as a reminder to future generations of how much her husband meant, and great sadness his death created.

Unfortunately, sometime in the 1970s the collection was sampled. Either by random sampling, or by looking through the entire collection and then determining what was going to be of value in the future. As a result of their sampling efforts, 90% of the original collection was gotten rid of. No record remains as to what the sampling plan was so there is no ability for the current archives staff to determine what was saved and what was not.

By removing random items from the collection, it created an additional strain on not only the processing staff but also the reference staff. What do you do if you no longer have a certain item and a patron knows their family sent in a letter? Further, how do you explain that despite Mrs. Kennedy’s assurances that every item would be kept, every item was not in fact kept?

Overall, the project involved processing, rehousing and a lot of sorting and resorting. We removed letters from storage size boxes to folders arranged in alphabetical order placed in manuscript boxes. The process looked like the two images to the left.

It was a large effort to sort so many letters. I enjoyed being able to read them. As Mrs. Kennedy said, they are a great representation of the love that the country felt for President Kennedy and do a wonderful job of showing that love, even though it is decades afterwards.

Working at the Kennedy Library for the week was a fantastic opportunity. I was able to work with professional archivists on a project that is both interesting and important to American history. As a graduate student in both the MLIS program and the History program, I was taking classroom archival work and my history knowledge to work on a project. Being able to contribute something to a large and prestigious institution as the Kennedy Library helped me as a student realize anything.

May 2 / Christine Illichmann

Building the ship while sailing it: Evolving workflows at WSUL Digital Collections

by Lori Eaton, NDSA Communications Officer

From images of the first human-to-human heart transplant performed in the United States to photographs taken for the Detroit News between 1860 and 1980, the Wayne State University Libraries Digital Collections is a treasure trove of digital images, texts, and audio-visual materials. At present the 47,000 items in the collection amount to about three terabytes of data, but Graham Hukill, Cole Hudson, Amelia Mowry and others working in concert with staff at the Walter P. Reuther Library and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) expect that to grow to twenty terabytes in the near future.

As the WSUL Digital Collections team anticipates ingesting new digital files from both the Reuther Library and the DPLA, they are looking for new ways to better manage the process and to meet the standards required of a trustworthy digital repository. Not satisfied with the existing solutions, Hukill and company have been testing new workflows and processes. He described where the team began and where they are headed in a candid presentation to the student chapter of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance at WSU School of Library and Information Science on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

In the presentation, Hukill outlined the multistep process required to move an object described in ArchiveSpace through digitization, file preservation, translation to searchable formats, and finally into a user-friendly interface. The team has struggled with how to define content models for different kinds of digital files and with how to represent the relationships between digital files and collections to end users.

For a more complete picture of the processes the team explored, the problems they’ve encountered and the progress they’ve made, please view the full presentation at:

Learn more about the Wayne State Chapter of NDSA at

May 1 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break – At the Benson Ford Research Center

By Laura Kennedy, MLIS student

SLIS student Laura Kennedy (right)

I had the opportunity to join three other students at the Benson Ford Research Center at the Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan over spring break this year. Our assignment was to do preliminary processing of a collection they have had since 2009 and have not had time to process yet. The collection consists of over 200 boxes of material from the Watts-Campbell Company in Newark, New Jersey. Watts-Campbell was established in the mid-1800s and was in business until the early 2000s. In the early days of the company they made the large steam engines necessary to run many factories at the time. Later, once steam gave way to other technologies, they became a job shop and provided repair and installation services. Our job at the Henry Ford involved going through the company’s records, including incoming and outgoing correspondence, invoices, ledgers, and other business records. It was dirty work, but rewarding in so many ways. We saw correspondence from Thomas Edison and his company, as well as some very interesting letterhead. While were unable to process all the boxes of the collection, we were able to put a dent in it and, hopefully, helped the Henry Ford staff move a step closer to having the whole collection processed.

In addition to the work we did at the Benson Ford Research Center, other highlights included getting to tour the stacks (including seeing Henry Ford’s original driver’s license), seeing the paper and textile conservation labs, and getting to tour the museum during breaks.



Apr 30 / Christine Illichmann

“A Library and Information Science Show and Tell” Recording Now Available!

If you missed the 2017 Career Fair presentation panel, entitled “A Library and Information Science Show and Tell,” it’s now available to view on the Career Services webpage.

The panel of four outstanding library professionals shared their current projects, tips for job seekers, and ideas for professional development.

This two-hour video offers lots of great information that you can use whether you’re a student or an alum! You can view the video here. It’s a large file and may take a moment to load – but it’s worth the wait!

Apr 26 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library

By Natalie Piernak, MLIS Student

Though staying close to home for Alternative Spring Break, I had the chance to learn about the National Archives and Records Administration network by interning at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor. Many of my classmates traveled much farther than I, but the snow gave me no less trouble on my first day. A normal 45 minute commute turned into a snowy nightmare! Luckily, this is spring in Michigan so the weather the rest of the week was fairly mild and sunny…until Friday afternoon when it proceeded to think it was winter again.

Our gracious host, archivist Stacey Davis, gave us the chance to help process a variety of collections during the week which let me see first hand the damage rubber bands, staples, and newspaper can do in 40 years. Among those collections was bulk mail addressed to President Ford in opposition to the Nixon pardon, letters to Mrs. Ford supporting her comments to personal questions on 60 Minutes and white house congressional papers. A highlight for me was coming across a letter addressed to Mrs. Ford from Norman Lear, producer of several TV shows of the era including All in the Family. Though familiar with his shows, I did not recognize Mr. Lear’s name. Stacey peeked over my shoulder at exactly the right time to notice it!

Mrs. Ford had created some controversy speaking out on what she might hypothetically do if her teenage daughter had a premarital affair… keep a dialog open and counsel her through it. Most of the letters my fellow interns and I came across were pro. Yet, the occasional con mixed in our bunches seemed to be more upset not on Mrs. Ford’s approach to the possible scenario, but that she said it publicly. The library already has a disapproving letter on display from the real Maria Von Trap. Hopefully, Mr. Lear’s letter can join it as a contrasting view of the time advocating for more openness about real issues in families.

Throughout the week the rest of the archivists were kind enough to share with us about their specialties such as: AV, reference and declassification. A common thread for most of them was that they learned the collection overtime and were able to learn their specialties through the archivists before them. They were very encouraging to us and I appreciate them sharing their stories! Overall, it was a great week and I hope to participate in Alternative Spring Break again!

Natalie Piernak
Social Media Manager/Webmaster
Society of American Archivists- WSU Chapter

Apr 25 / Matthew Fredericks

Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Call for Applications – Deadline May 15

By LaTeesa James, Diversity Graduate Student Assistant

Kim Kelly (WSU MLIS Alum), LaTeesa James (WSU MLIS student), Dr. Sandra Yee (WSU Dean of Libraries), and Tracy Walker (WSU MLIS student)

Hello! My name is LaTeesa James and I am the Diversity Graduate Student Assistant at Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science. I wanted to encourage you to apply for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) Scholarship (see below), which is offered through the Association of Research Libraries. This scholarship provides underrepresented Library and Information Science students with great opportunities; I know because I am an IRDW Scholar.

I applied for the scholarship as soon as I received my acceptance letter to the MLIS program at WSU. I thought that it would be a great funding opportunity, but it turned out to be so much more than that. Yes, the $2500 stipend for 4 semesters has been incredibly helpful…but I have gained so much more out of the experience. As a scholar, I was given the opportunity to attend the Leadership Conference that takes place during the ALA Midwinter Conference. This allowed me to be able to speak one-on-one with research library directors from all over the country. I was able to attend a site visit to Michigan State University (an ARL library), which also put me in contact with research librarians (some of whom I will be interviewing with for a position in the near future). In addition, after writing a short proposal, I was allotted $2500 to attend a workshop that would further equip me with knowledge in the area of librarianship that I am interested in. Finally, I was assigned a mentor who is practicing librarianship in the area of my interest.

To say the least, this scholarship has added invaluable richness to my time as a MLIS student. I highly recommend that you apply if you are interested in working in a research library after attaining your MLIS. You will find it to be a priceless experience.

If you have questions about the scholarship application process, or would like assistance with writing your personal statement, please let me know. I would be happy to assist you!


LaTeesa James

Diversity & Outreach Graduate Student Assistant

Wayne State University

School of Library Information Science


Phone: (313) 577-1825



Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce Call for Applications

Deadline May 15


by Mark A. Puente  |  202-296-2296  |  |  on April 3, 2017
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is accepting applications for the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW), a program designed to recruit master of library and information science (MLIS) students from traditionally underrepresented ethnic and racial minority groups into careers in research libraries and archives. The IRDW includes:

  • A stipend of up to $10,000 over two years in support of MLIS education
  • Leadership and career development training
  • A site visit to an ARL member library
  • Financial support for skills development
  • A formal mentorship program

The IRDW is funded by ARL member libraries. This program reflects the commitment of ARL members to create a diverse research library workforce that will better reflect the changing demographics of higher education and society and will advance our goals of creating more inclusive, equitable, and just organizations.

Program Goal and Objectives

The ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce seeks to:

  • Attract MLIS students from underrepresented groups to careers in research libraries and archives
  • Strengthen participants’ leadership and job searching skills via a Leadership Symposium held during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting
  • Develop a network of peers and mentors who will guide and nurture the career development of the participants

Applicant Criteria

Successful applicants will meet the following criteria:

  • Identify as an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority, based on the categories outlined by the US Census Bureau or Statistics Canada as well as Native, Aboriginal, and Indigenous classifications
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico
  • Be accepted into an ALA-accredited MLIS program
  • Have a strong interest in pursuing a career in a research library or archive, especially one that is a member of the Association of Research Libraries

To Apply

All applicants are required to submit the following materials by 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on Monday, May 15, 2017:

  • Online application form
  • Résumé
  • Essay (400 words maximum) describing what attracts you to a career in a research library or archive
  • Unofficial undergraduate school transcripts, including your last academic semester completed
  • Unofficial graduate school transcripts, including your last academic semester completed OR official letter of acceptance into a graduate-level program in library and information science
  • Two letters of recommendation (See application requirements for details.)

For more information about the program and the application process, visit the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce (IRDW) website.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 124 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarl

Apr 24 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

By Veronica Johnson, MLIS Student

Veronica Johnson, MLIS Student

During Alternative Spring Break, which took place March 13-17, I completed a weeklong internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in their Archives Center in Washington, D.C.

I was assigned to the project “Organize It and Link It: Sharing Digital Content Using Archivists’ Toolkit” in which I helped to provide more access to the archive’s digital content through using the archival software Archivists’ Toolkit (AT). I was exposed to and gained hands-on experience with several new systems including AT, DAMS, MARC, and Adobe Bridge. I worked with archivists Alison Oswald and Kay Peterson, who served as my hosts/supervisors during the internship.

After learning how to use the systems from Kay, I was responsible for adding scanned images to a number of the museum’s online collections which are located on the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives website. Some of the online collections did not have images added to its online finding aids, so I used AT to find the collection, then went into Bridge to find the collection’s images in order to upload them to the collection as a slideshow. At the end of the week, I had added hundreds of images to over 30 collections.

In addition to working on the digital collections, I also got the opportunity to help set up a small exhibit for an event which took place at the museum called “Innovative Lives: A Dialogue on Healthcare Innovation. This event was a part of Women’s History Month and it highlighted female inventors in the healthcare field. The exhibit I helped Alison set up included healthcare inventions from women around the world and the exhibit was displayed during the event for people to look at.

On top of my work responsibilities, I also got the chance to tour the museum and check out some of its exhibits including the First Ladies, American Stories and The Star-Spangled Banner: The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem, all of which were amazing. The last day of my internship was a treat as well because I got to witness a performance by the Spelman College Glee Club at the museum.

This was definitely a life-changing experience that I will never forget and I was so fortunate to work at such a prestigious and world renowned institution as the Smithsonian. As an incoming MLIS student, I had no idea I would have an opportunity to intern at the Smithsonian, which is a place I have always aspired to work for. Adding this accomplishment to my resume will only enhance my professional opportunities as a future archivist. I look forward to using the skills I learned at the museum in the institution that I will eventually work for after graduating from Wayne State, which is just a month away. I made some great connections with staff at the Smithsonian which I plan to use while exploring the job market.

Apr 21 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio

By Connie Harrison, MLIS Student

My Alternate Spring Break with OCLC was an exclusive opportunity to engage with the people and the work of the Metadata Quality Control team that serves Worldcat and all its incumbent products and services. I had the delight to team with Laura Ramsey who is the Section Manager. Laura was so very generous and hospitable to me as were her team members.

As an ASB intern, our hosts graciously toured us through the entire Kilgour Building which is on the OCLC campus in Dublin, Ohio. I settled in a cubicle space with a refreshing view of the man-made lake and now dormant vegetable garden seen below.

The Metadata Quality Control team members provided an overview of each area of their specialization and oriented me around sample catalog records which touched just a tiny fraction of the +390 million bibliographic records they maintain in Worldcat.

The team underwent year-long training and testing to apply the new RDA (Resource Description Access) catalog standard. And they are busy hybridizing MARC records using AACR2 rules with RDA rules, by way of macros. Additionally, everyone on the team is responsible for record maintenance that present as exception records that don’t pass validation after the new rules are applied.

I learned from each of the 5 Quality Control members in a specific area of specialization pertaining to the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). Those included half day long sessions on MARC, BIBCO (monograph), CONSER (serials), NACO (name authority), and SACO (subject authority). As a result, I was able to take home a new appreciation for RDA and the massive responsibility it takes to upgrade from one standard to the new standard. I was also fortunate to get a lesson on the documentation contained in Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) which is a suite that I will use as a primary resource for cataloging questions in the future. And conforming the training to my specific area of interest, I received a session on serials record management to punctuate the week. It was a fantastic learning experience about the campus, the people, the work, and the culture of OCLC in Library & Information Science.

Apr 20 / Matthew Fredericks

SLIS Alternative Spring Break – More Details at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio

By Margie Wade, MLIS student

During spring break, I participated in WSU’s School of Library and Information Science Alternative Spring Break program and was given the opportunity to work for the week at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio. While I was there I met for sessions with metadata quality control team members and learned about the finer points of bibliographic record management and how they improve hundreds of thousands of records a day. Using Connextion, OCLC experts walked me through the processing of requests like record corrections dealing with name authority issues and the merging of duplicate records. I was also shown how they utilize quality control macros to correct patterns in records and to create hybrid MARC/RDA records. Resources were shared with me that included a guide to documentation and training materials broken down by topic for future cataloging reference.

I also received direct instruction from the two OCLC librarians who manage the OCLC Library, Archive & Museum. During an in-depth tour of CONTENTdm I was shown controls for customizing the formatting of the web page, how to control collections that are internal only or public, and I was guided through the details of setting up collections with records including objects and compound objects. They walked me through the workflow for managing their digital collections giving me valuable insight about processing digital collections which included cataloging in WorldCat, digitizing & preparing content for ingest into CONTENTdm and the actual ingest for both batch and single records—with the final test being whether the items were discoverable in WorldShare.

Finally, I was given a demonstration of data sync (formerly known as batch load) which allows libraries who join to have their collection of catalog records transferred, examined for matching and then processed for viewing in WorldCat. Through a dashboard OCLC staff can view incoming projects and view reports of non-matching records that show what field numbers contain problems to resolve things like records that are too sparse, have no dates or other issues.

In addition to the knowledge I gained, I met and got to spend time with three other students in the SLIS program which was a great bonus!

From the warm email welcome to the afternoon of my departure, the program director Nancy Lensenmayer was a gracious hostess. She is truly gifted in creating positive and meaningful experiences. The managers and team members were very generous with their time fitting training sessions, lunch meetings and tours into their busy schedules. Overall the week was fantastic and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to go to OCLC!