Discussions focused on issues such as food policy and shrinking federal grants, and librarians from 30 institutions across the country shared case studies and best practices. User perspective was a focus throughout. In faculty and doctoral student panels, they shared how they used the library collections and services to support their research.
Representing Harvard, Tim Mahoney, Christine Riggle and Rachel Wise of KLS outlined their best practices for supporting researchers who use special collections. Since the team is very familiar with the material, they are able to quickly redirect researchers if they face a dead end.
Barbara Esty and Kevin Garewal presented “Data Mining,” on their experience gathering high-volume, high-frequency data legally, ethically and efficiently from the web. “The questions we addressed were messy and unpredictable,” said Esty. “We are figuring out the role of the library in all of this.”
“Don’t let a lack of programming skills stop you,” said Barbara, after recounting that they crashed the HBS file server and killed a hard drive. “Be confident—this is not easy for anyone.”