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Event Recap – Up in the Cloud with Google Drive

Event Recap – Up in the Cloud with Google Drive

by Carol Abrams

Renée Zellweger’s famous line in the movie Jerry Maguire was “You had me at hello.” Google Drive had me at 15 gigabytes of free storage space.

Maryland’s chapter of the Special Libraries Association held a workshop on Google Drive, which this Virginian attended and is summarizing for you.

Anyone with a Google account can use Google Drive, and you can establish a free Google account with any e-mail address, regardless of whether it is gmail. You launch Google Drive from the “app” icon on the top right of any page in your Google account. The icon looks like a three by three box of small dots.

I back up my more important files by uploading them to Google Drive and storing them in the Cloud. Uploading files to Google Drive also is an alternative to e-mailing them to yourself when you want to share files between your home and work computers. You won’t need to carry your files on a flash drive either. You will be able to access your files anywhere you have an Internet connection. At the workshop, I learned that given Google Drive’s roomy storage capacity, I could store more there if I needed to open up space on my computer’s hard drive.

Once a file is in your Google Drive, you can share it by emailing it or by sharing a link to it Then you can give your recipients privileges ranging from purely viewing the document to editing it. If you choose to allow your recipients to edit it, then it becomes a collaboration tool like a wiki where each person’s comments are visible to all in real time.

You can create documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, surveys, and art in the Cloud using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms respectively. The first four are a lot like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Paint. The advantage is that you can create a Google Doc, Google Sheet, Google Slide, or Google Drawing wherever you have Wifi even if your laptop, tablet, or computer does not have the MicroSoft Office Suite. [You can even work offline through Google Chrome once you download a special app/extension].

Three tips from the workshop: as you work, your document automatically saves and syncs. There is no “save” button. You can save your work in a number of file formats including pdf, rich text format, or any of the Microsoft formats. You can use an application called Fogpad to encrypt your documents.

Using Google Forms has been called the hidden gem of Google Drive by Steve Dotto of Dotto Technology. It is easier to create a survey, poll, or quiz, or gather RSVPs than on the more comprehensive tool Survey Monkey. Once you are ready to share your form, you can email it to recipients, share it as a link, or even embed it on a webpage or in a blog post.

The workshop presenter was Dr. Sean Henry. He is the Library Webmaster and Coordinator of Library Instruction at Frostburg State University. You may know him as a Past President of the Maryland Chapter of the Special Libraries Association and its current webmaster. Dr. Henry has graciously shared his presentation with us.

Google Drive’s slogan “Keep everything / Share anything” sums up what you can do: store up to 15 GBs of any kind of data for free and share as much of it as you would like.


Carol Abrams is earning her MIS degree at the University of Tennessee.

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Event Recap – Career & Networking Happy Hour at Science Club

Event Recap – Career & Networking Happy Hour at Science Club

By Rick Kowalski

There was a crowd of about a dozen DC/SLA members at the Science Club on Thursday, November 13th for the Career & Networking Happy Hour organized by the Employment & Career Resources Committee. The Science Club was able to accommodate the gathering with a room on the second floor of the establishment (in which there was a huge wall hanging enumerating the popular inventors through history, naturally).

The event gave me a chance to catch up with a few familiar information professionals and to meet some new people. I enjoy learning about the day-to-day for other librarians at these events. We all do so many different things at the organizations at which we work, and we work on some interesting projects. I also bumped into a couple job seekers at the event and was able to provide a few tips on where to look and who to contact for job opportunities.

While talking to career committee member Dawn, she mentioned that requests for resume review usually peak around the end of Fall & Spring semesters as students graduate and start looking for work. Which brings me to an important point – any DC/SLA member can submit their resume for review by the Career Committee at any time. Those who wish to become resume reviewers can volunteer through that link as well.

DC/SLA job seekers can also take advantage of the Employment Portal and the mentoring program.

Laura Choyce, the committee chair, says that there are great ideas for future career-focused events, such as an interview coaching session and a hiring manager Q&A panel. Watch the list serve and the calendar for other upcoming career events.

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Event Recap: Open Data/Open Source: Promoting Social and Economic Good

Event Recap: Open Data/Open Source: Promoting Social and Economic Good

By Leia Dickerson and Marcy Carrel

The DC/SLA International Relations Committee (IRC) hosted an evening program on October 22h to discuss the changing roles of data and information in international settings. “Open Data/Open Source: Promoting Social and Economic Good” included speakers from a research services vendor and an international development organization.

The program began with networking and refreshments in the Washington, D.C. office of Drexel University. After the networking hour, attendees listened to presentations from Samir Goswami of LexisNexis and Stuart Ridgway of the International Trade Administration.

Samir Goswami is the Director of Government Professional Solutions at LexisNexis, where he manages renewal and growth of the Federal Government’s data integration business line and directs the development of a Rule of Law portfolio. During his talk, he reflected on the developments of and his experiences with data science and open data and the challenges they present. For example, Goswami discussed his time at Amnesty International USA and his involvement in organizing records of human rights abuses from Amnesty International’s Urgent Alert Network and finding a partner institution to digitize them. Following his talk, the audience engaged Goswami on the ethical issues raised by privacy concerns in opening data.

Following Goswami’s presentation, Stuart Ridgway spoke. Ridgway is a senior consultant with the International Trade Administration (ITA), a bureau within the Department of Commerce. During his talk, he gave a brief overview of ITA’s mission and how open data provides a link from U.S. businesses to overseas economies. The ITA’s Trade Developer Portal currently houses trade event schedules, trade leads, ITA office and center locations, market research, and trade news. Ridgway described how businesses and other stakeholders in both the U.S. and abroad can use the Portal and its data to build and develop trade relationships. Ridgway also discussed how he and his colleagues are involving different stakeholder groups in the Portal’s further development. He noted how information professionals are uniquely able to address issues in data organization and standardization, which is critical for the Portal’s success. At the end of his presentation, Ridgway answered questions about how he promotes ITA’s Portal. The event concluded discussion with both presenters and the audience on the ethical and policy challenges open data presents both developers and end users.

The DC/SLA International Relations Committee is grateful to the speakers Samir Goswami and Stuart Ridgway, and the venue hosts Trudi Hahn and Joshua Wilkins for making the event possible. Appreciation also goes to IRC committee co-chairs Leia Dickerson and Marcy Carrel; committee members Barbie Keiser, Victor Monti, and Lena Gomez; SLA President Chris Vestal; and the SLA Executive Committee for their support. The IRC is happy to bring 2014 to a close with this successful event.

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Event Recap: Following in the Footsteps of War

Event Recap: Following in the Footsteps of War

By Jill Lynch

On October 4, 2014, the DC/SLA Military Libraries Group traveled south to Fredericksburg, Virginia to hear excerpts from Charles A. Clark’s diary of the Battle of Second Fredericksburg.

Tom Glad, a librarian at DTIC has a personal connection to the diary of Charles Amory Clark, a Union soldier in the Civil War. Tom served as our guide on this 3 hour tour. He shared excerpts from the diary at various locations in Fredericksburg.

The tour started at 8:00AM at a parking lot in Downtown Fredericksburg, where for an hour we were offered coffee, donuts and networking. At 9:00AM nineteen of us boarded a trolley headed to our first stop.

Members on trolley

DC/SLA members board a trolley to the first stop, the Union Infantry Winter Camp at the Stafford Civil War Park.














The first stop took us to the Union Infantry Winter Camp at the Stafford Civil War Park, where we walked among ruins of tent sites and rifle pits. Although this winter camp was not actually where Charles Clark spent any nights, we were taken there to give us an idea of what kind of camp he would have been in. We were allowed about 30 minutes to walk through this camp, enjoy the scenery and take pictures.

The next stop took us to Chatham Manor, where President Abraham Lincoln had his review of the Army of the Potomac. According to Clark’s diary entry, there were 75,000 troops lined up on the field. Although time did not permit a visit inside the Manor, we were able to roam the gorgeous grounds.

Next on the tour was a quick stop next to Mary Washington University, to catch a glimpse of Sunken Road.

We all got back on the Trolley for our last tour stop at the old Salem Church. The original structure is still standing and in pretty good shape. We didn’t go inside, but open window shades afforded us the opportunity to take a peak instead.

The trolley dropped us off at the starting point and several members of the tour had lunch on the Rappahannock River at Brock’s Riverside Grill, while the rest of us went to an Oktoberfest Festival in downtown Fredericksburg.

Thanks to WT Cox Information Services for sponsoring this unique opportunity

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Event Recap – Happy Hour at Bar Louie

DC/SLA members and guests met up for some good conversation, drinks, and appetizers at Bar Louie in Chinatown on September 30th.









DC/SLA members and guests met up for some good conversation, drinks, and appetizers at Bar Louie in Chinatown on September 30th.

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