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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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DC/SLA Chapter eNotes – November 2014

DC/SLA Chapter eNotes – November 2014

Featured Article

Event Recaps

  • Event Recap: Following in the Footsteps of War by Jill Lynch – 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.
  • Event Recap: Open Data/Open Source: Promoting Social and Economic Good by Leia Dickerson and Marcy Carrel – The DC/SLA International Relations Committee hosted “Open Data/Open Source: Promoting Social and Economic Good,” which included speakers from a research services vendor and an international development organization.
  • 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 for the Career & Networking Happy Hour organized by the Employment & Career Resources Committee. The event gave me a chance to catch up with a few familiar information professionals and to meet some new people.

President’s Message

  • President’s Message – Letting Go by Chris Vestal, 2014 DC/SLA President – I wanted to share someone very special to me with you all this month. She came into my life 4 years ago almost to the day. My grandmother passed away just weeks before Thanksgiving a few years ago. When she died my grandmother didn’t have money and most of her possessions were things her family had given her. But she did have something really precious, her dog Bridget.

What’s Your Theme?

  • What’s Your Theme? – Pause by Elizabeth Lieutenant – As a student and new professional, I sometimes feel like my life never stops. Although it has certainly been helpful to prioritize my responsibilities, be selective in my pursuits, and always be mindful of goals, I’ve found the best way to achieve balance is by taking the time pause and engage in reflection.
  • What’s Your Theme – Make the connection by Rick Kowalski – My theme as a librarian is inspired in part by my recent obsession with modular synthesizers. At first glance, the synthesizer may look like a mad scientist project or a phone operator’s switchboard, with cables running every which way. I sometimes have to connect dozens of modules to get the desired outcome. And this is not so different from what I do in my professional work.


  • Call for proposals! SLA 2015 Contributed Papers – SLA is now accepting proposals for papers to be presented at the 2015 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO, to be held June 14-16 in Boston. Paper topics should be related to library science, information management, or other issues pertaining to client service, technology, or administration in special libraries. Paper topics should be relevant to the conference theme, “Be Revolutionary!”

Food for Thought

  • “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” Exhibition at the Library of Congress – Library of
  • Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong – Almost everything being said about publishing today is predicated on two facts that are dead wrong. The first is that publishers are somehow being hurt by ebook sales. The second is that independent bookstores are being crushed. – Hugh C. Howey
  • Picking The Locks: Redefining Copyright Law In The Digital Age – In his new book, Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free: Laws For The Internet Age, author Cory Doctorow argues that creators can make money even when their content is available online free of charge. For creators to succeed in the digital age, he says, copyright law must be reformed to reflect an age in which tech platforms control content. – NPR
  • Why Libraries [Still] Matter – Despite these appearance, libraries — real ones concerned with guarding and curating knowledge — remain crucial to free and open societies, and not simply because their traditional services within academia, from curation to preservation to research, remain in high demand by scholars. More broadly, they crucially complement the Web in its highest aspirations: to provide unfettered access to knowledge, and to link authors and readers in new ways. – Jonathan Zittrain
  • The Internet Archive, Trying to Encompass All Creation – Brewster Kahle is a librarian by training and temperament. In the mid-1990s, when many saw the nascent World Wide Web as a place to sell things, he saw it as data that cried out to be preserved and cataloged. The Internet Archive serves from two to three million visitors a day with such tools as the Wayback Machine, which provides snapshots of 435 billion Web pages saved over time. Mr. Kahle has even bigger dreams, however. – New York Times
  • NTIS Expands Free Access to Federal Technical Reports – The National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) is now offering the American public free public access to a searchable online database of approximately three million federal science and technology reports. – National Technical Information Service

Upcoming DC/SLA Events

Professional Development

​​Chapter eNotes is an e-newsletter from the DC/SLA Chapter.

  • DC/SLA Communications Secretary – Lisa Haakon Pogue; Rick Kowalski, Communications Secretary Elect
  • DC/SLA Communications Team – Carol Abrams, Suzanne Grubb, Rick Kowalski, Jill Lynch, Zeinab A. Mansour, Amber Paranick, Kerry Schork, Megan Smith, Malea Walker, Jan Zastrow

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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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President’s Message – Letting Go

President’s Message – Letting Go

By Chris Vestal, 2014 DC/SLA President

I wanted to share someone very special to me with you all this month. She came into my life 4 years ago almost to the day. My grandmother passed away just weeks before Thanksgiving a few years ago. When she died my grandmother didn’t have money and most of her possessions were things her family had given her. But she did have something really precious, her dog Bridget.

Bridget was a 15 year old miniature poodle that wasn’t so miniature (she weighed in at 30lbs instead of the normal 13lbs). My mother blamed it on my grandmother cooking pies or meals for Bridget and for feeding her buckets of KFC. I’d been considering adopting my first dog for a while and no one else wanted Bridget so I took her in.

I remember the first time I took her to the vet, when the nurse walked into the room and saw Bridget she just started laughing at how tiny her head and legs were compared to the rest of her body. Once when I had Bridget lying in bed with me she jumped off the bed for some water and I jolted awake, thinking a cannonball had just crashed through my floor. But over the years after sticking with a dog food only diet with a limit on daily treats and some occasional exercise I was able get Bridget down to her ideal breed’s weight.

At first even though she was my dog I still thought of Bridget as my grandmother’s dog. But one day when I was visiting my parents I was teasing their dog (a feisty Pomeranian) and their dog snarled at me. I’d never seen Bridget move so fast – she flew across the room and slapped the other dog down, trying to rescue me. That’s when I knew Bridget really was my dog.

Two years ago Bridget had a seizure in the middle of the night and I rushed her to the all night veterinary hospital. It was a traumatic experience for both of us because just after spending a few minutes with us the vet recommended euthanasia. I didn’t accept that so I took Bridget to another vet later in the day for a second opinion and the second vet said her kidneys did need some attention but there wasn’t any reason why Bridget wouldn’t have more years ahead. So we put her on seizure medications, special vitamins, and prescription dog food for her kidneys and Bridget got a lot better – back to her old self.

I learned a lot from Bridget. She taught me to be ready for the cute unexpected moments in life. Last year I put up my first Christmas tree and as soon as I put the tree skirt down and turned on the lights Bridget ran underneath the tree and sat posing for a photo. She taught me that being patient with others was almost always worth the investment. As an older dog it took her a while to learn simple commands like “fist bump”. But then one day during a checkup at the vet, the doctor made a fist to illustrate a point and Bridget unexpectedly reached out with her paw and fist bumped the doctor (it was totally worth the wait). She taught me not it’s not good to take yourself too seriously. Last Christmas I was visiting my parents and I dressed her up in a reindeer costume that even to a dog should have looked absurd. But she loved it and proudly paraded around the house with her doggy smile cracking up my nieces and nephews.

Last month she taught me the most important lesson though. She stopped eating her dog food one day, which wasn’t unusual since she liked to guilt me into giving her extra treats. But then the next day she not only was she avoiding her dog food, she was only nibbling her treats. From there she took a turn for the worst pretty fast – I’ll spare you the details, but after 3 days I decided to take her to the vet. As soon as they saw us they took Bridget into the back for blood work and the vet motioned me over. She told me that I was probably going to have to make a decision tonight, and I told her I wasn’t deciding anything until we got her tests back and I was holding Bridget.

So they brought her back out to me wrapped in a bath towel and I held her as we waited for what I knew wasn’t going to be good news. About an hour later the vet came back out and said Bridget was in kidney failure. She told me I could take Bridget home with me if I wanted, but that she only had another week or so, that she would suffer, and I ran the risk of Bridget dying alone. As I looked down at Bridget’s face I knew I couldn’t let her suffer and I wasn’t going to let her be alone when she passed – I knew I had to let go. So they took us into a back room and after I said goodbye they gave Bridget a shot and she died in my arms.

I was devastated. I didn’t talk to anyone for days.

Then a coworker called me and shared her story of having to let go of her dog and how in her mind by letting go we made the bravest decision. I know that not everyone has dealt with the loss of a pet, but the truth is we’ve all been in some hard situations in our lives: maybe it’s working in a hostile environment, or being in toxic relationship, or being in a field you just can’t stand. But many times we hold on to something because letting go can be scary or painful. Maybe whatever it is we’re holding onto is the only thing we’ve known and letting go means heading into the unknown. In her final lesson, Bridget taught me no matter how hard letting go is sometimes it’s the most courageous thing you can do for everyone involved.

Now just to be clear I’m not saying don’t try to takes steps to fix things, but eventually there comes a point where things can’t be repaired. I’m also not saying to throw your job to the wind, I think we should take steps to make letting go a much smoother process.

DC/SLA can actually help with both of those, at least in professional circumstances. With our focus on Community and Fundamentals, we can connect you to other colleagues that might have been in similar situations (like the coworker who called me) and help you build new skills so that when you do let go, you can move into something else.

Our Employment and Career Resources Committee chaired by Laura Choyce, provides a mentoring and resume and review service for DC/SLA members. They also manage our Employment Portal at http://dc.sla.org/employment-portal/ .

The portal contains advice, links to job postings, links to skill development resources and more. If you’re interested in volunteering on this committee or learning more about their services please email  employment@dc.sla.org

As I mentioned last month we’ve created a Social Media Directory for chapter members. You can use this tool to find contact information and social media accounts for members and reach out to colleagues who might be going through something similar or who might be able to help give you advice on how to build skills to move into a new position. You can browse the Social Media Directory at http://dc.sla.org/get-involved/dcsla-socialmedia-directory/#cn-top

I’d like to encourage you all to add your own information to the Social Media Directory to make it easier for your fellow members to reach out to you. You can fill out this form to have your information added: http://dc.sla.org/get-involved/dcsla-socialmedia-directory-add-entry/

Our President-Elect Deena Adelman and her Program Planning Committee have done a fantastic job of planning events for us all year long.

We still have another major upcoming networking event this year – our Holiday Party and Annual Meeting. If you want to network in your local Community this is the event you won’t want to miss. It’s on December 9th at the National Press Club from 6-9pm. You’ll have plenty of time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones ,as well as hear the state of DC/SLA, see our award winners for the year, and get a sneak peak at what’s in store for the chapter in 2015 during its 75th Anniversary Jubilee. Register for this event today at http://dc.sla.org/events/?ee=306

Our Military Libraries Group is hard at working putting together a full day of programming on December 11 from 9-4pm with their Military Reference & Research: Sources and Resources program. Register for this event at http://dc.sla.org/events/?ee=288

As always we have two more installments in our What’s Your Theme blog series.

DC/SLA’s 2015 Communications Secretary Rick Kowalski writes about his theme Make the Connection. You can read Rick’s post at http://dc.sla.org/2014/11/16/whats-your-theme-make-the-connection/.

Elizabeth Lieutenant, DC/SLA’s 2014 Catherine A. Jones Memorial Scholarship winner writes about her theme, Pause. You can read Elizabeth’s post at http://dc.sla.org/2014/11/16/whats-your-theme-pause/.

You can read all the posts in our What’s Your Theme series at http://dc.sla.org/category/whats-your-theme/ .

If you’re interested in writing about your own theme for the series please feel free to contact me.

So don’t let yourself feel trapped. It doesn’t make sense to let yourself (or others) suffer because letting go is hard. Everything has a time and place to end. The brave thing is to recognize it and not to cling tighter but to actually let go.

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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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