The University Libraries’ Employee of the Month award is intended to recognize the special effort of faculty, staff, or student employees. The award is granted at the discretion of the Associate Director for Administration. To nominate an employee, please email a letter of support to Leslie J. Reynolds.
Jane Zumwalt, Cynthia Hardey, and Crystal Falconer performed exceptional work on the Colorado Coal Project Collection. The collection documents the history of coal mining in the West, especially Colorado, and covers topics ranging from immigration and social life to labor conditions and strikes.
While the bulk of the collection is in the form of images, there are also over eighty video interviews with retired miners and nearly as many transcripts. These materials were truly challenging to catalog. The relationships between interviews, video files, and transcripts were rarely one-to-one. Some videos has no transcript, some transcripts had no corresponding video, and many videos contained whole or partial interviews with more than one person.
Jane, Cyndie, and Crystal tackled these issues with aplomb, working together to untangle the complicated interrelations while creating their own metadata records. In addition, they did substantial research on their own in order to standardize terminology, names, locations, spellings, and even identities. They created documentation which each cataloger consulted and updated regularly to track individual progress, to propagate new or altered information throughout related records, and to prevent stepping on each other’s toes. They read and analyzed transcripts that often neared (and sometimes exceeded) 100 pages, often changing topics from one paragraph to the next, and composed concise abstracts to give users a solid idea of what was contained in a very long text document.
Ron McMahan, the primary material donor and a close collaborator on the project, singled the three of them out for their outstanding work on the abstracts in particular. Forty years after gathering much of the material, he knows it inside and out, and was thoroughly impressed with their efforts to disentangle and interrelate the material, as well as their ability to condense long, sometimes rambling interviews into a couple hundred words.
All of this took place under a stringent time constraint, as they were working on these materials with a strict deadline so that we could publish the collection well ahead of the centenary of the Ludlow Massacre on 20 April. The work was completed ahead of schedule, giving us plenty of time to check for and correct problems, add material, and make the collection as good as possible before publication.
For these phenomenal efforts, Jane, Cyndie, and Crystal are well deserving of the Employee of the Month award.
June 2014 Employees of the Month:
Digital Humanities Task Force:
Leo Arellano, Michael Dulock, Eric Harbeson, Erika Klein, Holley Long, Jacie Moriyama (formerly OIT), Viktoriya Oliynyk (OIT), Elaine Paul (Art & Art History), Esta Tovstiadi, Alex Watkins
Submitted by Thea Lindquist (Chair of the Digital Humanities Task Force)
In December 2013, members of the Digital Humanities Task Force successfully completed a herculean undertaking - to investigate and report on Digital Humanities activities and needs on campus and formulate recommendations for how these might be supported by the Libraries and other campus partners. Among their activities were an investigation of library-associated Digital Humanities initiatives at other institutions, environmental scan of campus facilities and services, campus-wide survey (345 responses!), in-depth interviews with 20 faculty, graduate students and other campus researchers, and the Digital Humanities symposium and workshop held in August 2013 with the support of the Libraries, CHA, ATLAS, OIT and several academic departments on campus. The members of the task force accomplished this work with a great amount of dedication and good humor, for which we are extremely happy to nominate them. Digital scholars on campus are grateful for your efforts as are your colleagues in the Libraries!
During the past two years Naomi has overcome significant obstacles to keep the Acquisitions Unit (the “Unit”) functioning and flourishing. In 2012, Naomi was asked to take over the day-to-day supervision of the Acquisitions Unit during the six-month sabbatical of the Unit’s faculty director, Charlene Kellsey. During that six-month period, Naomi assumed many of Charlene’s daily duties while continuing to perform her own job obligations as manager of the Order Fulfillment Team. What complicated the task at hand was the extraordinary turnover Acquisitions encountered during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. In addition to the absence of the Unit’s faculty director, several employees left the Unit or changed positions. First, the manager of the Monographic Ordering Team left to take a position in another department. This individual had been a strong member of Acquisitions for the better part of a decade. Naomi was responsible for training the new manager of the Monographic Ordering Team so that the position was functioning prior to the start of the fall semester.
The person that became the new Monographic Ordering Team manager came from Naomi’s Order Fulfillment Team. Another member of the Order Fulfillment Team, an exceptional employee who had been with Acquisitions for over ten years, left to pursue further education. Consequently, Naomi had to hire and train two new members of the Order Fulfillment Team. In summary, Naomi was responsible for training three new hires during the fall semester while assuming the responsibilities of the faculty head. This all occurred during the time when the University of Colorado Libraries made the switch from Millennium to Sierra.
It should be noted that the Board of Regents did not vote to delay the start of the fall semester in order to give Acquisitions time to get the new staff trained. School started on time in August. Naomi was responsible for making sure Acquisitions was ready to perform as usual at the start of the new academic year.
The 2013-2014 fiscal year has brought additional challenges to the Unit. Soon after the academic year began in the fall, N151, the home of Acquisitions, incurred water damage due to the “500 year” floods that affected much of the state. As a result of the damage, new homes for the Unit’s staff had to be found. Naomi was integral in coordinating the relocation of the staff to ensure the Unit continued to function with minimal interruption.
Attrition has continued to affect the Acquisitions Unit. Soon after the staff was relocated, the Unit’s faculty director, Charlene Kellsey, retired. Once again, Naomi has assumed many of Charlene’s daily duties while continuing to perform her own job obligations as manager of the Order Fulfillment Team. Naomi has performed at the highest level and has dealt with all of the vocational challenges in the most efficient manner.