Virginia Mattingly's blog

SLA, Part 3: Onions and Embassies


Despite the late night, I awoke rather refreshed and eager to embark on yet another busy day. For the morning’s first session, I dropped in briefly on “Globalization: Emerging Opportunities for the Library Profession” then moved on to “Reaching Next-Gen Users with Unified Discovery Services”. The latter provided a demonstration of a product employed by Dartmouth’s library to aggregate its entire collection within one integrated search box. While it was interesting, it didn’t fit my needs so I logged into Twitter and searched #sla2009. I noticed several people were commenting on “The Role of Social Networking Sites in Research”, so I packed my bags and headed to the other wing. By the time I arrived, it was apparent that others had followed the tweets because there was standing room only and very little of that.

Meg Smith, a researcher for The Washington Post’s Metro section, provided numerous examples of how she has mined social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Wikipedia and about a dozen others to cull information for her newspaper’s reports and also to assist local law enforcement. She observed that because of the growing popularity of the aforementioned sites and their ability to limit searches by geographic region that local networks, like Louisville Mojo were waning. She also declared this the “Golden Age of Twitter” because users’ tweets still remain publicly accessible.

Next, I attended the Information Technology Division Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony. Unlike Saturday’s meeting, this was open to the entire group. We viewed two video entries for the centennial contest and heard an excerpt from the Student Award winner Stephanie Buck’s paper, “Emerging Technologies: Libraries in the Cloud”. It was announced to much applause that SLA has chosen Drupal for its content management system, which will be available to all chapters and divisions. This is the same CMS that the law school employs.

Following the meeting, I joined a packed house for “Onion Editor Calls for an End to Reading”. Scott Dikkers, editor and founder, provided much needed comic relief. His entire presentation was a parody replete with videos, newspaper archives, and statistics demonstrating why the Onion is America's finest news source. During the Q/A session, someone asked, “of all the vegetables, why did you choose an onion?” Scott replied that it’s a metaphor for peeling the layers of a juicy news story. Another asked if he was threatened by John Stewart to which he replied, “While they make fun of real news, we make up the news. We have a niche”. Evidently it takes one week from conception to publication for each feature, as opposed to 18 hours for The Daily Show.

That evening, I joined Ruth Kneale and Dick Kaser, editor of Computers in Libraries at the Technical Support Roundtable. We discussed cloud computing, Vista, open-source solutions and browser issues. We were later joined by Kathleen Robertson, another astronomy colleague from Hawaii. Shortly after, I reported to duty at The Embassy Ball, an annual dance party hosted by the IT and Leadership and Management Divisions.

Social networking and 
research session
Aloha Librarians
Flags of SLA membership
The Embassy Ball

SLA, Part 2: You Don't Look Like a Librarian


Monday morning began with a 7 AM SLA Legal Division Business Meeting generously sponsored by BNA. I learned that BNA employs 150 reporters to cover the Supreme Court and was informed of its "economic stimulus package", which includes additional tools for SLA members. Contance Ard, formerly of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, announced a great slate of programs for the 2010 conference. While there, I also networked with other law librarians from Toronto, NYC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Indiana and was asked to a be a contributor to the legal division's wiki.

Following the breakfast meeting, I attended both a session by Jay Liebowitz, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, about the use of mapping tools to analyze the relationships within an organization and the latter portion of the Radical Reference session where I learned about a volunteer army of social activists who lend their research skills to providing answers to those who question authority.

The next item on the busy agenda was a networking luncheon where I joined a table of LIS students and hipsters with tatoos and pink hair from around the country. I chatted with a fellow genXer and art librarian about Mac Tools and our local roller derby chapters. After that, I toured the vendor expo where I tested my global business knowledge at The Economist's booth, gathered maps at NOAA and schwag from other vendors to share with my colleagues in the law library. The highlight was a book signing with my friend, Ruth Kneale, a systems librarian who just published You Don't Look Like a Librarian.

Later that afternoon, I delivered a projector to the "Librarian 1.0 to 2.0: The Future of Managing Content" session. Upon arrival, I noticed that the presenter's Macbook had a USB connection rather than a serial port connection and offered several alternate options for connectivity, to which her co-presenter declared me "brilliant". I reflected on his comment later that evening and delighted in the fact that amid fellow librarians and information professionals, my gender is not perceived as a handicap as it sometimes is among the male-dominated field of information technology.

I observed that the conference attendance was distributed equally among the genders and comprised of roughly 50% baby boomers, 25% genX/genY, and 25% from the silent generation. It is this diversity that continues to inspire and attract me to the profession.

The night concluded with a fabulous seafood dinner at Johnny's Half Shell followed by the IT Division's Sci-Fi Night, where I met two local science fiction authors and picked up a couple of copies from Jack Campbell's "Lost Fleet" series.

Ruth Kneale
Expo Vendor
President Obama

SLA, Part 1: Spies, Beehives and a 4-Star General


On Saturday, I arrived in Washington, DC for the annual Special Libraries Association's conference. The first order of business after having checked into the hotel was attending the Information Technology Division's board meeting. While there, I reunited with an "old" friend from Hawaii, reacquainted myself with colleagues I met at the SLA Leadership Conference in Savannah, and submitted my report as the Webmaster Section Chair.

On Sunday, I met up with cousins in Baltimore to enjoy brunch and attend the Hon Festival, an annual 1950's style event inspired by local boy John Waters' "Hairspray". I regret having left my camera in DC and was unable to capture the many colorfully adorned "hons" (diner speak for "honey") replete with pink beehives and feather boas.

Later that evening, I attended the awards presentation, followed by former Secretate of State, Colin Powell's keynote address, and the centennial celebration. As we entered the venue, we were greeted by Hoovers' robot. I observed a gentleman berating him about the General's role in the decision to enter the Iraq War on false intelligence, to which the robot repeatedly replied "no comment". I initially wondered if that was the extent of its lexicon, but later observed it engaging in simple conversation. I then pondered if it was the tone of the gentleman or perhaps a keyword "liar' that triggered its response and decided I needed to seek out an AI librarian to explain.

Two of my Kentucky Chapter colleagues were awarded. Stacey Greenwell is a 2009 Fellow and Abby Heath-Thorne was recognized as a Rising Star within the organization. General Powell's talk was surprisingly entertaining, tech savvy, and relevant for the audience of information professionals. He joked that he learned all he knows about social networking from his 14-year old grandson who was born digital and that while he was born analog, he'd purchased a $59 converter to facilitate conversation between the two. I took copius notes and photos that I hope to share.

Later that evening, I attended a special tour of the International Spy Museum. Upon entering, I chose my code name "Greta Schmidt" and then assumed the identity of the 30-something German astronomer/secret agent throughout the rest of my tour. Not only did I learn about the sisterhood of spies, I discovered that my favorite founding father, Benjamin Franklin, helped prevent an attack by British troops through coded messages. Other highlights included interactive skills games, instructions for creating your very own microdot (microscopic photographs) with a pack of cigarettes and bottle of vodka, and the opportunity to crawl through an A/C duct. Lasting impressions: 2.5 hours is not nearly enough time to absorb all that the museum has to offer and lock picking suddenly sounds like an interesting hobby.

I wrapped up the night conversing with my roommate, a law librarian from Albuquerque who is also the New Mexico chapter's president.

For more up-to-date accounts, follow or feed me @ Twitter.

Colin Powell
Colin Powell
SLA Award Winners
Hoovers Robot

Libraries and the Presidential Debates


Below is a message from the American Library Association's president encouraging librarians and library supporters to take this opportunity to express support for our nation's libraries. Aside from the wondeful resources and services libraries provide, the professionals who staff them are advocates for intellectual freedom and are also some of the most ardent supporters of your civil rights. Since this debate occurs the week following Banned Books Week, it's an opportune time to inquire with John McCain as to whether or not he supports his running mate, Sarah Palin's, challenges to her local libraries. I plan to submit a question that asks for each candidates' stance on the USA PATRIOT Act and what action they will take when it comes up for renewal, whether they be serving as President or Senator.


On Tuesday, October 7, one of the three 2008 Presidential debates between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will be held at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. This debate will be a town hall format moderated by Tom Brokaw. The moderator will call on members of the audience as well as select questions submitted online.
During this election year, we are looking for librarians and library supporters from across the country to call attention to the value of today's libraries in our communities, as well as the issues the library community is facing. We encourage all ALA members to submit questions. The Commission on Presidential Debates has partnered with MySpace to reate a new Web site, This site will become available in the days leading up to the first Presidential debate on September 26.  The more questions submitted, the more likely a library question will be asked. This is an opportunity for the library voice to become an important part of the 2008 Presidential election.
James Rettig
ALA President

Champions 4 Her Walk/Run & Festival

Did you know that Kentucky ranks 47th in the United States on all critical measures affecting women and families, such as education, healthcare, & jobs? The Champions 4 Her Walk, Run & Festival was created to raise awareness and to improve the health and financial well-being of women and girls in Louisville. UofL is one of 10 sponsors.

The festival will take place downtown at Waterfront Park on Saturday, June 21. The walk/run begins at 8 AM. The festival will open at 8:30 AM and end at 5 PM.

Included in the festival's events are food, entertainment, games, children’s activities, free health screenings, demonstrations, an awards ceremony, and assorted goodies and giveaways.

Champions 4 Her

Join A Team

If you’d like to participate in the run or walk, you can either join a team or form your own with four or more people. The law school does not yet have a team, but members of our faculty and staff have already joined the Data Divas, League of Champions, Team Project Women, and Women Lawyers Association teams.

You can save $10 if you register by Monday, June 16. The fee will increase to $35 thereafter. Registration includes a t-shirt.


Proceeds from the walk will benefit UofL's Women's Center/PEACC Program and Women's Athletics, along with several other local organizations. Selected beneficiary partners for 2008 focus on: youth mentoring; treatment of severely traumatized children; leadership development for women and girls; prevention of sexual violence and services for its victims; artistic expression for underprivileged girls; the needs of single mothers and their children; and education and competitive athletics for college-aged women. No funds will be distributed to organizations whose primary focus is religion, politics, or reproductive choice.

If you’d like to make a donation, please visit my fundraising page or use one of the forms that I posted in the faculty/staff mailroom and outside my office door.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you!

National Library Legislative Day

On May 13-14, 2008, librarians and library supporters nationwide will participate in advocacy and issue training sessions, interact with Capitol Hill insiders, and visit Congressional member offices to ask Congress to pass legislation that supports libraries. NLLD is sponsored by the American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the District of Columbia Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association.

National Library Legislative Day

Important issues that will be addressed include: funding the Government Printing Office, the Library Services & Technology Act, Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program, and the National Library Service for the Blind.

"The library community has a long-standing commitment to public access to information created by or for the federal government. This principle of the public’s “Right to Know” is the cornerstone of government accountability and informed public participation. This is why the American Library Association supports legislative efforts that promote public access to government information, open government, and E-government services." (see References: E-Government, Open Government, and FDLP Issues - May 2008)

Our own Senator Bunning (R-KY) led a movement to block the Presidential Records Act (HR 1255) that would have revoked the Presiden'ts executive order (E.O. 13233) and other restrictions on access to Presidential records.

I urge you to show your support for libraries by contacting your elected representatives in the House and Senate.


ALA: National Library Legislative Day 2008

Equal Pay Day


Did you know women in the United States are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men? For women of color, the numbers are even worse - African American women earn 63 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

To commemorate Equal Pay Day, which will be recognized on Tuesday, April 22, the US Senate is expected to vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (HR 2831) soon. The bill will amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (Pub. L. 90-202), and reverse the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (No. 05-1074) to restore adequate protection against pay discrimination.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed by the House in July 2007 and is now on the Senate’s calendar. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are among the bill’s cosponsors.

Take Action & Get Informed

Blog for Fair Pay

  • Use this online form to contact your Senators and tell them you support the Fair Pay Restoration Act (S 1843).
  • Compare your salary to that of your coworkers with the Courier-Journal’s Government Salary Database.


Pay Equity Fact Sheet

Supreme Court Ruling & Fair Pay Restoration Act Fact Sheet

Kentucky Legislative Update


Last night I attended the Louisville Sierra Club's annual legislative update, presented by Tom Fitzgerald, an adjunct professor at our law school.

He provided a list of legislation that's too numerous to list here, but addressed topics pertaining to billboards, campaign refinance, animal cruelty, renewable resources, mandatory helmets for motorcyclists and more.

Of particular interest to environmentalists are:
HB 214 - AN ACT relating to tax incentives for alternative fuel sources;
HB 233 - AN ACT relating to plastic containers;
HB 299 - AN ACT relating to renewable-energy and energy-efficiency standards; and
SB 69 - AN ACT relating to the hazardous waste management fund and making an appropriation therefor.

For a copy of any bill, to check its status, or to track which committee it has been assigned to, visit the Kentucky Legislature's website and click on 2008 Regular Session. From their homepage, you can also connect to Bill Watch , a new alert service that will deliver updates on the pieces of legislation you select to your email address.

*Unfortunately, none of the environmental bills made it out of committee. (updated 4/17/08) 

KLA Conference


Kentucky Library Association Annual Conference

"University of Louisville Libraries Digital Collections: Connecting Communities and Collections"

Presenters: Rachel Howard, Weiling Liu, Virginia M. Smith

September 20, 2007

3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

Rose Room, Marriot Downtown Louisville

Idea Festival


As a result of having attended the Idea Festival this past weekend, I’ve been inspired to exercise my civil liberties by blogging.

The 3-day conference was sponsored in part by the University of Louisville. With my employer's encouragement, I attended a multitude of free sessions on a diverse array of topics ranging from sustainable architecture and green landscaping, worm holes and parallel universes, to an update on Darfur by the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof. It was during a panel session on the topic of Peace and a presentation by international bloggers, that I learned from Bahrainian journalist, Amira Al Hussaini, that both Turkey and China have banned the use of WordPress, an open source blogging platform that the Law School utilizes.

As a librarian and concerned citizen, I am passionate about disseminating information and believe that removing political and technological barriers to access is essential to preserving our democracy.

Conference attendees were encouraged to scribe their ideas on a note pad and post them to a logo-laden car provided by the Geek Squad, another conference sponsor. Here, I’d like to share one of my ideas and posit a challenge to the University of Louisville to install a speaker’s pulpit similar to the Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park, outside of the SAC or some other prominent location on campus to encourage an ongoing exchange of information and ideas within our community.

To participate in the global conversation, visit: