Happy first day of spring!

Dance of the Stars, University of Maryland May Day, circa 1923-1931

Dance of the Stars, University of Maryland May Day, circa 1923-1931

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary and her Flowers. From the "Mother Gooseland" themed 1928 May Day celebrations. This image is also featured in the 1928 Reveille yearbook, page 273.

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary and her Flowers. From the “Mother Gooseland” themed 1928 May Day celebrations. This image is also featured in the 1928 Reveille yearbook, page 273.

It’s grey and gloomy in upstate New York, but I have hope that spring is on its way!

Check out more University of Maryland May Day images here.

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What Did You Do Today?


Check out my post on Librarian Design Share!

Originally posted on Librarian Design Share:

Often we create a single design to promote a library event, but every now and then an event is so important that it deserves an entire marketing campaign.  This was the case for Maryland Day.

Rebecca Hopman, Special Collections Coordinator and Instruction & Outreach Team Member at the University of Maryland, says:

Each year our university hosts Maryland Day, an annual open house for the community, prospective students, and current students, faculty, and staff. The event is a chance for academic departments, campus offices, and local community organizations to connect with visitors. The UMD Libraries ran several events, most of which were held in Hornbake Library and McKeldin Library. Our team created promotional materials to advertise the UMD Libraries’ events and our “What did you do today?” social media campaign, including posters, a library website ad, TV monitor slides, and postcards for people to take with them or mail to…

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Archives on Facebook: A social media posting guide

This post expands on one of the guides I created for archivists and special collections librarians using social media.

Why Facebook?

Facebook, without question, is one of the most popular social media platforms today. People all over the world use Facebook to connect to friends, family, and people with similar interests. Because of this huge potential audience, many archivists and librarians consider it essential to have a Facebook page for their repository. Many worry not having a Facebook page marks them as outdated or out of touch with current technology. While I agree that Facebook is a good place to have an online presence, I strongly believe that repositories should make the decision to create a Facebook page based on their individual circumstances. Each repository should choose the platform(s) most compatible with their community of users and with the types of material they plan to post. So – as I say for every other social media platform – don’t feel like you have to have a Facebook page.

If you determine that Facebook is a good fit for your repository, it offers a number of options for sharing information and building an online community. You can post text, photos, links, and videos; share, comment on, and like other people’s posts; and host conversations on your own page. Currently you can’t customize your page much beyond your profile photo, cover photo, and “About” section, but this also puts everyone on an even footing regardless of time and technical know-how.

Using this Guide

The following posting guide is a quick, ready-reference guide for archivists and special collections librarians using Facebook at their repository. It is by no means a comprehensive list of all the things you can and should do as a repository, but it is a good basic guide for what to post and how to improve your Facebook presence. I created this guide with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, so with that in mind feel free to share, post, and print it! If you do use this guide, please provide a link back to rebeccahopman.com/resources/socialmedia/

Archives on Facebook: Social Media Posting Guide

Click through to the PDF. Available at: rebeccahopman.com/resources/guide_facebook.pdf

For a detailed breakdown of the guide and additional resources, continue after the break. Continue reading

Posted in Facebook, Resources | Tagged | 1 Comment

Computers in Libraries 2013 wrap-up

28th Annual Computers in Libraries conference 2013

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to attend the 2013 Computers in Libraries conference in Washington, D.C. I hadn’t planned on going, but at the last minute a member of our staff had a scheduling conflict and so his spot opened up. I am so glad I got to go – what an interesting conference! It was very different from the other library/archives conferences I’ve been to.

Most of the sessions I attended were about web design, UX (user experience), accessibility, and new web/technology trends. I learned about the seven deadly sins of library websites and how to ideally focus your site around your users. I found out about some cool new AR (augmented reality) projects, the Dane’s Digital Library, and a new app that Danish art museums are using.  By the end of the conference I had a whole new list of resources and websites to look at.

You can also read summaries of other sessions on the CIL 2013 blog. I’m already hoping I can go again next year!

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Social media posting guides for archives & special collections

socialmediacollageThis past summer, I completed an independent study focused on how archives and special collections use, could use, and should use social media platforms. As part of that class, I put together a series of guides targeted towards archives and special collections (although they could be equally useful to libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions). The guides are intended to be one-page, ready reference sheets for archivists using social media. Each guide is focused on a single platform. Although much of the information could be transferred to any social media platform, each platform has its own uses and quirks. The guides include suggestions on what to post and when to post, tips for good content, a few projects to try, a few options for measuring social media “success,” and some repositories who I think use that platform to their advantage. They do not include information for how to work each social media platform (e.g. – uploading photos, adding tags, etc.). There are already a large number of resources on the web for individuals needing help with technical issues. My primary goal was to provide quick, useful resources to those people who wanted guidance on how to best use social media platforms for their repository.

I based each guide on my own experience managing a social media program for an archives, advising archivists on social media use, and as someone who follows archives and other cultural institutions on a number of social media platforms. I also took into account advice from other institutional users of social media (including the non-profit and corporate sectors), archives and library literature on the subject, and the results of my 2012 Social Media Use in Archives and Special Collections survey.

Because I wanted to keep the guides at one page each, there was a limit on how much information I could include. I intend to write a series of posts expanding on each guide – explaining them in more detail, offering more examples and advice, etc. Right now I have completed guides on using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, tumblr, and YouTube. As I continue my research on social media use in archives and special collections, I plan to put together guides on additional platforms such as Pinterest and Historypin.

I created these guides with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. They are posted on my personal website, and with this license in mind, feel free to print, share, and repost them! All I ask is if you use them, please provide a link back to rebeccahopman.com/resources/socialmedia. You can find all of the guides here.

Posted in Resources, Social Media | Tagged | 2 Comments

BooksBooksBooks. And some Tweets.


Hm, apparently you can’t have line breaks in a reblogged post? I guess I’ll use slashes to denote new paragraphs!      //      Janine is an awesomely funny lady I follow online. She’s always posting really cool things on her blog, Twitter, etc. This past week she posted about her company’s new Twitter account (which she is managing), and her quandary over what ‘voice’ she should use when posting. This is something all organizations face when using social media – how do you represent yourself in an online community of people and organizations? Here’s my advice:      //      “Hey Janine! I ran my archives’ Twitter feed for about a year, and I had the same uncertainty about voice sometimes. I think it all depends on the kind of place you work at and the face they present to the public. I always advocate for an organization’s voice to be friendly, casual, and approachable on social media, so that users/customers feel like they’re interacting with a person rather than a faceless organization. You want to build relationships, and to do that you have to talk to people, not talk at people. At the same time, I know other people who’ve had to follow very strict rules about what they could post and how they could post on Twitter and other platforms.      //      The good thing is it sounds like you might already be a part of the community your office wants to join. You know how these users interact with each other and how they talk. Maybe you even follow organizations similar to your own and know how they post (and if not, I’m sure you can easily find some!). Take a look at how all of these users present themselves and their organizations, and base your office’s voice on that.      //      One last thing – does your supervisor/manager understand how Twitter works? Ask them what they think about your voice vs. your company’s voice. Maybe they don’t mind you being Janine on @BN_Collectibles rather than BN Collectibles on @BN_Collectibles. If they want a more “official” voice, you can still present a friendly, personable front while sticking closer to the company voice.”      //      In the end, you should establish some sort of guidelines (either a policy or a loose definition) of what kind of voice you will use on your platforms and stick to it. That way – whatever voice you feel most comfortable with – you will have a consistent voice and presence. Also, when someone else takes over the accounts, they have an idea of what voice they should aspire to use!      //      Make sure to leave a comment for Janine if you have any advice. I looked at the tweets she’s sent out so far and I absolutely love them! They’re casual and fun enough to present her company as a friendly voice rather than a corporate entity, and that’s the kind of company Twitter I’d follow.

Originally posted on JANINEVEAZUE:

Library_booksI’ve been on Twitter for a while ( @janineveazue ), and I really dig the way I’ve been able to increase my awareness of so many amazing inventions, lectures, projects, and people who are working towards book Nirvana. Passing that information around is the most fulfilling game I could ever play.

That being said, my office has just started up a Twitter feed ( @BN_Collectibles ) to highlight various items in our collection, talk about books with other book folks, and maintain a friendly relationship with those who might be interested in purchasing some of our fine titles. Acting as a social media marketer for a brand other than myself is quite new to me, and so far I’m not quite sure when my ‘voice’ should appear and when the voice of the company should step through.

I’m excited and ready for the challenge, but I’d love some recommendations from…

View original 20 more words

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Social media use in archives and special collections: 2012 survey results!

This past summer I completed an independent study on how archives and special collections use, could use, and should use social media. As part of the class, I sent out a survey asking archivists and special collections librarians how their repository uses these platforms (or why they choose not to use social media). I received 185 results from institutions all across the spectrum – large, small, academic, corporate, religious, etc. The answer to each question ranged from the expected to surprising answers. Sorting through the data took me some time (especially since a large portion of the survey was open to comments, rather than selecting an answer), but I am finally ready to share the results with you all!

The following document includes statistics on what types of archives and special collections are and are not using social media, what platforms they use and what they post on them, how they manage their social media presence, and whether or not they consider their program a success, among other things. I could not include all of the comments, so I chose a selection based on common answers or answers I thought would be particularly useful to other archivists and special collections librarians. The 2012 survey results are available here on my website, and I plan to repeat this survey regularly to track how repositories change their social media use and strategies.

If you have any questions or comments on these results, please feel free to contact me through this blog or at rchopman[at]gmail[dot]com.

Posted in Resources, Social Media | Tagged | 2 Comments

“Does the job end when you go home?”: A few thoughts

Does the job end when you get home? Like Annoyed Librarian says, this “depends on the type of work” you do as a librarian. Catalogers can’t bring their work home with them, but librarians who have faculty status at their university might not be able to leave work at work. And, as AL points out, “systems librarians are sometimes always on call.” If you are well known as a librarian in your community, people might seek your help outside of the library.

Aside from your required work, and the work you do as prompted by others, you might still be working late into the night on library-related projects. As AL says, “It also depends on the impact you want to make on the profession. Do you want to be a mover and a shaker, or do you want to remain in happy obscurity? There’s no shame in obscurity, but moving an shaking requires work outside of the library, or longer hours within the library.” I think AL makes a good point. You can be a great librarian at work and then leave everything behind until you come back the next day. But if you want to make a big impact on your library and perhaps even the profession, you have to dedicate extra time to your efforts. Maybe you write articles, hold professional discussion groups online, or spend an extra few hours making sure your library programs are above average. You might spend your weekends reading the latest graphic novels so you can recommend them to your teens when they stop by. Maybe you give your contact information to students so they can get paper help late at night.

But, like AL says, you don’t have to do all of this. You can love your job, but still go home and hang out with your gamer friends. Maybe you would rather be hiking than reading the newest best seller. Your cooking blog might take precedence over your librarian Twitter account. I don’t think leaving the job at the job makes a librarian any “less.” In fact, I think having a group of librarians with diverse interests makes the workplace that much better. Like “Happily Obscure” says in the comments: “I spent the first few years of my career feeling like I had to publish, had to speak at conferences, had to have a blog, etc. in order to be a ‘good’ school librarian. I realize now that being a librarian is my job, and not my passion. I do the best job I can when I’m at work. I care about my students and their education, and I do everything I can to contribute. But when I go home, I’m done. And that’s okay.” She’s absolutely right – it is okay. I think making time for the rest of your life – friends, family, and hobbies – keeps you balanced, both personally and professionally. As a new professional, I often struggle to balance my ambitions with reality – I have so much I want to do as a person and as an archivist/librarian. I need to remind myself sometimes that I don’t have to do it all right now. Hopefully as I settle into my professional career, I’ll find that balance.

What do you think? Does the job end when you get home?

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In the stacks: A Gorey discovery*

Gorey Google DoodleHappy birthday to Edward Gorey! One of my favorite illustrators, Gorey’s weird and mysterious images have always captured my imagination. I first knew Gorey through his work for other authors, in particular his illustrations for Joan Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles. I didn’t realize he wrote books of his own until years later, although I’d seen his cats and the Doubtful Guest pop up here and there. Recently I joined a Flickr group that embroiders the work of different illustrators, and it just so happens they started this year out with the art of Edward Gorey. For inspiration, I decided to go on a Gorey hunt in the UMD Special Collections stacks.

I hadn’t expected to find much – Gorey doesn’t really fit into our collecting interests – but it just so happens we have a donated collection that includes quite a few of his books. Most of the Amphigorey books were there (omnibus editions of his works), as well as individual books like The Glorious Nosebleed and The Gilded Bat. In another section of our stacks, I found The World of Edward Gorey, which is a collection of his art, along with an interview with Gorey. I also ILL’ed Elegant Enigmas: the art of Edward Gorey. I highly recommend the last two (or any of the Amphigorey) if you’re looking for a good overview of his work.

Elegant Enigmas also reminded me that Gorey used to decorate the mail he sent to family and friends. I started doing the same thing after my mom sent me an article about Gorey’s unique mail a few years ago. I love the idea of putting art on the envelope – it’s a nice surprise! Apparently there’s a whole book devoted to the decorated correspondence between Gorey and his friend Peter Neumeyer. We don’t have a copy here, but I’ll definitely have to ILL it.

Here are a few of the bits and pieces I found in the books. Make sure to click if you want to see larger images. And, if you’re curious, here are some of the illustrations I’m considering for my Gorey embroidery (I’m most likely going with Miss Skrim-Pshaw, et al).

On a side note, check out Tom Gauld’s Gorey comics – they’re awesome! [He also just posted this great archives comic.]

goreygauld1     goreygaul2

*Yes, there are gory puns in this post. I refuse to apologize.

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Personal branding for librarians: a few thoughts

A few weeks ago, I attended a session for library students/new professionals called “Personal Branding and Your Online Presence.” The workshop featured three speakers – Justin Hoenke (Justin the Librarian), Rebecca Goldman (Derangement and Description), and Naomi House (INALJ – I Need A Library Job) – who each gave advice on how to create and maintain a positive online presence. You can find out more about each speaker and find their presentations here. Attendees were also given a personal branding handout with more resources after the event. I jotted down my own notes and thoughts from the event, and I thought I’d share them with you here. [Just an FYI: The notes below are not all necessarily word-for-word from the presentations - some of them are from a speaker, and others are my thoughts about something they said!]


Justin had a lot of great points about creating a persona and engaging with the rest of the online community. He pointed out that having a personal brand gives your community a way to connect with you. Make sure to share your personality and interests – people want to talk to other people, not librarian robots! – but also make sure to stay professional. Having a visible personality and brand helps people remember you and what you represent. He told us to be positive, and “sit with it first” (before you post it) – good advice to remember when considering the permanence of online information. Another good thing to remember about your online persona – you’re not a rock star, so don’t let your 15 seconds of fame go to your head. As Justin put it – you are an awesome average person. I like this point – it’s easy to get caught up in how many times you are reblogged, retweeted, or liked. Get excited about a successful post, then concentrate on making the next one great too!

I really liked another point Justin made: “Find something you dig, focus on it, and repeat.” I think this is good advice not only because you’re contributing to an online discussion (about outreach, teen librarianship, archival digitization – whatever!), but also because focusing on something you like makes you more likely to keep talking. This might sound simple, but I think a lot of library students and new professionals face this issue. They want to start an online presence and talk to other professionals, but they’re not sure what to say. I have a few friends who have started blogs, Twitter accounts, and tumblrs, but hardly ever post because they don’t have a focus. Unfortunately, it’s common for information professionals to join up on social media because it’s “expected,” not because they have something they want to talk about or a community they want to join.

Anyways, back to Justin’s presentation. He also talked about the particulars of a brand – picking colors, fonts, consistent profile pictures, etc. He emphasized how important it is to keep your brand consistent across several platforms – if you have a profile pic and an underwater theme on your blog, carry that over to Twitter. If you use sans-serif fonts on your blog, make sure your digital portfolio text matches.


Rebecca was speaking from the perspective of having a web comic (which more archivists should do!). One of her main points was to go where your audience is. After you decide on your focus, figure out who would be most interested in what you are posting and where they like to go online. Rebecca found that her audience was mainly on Twitter. She still hosts the comic on her blog, but she tweets out the links and other jokes that didn’t make it into the comic. As well as going where your audience is, make sure you go where your content works best. If you have a lot of images, video, or audio, you might consider a different platform than someone who is completely text-based.

Rebecca also told us not to start out anonymous. She did (she wasn’t sure if her employers would like her idea of a comic poking fun at archives), and now she regrets not taking credit for it earlier. Along with claiming your content, make sure it has something unique to offer. What is going to make your blog, tumblr, or YouTube channel stand out from the rest? Why should people come to your site?

A last note from Rebecca – your posts don’t always have to be perfect. You can usually go back and change things later if you need to. While I think Justin’s point to sit on it is great advice, I agree with Rebecca that you don’t need to agonize over every word of every post (unless it’s really sensitive information or something that might upset people!).


Naomi came into branding from a different perspective – branding a service. [Btw, I just want to mention how much I liked getting such different perspectives in this session. It was interesting to see how their approaches differed.] She started I Need A Library Job (INALJ) as a way to send friends and classmates information about job postings. One of the first things she said was make sure you like your brand/name. She wishes she had decided on another name now (although I like her name – it’s very clear what you will find on her site!). On that note, she also considers changes very carefully. She thought long and hard before changing her emails to a blog, and then her recent change of organizing jobs by state. Naomi said that you’ll always have some unhappy customers, but really make sure a big change is worth it before you go ahead and alter something.

Naomi, like Justin, emphasized being positive as very important. She said she always tries to stay positive in her posts and interactions, but she’s not afraid to block someone who is being inappropriate. She told us to stand up for ourselves when necessary, but in a professional way. (Remember your potential bosses may see your angry Twitter fights!)

In terms of content and engaging with others, Naomi pointed out that you are your own best expert. Take other people’s thoughts and opinions into account, but ultimately make the decision you are most comfortable with. After all, it’s your brand/persona. As she said, be confident in yourself, your content, and your decisions.


I really enjoyed meeting these librarians and archivists and hearing what they had to say about personal branding. I knew them all by their online personas before the presentation, so it was interesting (and a bit surreal) to hear the people behind the brand.

After coming home from the session, I posted about it on my tumblr. As a result, a conversation started about which platforms to use and where information professionals are expected to be online. I think everyone involved had some very good points – both about using platforms and joining communities where you feel the most comfortable, but also not ignoring conversations going on elsewhere. There are so many online outlets for information professionals to use, and it can be difficult deciding which ones work best for you.

Edit: I forgot about another tumblr conversation started by thecommonlibrarian a few days ago. Make sure to check out all the comments and notes below the post – lots of good answers!

Another edit: I just saw this Online Identity category on Justin’s blog. Check out his comments on why he has an online persona/what platforms he uses and how. Interesting!

One more edit: As a result of this post, yet another awesome tumblr conversation has begun about personal branding/online identity. Make sure to read all of the comments like here, here, and here. On professionalism (which the conversation mainly revolved around), I say that staying professional doesn’t mean not sharing your personality and opinions. Or, as transformativetidbits said (quite nicely!), “make sure your interests intersect in a manner that highlights both your skills and your creative streak and passionate heart.”

The last edit? thecommonlibrarian has done a lot of great thinking about her online identity lately, and has been nice enough to share her thoughts with the rest of the Tumblarian community. She recently posted an awesome Venn Diagram detailing her different tumblr blogs and what she posts on each of them. I really like the idea of sitting down and writing out what you post on each of your online profiles/platforms. It’s a nice way for you to figure out what your online persona is really like. Maybe you think you have a very library-focused tumblr, but realize instead that you post more about your knitting projects. Or your archivist twitter handle has been taken over by your conversations with other foodies. Neither situation is bad by any means (it’s great that your personality is showing through!) – I just want to point out that your idea of your online persona and the reality might be different. I think I’m going to follow thecommonlibrarian’s lead and create a VD of all my social media accounts (librarian and otherwise), to really evaluate what my online persona is. It will be a nice document to have around, both for personal brand decisions and future persona comparison.


I’d be interested in hearing what other people have to say on the subject of personal branding and establishing an online presence. What do you think people should take into consideration? Would you approach your persona differently if you could do it over again? Which platforms do you think work well for your community?

Posted in Conferences, etc., Social Media | Tagged | 2 Comments