Emory Libraries staff members to present at the Decatur Book Festival

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Emory Libraries’ conservation coordinator Julie Newton (left) leads the always popular art activity with exhibitions graphic designer Gretchen Warner in the Emory tent at the 2016 Decatur Book Festival.

Emory Libraries and Emory University continue their sponsorship of the Decatur Book Festival, to be held Saturday, Sept. 2, and Sunday, Sept. 3, in downtown Decatur, Georgia.

Emory Libraries will be joined by staff from the Emory Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, Carlos Museum and the Emory Center for Ethics in the Emory tent, on East Ponce de Leon Avenue near the courthouse.

In addition, staff members from the Woodruff Library, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library and Emory Center for Digital Scholarship will participate in DBF sessions. (Check times and locations on the Decatur Book Festival website before you go.)

Saturday, Sept. 2

  • 12:30 p.m.: ECDS staffers Arya Basu, Clint Fluker, and Megan Slemons will join “Brotherman” comic book artist Dawud Anyabwile for the Big City Maps panel, a discussion and virtual-reality demo of their 3-D team project to bring the streets of the fictional Big City to life.
  • 4:15 p.m.: Rose Library curator of African American collections Pellom McDaniels will interview Joe Barry Carroll, a former NBA All-Star, about his new book, “Black American Voices: Shared Culture, Values, and Emotions.”
  • 4:30 p.m.: Karen Garrabrant (aka Karen G), senior acquisitions assistant, poet activist and slam poet extraordinaire, will read (and serve as co-host during the day) at the local poets stage at Java Monkey.

Sunday, Sept. 3

  • Noon: Pellom McDaniels will discuss his new book, “Porter, Steward, Citizen: An African American’s Memoir of World War I,” about Royal Christian’s book.
  • 2:30 p.m.: McDaniels will lead a panel that will include Randy Gue, Rose curator of modern political and historical collections, on why history and archives are important, and how authors use archives to write biographies. They will be joined by biographic authors Valerie Boyd and former Emory University professor Lawrence Jackson.

McDaniels and other Emory authors will sign their books at the Emory tent throughout the weekend; a schedule of signings will be available at the tent. Library conservation coordinator Julie Newton will again lead the tent’s art activity of making handheld fans, with the design drawn by artist Raymondo; this year’s theme will revolve around the Emory Libraries’ upcoming fall exhibition of the Beat poets’ materials.

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New for Fall 2017 – an improved ETD site

Photo of theses pagesEmory Libraries launched a completely redeveloped Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) site on August 24, 2017.

The previous ETD site was a successful mainstay of the libraries’ core systems but required a facelift to keep up with the most current technology needs of students, faculty and staff.

Things to know:

  • The new site provides easy-to-use features for students, school approvers and administrators, and library staff.
  • We are currently migrating ETDs submitted from fall 2007 through summer 2017 to the new site. Some ETD records may only be available on our legacy ETD site. Please visit legacy-etd.library.emory.edu for these legacy ETDs.
  • Stay tuned for more updates. If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please contact us at scholcomm [at] listserv [dot] cc [dot] emory [dot] edu.
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Hall and Burke get rewarded for cost savings effort

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Gerry Hall (left) and Joel Burke (right).

Gerry Hall and Joel Burke recently worked on an effort to setup single sign-on for Emory’s recruiting system with IBM. The team faced a challenge with this integration where there was a mismatch between the NETID they were transmitting and the NETID being stored on the IBM/Kenexa system.

Gerry and Joel found a solution that saved the PeopleSoft HR Upgrade project (and Emory) a significant amount of consulting dollars. As a result, Kaven Moodley, manager of PeopleSoft HR, rewarded each of them with a spot bonus.

This award was made as part of the LITS Rewards Program. Under that program, there are various bonuses that managers can reward to employees for cost-saving efforts. If you are a manager and would like to learn more, just visit the program summary. Also, if you have any questions about the program, contact LITS HR.

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Susan Hobson, IT Product Manager, Data Warehouse and BI

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“I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to working further with the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence team.” – Susan Hobson

Susan Hobson recently accepted the position of Product Manager for the LITS: Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence team. Her primary role is that of service owner of Emory Business Intelligence (EBI). EBI is a service that provides a business intelligence and analytics platform through an Oracle application (OBIEE) leveraging data from the administrative data warehouse sourced from Compass,OPUS, and other core enterprise applications.

According to Dana Haggas, Director of LITS Enterprise Applications, “With the growing demand for data, project requests for the DW/BI team started rolling in, and we needed to formalize the EBI service owner role to help establish and manage the process to prioritize requests to best meet the needs of the institution. This position also has a responsibility to ensure we work closely with the Data Advisory Committee for adherence to the institutional data management policy.”

Susan spent the last three years as an informatics analyst with the LITS’ data solutions group. Prior to her Emory work, she was in Chicago at the American Joint Replacement Registry, a non-profit associated with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, where she was a senior registry analyst and worked with hospital administrations, orthopaedic surgeons, and IT departments nationwide to acquire hip and knee replacement procedural data for quality improvement benchmarking and tracking implant survivorship.

Susan also worked in market research managing various aspects of projects from study and survey design to data analysis and reporting for public relations, financial, and not-for-profit entities.

A native of New Albany, MS, Susan received her undergraduate degree in exercise science at Ole Miss. She followed with her master’s degree in public health, focused on environmental health at Emory.

Susan loves to mountain bike and hike. She recently completed a trek in the Pisgah National Forest in NC.

“I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to working further with the Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence team,” said Susan.

You can reach Susan at susan [dot] hobson [at] emory [dot] edu.

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LITS recent headlines and upcoming events

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Recent LITS headlines:

Upcoming LITS events:

(go HERE for more information for each event)

  • September 1-3Decatur Book Festival
  • September 6ECDS WorkshopEmerging Technologies in Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality, 2:00 pm, Woodruff Library Room 303E
  • September 10Exhibition: “Billy Howard’s Epitaph for the Living” LAST DAY – Woodruff Library Level 3 Corridor Gallery
  • September 21 – IT Briefing: a monthly look into the IT projects across LITS – 10:15 am – noon – NDB 4th Floor Auditorium
  • September 26Event: Black Music of the World: Tools of Revolution and Reclamation, 6:30 pm, White Hall 208
  • September 27 – Event: Beats Ann Waldman Poetry Reading, 7:30 pm, Oxford Building Presentation Room
  • September 28 – Event: Beats Creativity Conversation: Anne Waldman and Kevin Young, 5:00 pm, Rose Library Level 10
  • September 28 – Event: The Dream Machine:  The Beat Generation and the Counterculture, 1940 – 1975, Exhibition Opening, 6:30 pm, Schatten Gallery & Jones Room Level 3
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I’m (probably) not a luddite, but there was that Skype incident

Illustration of a laptop with a Skype logoA few years ago, as I was nearing the completion of my graduate studies in studio art, I decided to give the academic job market a try. I’ve held a job in some capacity since I was 15, so I assumed this arena would be somewhat similar to other job markets in the U.S. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I won’t go into the daunting details of what an academic job packet consists of or how unlikely it is that you even make it to the top of the stack. But, if you’re interested, I would recommend reading anything Karen Kelsky has written on the subject. A very abbreviated version of the process goes a little something like this:

  • Send in your 30- to 50-page application packet. Make it count because you’ll be competing with 500 other applicants.
  • If you make the first cut, you get an initial interview (usually via Skype).
  • If that goes well, you get an on-campus interview.
  • If that goes well (and the search committee realizes they simply cannot go on without you as part of their team), you get a job offer.
  • If you accept the offer, you pack your moving van and settle in for a solid 5-year, 10-year, or even 20-year gig.

Skype is great for international communication. It’s basically free, and the digital hiccups that often occur when using it can be overlooked because you’re video chatting with a friend thousands of miles away. It is not so great for a moderately formal interview. But I realize this kind of communication (awkward, grainy video that often cuts out and highlights the area under everyone’s chin) is an important and integral part of our modern era.

Within the realm of university teaching jobs, a Skype interview is a good sign, but it is truly only the first of many hoops to jump through before a job offer is made. It’s the initial interview that takes place before the search committee decides if they want to spend the time, effort, and funds to bring you to campus for the coveted on-campus interview. It is also the search committee’s first verbal and (hopefully) visual encounter with you, so your execution of this virtual interview is crucial. This is how my first interview went, navigating the two unfamiliar realms of formal Skype and academia back in 2013.

February 2013

Photo of a laptop videoconferenceAs the time for my Skype interview neared, I patiently went over any final details that I might have missed during my multiple mock interviews. I read over my teaching statement, research statement, cover letter, and the job description itself. I practiced my already well-rehearsed answers to the questions I thought I would hear. I scribbled a few more last-minute notes, and of course checked the framing of my screen camera via the laptop’s Photo Booth program. With only a few minutes left, I felt relaxed, fully confident, and, after a short walk around the neighborhood, my body temperature was regulated.

Right on schedule, the department chair’s name appeared on the screen, and to my surprise, my heart didn’t skip a beat. I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, I was excited about this opportunity to speak with tenured faculty, (virtual) face to (virtual) face. I clicked the appropriate button to answer the call and send them a video feed of my glowing face illuminated by beautiful diffused light from a carefully selected north-facing window. The only problem was the video button wasn’t working. I had seen this before; after a click or two it would work, I was sure of it.

I certainly don’t consider myself to be a luddite, but in that moment I would not blame the search committee for losing interest in me as a candidate for a position with responsibilities to teach digital video…much like the video that I could not get to work. After remaining only a Skype icon for about ten minutes of the allotted twenty, I had given up on letting the faculty on the other end have an informed glimpse into my life. I imagined I would forever be etched in their memories as the disembodied voice of a potential candidate that struggled with technology. Then suddenly, as if by a miracle, I realized I had left the Photo Booth program open; the computer’s camera could not be used by another program running simultaneously. I quickly remedied the situation, and we all had a laugh. Although there was no time for me to explain why the video didn’t work, I hesitated to interject that this could’ve really happened to anyone. Really.

Not only was I relieved to have resolved this technical issue, but the faculty looked relieved that I could figure out how to operate a simple program like Skype. Nevertheless, I felt that it was too late. It was obvious that I was concerned. In turn, I was thrown off by this technological faux pas, and I inadvertently let my performance during the non-video portion of the interview show this. I did notice the faculty share some genuine smiles once they were able to see my own smile, but the proverbial damage may have already been done.

When I hung up, I didn’t have that sinking feeling that immediately follows something like a failed interview, but I wasn’t convinced I nailed it either. What I learned, which may be more important than the outcome of the interview, is that it is possible to prepare too much and lose sight of the immediate and the now. I had envisioned presenting the search committee with a gleaming, well-lit image of my fresh haircut, trimmed beard, and colorful dining room. When that didn’t happen, I panicked and lost my focus in delivering my answers. This would have been a great way to exhibit my adaptability or astuteness. Even though I had gone over this interview countless times in my head, this just wasn’t in the plan.

I never heard back from this department about the job.

Photo of a laptop with a Skype login screenI learned a great deal about myself from this interaction, including how naive I was regarding both academic teaching jobs and formal Skype. I got so caught up in the perceived prestige of academia that I lost my ability to solve a simple problem (this is a very academic approach, by the way). I overlooked the obvious (the other program that I opened five minutes earlier was using the computer’s camera) because I was overthinking the situation (I may need to go reset the router. I’ll ask if I can restart my computer. This committee thinks I’m incompetent. Why would they hire me? I studied everything I possibly could about this school and the people there. Why is this happening to me? I’m not a luddite, I swear!)

I eventually landed a faculty position at a different university, and am now, a few years later with a host of Skype interactions under my belt, happily employed in higher ed. Every academic job since that day has had an initial interview that was a Skype interview. Sometimes there were a few technical kinks to work out with Skype, but overall the whole experience is hardly ever as formal as I once imagined it. There was no need for the distinction of formal Skype.

Earlier this year I made it through the virtual interview unscathed, was invited to visit the campus, and was hired here at Emory. Hooray for progress! But I have to continually remind myself and the students, faculty, and staff I now work with that if a problem arises, the solution may already be within reach. The situation we sometimes find ourselves in may not be as formal/solemn/uncomfortable as we think.

Academia is a place for critical thought. It celebrates elaborate and ornate solutions. I am happy to be included within a community that supports such in-depth inquiry. But, in all of my research, I oftentimes end up circling back around to where I started, only to find the solution was painfully obvious and within my reach all along.

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Ramya Bommareddy, Manager, Database Administration, IT Operations

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“I am excited to be part of the LITS organization at Emory!” – Ramya Bommareddy

Ramya Bommareddy recently became the new database administration manager in LITS. Prior to joining Emory, Ramya worked in various IT leadership roles for the Hewlett Packard group of companies, starting in 2010. She also worked as an IT consultant for nearly five years at AT&T/Cingular Wireless.

Born and raised in south central India, along the banks of River Krishna, Ramya earned a bachelor’s degree of technology in electronics and communication engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India, and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University.

Ramya lives with her husband, Kiran, in Alpharetta. When she is not working, she likes to spend time reading, gardening, and practicing yoga, including laughter yoga, about which Ramya will happily answer any questions.

When asked about her new position, Ramya said, “I am excited to be part of the LITS organization at Emory!”

You can reach her at ramya [dot] bommareddy [at] emory [dot] edu.

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