I've been working towards making the library's online presence accessible to all audiences in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d). Section 508 is a federal law that requires agencies to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to electronic information and data. More information on Section 508 and its technical standards can be found at Section508.gov.
Today, I paid particular attention to contrast. Colors add design elements to your site but make sure it's compliant to accommodate those with difficulty seeing contrast between colors. The excellent video below came recommended by my coworker who recently ran a workshop for NOAA authors to help them understand the importance of contrast in their publications.
Our web pages were fabulously redesigned last year by my predecessor, and she did a fantastic job! Today I just had to tweak some of the colors to be compliant. I used the WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool plug-in for Chrome which I got from WebAim. It was recommended by our web master and is an easy add-on to use. Simply go to the page you want to evaluate, and then click the "W" button in your toolbar and select "Contrast" from the panel to see any discrepancies.
In order to calculate some good replacement colors between backgrounds and text, I utilized the Color Contrast Checker at WebAim.org.
I had to ensure the new colors would be compliant with WCAG 2.0 required contrast ratios and I also wanted to stay loyal to the design. See the before and after results below. You can click each image to see it larger. I've made some other updates, but today's update was fun and allowed me to use some handy tools so I wanted to post about it in case it helps anyone out there.
The NOAA Institutional Repository - the journey of a PIFSC publication into the public's hands (the short/librarians version)
If you haven't seen it, you should check out the NOAA Institutional Repository (NOAA IR)! It hosts free scientific publications from all the different line offices across NOAA. The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), falls under the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). As a federally-funded agency, we have an obligation to make our research results publicly accessible, so one way of doing that is depositing our publications in the NOAA IR.
Our authors/scientists work with the editorial staff to ensure quality work, and any peer-review/technical review necessary is performed; then final approval is given by the Director's Office. That final approval triggers my duties as librarian to assign PIFSC publications a publication number (accessioning by Doc Type- YY-XXX), assign and embed a doi on the front page of the publication, update the publication number in the footer of the title page, and then send it to be ingested at the NOAA IR by catalogers.
Having the document in the NOAA IR means the publication will be preserved and accessible for (in theory) forever.. or until a new technology/standard replaces it. The point of a doi is to be a permanent link to metadata which includes the location of the desired file, which makes it easier when files need to be moved since the publisher simply updates the doi's metadata that handles the URL it points to – making it more reliable than a simple URL. The full-text search capability of the IR is wonderful for helping the public find research relevant to their needs, and having a doi ensures the public can find citations without broken links. NOAA entered an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to host and run an instance of their CDC Stacks Repository System for its institutional repository. The system runs on Fedora Commons, with an Islandora front end.
The NOAA IR catalogers are wonderful, and our documents get ingested along with proper metadata in the NOAA IR. They also register all dois with Crossref, which makes it an active link, and they submit all necessary metadata while also cataloging the publication. When the IR is finished, they notify us of the registered link and doi so the PIFSC library can update the staff publications database, which automatically updates on the library's website. Finally, I post an announcement on our intranet and notify the author their paper has been submitted to the NOAA IR, and they can access it via the doi, and the public now has access to their work. I really enjoy being a part of this process to make information accessible online, so it's fun to be working with dois again. I worked with them a little at UH Press, and the Smithsonian internship where we actually worked on creating a process to batch-register dois with Crossref for Smithsonian publications. Good times!
I have to give a shout out to Caroline at the IR, who, since I've been working here, handles almost all our requests for our publications. She is kind, quick, and awesome. Mahalo!
So much more goes into these publications. The work by researchers/scientists, support staff, the editors, division directors, technical and peer reviewers, the PIFSC director who gives final approval. And there's also the publicity done by local and national outreach staff that work with authors to help promote their work .... As a librarian, I really enjoy doing my part by helping to make their research accessible to the public.
Being a contractor means you are part of a package. Contracting firms bid on positions and present candidates as part of the bid. In my case, I started as a contractor/librarian at the end of June, serving the NOAA PIFSC as an employee of Lynker Technologies, LLC. I filled the position of the outgoing librarian and served the contract to the end – which was today. It was a part-time position. I have no complaints about working with Lynker, but they didn't win the contract for the new full-time librarian/archivist position that begins tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I will begin my first day as an employee for an entirely new company: SMRC.
I can't really write too much else about it. The one thing I can say is I certainly learned a lot and think I will be better-prepared for future negotiations. The entire process was a good learning experience.
My foray into grant writing has yielded one bona fide submission of a completed grant proposal. I learned a lot. I sincerely hope the grant gets awarded because it would be a great contribution to scholarship by creating open access editions of some out of print backlist items that are no longer available – but win or lose – it was a valuable (albeit stressful) experience. I hope to write more grants in my future career as a librarian/archivist. Mahalo to UH Press for giving me a chance to do this for them!
Yesterday, I created my first-ever original bibliographic catalog record! I've been fortunate to volunteer in the past with the HoMA Archives and Collections Department, and am currently spending Saturdays in the museum's beautiful Robert Allerton Art Library. I'm lucky I can volunteer on Saturdays with Ellie Kim, who has been a great teacher and colleague. I'm discovering that I enjoy cataloging! I wasn't sure whether or not I would, and I do! This has been an invaluable experience since the recent NOAA position I got requires me to catalog. It took me almost 3 hours to create my first original record, but time flew as I analyzed this work by Japanese artist Ryojun Shirasaki!
It's extremely surreal to me ... but I've had the sudden great fortune of becoming a bona fide Librarian. I'm officially an employee of Lynker Technologies LLC, working at NOAA PIFSC in the IRC on Ford Island. I have to thank Thumy Webb, a fellow LIS alum I've always admired (and the outgoing NOAA Librarian) for all her help in this amazing opportunity.
My student position in the University Library's Pacific Collection these past 2+ years was coming to an end, and I had nothing lined up. Then luckily, through a random series of events, I found myself in a part-time position as the new Development and Digital Projects Specialist at the UH Press, just a little over a week before graduation. (For other graduates out there still looking, don't forget to look at HirenetHawaii.com for casual hire positions.) I'm enjoying the people and the atmosphere at the Press and find all of it stimulating and interesting. Katherine, who I'm replacing, is someone I highly respect (and also graduated with this semester). She's been making the transition a lot easier by showing me the essentials. I really wanted this position because it involves grant writing. I am so thankful to have this opportunity! Since this is a part-time position, I still need one more part-time job to pay the bills. I am really excited to be working here, and think itʻd be fantastic if I could work in a library or archives environment as a second part-time job.
On Friday, March 17th, I took the final oral exam required for all UH Manoa LIS graduate students who chose not to do the thesis option. We were given a list of questions in advance to choose from, and asked to present based on a particular track/area of study. No notes were allowed, and any citations made (some are required) had to be memorized.
The exam was a good exercise which provided a platform to reflect upon my education over the last 2.5 years and present it to a board of 2 faculty members. In addition to coursework, I drew upon my experiences at various internships, working in the Pacific Collection, and looking for other resources when I needed more info. I took the archives exam, and am happy I passed.
Dropping Mad Library Science!
Here is where I write about everything library and archives related going on.