Digital liaisons: Shifting borders in interdisciplinary collaborations



As the line between libraries and other information environments starts to blur with digital initiative collaborations, so do the distinctions between specific professions, roles, and duties within these contexts. Given the changing landscape, up-and-coming professionals at the undergraduate and master's degree level as well as recent graduates are greatly impacted by these innovations. Providing these early professionals with a venue for showcasing their budding expertise is critical for continuing this cycle of innovation. The proposed session features posters and presentations from undergraduate and master's students and early professionals which highlight their research, contributions and professional experiences related to the evolution and shifting borders of digital information environments.


In 2011, the SIG Digital Libraries hosted an interactive session featuring the work of master's students and early professionals on curating the information life cycle. Topics presented included internship experiences with prestigious data curation centers, academic libraries, and museums, with focus on, for example, metadata standards projects and digital humanities. To increase the benefits to presenters, the option of showcasing their work in absentia through video or sending in a poster was offered. As the emerging vanguard of future information professionals, participants provided insight and revelations into the state of digital initiative opportunities and how they affect newcomers to the field.

One observation from the event was that the presenters often had direct access to practical experience that is not immediately available to all students. By sharing their discoveries with each other, students were able to engage in an end-of-session discussion that resulted in a commentary on the state of LIS education and required skill sets. As a result, the panel not only served as a valuable presentation venue but also became a networking symposium environment.

The SIG Digital Libraries proposes a sequel to last year's session that focuses on how the borders between specific digital domains and disciplines are being broken down to create exciting new ventures and initiatives. Potential topics would include:

  • The intersection between digital archives and digital curation

  • Internships in archival, library, repository, research, and other environments

  • The integration of data curation duties into traditional librarian roles

  • Collaborators and stakeholders in the creation of digital initiatives

  • Data and digital literacy

  • Policies and intellectual property issues in data and digital curation

  • Relationships between e-Science, e-Research, and digital humanities

  • Trends in digital library, repository, archives, and other cyberinfrastructure

  • The “personal” (i.e. soft skills) involved in digital initiatives

  • User communication and interactions

  • Digital initiatives outside of academic and research environments


The panel is targeted toward undergraduate, master's, and early professionals in recognition that they have current or recent experience in an LIS program, and is aimed at those likely to enter positions of practice rather than teaching. While it is understandable that developed research is traditionally the domain of PhD candidates, faculty, and professionals, it is important to remember that library and information school programs are still largely for master's degrees. Undergraduate students are also a valuable audience due to the recent trend to recruit candidates earlier for master's programs and increase in bachelors programs in information science. Additionally, the increasing gap between when a student graduates and is employed affects the opportunities an individual has to stay current on trends in information. As with last year, participants will again be able to present in absentia. Travel support will be given for the best student paper and best student poster presented.

Specific goals that the SIG Digital Libraries hopes to achieve are:

  • Provide an opportunity for students at the undergraduate, master's degree and early professional level to present at a national conference as well as have their work published in an informal proceedings to be hosted online by SIG Digital Libraries.

  • Provide presenters with the opportunity to interact with peers and veteran ASIS&T members.

  • Increase the participation and recruitment of individual student members and student chapters within the annual meeting.


The moderator will be Ms. Tina Jayroe, a member of the SIG DL Executive committee and Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, School of Information Studies. Michael Leach, head of collection development at the Cabot Science Library, Harvard University and adjunct professor at Simmons College will provide the plenary remarks. Dr. June Abbas, Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Oklahoma will provide the plenary speech. The student presenters will be selected through an open call for proposals starting in June and continue until September 15 to accommodate the start of the academic school year.


For this event, students would be asked to submit poster and lightning talk proposals that address the changing landscape of the digital environment. Proposals can include, but are not limited to, past research, case studies, internship/work experiences, and current projects on relevant topics.

Up to 10 poster submissions and 5 lightning talk submissions will be selected to present during the session. Submissions may be solo or group proposals. Both posters and lightning talk proposals would be selected based on the following criteria: relevancy of topics to the SIG DL mission and panel theme, feasibility of presentation within a compressed format, and originality of research. All research would be expected to be purely the student(s)' work and could include schoolwork, internship reflections, work related experience, and independent interests. Student chapters from all professional organizations are also encouraged to submit joint proposals. All abstracts, posters, and PowerPoint presentations will be compiled into a proceedings PDF to be posted on the SIG DL website.

The panel would take place as a single session during the main conference. At the start of the panel, poster presenters will have an opportunity to interact with attendees and receive feedback on their work. Posters would be displayed around the room for the entire session, including during the lightning talks. Students who cannot attend the session would be allowed to send in their poster ahead of time and have a member of the organizing committee set it up for them.

Lightning talks would consist of 5–10 minute presentations with no more than 10 PowerPoint/Prezi/etc slides (optional). Presenters could alternatively present a video if they prefer. Students who wish to present in absentia would be encouraged to submit in video format.


The session would run according to the following timetable:  

Table  . 
Pre-panel:15 minute Poster set up
During panel: 
15 minutesPoster browsing
10 minutesOpening remarks/keynote
40 minutesLightning talks and videos
10 minutesPlenary remarks
15 minutesInteractive discussion
Post panel:15 minute Poster take down
Maximum time proposed:90 minutes (if more time is possible we would like to extend the discussion session).

During the event, attendees would be asked to fill out a paper or computerized survey to provide feedback on the event and presentations.

Potentially interested SIGS

This event would be of immediate relevance to SIG Digital Libraries, SIG Knowledge Management, and SIG Education for Information Science. Students, professionals, and educators may also be interested in the opportunity to learn about the work being undertaken at peer institutions and contribute to the discussion.