Monday, April 14, 2014

Uniform Documentation Policies and Procedures (Part One)

[This is meant to be a series of posts that will illustrate the importance and the process of creating a set of uniform documentation policies and procedures for a large organization that has many physical locations.]


Uniform documentation policies and procedures are vital to any organization.




The creation of documentation is often formatted differently, created with different tools, are stored in a variety of locations and use inconsistent terms throughout the organization.

One obvious improvement to the creation and utilization of documentation includes creating, modeling and using a style guide throughout the organization.

 
This style guide should be created by the departments and approved by management.  This will increase transparency and "buy in." 

Another, less obvious improvement to create a uniform and efficient documentation system throughout your organization is to have a classification style guide as well as a writing style guide.

This will ensure that documentation is stored in the proper location and can be accessed/found easily in times of need, or for review.

I will talk about two distinct aspects in this post:

1. Creation of standards and procedures


Descriptions of set of  content creation tools

Descriptions of Storage tools

Description of content creation tools and storage locations

 
2. Develop training & materials for staff on writing technical documentation:



Guiding Principles: 


Training of staff using standards and procedures developed from user needs assessments, interviews and current departmental best practices

Training is individual to department, but uniform in standards and procedures.
 
Starting with objective/learning outcomes:

Trainees will know the correct place to create and to publish documentation.

Trainees will understand the difference between publishing and creating content and which tools to use for each process.

Trainees will know how to maintain documentation and how, when, and where to archive or destroy obsolete documents.

Trainees will understand the need for accessing documentation on a variety of formats, e.g. Mobile devices, etc….

Trainees will understand the importance of using a variety of formats, e.g. video, tutorials, etc….

Everyone has their own learning style/s and best practices dictate that information be presented in a variety of formats to increase the reach of the documentation.  



To be continued...


Friday, March 14, 2014

More Information from BCALA

From Jerome Offord, Jr.


Colleagues:



Thank you for the notes of support and the quiet concerns. However, I want to make sure you understand the purpose of the press release and BCALA's intent. Please allow me to provide you a timeline of events.



·        In the fall of 2013, BCALA leadership received a note regarding the Orlando Conference and the Stand Your Ground issues in the State of Florida.

·        The aforementioned question sparked dialogue on the Executive Board electronic list.

·        Several board members requested that this issue be on the January 2014 Executive Board Midwinter Meeting agenda.

·        During the Midwinter Meeting, the Executive Board discussed this issue at length and the Board voted that BCALA should go on record expressing our concern about the implementation and interpretation of the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida and the ALA 2016 Annual Conference scheduled to be in Orlando, FL.

·        The Executive Board shared this issue with BCALA’s ALA Liaison during the Executive Board meeting during Midwinter.

·        I, along with VP Watson, shared BCALA’s concerns with the leaders from the ethnic affiliates and ALA during our meeting at Midwinter.

·        I shared BCALA’s concern during the ALA Affiliates Luncheon during Midwinter.

·        I, along with VP Watson, shared BCALA’s concerns during the JCLC meeting with the ethnic affiliates.

·        During the membership meeting on Sunday night, this issue was brought to the forefront when I announced that the Executive Board had taken action and the members affirmed the board’s decision.

·        On January 28, 2014, at 8:57 p.m., in a message titled, Updates From Midwinter, I shared, that “The Executive Board voted to authorize the President to pen a letter to express the BCALA’s concerns and discontent with the 2016 Annual conference location (Orlando, FL) because of the gross misinterpretation of, and poor implementation of, the Stand Your Ground Law in the State of Florida vs. Zimmerman case."

  • After issuing the press release, a note was sent to ALA leadership regarding the matter and formally requested a meeting.
  • Today, though I was not available, ALA President, Barbara Stripling, did reach out and I will follow-up with her tomorrow


Therefore, I attest that this issue was not a surprise.  We verbally shared this with others prior to leaving Midwinter. 



To be blatantly clear, BCALA did not and has not called for a boycott of the 2016 conference.  I want to remind each of you to understand that your leaders were sensitive to the matter, while understanding the stance.  Please do not allow others to use our concern as a way to divide and/or isolate BCALA, Inc., its members, and/or its leaders.  Again, we did NOT call for a boycott.



As President of BCALA, Inc., it is my duty and obligation to follow the will of the governing body of this august organization.  Your executive board, and the members, want to be heard on this issue. 

Your leaders are aware that ALA, an organization that we all pay dues to, has a financial obligation and contract. We are aware that the possibility of moving the conference is near impossible. However, the impossibilities and challenges regarding the Orlando conference does not mean that we should or shall remain silent about an issue that impacts our communities and people we serve.



As President of BCALA, Inc., I stand firm in fulfilling my duty.  I remain committed to this organization and our profession. As a leader, one must decide to either lead or not.  This situation, as a leader, reminds me of a quote by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”  The others, for me, are those on the Executive Board and those members who affirmed the need for me to speak up on behalf of BCALA, Inc.

As conversations develop with ALA Leadership, I will continue to update you.  Have a blessed day!



Jerome

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Black Caucus of ALA Denounces ALA’s Decision to Hold 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Black Caucus of ALA Denounces ALA’s Decision to Hold 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. 

For immediate release: March 10, 2014

Media Contact: Jason Alston, jasonalston@gmail.com

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), condemns the American Library Association’s (ALA) decision to continue with plans to hold the ALA 2016 annual conference in Orlando, Fla. in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict and that state’s refusal to revise or repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws, which were included in jury instructions in Zimmerman’s trial for second degree murder for fatally shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. in 2012.
BCALA believes that “Stand Your Ground” laws enable a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality against African-American men perceived without merit to be threats or assumed without evidence to be engaged in criminal behavior. Kenneth Nunn, a professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, wrote in the New York Times in 2012 that, “African-Americans, black males in particular, have been constructed in popular culture as violence-prone and dangerous,” and that this construct produces a fear in Americans that deadly force against such people is consequently reasonable in general.

BCALA therefore contends that Florida law should require more than perception of a threat before use of deadly force is deemed justifiable. BCALA predicts “Stand Your Ground” will be used in future killings where racial bias played a factor in the actions of the accused. Months after the Zimmerman verdict, another travesty of justice occurred when a Florida jury failed to convict Michael Dunn of murder for shooting into a car and killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn said he fired because he felt threatened by Davis and other Black teens in a car Davis was riding in, but the unarmed Davis had not exited his vehicle or physically confronted Dunn. Dunn was convicted only for attempted murder after he continued firing at the vehicle as the teenagers attempted to flee.  
BCALA believes that ALA, which claims various commitments to diversity and tolerance, should have begun plans to find a new venue for ALA 2016 following the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman. BCALA must question ALA’s true commitment to diversity and racial tolerance when ALA, North America’s largest and strongest library association, still plans to hold its largest and most financially lucrative function in a state that has become Ground Zero in initiating weapons laws, as well as voting policies, that potentially put the rights and safety of African-Americans at risk. ALA annual conferences are generally well-documented and publicized, and BCALA fears that librarians, 20,000 strong, conducting business and spending money in Orlando will negate any claim that librarians have to being advocates of equality and social justice. 

BCALA, rather, is committed to creating, supporting and cheerleading initiatives that facilitate success in young Black males. The organization is particularly encouraged by President Barack Obama’s recent unveiling of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which the president hopes will, “(I)mprove significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color (including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans) and their contributions to U.S. prosperity.” An initiative to support Black male success coming from national leadership will hopefully catch on with those who otherwise wouldn’t care or would see these youths as a threat.
BCALA was formally established in 1970 and remains the forefront networking and professional development vehicle for African-American librarians. An independent non-profit organization, BCALA sponsors scholarships and travel assistance, produces a quarterly publication and holds a biennial conference. BCALA serves in an advisory role to the American Library Association and collaborates with other ethnic affiliate organizations on diversity initiatives in libraries. More information about BCALA is available at www.bcala.org.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Powerocks Super MagicStick Review Part Two

I've had the Super MagicStick since November and it has served me well.

From recharging my Iphone on a snow hike to recharging my Iphone on my nightstand, it is a great tool and I recommend it.

Small and portable, I can throw it in my backpack, or put in in a pocket.  I like the various colors they come in and the price is decent.

It charges my phone pretty fast and stores two full charges.  

If you are in the market for a charger for your phone--it has a USB and Micro USB plug--so it is can be used on many phone models.  

The price range is from 22.00 to about 30.00 depending on where you purchase the product.






Product Features

  • Has a one-amp charge rate (same as home chargers)

  • Depending on your phone's battery, you can get one-two full charges from one Magicstick charge

  • Large capacity 2600mAh portable battery keeps your cell phone or smartphone powered while on the go

  • Small and convenient for traveling

  • Compatible with cell phones, smartphones, and media players

  • Has one USB port with 5V / 1A output for rapid charging

  • Recharge via the included Micro-USB charging cable

  • Features a charge-level indicator

  • Powers iPhone, Android phones, other smartphones, and many other devices

  • Environmentally friendly (ROHS compliant)

  • CE, UL, FCC approved



Check out Powerocks Super MagicStick!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ten D2L Retention Strategies


Ten D2L Retention Strategies
By Max Macias 2/2014




  1. Email the class their assignments for the week via D2L email every Monday to make sure everyone is kept abreast of where they are supposed to be and the time frames for the class.

  1. Create a Google Calendar and share it with the class.  Either embedd it, or send it to your students via email.  Have all the class assignments on entered on the calendar and the due dates clearly stated.  

  1. Embed your Google Class Calendar in your news feed with the D2L embed tool.  Tell your students they can click on events in the calendar and directly copy them to their own personal calendars.

  1. Give clear feedback that lets the student know what they are doing well, and what they need to work on to get the outcomes for the class.   

  1. Make comments on the student’s documents with the “insert comment” tool.  

  1. Contact Students via Dropbox list, when dropbox assignments are late.  Simply check off the boxes next to the student names who have not turned in the assignment, then click “email” and you can BCC these students with the message that that particular assignment is late.

  1. Listen to the students and work with them when it comes to due dates and turning in missing assignments.  We want the students to learn, not just to turn assignments in on time.  While a schedule is vital, so is human understanding and family life.  

  1. Use your student evaluation feedback to help you improve retention.  Students will tell us much of what they need, either different time frames for assignments, or suggestions in content change can be helpful in retaining students.  

  1. Use CPN* notification system to notify students who are falling behind, or who are doing well in the class.  This is an official notification and carries more weight than an email “reminder” from the instructor.

  1. Use the CPN system repeatedly, giving both affirmations and reminders that work is due and that the student can still pass the class.

     *Course Progress Notification system

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship Review by Max Macias



Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship Review
by Max Macias


Last fall I had the honor of being asked to review the much anticipated Pathways to Progress: Issues and Advances in Latino Librarianship; edited by John L. Ayala and Salvador Güereña.  This book is a collection of essays by Latino Librarian/Advocates on Latino Librarianship.  It is part of a series called Latinos and Libraries Series, published by Libraries Unlimited.  I do not have time to write about every essay in the book--there are 12 chapters and 17 pieces written by some of the leaders of the Latino Library Movement.  



Chapter one is by Dr. Sergio Chaparro and is entitled: Common Denominators in the Development of Latino Library Leadership.  This chapter was far too short and underdeveloped.  It was surfacy and generally vague without references to the diversity within the “Latino” label.  It was supposed to outline and discuss some ideas and methods to create and empower a new group of managers and library directors who can advocate for Latinos and Hispanics in librarianship and in LIS programs.  Dr. Chapparo is correct in his observations that more Latinos should be in library management/administration.  He is also correct that there must be more research on Latinos in libraries and Latinos in general. 

Collection Development: an Overview for the Spanish Speaking by Sara Martinez is the 2nd chapter.  This chapter is wonderful and akin to a mini-handbook on Spanish Language Collection Processes.  She even has tips on distribution contacts and how to outreach to the Spanish Speaking Community in general.  This is a solid chapter and is invaluable to anyone who is collecting or is about to begin to collect, or is even thinking about collecting Spanish Language Materials for their library. 

Public Library Services and Latino Children: Getting it right in the 21st Century by Oralia Garza de Cortés is the 3rd chapter in this wonderful book.  She begins the chapter with a history of Latino Librarianship in children’s services.  Oralia goes then analyzes and criticizes the Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library program.  She then talks about first languages in the home and how they relate to literacy.  Oralia next describes REFORMA’s place in the struggle to serve Latino Children in Spanish by describing various programs that REFORMA has developed by itself and in partnership with aspect of ALA. 
Oralia goes on to describe the explosive growth of the Latino population in the US and then gives us the wonderful gift of “Ten Principles for Providing Comprehensive Library Services to Latino Children and Families.”   Every principle she gives is powerful and would/will truly impact services in this vital area.  This is one of the stronger chapters in the anthology. 

Chapter 4:  Academic Libraries: Pathways to Transforming Teaching, Learning and Relationships in Chicano and Latino Studies by Luévano, etal. covers the “...best methods used to integrate information fluency skills into ethnic studies department curricula?”  One conclusion is that “Academic Librarians must become more involved in faculty and curriculum development.”  Librarians must spend more time creating learning materials for class and the library. This chapter is okay, but is more on the theoretical/academic side.  

Chapter 5:  Special Libraries and Collections:  Invisible as Night, Implacable as Wind” California and Multicultural Archives (CEMA): The First 20 Years by Erica Bennett is an excellent history of this organization.  Ms. Bennett surveys the history, demographic developments in the US, the importance of Latino/Hispanic archives in general and specifically CEMA.  She goes on to describe the place of CEMA in the 21st century and ends with an excellent chronology of CEMA. 

Chapter 6:  Special Collections: The Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries by Mariá R. Estorino is a nice description of the collection, it’s importance and future as a major resource for Latino/Hispanic research.  Chapter 7 is a beautiful piece by the late and great tatiana de la tierra entitled Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Lesbian, Queer: Being there: Queer Latin@ Representation in the Library discusses the problems, and possible solutions of the lack of representation in libraries of Latino Queer Librarians, and the lack of representation in library collections as a result of the lack of Latino Queer Librarians and allies. 

Chapter 8 is Recruiting and Mentoring: Proactive Mentoring: Attracting Hispanic American Students into Information Studies by Alma C. Ortega and Marisol Ramos tries to answer the question of why efforts to recruit Hispanic students into Library Science has so far failed and what might be done about this with solid mentoring and recruitment.  This essay was almost the first time I had heard anyone else, besides myself, talk about the importance of recruiting non-Spanish Speaking Hispanic students into LIS.  Proactive recruiting and mentoring are major focuses of this chapter.  It ends with some illustrative case studies. 
Chapter 9 is Leadership in Libraries: Latino Leadership in Libraries by Luis Herrera discusses the history, present and future of Latino leadership in libraries in the US.  While this chapter offers some insight into the history of this topic, it offers little in practical and effective leadership implementation for Latinos in libraries.  I found this article trite, and full of “7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders” types of advice.  While it offers some insight into how current Latino Library leaders see leadership--it doesn’t address the lack of change and current Latino librarian lack of impact in making libraries more welcoming to Latinos in the US. 

Chapter 10 is Digital Resource: Developing Chicano/a Latino/a Digital Resources by Alexander Hauschild addresses the dilemma of making digital resources that relate to Chicano/a or Latino/a history available widely.  This chapter mainly focuses on how to get the resources that exist linked up to one another and to outside sources for more availability. 

Chapter 11 is a collection of conference presentation the topics range from “A Personal Commitment to the Committee to Recruit Mexican American Librarians” by John L. Ayala to LGBT Archives by Yolanda Retter Vargas.  Chapter 12 discusses the role of library associations in relation to Latino librarianship--it ends with an historical overview of REFORMA. 
            In general, I would say that this book is well worth the price:  52.25.  This book has solid information and background for understanding the issues Latino Librarianship in the US face, the history of Latinos in LIS and potential paths to the future for Latinos and those who would serve this population in US libraries.  Kudos to John Ayala and Salvador Güereña for creating this practical and informative collection of essays!  My main criticism is the lack of radical ideas, or any real strength when it comes to confronting the racism and prejudice we (Latinos/Hispanics/Indigenous) face in US libraries.  We need an analysis of the impact of the Colonial Educational System on our knowledge--particularly when it comes to identity, culture and our heritage.  While all these essays gave practical steps to help Latinos in the current milieu, we need to have alternative futures that change or operate outside the current system--which is fundamentally, White supremacist, Patriarchal, Heterosexual, Classist and Misogynistic.  I look forward to seeing this change in analysis as a result of the practical advice given by the authors in this fine work.


  • Series: Latinos and Libraries Series
  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited (November 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591586445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591586449
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7 x 10.2 inches


Max Macias
Silverton, Oregon
January, 2014

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