The 2016-2017 school year was my busiest year in academic libraries. My role saw a number of shifts; I added art history as a department, broadened my collaborations with the College’s art museum, and now lead the LITS WordPress Team. To make room for these new developments, I realized I had to step away from some projects and committees. Transitions are always an opportune moment for reflections and I realized over the last few weeks that the last few years prepared me for these new and challenging roles.
On May 11, 2017, I sent off my last email as the Review Editor of dh+lib. I sent out my first one nearly four years ago to the date. I’ve loved being a Review Editor on that team, but I realized during this school year that it was time for me to step into a new phase of the dh+lib project to create more space for my growing campus commitments. It was sad to sign off for the last time, but I also felt proud of the work I’ve accomplished in collaboration with the other editors over the last four years. My colleagues even wrote a VERY touching farewell post.
My work with dh+lib prepared me for my new projects at Mount Holyoke. Deeper engagement with WordPress and sustained consideration about the editorial process prepared me to move forward on eportfolio projects and WordPress governance on campus. Working on the review with colleagues via email and video conference taught me how to engage in a large scale project asynchronously; I gained experience with project management and blended learning. I channeled that experience into the blended learning projects I consulted on which helped me grow into my role as an instructional designer.
Above all, the relationships I cultivated through this project have been the greatest gift. I’ve learned so much from my fellow editors, the content the editors-at-large selected, and from the original content that the site publishes. I am grateful to remain a part of this project as a contributing editor and the remain connected to many wonderful colleagues.
After preparing for a presentation about our eportfolio program at Mount Holyoke College at CLAC, I found myself deleting some old tweets after finding some with dead links devoid of context (I will own my memory work). I deleted a few tweets here and a few tweets there until I could not refresh my web view anymore. I downloaded my archive and began to read through my life as posted on Twitter since joining the service in April 2009. Times have changed.
In April 2009, I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts where I was finishing my library degree at Simmons College. I had a flip phone that did not count my steps.
Today, I live in Northampton, Massachusetts where I am gearing up for my eighth fall as an academic librarian. I have an iPhone that tracks my steps AND pays for coffee.
It was instructive to look back at my life through tweets since 2009 to remember milestones and miscellany. It was also a nice lens to reflect on how I’ve changed since then. Here are some icons and tweets to consider Caro Pinto, a life lived in tweets.
I’ve grown a lot personally and professionally since 2009. It was reassuring to reflect on that growth while realizing the road towards self-actualization and maturity is long. I’ll share this exercise with my students this fall as they undertake deep reflection as they build spaces on the internet to connect with others; lucky are those who have communities of practice and camaraderie to reflect on the long and recent past alike.
Since adopting a password manager in 2013, I’ve become more aware of all the accounts I’ve accumulated over the years and this tweet motivated me to evaluate whether or not I want to keep them. I installed a Chrome extension that shows you how to delete accounts that expedited the process of removing obvious choices. Soon after, I appraised my workflows, social networks, and applications. I eliminated more accounts namely Evernote, bitly, and Haiku Deck. Today, I am using fewer apps than I was in January: #winning.
I also read that tweet as a call to reclaim my attention. The fabulous podcast Note to Self recently discussed information overload and it really resonated with me. I often feel anxious that I am missing an essential conversation on Twitter or did not catch the must-read news article about the presidential election. I used to pride myself in my multitasking abilities, but now realize multitasking has led me to feel burned out and overloaded.
I also limited the number of icons that I see on the dock of my computer. I installed a Chrome extension to limit time spent on Facebook and Instagram. Rather than checking Twitter and Facebook for the latest articles in The New York Times or The Atlantic, I subscribed to newsletters that appear in my inbox every morning. The newsletters ensure I will see the articles I need to read. Now, I have a pleasant morning routine of drinking coffee and reading my newsletters. I don’t feel like I am chasing content like a hungry wolf anymore. Per #infomagical, I set information goals for myself; my morning routine and social network boundary help me meet them while maintaining my mental sanity.
Silicon Valley wants your attention; attention is a valuable currency that can translate into favorable stock prices. Social networks want new users to expand growth; they want you to log in, to click links, to view ads. They want you to feel FOMO; inflaming it with email updates and telling you what you’ve missed since you last logged into the sites. ‘Pay attention to me!’
Digital fluency, for me, is not just about mastery of tools; digital fluency is also the ability to set boundaries with those tools to meet your information needs and not Silicon Valley’s.
Last year, Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists was published by ACRL Press. I was very proud to contribute a chapter of my own. It was the very first time I saw my published work in print; quite a humbling experience.
Now, I am pleased to share the that book is available anyone and everyone to read online.
Spring has arrived in New England and so too has my new website. After nearly four years with the dot com domain and hosting through WordPress.com, I decided it was time to shift gears re-imagine my webspace. Several events precipitated the shift:
‘Doing Technology:’ After working in WordPress for Mount Holyoke projects and dh+lib, I realized that I knew enough to use a self-hosted instance of WordPress and dare I say, ENJOY IT MORE. All true. The projects at work and through dh+lib gave me new confidence that I can ‘do’ even MOAR technology.
Reclaim Hosting Colleagues here and there raved about the service and as I looked at pricing and features, I realized it would provide me with the space I needed to host my site AND a sandbox to try new things.
E-Portfolios! This fall, I was embedded in the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar where students lived the integrative learning life and produced online portfolios. Using my site as an example for critique/aspiration, I realized I wanted to review the contents of my site and reimagine it to reflect where I am now and where I might want to go. The seniors and I had many productive conversations about marketing versus presentation and as I revise this space, I am thinking about those issues in the types of information that people might seek from my virtual site.
Some aspects of the site are the same; there is a blog, you can get links to digital essays and journal articles I’ve written, a list of presentations given at various venues, and a sense of who I am. I definitely took a long break from blogging this winter which was refreshing after pushing out so much content over the last two years. More change is to come, but I feel refreshed by the promise of change and excited that the person who launched my original blogging space in 2011 is no longer the person typing this post in 2015. Thanks for all of you read what I write here; it has been instrumental in my evolution as a practicing librarchivist.