METRO is pleased to announce the Fall 2013 recipients of its Innovative Internship Program. The goals of METRO Innovative Internship Program are to support innovative work for graduate students and recent graduates entering the cultural heritage profession, fund otherwise unpaid internships, and foster original work within METRO-member institutions. More details, as well as the final reports of last year's recipients, can be found on the program’s webpage.
We received an excellent pool of applications. Though we could not fund them all, we encourage all students, recent graduates, and METRO member institutions to apply to the Spring 2014 round of funding.
Three Innovative Internships received funding for the Fall 2013 academic semester. The recipients are:
Houda El Mimouni, Recent Graduate. Houda will be helping to further integrate User Experience (UX) practices and methods in the development of resources and services across NYU Libraries, including user centered library interface design and development, and assisting departments with UX-related research and training. Houda will also help NYU Libraries in piloting a UX lab, designed to help NYU staff incorporate user centered processes in the design and development of interfaces, tools, and services.
What we liked about the project: The “liaison librarian” role has received increased attention of late and liaison roles oriented around specific technology-oriented tools strike us as a particularly innovative way of expanding the services librarians can provide. We also liked the diversity of Houda’s internship project proposal – it consists of instructional work, research and reference support, hardware and software evaluation, and policy development. Library services focused on usability testing and overall user experience have the potential to help expand the ways librarians can can their patrons develop and sustain digital projects.
Joshua Richardson, Intern Project Manager. Joshua will be selecting a funded intern to assist with a “first-of-its-kind evaluation of systemic review software tools.” Working with the Assistant Library Director for Clinical Services and the Assistant Library Director for Research Digital Services at the Weill Cornell Medical Library, the intern selected to participate in the project will “review three to five systematic review tools and assess their usability based on a well-validated evaluation framework: The Nielsen-Shneiderman Usability Heuristic Framework (1994)... The results from this effort will be disseminated in a published peer-reviewed article of which the intern will be a co-author.” This work will support systematic reviews that have the potential to “improve clinical decision-making” and will facilitate collaboration between medical librarians and the clinical and research community.
What we liked about the project: Making informed decisions about library technology tools and infrastructure is an essential skill of librarianship, yet one not always taught in every MLIS curriculum. In addition, critical evaluation of software tools supporting a specialized research mission or specific discipline is a skill that has potential to broaden the career prospects of information professionals. Subject specialists and data services librarians will be expected not only to know the intellectual contours of their specific subject domain, but also be able to evaluate the software and hardware that supports and enables disciplinary work. The intern working on Joshua’s project will gain excellent exposure to making software decisions that have a broad impact on improving efficiency, providing recommendations of software, and supporting research practices.
Kevin Saw, Graduate Student. Kevin will be working in the Leonard Lief Library at Lehman College where he will be helping expand the Roving Reference Librarian program. The program involves “librarians, equipped with an iPad and a laptop, roving around the library building, and perhaps around other parts of the campus, actively seeking to help students, as well as actively promoting this and other library services.” Piloted in Spring 2013 to great success, the Roving Reference program will be expanded with increased staffing, more promotion, and more formalized methods of assessment. Kevin with work to support both the day-to-day activities of the Roving Reference service, including as a reference librarian, and will also help develop the program’s promotional campaign, marketing materials, develop surveys, track metrics, create assessment, and help refine overall policies.
What we liked about the project: We liked that Kevin will be working to formalize and expand a creative service that aims to reconfigure how reference services are delivered. After being launched as a pilot-project and proving successful, the Roving Reference program is scaling up and Kevin will be working to support that expansion as well as to develop more specialized tools for measuring the program’s impact and qualitative metrics. We liked the mix of promotional work, reference services, and evaluative responsibilities that are part of Kevin’s project, as well as the fact that he will be directly involved with managing a novel service as it moves from a pilot phase to a wider implementation.
Congratulations to these three Innovative Internship funding recipients! METRO is glad to be able to support these innovative projects and we look forward to hearing more from them as they progress.