Authenticity Project update: preparing for DLF - by guest author Raquel Donahue

September 9, 2019
Catherine A. Aster

Stanford University’s Cathy Aster, Product and Service Manager in Digital Library Systems and Services graciously invited me to write a second guest blog post for the Digital Library Blog earlier this year, so here I am, belatedly taking her up on that generous offer. (You can read my first blog post from April here.) We were lucky to have met up this past May at the 2019 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL) hosted by UT Austin where I gave a lightning talk on the Authenticity Project  Fellowship – a joint, IMLS grant-funded effort between CLIR/DLF and the HBCU Library Alliance of which we are both a part, and my role within it. It was my first conference presentation outside of my employer, and I was nervous, but more than a little ready to clear that milestone. I’ve been fortunate to have Cathy’s guidance this year while I manage a few professional milestones with much thanks to her encouragement and it was a joy to meet in person. The image below shows Cathy, Raquel and Becca Quon from DLF at TCDL in May 2019.

Cathy Aster (Stanford), Raquel Donahue (Prairie View AandM), Becca Quon (DLF) at the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, Austin, TX, May 2019

As my volunteer Conversation Partner in the project, she’s been doing a lot of heavy lifting in the role, and I’m incredibly grateful. Alongside Melissa Wisner, IT Projects and Portfolio Manager at North Carolina State University Libraries, who serves as Conversation Partner to my fellow Mentee, Raeshawn McGuffie, Assistant Director of Technical Services at Hampton University, they are guiding the two of us through preparing and implementing our first panel presentation: “The DLF and HBCU LA Authenticity Project: A Personal and Professional Review” at the DLF Forum 2019 on Tuesday October 15th. Cathy and Melissa will be joining us in the panel along with a recent arrival to our panel planning efforts, project Mentor and Assistant Head of Digital Services, Joshua Hogan of Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library – a very important addition to our panel who can provide much needed perspective on the project’s mentor role. In addition to our perspectives and experiences within the project, we’ll be discussing the results of our “[2019] CLIR/DLF + HBCU Library Alliance “Authenticity Project” Fellowship Program - Summer Survey” that sought voluntary feedback from all project participants in July/August of this year, which netted 39 of 45 possible responses. We also plan to deploy a follow-up survey at the end of the program to gain additional insight into participant experiences and perspectives. Having gone from zero conference presentations to two under my belt already with two more to go, plus a few guest blog posts, I can say that this project has already afforded me some new and wonderful opportunities and professional connections; it has really expanded my professional comfort zone. I’m excited to learn what this experience has provided for other cohort fellows.

The amount of planning, organization, consideration, and collaborative effort that goes into preparing a panel presentation among five members situated along all three U.S. coasts is considerable, and there have been no shortage of personal challenges periodically asserting themselves to thwart our effort, but our collective persistence has paid off. The DLF Forum in Tampa, Florida is just five weeks away, and with Hurricane Dorian well clear of Florida and our east coast panel members, it doesn't appear that anything stands to stop us from presenting.

Come November, I’ll also be participating in a web conference with Cathy and her Stanford Libraries colleagues to share what I’ve learned during the Authenticity Project, in addition to any insight afforded to me by my early-career librarian role at this beautiful, 143-year old, land-grant HBCU in rural Texas called Prairie View A&M University. I’ll get to talk about what it’s like serving our incredible student body and their proud traditions, and I can only hope that I do them both justice.

Mrs. Raquel K. Donahue, MLS
Reference & Instruction Librarian
Instruction Liaison to College of Juvenile Justice & Psychology &
Division of Social Work, Behavioral & Political Sciences;
Collection Development Liaison to Sociology
Prairie View A&M University
John B. Coleman Library (Office 126A)
P.O. Box 519; M.S. 1040
Prairie View, Texas 77446
Ph. 936.261.1505 | FAX 936.261.1538
rkwilliams@pvamu.edu | https://www.pvamu.edu/library/
twitter: @RaquelKWilliams

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