July 12, 2015, 8:54 pm

The Library Renewal @ Georgia Tech. Interview with Ameet Doshi

I started this blog when I worked at Georgia Tech so perhaps it is fitting that one of my final posts is about that library.

Here is an interview with Ameet Doshi, Director, Service Experience & Program Design. He talks about moving the collection off-campus and the new types of spaces and services they are developing. It’s a very ambitious plan and I would expect nothing less from that library.

Here is a snippet from their white paper that sets up the transformation:

A majority of the Library’s physical collection — the very core of all preconceived notions of what a research library is and how librarians serve — is leaving the Georgia Tech Library space. Even without these books, we are still a research library.

And here is a promo video that outlines the concept:

Tell me about the renewal. What’s the goal?

AD: The goal is to become…

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July 12, 2015, 6:45 pm

The Library Research Building

You’re probably familiar with the concept of the dedicated Research Library — UCLA has a nice one. My dean and I have been soft pitching a new variation, which we call the Library Research Building.

Hunt Library’s Creativity Studio, a high-tech “white box” space that runs the most advanced version of the Navy’s Mariner Skills Simulator.

The idea came to me when visiting Hunt Library and seeing the Naval simulator space along with the Institute for Emerging Issues.

What if we could develop building focused on spaces and services for researchers? Just as you can check out a book or a laptop – what if you could check out a workspace for you and your team (center, institute, lab, etc) for an extended period of time?

We imagine that the majority of such a building would be designated for limited-term grant project…

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July 12, 2015, 4:51 pm

Interdisciplinary Studios — incubation space for semester long projects

Burchard Hall, Virginia Tech

I’ve always been inspired by architecture studios on campus. There is an unmatched sense of camaraderie that develops by spending a lot of time working together in a shared space. I’ve seen variations of this, mostly for graduate students, where people have assigned desks, tables, or cubicles together often near labs or other work areas. Most undergrads, however, don’t have this available to them.

Obviously anyone can come into the library and work on assignments—but it’s temporary or ephemeral.  Libraries offer a host of labs, studios, and commons areas but you go there, work a bit, and then leave.

What if we could take the architecture studio concept (a dedicated spot for a whole semester) and open that to a variety of disciplines?

We’re going to try it in January.


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July 12, 2015, 2:46 pm

Interrogating a Garment Or: The Rise of the Research Question (and the Decline of the Thesis)

I want to draw your attention to a forthcoming book:

 A Guided Inquiry Approach To Teaching The Humanities Research Project

  • Randell Schmidt (head librarian at Gill St. Bernard’s School)
  • Emilia Giordanois (assistant librarian at Gill St. Bernard’s School)
  • Geoffrey Schmidt (director of curriculum and instruction at Phoenix Charter School)


The book was written for teachers, librarians, or students in high school or early college and explores how to research, write, and present a humanities research project and paper.

From Randell:

 As access to the information terrain has both broadened and deepened, students can now use a greater variety of types of sources to find information about questions they may choose to research. Some sources are traditional often textual sources. Others are non-textual and may require an interaction with the information that a student has…

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July 12, 2015, 12:43 pm

Inspiring Work: putting student output on a large monitor


I mentioned in an earlier post that we are framing our library commons as a showroom of knowledge. We curate an assortment of student output (every discipline in any format) and spread it across the library. We constantly refresh the content and aim to make it interactive when possible.

This actually begins as soon as people enter the building. Last fall we installed a 120-inch display in our lobby. It is four screens so we can put up one big image or four separate ones.  We can display any type of multimedia from videos and simulations, to graphics, text, and web content.

The aim is for people to feel uplifted as they enter the library. People build their ideas here. I want to prime you for a scholarly experience.

We’re working on a process now for self-submittal. We’re also talking with a number of instructors on how they could package course assignments thematically.

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July 12, 2015, 12:18 pm

Building Knowledge Together: Interactive Course Exhibits as Project-Based Learning


A program I’m proud of at Virginia Tech is something we call Course Exhibits. The philosophy behind it is that there are all these great conversations happening behind the closed doors of the classroom—what if we could make that public?

We provide a visible space in the library and offer a wide variety of components: digital screens, display cases, projection, large format printing, etc. We can also do a lot of customized work such as wood structures, 3D printed items, and fabric. On top of that we also provide technical and design support.


A number of faculty have taken us up on this and each time we improve. But it’s definitely not an easy sell. “Build an interactive exhibit” is intimidating if you’re not in a design major. I’ve encountered a handful of professors who like the concept but are concerned about student pushback. As we do more of these I’m hopefully…

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July 10, 2015, 2:03 pm

Two UX Tables

Final few days around here–  blog ends Wednesday (July 15)

I wanted to share two tables from a talk I gave with Steven Bell and Paul Zenke at ACRL 2013.

Experience is Everything: Making the Case for Moving Beyond Usability to Totality

This first one was assembled by Paul who is now the Director of Academic Technology in the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at Stanford. The term “user experience” was being used to mean a lot of different things and so we tried to shape the context a little.


Paul Zenke, 2013

And Marie Mosman – Project Designer at FOX Architects, assembled this one. She was an architecture student at Virginia Tech when we worked together. I’ve often heard people talk about individual work and group work — we aimed to challenge that a bit and tried to…

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July 9, 2015, 8:39 pm

Lost in the Stacks: the research-library rock’n’roll radio show

I’ve been a long time fan of Lost in the Stacks – a weekly radio show out of Georgia Tech. I had a chance to catch up with Charlie Bennett (Undergraduate Programming & Engagement Librarian) and Ameet Doshi (Director, Service Experience & Program Design) about the show and how it has progressed since launching in 2010.

Tell me about Lost in the Stacks. How did it start? How has it evolved? How do you measure success?

CB: Lost in the Stacks is the one-and-only research-library rock’n’roll radio show. Every Friday at noon on WREK Atlanta (Georgia Tech’s radio station), we broadcast an hour-long mix of music, library talk, interviews, in-jokes, and the occasional short piece, all connected to the theme for the day. After 263 shows (as of July 4th, 2015), we’ve had themes of all kinds, from coffee shops to high-density storage facilities to metadata creation to professional…

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July 9, 2015, 3:51 pm

Meditation & Data: toward greater well-being

A month ago I started meditating. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I recently returned to Apple with an iPhone 6. It included the Heath App, which I had not seen before. It’s basically a pedometer although it has other features as well. I was curious about how far (or actually how little) I walked each day. I discovered I was only covering about two miles. Simply having that data propelled me to walk more.

It’s addictive! I started using stairs and going the long way. Anything to get a few extra steps in. I realized though that I didn’t always have my phone and felt my numbers were inaccurate. And if I forgot my phone then I didn’t want to walk too much because I wasn’t getting credit.


fitbit tracking miles

This led to me purchasing a fitbit in mid-May. Since then I have walked at least 10,000…

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July 9, 2015, 12:12 pm

The Winnower: a “radical” publishing platform that encourages debate. Interview with Josh Nicholson

Josh Nicholson

Josh Nicholson

I discovered The Winnower at an open access event at Virginia Tech several years ago. Josh Nicholson, a PhD candidate at the time, was on a panel session discussing the merits of OA. He recently earned his degree (cell biology) and is focused on building a publishing platform.

I admire the DIY aspect of his work and the founding principle that all ideas in should be discussed and debated. Our correspondence highlights what he is developing and how it is different from the intuitional repository movement.

Tell me about your academic background and your work at Virginia Tech. 

JN: I finished my BS in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental biology in 2008 at UC Santa Cruz.  While there I worked in a lab for a few years and also wrote for the health and science section for the student run newspaper,…

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