ARLIS/NA + VRA Joint Conference: Reflections from a DLF Cross-Pollinator

Meagan DueverMeagan Duever (2015 DLF + VRA Cross-Pollinator)
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Librarian
University of Georgia Libraries’ Map & Government Information Library




It sounds very cliché to say that I enjoyed the ARLIS/NA + VRA Joint Conference or that I learned a lot in the sessions, but both these statements are very much true. The Digital Library Federation and the Visual Resources Association have quite a few common interests: copyright and digital rights management, data management, versioning, and the digital humanities are a few of them. As a GIS Librarian, I had more to contribute to the conversation than I initially feared I would.[pullquote1 align=”right”]As a GIS Librarian, I had more to contribute to the conversation than I initially feared I would.[/pullquote1]

One thing I walked away with is how important a collection’s browse-ability is to those doing research in art, architecture, and design fields, allowing for serendipity. While I don’t know how to guarantee serendipity, I do think we can work to make our collections friendly to browsers (and not just the web kind). And I now know what a materials collection is and how much fun they are to touch.

One part of the conference I was really impressed by was the inclusion of tours in the conference schedule. Art, architecture, history, and library tours were sprinkled throughout the program. One conference attendee told me that these types of tours are really helpful in her work as a librarian embedded in a design college. When a professor discusses a style or design feature, it really helps her to have been to these places and to have witnessed firsthand the concepts being taught. The city is part of the conference experience, not just its location. This made me very nostalgic for undergraduate field camp days. The geologic features so easy to identify in a photograph or on a map were much harder to discern in real life.

Without this travel grant I would never have been about to attend this conference. I was able to meet others working on geohumanities projects and have returned with a larger professional network, a few new programs to try out, and a look at organization I hadn’t considered before. I am very grateful to be chosen as the DLF Cross-Pollinator and encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities.

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