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Student Shadow Nancarrow Brown Recounts her Recent Conference Experience!

I had the privilege to be selected as a student shadow for the UNYSLA fall workshop: The Librarian’s Toolbox: Reopened. I met many interesting local professionals at the event and heard a number of presentations everything ranging from marketing through Pinterest to using citation makers. These workshops provided information about tools that I need to work on adding or developing within my toolbox. Each will be beneficial to me in the future and to my members. As a student shadow, I had the opportunity to introduce two local librarians, Sarah Thiemer and Sarah Young.

Sarah Theimer is the Principal Cataloguer and Metadata Librarian at Syracuse University Library. Her presentation on “Using Knoodl for Ontology Creation” discussed why ontologies are valuable to librarians. According to Ms. Thiemer, ontology is a “definition of concepts and the relationship between concepts within a domain.”  She stated that words mean different things to different people and using ontology creates a shared understanding between participants.

Ms. Thiemer focused her study on the use of Knoodl, which is a free software used for creating and managing ontologies. According to Ms. Thiemer, it is easy to use and has many useful capabilities and formats including RDF and OWL (web ontology language). However, Knoodl needs more documentation for improved access and development. She also utilized Protégé, which was created by Stanford University’s Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research. The software on Protégé can also be used for free as well in RDF, OWL, and XML. Protégé had more documentation which allowed easier use of the site and creating ontology.

In order to facilitate her use of Knoodl, Ms. Thiemer used documentation from Protégé. First of all, she consulted the “Ontology Development 101” Tutorial found on Protégé. First, you determine the domain and scope of the ontology you want to create. You need to know the topic and audience for the ontology before you begin. Second, ask yourself two questions about your topic. What concepts need to be included? What questions need to be answered? Third, search other ontologies to find existing ones that can be imported and reused as you are creating yours. Finally, define the classes (concepts) and hierarchies of your topic including the properties (attributes) and instances (specific entities). Overall, Ms. Thiemer concluded that while Knoodl was quicker to use when creating ontology she would use Protégé when creating ontology for professional and work related projects.

 Sarah Young is the Health Science and Policy Librarian at Cornell University and the chair elect of SLA’s division of Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition. Ms. Young presented about “Faculty Use of Online Social Networks: Toward Supporting Collaborative Research on the Web.” She believes that “embedding the library into the university’s virtual space is as important as the physical collaborations.” They conducted a survey at Cornell University to research what social networking tools are being employed by the faculty.

Social media tools are increasingly important for sharing research, finding collaborators for studies, tracking the activities of other researchers, and in developing a presence online. The Cornell survey showed that Google Scholar Citations, Research Gate,, and Twitter were most commonly used. The faculty was also using several discipline specific tools such as, Ideas, NeuroTree, and ZFIN.

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