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2024 SAIL/Cyamus Joint Annual Conference: Presentations

A website for the 2024 SAIL/Cyamus Joint Conference

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory: A Short History

Joyce Shaw | Gunter Library/Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) began as a summer field program with its first official classes held in 1947 at Magnolia State Park. Since its founding, GCRL has grown to include instructional buildings, research buildings, a dormitory, dining hall, and an aquaculture site at Cedar Point located adjacent to Gulf Islands National Seashore. The University of Southern Mississippi administers the campus which is home to the Division of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Marine Education Center. Other facilities include research vessels, a research library, and a museum. In 2024 GCRL celebrated 77 years of education, research, and service in marine sciences.

Saltmarsh Research at GCRL

Dr. Patrick Biber | Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Dr. Patrick Biber has worked in the intertidal salt marshes of Mississippi since 2004. He will discuss some key features of the saltmarsh flora and highlight his research activities by presenting selected examples of recently completed research projects.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Seafood Industry: Waves of Immigration History

Deanne Stephens | University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Gulf Park

The Mississippi Gulf Coast seafood industry boasts a rich history of the people who labored on boats and in factories. From the 1890s, the story of harvesting and processing oysters and shrimp is a story of immigrants who arrived on the Mississippi Coast to work in the seafood industry. Because of these multiple waves of people over time, the Mississippi Coast once was the "Seafood Capitol of the World."

Information Institutions and Their Communities: A Story of Community Archives

Jeff Hirschy | University of Southern Mississippi

In the twenty-first century, archives, like other information institutions such as libraries and museums, have decided to embrace engaging with their chosen communities in many different ways. They do this through a variety of techniques such as educational programs, community events, research help, and many other things. In addition to this, a new type of archives has arisen, the community archive, that is a direct result of communities wanting to fill archival gaps they see in traditional libraries, archives, and other information institutions.

This presentation will examine four ways that archives and community archives engage with the chosen communities in the early twenty-first century across physical and digital spaces. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, the protests of 2020, and the early 2020s, this is even more important as communities across the United States are questioning themselves and their history more and in different ways. They realize that the stories of these archives and other information institutions have power, and they should be talked about.

Friend of the Sea Otter : Curating the Judson Vandevere Archive

Dr. Amanda Whitmire | Miller Library/Stanford University 

Judson E. Vandevere was a teacher, naturalist, conservationist, and advocate for the protection of the sea otter. He was active in sea otter research and conservation along the central California coast for over 30 years, starting in the 1960s. In 2017, Vandevere’s widow donated a collection of his materials to Harold A. Miller Library at Hopkins Marine Station, which were joined by more papers and notebooks from his son in 2020 and 2021. In this presentation, I will share how I relied upon one part-time staff member to process the physical collection and curate a digital collection, and convey how we made decisions on what to keep and how to organize the collection. Along the way you’ll hear snippets of the interesting history of the rediscovery, study, protection and recovery of the sea otter along our coastline.

The Extended Reference Interview: Approaches of a New Librarian to Liaisonship in Endemic COVID Times

Laurel Kaminsky | University of Florida

One of the most important tasks for a new librarian is to develop a strong working relationship and knowledge of their liaison departments. However, there is not a clear roadmap for how to develop relationships with departments because every department has a different culture and library needs. The Marston Science Library (MSL) is the busiest library at the University of Florida, with over two million visitors a year. The number of library visitors has rebounded to pre-COVID usage, but anecdotally in MSL, forging relationships with liaison departments has been slower to recover. The effects of the isolation seem to have shifted how departments and librarians interact. For a new librarian this environment presents challenges and opportunities to reach out and embed themselves in their assigned departments. Here I use the reference interview to talk about how as a new librarian I’ve learned about my department’s and their library needs. Strategies for forming relationships include finding champions, attending social events, and working with graduate student organizations. LibGuides were entirely rewritten, and unique pages aimed to encourage and strengthen undergraduate research skills were added. Future directions include a Summer Campaign to meet with Faculty one-on-one and open office hours in each department for the Fall semester.

Introducing a Social Work Intern to an Academic Library (lightning)

Tisha Zelner | University of Southern Mississippi

The speaker will present an overview of the first two years of a partnership between the University Libraries and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). This partnership resulted in what might be the first placement of a social work student intern in an academic library in the United States, expanding a growing trend in public libraries to employ or partner with social workers in some capacity. For the library, the partnership embodied the strategic values of collaboration, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), empowerment, and outreach. For the social work program, the partnership expanded field experience opportunities to include libraries. For the university, the partnership created an opportunity to support student success by identifying unmet psychosocial needs. This presentation will enumerate some of the projects completed by the social work intern and the new services that were introduced as a result of the partnership.

Coastal California's Classroom: Universal Lessons from a Unique Biome (poster)

Jeanine Scaramozzino | Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Ruta Saliklis, Ph.D. | Cuesta College

The "Coastal California's Classroom" initiative merges STEM with the arts (STEAM) to deepen understanding of global environmental issues through local scientific exploration and artistic inquiry. Centered around the unique kelp forest biome of Coastal California, this project utilizes community art and Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing research methods to provide accessible, localized educational experiences that enhance global ecological insights, regardless of artistic and technological proficiency. The significance of this project lies in its ability to bridge artistic exploration with scientific inquiry, providing a captivating platform for the public to explore the nuanced impacts of climate change within a distinct ecosystem. Ultimately, the project seeks to motivate ongoing environmental stewardship and scholarly exploration, establishing a sustainable model for future educational endeavors that highlight the interconnectedness of local actions and global consequences. Our program advocates for a holistic STEAM education model that emphasizes the intersection of science with the arts to promote inclusivity, collaboration, and a deepened comprehension of the local and global impacts of climate change. The goals are to provide learning and research opportunities, advance equity and inclusion through STEAM, encourage interdisciplinary ideas and approaches, support the Polytechnic Educational Model through cross-institutional collaborations, engage in local, national, and international community outreach, promote student leadership, and encourage peer-to-peer instruction and learning. We aim to go beyond traditional academic and citizen science by fostering a new way of teaching science; research and technology offer new ways of sharing local knowledge and ecosystem information.

What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Why is it Important? (lightning)

Justin Easterday | University of Southern Mississippi

With today's growing need to provide virtual resources to library patrons and the need to include web accessibility features, it is important to have a general understanding of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0/2.1. During this lightning round session, this presentation will provide a general, jargon-free overview of the WCAG’s four principles and criterion levels. The goal of the discussion is to aid collaboration with the Technical Services departments and demonstrate how an instructor can easily add web accessibility features to their instructional resources.

Strategies and Challenges in Increasing Diversity in the STEM collection of a Large Science Library

Laurel Kaminsky | University of Florida

COVID and the social justice movements surrounding the murder of George Floyd amplified attention to the inequality that underrepresented groups face in all segments of society. Libraries, like other parts of society, face issues with lack of diversity in the workplace and in collections that do not reflect underrepresented people. The Marston Science Library (MSL) is the busiest library in the University of Florida Library system, with over two million visitors a year. Librarians at MSL decided to buy print books aimed at increasing the visible presence of underrepresented people in our physical collection. Over the past year, librarians at MSL have purchased approximately 100 print titles of books related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this talk, we walk through the process of increasing diversity in the science book collection. We first defined what a STEM book is in the context of diversity, equity and inclusion and the challenges in coming up with a working definition. Next, we determined outcomes and goals and how they align in the University of Florida Libraries’ strategic directions. Then we located and purchased these books. We also briefly discuss the juxtaposition in diversifying collections in a state with legislation prohibiting spending on DEI related programs. Future directions include bibliometrics to assess diversity in the collection and strengthening a definition of what materials should be in a DEI and STEM collection.

Research Guide Usability Numbers: What Do They Mean and How Helpful Are They?

Justin Easterday | University of Southern Mississippi

As libraries expand their virtual learning resources not only do they need to maintain the content accessibility standards but, it is also important to review their library resources usability data. Once time is taken to gather and correctly analyze the usability data, it allows librarians to adapt and redesign their resources to align with the needs of enrolled students without needing a usability study. Since usability data is most effectively analyzed at yearly intervals, it requires each library to plan this process into their content strategy to make effective library-wide redesign updates. I will present current LibGuide usability data and explain key features that can help lead to educated guesses on what library patrons prefer in the guides. During the presentation, I will also highlight research from user-centered usability studies and explain how combining the usability data with this research can offer suggestions when redesigning a resource.

Environmental Imagery and Its Impact on Filmmakers and Their Audience

Chris (Audrey) Cahill | USM Gulf Coast Library

I am presenting three short films with environmental elements that showcase how imagery in Film is influenced by the natural environment. Filmmakers often times make deliberate choices in order to craft an environmental message or insight for the audience, but at other times, the filmmakers themselves become unintentionally affected by the natural environment and incorporate it into their work, sometimes allowing it to redefine their original vision for the film.

As a Film student and filmmaker, I discovered these truths while creating these films, and I have found that each in turn has had similar impact on those who have viewed them. The first short film, What is Left Behind, is an experimental documentary that makes the audience think about how we and nature share and affect the coastal environment. The second film, August 29th, is a video dairy of Biloxi in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina visually encapsulating the destructive force of nature, and the third film, To Infinity and Beyond, is poetic documentary about the relocation of the Appollo V booster rocket from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the Infinity Space Center in Hancock county.

I will briefly discuss the environmental elements of these films, and the value of film in helping visualize statistics, bringing to life research topics, and how film can be a valuable tool to help students not only understand the research material but also inspire them to expand topics in their research.

Film and Popular Cinema in Science and Education (panel)

This panel brings together librarians and academic faculty to talk about the origin of film, how they use popular cinema in their instruction, acquiring movies, and marine biologists in popular cinema. We will discuss the following topics:

  1. How marine biologists are portrayed in the movies, [ML]
  2. the use of film media to teach "large system" concepts of geoscience and to assess student application of course concepts about coastal geomorphology, [SL] and
  3. film collection development in an academic library. [AB]


Megan Le, MLIS Gunter Library Manager Gulf Coast Research Laboratory The University of Southern Mississippi
Sarah R. Lalk, PhD Assistant Teaching Professor Department of Geosciences Mississippi State University
Allisa Beck, MLIS Associate Professor Gulf Coast Library The University of Southern Mississippi

Enjoy Smoother Sailing with Nature & Forest Therapy Practices

Nadine Phillips | University of Southern Mississippi

The most effective strategy to creating a welcoming environment in our libraries is to enhance employee well-being. A more stress-free library staff and administration will lead to a more comfortable and inclusive atmosphere within the library. One easy and effective way to enhance our well-being is to connect with nature. This session will offer more information about the principles and practices of Nature & Forest Therapy. Nature & Forest Therapy offers you gentle relaxation and greater connection to the natural world by helping you slow down and deepen your awareness of the present moment. Now is an especially good time to implement these therapeutic practices given that we humans have been enduring pandemic conditions to varying degrees for more than 3 years now. For many of us, our nervous systems have been struggling to stay balanced and adding time in nature can be a beneficial way to help protect our mental health and well-being. The restorative powers of nature have long been known, and Nature & Forest Therapy offers gentle, accessible remedies to help us better navigate our future well-being.