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Message from the Chair

First….welcome to our new members! We hope to publish two SIG AH Newsletters each year, or perhaps quarterly as needed, including a 2021 Meeting wrap-up in December. I am grateful to serve as Chair for SIG AH for a second year and enthused to have Daniel Maxwell as our in-coming chair for 2021-2022. Please read our newsletters for general updates for members. Future Newsletters will provide additional unique content and contributions from across the organization. Our new team has expanded, and we all look forward to an eventful year in 2021, including hosting webinars, and our annual online symposium. Please keep a lookout for our calls for proposals for all our events.

Julie Carmen

Association for Information Science & Technology
Arts & Humanities Special Interest Group


Chair – Julie Carmen

Julie Carmen is an independent information specialist. She has ten years of experience as an academic librarian with professional focus in archives, special collections, digital initiatives, cataloging, and grant research. She earned her MLS and Certificate in Archives from Emporia State University in 2009. She lives in Ellensburg, Washington with her husband, Marc Wiley, two dogs, and four cats. She enjoys embroidering images from illuminated manuscripts and gardening.

As the SIG AH Chair, she will be responsible for calling meetings, working with other officers to set goals for the following year. She will communicate with other officers about their assigned duties and help them accomplish them during the year. She will serve as default Cabinet Representative for the SIG, submit the Annual Report and Annual Budget, manage SIG affairs, including chairing the annual planning meeting, appoint chairs and members of SIG committees and serve as chair of the SIG's nominating committee.

Chair Elect - Dan Maxwell

Dan Maxwell is the Informatics Librarian at the University of Florida. His areas of expertise include data science practice and education, scientific research systems and methods, and software development best-practices. Dan is passionate about presenting complex technical concepts in visual ways. As such, he's currently exploring the use of visuals and sequential art in artificial intelligence (AI) education. Dan has more than 30 years of technology experience in both corporate and academic environments. He studied Library Science at Indiana University, receiving his MLIS in 1987. In 2013, he was awarded a PhD in Human & Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. Dan is an avid reader who loves to frequent local art museums. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida with his lovely wife and an energetic Bichon Frise, named Casey.

As the Chair-Elect, Dan automatically becomes Chair in the following year. He works closely with the Chair in planning and executing SIG programs and serves as the default Alternate SIG Cabinet Representative. He will assume the duties and responsibilities of the Chair in the event of the Chair's absence, resignation, or removal from office. He assumes the primary responsibility for planning the SIG's programs during the year, including the technical sessions to be proposed for the following Annual Meeting. He is also responsible for ensuring the officer’s roster for the year he will serve as Chair is sent to the Cabinet Director and Headquarters immediately following elections.

Website Officer - Arjun Sabharwal

Arjun Sabharwal is Associate Professor and Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of Toledo. He has served as Web Master and Newsletter Editor for SIG AH for the past five years. His research interests include Digital Humanities and Interdisciplinary approaches to digital curation. Arjun will continue to maintain and upload content for the SIG’s events on its webpage.

Newsletter Editor - Dr. Muhammad Tariq

Dr. Muhammad Tariq works at COMSATS University, Lahore Campus as Incharge, Library Information Services Librarian. He holds a PhD in Social Sciences (Library Science), and he is a teacher and researcher. He is a life member of the Pakistan Library Association. Dr. Tariq is an academician, researcher, trainer, and Library professional, having more than 22 years of experience in LIS/IM field. He enjoys supervising theses to support student research. He teaches a both masters and doctorate levels in Philosophy. He enjoys research as his 14 research articles attest and attending national and international conferences. His interests include innovation, leadership, communication, online information resources and soft skills. He lives in Lahore Pakistan, while he is Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Information Management Sciences (IJIMS) and the chief editor of CIIT Lahore Newsletter.

Dr. Tariq will edit articles and submissions for the SIG’s newsletter and communicate with ASIST members as needed for newsletter guidelines.

Communications/Social Media Officer - Gavin Goodwin

Gavin Goodwin is a second-year student in the Master of Information Studies program at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). He also currently works as a Student Reference Librarian at Concordia University in Montreal. With a background in music, Gavin holds a Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), both in music performance.

As the Communications/Social Media Officer, Gavin will communicate regularly with all ASIST members and SIG AH membership to solicit information for the SIG AH newsletter using various avenues of communication, including: iConnect, Twitter, Facebook page, or whatever regular communication used by SIG AH.

Secretary - Alicia Takaoka

Alicia Takaoka is a PhD candidate (expected by Summer 2021) at University of Hawaii at Manoa where research focuses on the intersections of everyday (or communicative) memory, feminism, and online stigmatization. This doctoral research project is a community-based case study that evaluates stigmatization and perceptions about stigmatized individuals in both local and global communities. Alicia is also a full-time instructor at University of Hawaii at Hilo where she teaches writing, gender and women’s studies, and university skills and experiential learning classes. Areas of specialization and research interests within the human-computer interaction and social informatics disciplines are communicative memory, women in STEM, ethics and information literacy, stigmatization of marginalized groups, online education, asynchronous communication, social media studies, digital humanities, digital preservation, digital storytelling, and digital culture. She lives on the Big Island with her Mister and two cats. She is an avid tabletop gamer and weight lifts for mental health and self-care.

As Secretary, Alicia keeps records of all meetings and correspondence to members and assists in making logistical arrangements for SIG AH meetings and activities. As treasurer, she must be aware of Association policies regarding SIG finances and expenses, and works with the Chair, to prepare and submit the SIG's budget and receives the SIG's quarterly financial statements.


Ann M. Graf
Assistant Professor, Simmons University, School of Library and Information Science
300 The Fenway, Boston - USA

Like many institutions of higher education during the spring of 2020, Simmons University pivoted to all online instruction at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. While this greatly impacted the research of some, I found that I could continue my regular work on graffiti art documentation rather unhindered through the examination I had already begun to carry out on Instagram. The pandemic itself afforded a very interesting extension to my work in the sudden appearance of numerous works of graffiti art around the world relating to the theme of Covid-19. Artists began to create works in response to the pandemic, and those same artists, and others, began to photograph the works and upload them to Instagram.

“ The pandemic itself afforded a very interesting extension to my work in the sudden appearance of numerous works of graffiti art around on the world relating to the theme of Covid-19 ”

While my previous work has engaged with the graffiti art community and their ways of describing and organizing graffiti art photo collections online, I wanted to see what visual and social themes were emerging in response to the pandemic.

On two separate days in late April and early May, I searched Instagram for the tags #covidgraffiti and #coronavirusgraffiti, respectively, and I collected screenshots of all of the graffiti works associated with these tags, as well as the accompanying text, locations when available, account names, dates of posting, and likes. On the days that I collected my data, there were 131 posts for the tag #covidgraffiti and 144 for #coronavirusgraffiti.

I began to code each post with graffiti type terminology from my previous research (Graf 2018, 2020), including things like stencil, wheatpaste, throwie, etc., and various support types, i.e. walls, trains, trash bins, etc. A number of visual themes were common, such as the depiction of health care workers, masks, toilet paper rolls, messages of thanks to frontline workers, and the virus itself, often shown as the now familiar red, knobby blob. Political and social messages were also found, including “staying at home is class privilege”, “protect black people covid-19”, and “U.S. imperialism is the virus – socialist revolution is the cure!”

I am only beginning to analyze my results, and there are a number of limitations to be acknowledged, yet this research is promising to provide a look at the immediate artistic response to surely one of the greatest health challenges of our generation (so far). Whenever possible, I gathered information about the location of the artworks. This will allow me to generate a map of where these works are located around the world. The co-occurrence of other tags and text across works may also illuminate common threads in our conceptualization of the pandemic and attempts to make these images visible to a broader audience. I look forward to diving deeper into this colorful data to see what presents itself.

My Library in COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities and Experience

Dr. Muhammad Tariq
Library Incharge, COMSATS University Lahore - Pakistan

The world is facing an unusual and unexpected situation which it has not faced before. Covid-19 has changed the world. All segments of life are in a reshaping phase. Libraries are the most important segment of society; hence it is also affected by this virus. Libraries all over the world, analyzed, planned, and reacted toward the situation. Libraries bridged the gap between user and resources through using digital services.

Library Information Services, COMSATS University Lahore, was also impacted by this pandemic. In the early weeks of Covid-19, I analyzed the situation and concluded that this condition could be prolonged. I called a meeting of my senior library staff to plan for the future. During this period, we faced many of the following challenges and gained some opportunities:

Covid-19 was an unknown disease and I confess that I didn’t hear about this virus earlier. This virus was very new for all my social circles. It immediately emerged and spread all over the world. We did not understand its strength, effects, and impacts.

“Most important, we do not know how we will provide these services to the people who are located in remote areas and may not have internet connectivity or devices. The most important challenge we faced was that the library users did not have adequate digital literacy”

In Pakistan, on 26 February, the first corona patient was declared by Pakistan Health Ministry. After this date, the corona patients were increased and on March 13, the Pakistani government immediately shut down all academic institutes, including libraries. We did not know about the tenure of this shut down. Even before this, we did not have experience to run the whole library from home. This was the big challenge for our staff.

We had sufficient digital content in our stock, but we were working in hybrid mode. i.e. print and electronic resources. We used these hybrid resources to fulfill the requirements of our users. Due to pandemic protocol, we had to quickly become dependent on digital resources. It was a big challenge for the library staff to re-arrange, acquire, organize, and disseminate all our resources into digital format.

We initiated digital services for our users, but it was for those who were interested and had acquired facilities like computers and internet. In this emergency, we shifted totally to digital resources and recognized we did not have proper communication channels, which was a big challenge. Most important, we did not know how we would provide these services to the people located in remote areas and who may not have internet connectivity or devices. The most important challenge we faced was that many library users did not have adequate digital literacy. Even if we arranged all our services and materials into digital resources, and our users did not have sufficient skills to access and use them, our efforts would then be useless. This was a big challenge for all our colleagues at CUI Lahore campus.

These challenges and threats brought many opportunities to us. This was a very good opportunity to expand the library scope and follow the real emerging theory of “library beyond walls”. This was also an opportunity to change the social status of the librarians in Pakistan. Typically, the library user thinks that the librarian does only one duty, i.e. issue and return books and nothing else. Now we had an opportunity to enhance the image of library and librarian, through digital librarianship. I believe there should be an accessible library for all users and this situation provided me an opportunity to prove this claim. In the print vs. digital resources debate, the digital resources proved its standing in this current scenario. This was a great opportunity to access and organize the digital resources, to update the current/available databases, and to reshape the repositories as per the need of the user.

“ This was a very good opportunity to expand the library scope and follow the real emerging theory of “library beyond walls”. This was also an opportunity to change the social status of the librarians in Pakistan. Typically, the library user thinks that the librarian does only one duty i.e. issue and return books, and nothing else.”

This pandemic also gave us opportunity to bridge the gap between library and user. To strengthen the available communication channels and to build new platforms for better and fast communications. This situation also gave us a big opportunity to enhance the digital literacy skills for our users and staff as well. In the past, we arranged many trainings and workshops, but this emergency was new to us and we have arranged new online trainings for our users.

Experience Sharing:
In keeping in view of all threats, challenges, and opportunities, to face and cope with this emergency, we sat, discussed, and planned. We analyzed our weaknesses, measured challenges, searched for opportunities and finally, we planned. After much discussion, I assigned duties as per the interest and skills of my library staff, in which we planned and executed. We re-arranged and updated our digital resources, keeping in view the need of our users, and searched for new hubs of knowledge to incorporate in our existing resources.

We also re-designed our services and extended our working hours from 8 hours/5 days a week, to 24 hours/7 days a week. Our response rate of all queries was a maximum of 24 hours with an actual average response rate of 12 hours. Although we assigned different online services to different staff, we facilitated users to send any query to any library staff and provided one single link for all queries. We also arranged training for our library staff to strengthen their digital skills. Our staff then arranged trainings for our users to enhance their digital literacy. We updated our library website and used all channels, including social media channels, to give digital literacy to our valued users. We also did comprehensive marketing for our resources, services, and trainings through multiple announcements.

Through this, we have strengthened our digital resources and services, developed communication channels and facilitated our users.

SIG – AH wish you a HEALTHY and SAFE life