Posts Tagged ‘grants’

Okay, so, more about the Knowledge & Project Management (KPM) Symposium.

The panel discussion on Digital Libraries featured Anne Prestamo, Associate Dean for Collection and Technology Services at Oklahoma State University, and Gina Minks, Imaging & Preservation Service Manager for Amigos Library Services.  Prestamo discussed the definition of “digital library,” and provided some examples of digital collections, including organizational intranets, Google Books and the Valley of the Shadow digital archives, for example.  Prestamo discussed how digital collection curators should consider the organization and presentation of a collection in terms of prospective users.  She offered the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System as an example of a collection that may be organized in a way that is intuitive to astrophysicists, but less so for non-astrophysicists.  Other collections mentioned included Purdue’s data curation projects and institutional repositories as a means of capturing university output such as white papers, conference presentations and theses.

I never thought of it this way before, but I guess one might say that in my last job I developed and maintained a digital collection of grant applications, including profiles of and correspondence with local foundations.  It was a collection only accessible to the administrative staff, but it fits the criteria as a collection of information objects, organized to support access and usage, and available via digital means.  I maintained folders on the server for each foundation, including gift history, Form 990s, giving guidelines, and grant proposals organized by year of submission.  My collection provided the historical data needed to inform future requests for funds, proposals more likely to be accepted because of similarity to past requests that were granted.

Gina Minks discussed digital collection details including standards, quality assurance, file formats and preservation.  Dennis asked a question about where to draw the line in terms of preservation through digitization—how do we determine whether a piece of information is worth digitizing and preserving.  I think that question is too situational for an easy answer.  As Ruth shrewdly pointed out, what is garbage to one person may be an informational jackpot to someone else—quite literally if the audience happens to be the FBI.  The topic of preservation and born-digital information (like this blog) got me thinking about how archives are changing.  I remember how awe-inspiring it was to see rough drafts of Emily Dickinson’s poems in the University of Tulsa’s special collections, and I wonder how many rough drafts will be preserved in the next fifty years?  I used to write everything on paper and transfer it to the computer later.  Now so much is born digital, drafts overwritten and lost as the newest version is saved.  Again, Ruth said it best: we are losing the process of writing.  Or at least evidence of that process.  Unless overwritten data is preserved beyond my knowledge, like some digital palimpsest.  They say nothing deleted is ever totally gone.  But if it is inaccessible to all but a few technical gurus, the data seems as good as lost.  I wonder what archives will look like in the next century?

Back to the KPM Symposium, Martha Gregory of the Tulsa Library Research Wizards provided some excellent resources in the panel discussion on Strategic Intelligence.  Dun & Bradstreet, economic census, PIERS, Plunkett and many more provide a variety of information about corporate undertakings.  On a side note, Dun & Bradstreet and the Central Contractor Registration have given me quite a headache in the last few months as I struggled to procure and register a DUNS number for The Salvation Army’s federal grant application process.  I think the numerous territories, headquarters, outposts and area commands of The Salvation Army really threw D&B for a loop in terms of DUNS number assignments and appropriate affiliations.  Miraculously, everything finally passed D&B, CCR and IRS approval on my last day of work.

While we manned the information/registration table, Dennis gave me his sales pitch on the value of podcasting, and how it could benefit OU and the School of Library & Information Studies.  I have to thank him for turning me on to iTunes U—I had no idea so many free lectures were floating around out there.  Yesterday I downloaded a lecture series on open source software from UC Berkeley.  The sound quality’s not perfect, but it’s interesting stuff.  I found a podcast audio tour of the Yale library, which is interesting, but I think an audiovisual version would be more effective.  In any case, I agree with Dennis that podcasting selected OU lectures and conferences would be an excellent educational and marketing tool for OU and the SLIS.  What if the OU library websites had a podcast library orientation new students could download?  Podcasts for how to use the catalog or how to conduct research in ESBSCO databases and online journals?  I’m going to try to find opportunities to promote and support podcasting efforts through OLISSA and the student association, if I can.

Well, that’s all the musings my muddled mind can muster for this evening.  To bed, to bed, to bed.

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I aam looking forward to starting my graduate assistantship with Doc Martens in August.  I had been planning on picking up an extra 10 hours of data entry work per week at a minimum pay rate with my current employer, just for some extra cash, but my boss made an interesting proposition yesterday.  Instead of hiring me as an hourly employee at a minimum rate, they are thinking of contracting with me as a consultant!  That way, they can commission me to review grants, do data entry, reorganize their filing system, whatever.  I can choose which jobs I want to do, and they can pay me more for the more difficult jobs, like reviewing grants. 

I didn’t get into nonprofit work for the money, but hey, this sounds like a pretty groovy arrangement.  “Consultant” might look fairly impressive on my resume…

I’ve got to figure out how this will affect my income taxes, though.

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Whew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  My boss is kindly working with me to develop a plan to decrease my hours to 30 per week, so I can devote more time to school.  Currently, the plan is that I will take over the donor database management work of an employee who is leaving, teach grant writing to another employee who will move into my office with me, and eventually, once she is comfortable with the grant writing and contract processing duties, I’ll be more of a subsidiary grant writer, at least until I get a job in the library field.  This should allow me more flexible hours, but I suspect it’s going to take me about a year to train the new grant writer.  I don’t know when my shorter hours will kick in, but hopefully by the end of May.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to learn the database management job and assist with some special events work on top of all my usual grant writing and contract processing.  The database work isn’t hard, but doing the work of two people is tiring.  The good news is I’m taking a week of vacation from work to write final papers and catch up on reading assignments.  The not-so-good news is that when I get back to work on April 28th, I will have only two weeks to write our annual Emergency Shelter Grant and Community Development Block Grant applications if I’m going to be able to submit them to divisional and territorial headquarters for approval before submission to the City of Tulsa.  …which is kind of required. 

Plus the training for the new online application process for submission of U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development Supportive Housing grants should be starting soon.  HUD promised training sessions in April, but we’re rapidly running out of April.  I just hope the government isn’t still writing code for the submission portal.  When Tulsa has 1.5 million housing dollars on the line, you want the submission process to be smooth.  You want the submission portal to not crash on you at the last minute.  Well, one day at a time.

As the grant writer for a local nonprofit which provides homeless services, I participate in Continuum of Care (CoC) meetings, in which the majority of area homeless service providers meet monthly and collaborate to improve homeless services.  Plus, seven or eight of us submit the HUD Supportive Housing grant to the City of Tulsa each year, which is then organized and submitted by The City of Tulsa to HUD. 

We’ve been struggling with a bit of a knowledge management problem recently, as the City of Tulsa employee who has traditionally prepared Tulsa’s submission to HUD resigned last fall.  Typically, HUD submissions are made in April or May, but luckily, the new online submission process has delayed the submission schedule this year, because the City of Tulsa has only found us a replacement CoC liason in the last couple weeks.  I don’t envy the new CoC liason as she struggles to pick up the responsibilities of her predecessor.  She has a lot to learn in a short amount of time, definitions of chronic homelessness, the hold harmless clause, the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and the manadatory exclusion of domestic violence victims’ data from HMIS… 

I can’t believe the City of Tulsa left us hanging for so long.  If HUD had been on schedule–which, granted, it never is–Tulsa could have lost a lot of money, and a lot people would have been out on the streets instead of working towards self-sufficiency in supportive housing programs.

I guess that’s enough ranting for now.

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I’m getting a little panicky about the fact that my two big city grants, the Community Development Block Grant and the Emergency Shelter Grant, are going to be due at the same time as my take-home final exam and my Final/Paper on open source software.  I was hoping to take a week of vacation from work during finals, but it looks like I won’t be able to do that.  Maybe I can take the last week of April off, and try to do my Final/Paper then.

Gotta keep all the balls in the air…

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