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Julia Caffrey-Hill

Web Services Librarian, Towson University
Julia Caffrey-Hill is the Web Services Librarian at Towson University. She received her M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons University in 2016 and has a background in cultural anthropology and ethnographic research methods. At her first year at Towson University, she completely redesigned the library website with accessibility and usability in mind. She manages the technical infrastructure of the website and leads initiatives for ongoing web design and development. She provides leadership and consultation on digital inclusion, accessibility, and user experience. She conducts usability testing to plan incremental improvements. She currently serves as co-chair for the Towson University Accessibility Special Interest Group. She enjoys coding to Beyoncé and John Williams.

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Rob Sanderson of the J. Paul Getty Trust tweeted in 2018 that “The interface /is/ the application, regardless of the technology. Building better interfaces is building a better world.” What are the implications of that for both library and vendor communities? Data sets, open educational resources, video and audio files are part and parcel of academic activity. Such output may be properly housed on institutional servers but is the associated metadata for those materials sufficient to enable reuse by others in the long-term? What might libraries need to do to better support discovery and reuse of research output that has not been (or may never be) fully integrated with more traditional publication formats? What elements (descriptive or otherwise) might need to be included in order for users to understand the potential reuse of the material? And at the same time, is it reasonable to expect a single interface to satisfy the diverse needs of the domain expert, the interdisciplinary scholar, as well as the undergraduate just beginning to explore? How complex can a useful interface be? Is it possible to reverse devotion to the single search box? It’s time to talk about design and use of a service’s native interface!

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