Capstone ePortfolio: Joanna Russell Bliss 

Professional Learning Resources

ALA Connect and American Libraries Magazine

I have been following these discussions and publications through email throughout the pandemic to gauge what other libraries (academic and otherwise) as COVID-19 shut everything down. Long after the virus is gone, I know their online resources and articles will be helpful as I complete my degree and begin my career.

APA Style Guides

APA style guide at the website for the American Psychological Association:
APA style guide at Purdue OWL:

[Image description: A screengrab from the APA Style Guide on my least favorite citation: Blog post (or any electronic resource).]

I staff the reference desk at Fondren Library and cover questions that come in via chat or email. Citations, particularly during the end of term rush, are a common question. I used to prefer the Online Writing Lab created by Purdue, but I have found that their updates for the 7th edition (published in early 2020) are confusing and can be misleading, so I began going to the source for guidance instead. They also have helpful blog entries that can be shared with students struggling with citations.

College & Research Libraries News

As a member of ACRL, I have been reading their monthly publications since I joined in early 2020. Given my hope to work as an academic librarian, this will help me to stay on top of trends within the academic library community as I prepare for a job in that field.

Creating inclusive communications

More than ever, anyone publishing any kind of writing needs to pay attention to how their writing considers gender, sexuality, race, accessibility and inclusivity. The Conscious Style Guide has collected articles that discuss writing in terms of both content and grammar on subjects like gender, age, religion and spirituality, and much more. And SpringShare, the company behind LibAnswers, posted some advice in July about how to create inclusive research guides. They are both excellent tools to use when creating communications that should be inclusive of all of our patrons, without dismissing the needs or situations of any particular group.

Diverse Bookfinder

Diverse BookFinder

[Image description: A screengrab of a table from the reports created by Diverse Bookfinder to analyse juvenile collections.]

While working on the juvenile collection used by our teachers-in-training at SMU, the Education librarian and I have used the collection analysis tool on this site. It gave us a starting point for knowing where the gaps were in our collection, as well as a collection of suggested resources to look through when targeting those gaps. The graph above is from the report we ran on our collection.

Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative

One of the things confirmed by both of my classes in the summer of 2020 was that any project starts with a good deal of pre-planning. Should I ever be in the position to develop a digital project or collection, I'll want to refer to the guidelines here as I draft my proposal and project outline.


[Image description: A screengrab from my account at Feedly, which allows me to see the latest posts on various websites by adding them to my feed.]

As in many fields, content created by experts and fellow practitioners of library science is wide spread and difficult to follow across many platforms. I learned about Feedly in my class on the Hyperlinked Library, and it's a great way to follow a variety of blogs and publications in order to see what has been posted lately. While the above screen grab reflects that we are using the website to stay up-to-date on what our classmates have written, I will be using this to follow such sites as In the Library With the Lead Pipe and Mr. Library Dude to hear what's being said outside the traditional scholarly journals.


[Image description: A screengrab of my resume built on GitHub to practice coding; it shows the introduction to my resume, as well as my education.]

I learned to work in GitHub in preparation for supporting our Digital Humanities librarian during a week-long (virtual) conference offered in August 2020. The above screen grab links to the resume I created on GitHub.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, by the Project Management Institute

My project management class relied heavily on the standards set by the Project Management Institute, or PMI, in its Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, often referred to as the PMBOK. As I continue to manage projects both large and small, in graduate school and beyond, I'll be using the tools and guidelines set forth here, and will need to refer to it from time to time for ideas or templates.

Information literacy through diverse resources: Black Freedom Struggle

Built toward the end of 2020, this collection was created with the input of Black scholars for high school and college students as a way to explore original documents about Black history in America. The goal was to gather primary documents for students and teachers about the ongoing struggle for equality. College & Research Libraries News (2021) pointed out that while it is geared toward teachers of literature, writing and history, librarians can also use the collection for lessons on critical thinking and information literacy (p. 9).

ProQuest debuts Black Freedom Struggle website. (2021). College & Research Libraries News, 82(1), 9.

Internet Archive

This website was a godsend during the early days of the pandemic, sharing electronic resources freely while many students were stranded far away from their textbooks and required readings. It continues to be a great resource for learning and sharing resources that are free to check out, even after being forced to shut down their emergency library earlier than they had planned due to pressure from publishers. 


[Image description: A screengrab of the homepage for my digital library, created with Omeka. The image shows the name of my site, Photographs of Europe, and a photo I took of my family in a mirror at Versailles, France, in 2019.]

I used this open source software to create a digital library for INFO 5740, linked to above from the image of my homepage. While the limitations of the free version informed some of my decision making, the software as a whole was easy to use, and I could see the benefits of using the software to create digital collections in the future.


I've been using RefWorks since my first week at both UNT and SMU, using the website to track my resources for my classes and my work. While working with a first-year research and writing course at SMU this spring, I even created a string of tutorials on how to use the website to keep track of research and create an annotated bibliography, posted above.


[Image description: A screengrab of the map interaction I created for my digital library project using StoryMaps, which allowed me to mark each photographic entry with a location and gave users a way to explore the images using a map.]

I used this plug in to create a map for my digital library project in INFO 5740. It was easy to use, and it created a great visualization for my website that was easy to embed. I hope to be able to use it again in future projects.

Teaching research skills, information literacy and the framework for IL

The framework for information literacy for higher education (ACRL):
The information search process (Kuhlthau):
Synthesizing resources (from the Purdue Online Writing Lab):

I taught my first class to first-year college students in April 2020, three weeks after our campus at SMU had shut down. I wasn't expecting to have to discuss the topic through Zoom, but I did find that whether I was presenting in person or virtually, the above websites had great advice that could be used with students. Kuhlthau's process gave me steps in the research process that would be familiar to students, and the framework was kept in the back of my head as I've created various presentations on information literacy. I have found, in particular, that the explanation of synthesizing resources is a great way to discuss how to take several resources and create a narrative out of what you have learned. 


While I have worked in WordPress for more than 10 years as a content manager, I was able to explore how librarians might use it in our sphere through my INFO 5960 seminar that was actually through San Jose State University. Professor Michael Stephens encourages learning about technology through exploration, and our class wrote blog posts throughout the term as we pondered various topics about the hyperlinked library and community. While the blog is wiped at the end of every semester, I recreated my posts at my personal website (after getting inspired to change up my site design after we did the same for the class).

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