Eric Schares, Engineering & Collection Analysis Librarian, Iowa State University and Kelvin Watson, Executive Director, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, chosen for the 2022 ETS Best Emerging Technology Application Award Sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp
Established in 2019, the ETS Best Emerging Technology Application Award (BETA) offers $3,000 to an individual or group in recognition of a technology application that directly benefits library users. This award is sponsored by Chatstaff and LibraryH3lp.
Our first winner, Eric, is the subject specialist and liaison for two engineering departments on campus, responsible for research help, instruction, collection development, and outreach. Eric was awarded for his work creating Unsub Extender (https://unsubextender.lib.iastate.edu/), a free Python-based web application for visualizing Unsub data. Unsub is a collection analysis dashboard that gives libraries more data about their journal subscriptions, but it does not include a way to easily visualize this data. Unsub Extender takes an Unsub export file and automates the creation of 12 interactive plots and visualizations which support zoom, click-and-drag, hover, and filters.
He is also the Collection Analysis lead for journal renewal and cancellation projects, where he conducts scientometric analyses of Iowa State’s publishing trends to support the library’s growing number of Open Access agreements with publishers and moves collection money away from subscription paywalls and toward more Open publishing models.
Eric serves as the campus administrator for Iowa State’s Overleaf (LaTeX), Dimensions, Unsub, and Altmetrics accounts, and added electronics kits to the library’s circulating collection: Arduino (10), Raspberry Pi (10), and Makey Makey (5).
In 2021, he was awarded a Professional and Scientific Excellence Award by Iowa State University and was named a Faculty and Staff Innovator by the Student Innovation Center.
His research interests include bibliometrics, Python, and Open Access agreements. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and an MLIS from Rutgers University. Prior to his current role at Iowa State, he worked at Intel for 10 years on NAND flash memory.
Our second winner, Kelvin, was awarded for applying existing technologies in novel ways that benefit the library and patrons. His integration of library resources into public transportation brings the library to users who may never have had a library experience and pulls together numerous technologies with a city-wide initiative to meet people at their point-of-need.
Information access, discovery, and delivery are at the heart of 21st century libraries and the core of Kelvin Watson’s career. At each of the library systems that he has led, he has implemented a mobile-first, user-centered approach to delivering library content and services, to those we serve, beyond our buildings. This means providing easy access to our collections (both physical and digital) in places like parks, prisons, and hospitals, and to those without internet access.
Regarded as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, Kelvin Watson is credited with expanding his customer base in multiple library management roles, through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations. He brought transformative change to the communities in which he has served through ambitious and groundbreaking initiatives, such as streamlining access to resources, introducing new technology, and developing new collaborative partnerships. He was named the 2021 winner of the RUSA Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award, sponsored by Novelist, for his dedication to implementing new and innovative ways to meet customers – both existing and new – “where they are,” with initiatives targeting non-traditional library users.
Collaborators: Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, OverDrive
The BETA selection committee was Chaired by Beth Caruso.