User Experience Librarian, Department of Instruction and Emerging Technology
Miami University Libraries, Oxford, OH
MLIS, Simmons College, Boston, 2007
Started running two years ago and is “nerding out on it”; ran a marathon and is training for an ultramarathon
Photo by Jeffrey Sabo, Miami University
User Experience librarian Jason Paul Michel has changed how students interact with the Miami University Libraries by creating forward-thinking digital services and tools, including pulling data from Twitter to find students who need a librarian’s help, says Eli Sullivan, Miami University psychology librarian. “He’s very aware of the changing role of libraries. He strives to develop ways in which we may continue to be relevant in a fast-paced, hyperdigital world,” Sullivan says.
“He makes everything [he touches] better,” says Lisa Santucci, assistant dean at Miami University Libraries, from more mundane projects like replacing a bulletin board to reserve study rooms with an online system and installing a touch screen interface to save students’ time finding an open library computer to more complex ones likes creating the library’s mobile website. For innovative projects, like data visualization, Michel has developed application programming interfaces (APIs), and he’s included his code and ideas in his first book, Web Service APIs and Libraries (ALA Editions, 2013).
Collaborating with Elias Tzoc, the university’s digital initiatives librarian, Michel cowrote a program to copy automatically 6,000 digitized historic photos from special collections to Flickr for easy search engine access. Their efforts more than doubled views of the photos—to 500,000-plus—since 2009. “What he did was just open up access so people could see them,” says Santucci.
Most recently, as lead on the libraries’ social media plan, Michel wrote software to capture public tweets locally that use words like studying, homework, test, research, and King (the name of the library), so librarians could “proactively help students at their point of need,” says research librarian Jen Waller. From the September 2012 launch to mid-January, librarians monitoring the feed have reached out 150 times to students. “These are people who aren’t seeking the library’s help,” Michel says. “I wanted to figure out a way where we can hear those information needs and respond to them.”
“Jason is responsive—more so than any librarian I’ve ever met,” says Waller. “He thinks of our students, faculty, and staff first when designing new services. Even better, because he is forward-thinking, he is able to be responsive with cutting-edge technologies and services.”