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How We Help: Demian Katz Makes Technology Work for Library Patrons

At some point during your time at Villanova you worked with Demian Katz—you probably just did not realize it at the time. Think back to the last time you searched for a book on the homepage, or that day you painstakingly scoured for scholarly connections to your light-bulb-moment intuition, or even when you attended that one event in Speakers’ Corner. If any of these anecdotes sound familiar, you have already interacted with Demian Katz.

Katz is the Director of Library Technologies and has been at Falvey in some capacity since 2009, when he first came on as a Library Technology Development Specialist. His work, and that of the entire tech department, stretches across many responsibilities and operations of the library. His role is an “interfacing” one that he embraces wholeheartedly.


Making Sure Everything Works 

“Tech is probably the most interfaced with other departments of the library…” Katz said during my interview with him, a rare opportunity considering the rapid speed of his day-to-day operations and his schedule replete with meetings, training calls, and near-disaster control 

“By ourselves we don’t do anything,” Katz remarked. We’re really here to support the needs of all the other departments, in terms of making sure they have the technologies that they need and that the systems that support their work are operational.” 

If you navigate the alphabetic traverse of the Library’s staff directory and pay attention to the numerous departments listed, a simple fact becomes quite clear. There is a lot going on at the Library, presenting new challenges and changes to address and adapt to. Katz fully embraces this adaptive role when asked about the challenges and opportunities of directing the technological network behind the scenes.  

“In technology, opportunities and challenges are both about the same thing which is constant change, because nothing ever sits still,” he explained. “Everything we do is a moving target, so you can’t solve a problem, and have it stay solved for more than a couple years. Something is changing that needs to be updated, and you have to think of the implications. But there’s also endless opportunities and always new things to learn and to accomplish.”


A Better View of VuFind 

It was one of these very opportunities, the ongoing development of VuFind, that brought Katz to Falvey, working on the open-source resource portal started at Villanova. To many, VuFind is just the unassuming search bar that we haphazardly issue queries to, hoping one of our partiallyformed questions pans out with an applicable result, but there is much more going on behind the scenes. The fact that our searches consistently return meaningful and accessible results is the product of tremendous labor. One only needs to look back to what came before VuFind to appreciate it.  

“When a student did a Library search on the web,” Katz recalled, “they were expecting something like Google, and they were getting something like a card catalogue on a screen.” 

Improving the user experience of finding pertinent materials is an important part of bibliography, the systematic description of a book, its author(s), publishing information, and other defining elements of its creation. That bibliographic work has always interested Katz, even before his time at Falvey, starting with his personal efforts to catalogue Choose Your Own Adventure books.  


Dime Novel Discovery 

“I maintained a bibliography of Choose Your Own Adventure-type books which I have long collected,” he told me. So, I wrote software to manage that stuff, I have a website people use to inventory their collections and to see which author wrote which books.”  

This long-held fascination found unexpected connections when an off-hand comment during a meeting led to the discovery of forgotten collections. The story of the Dime Novel Collection started with finding of a pile of unsorted turn-of-the-century booklets in the dusty depths of the Falvey West basement. Katz recognized these immediately as dime novels and started an exhaustive search for other collectors and curators.  

After time, they were able to negotiate the rights to publish a portion of the bibliographic work of Eddie LeBlanc, late editor of the journal Dime Novel Roundup. Building off of LeBlanc’s efforts, Katz and his peers were able to secure grant funding to digitize a bibliography of dime novels. These nearly forgotten texts are now a feature of Falvey’s Special Collections, and Katz views that inclusion as an important indicator of a growing appreciation for different cultural artifacts.  

“I am hopeful that through the digitization work we are helping to spearhead, these dime novels will become more visible and maybe will be recognized for the position they hold in popular culture.” 


Check in next month for another profile in our ongoing How We Help series! 

Nathaniel Gosweiler is a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Department at Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in Communication at Villanova University.


Celebrate the Launch of Villanova’s First Peer-Reviewed Undergraduate Research Journal

Read the current issue here!

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.



Motivation Monday with Millicent Gaskell

Need some extra motivation this Monday? With the University’s Annual Day of Giving beginning tomorrow at 12:00 a.m., University Librarian Millicent Gaskell has pledged to match the amount donated to Falvey Library as part of the 1842 Day celebration up to $1,842.

“A gift to the Library is a gift to the whole University” says Gaskell. “Those gifts have have lasting impact. They allow the Library to adapt to our students’ ever-changing needs and, over time, to realize our vision that will transform the Library facility, collections, and resources.” 

With more than half a million visitors each year, the library continues to evolve. Gifts to Falvey Library in 2018 allowed University Archives to purchase preservation supplies in order to rehouse thousands of at-risk, rare materials—including 10,000 photo negatives; 35 scrapbooks, photographic albums, and University logs—and inventory more than 1,100 CDs and DVDs. 

Help us unite to ignite: your gift will enhance and impact the Library’s collections, including books, databases, e-journals, Special Collections, and the University Archives. An essential part of life at Villanova, the benefits of your gift will impact students and faculty for generations to come.

1842 Day, the Villanova University Official Day of Giving, will run from 12 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17, to 12 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 18. You can make your donation to the Library via the 1842 website.

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 








Villanovans, Gain Complimentary Access to the New York Times, Courtesy of Villanova

How good is the sequel novel to The Handmaid’s Tale?* What writing routines does your favorite writer practice?** Discover all of this and more with complimentary access to The New York Times, courtesy of Villanova University.

Connect to the people, places, and topics that matter most with unlimited news, videos, and multimedia; anytime, anywhere.

To activate access:

  1. Visit
  2. Create a account using your school email address.
  3. Download your free NYT mobile app. Visit

* Based on early reviews, very good. In fact, The Testaments has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is poised to shake up the bestseller lists. A book three decades in the writing appears to have been worth the wait.

** Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys, sets a goal of writing about eight pages a week. But he says that he doesn’t accomplish it by writing every day.

Shawn Proctor, MFA, Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library, finally read The Handmaid’s Tale two years ago, only weeks before the Hulu Original show premiered. 


Welcome To Falvey: Erica Hayes Joins Research Services and Scholarly Engagement

Erica Hayes recently joined Research Services and Scholarly Engagement (RSSE) as Digital Scholarship Librarian. RSSE works to support research, teaching, and learning at Villanova University; enabling the discovery of, access to, and stewardship of a vast array of scholarly resources.

Hayes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Chapman University in Orange, CA; a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, specializing in poetics from California State University, Long Beach; and a Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science from Indiana University, Bloomington.

She is passionate about scholarship and was an Adjunct Professor teaching English Literature and Composition courses when a colleague’s spouse, who was a Digital Humanities Librarian, introduced her to the world of digital scholarship. Encompassing a variety of subjects, digital scholarship lies at the intersection between technology and research. She is excited to collaborate with Villanova faculty and students to help bring their research to life.

“Integrating digital tools into research methods can extend traditional methods of scholarship, sharing knowledge and pedagogy beyond the page,” she says.

While at IU Bloomington, Hayes worked on several projects including the Petrarchive Project, an open access “rich-text” digital edition of Francesco Petrarca’s songbook Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta. “The project proposes a new digital way of visualizing, studying, and investigating Petrarch’s work by offering a more ‘authentic’ text as well as multiple indices and tools to access the diverse strata of the work’s composition and cultural contextualization.”

Exhibit: Bird by Bird
She also worked at the Lilly Library, IU Bloomington’s Rare Books and Special Collections Library, as the Web Development Assistant, managing digital collections, Omeka online exhibits, and their website. Collaborating with faculty, Hayes assisted in developing touchscreen exhibits for the library’s special collection exhibits: One of which accompanied the permanent exhibition of John James Audubon’s double elephant folio, Birds of America. “The touchscreen exhibit featured 50 plates of North American bird species from the collection and was created to make the volumes more accessible to library visitors. The touchscreen helped make the collection more interactive while offering an opportunity for patrons to learn more about Audubon and his life,” she explains.

Before starting at Falvey Memorial Library, Hayes completed a two-year fellowship at the NC State University Libraries working in the Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center and the User Experience Department. She led a variety of Digital Scholarship workshops including storytelling with GIS, georeferencing historical maps, and text and data mining.

As the Project Manager on the Immersive Scholar Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant at the NC State University Libraries, Hayes also worked with a group of scholars to create large-scale visualizations and extensible models for the James B. Hunt Jr. Library’s visualization walls. She says, “managing the grant’s workflows, I worked closely with creative residents we hosted at the NC State University Libraries on developing open source visualization projects to be shared across institutions.”

Mapping African Coinage
In her free time, Hayes enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and is looking forward to exploring Philadelphia. Currently, she is also collaborating with her friend, Dr. Kacie Wills, on a digital humanities project, entitled “Exploring the Collections of Sarah Sophia Banks,” which was recently awarded a research grant from the Keats-Shelley Association of America. Sarah Sophia Banks was the sister to Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society and famed botanist on the Cook Voyages. “While her life has often been overshadowed by her brother, Sarah Sophia was an avid collector of coins, medals, and tokens from around the world. It was most unusual for a woman to study numismatics during the eighteenth century and some of her coins are incredibly rare.  For our project, we are mapping the African coins detailed in her coin catalogues that are housed at the British Museum and the Royal Mint,” she says. “Our GIS map features coins from her catalogues, which connects the coin’s location of authority to their places of issue in order to display these unique coins, tokens, and medals while showing how money was being distributed during the growing British Empire.”

As she works to build a digital scholarship program at Villanova, Hayes invites the campus community to reach out and set up an appointment with her: “I can help students incorporate digital tools into their scholarship and assist faculty with developing digital pedagogy assignments in the classroom.”

Hayes’ office is in the Learning Commons of Falvey Memorial Library, room 229. Email:

Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 


Feels Like Fall Already: Falvey Welcomes New Faculty at Orientation 

Falvey’s librarians, including Erica Hayes, the Digital Scholarship Librarian, welcomed new faculty to Villanova Thursday, Aug. 21.

Falvey’s librarians, including Erica Hayes, the Digital Scholarship Librarian, welcomed new faculty to Villanova Thursday, Aug. 21.

Each year, before the fall semester begins, the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) sponsors a new faculty orientation program that supports faculty new to Villanova University. Partnering with VITAL, Falvey Memorial Library co-sponsored a continental breakfast on Wednesday, Aug. 21, in Falvey’s Speakers’ Corner.

Library Director Millicent Gaskell welcomed new faculty, highlighted library services, and discussed library initiatives, including the Affordable Materials Project (AMP) and the Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund. The assemblage provided new faculty members the opportunity to gather according to discipline for informal discussions with liaison librarians.


What’s Missing From This Picture? Suggest a Title for the Library’s Collection

bookcart with books

This is not just any cart filled with books. These are the newest print titles that the Library has added to its collection of over a million print and electronic books.

Each was selected due to its ability to support the teaching, learning, and research needs of the entire Villanova University community, including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff. It is part of the Library’s effort to advance knowledge on campus, promote information discovery and access, encourage intellectual curiosity, and empower users by providing timely and critical information resources.

The Library understands the impact of evolving information technologies, changing scholarly communication practices, new forms of information seeking behaviors, and learning styles in a networked world.

The library also acknowledges the interdisciplinary nature of academic resources and firmly believe in free and open access to knowledge, freedom of expression, diversity, interculturality, and inclusion in all its collections. As such, it promotes open access educational resources, zero-cost classroom texts, and DRM free e-resources whenever possible when making collection building decisions.

Learn more about the Library’s process of developing its collection here:

But we also rely on faculty and students to help guide the selection process.

If you discover a resource that should be added to the collection, the Library staff welcomes you to visit the website and suggest the purchase of a title. It may be just the thing students will need for their next groundbreaking research project!



headshot of Shawn ProctorShawn Proctor, MFA, is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. He most recently read Dar Williams’ book What I Found in a Thousand Towns.


A Short Search of Nearly Everything

The Library’s search bar enables patrons to search and browse Falvey Memorial Library’s collection of books, journals, audio/video materials, electronic resources…almost anything. Input a term (in this case, Augustine) and the search results provide, from left to right,

  • a list of relevant books and media; articles from academic publications;
  • the related subject librarian;
  • library website results, including entries from the blog; and
  • items available by request from other libraries.

This is useful for kicking off research for a class paper, almost asking “What resources and information are available?” It’s essential for finding the articles and librarian that can take your initial idea and shape it into a strong thesis. It’s ideal for double-checking your sources when you have that late night anxious worry that maybe, just maybe there was another article that would help put the finishing touches on your work.

In short, it’s the beginning of your success story at Villanova. What term will you type in to begin yours?


screen capture of the website search function


Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



Welcome to Falvey: Sarah Hughes Joins Research Services and Scholarly Engagement

Sarah Hughes recently joined Research Services and Scholarly Engagement as the Nursing and Life Sciences Librarian. Research Services and Scholarly Engagement works to support research, teaching, and learning at Villanova University; enabling the discovery of, access to, and stewardship of a vast array of scholarly resources.

A native of New Jersey, Hughes has a passion for research, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Rutgers University and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Professional Communication from William Paterson University.

“I enjoyed spending time in the library as an undergrad and eventually discovered that I wanted to pursue a career that was both research oriented, but also personal, where I helped people,” she says.

Her interest in the field began when she enrolled in a medical librarianship course taught onsite at Weil Cornell Medicine in Manhattan. “I was in the same building that was being used by the doctors, residents, and nurses. It was exciting. I liked the idea that the research I was assisting the community in could be used for making advances in medicine,” Hughes says.

Furthering her knowledge of the profession, Hughes worked several internships in various hospitals and institutions, including the New York Academy of Medicine, the Manhattan VA Medical Center, and the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. The experience she gained helped make for a smooth transition from medical librarian to academic librarian.

Hughes is familiar with academic libraries due to her work with nursing students at Dominican College and teaching library instruction courses to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students at William Paterson University before transitioning to Falvey Memorial Library. Hughes knew Falvey Library was right for her when she saw that the scholarly librarian position focused exclusively on nursing and life sciences. “I have a deep respect for nurses. Working in the emergency department at Princeton, I was amazed by all of the tasks the nurses dealt with during their shifts.”

Hughes says she is excited to meet the students and faculty in the fall and encourages the Villanova community to reach out and set up an appointment. “I can assist nursing students with finding and using databases, utilizing citation management tools, and pointing them towards great evidence-based practice resources.” Faculty in the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing can also contact Hughes about research consultations. “Research is a big undertaking and takes a great amount of time—months, sometimes years. We’re exploring what tools the library can offer to help scholars in the sciences and other disciplines. Given that Villanova is R2: doctoral university, the stakes and the expectations are higher, and we need to support them.”

In her free time, Hughes enjoys going to see live music, watching foreign and documentary films, exploring new restaurants, traveling, and spending time outdoors kayaking. An avid tennis fan, she likes watching her favorite players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“My door is always open to students and faculty. The Fitzpatrick College of Nursing is very prestigious, so I’m thrilled to have a great group of students with which to work. There’s so many different avenues they can take once they finish their degree. I’m excited to help prepare students for their time at Villanova and beyond.”

Hughes’ office is located in the Learning Commons on the second floor of Falvey Memorial Library. Room 220. 610-519-8129. Email: She will also be at Driscoll Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays this fall.

Kallie Stahl MA ’17  is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 


How We Help: Intersession Service Hours Begin Today, Monday, July 29

Summer isn’t over yet, but our intersession service hours begin Monday, July 29. These hours will be in effect until Friday, August 23.

See you in a month, Wildcats!

Monday–Friday: 9AM–5PM (front doors and book stacks lock at 4:30PM. 24/7 card access available to eligible patrons.)

Saturday and Sunday: Closed (24/7 card access available to eligible patrons.)

Click here for additional information on library hours and access.

Kallie Stahl MA ’17  is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: July 29, 2019