Meet the 2023 TDL Awards Recipients

We at TDL are continually inspired by the amazing work going on within our member libraries and other organizations throughout Texas and the region – work that furthers TDL’s mission of  ensuring long term, equitable access to digital content of value to research, instruction, cultural heritage, and institutional memory. We are honored to play a part in facilitating some of that work, and the TDL Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize the labor, creativity, and expertise of the library and archives workers in our community.

Every year through the TDL Awards, we honor individuals and groups that have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of digital libraries in various areas, including:

  • Excellence
  • Individual Impact
  • Outreach
  • Scholarly Communication Impact
  • Student Excellence
  • Trailblazer
  • Service to the TDL consortium

Below are the words of the nominations for each awardee, anonymized and edited for context and length.

Excellence Award

Monica Flores & Karen Kocher, Barton Creek Time Stream

image of Monica Flores and Karen Kocher

The TDL Excellence Award honors a specific project that demonstrates overall excellence in one or more areas of digital curation or digital library practice.

The winners of the 2023 Excellence Award are Monica Flores and Karen Kocher for their work on the Barton Creek Time Stream.

Austin’s Barton Creek has played an outsized role in the city’s political life and in Austin’s identity as a city with environmental values at its core. The history of Barton Creek protection efforts has influenced the make-up of the Austin City Council, the creation of citizen boards and commissions, and the first office of environmental oversight. Efforts to protect the Creek have resulted in thousands of acres of preserved land and the strongest water quality ordinance in the nation.

Monica and Karen created a digital archive for use by researchers, scholars, educators, students, advocacy groups, outdoor enthusiasts, and the community-at-large. The result of their work is the interactive digital web site, Barton Creek Time Stream.

The interactive timeline comprises more than 90 richly documented events beginning in the early 1950s, transporting the user through 6 decades of advocacy efforts, providing archival imagery, documents, reports, newspaper clippings, political cartoons, maps, oral histories and quotes from citizens of the day.

The Barton Creek Time Stream offers curated content from over 30 private and public archival collections representing collaboration with the Austin History Center, Austin American-Statesman, the City of Austin, Austin Chronicle, environmental organizations and civic groups, and dozens of individual citizens who contributed from their own personal archives.

Monica and Karen’s goal for the project was to educate and inspire civic engagement. They collaborated with educators creating lesson plans and dozens of educators have downloaded the curriculum. These teachers serve over 3,000 AP Environmental Science students in Central Texas. Furthermore, the Barton Creek Time Stream connects site users to the websites for the many advocacy groups.

The Barton Creek Time Stream is a unique, innovative, and collaborative work of digital scholarship that benefits everyone in the present day and for many years to come.


Individual Impact Award

Allyssa Guzman, University of Texas at Austin

image of Alyssa Guzman

The Individual Impact Award celebrates an individual who has made significant contributions and improvements to the field, demonstrated through leadership in digital initiatives and / or the development of students and early-career professionals.

The winner of the 2023 Individual Impact Award is Allyssa Guzman, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin.

Allyssa has served as a supervisor and mentor for three cohorts of Diversity Resident Librarians at UT Austin since 2018. She has developed a program focused on personal and professional growth for the Residents. She implemented meaningful change and improved the program by extending the program from two to three years to better serve the Residents in their job search. And to our benefit, Allyssa offered her guidance as Texas Digital Library launched their inaugural ACRL Diversity Resident program.

In addition to her leadership in the Residency program, Allyssa has led work on developing the new Scholars Lab at UT Austin. The Scholars Lab at UT Libraries will provide space and opportunities for learning, consultation, collaboration and research presentation to enhance multidisciplinary research and digital scholarship. Allyssa embodies the rare ability to take the long view and invoke strategies towards positive change in libraries while diligently making an immediate positive impact in her work every day.

Allyssa is a quiet force for good in supporting and sustaining the people and places of digital scholarship. UT Libraries – and the students and scholars it serves – will benefit from Allyssa’s work for many years to come.


Outreach Award

Digital Strategies & Innovation at Texas Woman’s University Libraries

image of the TWU Digital Strategies and Innovation Team

The Outreach Award honors an individual or team that demonstrates a creative, innovative, and successful approach to increasing accessibility of digital information, promoting engagement among new users, or increasing public awareness of an organization’s digital collections.

The winner of the 2023 Outreach Award is the Digital Strategies & Innovation team at Texas Woman’s University Libraries. Team members include Susan Whitmer, Amanda Zerangue, Ginger Garza, Julie Reed Sullivan, Adrian Shapiro, Kristin Clark, Erik Martin, Elizabeth Headrick, and Sean Spear. This team leads initiatives and campus collaborations in the areas of scholarly communication, digitization, online digital collection creation and metadata, digital preservation, digital literacy, Open Educational Resources (OER), digital equity, journal creation, digital humanities, assessment, and library website design.

For one of their long-term projects, Project Index, the team collaborated with faculty to review their CV and archive any scholarly content in the Repository@TWU. In the last five years, this collaboration has resulted in a 320% increase in faculty publications which are now accessible. For many faculty, this is the first time they have heard of Repository@TWU with the team doing all of the behind-the-scenes work to ensure copyright compliance and archiving, plus increased exposure to TWU’s scholarly output.

Another team project, titled Developing Digital Competencies, recognized gaps in digital competencies among staff and provided training in a safe and flexible learning space for critical engagement with digital technologies. As part of this project, team members hosted a speaker series and a lab space consisting of laptops and hotspots available for long-term borrowing. By promoting engagement among staff and new users, this work continues to serve as valuable outreach for the library, increasing awareness of the digital services available to the community, and providing lifelong opportunities for learners. Their intentional efforts to bridge the digital divide remain innovative and ongoing.


Scholarly Communications Impact Award

Hang Pham-Vu, University of Texas at Arlington

image of Hnag Pham-Vu

The Scholarly Communication Impact Award honors an individual or group that has demonstrated leadership in or advancement of scholarly communication.

The winner of the 2023 Scholarly Communications Award is Hang Pham-Vu, Library Specialist for Digital Publishing at the University of Texas at Arlington.

When the committee read Hang’s nomination we felt like we could so relate to her, as she embodies the qualities we as librarians see in ourselves and our teammates. She is adaptable, responsible, resourceful, giving, and shows endless potential.

Each semester, Hang routinely ensures that ETD submissions are properly submitted, embargoed, and published. But after her supervisor left, Hang took on more responsibilities, including uploads to the UTA DSpace repository, communication with open access journal editors and authors, and completing production of journal issues. These were tasks that she previously shared with her supervisor, but she stepped up to cover all of the gaps.

Hang even made time to train new staff on software platforms used for digital publishing including DSpace, Vireo, and Open Journal Systems. She has been an invaluable team member in problem solving several needs with these platforms, and serves as a resource for user permissions and workflow knowledge.

For the first time, Hang took on the production of a full journal issue on her own, dedicating her focus to copy edit, design, process, and enhance the 2022 issue of the McNair Scholars Research Journal (MSRJ). She ensured that students’ writing was presented professionally. She also ensured that the journal’s design follows the tradition of the McNair Scholars, working cross-departmentally with UTA Libraries’ Marketing and Communications team. This experience required that Hang apply all her project management and time management skills, as well as her expertise from her English degree and publishing experience.


Student Excellence Award

Kartik Mann, University of Texas at Arlington

image of Kartik Mann

The Student Excellence Award honors an individual student who has demonstrated overall excellence and significant contributions to digital library practice.

The winner of the 2023 Student Excellence Award is Kartik Mann, Graduate Associate in the Department of Open Partnerships & Services at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.

Kartik is an international graduate student from India with an MBA and computer science degree who has worked with UT Arlington Libraries for four and a half years and has applied his talents to different aspects of the department, from open educational resources to open journal systems, from repositories to electronic theses and dissertations.

Kartik understands the importance of clear communication and of maintaining standards. He recently helped the team resolve an issue in their DSpace repository that required immediate attention to ensure standards of copyright permissions were met. Kartik also applied his technical knowledge to redefine embargoes for ETDs and embed video in OJS. Furthermore, Kartik is a thoughtful participant in departmental meetings, contributing to discussions about the expansion and improvement of the libraries’ social media presence and the importance of open access publishing for educational affordability.

Kartik developed training and workshops for the Open Educational Resources department on how to publish using Pressbooks. He guided many faculty members and student contributors in the development of OER with patience and insight. He personally assisted with at least a dozen OER projects and is acknowledged by the authors in at least five for his extensive support. The OERs that Kartik contributed to have been used by hundreds of thousands of users globally. He has made an incredible impact!

Kartik clearly cares about his job and wants to do it well. He exemplifies a graduate student who contributes to our Libraries well beyond what is expected.


Trailblazer Award

Mingyu Chen, University of Texas at Dallas

image of Mingyu Chen

The Trailblazer Award honors the work of an individual or group who has used limited resources in innovative ways to create, maintain, or support digital collections. TDL strongly encourages applications from libraries, archives, and cultural heritage institutions that may not have full-time staff dedicated to digital projects but that have found creative and innovative ways to develop a digital presence.

The winner of the 2023 Trailblazer Award is Mingyu Chen, Head of Metadata Services at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Mingyu has shown that she is undaunted by challenges, applying her wealth of leadership and technical skills to creatively problem-solve and implement solutions to critical challenges faced in digital library work.

Mingyu Chen is a mother, a caregiver, a leader, and an academic librarian dedicated to her team, her students, and her library. Mingyu has led dozens of projects that unify teams and tools at the Eugene McDermott Library.

Mingyu developed workflows to incorporate AI into cataloging, discovery, and reference; she built an acquisition workflow that enhanced the collaboration between the acquisition and metadata teams; and configured metadata systems that allowed her team to seamlessly monitor, edit, import, and verify metadata. During the pandemic, this workflow allowed UT Dallas to save time and money, made it easier to complete projects efficiently and remotely, and the workflow continues to benefit teamwork today.

Mingyu brings courage and joy to her challenges. For much of the past academic year, Mingyu has applied her vast knowledge and experience to keep her department afloat despite severe staffing shortages due to the post-pandemic turnover. She has volunteered with the Texas Digital Library’s TCDL Planning Committee for the past two years and in her personal time, she leads volunteer efforts to mentor middle-school youth in her city.

Thank you for bringing us joy and courage, Mingyu. Congratulations and we look forward to seeing what you accomplish next!


TDL Service Award

Colleen Lyon, University of Texas at Austin

image of Colleen Lyon

The TDL Service Award is given at the discretion of TDL staff to recognize a member of our community who goes above and beyond in service to the TDL consortium.

The winner of the 2023 TDL Service Award is Colleen Lyon, Head of Scholarly Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.

Colleen, for the current year, has played an integral role in helping TDL staff and the TDL user community prepare for a major upgrade to our hosted repositories as a member of the TDL DSpace 7 Upgrades Task Force. She has also served as an exemplary inaugural rotation supervisor for our Resident Digital Librarian, Ima Oduok – providing crucial support for our fledgling Diversity Residency in Digital Libraries – and serving as a welcoming and supportive and expert supervisor to Ima on her DSpace rotation. Across these projects, Colleen contributed valuable time providing counsel, writing and reviewing documentation, preparing presentations, and testing software – all in the service of the TDL community and the library profession. These contributions alone merit the award.

However, TDL feels very strongly that this is an award that could have been received pretty much any year we have worked together. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that every staff member at TDL is enthusiastically in support of offering this recognition. In all our service interactions, Colleen is a patient and collaborative partner. Our staff always know they can come to her with a question or a request for advice, and expect level-headed and clear-eyed answers. She lends her expertise in Open Access, copyright, and repository management willingly and with kindness to other TDL members. She advocates for TDL and acknowledges its contributions within UT Libraries and to folks outside the consortium. We – the TDL staff and membership – are truly fortunate to have Colleen on our team.


TDL Awards Recipients were honored in opening plenary session of TCDL 2023. For more information about the TDL Awards and to read about past years’ winners, visit

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