About Me

How I Got Here

I joined the University as a librarian in May 2008, but my ties to the U go back a lot farther. I graduated from the U in 1986 with a BA in Speech-Communication (now the Communication Studies department) and a BS in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.

After graduation, I joined my husband (Lee Graba, BS AEM 1983, MS EE 1992) in Los Angeles and worked as a Systems Analyst for Hughes Aircraft. PCs were just making a place for themselves in the corporate world, and my job was to create PC-based database applications. Within a couple of years, I was building applications for clients all around Southern California as a consultant. I continued that business when we moved back to Minnesota, and began teaching other people how to do what I did by leading training classes, filming videos, and writing articles.

I love helping people use technology to do their jobs better, but after 20 years I needed something more than just figuring out the "next big thing," learning it inside-out, and teaching it. I found something more in library school. I attended College of St. Catherine, earning my Masters in Library and Information Science a couple of days before I started work here.

I still do some programming as a part of my job, as well as designing and co-leading workshops. As the liaison to Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and History of Science and Technology, it's my job to learn about the teaching and research of those departments. You'll probably see me out and about at graduate seminars and open houses. Please say hello and help the Libraries help you by telling me about your work.

Groups and Committees

Like most of us in the Libraries, I serve on several groups and committees in my department, within the Libraries, and through professional organizations. I've listed active groups here, along with links to more information about each group's work. Note that not all group pages are open to everyone. If you'd like a quick summary of what a group is working on, just ask.

University Libraries

Personal Information Management (PIM) Collaborative (co-chair)

Library Data and Student Success project group

Primo Management Group

Professional Skills Portfolio Program working group (Physical Science & Engineering Library)

University Libraries Executive Committee


Professional Organizations
Accreditation & Standards Committee
Scholarly Communications Committee
American Society for Engineering Education - Engineering Libraries Division


Publications and Reports
Fransen, J., Friedman-Shedlov, L., Theis-Mahon, N., Traill, S., & Boudewyns, D. (2012). Setting a Direction for Discovery: A Phased Approach. In M. Popp, & D. Dallis (Eds.), Planning and Implementing Resource Discovery Tools in Academic Libraries (pp. 174-193). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-1821-3.ch011. Available at http://purl.umn.edu/126757.

Hessel, H. and Fransen, J. (2012). Resource Discovery: Comparative Survey Results. Information Technology in Libraries 31(2). Available at http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ital/article/view/2165.

Fransen, J. (2011). Finding Your Way around the Engineering Literature: Developing an Online Tutorial Series for Engineering Students. In 2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 26-29, 2011. ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, Canada: American Society for Engineering Education. Paper is available through the ASEE website at http://z.umn.edu/aseeenglit.

Fransen, J., Kocher, M., and Kempf, J. (2011) Using Google Forms for Staff Self-Assessment. College & Research Libraries News 72(10). Available at http://crln.acrl.org/content/72/10/587.full.

Fransen, J. and Jeffryes, J. (2009) Teaming with Possibilities: Working Together to Engage with Engineering Faculty and Students. In 2009 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 15, 2009 - June 17, 2009, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings. Austin, TX, United States: American Society for Engineering Education. Paper is available through the ASEE website at http://z.umn.edu/aseeteaming.

With Deborah Ultan Boudewyns, Cody Hanson, Heather Hessel, Lara Friedman-Shedlov, and Stacie Traill, Discoverability: Investigating the Academic Library's Changing Role in Connecting People to Resources. An overview of methodologies, findings, and implications of the Discoverability Phase 1 report released in early 2009. Available at http://purl.umn.edu/116586.

Parsing Citations using Visual Basic for Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide. An exploration of possible methods for extracting citations from dissertations and theses. Available at http://purl.umn.edu/127017.

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