Professional Development

Derrik at the NC Serials Conference, 2015 edition

Monday, April 20, 2015 2:03 pm

Well, the latest few PD blog posts have guilted me into finally writing about my trip to the 2015 NC Serials Conference. Now, if I can just find my notes …

Aha! Here we are.

Steve’s post already covered Katherine Skinner’s opening keynote address quite well. I’ll add an “Aha” moment I had. Do you know who invented the incandescent light bulb? Hint: It wasn’t Thomas Edison; he merely perfected the design. Skinner also said that the jukebox was not invented by the record industry. Lesson: Innovation per se isn’t the only thing that’s important, and positive changes can come from outside the area you’d normally think to look for them.

I presented a session on library-vendor negotiation, along with co-presenter Lesley Jackson, our EBSCO Account Manager. We presented nine different principles of negotiation, along with examples. There were things like “Be prepared,” “Don’t be afraid to ask,” and “Don’t take it personally.” We finished earlier than expected, but the audience participated and asked good questions. We had a number of vendor reps in the audience too, which made it more fun.

Another plenary session was a panel discussion about text and data mining. A fair amount of this was over my head, but one thing that was clear is that everybody’s still trying to figure it out. The vendor representative on the panel pointed out the difficulty vendors have with managing and licensing text mining because librarians can’t really articulate what “text mining” means. But it was also pointed out that (1) it means different things to different libraries and to different researchers; and (2) in many cases the researchers themselves don’t yet know where the research will take them, so it’s hard to know what permissions to ask for.

Empirical Librarians’ Conference

Monday, April 20, 2015 1:00 pm

Earlier this semester I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Empirical Librarians’ Conference at the F.D. Bluford Library at the N. Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University. This new, one-day conference was envisioned by Nina Exner and focused on two aspects of empirical research: conducting it and supporting it.
The keynote lecture was presented by Dr. Diane Kelly from the U.N.C. School of Library Science. She described how empiricism is:
• One way to create knowledge
• About accumulating evidence: there are no fixed truths
• Is a human invention
• Is a practice, like librarianship
• Is limited by the tools & instruments that area available

She went on to say that empirical librarianship is NOT synonymous with evidence-based librarianship (EBL). EBL uses rather than generates research. She reviewed a number of empirical approaches, including surveys, interviews, field studies and others. In evaluating the worthiness of research, one should consider the following: truth-value (internal validity), applicability (external validity), consistence (replicability), and neutrality (objectivity).

How does one become an empirical librarian? First, research is a practice and experience helps a lot. Just start. Research doesn’t happen the way it’s described in textbooks, so be prepared for surprises. Research is constrained in many ways, such as personal, pragmatic and professional. We all work within limits or boundaries.

After the keynote speech, the conference split into two tracks: those who conduct empirical research and those who support others doing empirical research. The session that followed the keynote talk consisted of 15-minute presentations on a range of topics. I presented “Data Sets for Business Faculty Research” in which I compared and contrasted the types of data sets used by business and economics faculty, including the scope of their topics and the sources and costs of data. Other presenters shared their experiences supporting student research, promoting information literacy, providing research support to students in online education programs.

After lunch, I attended 2 concurrent sessions in the supporting research track. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Chelcie Rowell’s talk, “A Research-Driven Approach to Providing Research Data Curation Services” during the last concurrent session because I had to teach a library instruction session in Accounting 782 back in Farrell Hall.

The two presentations that were most memorable were “Supporting the Patron Research Life Cycle” by Lynda Kellam and “Well Begun is Half Done: Developing Outcome Statements for Successful Assessment” by Kathy Crowe and Amy Harris Houk. Lynda Kellam talked about efforts to introduce library resources to UNC-Greensboro students earlier in their academic careers and how we can help students make a habit of using academic resources for their research. A question that has stayed with me is “How do outreach and information literacy instruction change throughout a student’s career?”

Kathy Crowe and Amy Harris Houk conducted a session on learning outcomes. After defining and describing them, they conducted several exercises in which the attendees wrote and then shared learning outcomes for a series of scenarios. The session was so helpful that we invited them to present the session at BLINC’s April workshop.

Congratulations to Nina Exner on a successful conference. It was a content-packed one-day conference that I look forward to attending in the future.

Next Stop…Vegas! ILLiad 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015 12:09 pm

I know what you are thinking, ‘what do gambling chips have to do with interlibrary loan software?’ Short answer: nothing. Long answer: everything.

I’ll let Tara explain.*

My first experience at an ILLiad conference was excellent. Tuesday, Atlas Systems hosted a Social –Casino Night that gave me the opportunity to meet and socialize with over 300 participants there to attend the conference. We played all types of Casino games. For being one of the highest scorers that night I won One year Access Services Concierge Membership (value: $4,999)* for the library.

As I look back on the sessions what really stood out to me was “Is Your Library Visible” presented by Eric Miller, Zepheira. He was addressing the web visibility of the Library. That content was very important to the aspect of Interlibrary Loan. I’m glad had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.

*I feel it is important to note that Tara sent me her write up 3 days after the conference. It has taken me a month to post it. Yes, I am ashamed.

Tara certainly did jump right in to the conference flow. I missed Casino night, but I heard lots of reports of Tara smokin’ the Roulette wheel. I’m in negotiations with Atlas to leverage or prize to help all libraries in N.C. They seem open to the concept so stay tuned….

I attended several useful sessions. One on getting our requesting web pages mobile ready, and another on setting up auto hotkeys in ILLiad.

The most impressive was a presentation by Dr. Nobuhiko Kikuchi who is the head of resource sharing at the National Diet Library of Japan. In this case diet does not mean food and drink but congress. The NDL is the equivalent to the Library of Congress here in the U.S. This was Dr. Kikuchi’s first time in America, and the first time he has ever presented in English. Talk about nervous. He did wonderfully even using humor. The first time he told a joke and we laughed he said “thank you” and seemed to relax a little. I have looked to this library many times in my tenure as an interlibrary loan librarian. They are rolling out some new services and it was good to learn about them. It was also nice to meet the man responsible.

 

 

Steve at the 2015 NC Serials Conference

Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:10 pm

Sorry, I’m so late in writing about a conference that happened on March 6th, but the month of March and the first half of April pretty much ate my life. Anyway, Chris, Derrik and I drove to the conference, which started late due to a weather delay caused by a slight ice event (remember how crazy this winter was)? I was going to the conference to attend, but also to present and to staff an exhibits table on behalf of NASIG, so I was wearing three hats.

The most memorable session was the opening keynote given by Katherine Skinner of Educopia. If you’ve never heard Katherine speak, you really should if you get the chance, she’s always fascinating. She’ll be speaking at the E-Books Freakout on Friday, April 24th, so you should come. Her talk at the NC Serials Conference was called “Taking Action in a Critical Moment: From Innovation to Impact.” Skinner argued that innovation (as in an invention) would not solve the problems of scholarly communication. She said that we need a change to the system, not to look for left-field innovation to provide a magic bullet to solve our problems. She argued that innovations don’t typically come from the center, they come from unexpected locations, while system-wide changes require system-wide involvement. The problems associated with scholarly communication are system-wide, not merely incidental to a specific location. She pointed out that we in higher education (and really everywhere) are good at focusing on the problems in our own institution, rather than the system as a whole. She also made the very salient point that the problems of scholarly communications has essentially become the sole burden of librarians, even though they shouldn’t be. But, she argued that situation may be changing, as the problems in scholarly communications have started hitting scholars themselves, particularly in states that have seen massive cuts to higher education like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. She argued forcefully that librarians need to work together with scholars and other parties involved in the scholarly communication process to to try to find systemic solutions to the problems we face in scholarly communication.

I also gave a presentation at the NC Serials Conference, although I’m not nearly as good a public speaker as Katherine Skinner. I was invited to speak about the changes going on in NASIG over the last year or so (basically the time since I became NASIG president). In late 2013, the NASIG Executive Board decided to appoint a task force to revise the vision and mission statements of the organization. The old ones were too focused on phrases like “the serials information chain” and didn’t reflect the fact that NASIG is also quite involved with electronic resource management and scholarly communications. I campaigned on the idea of revising these statements, so I was totally on board with this process. I recruited a task force, including our own Lauren Corbett, to update our vision and mission statements. The membership approved them in November, 2014. Related to that, the Board also discussed changing our official name from the North American Serial Interest Group to just NASIG. The old name made folks think we’re only interested in print serials, and “interest group” made us sound like we’re a smaller part of a larger group. We proposed the name change and the membership approved the change to simply NASIG on Feb. 2nd, 2015. Also, in the spring of 2014, the list moderators of the SERIALST listserv came to the NASIG Executive Board to ask us to consider NASIG taking on the management of the listserv. The founder and lead moderator of the listserv, Birdie McLennon, tragically passed away early in 2014 and her institution wasn’t interested in keeping the listserv. So NASIG took on the management of the listserv and its archives, using a commercial service. We also started a task force to develop a set of core competencies for scholarly communications librarians (to go along with NASIG’s sets of core competencies for electronic resource librarians and print serials librarians). We developed a formal code of conduct for our conference and other NASIG events. We became a strategic affiliate of the Library Publishing Coalition. We also looked at the possibility of hiring office staff for the first time in our history. And we’re doing all this while planning for our 30th anniversary conference in Washington, DC in May, which will not only include a 30th anniversary celebration, but also a joint program with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Plus, we’re proud sponsors of the Wake the E-Books Festival coming up on April 23rd and 24th. We’ve been kinda busy.

Keeping Our Cool!

Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:56 pm

Let me start with having you listen to this TED talk entitled The Danger of a Single Story. It sets the tone for much of what was shared during the Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication (WIIC). During Spring Break, thanks to a scholarship from the WFU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I was able to attend the WIIC which was held here in Winston Salem at the Embassy Suites Hotel. I enrolled in the 3-day course entitled, “Keeping Our Cool! Managing Cross Cultural Conflicts,” and taught by Donna Stringer. The primary objective of the workshop was to lead attendees through a process of understanding how our own culturally learned behaviors and perceptions can create cross-cultural misunderstandings and conflict.

During the session we took the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICSI) assessment to identify our preferred approach or style for resolving conflict. Knowing more about ourselves, our own preferred conflict style, aids in resolving disagreements, managing stress levels, more accurately interpreting the statements and actions of others, and more effectively communicating our interest to others. The institute was chunked full of high energy and thoroughly engaging conversations coupled with numerous opportunities for role playing, scenario writing and reviewing of case studies.

Of particular interest was the discussion around the two primary ways of handling conflict which was categorized as “direct” vs “indirect”. It was no real surprise to me that the assessment results indicated that I was direct. I want to get right at it. However my other indicator was right down the middle with “engagement” but like one hatch mark away from being “discussion.” I would love to have our leadership team and any interested others take this assessment. It was really eye opening to me. I have the ICSI pamphlet which describes the results, but not the actual assessment questionnaire used. Below is the chart that explains in greater detail.

A couple of statements that really resonated with me were; intent does not minimize impact. Because you didn’t mean anything by your words or actions, doesn’t mean that what the receiver felt was any less real. The second was; conflict is an opportunity for greater intimacy. I truly welcome the opportunity for more discussion. A brown bag lunch time would be super. Would you be up for this?

MB’s March Conference travels (or From Abu Dhabi to Portland in 78 hours) in pictures and words

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Mary Scanlon, Mary Krautter (from UNCG) and I had the astute pleasure of presenting at the 21st Annual Conference and Exhibition of Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter. The three of us did both a workshop on Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture in Libraries, and a presentation on Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Transforming Library Services. We were approached last July by email in what, I admit, I initially thought of just trashing because it was just so extraordinary to get an email from a representative of this conference across the world asking us to do them the honor of presenting at their conference. But after doing our due diligence, we began to prepare for this amazing opportunity. The representative who invited us, Mohamed Mubarak, was a most gracious host, and was anxious that everything be perfect for our presentation and our stay.

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

The workshop, held on Monday, March 16, was a pre-conference session attended by just 6 people. However, the small size allowed for a great deal of engagement and conversation. They were very interested in our presentation. All of the attendees were from special libraries, and interestingly, all of them did work related to tourism, either from post secondary schools that had programs that emphasized in tourism and hospitality, or from the government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. (We did note repeatedly that they take their hospitality very seriously in the United Arab Emirates.) While we carefully constructed our message owing to what we perceived as a more restrictive environment, we were delighted to learn that great strides had been made to increase transparency across the UAE. Their’s is a model that will go through growing pains for awhile, but there were definite signs of a relaxing of the rules to allow more entrepreneurial ideas and methodologies to take root.

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

The next morning, at the opening keynote, the themes of the conference became apparent as Dr. Essa AlBastaki, the President of Dubai University spoke about the need for expanding the economy beyond one that hinges entirely on the availability of oil. He mentioned the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting it several times in his speech. We listened to this, (and other keynote speeches) through a simultaneous translator. This was also an interesting experience, and was again indicative of the hospitality extended to non-Arabic speakers. They were well prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary to make us feel welcome.

Our presentation was the afternoon of the first day. The session started a little late (we learned of what we termed the “elasticity of time” in the UAE) but the session was well attended and again they expressed a great deal of interest on advancing entrepreneurship in their libraries. Many people after the presentation came up to gather business cards and the questions posed in the Q&A indicated a deep understanding of the content. It was thrilling!

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial  Librarianship

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial Librarianship

Other presentations I attended included one with Rick Anderson from Utah University on e-books and the challenges of PDA models for ebook acquisition, and Lisa Hinchcliffe, from the University of Illinois on assessing the impact of information literacy education. I also caught up with former colleague Vanessa Middleton, who now works in Abu Dhabi in the Petroleum Institute, and she presented on how to develop better relationships between libraries and vendors.

Mary Beth and Vanessa Middleton

 

So aside from the occasional use of a translator, the issues in libraries are much the same the world over. That, I think, is the best takeaway of all.

Interested staff members from ZSR will be able to see many more photos (including non-conference photos) at a staff development session coming soon.

After a very brief turn around time, (arriving home Saturday morning at 3am and then leaving for the airport on Tuesday morning at 9am) I went to nearly the opposite side of the globe to attend ACRL in Portland, OR. The time difference between Abu Dhabi and Portland is 11 hours, so it is very nearly the opposite side of the world and the opposite side of the clock. (I can’t tell you how important coffee is to one’s body in this situation.) I attended the Ithaka S+R session that Roz already ably blogged about. I also was in the very enlightening and, frankly, inspiring session on Wellness and how libraries can impact wellness on campus that Susan wrote about.

I went to a session with three different library perspectives on emergency planning where I picked up this gem which unites my desire for simple signage, humor, and emergency planning.

In Case of Fire, Exit Building Before Tweeting About It

 

I attended two other sessions that were all about ebooks and their influence on researchers. One, entitled “STEM Users Prefer Ebooks. . . Or Do they?” provided a qualitative and quantitative study conducted at a large academic library which challenged the assumption that ebooks are welcomed, or at least not held in disdain, by the hard Sciences and Math researchers. Their assessment was very thorough and raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is that more assessment is needed. I had a meet up with the other “Assessment in Action” project coordinators who were at various stages of completing the research leg of their 18 month long assessment. Our final presentations are due at ALA in San Francisco. That is when I will be blogging next.

It was quite the whirlwind, (21 days of travel total) but now I’m glad to be back on Eastern time and home for a while. While I wouldn’t recommend it, neither would I give up the opportunity to do it again if the opportunity presented itself!

 

 

 

 

Carol’s View of ACRL

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:02 pm

A building at Portland State University

 

As a collections person, I found this conference rather thin on relevant programming, especially since I knew that Roz/Kyle/Kaeley would cover all the instruction angles. That said, the program committee did a good job of spreading the collections-focused sessions among the time slots so I had at least one relevant choice almost every time. I also took advantage of the chance to attend the occasional session outside of my niche, e.g., one on “Complexity and Contradiction in Green Architecture.”

Two presentations were respectively a denunciation and an apologia for DDA. Maybe when the virtual conference comes out I’ll watch them back-to-back and think of them as a debate. I tended to side with the DDA apologist. This fits my natural inclination, but she also used a CC-licensed photo from the ZSR Library Flickr photostream! Her point when showing this picture was that DDA would make libraries’ general collections more alike. Therefore, libraries will distinguish themselves by their special collections.

Miscellaneous Gleanings

On IPEDS statistical craziness: Mount Holyoke has over 600K e-books per ACRL’s definition and only 86 per IPEDS. (For painful detail, see this LibGuide and if you really want to go down the rabbit hole, follow the link to “Questions and Answers from IPEDS.”)

On Collection Development policies: A speaker expressed – with evident dismay – that 44% of ARLs don’t have a collection development policy.

DPLA can virtually reunite physically split collections. They cited a penmanship collection that is physically split between NYPL and the U. of Scranton.

The architecture speaker had learned in school that an optimal design moves water away from the building as quickly as possible. In the emerging green architecture ethos, you want the water to trickle down slowly and get filtered by plants along the way.

Bob Holley on self-published books. He named several categories where the library may want to acquire these works. For instance, local history, fringe perspectives (he cited anti-vaxxers as one example) and personal memoirs that are effectively primary sources.

The rest of this is about e-books

I attended a roundtable discussion on e-books. Nothing too groundbreaking, more like a group therapy session. It’s valuable to know that the challenges we face are also faced by others. NASIG got a name-check as an advocacy group for more library- and user-friendly e-books.

One speaker noted that 6 out of 7 students in a qualitative usability study had a stated preference for print. The speaker said that today’s college students got their early training and developed study habits in a print-centered environment. The preferences of college students may eventually change if K-12 education moves more toward e-books.

Sometimes students use print and e-formats of the same book in tandem. For instance, they may start with the e-book and move over to print for deep reading. Another university found that students used e-books for dip in, dip out reading to support writing papers. (At another conference, the researchers found the dip in, dip out behavior in print books as well.)

Images in e-books are sometimes missing due to permissions issues, so print is a more strongly preferred format for disciplines such as Art History, Theater and Architecture.

Over time, students got more selective about how much they print from e-books. For usability interviews, being guided around e-books made the participants more receptive of the format.

Look at usage of e-book titles that are deleted from the subscription and DDA programs. If there’s anything high use, we may want to buy a copy some other way. I already plan to apply this idea, although I’ll need to keep opportunity costs in mind. (This project may take a lot of time and yield just a few purchases, especially if the deletes are superseded editions.) These presenters found that deleted books had less use, on average, than the overall pool.

 

Lynn attends Online Learning Summit

Sunday, April 12, 2015 8:45 pm

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend an invitation-only summit on online learning, sponsored by Harvard, MIT, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley. Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard, and L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT, opened the symposium in person by speaking on a panel addressing how online learning is shaping the future of higher education on and off campus. This level of commitment to online learning in the most elite institutions of higher education is striking to me. The scope of the summit was broad – “challenges and opportunities higher education is facing in educating its residential students and a global community of learners” – so topics included MOOCs, blended learning, and “traditional” online courses and degree programs.

Harvard, MIT and Berkeley are founding members of edX and Stanford is a leading member of Coursera, so much of the conversation was around lessons learned with MOOCs. The popular press has largely left MOOCs behind but these leaders of higher ed continue to invest millions of dollars into the modality. Last year at our Future of Higher Education Symposium, I said that of the schools ranked above Wake Forest, only four had not joined the MOOC movement. I checked again, and it is now down to three: Washington University, St. Louis, UCLA and USC. Of course, as readers of this blog know, ZSRx is Wake Forest’s foray into the world of MOOCs and because our universe is so small, we are more like Harvard’s SPOCs (small, private, online courses) than MOOCs (massive, open, online courses). Only Kyle’s current RootsMOOC course with 3500 participants, might be considered a true MOOC. I found myself describing ZSRx to conference participants such as the Executive Director of HarvardX and the Vice Chancellor for Education at Oxford and they thought we were being strategic and savvy. It is our hope that the ZSRx course to come out in Spring 2016 on the history of Wake Forest will be a unifying learning experience for all Wake Foresters and heretofore skeptics will see the value of everyone learning together online.

But back to the Summit. Wednesday’s program was held at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences outside of Boston. I had never been in an auditorium where the seating was in couches!

In the opening panel with Faust, Reif, and US Under-Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell, moderator John Hockenberry asked whether MOOCs extend or dilute higher education. The answer was unanimously extend, with Faust speaking poignantly on the great hunger for learning across the globe and how it is incumbent on leading US universities to extend their reach to meet that need. In the process of doing so with MOOCs, much has been learned about teaching and learning and that knowledge is already enriching the residential experience on home campuses as well. Mitchell remarked that elite schools aside, market forces are already beginning to act on the business of higher education with a retreat in funding by the states and older students needing a more flexible and cost-effective model. Hockenberry asked the old bugaboo question about completion rates and Faust answered (correctly, in my opinion) that they are not troubling to her at all because they are completely different in intent and purpose from tuition-driven courses.

In the first plenary session, two dissimilar schools that pride themselves on engaged learning (Bryn Mawr and University of Michigan) took opposite directions with online learning. Neither chose wholly online degrees; Bryn Mawr chose blended learning and had the benefit of a Gates Foundation grant, and Michigan chose a $25 million engaged learning initiative that included an on-campus MOOC bringing together all segments on campus as well as many other programs that enhanced teaching with technology (and others that included no technology at all). Notably, the President of Bryn Mawr said the best thing she did was to tell faculty that she didn’t care if they tried the blended approach or not. This made it instantly popular! The plenary panelists agreed that what was really needed was a way to share digital materials. [Note: this was one of the ideas behind Unizin.]

A number of the breakout sessions were about blended learning. More than one person pointed out that technology was just the latest way to institute active learning in the classroom and the concept is not really new. Others said they are dropping high stakes testing (midterms and finals) and doing “chunk and test” instead, because students tend to rely on passive methods like lecture when studying for high stakes tests.

In a session about “spaces and places,” libraries were mentioned as space on campus that needed to be re-imagined (it is always amusing to hear people talk about libraries in this way, like we don’t already know this about ourselves). There was also talk of design of learning spaces, makerspaces, and the importance of spaces to encourage social learning from passive to active to productive to interactive.

In sessions about building community and improving engagement, I was happy to see talk of these topics in MOOCs as well as other forms of online learning. The desire for humans to be in the same space while learning was evidenced by the nearly spontaneous “meet up” phenomenon that has taken off in some MOOCs. Course organizers put up a Meet Up button without any further instruction, and people started self-organizing in major cities around the globe to get together while taking the same MOOC. This was seen as analogous to meeting up on the quad in residential environments.

I was very happy to attend this symposium and hope to go again next year. It will help us in our own online learning efforts at Wake Forest to keep current with these developments.

 

ACRL 2015 Portland – Susan’s Report

Thursday, April 2, 2015 12:24 pm

Waterfront Park View of the Convention Center

View of the twin spires of the Oregon Convention Center
from Waterfront Park, across the Williamette River

Selecting Portland as the site for ACRL 2015 seems to have been a wise choice. There was a record attendance (registrations) of nearly 3400. I think it was a combination of Portland attracting first-time visitors (like me) and the rich programming offered (over 330 sessions). For me, Portland was a perfect conference city. It has a unique personality coupled with excellent public transportation, good food AND it is most bicycle friendly! I arrived in town in time to jump on the light rail at the airport, and jump off (suitcase in hand) at the conference center in time for the opening keynote and exhibit hall opening reception. The keynote speaker was G. Willow Wilson, creator of the Ms. Marvel comic series starring a Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan. Having been raised in a household where comic books were not allowed (a story for another day), I am not a comic book aficionado and was not familiar with her work. So I really enjoyed hearing how the series came about and how it is now so well received that the character is going to be an Avenger! She also spoke about her multicultural background and the importance of listening to the narratives of native populations that are not the ones most of us learned in school.

I attended the Thursday vendor-sponsored breakfast where Bill Badke spoke (See Roz’s report for more information). Most of his talk was a self-proclaimed rant with these three themes – 1. Too much data, not enough metadata (the Web is anarchy under the control of a cheap dog, the search engine), 2. Epistemology – Students lack understanding about where information comes from, and 3. Students are challenged to articulate their information need. His recommendation for librarians – don’t fade away, seize the day!

People often think of ACRL as more useful for those librarians involved with instruction and reference. However, I was able to find a broad range of topics so I was able to attend concurrent sessions on data sharing/stewardship, well-being, instruction collaboration between research & instruction and special collections, and weeding (our own Carol Cramer). I particularly enjoyed a presentation by our former colleague Elisabeth Leonard (Executive Market Research Manager, SAGE) about research she conducted on students and their use of videos in higher education. Her white paper provides the details of the research findings. As you might imagine, there were too many choices during each time-slot, but one nice side benefit of attending is that registrants can access the ACRL Virtual Conference content and every contributed paper, invited paper, panel session, and TechConnect presentation offered at ACRL 2015 (which were recorded) for the next year.

This year was the 75th anniversary of ACRL and this was celebrated in a number of ways. Most impressive were the scores (it seemed) of cakes that placed throughout the exhibit hall on Thursday afternoon. On a more serious note, I attended an invited panel session by the authors of the ACRL 75th anniversary publication New Roles for the Road Ahead. Stephen Bell, Lorcan Demsey and Barbara Fister each led a discussion on their particular assignments in the report (Bell -higher ed, Dempsey – technology, Fister – information literacy).

Often the closing keynote is underwhelming because people start to leave to catch flights home and sometimes this results in a waning level of energy for the speaker. I was curious if this would be the case for no other reason than the choices for getting home were to leave first thing Saturday morning or late Saturday evening on the red eye. However, ACRL offered up Lawrence Lessig as the closing speaker, so it became a no-brainer for me to book the red eye home! And that seemed to be the consensus of most of the conference attendees because the room was full. He discussed three projects that he said are really one idea – the value of equality. His current project is Corruption in America. He described what is happening in America’s elections is Tweedism (Boss Tweed was a politician who said “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”). Lessig explained how the funding bias present in the US primary selection results in a lack of democratic process. (TED Talk by Lessig). The second project he discussed was net neutrality and how recent rulings as the Internet as a utility will preserve equality. The third project was Open Access. He talked movingly about Aaron Swartz (developed RSS and Creative Commons and committed suicide at age 26 after he was prosecuted for downloading JSTOR articles and making them freely accessible). Swartz’s viewpoint on copyright was that current use of it doesn’t serve its purpose. It restricts access to knowledge elites, and the rest of the world is not included. He wanted equal access to knowledge. Withholding that knowledge makes it impossible for most to build on that knowledge to create new knowledge.

One last tidbit about Portland and the conference. I discovered that in Portland, food trucks are a big deal, there are over 500 of them scattered throughout the city. So the main lunch venue provided to all the ACRL attendees was a parking lot lined with food trucks. You all know how librarians are at meal time, and the picture below shows the long lines where everyone patiently queued to wait for their favorite cuisine.

Crowded at the Lunch Trucks

ACRL Librarians at Food Truck City

Roz @ ACRL 2015 in Portland

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 10:53 am

First of all, Portland is AWESOME. Great food, drinks (read local beers) and Powell’s City of Books where I literally could have spent a week and never been bored – my to-read list doubled. I love ACRL as a conference – it is such a great break from ALAs where I am bogged down in committee/section work and where the sessions are so extensive that they are overwhelming. This conference is always full of people to get great ideas from and a high percentage of relevant sessions to attend.

I will try to summarize my ACRL in Portland by hitting the main takeaways I got. If anyone wants more information on any of these sessions I have copious notes. I do like to do themes and at this ACRL I really took away ideas around two themes:

  • Listening to users
  • Going beyond the library

Listening to Our Users

Mary Beth and I started our conference even before the conference started with a Wednesday pre-conference talk by IThaka S+R about their faculty survey of research practices. They do this survey of faculty across the world every three years and are about to launch their next one in fall 2015. But any institution that wants to do a local version of their faculty can do that (for a fee, of course) and get back their results and benchmarks against the national survey results. The survey consists of the Core National Questionnaire which includes questions on:

  • Discovery and access
  • Scholarly communications
  • Research practices including data curation
  • Student research skills
  • Role of the library

Then schools can add additional optional modules – up to three

  • Digital research activities
  • Undergraduate instruction
  • Graduate instruction
  • Online learning and MOOCs
  • Library space planning
  • Library market research
  • Servicing clinicians & health scientists

MB and I found this idea very appealing as it could provide us much needed data on what our faculty do in their research and how they use our resources. We and will be discussing with the Assessment committee.

Known item searching in Summon, Google, Google Scholar (contributed paper)

Known item searching is still a problem with discovery tools – so many unexpected results frustrate users who are just trying to find that one thing. This study used Summon search logs for a semester – 35% of the searches were for known items — looked at 278 searches that they then re-executed the searches in all three search tools – Summon, Google and Google Scholar.

  • Google won over Google Scholar and Summon
  • Summon had 76% relevant results while 24% were partially relevant or not relevant
  • Worst performing searches in Summon
    • Partial citation searching – title & author for example
    • Only 6% used quotes but those who did returned relevant results
    • Formatted citation searches were also bad where they just pasted a whole citation in the search box
  • Need to teach them to be better searchers – explaining the why
  • Stop complaining about lazy search habits – empathize and instruct
  • Take away: The search logs in Summon can give excellent insights into how our users area actually using the service and can inform how we teach students to use it

How Students Really Search (Contributed paper)

This study recorded one hour research sessions of actual students (11) doing actual research for a paper. They used software to record what the students did. Here’s what they learned:

  • Students have different definitions of the ‘one search’ box (discovery search box on library home page)
  • Students don’t know what to do with keywords even when they have been taught
  • Only using limits in the search results to do language and full-text limiting
  • Don’t use quotes appropriately
  • Don’t understand the link resolver ‘get it at….’ (ours is WFU Full Text Options) –They think they have to come into library.
  • When something (a link resolver link, or a database link) breaks one time they think it breaks all the time. They give up.
  • Would not pursue an article even if it sounds good – they don’t have time
  • “Shocking secrets of the student researcher” – presentation to faculty – showed them the videos – that finally made the faculty understand that they need to teach this more
  • changed text of the link “get it online or in print” – will see how that works
  • Abstract without article they think of as bait and switch – have to explain how for faculty that is good information
  • Take away: Students (and I suspect faculty, too) are busy and unforgiving – we need things to work right a high percentage of the time if we hope to keep them using our resources. Teaching them quick easy ways to be better searchers can help with that.

 

How Do Students Use Video in Higher Education

So this was actually a vendor presentation given by former ZSR librarian Elisabeth Leonard who is now head of market research for Sage/CQ Press. She has been traveling around the last year talking to students and faculty about how they use video in their teaching and their research in an effort to help Sage as they start to produce video-based products. She has written two white papers, one on student use of video and one on faculty use of video. This presentation was on the student side of things. I will link to it below but the big takeaways from her presentation were

  • Students tend to use video in small chunks (3-10 minutes at a time)
  • Students are often looking for videos that help them understand concepts in a better/different way.
  • Students really appreciate engaging speakers and data visualizations.
  • Students don’t necessarily think of the library as a source of video content unless the faculty point them to our resources.

http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/press/2015/mar/16.htm

Going Beyond the Library

Bill Badke Talk

One of the breakfast sessions I attended was to hear Bill Badke speak. Those who have been around Information literacy discussion know Bill’s name – he’s been around for a long time and is the author of Research Strategies – one of the primary textbooks on doing research, now in it’s 5th edition. His talk was full of great insights like “the web is anarchy being watched by a poorly-schooled sheepdog called the database” and “we need to make sure that students understand that expertise and experience mean something when looking at authority – loud voices are not necessarily accurate ones.” He talked a lot about how a new kind of dark age is coming – not because of the dearth of information but due to an overabundance of information and we don’t know what to do with it. He noted that the belief that technology will solve the information literacy gaps in students is unfounded. And he challenged us to work more with faculty to increase students’ research skills. We can up the game of librarians and of faculty – our major focus needs to be on working with students to develop them as researchers.

  • Build more support relationships with faculty – alerts, citations, copyright
  • Offer to do workshops with faculty on how they can help students do better research
  • Make the library prominent with students in the CMS
  • Talk to your faculty about what their goals are for student research. “what does an ideal student paper look like?”
  • A professors good lies in their ‘expertise’ – working with wisdom through a problem
  • Have to enable faculty to guide their own students – move info lit into the academy – right into the foundations of the institution

We’ve Only Just Begun: Determining the value of information literacy in the first year. This was a series of papers from groups that had all been a part of the Assessment in Action first cohort. They all looked at assessing info lit instruction in first-year programs. They papers were all of different scenarios so I’ll just list some of the big take-aways across them all.

  • Librarians need to help train faculty to talk about information literacy with their students.
  • If students are made aware that these skills are being taught – they attend to them
  • Most IL learning happens in classes that had multiple meetings with the library but a one-shot is better than none at all – it is not necessary to be in every class meeting – there is a point after which you don’t necessarily get a better return on investment with librarian involvement
  • Students doing research generally are looking for quotes to plug into already composed papers
  • Students are uncertain about the best time to ask a librarian for help
  • ILI models that are recursive show increase in student learning
  • How can we assess and measure what we consider most valuable – lifelong learning, an informed citizenry, social responsibility?

 


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