Professional Development

During July 2007...

Gaming Symposium with Lynn

Thursday, July 26, 2007 8:23 am

Forgive my belated post from Monday’s Gaming in Libraries Symposium. I’ve been traveling ever since with little time to stop and take note. I thought it went very well. It was probably the most enthusiastic group of conference-goers I’ve seen in a while. They asked lots and lots of questions after our talk, which Giz has already posted. We learned that 80% of the group had not done a gaming event before, so they were eager to know tips and pitfalls to avoid. Here is a picture of Giz in action:

Giz during the presentation

I think the conference bore out the fact that gaming in libraries is more than just a fad. Those who think we are cheapening the library brand by associating with gaming need to take another look and reassess exactly what our brand is. A number of speakers talked about the complete revolution in learning that gaming has brought about. For example, one speaker said that educators would do well to note how seven year olds can be enraptured in learning extremely complex language and coding skills but then sit in the classroom completely board with their academic work. I plan to continue to follow this movement with our own modest gaming program. Lynn

The First Annual ALA Gaming Symposium

Monday, July 23, 2007 2:20 pm

I am currently attending the 2007 ALA Gaming Symposium in Chicago! (Actually, it is at the Marriott near O’Hare) Since arriving Sunday morning, I’ve listened to a bevy of speakers, participated in a Wii tournament, and given a presentation with Lynn and Lori Critz from Georgia Tech, and there is still an entire day left in this two day conference!

The conference, sponsored by ALA And ACRL, began on Sunday afternoon with three excellent speakers. The keynote speaker was Henry Jenkins, the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He talked about his white paper for the MacArthur Foundation. It focuses on Media Literacy. He describes how one half of teens have created content on the web.

The next speaker was Dr. Scott Nicholson from Syracuse University. He released newly published survey data of phone interviews with 400 libraries (I’m happy to say ZSR participated in his recent unpublishd SurveyMonkey survey of 313 libraries) You can find a quick review of the data at Stephen’s Lighthouse or read the full report at The Library Game Lab at Syracuse

The final speaker on Sunday was Eli Neiburger, who is my new hero in gaming (along with Jenny Levine of course!) He runs the gaming program at the Ann Arbor District Library . He announced they are opening up their tournament software GT System to all libraries who want to run regional and national tournaments! Woohoo!! Thanks Eli!

Sunday night Amy Harris from UNCG (who is here presenting with Scott Rice) team up with me to play in the Wii Tennis Tournament! We won our first round but lost in the quarter finals! Monday morning Lynn, Lori and I gave our presentation on “Gaming in Academic Libraries: The Why and How.” The program went well, including our clicker questions! (Gotta love the clickers!)

While I could write more, I think the best approach is to point you to the blog of Paul Waelchli, the Assistant Director for Library Instruction and Public Services at the Charles C. Myers Library at the University of Dubuque. His blog, first recommended to me by Rosalind Tedford before I had even met Paul, is called ResearchQuest and he is far more eloquent than I could be. Paul does a great job describing Greg Trefry-Big Fun, Big Learning: Transforming the World Through Play
Discussion of “Big Play” program here.

Check out the photos on flickr by searching for the tag “glls2007″

ASERL – New age of discovery

Sunday, July 22, 2007 6:38 am

Wanda and Erik were in Decatur, GA on Thursday attending an ASERL institute on the new age of discovery. Karen Calhoun kicked things off with a presentation on the need to change library systems, bibliographic control, and user services to keep the library a relevant part of the research process. Some interesting links that she referred to are:

The morning discussion panel included Andrew Pace (NCSU/Endeca), Marshall Breeding (Vanderbilt/Primo), and Judi Brien (U. Rochester/eXtensible Catalog). The presentations included overviews of C4 (eXtensible Catalog), NCSU Endeca, and Vanderbilt’s Primo system. some interesting ideas discussed included creating interoperable systems, key usability features (facet use, enhanced info), and metadata issues (data normalization, indexing, display).

In the first afternoon session, Beth Davis-Brown presented on LC’s external advisory committee on the future of cataloging. She quickly covered the scope and content of the meetings and pointed to some interesting documents and webcasts created for the three meetings. One of my favorites is Calhoun’s response to the background paper.

Roberta Winjum looked at the work of catalogers and cataloging. She listed two essential features of the cataloger in 2007:

  • Must be able to thrive in an environment of constant change
  • Must be able to both respond to and initiate change

Roberta used some interesting quotes to spark discussion. . .(quotes are mostly accurate and somewhat cited. . .)

“There is a disconnect between the effort libraries expend on verifying individual lc records for monographs, and the fact that thousands of record for large sets enter the catalog almost unnoticed”

  • Lack of trust, have to verify records
  • Law of diminishing returns – how much time is it worth?
  • It takes as much energy to load sets into collections as it does to describe a single book
  • Isn’t it all about quality vs quantity? – define quality, where are the quantifiable measures? Have we ever analyzed what quality means?
  • How do you back away from over-analysis of copy cataloging?
  • If our users start with web-searching, why is subject-descriptive cataloging important?
  • Is a hybrid system of metadata / full text indexing a good approach?
  • Two libraries are doing authority work on the same record, we need a different working model so that improvements do not get made over and over.
  • How do contractual limits impact local changes?
  • What do you feel like you gain from doing all this – series analysis – series provides a valuable access point.
  • Someone should set themselves up as the big library to put their best records into LC (I think LC did this – did it work?)

“The universe of book published every year is much smaller and much more manageable than the universe of web sites; this is the niche of sources to which professional cataloging should be primarily devoted” – Thomas Mann

“Within five years we’ll be past the notion that th online catalog is the way you find things in libraries” – Calhoun report 2005

  • How could we not have a catalog?
  • Will there still be a role for describing resources?

Perhaps the most disastrous and shortsighted aspect of policy decisions such as minimal level records and the abandonment of series authorities is the fact that future technological capabilities will depend – as they do now – on the presence rather than absence of information in the record – David Bade – MLA 2006, May

  • The question for cataloging is how does the record get created – other issues are term extraction, name, date, incorporation of automation with human analysis
  • Think about needs of discovery systems/users, not on methods, there are more important things than description,
  • What about NLp/ir – what value can be added?
  • Can we be part of the changing nature of record creation/description?
  • Can we move from where we are to new methods for addressing needs? Can we find our niche

There is a professional obsession with the bibliographic record – it’s unhealthy (Anthony Franks – July 9th)

  • New metadata standards are more user-centric – what about those?
  • We need CV, but not generalized LC – more subject/user specific
  • We have lots invested in MARC – how do we move from this to the new thing?
  • We don’t know which solution to choose. – how do you determine what is supportable / cost-effective?
  • We aren’t on the cusp – the profession has been in a state of flux for years,
  • There isn’t just one solution, perhaps more, pace of change is so quick that it is difficult to implement a solution

Karen Schneider wound up the conference with a discussion on professional jurisdiction. She pointed to components of professions that define who/what they are and looked at where librarians fall on these ideas.

  • Jurisdictional control – “a profession that defines itself in terms of tasks is highly susceptible to technological changes”
  • Defining the ‘heartland’ – what is the core of the profession of librarianship? – freedom of information access, right to read, organization?
  • Making inroads to emerging jurisdictions -is librarianship making inroad on emerging information arenas?
  • Evidence- based decision making – is librarianship basing its actions on real-world data?

Schneider wound up by pointing to things that librarians need:

  • To embed Librarians in other professions
  • To redirect efforts towards automated / interoperability uses
  • To steal/co-op others ideas, gain a stake in emerging jurisdictions
  • To develop clear statements of jurisdiction
  • To provide support for think tanks/incubators to produce next great theorist
  • To stop getting mowed over by other information professions

Here is Schneider’s presentation.


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