Professional Development

During April 2013...

Midwest Archives Conference (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Monday, April 22, 2013 12:35 pm

I recently returned from Indianapolis, where I attended the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting. I have been a member of MAC for nearly 20 years, and have served in a number of offices, including chairing the Nominating Committee, Council member, Vice President, and most recently, as President (2009-2011). MAC is an interesting organization, for while it is technically a regional group, it does have a large national and international membership and also publishes its own journal, Archival Issues.

I still have ongoing service activities within MAC. As Past President, I serve on the President’s Award Committee, which recognizes organizations who make a significant contribution to the archival community. This year’s winner was the Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center (part of the U.S. Geological Survey), located near Sioux Falls, SD. One of their primary data collections is called Landsat, short for land satellite. Landsat’s global archive contains over 3.5 million individual images and these images are available for free to the public. I was also recently appointed as co-chair of the Education Committee. The Education Committee is responsible for the selection of workshops for the annual meeting, planning for the long term, and organizing a Speakers’ Bureau. The Bureau has potential implications for the national archives scene and as the idea was generated during strategic planning when I was MAC President, I feel obligated to assist in its development.

MAC normally has 300-350 attendees (Indy had 400!) at the annual meeting, and many of the members have known each other for years. The programs are always of high quality, and this year has proven to be no exception. The opening plenary was given by Film Professor and member of the Organization for Transformative Works, Francesca Coppa. She focused her remarks on fan works and culture, and the online creation of fan-based creations in a wide variety of formats, including fiction, artwork, film/video, textiles, wikis, and songs. There are all sorts of copyright and preservation issues, and the group recently created a new software, The Archive of Our Own, which enables the various groups to preserve and organize their own work. The most interesting part of the presentation was her discussion of tagging and the creation of folksonomies by “tag wranglers,” and how they use tagging to capture highly complex concepts.

I also attended As It Happens: Documenting Community Tragedies and Transformations, a session with representatives from the University of Northern Illinois, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and my “home” state of Iowa’s Postville Collection. Each presentation described the issues involved with documenting sensitive events (i.e. campus shootings, religious changes, and a federal raid on a meatpacking plant) and how to sensitively document these events for the future. The real challenge, in addition to diplomatic skills, was the preserving of such a wide variety of formats, i.e. artifacts, oral histories, film, video, banners, memorials, and photographs.

Crowdsourcing Transcription was a popular session-the presenters focused on the technical and staff efforts to provide such an experience for the public. One of the first of such efforts was the New York Public Library’s What’s on the Menu project: http://menus.nypl.org. While crowdsourcing is an excellent way to connect with the public, the time, labor, and technical requirements involved make it extremely difficult to implement. Proactive Collecting was another interesting session, where speakers described assessing a regional or topical “information ecosystem” and how to integrate a variety of diverse sources in a variety of locations in order to provide a more holistic view of the past.

Two of the best sessions I attended were both on Saturday morning. Three graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison described their project, Sounds of the Archives, where they produced podcasts using archival material. The other session focused on the many issues related to the preservation and storage of electronic records, and gave excellent advice as well as valuable resources. The resources included the Duke Data Accessioner (http://library.duke.edu/uarchives/about/tools/data-accessioner.html: for migrating information off disks prior to appraisal), Firefly SSN Finder (which searches for those pesky social security numbers which can lead to identity theft) and the Australia Digital Preservation Software Platform (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dpsp/) which offers a number of open source products for better management of electronic and born digital records.

All in all, this was a very productive meeting, and it will take me quite a while to fully assess everything I learned and how to utilize it here at Wake!

Poteat Lecture 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013 11:52 am

A number of English faculty have presented the Poteat Lecture since the award was established in 1997, and I was particularly interested in attending Professor Mary DeShazer’s lecture this month as she was recognized for her scholarly achievements as Professor both of English and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her lecture, “Representing Breast Cancer in the Twenty-first Century,” was a moving reflection of both her earlier and current scholarship: her first book on the subject, Fractured Borders: Reading Women’s Cancer Literature, and now a second study, Mammographies: The Cultural Discourses of Breast Cancer Narratives, to be published in June. The impetus for the earlier work was the death of a close friend from a recurrence of breast cancer, and this later book examines the changing approaches of post-millennial illness narratives, the autobiographies and memoirs (“autothanatographies” as she termed them) that recount and probe a devastating illness. She noted that different issues inform these more recent discourses: genetic testing for the BRCA gene that raises ethical issues regarding preventative measures, a greater willingness to question the medical establishment, and the exploration of environmental toxins as contributing factors (but cultural and political silencing as well, unfortunately). She cited a shocking predictive statistic: rates are increasing so rapidly in the developing world, that in the next decades some 70% of breast cancers will arise there.

With the term “mammographies” in the title, she alludes both to the imaging technology and to the documentary accounts that map the experience of disease. The post-millennial works she focuses on are often collaborative and visual: photographic narratives representing cancer as well as graphic narratives (i.e. cancer “comics”-a rather oxymoronic concept). An example of the former is Catherine Lord’s The Summer of her Baldness: A Cancer Improvisation, which encompasses both sexual identity issues as well as Lord’s breast cancer. The Scar Project, from which Prof. DeShazer drew a number of images in her handouts, aims to make breast cancer visible while it questions the pink ribbon perspective on the disease. Miriam Engelberg’s Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics tracks the recurrence of disease, and Stephanie Byram’s Knowing Stephanie is a collaborative but elegiac book with photography by Charlee Brodsky.

After surveying these works, Professor DeShazer discussed some of the broader aesthetic, ethical, and social issues raised by breast cancer narratives. There is the question of informed consent-who has the right to take and publish personal narratives or photographs that have become essentially momenti mori, and whose interests are served in doing so? She touched on the politics of prostheses, and the view that breast cancer culture can be considered pseudo-optimistic. At the end she concluded eloquently that these narratives of illness can be transformational, empathetic encounters that change the inner world of another individual: one looks again, “quietly and differently.”

MB’s Most valuable ACRL

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 4:26 pm

The sessions I attended focused primarily on Collection Management (aka Weeding and e books), and assessment, with a selection of other interesting tidbits along the way.

Assessment: At Georgetown in the library, the staff took photos, every hour on the half hour from 8:30am to 11:30pm of highly used study areas. Utilizing this information they could see where students chose to study first, they could tell how long they studied in those areas. They found clear location and furniture preferences and identified when the lines developed where the printers were. They also discovered that individual carrels were used less often than group tables. When asked in the Q&A about the need to get permission before taking pictures of studying students, the librarian responded, “We are in DC, so we are among the most surveilled people on the planet…so, no, no one was concerned.” A second library in the same panel discussion created seating charts putting similar characterized spaces, then tracked the use of each throughout the day. Then they coded the usage and determined what furniture to remove and what to purchase to replace it. The third panelist decided to do surveys that asked questions like, Why did you choose to use this space? With answers like: quiet, computers, comfortable, outlets, space for group work, near materials, other. My brain is abuzz with assessment options that will make use of all three of these. Best quote from the session: “Statistics should be used like a drunk uses a lightpost: more for support than enlightenment.”

In the Collection Management arena, I learned of an initiative started at the University of Michigan to evaluate the use of e-textbooks over print textbooks and why students might choose one over the other. Their initial assumption was that students would choose based only on cost. But in fact, students chose based on many factors. They liked the portability of an ebook, but found that some faculty were not willing to allow them to use them for open book tests. They like the ability to mark up e texts, but found it difficult to concentrate, and were distracted by Facebook. The researchers asked the question: “If there were no difference in price, what would you prefer?” Their study showed that students would choose print over e unless e was much cheaper. But there does seem to be a change in acceptability. In 2010, 3% of students said that ebook only is preferred, in 2011, the number went up to 6% and in 2012, the number went up to 14%. (Another assessment methodology they used was to put out sheets of paper throughout the library that said “My ideal textbook is…” and had students fill out the sheet, and take pictures of themselves with the sign, posting it to their instagram account. The responses ranged from “good old fashioned textbook” to “free and online” to “reads to me.”) (Ahh, the library instagram account is another thing we should do…)

Perhaps the best session that I attended was entitled “A Data-driven Deselection Approach for Managing Low-Use Print Materials.” It was a panel discussion with three college libraries in Michigan, (including my alma mater, Wayne State University), that had utilized SCS, Sustainable Collections Services, to create a “Disapproval Plan” of materials that were eligible for weeding. They each used slightly different approaches, but the goal was to take the emotion out of the weeding process and provide a series of tools that made it easier to weed titles than to keep them. I look forward to utilizing such a service soon!

I also attended a session on the ACRL Value Project in which ACRL is going to provide training to librarian team leaders in how to assess the value of their proposed programs to the larger institution. ACRL received funding through and IMLS grant to train up librarians because they saw a need to fill the gap in our ability to demonstrate value. The session updated all in the audience about the need for the Project, reviewed the criteria for submitting a proposal, and announced the first 75 successful libraries. The second round of grant submittals will be next Spring, and ZSR is planning to submit a proposal, so get ready for that. The Project will run for three years, and ACRL hopes to provide this training to librarians in 300 libraries in total.

In a session that was at the room farthest from the center of the conference as you could be, during an unappealing just after lunch timeslot, James Neal, Dean of Columbia University Libraries spoke enthusiastically about defending our right to fair use to a completely packed room. There continues to be a lot of interest in this subject. Additionally, a session on Library Ambassadors discussed a pilot project where in the University of Southern California had a program, providing a thousand dollar stipend for each library ambassador. They used them for peer-mentoring and trained them to provide information on library services. They hired one for each residence hall and the library ambassadors were the point of first contact for all of the students.

Finally, the closing keynote with Maria Hinojosa an NPR host and journalist, was an education on the plight of the undocumented in the United States. During her introduction it was mentioned that Maria Hinojosa had worked to eliminate the term “illegal alien” from being used by journalists in stories about undocumented workers. She was amusing and moving and energetic and enlightening. She was a terrific story teller, and she heightened my sensitivity to the issues surrounding the immigration reform debate today. I left feeling more energized, even after three pretty long days of sessions. Now, to implement!

Susan: ACRL 2013 Wrapup

Saturday, April 13, 2013 3:39 pm

SustainRT Group Walk Around Indianapolis

SustainRT Indianapolis Canal Walk Tour

Both Friday and this morning were filled with still more session opportunities than you could shake a stick at! Yesterday morning I decided to think about things digital, so started out at a session conducted by staff of Columbia University Libraries entitled “Building the future: Leveraging Building Projects as Platforms for Organizational Change.” Back in 2005-2006 they envisioned 3 different Digital Centers (Humanities, Social Science and Science) that would be aligned with research and graduate study. To that end they made it part of the strategic plan and funding was found (best quote was attributed to James Neal: “If you want to see a library’s strategic plan, look at their budget.”). The centers have been implemented and the presentation covered planning/assessment, understanding user needs, changes in staff roles, training, culture changes for IT, etc..One report they recommended is “Re-skilling for Research” (2012) that looks at the roles and skills of subject and liaison librarians needed to support the evolving research needs of researchers.

Next up was a panel discussion on data curation that brought together 3 organizations at different stages of providing data management services. The session was “Wading into the data pool without drowning: implementing new library data services” using the swim metaphor to talk about one program at James Madison that in its infancy (testing the water), one that is plunging in (Penn State), and one that is the most advanced (Cal Poly) and thus is in the water and “Learning to Swim.” All took a case study approach and shared the steps they are taking to support faculty. The overall message was is that providing these services is not a sink or swim proposition. Just consider where you are and where you’d like to be to build a program at the level and pace that works for your institution.

In the afternoon, I switched gears to the assessment track. I’ll let Mary Beth report on the update given on the ACRL Value Project which we hope to participate in during year two. After that session, I ended the day by attending a session on qualitative research methods (I love qualitative research, btw): “Inspiring Initiatives in Qualitative Inquiry.” I heard about 3 different qualitative research projects – a focus group study (OCLC), an ethnographic study using photo study and immersive observation (at UNCC by their anthropologist who works at the library but is not a librarian. The library is her fieldwork), and one that used the critical incident technique (Rutgers). This last methodology was one with which I was unfamiliar but it sounds like a most interesting approach. It is used to study effective and ineffective behavior and focuses on most memorable event/experience of participants. You ask just two questions: “What did you liked best about (fill in the blank) and can you tell me exactly why?” and then, “What did you like least about (fill in the blank) and and can you tell me exactly why?” (OK, maybe that is four questions if you don’t compound them…..).

After a full day of sessions, it seemed like a no-brainer to join in on Beth Filar Williams’ SustainRT walking tour of downtown Indianapolis. She organized it and arranged for a local public librarian to be our tour guide. I got a chance to see a few sights, take a few photos, and make some new friends, in spite of freezing in the brutally windy 40-some degree weather with no coat or gloves! The picture at the top of this post is the hardy group of librarians who braved the cold to see the sights!

Today, I closed out my conference by attending two future -looking sessions. The first, “Think like a startup: creating a culture of innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurialism,” was a panel discussion that offered case studies and “best practices” that included “fail faster” (don’t waste time on things that don’t work)! I heard a new term in this presentation: The T-Shaped Employee. The image showed uses a man’s figure standing in a T to illustrate breadth vs. depth of expertise. It also was the first time I’ve heard about the California Digital Library project, DataUp, where Microsoft developed an Excel addin/web-based way to help researchers manage their data. In the final session of the day, 3 more contributed papers were presented (and I’ll let you read them for yourselves!): Transformation Begins When Renovation is Done: Reconfiguring Staff and Services to Meet 21st Century Research Needs, Reorganizing the Distributed Library, and What Will Libraries Be When They Grow Up?: Responding to the Innovations of Technology and Imagining the Future.

I’ll also let another of our group tell you about the final keynote by NPR’s Maria Hinojosa because I’m sure they can do it more justice. But, as with the other keynotes from this conference, it was very powerful and thought-provoking. The gist of her message came (for me) in her question to us: Can you see yourself in me, and I in you?

 

ACRL: Assessment, THATCamp, and serving your LGBTQ community

Saturday, April 13, 2013 10:35 am

Friday developed into two themes, “Assessment” and “THATCamp” (The Humanities and Technology Camp). Among other stops, I attended sessions on assessment, and joined in on “THATCamp” as they created the topics for the five units in the Information Literacy MOOC they were designing.

The morning began with “Building a Culture of Assessment”. I’ve been thinking about how to assess some of my outreach programs, and was hoping to get some ideas for effectively assessing events like Capture the Flag or “Humans v. Zombies”. After discussing the literature around assessment in libraries, our presenters discussed the characteristics of an organization with a culture of assessment. These organizations tend to be those that create a safe environment for experimentation and focus on improvement of services to users. It requires leadership from above and commitment from below to create this culture of assessment.

Next, they discussed studies that show the majority of libraries don’t act on the information learned from assessment, but our speakers pointed out that most of this data comes from case studies or rely on anecdotal or non-systematic evidence. As a result, they created a “Systematic Survey of Culture of Assessment and Investigation of Factors” and sent the survey to library directors at 1604 institutions and asked them to have the head of instruction complete the survey, all in an effort to get a better picture of assessment in libraries.

Of those responding to the survey, 59% said they do have a culture of assessment and 84% had a campus wide assessment initiative. Carnegie classification did not correlate to a culture of assessment, nor did tenure track versus non-tenure track.

Lack of staffing, time and support, were all listed in open answer questions as reasons for a lack of assessment. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for their forthcoming article that includes more data and the survey instrument.

On Friday afternoon, I attended part of THATCamp (The Humanities and Technology Camp). It met all day, and the afternoon built on the morning work, but it also allowed for people to drop in for part of the day as well.

A quick review for the new attendees after lunch revealed that there were four sessions going on in the camp. One was on digital story telling, one was on creating a digital humanities project, one was on some technical programming and the group I joined was creating an information literacy MOOC.

The MOOC group had spent the morning laying the foundation for the MOOC. Below is a list of the key elements the group identified:

About the MOOC:

  • Make faculty able to integrate IL into any course
  • Focus on critical thinking skills
  • Build it as modular and open source
  • Create an experience where people can come and improve skills AND a way for the content to be re-used.
  • MOOC as an experience, not a tutorial
  • Faculty could then run it for a week or it could be led by others in other settings

What the MOOC would achieve:

  • Participatory environment
  • Tools that are good for communicating IL
  • Facilitate peer learning
  • Teacher not as expert but facilitator, Can learn from everyone

In the afternoon session, eight people at my table began by determining the topics for the five units and creating a framework for the units. To do this, we all wrote out Learning Outcomes on over 30 post-it notes and then grouped like outcomes together to get our broad topics for the five units. The MOOC group was large, so we had a second table that was doing this same task. At the end we compared results and found them to be very similar. This was an excellent process that I’m sure I will be able to apply to future course development projects.

Here are some photos and a bit.ly URL that links to a Google Doc from the morning session: http://bit.ly/12THXii

Five Units for MOOC

Five Units for MOOC

Organizing Learning Outcomes

Organizing Learning Outcomes

On Saturday morning, I attended “Queering the Library: What are you doing to serve your LGBTQ community” There were about 40 attendees in the room and I was happy to see such a big group for an LGBTQ program. I learned that Wake Forest University is doing many things right to serve our LGBTQ students. Having a “Safe Places” program, an LGBTQ center, and supporting LGBT students in the library were all mentioned and are all things we do. One main point was the importance of LGBTQ members of the campus and LGBTQ allies need to be visible! It makes a difference! More info can be found at http://librarylea.com/queerlib/

ACRL 2013 has been a great source of information and ideas. Now I’m ready to get back to ZSR, wrap up this semester and try some of these ideas!

 

Capstones, Helicopters and Vendors!

Saturday, April 13, 2013 8:53 am

I have attended many, many sessions at ACRL so far but want to talk a bit about a couple that I thought were particularly of interest at ZSR. The first I attended Thursday and it was calledThe Almost Experts: Capstone Students and the Research Process. It was a study done at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. What she found was, despite many faculty member’s perceptions, these students were not really close to experts. She created a survey to see what capstone experiences were like at her university. She found the expected Senior Theses, but also other things – poster, presentation, exhibitions, etc. Capstones are a High Impact Practices (AAC&U 2008) and so are being adopted increasingly by institutions (including WFU). A 2012 survey showed just over 50% of students had capstone experiences. In her survey she found several things that I suspect would hold true across the capstone experiences at WFU, but I intend to find out!

  • 77% write a paper, 18% write a paper and produce another product.
  • 89% had info lit instruction in college.
  • 68% had librarian come to the capstone course.
  • Choosing a topic and finding useful information were the top two challenges for students.
  • Students feel they are searching for a needle in a haystack and worry they aren’t finding the most important stuff – the classic studies, the foundational research in their area.
  • Students said they would use a libguide tailored to the capstone course.
  • 35% would like help on the literature review and 57% need help with citation management.

 

A second really interesting paper that I heard presented today was about the information seeking behavior of first generation college students. The study was done at Miami of Ohio University and they held a focus group with 17 first generation students. Their description of their instutuion was eerily similar to WFU (except they are about 3 times the size) – predominately undergraduate, mostly white upper middle class, and about 2008 began a targeted recruitment of first generation students. What she learned from the focus group is that these students struggle on several levels in part because the ‘helicopter parents’ that help the traditional students just are not available to them because their parents don’t have any experiences to help them navigate the college environment. They found that these students feel very much that other students have ‘a leg up’ on them or know ‘tricks of the trade’ that are lacking for them. They also struggle with the very decentralized nature of campuses where they have to navigate multiple offices, organizations and buildings to get what they need. They also struggle with jargon and terminology ( at WFU these would be things like Registrar, Sakai, WIN) that are foreign to them. They often will ask a first question but then will not ask a follow-up. So while they might ask ‘where can I get the class readings’ – if the answer is Blackboard or Sakai, they will not necessarily then ask what that is or how to get to it. They feel passed on from place to place and they often stop asking. Lots to think about in how we work with these students!

I also spent a good deal of time at the ACRL with vendors as I tend to do. I had a user group lunch with the EBL team where they were very forthcoming about the future of the EBL-Ebrary merger and plans for the future. In short – we can expect a new interface in about 18 months, they will start negotiating with publishers as one unit as soon as all paperwork is signed in May, the current licensing terms for books will continue into the new interface and there will most likely be a wider set of licenses we can get once the merger is complete. They are also starting to talk to publishers about new textbook models so I hooked them up with Mary Beth and we may participate in a pilot they are putting together. I also attended a focus group with ProQuest about how they can better support interdisciplinary research and attended some booth presentations about their new assessment tool, Intota. Intota will ultimately be a cloud-based ILS, but this assessment piece will go live this fall. It is similar in some ways to the services provided by Sustainable Collections Services but is more than simply a tool for data-based deselection – it goes much deeper than that but also will be much more expensive, too, I’m guessing.

All in all it’s been a good conference – a couple more sessions to attend today and then homeward bound. I have been very impressed with Indianapolis as a conference city despite the poor weather we have had. See you all on Monday!

Lynn at ACRL in Indianapolis

Friday, April 12, 2013 11:05 pm

This is the room in which I spent nearly all of my time at the ACRL conference in Indianapolis. My biggest role here was as co-chair of the Cyber Zed Shed Committee, a strange name, but one with a long history at the conference. The “Zed Shed” was a place on a ship where people could try out new knots and new techniques of seamanship. So the Cyber Zed Shed at ACRL has been a place where innovative new applications of technology could be tried out and vetted. I stayed in this room for 8 sessions with three presentations each. It was fun to see the names and faces connected with the proposals that we judged back in December. I will give the highlights, rather than a blow-by-blow.

The most predominant theme was that of data visualization. A number of papers showed how much more dramatically images can portray meaning, compared to spreadsheets. Libraries have built informative and visually appealing dashboards for presentation of usage statistics, collection analysis, and user information. My imagination ran wild and I came back with all kinds of ideas on how we can spice up our statistical presentation.

A number of other papers addressed digital collections, digital humanities, and digital initiatives of every kind. Since we are recruiting for such a specialist right now, it was instructive to see how many different directions the digitalist could take. Some focused on institutional repositories, some on presentation of digital collections, some on analysis of BIG DATA. One even used a supercomputer facility to analyze subject headings from the catalog to create the most beautiful abstract images. Fun stuff.

Social media was another popular topic. One person creatively mined the Twitter feed on his campus to intercept and then respond to tweets from his students. One person gave up on Facebook and found much greater success with Instagram. One library changed from broadcasting mode to listening mode in their use of social media.

Instruction librarians used technology to implement “personal librarian” programs and to provide a digital orientation EXTRAVAGANZA for distance students. One adapted the SCVNGR game to update the old-fashioned library scavenger hunt. Two different libraries talked about replacing Meebo chat reference with even better products. A scholarly communication librarian devised an interactive decision tree to guide faculty members in copyright decisions.

One of the most fun talks was about the Makerspace concept, which has been more popular so far in public libraries than in academics. It involves the “maker” concept of 3D printing. If you can dream it, you can make it, is the philosophy. When they talked about Makey Makey software, I was hooked, and wanted one really badly. Who wouldn’t want to turn a banana into a piano?

Our neighbor Beth Filar Williams at UNCG talked about implementing HTML 5 for video in library tutorials. The chair of the IFLA Newspaper Section talked about crowdsourcing to correct millions of raw OCR conversion of newspaper text. The champion non-paid volunteer was from Australia who personally corrected 1.4 million records per year, just for the fun of it. People are really strange.

I got out for a few other non Zed Shed sessions, but they have all been covered by others. All in all, it was an exhiliarating experience and Indianapolis was a great host city. Tomorrow, I am meeting with our University Library Group peers, but I will save that for a separate post!

 

ACRL: Off the beaten path

Friday, April 12, 2013 11:00 am

I don’t want to repeat the excellent posts of my colleagues, so I’m focusing on sessions that were small, yet very engaging!

In the weeks leading up to ACRL I received emails looking for volunteers for an ACRL focus group and a Lexis/Nexis lunch session to help design a database interface. I jumped on these opportunities and was lucky enough to attend them both.

Due to plane delays on Wednesday, Susan and I arrived at the hotel around 12:45pm. I tossed my luggage in the room and raced to the 1pm ACRL focus group three blocks away. I managed to make it to the session where 9 other non-members of ACRL were participating in a focus group about ACRL and the other organizations Librarians most frequently join. The point was to reveal what we wanted from professional organizations, to discuss why we were members of some organizations and not others, and what would encourage us to join ACRL.

I learned more than I expected in this one-hour session. First, only 4 of us were ALA members, and half of the group belonged to no professional organization. The younger, newer librarians were more likely not to be members and made it clear they were not sure of the value provided by these organizations. They wanted more mentoring, help publishing and help getting on national committees and they wanted it at a lower cost. It was a very enlightening session and the moderator of the focus group did a wonderful job managing the discussion. This session reminded me what a great job ZSR (shout out to the Mentoring Committee!) does mentoring librarians.

On Thursday, I attended something called “The 2013 LexisNexis Academic Innovation Games. Our table of six librarians had a box lunch and used arts and crafts to create our ideal database (see photos). What we created was more of a “Discovery Service” by the time we were done, but we managed to developa three page list of ideas and incorporate them into our design! We wanted a search that was simple at the beginning, but with a smooth transition to more complex options as needed. It was a great exercise and a good way to meet some new people.

Tomorrow I’ll post about some creating a culture of assessment! I’m off to that session now!

list of database features and functionality

list of database features and functionality

Our database

Our database

 

Susan: Day Two at ACRL, Indianapolis

Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:26 pm

The original Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture

Original LOVE Sculpture by Robert Indiana, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

It is very refreshing to be at an excellent national conference with no obligations other than trying to decide which sessions to attend all day. There might be some small chance that this could be a bit stressful, simply because there were at least a dozen to choose from each time slot! The size of the conference is much nicer than at ALA (I heard the number of attendees is about 3500). They’ve done a good job of right sizing the rooms for each presentation, plenty of seating has been available and the only technology issues I’ve heard about are the slowness of the wireless. The weather has been rainy which has limited my usual new city exploration but really enhanced my focus on all the offerings of the educational sessions.

I began the day at a Serials Solution breakfast where ProQuest introduced a new web-scaled management solution, Intota. It “supports the entire resource lifecycle including selection, acquisition, cataloging, discovery, and fulfillment regardless of resource type.” Its goal is to replace the ILS.

My first session of the day was one of the contributed paper sessions. In these hour-long sessions, three people present papers they have submitted and had accepted for the conference. This first group was focused on three research projects that used different methods to assess the use of library spaces by students. The first was done at Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library, built in the brutalist architectural style (read: ugly). They conducted a photo study to discover how their library spaces were being used with a goal to gather evidence to make small scale changes. The paper, Beer Cans in the Stacks? Using a Photo Study to Reveal How Students Use Library Spaces provides the details of the methodology and results. The count data gathered was analyzed and presented using Tableau, a visualization tool. The second presentation described a study at Clark University that used a seating sweep methodology for finding the same sort data on space use. The final presentation, The Location-less Library: Examining the Value of the Library Building, examined how the loss of a library building (closed down for 2 years during renovations) affected user activities.

The second session had a panel (of 3 people from 2 institutions) that described initiatives they had going involving library publishing and undergraduates. In the first, at Illinois Wesleyan University, the library (Stephanie Kavis-Kahl) collaborated with an economics professor (Michael Seeborg)on the publication of a student peer-reviewed economics journal, Undergraduate Economic Review. The online open access journal solicits student submissions worldwide and is student managed including peer review and editorial decision-making. The library role includes advising, educating, and liaising. At Pacific University, Isaac Gilman, Scholarly Communications and Research Services Librarian, described an intensive 2 week scholarly journal publishing course that he teaches. The course objectives are: to understand and articulate the publication process, from initial manuscript submission to final publication, identify the process/resources necessary to establish a new publication, distinguish between and describe the relative benefits of different publishing models and to understand legal relationships.

In the afternoon I attended a session on Visual Literacy in Action. The presenters gave concrete examples of ways a library might incorporate the standards spelled out in the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

I was introduced to the Erial Project in the next session. This was a two year long ethnographical study of the student research process. Take a look at their website for details of the project. The findings have been published in the book College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know.

I finished out the day by attending the second keynote session where Henry Rollins spoke and then by going to an evening reception to learn about ArtStor’s newest product, SharedShelf (which was held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, thus the photo of the LOVE sculpture above!). As you can tell by the brief documentation of the second half of my day, it’s been a long one and it’s time to wrap up so I can rest up for another full day tomorrow! Good night……

Leveling the Playing Field: Key notes from the keynotes – Roz at ACRL Day 1+

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:23 pm

Today’s theme brought to you by the keynotes that bookended my first 24 hours of ACRL. We’ll start with Geoffrey Canada’s amazing keynote from Wednesday afternoon. I first learned about Geoffrey Canada when I saw him on 60 Minutes back in the 1990s and was immediately a huge fan. His passion for kids, for families and for leveling the playing field in this country through education has really made him one of my heroes for a long time. For those less familiar with Geoffrey Canada, he was born and raised in the Bronx, educated in Bowdoin and at Harvard School of Education and has spent the last 20 years developing The Harlem Children’s Zone – a 24 block area in Harlem that works with children and their families from birth through college and provides a comprehensive set of services to form a safety net so tight that nothing falls through the cracks. He’s controversial in some ways because he has taken on teacher’s unions, thinks there must be ways to get rid of bad teachers, advocates for paying teachers like professionals, works his teachers with long days and longer school years, but the success he has had with his program is undeniable. A few of the points of his speech that have stuck with me today (other than the many good points Susan discussed).

  • The business model of the American school system jeopardizes the future of this country. To keep doing things exactly the same way when we know they are failing our students is reprehensible.
  • ‘You never know what is going to save a kid.’ This is why schools need to offer every possible activity, course, opportunity to children from science to chess, art to English, music to languages. For Canada, it was Dr. Seuss books that saved him and that began a lifelong love of poetry.
  • We can’t have one standard for what is good for our own children and another for ‘poor children.’ Why should schools have to justify wanting to keep the programs that actually make kids WANT to come to school when those same programs (music, dance, sports) are what we all give our own children.
  • Accountability must start with infants and continue through college – we can’t just keep passing failing kids up to the next school or grade or college and then washing our hands of them. Colleges need to be going into high schools and making sure they are preparing students for what will be expected of them.
  • College should be the goal for every child because the jobs our country needs people to do require highly specialized skills and knowledge.
  • We can no longer ignore the research that is out that tells us what works in education. Study after study has shown that kids in poor neighborhoods fall behind over the summers. Why are we not offering summer school to them?
  • When someone tells you that good education is not scalable – remind them that we have found the money to continue to scale our prison system year after year and it costs much less to educate a child well each year than it does to incarcerate a person for a year. We can no longer keep paying for poor education on the back end – we must level the playing field on the front end.
  • We have to be as mad about the black teen shot on her way to school in Chicago as we are about the white children killed at Sandy Hook and we have to stay mad and keep telling our lawmakers that we are mad and to do something about it.
  • Common standards are good, but we can’t keep ramping up the testing without ramping up the training of our teachers to get students to where they can pass the tests.
  • We must start looking at children not as ‘poor children’ or ‘urban children’ or ‘black children’ but as America’s children and not rest until the playing field is leveled.

 

Today’s keynote by Henry Rollins, was different but no less compelling than Canada’s. For those unfamiliar with Rollins, he is the former front man for the punk band Black Flag and a prolific author, actor, radio host and more. He performs spoken word shows (LOTS of them), writes for Vanity Fair and other outlets, does documentaries with National Geographic and has become a very outspoken cultural commentator. He, too, talked about leveling the playing field with information. I think he was clearly a librarian in a past life. He began his lifelong love of preservation and archiving when he was part of the punk scene in DC in the 1970s – he recognized early on that punk music was a maligned and censored art form and he began to collect it’s data – from show posters, to demo tapes he would obsessively collect and preserve the evidence of the punk scene. He remains a collector to this day, making a concerted effort to buy and listen to at least three albums a day and take copious notes on them and preserve them. He memorized the constitution (and quoted prolifically from it during his 80 minute, note-free talk). He told a story about getting to go into the National Archives that was so moving because he really, really GETS how important preserving our history is. His passion for information, and his recognition that it is information that is what will level the playing field was amazingly powerful. He clearly gets how important what we do is, and it was an honor to hear him talk, even if it felt a bit like being in a washing machine at times.

 

 


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