Professional Development

During November 2013...

Chelcie at 2013 DLF Forum

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:51 pm

I have attended the DLF Forum every year since I began library school, but this year was the first year that I attended as a full-fledged librarian. It was a very different experience to attend the Forum while constantly asking myself “What will I bring back to ZSR?” Below are three of my major takeaways, culled both from formal conference sessions and from informal conversations with other attendees.

Investigate moving towards large-scale digitization of archival materials.

The digitization of rare and unique materials broadens access to those materials beyond the reading room to any screen that can access the Web. Early digitization projects often cherry-picked specific items to digitize and created rich descriptions of those items, similar to how items might be selected for a physical exhibition. Increasingly, however, digital collection managers recognize that completely digitized collections support scholarly inquiry better than boutique digitization efforts. Both an access model and a content strategy, large-scale digitization¹ selects entire collections (or entire series within collections) for digitization, and online access replicates the reading room experience by contextualizing individual items within the archival arrangement of a processed collection. Rather than painstakingly creating metadata at the item level, large-scale digitization makes use of existing metadata from the finding aid at the container, series, and collection level. This approach can both streamline production workflows and better meet the needs of researchers.

At the DLF Forum, a panel presentation titled Big Archival Data: Designing Workflows and Access to Large-Scale Digitized Collections focused on how the principles of large-scale digitization were put into practice in different institutional contexts. Michael Doylen and Ann Hanlon of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee discussed the digitization of the Kwasniewski photographs, the collection of a Polish-American photographer who captured images of the Polish community in Milwaukee. 80% of the digitized photographs re-used existing item-level metadata transcribed from negative sleeves during processing of the collection; 20% of the digitized photographs were designated for further image processing and metadata enhancement – e.g. titles that are unique and more specific, description, and additional subject headings. By taking a comprehensive approach, this digital collection makes available “the rare, the lesser-known, the overlooked, the neglected, and the downright excluded.”² Following Michael and Ann, Karen Weiss of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art discussed the workflows that her institution have developed in order to link container lists in their finding aids to digital materials in their digital asset management system. Starting from a collection summary page, the researcher can browse to a particular series and then view all of the items that are contained within a particular folder. In this way, the digital collections experience better approximates the in-person reading room experience.

When performing digital humanities outreach to faculty and students, lead with content.

Another advantage of a large-scale digitization approach is that it enables the library to market its digital collections as corpora for digital humanities research. During THATCamp Digital Humanities & Libraries following the DLF Forum I had the opportunity to chat with Zoe Borovsky, who is the Librarian for Digital Research and Scholarship at the UCLA Library. Zoe shared with me that one tack that she is taking more and more frequently is to demonstrate that UCLA’s digitized special collections support digital humanities modes of inquiry -because the more faculty who build digital projects on top of existing digital collections, the more digital projects the library can support. Thus far, I’ve reached out to a few faculty that I’ve met at social events to learn more about their digital scholarship and pedagogy and how the library might support those aspects of their work. But in the emerging area of digital humanities it’s not always the case that there’s an existing library solution to a faculty problem. At this stage, my goal is to build relationships and gather requirements. Do some faculty want to create crowd-sourced collections, which they could eventually contribute to WakeSpace? Do other faculty want to text mine newspapers? Do still other faculty want to use Omeka to incorporate building digital collections into course projects? These needs are quite heterogenous! In the presentation Testing Omeka for Core Digital Library Services Jenn Riley (formerly of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, now of McGill University) said that she is planning for a future when every humanities faculty member at her university is interested in creating a digital project. With that kind of scalability in mind, when I meet with faculty, in addition to gathering requirements, I will also market ZSR’s existing digital collections as potential corpora for digital humanities research.

Investigate adopting the DMPTool to support data management planning for faculty.

The DMPTool enables universities to provide investigators who are writing data management plans with custom guidance. The DMPTool has been available for some time now, but a new version was recently released, and the development team presented at the sessionDMPTool2: Improvements and Outreach at the DLF Forum. At our last Digital Scholarship team meeting, we discussed investigating the DMPTool as a goal for next year. When an institution adopts the DMPTool, admins are able to provide suggested answers for each question on a particular funder’s data management plan form. After modifying the suggested answers supplied in the DMPTool, the investigator can generate a PDF of their data management plan and append it to his or her grant application. Customization of the DMPTool now includes the option to provide Shibboleth authentication. DMPTool2 improvements for plan creators include the ability to:

  • copy existing plans into new plans
  • work collaboratively with colleagues – e.g. add co-owners of plan
  • request review of plans
  • share plans within institutions
  • provide public access to plans

DMPTool2 improvements for administrators include:

  • a module that enables direct editing of customized responses to different funder templates or the ability to create your own templates (before administrators had to email the DMPTool development team in order to enact this sort of customization)
  • several new administrator roles – e.g. institutional reviewer and institutional administrator
  • enhanced search and browse of plans
  • mandatory or optional review of plans

Outside of conference hours, I enjoyed exploring Austin. Highlights included visiting the flagship Whole Foods store, watching the bat colony emerge from under the First Street bridge at dusk, and eating fabulous mole at El Naranjo (an authentic Mexican restaurant recommended by the Texas Monthly). Work hard, play hard!

(1) For a formal definition of large-scale digitization, see page 55 of the 2010 OCLC Research report Taking Our Pulse: The OCLC Research Survey of Special Collections and Archives.

(2) Flanders, Julia. (2009) The productive unease of 21st-century digital scholarship. Digital Humanities Quarterly,3(3). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/3/3/000055/000055.html

ASERL Fall Meeting, Charlotte NC

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:42 am

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes as I chaired my first meeting as ASERL President on Nov. 19-20. It went really well. I arrived last Monday night as the city of Charlotte was getting ready for its first Monday Night Football in many years. The hotel was two blocks from the stadium and it was really crazy! The Panthers even managed to beat my boy Brady and the Patriots, so there was lots of excitement for the librarians gathering there.

Tuesday morning was an early Board meeting so we could get out in time to tour the UNC-Charlotte library. In nine years of living in North Carolina, I have never managed to get down there. They have lots of creative ideas for new spaces, same as we do, so it will bear watching. The meeting proper began with a discussion of Strategic Planning and Budget considerations, all of which were livened up by Hu Womack’s expert use of clickers. Thank you, Hu! The first program segment was a live webcast of the “Analysis of Oral Arguments in GSU e-Reserves Appeal,” which Molly’s sources say did not go so well for the good guys. We will see.

The panel I organized for the afternoon was “Financial Outlook for Higher Education and Impact for Research Libraries.” Invited speakers were Matthew Pellish from the Education Advisory Board (of which WFU is a member) and Jim Dunn, Wake’s Chief Investment Officer. They spoke about the industry’s negative outlook on financial stability for the higher education sector, both its causes and what might be done about it, followed by a very lively and thoughtful Q&A session. The member reception in the evening was a the Levine Museum of the New South, which was a real treat.

On Wednesday morning, the main program was a rather unusual topic planned by Executive Director John Burger, “The Impacts of New Retail Technologies and Services on Library Users.” Laura Van Tine, Global Business Advisor at IBM, and Brian Matthews, Associate Dean at Virginia Tech spoke about the similarities that the library and retail industries face. The dilemma of digital vs bricks & mortar presence, privacy vs personalization, co-creation, analytics, showrooming, and responsive design are all issues faced by both groups.

We got lots of good feedback for the meeting and programs, so onward to the Spring meeting in Tampa, April 23-24!

2013 Charleston according to Carol

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:12 am

Here are the highlights of the most important sessions I attended at Charleston:

Derrik has already covered the first session on discovery services. I won’t repeat what he said, except to link to the slides. I’ll also point out that we were one of the 149 libraries that gave approval to be studied (slide 10), but I don’t know if we were ultimately selected. In a related presentation on Friday, Bruce Heterick from JSTOR discussed efforts in getting their content to show appropriately in discovery services. JSTOR found that usage plummeted after certain schools implemented certain discovery layers. (My opinion: Students will frequently use JSTOR on name recognition alone – even when it’s not the optimal source for their topic. If the discovery service delivers more appropriate up-to-date content, so much the better.) Heterick said that many discovery services depend heavily on subject metadata for relevancy ranking. JSTOR does not include that metadata, and it would be expensive to produce. (Just a thought – many JSTOR articles are indexed with subject metadata in A&I places like MLA, which are sometimes included in the discovery service as well. How can that be harvested appropriately?)

Librarians from Ferris State reported on how they processed titles that they committed to retain within their Michigan consortium. They used a 912 field in the MARC record to indicate reasons for retention. Missing books and those in poor condition took extra time to process since they needed to find another consortium member who would take responsibility for keeping the title.

Kristin Calvert from Western Carolina reported on a project to move all their usage stats to EBSCO Usage Consolidation (hence: EUC). Before implementing this project, it took them four full working days each year to collect e-journal stats. I know Derrik would identify with some of the frustrations that Calvert expressed. After the decision to use EUC, it took…

  • 2-3 weeks to set up (I’m not sure if non-stop work is implied here.)
  • 8 hours for initial cleanup
  • 4-6 hours for quarterly loads (could do this annually to save time)
  • <1 hour/month for cleanup

The product includes an “Exceptions” list of journals that had some kind of mismatch in the system. WCU staff had to reconcile the exceptions, but once they did, EUC remembered the fix so the same exception wouldn’t pop up again. The screenshot that Calvert showed had zero exceptions. Calvert concluded that she found this project worthwhile given the efficiencies gained at the end.

On Saturday, two librarians from Bucknell discussed how they dropped their approval plan and went with print DDA for everything. They use WorldCat/WorldShare for their catalog and discovery layer, so they could accomplish this without any loading (or deactivation) of records in their system. Patrons click on a ‘Get It’ button (powered by GIST), and a librarian decides whether to fulfill the request by purchase or by ILL. In the end, they ordered 1/3 fewer titles, spent 50% less, and ILL decreased. Bucknell took this path because their approval books circulate at a low rate. They also weed aggressively (12K new books/year and 6K deletions/year), so their collection was a revolving door. They pointed out that their library focuses on undergraduate curriculum, not research, so WFU may not want to pursue this idea. One point that resonates with me though: they reminded us that ‘efficient’ does not necessarily mean ‘effective.’ Approval plan ordering is the most efficient way to get books, and e-book DDA is even more efficient at delivery. However, are they as effective in getting users to the content they need in the format they want?

Charleston Conference 2013 (Ellen D.)

Monday, November 18, 2013 10:41 am

Charleston Conference 2013
Nov. 6-9 “Too Much is Not Enough!”
With the looming confluence of two dire developments, de-selection AND e-books, these rather fraught issues were the inevitable themes of several sessions I chose to attend at this year’s Charleston Conference, held November 6-9.
“Not So Fast:” Researcher Preferences for Print or E-Books,” presented by two librarians from McMaster University, Janice Adlington (Collections & Information Resources Librarian) and Wade Wyckoff (Association University Librarian, Collections) offered an interesting counterpoint to some aspects of e-books issues as we manage them. The library has no approval plan, but librarians do firm ordering for both print and e-books on a title-by-title basis. They purchase front list titles from Oxford, Harvard, IEEE-Wiley, Springer, with some consortial arrangements, and add more e-books than print per year, with a total now of 4000 unowned EBL titles. Unlike ZSR’s compassionate policies, they do not provide intentional duplication of print and electronic, and there is no ILL for print if the e-book is owned (with few exceptions). ILL is unmediated, and 25% of requests are rejected. Predictably, there has been faculty and graduate student pushback, providing anecdotal evidence as well as lengthy, detailed, and persistent complaints regarding a specific e-book package. The librarians felt that they needed more structured input in order to develop more nuanced collecting strategies and to better support those most likely to engage deeply with texts (and to discern more than the squeaky wheels). So they devised a 7-point survey (using Survey Monkey) covering demographics, general preferences, and usage, plus an open-ended content box-and garnered strong opposing viewpoints. The survey went out to faculty, graduate and undergraduate students alike. Many individuals use both formats, and all levels of response preferred print books, particularly among the undergraduates. The Humanities and Social Sciences were over-represented, reflecting the importance of monographs to their scholarship, and they strongly prefer print. The Sciences change to a greater acceptance of electronic. The open question box pulled in a wide range of comments. Some saw benefits to both formats. The EBL and Ebsco platforms provoked negative comments. Even among the scientists, print was seen as offering a richer learning experience, easier to browse and assess for relevance; as one person put it, one can’t put one’s finger in the page to refer back. By contrast, e-books are fine for reference and scanning. There were frequent remarks on the use of the printing option and downloading to tablets, in order to have easier access to sections they needed. Humanities showed the highest use of printing and downloading to tablet or reader, but not as many downloaded to laptops as in Science/Engineering. One science professor confessed to buying print to avoid reading e-books. The comments included reflections that with e-books one reads less intently, and one doesn’t absorb enough information; one can’t double back; one MINES e-texts but READS print books; there is greater difficulty reading closely and retaining information; one is more likely to read a print books in its entirety.
As a result of the survey, the librarians changed their approaches. They stopped buying the front list from a problematic publisher. They will continue print for the Humanities, with the traditional scholarly academic monographs. They will also re-think their ILL policies and revisit acquisitions policy, addressing the question of buying print if they already own the e-book title. They plan to exercise caution in weeding print based on e-book availability for their legacy print collection. Interestingly, they remove the short term loan availability for e-books if they buy print. They wondered if e-book records encourage print circulation, a question to address perhaps in the future. They had expected greater enthusiasm for e-books. They were hit by the EBL textbook policy, and fear that as a consequence faculty are re-considering e-books and do not trust them now (even more than before?). Afterwards, in the discussion, one person stood up and pointedly asked, “Why are we doing this?” if there are so many user problems. Are we just solving our problems but not our users’ problems? Someone else pointed out that there are moral problems if users have to pay to print out texts when they cannot read print. And finally, one attendee from Germany gave an international twist to the survey’s findings: in Germany the preferences for print fall along similar lines.

 

Perhaps not too many collection management projects involve comparing one’s library holdings with those of the State Library of Norway. This unique relationship emerged from the session, “Janus-Faced Collection Ecology: De-Selection and Preservation at St. Olaf College Libraries,” presented by Mary Barbosa-Jerez , Head of Collection Development (and clearly not of Nordic origins, she acknowledged). “Janus,” with its allusion to facing the past as well as the future, suggests being mindful of unique cultural heritage holdings as well as future space needs for books and collaborative areas. In addition to supporting the St. Olaf College curriculum, the Rolvaag Library serves as the primary book repository for the Norwegian-American immigrant community, with formal ties to the Norwegian American Historical Association. The St. Olaf libraries had never been subjected to comprehensive collection assessment or to systematic weeding, and with pressing space issues, a weeding project was devised that included identifying, segregating, and protecting (as well as enhancing discoverability of) culturally important materials (the library was “off the charts” in terms of unique holdings associated with the Nordic communities). The speaker emphasized the cultural heritage not only in terms of library holdings, but also in terms of culturally based attitudes. As a self-isolated culture of frugal savers, every gift had been regarded as important. High pride in the work of forbearers meant that each item should be saved by the sub-culture; other holdings included items that had been selected carefully by well-loved faculty members. These attitudes, she noted, were at odds with the reality of physical space and the library’s mission. A vault valuation project for the Nordic-American collection reflected the value of Nordic-American Imprints and began by segregating heritage materials for protection. This process was based on identification of heritage criteria and involved coding in OCLC. She achieved stake-holder buy-in by means of a library faculty committee educated in the issues involved, and the conversation regarding de-selection always included a preservation element. She held multiple meetings of all concerned parties, reported on progress, gathered feedback, and got recommendations for the next step. Billing the undertaking as a pilot de-selection project meant that it was a low stress but high impact test. She insisted that de-selection decisions would be restricted to decisions and actions of the library staff; there had been so many preliminary conversations that additional reiterations would be redundant. In the end, a separate space was identified for heritage collection items, and genuinely deselection-worthy items could be identified as well and disposed of accordingly. She emphasized the importance of awareness of one’s unique holdings, as well as the future paradigm of one-in-one-out for the library’s collection management.

 

“Transforming a Print Collection” was a (heavily) statistically-driven presentation by two librarians at Temple University faced with the wondrous prospect of a new library on the horizon: Fred Rowland (Reference Librarian) and Brian Schooler (Head, Acquisitions and Collection). Naturally, the structure was not to be a 50 million warehouse for print ; the library already has an offsite storage and retrieval facility (1.1 million volumes in the library and 4 million offsite). As a preliminary planning step, they wanted to achieve a sense of the importance of print among various disciplines and developed two independent but complementary projects to track patterns of print use. They looked at recent circulation in the past 2.5 years and grouped them into publication dates with call numbers. They found that 21% of the N and M classes had circulated within that time span, 15% of history, and Humanities overall 14.9, compared to 10.4% in the STM fields, underscoring the relative importance of monographs. A broader overview of the circulation history revealed that 33.3% of the collection had circulated since 2010, then 30% dating from the 2000s, 17.9% from the 1990s, 11.1% from the 1980s, and 6.6 from the 1970s. Pre-1980s publications were stable at the low level of 3-6%. Tracking the linear curve of this, the Humanities showed a steeper jump from the 1970s to the 1980s, more so for history and yet more so for the Arts. Then there was some leveling off in the 2000s and in more recent years. Specific classes have different patterns from the broader categories, but the multiple lines of color for various LC sub-classes became rather messy slides, by their own admission. The Humanities showed more heavily used older materials; so those disciplines benefit from a larger amount of older materials in open stacks. Overall, they saw strong circulation of new books within 10 years of publication date. For the past 10 years, 55.2% of the collection had circulated, with 1.6 average circulations per book. 10% of the books account for 48% of total circulation, and 25% of books account for 76% of total checkouts. Humanities make up 51% of all the books, and 52% of Humanities titles have circulated. 53% of total checkouts are Humanities while English books circulated at around 59%. The peak of checkouts occurred in 2008/2009 after which they have been decreasing, perhaps attributable to buying fewer print books and more e-books. The session ended rather abruptly when time ran out and we all resigned ourselves to the respite from the relentless rain of statistics.
Lynn was one of the panel members in “If the University is in the Computer, Where Does That Leave the Library? MOOCs Discovered” and made a compelling presentation on our contributions to what she defined as MOOCs’ role in contributing to the social imperative in global institutions’ quest for high quality education, and highlighted ZSR’s-and Kyle’s-roles in meeting those needs. The first speaker, Meredith Schwartz of Rittenhouse Book Distributors wittily outlined the life cycle of many innovative efforts: Technological trigger > Peak of inflated expectations > Trough of disillusionment > Slope of enlightenment > Plateau of productivity. Perhaps we are avoiding the trough of disillusionment by having had reasonable expectations as ZSR embarked on its own version of a Pilgrim MOOC’s Progress.

 

Rich in both content and relevance, Charleston is a conference I look forward to attending again in future years. In the meantime, the conference theme (“Too Much is Not Enough!”) emblazoned on the sturdy conference bag seems very suitable for re-purposing as a shopping bag.

Amanda at SCLA/SELA 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013 5:18 pm

Earlier this week, I co-presented with a former colleague at the South Carolina Library Association/Southeastern Library Association joint conference in Greenville, South Carolina. My presentation was late in the day, so I had the opportunity to sit in on several interesting and relevant presentations.

Keynote Speaker ALA President-Elect Courtney Young: To open the conference, Young spoke about the current ALA presidential theme, Libraries Change Lives, and encouraged librarians to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries and libraries to host signing events. Young then spoke about her upcoming presidential theme, which will focus on the value of the ALA to both its members and the community at large.

Services and Spaces for Graduate Students: Data-Driven Decision Making in an Academic Library: Florida State University librarians recently underwent a large-scale ethnographic study of their non-STEM graduate student population. They modeled their study off of the Foster and Gibbons University of Rochester study, which included methods like photo diaries and charrettes. The FSU librarians also GPS tracked 10 students to see where they went throughout the day. They learned that their graduate students wanted multi-use/multi-functional spaces, room to spread out, and double monitors . Some barriers to using the library included working long hours, families, finding parking, and having cheaper/healthier food options at home. As a result of the study, they expanded their campus delivery service to graduate TAs and plan to use the findings when planning future renovations. Also, if you are curious, you can see their current grad student space, the Scholars Commons. I have a lot more notes if you are interested.

Teaching Online Library Workshops: Next, Clemson University librarians spoke about their experiences with two online instruction initiatives. First, they moved their freshman orientation sessions online (previously, they hosted over 200 orientation sessions in the library). They used VideoScribe to make some seriously awesome Youtube videos and embedded them in Blackboard. Go watch, What’s In It For Me?, an alphabetical listing of items in Clemson Libraries and come back. No, seriously, go watch, I’ll wait here. Pretty nifty, right? Second, they used their campus conference software, Adobe Connect, to host synchronous, online workshops on topics like Google searching. Attendance was less-than-stellar, but they found that after the sessions several students asked questions unrelated to the topic at hand — and this brought about interesting conversations on using conferencing software (or even Google Hangout) to host personal research sessions. We also discussed the advantages of quality over quantity in reference/instruction interactions. Sounds like they are trying some exciting things!

The Flipped Classroom: A Real Life Adventure in Engaging Students: this was our session! I co-presented with my former colleague, Margaret Fain, of Coastal Carolina University. We spoke for about 10 minutes about flipping our Information Literacy Lab credit course at Coastal — then we flipped the presentation (because, of course)! Our attendees created a flipped classroom lesson plan and then shared their lessons with the group. I’m having a SlideShare to WordPress embed fail, but if you’d like to see our slides, here they are.

Unfortunately, I had to drive to Greenville and back in a day, so I didn’t get to experience much of Greenville. That being said, from my car window, it looked really great! It seem to have a happening downtown, lots of restaurants, shops and even a park downtown with a waterfall. It has officially hopped onto my weekend-road trip list!

Charleston Conference online

Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:49 am

I have never actually attended the Charleston Conference, but this year they broadcast a small number of sessions live over the Internet. I tuned in to watch two of those sessions.

In a pre-conference segment, Judy Ruttenberg from the Association of Research Libraries spoke about legal issues in providing online resource access for print-disabled patrons. I learned that Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, requiring accessible electronic technology, applies to institutions receiving certain federal funding (and Ruttenberg made it sound like it applies to virtually all universities in the U.S.), but it does not apply to the private sector. So while it is illegal for a school/university to require the use of an inaccessible device, it is not illegal for Amazon or B&N (for example) to produce an inaccessible e-reader. As a matter not just of legality but of providing good service, Ruttenberg encouraged compliance with standards, especially WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines-I had to look it up). She also suggested that libraries could partner with campus offices for students with disabilities, and with professors, to advocate for technology and service standards and to help make sure content is accessible. Finally, Ruttenberg addressed the challenge of getting e-resource licenses in line with accessibility needs, especially given that content providers are not liable. As with the technology, model license language is a moving target, but she recommended pointing to standards (such as WCAG 2.0), as well as asking for the right to make the content usable. She closed by quoting someone (sorry, I didn’t catch who) asking why we don’t push for indemnification against third-party lawsuits for inaccessibility. In the Q&A, a discussion arose around whether an institution would be within their rights to make content accessible even if the license doesn’t permit it; Kevin Smith (Duke’s Scholarly Communications Officer), who was in the audience, asked which lawsuit you would rather defend-a content provider alleging you didn’t have the right to do that, or a disabled student who couldn’t access course material.

The other session I watched was a presentation of research on the effects of discovery systems on e-journal usage. The researchers (Michael Levine-Clark, U. of Denver; Jason Price, SCELC; John McDonald, U. of Southern California) looked at the usage of journals from 6 major publisher at 24 libraries-6 for each of the four major discover systems (Summon, Primo, EBSCO Discover Service [EDS], and WorldCat Local [WCL]). The presentation went fast and I had a hard time keeping up, but the methodology seemed logical and the results interesting. Results varied of course, especially the effect of the discovery system on the different publishers’ content, but there did appear to be a resulting increase in journal usage, with Primo and Summon affecting usage more than EDS and WCL. The main purpose of the current study was to see if they could detect a difference, which they did. Their next step will be to try to determine what factors are causing the differences.

Charleston Conference with Lynn

Monday, November 11, 2013 10:32 am

I went to the Charleston Conference last week for the first time in several years. It started as a small conference for “Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition,” but its scope has broadened over the years and now almost 2,000 participants enjoy the talks by both librarians and vendors in the lovely city of Charleston.

Bill and I were both speakers this year so we arrived Tuesday evening in time for a barbecue sponsored by Mitchell Davis of BiblioLabs. ZSR is one of the newest library contributors to BiblioLabs (thank you, Chelcie) so they were glad to see us. On Wednesday morning, Bill spoke on a panel in the Self-Pub pre-conference, along with a number of former colleagues, including Mark Sandler from the CIC and Bob Holley from Wayne State.

Self publishing is moving away from its former stigma as vanity press and toward an image of efficient DIY technology. While an estimated 43% of books published today are self-published, they are largely invisible to libraries since libraries typically rely on aggregators for acquisition and there are few aggregators for self-published works. Once a library does find material it wants to add to its collection, issues of metadata, acquisition and preservation are not easy, as our team of ZSR experts can attest when it came time to add material from our own Digital Publishing platform at WFU. The panelists agreed that we all need to figure this out since the phenomenon will keep growing rapidly.

On Thursday, I gave my presentation “A MOOC of our Own” in the plenary session called “If the University is in the Computer, Where does that Leave the Library? MOOCs Discovered.” The session was organized by Meg White of Rittenhouse, who turns out to be a Wake Forest alum! Meredith Schwartz, senior editor of Library Journal, started out by giving a history/overview of the MOOC movement. Then I gave our ZSRx example of “MOOCs in action” and Rick Anderson of University of Utah concluded by giving observations on the future of MOOCs in higher education. I was excited to learn that Library Journal will publish a written version of my presentation in the December issue.

A mooc of our own from suttonls

I went to a number of the million or so sessions that took place during the conference. Carol and Ellen were also there, so they will no doubt write up the sessions they attended. A few stood out for me including a very informative panel on streaming video in libraries. We are struggling with this problem ourselves, so it was instructive to see how other libraries are coping. Most had invested in commercial solutions, I was not happy to hear. The Library Publishing Coalition offered a panel of deans saying why they thought it important to invest in library publishing activities. Some focused on journals, others on both monographs and journals. It made me feel like we are doing the right thing with our own digital publishing efforts. A panel of Provosts offered interesting perspectives on their view of libraries. I thought the Provost from Stetson was particularly insightful on how libraries can be leaders and change agents on campus. ASERL sponsored a reception Thursday night just before the all-conference party at the Aquarium, so it was good to touch base with those peeps. All in all, a very enjoyable and productive conference.

ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar

Monday, November 4, 2013 2:52 pm

this afternoon several ZSR library faculty gathered to listen to the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force Webinar. Below are my notes taken during the session and my own thoughts about it all at the end. The presenters were Craig Gibson and Trudi Jacobson, Co-Chairs of the Task Force. The forums (today’s was the 3rd) have all been recorded and the links are available online. I encourage anyone who is interested to watch one.

Background:

The original Information Literacy Competency Standards were approved in January 2000.

They were a seminal document for higher education, not just academic librarians. Since 2000 they have been used by numerous institutions in defining general education requirements, by accrediting agencies, and many disciplinary versions have been created including ones for Science and Technology, Political Science, and more.

Why changes are needed:

There was a review task force that looked at the standards and recommended that they needed extensive revision because the current standards don’t:

  • address the globalized info environment.

  • recognize students as content creators.

  • address ongoing challenges with a multi-faceted, multi-format environments.

  • sufficiently address the need to position information literacy as a set of concepts and practices integral to all disciplines

  • address student understanding of the knowledge creation process as a collaborative endeavor.

  • emphasize the need for metacognitive and dispositional dimensions of learning

  • position student learning as a cumulative recursive developmental endeavor

  • address scholarly communication, publishing or knowledge of data sources

  • recognize the need for data curation abilities

 

The committee has said the new standards must:

  • be simplified as a readily understood model for greater adoption by audiences both disciplinary and collegiate outside of ALA

  • be articulated in readily comprehensible terms that do not include library jargon

  • include affective, emotional learning outcomes, in addition to the exclusively cognitive focus of the current standards

  • acknowledge complementary literacies

  • move beyond implicit focus on format

  • address the role of the student as content creator

  • address the role of the student as content curator

  • provide continuity with the AASL standards

 

The new model will:

  • provide a holistic framework to information literacy for the higher education community

  • acknowledge that abilities, knowledge, and motivation surrounding information literacy are critical for college students, indeed for everyone, in today’s decentralized info environment

 

Threshold Concepts

The new model will be built on the idea of ‘threshold concepts’ – core ideas and processes in any discipline that define the discipline but that are so ingrained they often go unspoken or unrecognized by practitioner. Threshold concepts are thus central concepts that we want our students to understand and put into practice that encourage them to think and act like practitioners themselves. (definition from the Townsend article below). Two of the articles on this are:

Townsend, Lori, Korey Brunetti, and Amy R. Hofer. “Threshold Concepts and Information Literacy.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 11.3 (2011): 853-869. Project MUSE. Web. 16 July 2013.

Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising Within the Disciplines.” Improving Student Learning Theory and Practice – 10 Years On: Proceedings of the 2002 10th International Symposium Improving Student Learning. Ed. Chris Rust. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff & Learning Development, 2003. Google Scholar. Web. 1 Aug. 2013.

Meyer and Land propose five definitional criteria for threshold concepts

  • transformative – cause the learner to experience a shift in perspective

  • integrative – bring together separate concepts into a unified whole

  • irreversible – once grasped, cannot be un-grasped

  • bounded – may help define the boundaries of a particular discipline, are perhaps unique to the discipline

  • troublesome – usually difficult or counterintuitive ideas that can cause students to hit a roadblock in their learning.

Metaliteracy

Also included in the new framework is the idea of metaliteracy. Metaliteracy builds on decades of information literacy theory and practice while recognizing the knowledge required for an expansive and interactive information environment. Today’s lifelong learners communicate create and share info using a range of emerging technologies.

Four domains of Metaliteracy Learning

  • Behavioral – what students should be able to do

  • Cognitive – what students should know

  • Affective – changes in learners emotions or attitudes

  • Metacognitive – what learners think about their own thinking

The draft will include lists of Threshold concepts (i.e. ‘Scholarship is a conversation’) and for each of these concepts, there will be dispositions (how students will feel about the concept) and knowledge practices (similar to learning objectives). There will also be lists of possible assignments that would allow students to master the concept.

Next steps – Timeline

  • December 1 – draft document released (may be later in December)

  • Mid-december – online hearing

  • Mid- january online hearing

  • In-person hearing at ALA Midwinter

  • Feb 7 comments on draft due

  • June – final report to ACRL Board (target date)

Discussion:

Not surprisingly there were lots of questions and comments in the webinar chat area and on Twitter (#ACRLILRevisions). Some question basing the whole new framework on the idea of threshold concepts and metaliteracy where there have not been many studies done on how appropriate these are for IL or other instruction. Others wondered if this would mean a new definition of information literacy. Lots of questions about how this framework would be implemented at 2-year schools or in places that had based significant things (like accreditation, gen ed requirements, etc.) on the old list of standards. Some worried that the concrete standards were being replaced by a more intangible ‘framework’ that would need to be defined by each institution.

My impressions:

There are a lot of unknowns at this point. Until we see the proposed list of threshold concepts it’s hard to say if the task force is hitting the mark. What I do think, however, is that a framework is much more flexible and has the potential to be more applicable across disciplines than the current list of standards. I understand the unease felt by those who have hung major initiatives at their institutions on the existing standards as they will have a lot of work to do. For us, we will need to look at our curricula for LIB100/200 and adjust as needed. Some of the things I liked most about what I heard were the moving away from the format-based focus and the recognition that we can’t just focus on skills anymore. There is a need to make our students more aware of the process of information generation and their place in that process because that is the first step in making them critical consumers and conscientious creators (and curators) of information. If what we teach them is really going to be transferrable to other classes and real-life situations, we need to make sure it is learned more holistically. I also think this framework will provide an increased space for discussion with faculty across disciplines and could give us some new inroads to helping faculty design assignments and work library instruction into their classes more effectively. More soon – I am sure this is not the last we will hear about this process.

Molly at NCLA

Friday, November 1, 2013 1:40 pm

Despite living in North Carolina for my entire professional life (and barring one semester abroad, my entire life, period), this was my first time attending an NCLA conference. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, besides the opportunity to learn and network – and present! I was not disappointed in getting to do all three, and was especially happy to reconnect with friends from grad school whose career paths into non-academic libraries means we otherwise don’t usually connect. That alone would have made NCLA worth it to me, but fortunately it gave me much more.

Unlike other conferences I attend, there were very, very few scholarly communication-related sessions, so I took the opportunity to brush up on the latest happenings in other areas of librarianship that I often don’t have time to do: namely, liaison and instruction work. Other ZSR colleagues have already given reports on most of the following sessions, so I apologize if my take-away points are redundant.

Grumble Theory
Librarians at UNCG presented on Jackson Library’s ClimateQUAL survey administration and response in light of Grumble Theory. Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes that motivation is based on needs, and as certain needs must be met before others, needs are order-driven. In Grumble Theory, motivation needs are ranked as:
- low = complaints regarding biological/physiological needs, such as food, shelter, sleep, rest, etc.
- high = concerns over esteem/self-esteem issues, respect, dignity, praise, rewards, etc.
- metagrumbles = higher level complaints concerning value of human life, truth, justice, beauty, perfection, etc.

Metagrumbles arise when other needs are met; e.g., complaining about the color of the carpet, or the break room art. Once low and high grumbles are addressed, an environment is created for self-actualizers to be the best they can be. Using Grumble Theory to help people become more aware, confident, and in control won’t mitigate all problems or complaints, but can reduce them. Much like Ellen shared in her coverage, I feel that much of our work-life balance discussions during 2012 were addressing Grumble Theory needs, despite not using that identifier. ZSR has done well to address our low and high grumbles, and we are now able to begin addressing metagrumbles.

Taming the Hydra, renamed Library Guides: Content Creation to Management
Carol and Ellen were in this session with me, and shared much of UNC’s experience. For a very rare LibGuides user (I think I have 2?), key points that struck me were:
- users view the library as reliable, so our LibGuides must be kept up-to-date to maintain reliability;
- have a management plan for periodic updating;
- limit to one row of tabs (if you need more, perhaps you need two guides);
- create a subject guide with a specific need in mind;
- “something better than nothing” not actually true with outdated guides.

From Resources to Relationships to Reinventing
Carol and Sarah were in this early Thursday morning session on academic liaisons, and again have already reported. Here are my highlights:
- avoid the “let me explain this to you” scenario with faculty (a difficulty in my position as SC librarian!);
- have an elevator speech as to why liaisons are important;
- advocacy role is emerging, and critical;
- success of liaison outreach – increased BIs, etc. – has real impacts on other work areas, and should be managed/acknowledged.

Always Be Closing
Chelcie was in this session with me, but in a different small group for the fun interactive part, and she did a great job explaining the session. My takeaways, both as a liaison and as someone with a specialized position:
- formerly focused on products of scholarship, now focusing on production of scholarship (big ol’ YES in my SC job!);
- engagement is more than “reaching out,” it’s trying to discover problem and apply library solutions to solve problem;
- even if we know what solutions we want to suggest, need to not just toss those off without helping faculty identify the problems – if they can’t see problem, won’t embrace solution;
- useful for thinking through selling new library services.

Research Literacy
This was the first of only two SC-related sessions I attended, which Sarah also sat in on. A librarian and research office administrator from NC A&T shared their work to develop “research literacy” among faculty seeking grants. They took the principles of info lit to apply to grant application process. Key points:
- librarians have expertise in areas that might assist in grant discovery and application writing: search skills, citation structures, literature discovery, writing/editing skills (not often a strong suit for STEM faculty);
- most obvious place to assist is to help ground the application in literature, as the impact of the research proposal must be framed by published research to support application;
- research literacy is info lit with added focus on original discoveries and the needs of original researchers;
- answers needed are not yet known in literature – literature used as building blocks to plan for future investigation;
- collaboration being driven by NIH, NSF calls for increased openness of research outputs in a time when securing funding is increasingly difficult – need to be as competitive and strategic as possible.

How the Judge Got It Wrong
The second directly SC-related session was from a librarian who traveled up from Georgia to discuss the GSU fair use lawsuit. Her talk was based on a research project she did for her PhD coursework; she is not a copyright expert. As Chelcie can attest, I mostly kept my mouth shut, but offered additional insight and clarity when I felt I had to. Overall, her point was that the judge was too narrow in her definition of fair use, establishing problematic “bright line” rules around amounts appropriate for being considered “fair,” and that if the publishers are successful in their appeal – oral arguments will be heard November 19th – the 1976 classroom guidelines risk becoming closer to law; if GSU wins appeal, compels increased licensing by publishers. I don’t fully agree with her assessment, but I also didn’t think she was flat-out wrong. Definitely this is an appeal I will be watching…

My last day at NCLA was an in-and-out situation: I came downtown only to co-present on altmetrics and bibliometrics with Sarah during our session, “The Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, and Altmetrics: From Theory to Analysis,” then dashed over to campus to help Hu and Roz in the library area of THE TENT during the capital campaign launch campus picnic. As Sarah shared, we had a small but highly engaged group for our presentation, and we’ve each received requests for our slides after the conference, so we’ve made an impact (pun intended).

In addition to the individual sessions, I greatly enjoyed the plenary sessions and WILR luncheon I attended, and overall had a very positive first NCLA!


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