Professional Development

Author Archive

Roz @ ALA 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 1:51 pm

The majority of my time at this ALA was spent carrying out my duties as the Chair of the Law and Political Science section of ACRL. I attended ACRL Leadership Council, LPSS Executive Council, our program, our awards breakfast and our general membership meeting. The big news from our section is that after the ACRL Board of Directors voted, we are now going to be the Politics, Policy and International Affairs Section (PPIA). It will take a while for the name to trickle down through official channels, but that was a big part of what I had worked on over this last year. We are also going to begin the process of adaption our IL Standards for Politics to the new framework for Information Literacy model. That will be a big task.

I did squeeze in a couple of programs. The ACRL President’s Program was on Data curation in libraries. Nothing earth-shattering there but does seem like an approaching storm for libraries over the next 5 years. I also attended the Top Tech Trends panel that LITA puts on for each conference. The final program I went to was the most useful and it was a discussion group sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Section (WGSS) of ACRL and was about the process they, and the Communications Committee of the Educational and Behavioral Science Section (EBSS) have undergone as they approach translating their IL Standards to the new Framework model. They have approached it differently but I got good ideas to pass on to our committee once it has been formed. A formal procedure is coming soon from ACRL so we want to be ready to go with it.

Aside from my duties for LPSS and the sessions I attended, I managed to visit a few vendors that I needed to see in the exhibits area. There was lots of chatter about Proquest’s purchase of Alexander Street Press and unless I missed it, ASP did not have a booth at Annual. I visited with Gale, Sage/CQ Press, Proquest, Springshare among others and Mary Beth and I visited most of the furniture booths to start getting ideas about what is out there for new public spaces at ZSR.

I have to admit that ALA in Orlando was not as bad as I had expected, logistics wise. It was hot – but the hotels, shuttles and convention center seemed to be fairly well located and organized. I give it two thumbs up but admit that this conclusion is helped, perhaps, by the fact that our hotel had a lovely pool area that included a lazy river – perfect for unwinding after hectic conference days. Also helped by the fact that Mary Beth and I had a spectacular day before the conference began at Universal visiting Harry Potter. It was truly magical.

Roz @ ALA Midwinter 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 10:02 am

The very first ALA Midwinter conference I ever attended was in Boston in 2005 when I was just looking for opportunities to become more involved in the association more deeply. Fast forward 11 years and I am now chair of an ACRL section and a nominee for ALA Council. What a difference a decade makes.

Before my conference began I was able to play a bit of the tourist (my favorite role in any city) and went with Mary Beth to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. My main interest was to see if my husband Patrick had indeed made it into their museum video – a film project he worked on over a year ago. And not only was he in the video he’s in the brochure!! So that was fun and actually educational. The museum has one of the only two tea boxes that were thrown overboard that have survived to the modern day.

On Friday afternoon my conference began with a meeting of the ACRL Leadership Council. ACRL is revising it’s Plan for Excellence that is approaching 5 years old. The major change that may be coming is the addition of a fourth goal area that may be concerned with the changing profile of staff that work in academic libraries. The association is interested in being useful to those with an MLS and the many people who work in academic libraries that do not have the MLS. I am sure more discussion will be happening on this before the ALA Annual meeting.

On Saturday I met with my section, the Law and Political Science section for our executive and general membership meetings. Lots of section-y stuff was discussed but the biggest news is that we are going to propose a name change for the section to better reflect our membership. We simply don’t have many if any law librarians in the section any more but have many public policy and international relations librarians. The final new name will be chosen this spring and will be sent to ACRL at the annual meeting for approval.

The rest of my conference was divided between the vendor floor and a few sessions. On the vendor front some great new things are coming. Alexander Street Press has a new Food Studies Online product that looks fascinating and relevant to many faculty on campus. I got a demo of LibCal from our friends at Springshare as we are looking for a more manageable way to schedule personal research sessions. The product was impressive and could solve that problem while also providing us alternatives for other scheduling things such as study room reservations, etc. I will schedule a demo for ZSR this spring. Perhaps the most interesting new product announcement came from the American Psychological Association and will be called APA Style Central. It will be a product that institutions can subscribe to that will give a range of tutorials, quizzes, and learning objects centered around APA Style. In addition it will allow students and faculty to store their source citations in the product and do collaborative writing utilizing the full APA style requirements. Will be fascinating to see in action and I am really curious about the pricing.

Among the sessions I found Cory Booker’s talk particularly energizing. LITA’s Top Tech Trends introduced me to the scheduling bot called Amy that now has me fascinated. The services to international students discussion group showed me that all libraries are trying to figure out where they can be of use to these students. Some schools have progressed further than others so there were some great ideas circulating the room. The ACRL update on the Value of Academic Libraries session was not what I expected but was a report from three libraries about programs they have in place targeting diversity. Of their examples a couple stood out – one was a project where the librarians worked to help in workshops that provided faculty with the tools they need to make their syllabi ‘transparent’ and to reduce the use of jargon and coded language that often frustrates first generation and international students who ‘don’t speak college.’ Another was a library that provided a whole range of workshops for their student workers on things from financial literacy, time management and career goals (not always taught by librarians, but facilitated by them) in an effort to help them develop as students and emerging professionals.

All in all it was a great conference and provided much food for thought!

Roz at SAGE/CQ Press Advisory Board

Friday, July 17, 2015 2:01 pm

As some of you may know, I serve on the Reference Library Advisory Board for SAGE/CQ Press. This board meets virtually two or three times a year and for dinner at ALA Midwinter and Annual to provide feedback to SAGE and CQ Press about ideas in development for new products, interface upgrades and even to provide the library perspective on issues in the publishing world. SAGE has a variety of boards (Reference, Collection Development, Aquisitions, etc.), all run by our old ZSR friend Elisabeth Leonard who is now Director for Market Research for SAGE/CQ Press. Each year she brings members from across the various library boards to their headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA for a meeting/brainstorming session. This was my second time to be invited and just like last year, I feel I may have gotten as much from the discussion as SAGE did (and the spectacularly beautiful SoCal weather did not stink).

This year there were five of us from the various boards in attendance and one other joined virtually during the Monday meeting. Two were collection management folks, one was head of a consortium, another soon to be head of resource services at an ARL and myself – the lone public services person. This time our conversations ranged from the state of ebook thinking in libraries, to upcoming improvements to the Sage Knowledge platform, to communication and outreach strategies to faculty and we ended with a discussion of the place video has in our collection development and teaching/research environments on our campuses. I always learn so much about how other places are doing things and thoroughly enjoy the chance to talk libraries with other people as passionate about them as I am. Sitting in a room with people from the publisher side of things also is a really wonderful experience. We will not always agree on everything with publishers but in many ways we are on the same side. SAGE is always really ready to hear what we have to say and eager to discuss tricky issues with us. We covered issues of cost, Carnegie classification and pricing models, streaming video and its future as a research source, the usefulness of publisher-specific journal search interfaces, discovery services and so much more.

This year Elisabeth asked me to stay an extra day and do a presentation for the SAGE/CQ Press staff about librarians and how/where we factor in to the research and selection process in libraries. I discussed the research process as students view it, how our research assistance differs with faculty and students, the factors that we weigh when deciding to purchase something and what libraries want from content providers. It was a fun presentation to put together and the group that attended had really great questions. I have uploaded the presentation on slideshare for anyone who is curious.

Roz @ ALA San Fran

Monday, July 6, 2015 3:56 pm

As has been my trend over the last few ALA conferences, most of my work was done in the Law and Political Science Section of ACRL. I am the incoming chair of the section (as of July 1) so there was lots to do. On Friday I attended the ACRL Leadership Council meeting where we get updates on what is happening at ACRL and provide input on various initiatives. This time we were asked to comment on what ACRL should be doing to continue/revise/refresh their strategic plan, the ACRL Plan for Excellence. It is entering it’s fifth year and now is the time to look at it and see what needs to be modified for the next five years. It was an interesting discussion.

Then on Saturday we had our LPSS Executive Committee meeting followed by our general membership meeting. Then in the afternoon we had our program that we put on jointly with the Anthropology and Sociology Section and the ASCLA Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained interest group. It was a great panel – Libraries Behind Bars: Education and Outreach to Prisoners.

I followed up that panel with a trip to the exhibits which were, for the first time in my memory, split across two exhibit halls in adjoining buildings. I visited some furniture vendors including Agati who had the coolest new individual study pods ever (we want some to try out in ZSR), Swank who has a new academic package of films and a new model for access to them (feature films, not documentaries), our microfilm machine vendor to hear what’s new with the new models and software, and some of the usual suspects of publishers.

Sunday morning was the Alexander Street Press breakfast and the guest speaker was Cynthia Sandberg who owns Love Apple Farms and is the farmer from The Farmer and The Chef documentary. She spoke about Biodynamic farming - a system of farming that is more rigorous than organic and takes into account the entire ecosystem. It was not a term I was familiar with but resonates with much of what one of my heroes, Joel Saladin, does at Polyface Farm in Virginia.

I wrapped up my ALA by going to a Proquest focus group about SIPX – a company that ProQuest recently bought. ProQuest is trying to figure out how they might integrate the services SIPX offers into their discovery services. SIPX is in some ways a course pack builder program that faculty can use to build reading lists, etc. It has some potential and Mary Beth (who came to the focus group with me) and I will keep our eyes on it for how ProQuest incorporates it in the future.

It was, quite frankly, a bit hard to concentrate in San Francisco with the SCOTUS decision and the Pride Parade all happening while we were there – but all in all it was good conference in a beautiful city!! I suspect we will be thinking back fondly on the SF weather next June when we are stuck in Orlando’s heat and humidity.

Roz @ ACRL 2015 in Portland

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 10:53 am

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

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

  • Listening to users
  • Going beyond the library

Listening to Our Users

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

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

Then schools can add additional optional modules – up to three

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

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

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

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

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

How Students Really Search (Contributed paper)

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

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

 

How Do Students Use Video in Higher Education

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

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

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

Going Beyond the Library

Bill Badke Talk

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

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

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

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

 

Roz @ ALAMW

Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:58 am

Well, as I sit here and watch Winter Storm Linus blow snow sideways up the river, I will take some time to post my notes about my ALA Midwinter.

My MW started on Friday afternoon at the ACRL Leadership Council Meeting. I am the current Vice-Chair/Chair Elect of the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of ACRL. We start off each conference with a Leadership Council meeting for all ACRL leaders where we get updates, provide feedback and hear about upcoming initiatives. This year we heard updates from the three ad-hoc committees formed with the ACRL Strategic Plan: Research and Scholarly Environment, Student Learning and Information Literacy and Value of Academic Libraries. The big news is, of course, the proposed new Framework for Information Literacy (more on that later) but it was also interesting to hear that the Value of Academic Libraries committee is working on materials to help schools going through accreditation meet the requirements – templates, examples, etc. Too late for our SACS reaffirmation, perhaps, but will be useful to other schools.

Friday night I had dinner with SAGE and other members of their Library Advisory Boards. I am on an advisory board with SAGE and it’s always nice to visit with other members of the board in person and not just virtually. Dinner was at The Tortoise Club, a lovely, lively restaurant founded by one of the people who oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal. Dinner conversation focused on the future of reference publishing in the Social Sciences and how the old model of multi-volume sets only updated once a decade may need to be rethought. Interesting to hear how others from different kinds of institutions all seem to agree on that while disagreeing on what the new model needs to be. I would not want to be a publisher trying to figure out the new model and ways to continue to make money in this environment but SAGE always asks the right questions so if anyone can figure it out – it just may be them.

Then Saturday morning we had our LPSS Executive Committee meeting and our general membership meetings. I won’t bore you with the details, but our program for ALA Annual in San Francisco will be a panel presentation about libraries serving prison populations. We are partnering with the Anthropology and Social Sciences Section and the Libraries in Prisons interest group on this and it sounds like it will be really amazing.

Saturday afternoon I made the rounds of the vendor floor where I had to speak to a couple of vendors about specific products. Along the way I stopped by the Agati booth to see their amazing furniture and Mission Bell Media booth to visit with Rolfe Janke (formerly with SAGE) and Steven Bell. I am writing a chapter in their new book (edited by Steven, published by Rolfe) on library leadership. Also chatted with our reps from De Gruyters, Proquest, ABC-Clio and other vendors. No big news from any of them but good to check in.

I then made my way back (as the skies started to darken) to my hotel to attend the ACRL Board of Directors meeting where they were considering the final draft of the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. There was about 45 minutes of questions from the Board and then there was an open mic period where others could comment. For those who don’t know – the proposed framework is built around the idea of threshold concepts and would ultimately replace the current Standards for Information Literacy. The sunsetting period for the standards that the task force proposed is 18 months. There is A LOT of controversy about the framework with opinions ranging from ‘FINALLY we are getting it right’ to ‘It’s good but we have to have standards, too’ to ‘Throw out the framework – let’s just revise the standards.’ So the questioning was lively and the comments interesting. If you want to see some of the activity – check out the twitter hashtag conversation.

I have mixed feelings about the new framework – the threshold concepts are very much what we try to cover in LIB100 and LIB200 classes so they make sense to us. We never did more than use the standards as guidelines when developing our for-credit classes, but there are institutions out there that worked tirelessly to get the standards into graduation requirements or GenEd requirements at their institutions and I understand why they are really, really concerned about the idea of sunsetting the standards. The Framework works really well in talking to faculty about curricula and pedagogy but doesn’t work very well to roll up higher into your institutional goals or accreditation process. The final vote on the standards will be at the final ACRL board meeting Monday (tomorrow) and I get the feeling that they will not be given a free pass – I suspect some group will be tasked with revising the standards so they more closely align with the framework and the two will coexist. But don’t quote me on that.

And with that Winter Storm Linus has arrived and Mary Beth and I are pretty much stuck in our hotel today. We will check out afternoon sessions that are being held here but are doubtful that many, if any, will actually happen. We are staying warm and will be home at some point this week, but are not very confident that it will be tomorrow :)

Roz at SAGE Advisory Board Meeting

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:51 pm

As some of you know, I serve on a Library Advisory Board for SAGE/CQ Press. These boards were begun several years ago by former ZSR librarian Elisabeth Leonard when she became the market researcher at SAGE. SAGE/CQ press, for those who don’t know, is a publisher of textbooks, academic monographs, journals and online products. They focus on the Social Sciences primarily, but do have some products in primary sources, humanities and hard sciences. The board I serve on is for Reference works including their online products. Each year they bring members of their various boards out to their US headquarters in Thousand Oaks, CA for a meeting and this year I was invited to attend. This meeting allows them to get feedback on a variety of things and present ideas to librarians to get their feedback. Some of what we discussed is confidential and involves new products they are considering, but I thought I’d share a few of the things that might be of interest.

We had a wide-ranging discussion about ebooks – how are libraries buying them, what are we taking into account when doing so, what pricing models are we seeing, etc. As we are well aware, most publishers are wrestling with the ins and outs of ebooks and libraries and the discussion helped them see what libraries are doing. What was fascinating to me was the range of ebook experiences among the various libraries represented by the board members. We had an Ivy League, a massive R1 ARL, a branch campus of a massive R1, a smaller state school, a comprehensive state institution, a large intra-state library consortium and WFU. Among us there were a huge range of ebook practices and experiences from ‘we buy it all on any platform’ to ‘we are just now starting to consider it’ and ‘our default in GOBI is set to ebook and we only buy print if specifically asked’ to ‘we still buy everything in print and sometimes as an ebook, too’. Clearly there are as many approaches to ebooks as there are institutions out there and the problems the create and the problems they solve are numerous.

Another interesting discussion was about discovery services and how publishers can make their materials more discoverable. This led to a lively discussion about whether the issues of discovery lie with the publishers, the metadata, the discovery service providers or the type of content needed. It’s probably a bit of all of those, to be honest, but again it was so interesting to hear how other libraries approach their discovery services. We discussed how the document type (i.e. encyclopedia article or CQ Researcher report) would be lovely to have appear at the top of a search so students get to those good context sources before scholarly journals perhaps, but the reality of making that happen is far more complicated.

Other discussions related to new products (some of them are VERY interesting), products in the pipeline and products just being kicked around as ideas. We also talked about the larger SAGE/CQ Press areas of emphasis, pricing models and communication strategies. I love hearing about these things and do hope some that were discussed come to fruition without being a bazillion dollars :) All in all it was a great trip. I don’t love southern California but the weather was lovely, the hotel was great, dinner on the beach in Malibu did not stink and the company both from SAGE and the other librarians was really wonderful – so more pluses than minuses I guess.

 

Roz @ ALA

Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:52 am

My ALA started on Friday afternoon with an ACRL Leadership meeting. As the incoming Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of ACRL I was invited to attend. It turned out to be a two-hour fundraising pitch to get money for an additional 75 scholarships for the 2015 ACRL Biennial Conference in Portland, Oregon. I have a lot of opinions about how they are going about doing this but I’ll save you my commentary. The benefit of the session to me was a chance to get to know my incoming Chair as well as the Chair/Vice-Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) much better. ACRL has made it very difficult for proposals to be accepted for Annual conferences unless you collaborate with other sections, so LPSS and ANSS are busy planning ideas for a co-sponsored program for ALA 2015 in San Francisco.

My Saturday was mostly taken up with committee and membership meetings for LPSS. Our invited speaker was Pat Mulroy formerly of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. She talked about water politics in the lower Colorado River Basin and was FASCINATING. A few interesting facts from her talk:

  • In Southern Nevada water is measured in ‘acre feet’ – that is an acre of land, one foot deep in water.
  • Las Vegas recycles 93% of the water it uses
  • The Strip, often vilified as an unnecessary drain on water, only uses 3% of the water – most of the rest comes from residential use, primarily people watering lawns.
  • Golf courses in Las Vegas are all watered with ‘grey water’
  • When the drought started (it’s now in its 14th year) they began paying people to take the grass out of their yards and replace it with desert landscape – within 6 years they had reduced water consumption by over 30%

On Sunday I presented on a panel put on by the Discovery Services Committee of the Reference Services Section (RSS) of ALA. Four speakers all presented on one aspect of Discovery Services (we have Summon) that we found interesting and then we divided up and spent time in smaller discussion groups. One presenter talked about a side by side comparison they did of discovery services, another spoke about a survey or librarians attitudes toward discovery and the third presented on a communication strategy implemented to keep library staff up to speed on their discover service. I presented on the new way I framed teaching Google and Summon for my LIB210 class and how I think deeper dives into the data Summon provides us can help us in instruction and in site design. I think I found a collaborator or two who may want to research and write about this. I was gratified that many people told me that they did not even know that you could see a list of all the searches done in Summon – so at least they learned that if nothing else. Also learned that Summon is the only discovery service that provides that kind of data (good on you, Proquest).

As usual I spent a good deal of time with vendors during this trip – meeting one-on-one with folks from SAGE/CQ Press (I’m on an advisory board for them) and with folks from ProQuest. Stopped by a few other booths to get some questions answered and discovered the existence (thanks Molly) of The Harry Potter Alliance. Bought a Granger-Lovegood 2016 t-shirt and am already scheming about how we can encourage WFU students to start a chapter here!!

ALA in Vegas was one we all will remember for a while but I suspect none of us want to repeat any time soon. I walked over 30 miles in my four days there (thank you, FitBit for keeping tabs on that) and probably drank 10 gallons of water. The city wears you out physically and mentally while at the same time having an energy that exists nowhere else I have ever been. There is no such thing as subtlety or understatement in Vegas and after about three days I start to crave a place with less sensory overload, so coming home was very welcome.

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.

Roz at ALA

Saturday, June 29, 2013 10:22 pm

My ALA started on Friday with an all-day ProQuest User Group meeting. This was the first time ProQuest had done one of these and it was really, really useful. Their goal was to hear from librarians about a variety of issues and to update us on what is coming with ProQuest products. I spent the first breakout period in a session about eBooks. Leslie Lee, the new product developer (among many other things) for the Ebrary/EBL product led the session. He asked really good questions of the group about the level of comfort with ebooks from our various constituencies, how we budget for ebooks, what our thoughts were about different pricing models (like platform fees vs. higher per-title prices), and what the one thing we would want from a new platform. The discussion was wide ranging and covered things like how we need to rethink departmental-specific budgets, the need for better ways to get books on mobile devices, and the rich data ebooks can give us about our users and their habits. The second and third sessions I went to were both about Summon. The first one was about the new features upcoming in the next big iteration of Summon. These features are really exciting and include bringing background/reference content to the user in a separate panel on the results page, morecustomizability, spotlighting content by format (think Google Images, News, etc), automated query expansion (if you search ‘heart attack’ it will also search ‘myocardial infarction’ as well) and some others. I can’t wait to see the new features in action. We will get access to a test site in mid July and then will go live at some point before January 31st 2014. Then we broke out into discussion tables. I joined a table that looked at the way libraries are managing Summon after the implementation is over. It was clear that we had more questions than answers. Who is ultimately responsible for keeping up with changes/features in Summon? A single person – a team – an advisory group?? how are decisions made about how to configure new features, etc. Vote? Benign dictatorship? It dawned on me that we probably need to give more deliberate attention to Summon to be sure it is as good as we can make it for our users. I’ll get a group together later in the summer to discuss all these new features and how we want to handle them.

All in all it was a very useful meeting. ProQuest very intentionally did a lot of listening and not any selling of their products. They really wanted to hear what we like, don’t like and what we feel is missing the landscapes of products they provide.

My Saturday was filled mostly with committee meetings for the Law and Political Science Section. I am the outgoing chair of the Marta Lange awards committee (our luncheon is tomorrow) and a member of the 2014 Program Planning Committee for the Las Vegas conference. We decided that our program in Las Vegas will be about water issues in the Southwest. Should be really good. I hit the exhibits – found out that the NY Times now has site licenses for libraries and got a good look at the new Statistical Datasets product. Will go back tomorrow for more vendor floor schmoozing.


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