Professional Development

Author Archive

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.

Capstones, Helicopters and Vendors!

Saturday, April 13, 2013 8:53 am

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:23 pm

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

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

 

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

 

 

Breakfast with Steven Bell – Roz at ALA MW

Saturday, January 26, 2013 1:17 pm

Susan, Mary Beth, Kyle, Molly and I started our day at a breakfast sponsored by ProQuest where Steven Bell, (current ACRL President among many, many other things) was the keynote. The title of his talk was “Unbundled and Rebooted: Library Leadership for Disrupted Higher Education” and it was very good. I will summarize here as best I can (while it is still fresh in my cold-muddled mind) so that others who blog later can add the parts that most resonated with them!

He started by showing a video clip from a series of articles done by the NY Times on Graduating into Debt. In the clip, students who had graduated were commenting on how their college degrees were not worth the price they paid for them. He then went on to say that recently, and for the first time, Moody’s gave Higher Education a negative rating. Students and parents are beginning to question the cost, value and necessity of traditional higher ed. Convenience, career potential and cost are now high on the consideration list as students evaluate what to do after high school.

The traditional model of academia has been very linear and stable from beginning to graduation. 4-5 years. But students these days are not seeing their educational path in this way. They may start in a Community College then move to traditional OR they may start traditional and then perhaps ‘reversetransfer” back to community college for cost reasons or because CC degrees can be more practical in terms of finding a job. They may stop and work for a while or go part-time – they may add in a MOOC for remedial content or to gain new knowledge that their school doesn’t have or that they can’t afford to take. An interesting analogy he used was the ‘unbundling’ of courses from the institution in the way the music industry has had to unbundle songs from the album. Why shouldn’t students be able to get the content they want in the bits they want it?

The question for libraries then becomes how and where do we reach these students in all these varying iterations of what being a ‘student’ now means?? He gave some interesting examples of how we can reconsider our traditional models of librarianship and library services in order to begin to think about the new ways that will be necessary to reach our students. I won’t comment in depth on all of these as I’m sure others who were there will have more to say about them.

Design Thinking – a la IDEO Deep Dive video – start with REALLY REALLY understanding what the problem is – then think of as many ways as you can to solve it.

Be a Gate Opener – instead of our traditional roles of gate keeper – think about how libraries can continue to open gates to information for our students wherever they are.

Non-Commissioned Worker – Dan Pink notes that artists do better work when they work on noncommissioned work projects – so try to find time for your employees to do this kind of work.

Salesperson – don’t be ashamed to tell people what we do and WHY we do it. People who don’t understand why you do something are not as loyal or interested in your products.

Functionally Free Thinking – (which grammatically might also say Functionality Free Thinking) – but stop trying to look just at our own fields – look outside librarianship for ideas that work and think about how they could apply to your library. Look for new uses for old thinsg.Read literature from your outside interests or your subject disciplines.

Value Driven – define what the value is that we deliver to our students and to our institutions

Grassroots leaders – work from the ground up to affect change.

Start with ‘Why’ – Showed a clip of Simon Sinek’s very popular Ted Talk on how starting with the ‘Why you do what you do’ question is the common characteristic of great movements, thoughts and even companies. Sinek makes the point that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Lead the Change – find out what is not being done on your campus – where there is a need, and figure out how to do that. He gave the example of how Temple University (his institution) provided small grants to faculty to stop using traditional textbooks and create free/open ones. They started with the why of saving students money and got great buy in and products from faculty. (MB, Susan and I are already scheming about doing this at WFU – don’t worry). He also discussed an easy project they did by giving all their employees small notebooks to record thought, ideas, every time they tell someone no, frustrations they encounter, etc. and used those to spark some new services, etc. for patrons (MB and I are all over this one, too).

Bell ended the conversation by giving an acronymn that can help libraries think about leading that change:

TWEEP
T – Trust (we need for our students and our institutions to trust us)
W – Why (why do we do what we do)
E – Emotional Connection (connecting that why to our patrons with sticky messages)
E – Empower Staff (to think outside the box, to not fear failure)
P – Persist (sometimes todays idea is the answer to tomorrows problem so keep the ideas coming and don’t get discouraged).

There is a reason Steven Bell is a thought leader in libraries – he’s compelling, pragmatic and exceptionally well versed in the conversations going on around higher ed, broader cultural shifts and libraries as well. He does not expect radical immediate change. He encourages libraries to start small and keep working to find answers to our questions. Much food for thought from a rainy, dreary Seattle this morning!

Roz at ALA

Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:35 am

So I am not as enamored with Southern California as many people, but all in all the trip to Anaheim was worth it. We started out at a lovely dinner with our former colleague Elisabeth Leonard on Friday night. Elisabeth is now a market research analyst with Sage Publications and she had assembled a lovely group of librarians and Sage folks for a great dinner discussion.

A good portion of my time was spent in committee meetings for the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of ACRL. I am on the Instruction Committee and the Marta Lange/Sage-CQ Press Awards Committee. The Instruction Committee met to begin discussion our upcoming revision to the Political Science Research Compentency Guidelines. Our plans include updating them to include a more global perspective over the next year. We also began discussing some other issues affecting the committee that will stem from a revision to the LPSS Strategic Plan. The Marta Lange committee votes on an award recipient each year (nominated by LPSS members) who has made significant contributions to law or political science librarianship. I attended the luncheon for this years recipient. I will be chairing the committee next year so I paid close attention to all that happened. It was a lovely event with a great group of people. If anyone is interested in getting more involved in ACRL or ALA I’d suggest going with one of the subject specific groups. I have found LPSS easy to get involved with and really delightful group of people to get to know.

My presentation was well attended and well received. I was one of four presenters on a panel sponsored by The Library Instruction Round Table (LIRt) entitled: “Critical Thinking and Library Instruction: Fantasyland or Adventureland.” Two of the panelists were more theoretical, two of us gave more concrete examples of ways we have included critical thinking in actual classes with students. I discussed an exercise I first developed with Dr. Steve Giles in our Communication Department on ‘Junk Science.’ I have since revised and repurposed it for many different contexts. I have my very minimal presentation up here but am happy to discuss it more with anyone who is interested.

Lynn has already reported on our lovely afternoon at the home of Rob Holland and his wife discussing library issues with WFU Alumni. It was really lovely and I felt honored to be a part of it. Rob was a student in the late 1990s and early 2000s and he was an amazing resource for the ITC at that point on digital video. It was not surprise to me that he has done so well for himself but it was great to catch up with him.

I didn’t have much time to get to presentations, but the ACRL President’s Program was outstanding. The speaker was Duane Bray, Head of Global Digital Business and Partner at IDEO and his topic was the Future of the Book which referenced their very provocative video on the subject. The projects IDEO is involved in are fascinating but they essentially present companies the customer perspective and information about customer behavior so they can make their products and services more customer centered. He discussed projects that involved videotaping an emergency room visit from the perspective of the patient, and going to look at NASCAR pit crews to see how they worked together so they could take suggestions back to hospital surgery personnel. One of his points was that maybe your problem has been solved somewhere else – NASCAR pit crews had kits for the five things most likely to go wrong with a car – a suggestion that the surgeons immediately saw as useful – there are things most likely to go wrong in surgeries and having pre-prepared kits for dealing with them could save time and lives. He also discussed the intersection of place and narrative – stories that change if you are in a particular place. Our mobile devices can now detect location so if you are reading a mystery about Chicago and you are in Chicago, maybe new information will be revealed to you if you pass by a location from the story. There were so many more interesting ideas in the talk that I can’t cover them all (Hu will discuss some others) but come chat if you want to hear more!!

Not surprisingly I made several booth visits in the exhibit hall and found out about new databases from the UN and WorldBank, the new LibChat product from Springshare, got some questions answered by the Summon folks and drooled over some seriously cool library furniture.

Roz at DLS – a Theme Emerges

Friday, April 20, 2012 12:48 pm

I am in Memphis this week attending the 15th Annual Distance Library Services Conference sponsored by Central Michigan University Libraries. This biennial conference (held on the alternate years from ACRL), has been around since the 1980s – which tells you how long libraries have been talking about supporting distance users. The focus of this group has broadened from supporting remote users at satellite campuses (which MANY here still do) to also supporting online students who may never have any contact with a building or campus at all. But a theme I’m hearing this year (and you know I love themes) is that it is no longer easy, possible or desirable to differentiate between ‘distance’ and ‘on-campus’ students. If they are using the web to interact with you, they are all distant students/faculty/staff at least some of the time. In other words, even your students and faculty that spend the most time in your library building, checking out your print materials and working one on one in person with reference librarians, are also accessing your materials and services online. So libraries need to intentional in how we craft ALL of our content, our services, our support online to be sure it can support any student or faculty, not just those that are totally online.

This is actually comforting to me in many ways, because it means we don’t have to reinvent what we do just to serve this new (to WFU) population of fully online students. We need to be thinking about all of our services, support and content that we provide via our Internet presence(s) to be sure it works for ALL of our community members. The goal should be to have self-service help information AND clear ways to get in touch with us virtually or in-person. We can and should have multiple ways to interact with our services and content that suits multiple access methods and preferences. So it is with that framework that I’ll discuss a few of the sessions/topics I found enlightening.

I attended two sessions that discussed Discovery Services (one was Ebsco Discovery, the other Summon). Both sessions were looking at being sure you get your investments worth out of these useful, but expensive services. The first looked at integrating instruction on the services into virtual reference sessions via pre-recorded screencasts of common issues. The other, more interesting one (to me) was a user survey of distance students to see if and how they used a discovery service. They found that 42% of their respondents started their research with Google or Google Scholar, 26% started with library databases (this group primarly came from those who got their library instruction before Summon was available) and 22% started with Summon. But they also found that 81% said they used other sources besides the place they started. When asked to rank as useful or essential, students ranked Google results as useful, but Summon results as essential. 61% said that Summon improved their ability to research effectively. The take-away here I think is that if discovery services are here to stay (and I think they are at least for a while), then we need to do our best to provide self-service and on the spot assistance in using them efficiently and effectively so they are useful to our students and might stand a chance of becoming the starting point for them the next time they begin a research project. This goes for online AND on-campus students equally.

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was one on creating a sense of library as place for online users from folks at Bucks Community College. They went with Boopsie, a company that creates branded mobile apps for libraries. They have a lovely app (called Bucks Mobile) that is a nice one-stop place for doing many of the things a mobile user might want. But after their presentation, the discussion came around to the pros and cons of going with an app or with a mobile web site. With an app, you have to rely on people to download the app. With a mobile web site they can use their browser, BUT you have to have web design expertise if you are going to design a mobile site that can provide users with as many options as an app can. There are times and places that either option would be the right choice, but what came out in the discussion that it is critical to have a mobile presence of some sort if we are really going to meet our users where they are with the devices they have with them. This, again, is true no matter if you students are fully online, or fully on-campus. The mobile device is their constant companion.

Finally, one particularly interesting session was about using a knowledge base as a way to support your users when you aren’t available. The presentation was short because the presenters realized they had more questions than answers about the topic, so there was a really great discussion period. There was A LOT of love in the room for LibAnswers, a product we are looking at, and a general recognition that no matter what product you choose, you have to commit to keep it up to date but that we may worry a bit too much about perfection in a knowledge base, when our students are used to knowledge bases (like Microsoft, Apple, etc.) where perfection isn’t the standard. One BIG benefit of having a knowledge base is that it does allow for self-service help for patrons (if yours is publicly searchable) any time of the day or night. The LibAnswers product also allows for a public questions, so you can benefit from the immense knowledge of other librarians. Do we all need to create our own MLA or APA questions and answers on our sites? Probably not but together we can probably create a really strong Q&A set for all of our students.

Of course, at any conference, some of the best discussions come between the sessions when you get to meet people and hear about what they are doing. What is comforting to hear is that we are not all that far behind in our thinking about supporting online students, because we give such good attention to supporting our on-campus students. Still, there will a lot for our new eLearning Librarian to consider and help us plan!! Now on to Graceland!!

A Few Last Notes (and a bit of a theme): Roz at ALA MW

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:51 am

So as I was pondering a theme for my ALA Midwinter, the best I could come up with was ‘skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.’ Many of my sessions, from Info Commons, to supporting distance learners, to planning building space to the vendor floor had me thinking about looking for what we want our students to be doing in our libraries and with our materials in five years and planning for that. The problem is that there is a good deal of uncertainty about what exactly we will be in five years. A new provost, capital campaign success, changing student demographics (and locations) all play into the calculations. So perhaps the best we can do is keep thinking about things and be vigilant in hearing our students out about what they want.

A couple of notes from the vendor floor. By far the sexiest thing I saw was a new (like not even available until April) machine for checking out iPads. Called MediaSurfer, it not only charges iPads between use, but it reloads them, too. Connects with your ILS for check-outs, too. Wickedly cool and sexy, also wickedly expensive ($25,000 for a 16-unit station AND you provide the iPads yourself). But still, something to keep an eye on as it does take a time-consuming task (charging and reloading iPads) and remove staff time. I worry that it is so very tied to a particular product, but I suspect the company will figure out how to do ereaders eventually.

I also stopped by the ProQuest booth twice. Once for an update on a really cool new feature of Summon that is coming – the ability to create (using a simple web form) custom searches based on discipline. These can then be embedded in LibGuides, web sites, etc. A really nice new feature that should be emerging in the next month. Come see me if you want more details. Then I stopped back by to play around with ProQuest’s new Vogue Digital Archive. A digital version of Vogue that indexes down to the image contents – so if you want to see a picture of all dresses in Vogue in 1945 you can regardless of where they appeared in the magazine – cover, ad or story. It too, is wickedly cool and wickedly expensive (maybe that should have been my theme) but there is a lower subscription fee that might be worth looking into.

Finally I had a long conversation and demo of LibAnswers and LibAnalytics from our friends at Springshare, who bring us LibGuides. I am beginning to think we need this kind of robust repository for Reference transactions as we begin to plan for online students and expanded online support we will need to provide for them. Just like LibGuides, it is an easy to use interface (provides TXT and soon Chat reference features, too) and exceptionally reasonably priced (see – that would blow the wickedly expensive theme). I will be talking to the RIS team about its potential in the coming months, but it would also be useful for Circulation and Special Collections for tracking patron interactions, etc.

All in all it was a good conference, but Dallas has a LONG way to go before people begin to look forward to going back there for a conference. The best that can be said is that January weather in Dallas does not stink. Oh, and if you want to hear about the coolest museum exhibition ever, come talk to Giz, Mary S. or I about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. Beyond spectacular!!


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