Professional Development

In the 'ACRL-ANSS' Category...

Carolyn’s Sunday and Monday at ALA

Friday, July 17, 2009 7:12 am

Sunday at ALA was a busy day for me. It started off with me attending a program sponsored by the Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of ACRL titled “Chicago’s Ethnic Mosaic: Cultural Identity and Neighborhood Change”. Although I only stayed two of the four hours program, I heard and learned much on the history of European immigration and in-migration of African Americans and Mexican Americans to Chicago as well as the history of Chicago’s public housing.

Next, I went to the exhibits to attend Lauren Pressley’s book signing and to visit vendors’ booths to pick up any interesting free stuff. I stopped by the Library of Congress’ booth and picked up several informational booklets on MARC and FRBR records. Afterwards, I went to Au Bon Pain in the conference center to purchase something for lunch ($6 for a small bag of chips and a bottled water–outrageous) and spotted an escorted Judy Blume trying to make a decision about lunch. I loved her books as a young girl.

The afternoon session I attended was called “New Selectors and Selecting in New Subjects: Meeting the Challenges”. Linda Phillips, Head of Scholarly Communication at the University of Tennessee, began the panel session by likening selectors to entrepreneurs. We need to be client-centered in providing content and services to faculty and students. She said selectors must:

  • approach collection development in a digital library framework
  • take an active role in creating scholarly publications
  • assert professional principles for free and unbiased access to knowledge
  • understand and fully exploit the potential of the local and the immediate

She went on to say libraries need to complete the migration from print to electronic collections. Her library embarked on a reorganization where the emphasis is on liaisons and their academic departments, the expansion of unique local digital publications, and adding freely accessible web content to collection (e.g. Directory of Open Access Journals and OAIster). Her advice for new selectors is:

  • learn the library’s explicit and implied collection policies and practices
  • talk with colleagues
  • know the library’s budget and expectations; understand recordkeeping and encumbrances/expenditures for accountability
  • learn library’s strategy for managing cost increases
  • get to know clietele (i.e. faculty) and their search preferences; build trust; collaborate with faculty–this is the key to enhancing research and instruction on campus
  • get acquainted with vendor materials
  • be knowledgeable in intellectual property issues, creative commons, SPARC, NIH open access–this will increase your credibility with scholars
  • learn about your faculty’s discipline–how are they involving students
  • participate in at least two disciplinary related programs each semester
  • encourage researchers to consider open access publishing

Supervisors should lead discussions about research practices and discipline culture and encourage liaisons to include these things in yearly goals.

TRACE (Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange) is the University of Tennessee’s digital repository.

Arro Smith of the San Marcos Public Library spoke on and showed attendees resources on the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) web site for new selectors. By clicking on “Conferences & Events” which appears on the lefthand side of the web page, one can discover webinars, workshops and web courses available. The Collection and Management and Development Section (CMDS) of ALCTS has recently started publishing a new series of monographs called the Sudden Selectors Guide and they are available through the ALA Store. These monographs are designed to address niche topics. Business resources is the only guide so far to be published. Mr. Smith said forthcoming discipline guides to be published include biology, English, art, chemistry and GLBITQ.

Next on the panel to speak was Jeff Kosokoff of Tufts University. He feels libraries shouldn’t take possession of things not needed. We should think about information in terms of having access not about having it sitting on shelves or owning it. Information, as a service, becomes ever more dominant from a user perspective and needs to be delivered in a way people would use it, otherwise it won’t be used.

My last session of the day was attending the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group. At our meeting there was an Alexander Street Press representative who reported that the vendor is looking to develop a streaming video database of anthropology films that would be transcribed and text searchable. He was seeking input on what types of films should be included in the proposed database. One person suggested to the rep. that the product should be marketed to anthropology and area studies. Serials cancellations was another topic on the agenda. Several attendees said they were having to make decisions about cutting dual formats of journals and expressed concerns over how some electronic anthropological journals sometimes don’t contain illustrations that accompany the print format. From this discussion, I felt that Wake is ahead of the curve in eliminating dual formats of anthropological journal titles. I really enjoyed going to this session and talking with other anthropology librarians. I believe I was the only cataloger in the room.

On Monday, I attended “Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant” which Kaeley has already summarized in her ALA Annual 2009 day 4 post. I also went to the ALCTS sponsored “President’s Program: Who owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage” in which James Cuno, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago, discussed whether museums should return ancient artifacts to their country of origin. Mr. Cuno has written and published a book with the same title as his talk. At the conclusion of his talk, it was time to make my way to O’Hare Airport to go home.

Carolyn at ALA Annual

Monday, July 7, 2008 11:05 am

This was my second ALA, and I am so glad I went. I attended several sessions on cataloging and the future of the catalog, as well as a session on information literacy standards for anthropology and sociology students.

Below are insights gained from attending sessions by and for sociology and anthropology librarians and information literacy standards for these disciplines.

Before heading out to California, Roz informed me about an ALA session in which ANSS (Anthropology and Sociology Section of ACRL) librarians were meeting to discuss the new “Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology” that had recently been published in the June 2008 issue of College & Research Libraries News. Roz, Bobbie and I are currently planning and developing the LIB210 class Social Science Research Sources and Strategies.

Key insights from this session include:
1. The standards document is a library document, not something you would pass out to faculty. Possibly start with one faculty member and together pick out key things in the document that resonates with him or her and start with incorporating those items into the department’s curriculum.
2. The learning of information literacy skills should be integrated into discipline specific classes, not separate. A comment was made that this is an easier sell to faculty if it’s integrated rather than as an add-on. Having a basic information literacy course may make some faculty feel they don’t need information literacy in other courses; there is a difference in basic skills vs. specific disciplinary skills.
3. Special guest Edward L. Kain, Professor of Sociology at Southwestern University, suggested that faculty and librarians think about strategic places in sociology assignments where information literacy goals can be incorporated.
4. Departments are looking for ways to assess what they do. Librarians will gain points with faculty by providing guidance on assessment to faculty.

After the session, I spoke with Patti Caravello, Librarian for Anthropology, Archaeology, and Sociology and Director of the Information Literacy Program at UCLA as well as one of the authors of the document, and she told me of her experiences teaching information literacy in a Sociology class alongside the professor. She commented that the professor was convinced that student papers were better written. She has published an article about her experience and feels strongly that information literacy should be integrated into discipline specific classes rather than being taught as a separate class altogether. She also invited me to come to the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group the next day, which I did, and I learned much there as well.

At the Anthropology Librarians Discussion Group, a goal of the group is to create a repository of teaching materials (e.g. syllabi, homework assignments, instructional materials) to post on the ACRL ANSS section’s website. Included material in the repository must tie into the newly created information literacy standards. Best practices for graduate students’ instruction programs were also discussed. Even though WFU no longer has a graduate program in anthropology, I believe some of the “best practices” could be applicable or tweaked to fit undergraduate classes. Some of the “best practices” include:
1. Subject specialist or liaison has office hours in department. Usage varied among librarians, but all agreed one-on-one consultation is popular.
2. Have a wine and cheese social in the library’s graduate student lounge. Make this a no-sit-down function so that people will have to mingle. Acquire a list of student names at the social.
3. Conduct workshops throughout the year in Endnote, RefWorks, and how to submit one’s dissertation.
4. There is a need for data literacy skills (i.e. How does one make sense of these data charts/graphs?).
5. Conduct a graduate student workshop at orientation. Have an introduction to the library as well as a citation workshop on academic integrity (i.e. Do students really understand plagiarism?). The citation workshop can be adapted to any discipline and can be an active learning experience; provide short 2-3 sentences scenarios of plagiarism examples.
6. Ask professors to send librarians their graduate students’ subject specialties/research topics. This will aid in collection development and predicting future topics in emerging areas of the discipline.
7. In bibliographic instruction classes, demonstrate citation management program and use students’ topics when demonstrating databases.
8. Audit or take classes in discipline; become an embedded librarian.
9. Offer scanning as a way to see what students are working on.
10. In course management software, ask professor to add your name into specific class. That way one is able to jump into discussions, offer tips on anthropology sources, but unable to view assignments submitted.

The question how does one teach students how to find scholarly articles and which databases to utilize was posed? One person’s comment was to limit to the top three best starting places for the discipline, and if this proves unsuccessful, one can drill down even further.

Both sessions were immensely informative and helpful and because of them, I plan on joining ACRL’s ANSS section. With proposed changes to WFU’s liaison program, I realize I have much to learn about the field of anthropology. I made some great contacts with Anthropology Librarians, especially Patti Caravello of UCLA who was willing to answer my questions and share her knowledge and experience of working as an Anthropology Librarian. After expressing concern to Patti about not having a degree in anthropology, she recommended some titles for further reading and stated that having a desire to further my knowledge and understanding of the discipline and its lingo will go a long way in becoming a better liaison to the Anthropology department at WFU.

Later this week, I will post reflections on the cataloging sessions I attended.


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