Professional Development

In the 'ACRL' Category...

MB’s March Conference travels (or From Abu Dhabi to Portland in 78 hours) in pictures and words

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:16 pm

Mary Scanlon, Mary Krautter (from UNCG) and I had the astute pleasure of presenting at the 21st Annual Conference and Exhibition of Special Library Association Arabian Gulf Chapter. The three of us did both a workshop on Developing an Entrepreneurial Culture in Libraries, and a presentation on Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Transforming Library Services. We were approached last July by email in what, I admit, I initially thought of just trashing because it was just so extraordinary to get an email from a representative of this conference across the world asking us to do them the honor of presenting at their conference. But after doing our due diligence, we began to prepare for this amazing opportunity. The representative who invited us, Mohamed Mubarak, was a most gracious host, and was anxious that everything be perfect for our presentation and our stay.

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

Mary Krautter, Mohamed Mubarak, Mary Beth Lock and Mary Scanlon

The workshop, held on Monday, March 16, was a pre-conference session attended by just 6 people. However, the small size allowed for a great deal of engagement and conversation. They were very interested in our presentation. All of the attendees were from special libraries, and interestingly, all of them did work related to tourism, either from post secondary schools that had programs that emphasized in tourism and hospitality, or from the government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. (We did note repeatedly that they take their hospitality very seriously in the United Arab Emirates.) While we carefully constructed our message owing to what we perceived as a more restrictive environment, we were delighted to learn that great strides had been made to increase transparency across the UAE. Their’s is a model that will go through growing pains for awhile, but there were definite signs of a relaxing of the rules to allow more entrepreneurial ideas and methodologies to take root.

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

Mary Scanlon at the Entrepreneurial Librarian workshop

The next morning, at the opening keynote, the themes of the conference became apparent as Dr. Essa AlBastaki, the President of Dubai University spoke about the need for expanding the economy beyond one that hinges entirely on the availability of oil. He mentioned the value of entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting it several times in his speech. We listened to this, (and other keynote speeches) through a simultaneous translator. This was also an interesting experience, and was again indicative of the hospitality extended to non-Arabic speakers. They were well prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary to make us feel welcome.

Our presentation was the afternoon of the first day. The session started a little late (we learned of what we termed the “elasticity of time” in the UAE) but the session was well attended and again they expressed a great deal of interest on advancing entrepreneurship in their libraries. Many people after the presentation came up to gather business cards and the questions posed in the Q&A indicated a deep understanding of the content. It was thrilling!

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial  Librarianship

Mary Beth Lock presenting on Entrepreneurial Librarianship

Other presentations I attended included one with Rick Anderson from Utah University on e-books and the challenges of PDA models for ebook acquisition, and Lisa Hinchcliffe, from the University of Illinois on assessing the impact of information literacy education. I also caught up with former colleague Vanessa Middleton, who now works in Abu Dhabi in the Petroleum Institute, and she presented on how to develop better relationships between libraries and vendors.

Mary Beth and Vanessa Middleton

 

So aside from the occasional use of a translator, the issues in libraries are much the same the world over. That, I think, is the best takeaway of all.

Interested staff members from ZSR will be able to see many more photos (including non-conference photos) at a staff development session coming soon.

After a very brief turn around time, (arriving home Saturday morning at 3am and then leaving for the airport on Tuesday morning at 9am) I went to nearly the opposite side of the globe to attend ACRL in Portland, OR. The time difference between Abu Dhabi and Portland is 11 hours, so it is very nearly the opposite side of the world and the opposite side of the clock. (I can’t tell you how important coffee is to one’s body in this situation.) I attended the Ithaka S+R session that Roz already ably blogged about. I also was in the very enlightening and, frankly, inspiring session on Wellness and how libraries can impact wellness on campus that Susan wrote about.

I went to a session with three different library perspectives on emergency planning where I picked up this gem which unites my desire for simple signage, humor, and emergency planning.

In Case of Fire, Exit Building Before Tweeting About It

 

I attended two other sessions that were all about ebooks and their influence on researchers. One, entitled “STEM Users Prefer Ebooks. . . Or Do they?” provided a qualitative and quantitative study conducted at a large academic library which challenged the assumption that ebooks are welcomed, or at least not held in disdain, by the hard Sciences and Math researchers. Their assessment was very thorough and raised a lot of questions, not the least of which is that more assessment is needed. I had a meet up with the other “Assessment in Action” project coordinators who were at various stages of completing the research leg of their 18 month long assessment. Our final presentations are due at ALA in San Francisco. That is when I will be blogging next.

It was quite the whirlwind, (21 days of travel total) but now I’m glad to be back on Eastern time and home for a while. While I wouldn’t recommend it, neither would I give up the opportunity to do it again if the opportunity presented itself!

 

 

 

 

ACRL 2015 Portland – Susan’s Report

Thursday, April 2, 2015 12:24 pm

Waterfront Park View of the Convention Center

View of the twin spires of the Oregon Convention Center
from Waterfront Park, across the Williamette River

Selecting Portland as the site for ACRL 2015 seems to have been a wise choice. There was a record attendance (registrations) of nearly 3400. I think it was a combination of Portland attracting first-time visitors (like me) and the rich programming offered (over 330 sessions). For me, Portland was a perfect conference city. It has a unique personality coupled with excellent public transportation, good food AND it is most bicycle friendly! I arrived in town in time to jump on the light rail at the airport, and jump off (suitcase in hand) at the conference center in time for the opening keynote and exhibit hall opening reception. The keynote speaker was G. Willow Wilson, creator of the Ms. Marvel comic series starring a Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan. Having been raised in a household where comic books were not allowed (a story for another day), I am not a comic book aficionado and was not familiar with her work. So I really enjoyed hearing how the series came about and how it is now so well received that the character is going to be an Avenger! She also spoke about her multicultural background and the importance of listening to the narratives of native populations that are not the ones most of us learned in school.

I attended the Thursday vendor-sponsored breakfast where Bill Badke spoke (See Roz’s report for more information). Most of his talk was a self-proclaimed rant with these three themes – 1. Too much data, not enough metadata (the Web is anarchy under the control of a cheap dog, the search engine), 2. Epistemology – Students lack understanding about where information comes from, and 3. Students are challenged to articulate their information need. His recommendation for librarians – don’t fade away, seize the day!

People often think of ACRL as more useful for those librarians involved with instruction and reference. However, I was able to find a broad range of topics so I was able to attend concurrent sessions on data sharing/stewardship, well-being, instruction collaboration between research & instruction and special collections, and weeding (our own Carol Cramer). I particularly enjoyed a presentation by our former colleague Elisabeth Leonard (Executive Market Research Manager, SAGE) about research she conducted on students and their use of videos in higher education. Her white paper provides the details of the research findings. As you might imagine, there were too many choices during each time-slot, but one nice side benefit of attending is that registrants can access the ACRL Virtual Conference content and every contributed paper, invited paper, panel session, and TechConnect presentation offered at ACRL 2015 (which were recorded) for the next year.

This year was the 75th anniversary of ACRL and this was celebrated in a number of ways. Most impressive were the scores (it seemed) of cakes that placed throughout the exhibit hall on Thursday afternoon. On a more serious note, I attended an invited panel session by the authors of the ACRL 75th anniversary publication New Roles for the Road Ahead. Stephen Bell, Lorcan Demsey and Barbara Fister each led a discussion on their particular assignments in the report (Bell -higher ed, Dempsey – technology, Fister – information literacy).

Often the closing keynote is underwhelming because people start to leave to catch flights home and sometimes this results in a waning level of energy for the speaker. I was curious if this would be the case for no other reason than the choices for getting home were to leave first thing Saturday morning or late Saturday evening on the red eye. However, ACRL offered up Lawrence Lessig as the closing speaker, so it became a no-brainer for me to book the red eye home! And that seemed to be the consensus of most of the conference attendees because the room was full. He discussed three projects that he said are really one idea – the value of equality. His current project is Corruption in America. He described what is happening in America’s elections is Tweedism (Boss Tweed was a politician who said “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”). Lessig explained how the funding bias present in the US primary selection results in a lack of democratic process. (TED Talk by Lessig). The second project he discussed was net neutrality and how recent rulings as the Internet as a utility will preserve equality. The third project was Open Access. He talked movingly about Aaron Swartz (developed RSS and Creative Commons and committed suicide at age 26 after he was prosecuted for downloading JSTOR articles and making them freely accessible). Swartz’s viewpoint on copyright was that current use of it doesn’t serve its purpose. It restricts access to knowledge elites, and the rest of the world is not included. He wanted equal access to knowledge. Withholding that knowledge makes it impossible for most to build on that knowledge to create new knowledge.

One last tidbit about Portland and the conference. I discovered that in Portland, food trucks are a big deal, there are over 500 of them scattered throughout the city. So the main lunch venue provided to all the ACRL attendees was a parking lot lined with food trucks. You all know how librarians are at meal time, and the picture below shows the long lines where everyone patiently queued to wait for their favorite cuisine.

Crowded at the Lunch Trucks

ACRL Librarians at Food Truck City

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?

 

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.

Sarah at ALA Annual 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 4:52 pm

ALA Annual in Chicago was great this year, and I attended multiple programs sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the Association of College & Research Libraries Science & Technology Section (ACRL STS). APALA is an affiliate of ALA, and I met some of my fellow Executive Board members when I volunteered at the Association Options Fair as incoming Board Member-at-Large.

One of the best sessions that I attended was the annual Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Ceremony sponsored by APALA.

This year, the APALA President’s Program was co-sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) on “Pushing the Boundaries: LGBTQ Presentation and Representation of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers.” The panel was moderated by Mary Anne Mohanraj and included authors Malinda Lo, Dwight Okita, and MOONROOT zine collective members Sine Hwang Jensen and Linda Nguyen.

One of the highlights of ALA was attending the APALA Social at the Oak Park home of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj. Dr. Mohanraj is Professor of Fiction and Literature at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I enjoyed Sri Lankan cuisine and networking with other APALA members.

I am a member of the ACRL STS Continuing Education Committee, and over the last year I led the update of the STS Guide to Professional Development Resources for Science & Technology Librarians.

Monday morning, I attended a program co-sponsored by ACRL STS and the Health Sciences Interest Group (HSIG) on “There’s an App for That: The Use of Mobile Devices, Apps and Resources for Health and Sci-Tech Librarians and Their Users.” The takeaway from the presentation is to start with learning outcomes and then think about which apps and technology to support the learning outcomes in instruction. Other related issues with using mobile apps in instruction are cost, device, function and usability, security and privacy, support, reliability, and access. I brought up the point that it would be a good idea to do a pre-course clicker survey to assess how many students have an iPhone, Android smartphone or neither.

Resources and further reading:

National Library of Medicine Gallery of Mobile Apps

MIT Libraries’ Apps for Academics

tabletsinlibraries.tumblr.com

stsmobileapps.tumblr.com

The Handheld Library: Mobile Technology and the Librarian by Thomas Peters and Lori Bell
Mobile Library Services: Best Practices edited by Charles Harmon and Michael Messina
Tablet Computers in the Academic Library edited by Rebecca Miller, Heather Moorefield-Lang, and Carolyn Meier

Monday afternoon, I attended a program on “Altmetrics, the Decoupled Journal, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing” by Jason Priem. Here are some highlights from his talk:

  • altmetrics is a new way of measuring impact
  • “Communication is the soul of science”, and librarians are the experts of scholarly communication (pun intended)
  • Philosophical Transactions was the first journal based on the available technology (printing press) to improve dissemination
  • Instead of moving paper-native products, creating web-native science
  • Favorite quote: “An article is a story about data”
  • Bibliometrics mined impact on the first scholarly web by measuring citations
  • The old way: counting citations but citations only tell part of the story
  • Impact has multiple dimensions: PDF views, discussion on scholarly blogs and Twitter, Mendeley and CiteULike saves, citations, and recommendation
  • ImpactStory is for researchers and is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • Abstrac: “Your dynamic personal scientific journal”
  • nanoHUB.org “Online simulation and more for nanotechnology”

I also made time to talk to vendors on the Exhibits floor and met with the Proquest Vice President STEM and provided input on the development of new science information resources. My summer reading list has become longer as a result of ALA, and I am looking forward to serving on the APALA Executive Board.

 

Keynote at ACRL New England Chapter

Friday, May 17, 2013 10:11 pm

On May 10, 2013 I had the honor of giving the keynote presentation at the ACRL New England Chapter Annual Conference. Last fall, I had seen a call for papers on a conference called “Communities in the Cloud, the Commons, and the College.” They were looking for papers on how academic libraries could engage their communities. Easy. We do that pretty well at ZSR. So I submitted a proposal listing all the things we do for faculty, staff and the community at large. Several weeks later I was contacted by the conference chair who said my proposal spoke so well to the theme of the conference that they wondered if I could give the keynote presentation. Sure!

Here is the presentation:

Community Building in Libraries: Success for Every user from suttonls

I had a great time doing it. Enjoy!

Susan: ACRL 2013 Wrapup

Saturday, April 13, 2013 3:39 pm

SustainRT Group Walk Around Indianapolis

SustainRT Indianapolis Canal Walk Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ACRL: Assessment, THATCamp, and serving your LGBTQ community

Saturday, April 13, 2013 10:35 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the MOOC:

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

What the MOOC would achieve:

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

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

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

Five Units for MOOC

Five Units for MOOC

Organizing Learning Outcomes

Organizing Learning Outcomes

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

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

 

Capstones, Helicopters and Vendors!

Saturday, April 13, 2013 8:53 am

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

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

 

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

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

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

Lynn at ACRL in Indianapolis

Friday, April 12, 2013 11:05 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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