Professional Development

In the 'Conferences' Category...

Stephanie at Midwest Archives

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:33 am

As Tanya mentioned, I also attended the Midwest Archives Conference annual meeting last week. It was my first trip to bourbon country, and thanks to the local arrangements committee, I kicked it off at Buffalo Trace, the longest running bourbon distillery in America, and a narrated amble through horse country. Another first for an archives: the plenary speaker was Joel Pett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader; his talk was a laugh a minute.

The trip was not all fun and games, though, I did make time for learning! I attended a very informative session on audiovisual preservation, which is timely since I’m currently processing about 8 linear feet of cassette tapes, videotapes, and audioreels in the Edgar Christman collection. All the sessions were great, though. Other highlights included:

  • A hands-on session about digital forensics presented in part by Jason Evans Groth of NC State: I may be taking a field trip soon to see their digital imaging workstation
  • A quick brown bag lunch session on strategic career planning featuring our own TZB
  • Event planning and social media management solutions for solo archivist shops (translates well to our department, as well)
  • A “speed geeking” session on records management-related outreach and marketing that provided four different, creative approaches

It’s rare that every session of a conference offers something that is directly applicable to my work, but happily this was the case in Lexington. I also presented a poster on Saturday morning, “How Much Do You Earn? An Informal Look at Archives Salaries,” presenting the results of a survey that I conducted last spring. I got some good questions and feedback, which was useful for thinking about my next steps. Many thanks to Craig for providing some tips on making the poster look good! Alas, I failed to take a photo of my masterpiece.

2015 Administrative Professionals Conference

Friday, April 24, 2015 4:22 pm

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 Administrative Professionals Conference at WinMock in Bermuda Run, NC. WinMock is a beautiful old barn that has been renovated to hold conferences, weddings, etc. Our audience was made up of Administrative Professionals from WFU, WF-Health Sciences, WSSU, UNC School of the Arts and Forsyth Technical Community College. We had 226 attendees.

I have been on the Administrative Professionals Committee, which plans the conference, for 12 years. This year, each attendee at the conference was able to win a door prize!

We had 3 great speakers!

Speaker 1 was Denise Ryan

Program Description “How to Get Along with Everyone Who Is Not Me?”

Who are you?

Controller/Director

Celebrate their action leadership and honest

  • Commander
  • Values getting the job done
  • Decisive risk taker
  • Good at delegating work to others
  • Results oriented

Promoter/Socializer

Celebrate their enthusiasm and joy

  • Entertainer
  • Values enjoyment and helping others with the same
  • Full of ideas and impulsive in trying them
  • Wants work to be fun for everyone
  • Optimist; nothing is beyond hope

Supporter/Relater

Celebrate their gentleness and mediation qualities

  • Harmonizer
  • Values acceptance and stability in circumstances
  • Slow with big decisions; dislikes change
  • Builds networks of friends to help do work
  • Easy-going; like slow, steady pace

Analyzer/Thinker

Celebrate their sensitivity and depth

  • Assessor
  • Values accuracy in details & being right
  • Plans thoroughly before deciding to act
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Introverted; quick to think and slow to speak; closed about personal matters

Speaker 2 was Susanne Gaddis – The Communications Doctor!

Program Description: “All Stressed Up, and No Place to Go”

Definition of what stress is: what occurs when the demands that are placed upon you exceed your capability for meeting those demands

We took an interactive stress quiz for instant health risk results!

Short-term stress, such as difficult meetings, sporting or other performances, or confrontational situations. Here, the emphasis is on short-term management of adrenaline to maximize performance.

Long-term stress, where fatigue and high adrenaline levels over a long period can lead to degraded performances. Here optimizing stress concentrates on management of fatigue, health, energy and morale.

Speaker 3 was Lisa Withers

Program Description “Building YOUR Brand”

The attendees all did the Logo Game, where you name which logo goes with which brand.

We learned about having positive emotions at work:

  • More productive
  • More focused
  • Higher satisfaction
  • Higher engagement

Results Pyramid

  • Results
  • Actions
  • Beliefs
  • Experiences

We also learned about wells and drains!

Wells: positive, look for the good, energetic, actions, refreshing, encouraging

Drains: dishonest, they don’t follow through, negative, point out everything you do wrong

It was a great day of learning! It is also a pleasure to help provide a great conference to a wonderful group of people!

 

 

Southeastern Library Association

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 5:18 pm

A trip to Alabama was the next stop on my journey as the NCLA Southeastern Library Association representative. The Alabama Library Association played host to SELA in the beautiful water front city of Point Clear April 7-10. During my report to the SELA Executive Board, I shared details around our upcoming conference. I unofficially invited the group to consider NCLA’s 2017 conference, which by the way will be held right here in Winston Salem, as a possible site for their next joint venture. A document detailing financial workings is forthcoming. I did take the opportunity to discuss the idea of NCLA hosting a regional Leadership Institute. The idea was well received by the other state reps in attendance. I suggested having the current SELA President attend the 2016 Leadership Institute might confirm or alter our thinking around this topic.

Whenever I attend the SELA conference I always look for ideas that I can bring back to NCLA. Here are a couple of things I noted. First, the conference planning committee members wore identical brightly colored t-shirts. This made them easily identifiable as those in the know. Secondly, the members of the committee monitored the session rooms and opened the doors when it was about three to five minutes remaining in time for the allotted program. This kept the flow of the day on schedule. The conference theme was around Super Heroes. Each exhibitor had a sticker which matched an entry on the Superheroes bingo card, for which the winner of got a prize. Each meal function was a $$ ticketed event.

Michael Dowling, the Director of ALA’s Chapter Relations Office was the featured facilitator for a session entitled, “Alabama Libraries into the Future.” Dowling facilitated a discussion around the future of the library profession. I thought this type session facilitated by our NCLA President, Executive Board members or even the New Members Round Table, might provide a means for open deliberate conversations around librarianship, member association growth, engagement and development. The opening session featured author Craig Johnson of the Walt Longmire mystery series. This was a lighthearted conversation that set the tone for a relaxed enjoyable conference. Though I never saw any official numbers, their attendance seemed much lower than ours. Attendees were able to choose amongst only five to six concurrent sessions at any time.

Some of the most notable sessions for me were those dealing with issues of management and leadership development. It seemed that there was at least one offering within each grouping of concurrent sessions. Sessions featured mostly collaborators from varying library types sharing experiences and lessons learned around similar topics. I elected to attend those focusing around the management of library student assistants, writing employee orientation manuals and designing content for personnel handbooks. I also found the sessions on engaging 1st year students and building community partnerships most informative.

If you want to hear more, just let me know.

Derrik at the NC Serials Conference, 2015 edition

Monday, April 20, 2015 2:03 pm

Well, the latest few PD blog posts have guilted me into finally writing about my trip to the 2015 NC Serials Conference. Now, if I can just find my notes …

Aha! Here we are.

Steve’s post already covered Katherine Skinner’s opening keynote address quite well. I’ll add an “Aha” moment I had. Do you know who invented the incandescent light bulb? Hint: It wasn’t Thomas Edison; he merely perfected the design. Skinner also said that the jukebox was not invented by the record industry. Lesson: Innovation per se isn’t the only thing that’s important, and positive changes can come from outside the area you’d normally think to look for them.

I presented a session on library-vendor negotiation, along with co-presenter Lesley Jackson, our EBSCO Account Manager. We presented nine different principles of negotiation, along with examples. There were things like “Be prepared,” “Don’t be afraid to ask,” and “Don’t take it personally.” We finished earlier than expected, but the audience participated and asked good questions. We had a number of vendor reps in the audience too, which made it more fun.

Another plenary session was a panel discussion about text and data mining. A fair amount of this was over my head, but one thing that was clear is that everybody’s still trying to figure it out. The vendor representative on the panel pointed out the difficulty vendors have with managing and licensing text mining because librarians can’t really articulate what “text mining” means. But it was also pointed out that (1) it means different things to different libraries and to different researchers; and (2) in many cases the researchers themselves don’t yet know where the research will take them, so it’s hard to know what permissions to ask for.

Empirical Librarians’ Conference

Monday, April 20, 2015 1:00 pm

Earlier this semester I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Empirical Librarians’ Conference at the F.D. Bluford Library at the N. Carolina Agriculture & Technical State University. This new, one-day conference was envisioned by Nina Exner and focused on two aspects of empirical research: conducting it and supporting it.
The keynote lecture was presented by Dr. Diane Kelly from the U.N.C. School of Library Science. She described how empiricism is:
• One way to create knowledge
• About accumulating evidence: there are no fixed truths
• Is a human invention
• Is a practice, like librarianship
• Is limited by the tools & instruments that area available

She went on to say that empirical librarianship is NOT synonymous with evidence-based librarianship (EBL). EBL uses rather than generates research. She reviewed a number of empirical approaches, including surveys, interviews, field studies and others. In evaluating the worthiness of research, one should consider the following: truth-value (internal validity), applicability (external validity), consistence (replicability), and neutrality (objectivity).

How does one become an empirical librarian? First, research is a practice and experience helps a lot. Just start. Research doesn’t happen the way it’s described in textbooks, so be prepared for surprises. Research is constrained in many ways, such as personal, pragmatic and professional. We all work within limits or boundaries.

After the keynote speech, the conference split into two tracks: those who conduct empirical research and those who support others doing empirical research. The session that followed the keynote talk consisted of 15-minute presentations on a range of topics. I presented “Data Sets for Business Faculty Research” in which I compared and contrasted the types of data sets used by business and economics faculty, including the scope of their topics and the sources and costs of data. Other presenters shared their experiences supporting student research, promoting information literacy, providing research support to students in online education programs.

After lunch, I attended 2 concurrent sessions in the supporting research track. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Chelcie Rowell’s talk, “A Research-Driven Approach to Providing Research Data Curation Services” during the last concurrent session because I had to teach a library instruction session in Accounting 782 back in Farrell Hall.

The two presentations that were most memorable were “Supporting the Patron Research Life Cycle” by Lynda Kellam and “Well Begun is Half Done: Developing Outcome Statements for Successful Assessment” by Kathy Crowe and Amy Harris Houk. Lynda Kellam talked about efforts to introduce library resources to UNC-Greensboro students earlier in their academic careers and how we can help students make a habit of using academic resources for their research. A question that has stayed with me is “How do outreach and information literacy instruction change throughout a student’s career?”

Kathy Crowe and Amy Harris Houk conducted a session on learning outcomes. After defining and describing them, they conducted several exercises in which the attendees wrote and then shared learning outcomes for a series of scenarios. The session was so helpful that we invited them to present the session at BLINC’s April workshop.

Congratulations to Nina Exner on a successful conference. It was a content-packed one-day conference that I look forward to attending in the future.

Next Stop…Vegas! ILLiad 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015 12:09 pm

I know what you are thinking, ‘what do gambling chips have to do with interlibrary loan software?’ Short answer: nothing. Long answer: everything.

I’ll let Tara explain.*

My first experience at an ILLiad conference was excellent. Tuesday, Atlas Systems hosted a Social –Casino Night that gave me the opportunity to meet and socialize with over 300 participants there to attend the conference. We played all types of Casino games. For being one of the highest scorers that night I won One year Access Services Concierge Membership (value: $4,999)* for the library.

As I look back on the sessions what really stood out to me was “Is Your Library Visible” presented by Eric Miller, Zepheira. He was addressing the web visibility of the Library. That content was very important to the aspect of Interlibrary Loan. I’m glad had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.

*I feel it is important to note that Tara sent me her write up 3 days after the conference. It has taken me a month to post it. Yes, I am ashamed.

Tara certainly did jump right in to the conference flow. I missed Casino night, but I heard lots of reports of Tara smokin’ the Roulette wheel. I’m in negotiations with Atlas to leverage or prize to help all libraries in N.C. They seem open to the concept so stay tuned….

I attended several useful sessions. One on getting our requesting web pages mobile ready, and another on setting up auto hotkeys in ILLiad.

The most impressive was a presentation by Dr. Nobuhiko Kikuchi who is the head of resource sharing at the National Diet Library of Japan. In this case diet does not mean food and drink but congress. The NDL is the equivalent to the Library of Congress here in the U.S. This was Dr. Kikuchi’s first time in America, and the first time he has ever presented in English. Talk about nervous. He did wonderfully even using humor. The first time he told a joke and we laughed he said “thank you” and seemed to relax a little. I have looked to this library many times in my tenure as an interlibrary loan librarian. They are rolling out some new services and it was good to learn about them. It was also nice to meet the man responsible.

 

 

Steve at the 2015 NC Serials Conference

Sunday, April 19, 2015 8:10 pm

Sorry, I’m so late in writing about a conference that happened on March 6th, but the month of March and the first half of April pretty much ate my life. Anyway, Chris, Derrik and I drove to the conference, which started late due to a weather delay caused by a slight ice event (remember how crazy this winter was)? I was going to the conference to attend, but also to present and to staff an exhibits table on behalf of NASIG, so I was wearing three hats.

The most memorable session was the opening keynote given by Katherine Skinner of Educopia. If you’ve never heard Katherine speak, you really should if you get the chance, she’s always fascinating. She’ll be speaking at the E-Books Freakout on Friday, April 24th, so you should come. Her talk at the NC Serials Conference was called “Taking Action in a Critical Moment: From Innovation to Impact.” Skinner argued that innovation (as in an invention) would not solve the problems of scholarly communication. She said that we need a change to the system, not to look for left-field innovation to provide a magic bullet to solve our problems. She argued that innovations don’t typically come from the center, they come from unexpected locations, while system-wide changes require system-wide involvement. The problems associated with scholarly communication are system-wide, not merely incidental to a specific location. She pointed out that we in higher education (and really everywhere) are good at focusing on the problems in our own institution, rather than the system as a whole. She also made the very salient point that the problems of scholarly communications has essentially become the sole burden of librarians, even though they shouldn’t be. But, she argued that situation may be changing, as the problems in scholarly communications have started hitting scholars themselves, particularly in states that have seen massive cuts to higher education like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. She argued forcefully that librarians need to work together with scholars and other parties involved in the scholarly communication process to to try to find systemic solutions to the problems we face in scholarly communication.

I also gave a presentation at the NC Serials Conference, although I’m not nearly as good a public speaker as Katherine Skinner. I was invited to speak about the changes going on in NASIG over the last year or so (basically the time since I became NASIG president). In late 2013, the NASIG Executive Board decided to appoint a task force to revise the vision and mission statements of the organization. The old ones were too focused on phrases like “the serials information chain” and didn’t reflect the fact that NASIG is also quite involved with electronic resource management and scholarly communications. I campaigned on the idea of revising these statements, so I was totally on board with this process. I recruited a task force, including our own Lauren Corbett, to update our vision and mission statements. The membership approved them in November, 2014. Related to that, the Board also discussed changing our official name from the North American Serial Interest Group to just NASIG. The old name made folks think we’re only interested in print serials, and “interest group” made us sound like we’re a smaller part of a larger group. We proposed the name change and the membership approved the change to simply NASIG on Feb. 2nd, 2015. Also, in the spring of 2014, the list moderators of the SERIALST listserv came to the NASIG Executive Board to ask us to consider NASIG taking on the management of the listserv. The founder and lead moderator of the listserv, Birdie McLennon, tragically passed away early in 2014 and her institution wasn’t interested in keeping the listserv. So NASIG took on the management of the listserv and its archives, using a commercial service. We also started a task force to develop a set of core competencies for scholarly communications librarians (to go along with NASIG’s sets of core competencies for electronic resource librarians and print serials librarians). We developed a formal code of conduct for our conference and other NASIG events. We became a strategic affiliate of the Library Publishing Coalition. We also looked at the possibility of hiring office staff for the first time in our history. And we’re doing all this while planning for our 30th anniversary conference in Washington, DC in May, which will not only include a 30th anniversary celebration, but also a joint program with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Plus, we’re proud sponsors of the Wake the E-Books Festival coming up on April 23rd and 24th. We’ve been kinda busy.

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!

 

 

 

 

Carol’s View of ACRL

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:02 pm

A building at Portland State University

 

As a collections person, I found this conference rather thin on relevant programming, especially since I knew that Roz/Kyle/Kaeley would cover all the instruction angles. That said, the program committee did a good job of spreading the collections-focused sessions among the time slots so I had at least one relevant choice almost every time. I also took advantage of the chance to attend the occasional session outside of my niche, e.g., one on “Complexity and Contradiction in Green Architecture.”

Two presentations were respectively a denunciation and an apologia for DDA. Maybe when the virtual conference comes out I’ll watch them back-to-back and think of them as a debate. I tended to side with the DDA apologist. This fits my natural inclination, but she also used a CC-licensed photo from the ZSR Library Flickr photostream! Her point when showing this picture was that DDA would make libraries’ general collections more alike. Therefore, libraries will distinguish themselves by their special collections.

Miscellaneous Gleanings

On IPEDS statistical craziness: Mount Holyoke has over 600K e-books per ACRL’s definition and only 86 per IPEDS. (For painful detail, see this LibGuide and if you really want to go down the rabbit hole, follow the link to “Questions and Answers from IPEDS.”)

On Collection Development policies: A speaker expressed – with evident dismay – that 44% of ARLs don’t have a collection development policy.

DPLA can virtually reunite physically split collections. They cited a penmanship collection that is physically split between NYPL and the U. of Scranton.

The architecture speaker had learned in school that an optimal design moves water away from the building as quickly as possible. In the emerging green architecture ethos, you want the water to trickle down slowly and get filtered by plants along the way.

Bob Holley on self-published books. He named several categories where the library may want to acquire these works. For instance, local history, fringe perspectives (he cited anti-vaxxers as one example) and personal memoirs that are effectively primary sources.

The rest of this is about e-books

I attended a roundtable discussion on e-books. Nothing too groundbreaking, more like a group therapy session. It’s valuable to know that the challenges we face are also faced by others. NASIG got a name-check as an advocacy group for more library- and user-friendly e-books.

One speaker noted that 6 out of 7 students in a qualitative usability study had a stated preference for print. The speaker said that today’s college students got their early training and developed study habits in a print-centered environment. The preferences of college students may eventually change if K-12 education moves more toward e-books.

Sometimes students use print and e-formats of the same book in tandem. For instance, they may start with the e-book and move over to print for deep reading. Another university found that students used e-books for dip in, dip out reading to support writing papers. (At another conference, the researchers found the dip in, dip out behavior in print books as well.)

Images in e-books are sometimes missing due to permissions issues, so print is a more strongly preferred format for disciplines such as Art History, Theater and Architecture.

Over time, students got more selective about how much they print from e-books. For usability interviews, being guided around e-books made the participants more receptive of the format.

Look at usage of e-book titles that are deleted from the subscription and DDA programs. If there’s anything high use, we may want to buy a copy some other way. I already plan to apply this idea, although I’ll need to keep opportunity costs in mind. (This project may take a lot of time and yield just a few purchases, especially if the deletes are superseded editions.) These presenters found that deleted books had less use, on average, than the overall pool.

 

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?

 


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