Professional Development

In the 'instruction' Category...

Embedded Librarians and the LENS Program

Monday, July 14, 2014 4:03 pm

This is the fifth year of the LENS (Learn, Experience, Navigate, and Solve) program at Wake Forest, and librarians from ZSR have been embedded in the program since the first year! Each year the program as grown, but this year the number of students increased from 35 to 51, requiring the students to split into two teams, and doubling the number of workshops we held for these students! In addition to all the sessions the librarians lead for the LENS program, we also participate in LENS planning meetings before, during and after the program! About half the LENS students will end up as freshmen at WFU and all LENS students receive an admissions interview while on campus!Fortunately, with the increase in students participating in the program, the leaders of LENS increased the number of writing faculty involved in the program and increased the number of student program assistants. Meanwhile, the ZSR Library’s LENS team grew to three with the addition of Meghan Webb to the existing team of Hu and Bobbie! These additional resources allowed for a smooth and successful LENS 2014!

The Library kicked off its role in the program with a brief technology orientation on Monday, June 23rd, then continued with an Introduction to Google Tools on Tuesday and “Capture the Flag” on Wednesday! On Friday, Bobbie and Meghan led a scavenger hunt in the Library and a session on scholarly research. On Tuesday, July 1st I lead a session on presentation tools and on July 3rd we hosted a game of Humans v Zombies in the Library with the BTFT (Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute.) We wrapped up our time with the LENS program on Thursday, July 10th, with a clicker question survey of the program and attended the LENS concluding ceremony on Friday, July 11th. At the ceremony each group gave a final presentation of their sustainability project with a local community partner! The community partners included, Campus Kitchen and the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market, just to name two!

This is always a rewarding project, and this year was no exception! Even with the larger crowd, the students responded very favorably in the final evaluations and based on the citations in their final presentations, many of them were paying attention during the research instruction session! Many thanks to Meghan Webb, the newest ZSR staff member on the LENS team! Adding another person to the team was a huge help in meeting the needs of the LENS students!

-Hu Womack, Bobbie Collins, and Meghan Webb

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.

NCBIG Camp 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013 4:59 pm

On Friday, May 31st, Joy Gambill, Kyle Denlinger, and I attended the NCBIG Camp 2013 at UNCG’s Jackson Library. The North Carolina Bibliographic Instruction Group (NCBIG) is an NCLA discussion group, and this “unconference” was designed to be a participant-driven event, with facilitators for each of the twelve session (three breakout sessions with four facilitated discussions in each session). Joy, Kyle and I all agreed to facilitate a session. I attended a discussion on “Assessing Student Learning Outcomes“, where I got some great ideas for embedding some assessment tools in my LibGuides and learned about an excellent LibGuide on assessment from Portland State University on “Assessing Library Instruction“. Next, I attended Kyle’s session on “Technology for Teaching and Learning“, where we discussed a variety of useful tools including Infogr.am (yes, it is spelled that way!) “Mozilla Thimble” just to name a couple. After lunch, I facilitated a discussion on “Outreach to Students“. I was glad I had prepared a structure for the discussion, developing an icebreaker and bring flip chart paper and pens for participants to use to list their successful outreach programs and their challenges.

After everyone wrote their ideas on the flip charts, we discussed the results and found interesting differences and similarities between the K-12 and public libraries and the academic libraries. There was some interest in Humans v. Zombies and it looks like I made a connection that will get us a contingency from Winston Salem State University for the next event in October! All in all, we agreed it was a very productive day with some new and interesting ideas and some great networking with other librarians! Thanks to Joy and Kyle for a great day!

Joy, Kaeley, Roz, and Kyle at NC-LITe

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 5:22 pm

On Tuesday the 21st Joy, Kaeley, Roz, and I ventured to Raleigh to participate in the summer meeting of NC-LITe, the twice-annual meeting of NC librarians who are interested in library instruction and instructional technologies. It’s a very informal group and always a fun time with lots of idea-sharing. This year’s summer meeting was at the shiny new Hunt Library at NCSU, which was a sight to behold. Like all NC-LITe meetings, this one followed a familiar format.

Campus Sharing

Each campus got some time to share updates. Some of the most interesting were:

  • UNC-CH: A transition to a required ENG105 course in which librarians cooperate with instructors to create assignments and integrate information literacy learning outcomes into the curriculum

  • UNC-CH: A live-action Clue game held in their special collections department (which would be a good opportunity for both outreach and some light instruction)

  • NCSU: figuring out how they can integrate their new makerspace into their instruction beyond the traditional STEM applications

  • NCSU: moving past outdated LOBO tutorial by rethinking learning goals and producing high-quality animated “Big Picture” videos (Kaeley thought the best title was “Picking a Topic *IS* Research!”)

  • Duke: librarians assigned to every MOOC taught through Coursera, where they might develop libguides or help course developers find open educational resources to support the course

  • UNCG: just finished a 3-day Power-UP workshop for faculty who want to develop online or blended online courses

Lightning Presentations

Five of us (including me and Joy!) gave quick talks about bigger projects we’d tackled recently. Joy talked about the awesome LIB100 template and I struggled to condense our ZSRx mini-MOOC experiment into a 7-minute talk. Other things:

  • Emily Daly at Duke told us about their user-centered library website redesign (to be completed in the fall)

  • Kathy Shields at High Point told us about some information literacy modules they built in Blackboard

  • Kerri Brown-Parker at NCSU’s College of Education media center showed us Subtext, a very cool iPad app for guided literacy and social reading

There was also a rather interesting debate that sprung out of Joy’s presentation on the LIB100 template: what is the role of the library in preventing or educating students about plagiarism? Lots of opinions, but most felt that the library was central in this role, although a focus should be on educating students about the responsible use of ideas, not on “how to avoid plagiarism.”

Building Tour!

If you haven’t been to the new Hunt Library at NCSU, make sure to visit! It’s truly an amazing space that is probably only possible at a place like State. It’s hard to put into words, but the entire library was a lab for technology-enhanced and -facilitated learning and creation. Still, despite the impressive architecture and the awe-inspiring spaces, from the MakerSpace and the Game Lab to the Next-Gen Learning Commons and the BookBot, the thing we (and most others) found most impressive were the lockers with outlets in them. There were literally audible gasps, I kid you not.

Joy said it best, though: “it seemed to me that the star of yesterday’s show was the jaw-dropping Hunt Library. Words like ‘unbelievable’ and ‘incredible’ keep racing through my mind as I ponder this blow-your-mind building. To me, this experience made our library feel like Hagrid’s cottage in Harry Potter–cozy, warm, and a bit disheveled. While we might not have a Creativity Studio or designer chairs that cost thousands of dollars, we are greeted by Starbucks and Travis Manning when we come in the door. I’m very proud and glad to call ZSR ‘home.’”

If you’re interested in going to the next meeting or just keeping up with what’s going on with NC-LITe, we have a shiny new website and a Google Group you can join. We’d love to have you join us next time!

 

Leslie at SEMLA 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 11:26 am

This year’s meeting of the Southeast Music Library Association was held at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where we had beautiful weather and a number of interesting presentations.

Digitization Projects

We heard an update on Vanderbilt’s Global Music Archive, which has to date focused on East African music. Now they’re working on an Appalachian Dulcimer Archive (dulcimerarchive.omeka.net/), featuring “pre-revival” (pre-1940) instruments. For software, they selected Omeka (which I understand we’re investigating for our own special collections). Features of Omeka that they liked, for purposes of the dulcimer project, included its ability to handle multiple format types (visual, audio, etc.); to create new types, metadata, and tags for aspects unique to dulcimers; the plug-in for user-created data; and they plan to investigate the “Exhibits” plug-in. Also important for this project was the geographical aspect (i.e., interactive maps). They’re still troubleshooting things like the cropping of the photos of the instruments (can’t get enough in the picture), but pretty impressive results so far!

Closer to home, one of the library world’s best-kept secrets is UNCG’s cello music collection, the world’s largest, built on the personal libraries of prominent cellists, including scores with their performance annotations. In an effort to market the collection more effectively, the library is embarking on a project to digitize the collection, including images of the annotated scores, album covers, and video interviews with the donors. They’re using ContentDM for the platform, and Dublin Core for the encoding scheme, adding notes fields from the MARC records. They’ve so far done this for one donor, Bernard Greenhouse, formerly of the Beaux Arts Trio.

Copyright Instruction

One colleague related her struggle to impress the principle of intellectual property on her students. Her most successful solution: inviting one of her music faculty, a composer and performer, to speak first-hand on the needs of those who make their living writing and recording. Actually, this prof starts off with a story about his family’s vacation cabin: it happens to be adjacent to a state park, and the family has often arrived to find park visitors camping out on the premises. This usually rouses an indignant reaction from the students (“that’s so wrong!”) — making a neat segue into talking about the personal investment that goes into creating new art.

International

In an adventure somewhat analogous to Lynn’s in China, Laura Gayle Green of Florida State University was invited to help build a library collection for the music school of Mahidol University in Thailand. She brought back lots of wonderful pictures of the country, and notes on the culture. For one thing, students are often hesitant to ask questions, assuming people will think they have not been educated properly. Laura realized that her first challenge would be building the trust needed to reassure students that they can seek help without fear of being judged. Audio streaming was new to music students in this part of the world. Shoes are removed before entering homes, temples, and libraries — a reflection of the reverence in which libraries are traditionally held (and a novel way to take door counts!). The university’s goal of integrating American models of instruction with local customs is an ongoing challenge.

 

 

 

Audra presents at C2C Intro to Digitization Projects workshops

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 4:18 pm

I recently volunteered to help teach a workshop entitled “Preparing for a Digitization Project” through NC Connecting to Collections (C2C), an LSTA-funded grant project administered by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This came about as part of an informal group of archivists, special collections librarians, and digital projects librarians interested in the future of NC ECHO and its efforts to educate staff and volunteers in the cultural heritage institutions across the state about digitization. The group is loosely connected through the now-defunct North Carolina Digital Collections Collaboratory.

Late last year, Nick Graham of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center was contacted by LeRae Umfleet of NC C2C about teaching a few regional workshops about planning digitization projects. The workshops were created as a way to teach smaller archives, libraries, and museums about planning, implementing, and sustaining digitization efforts. I volunteered to help with the workshops, which were held in January 2011 in Hickory as well as this past Monday in Wilson.

The workshops were promoted through multiple listservs and were open to staff, board members, and volunteers across the state. Each workshop cost $10 and included lunch for participants. Many of the participants reminded me of the folks at our workshops for Preserving Forsyth’s Past! The crowd was enthusiastic and curious, asking lots of questions and taking notes. Nick Graham and Maggie Dickson covered project preparation, metadata, and the NC Digital Heritage Center (and how to get involved); I discussed the project process and digital production as well as free resources for digital publishing; and Lisa Gregory from the State Archives discussed metadata and digital preservation.

I must confess that the information was so helpful, I found myself taking notes! When Nick stepped up to describe the efforts of the Digital Heritage Center, which at this time is digitizing and hosting materials from across the state at no cost, I learned that they will be seeking nominations for North Carolina historical newspapers to digitize in the near future, and that they are also interested in accepting digitized video formats. Lisa also introduced the group to NC PMDO, Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects, which includes a free preservation metadata tool.It is always a joy to help educate repositories across the state in digitization standards and processes!

ACRL/NY: Innovation by Design–Re-Visioning the Library

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:11 am

Last Friday I had the fortune to attend the 2010 ACRL/NY Annual Symposium at Baruch College, Vertical Campus Conference Center in New York. The theme of the symposium was “Innovation by Design: Re-Visioning the Library.”

The symposium was a really well run event. ACRL/NY is an excellent organization, and they know how to put on a one-day conference. I’ve been eyeing them for the past few years and was really thankful to be able to participate in one. These events have been taking place since the 1980s and themes haveincluded: emerging leadership, 21st century libraries, and assessment. This year’s theme, as you can tell, was design.

The first speaker of the day was Bill Mayer of American University. As University Librarian, he’s implementing a number of changes that will be familiar to us at ZSR: moving materials off site, bringing in other service providers, rethinking services, putting library people in the community, etc. He was an engaging speaker and it was really good to see the message out there and getting a good reception. If you’re interested in more, here’s an article about his thoughts on next steps at American.

Aaron Schmidt, of Walking Paper fame, spoke on designing the user experience. He covered both designing the physical experience as well as the virtual, and clearly came at his topic from a designer’s angle. Aaron is a dynamic speaker, with I’m guessing no less than 100 high-impact slides while walking around and interacting with the audience. He’s really interested in getting libraries to identify a few things they can do really well (and generate enthusiastic supporters) rather than trying to do everything decently (and having lukewarm supporters).

Finally, Leah Buley from Adaptive Path, spoke. Leah came from a different angle, as she doesn’t work in a library. She did get an MLIS, but decided to work in helping design how people interact with information in the corporate world, and now works with a consulting firm that helps develop user experiences, interfaces, and product strategies. Leah’s might have been the most practical presentation as she gave a number of methods for how to involve users in the design process for both physical and web services. I have a lot to bring back to the web committee from this one!

My talk, as you might have guessed, was on instructional design in libraries. I started with a brief story of how I got into it and what I do, talked about how libraries are changing, how higher education is changing, and how instructional design can help (and how librarians can help with instructional design).

You can see Tweets here, read another blog post about it here, and the ACRL/NY site should have both recordings and bibliographies up soon, if you’re interested in more!

(Sorry this post is a bit late, I wanted to wait to get permission to post my slides before publishing the post!)

Gretchen trains at Cisco

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:16 pm

On Monday I trained in the Cisco offices in Raleigh to learn all about Cisco’s NEW (Network Enhanced Workspace) features. The workshop was geared towards sales associates, specifically helping them to most effectively use all of the tools they are selling. Monday’s session worked with BlackBerry users, whereas Tuesday’s is reserved for the iPhone.

Official Cisco sign.

The morning session started with NEW provisioning, which means employees must request a NEW account. A NEW account affords the user access to Cisco collaboration tools such as Quad, Pulse, and Show and Share (more on those later.) My local contact at the company, Ted Mead, reports that access is restricted, so not every employee is granted an account

Our instructor then moved on to Device Procurement, which covered tools such as the 9971 IP phone with camera, Bluetooth, and the 7921 wireless phone. Desktop Phone Integration and BlackBerry Mobile Applications followed. However, my BlackBerry model is too old to support CUMC (Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator) and WebEx Mobile.

Later we went over the Social Software, for which I was most excited. I learned that these tools are still in Alpha mode within Cisco, meaning employees are still learning how to best integrate them into their work flow. I have faced difficulty utilizing these technologies myself because they are Cisco internal, and they have existed as yet another medium for me to update. However, now I feel reinvigorated by their collaboration power, and as a way for me to stay more connected to those back at Cisco.

Quad and Show and Share hold real potential for the public sector in my opinion. They provide a secure way for students, faculty, and staff to stay connected. Think of Quad as “Facebook on steroids,” as our instructor (reluctantly) called it, and Show and Share as a private video sharing and editing platform. I did not know that one could edit videos within Show and Share, so I now look forward to exploring this feature in the future. The final Social Software piece is Pulse, which facilitates finding experts on certain subjects within your network.

The afternoon was reserved for one-on-one help provided by Ted Mead, and a few others. I had my official Cisco Badge made:

All in all, Monday was a valuable day. I’ve met some more Cisco employees, expanded my knowledge of Cisco’s Collaboration tools, and look forward to sharing this information with interested parties at Wake.

GBW Standards of Excellence- Presentations

Monday, October 18, 2010 12:05 pm

I attended three sessions this year and was delighted that these focused on binding and books.

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Martha Little spoke on “Evidence of Structure and Procedure in Books.” Martha has been the Head Conservator at the University of Michigan Libraries and Book Conservator at Yale. Her presentation was a kind of deconstruction of the historical book. It was partly taking books apart to understand them and partly examining stains, sewing and even pest damage. She literally took historic structures apart to understand them. This included a two-volume set of Homer which had been sewn together and a new leather cover applied to hide the fact. She told how two book scholars (Roger Powell and Berthe van Regemorter) examined an identical Ethiopian binding and came to very different conclusions about how it was made. Little made models of both these books to show us who was likely more correct in their theory (Powell). Martha tested adhesives using the reagent potassium iodide to show the presence of starch adhesives. She also made cord using linen thread which she plied together using a hand drill to make a heavy cord that could be used to sew signatures onto. Martha also examined how books were put together and successively re-sewn over time. She did this using a guide developed in England at Trinity College, by mapping sewing holes, saw kerfs, and tackets on the text block and book boards. Martha made a diagram from the sewing holes which showed the binding and re-sewing over time. A real lesson in book construction history!

Martha Little’s models of Ethiopian binding

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Jeff Peachey gave a great presentation on Late 18th century French binding structures. Peachey is a book conservator in NYC and the inventor of several machines for binding and also makes a variety of well-respected leather paring knives. Jeff is also a book conservator of the first order-hence, his project was bolstered by historical research and hands-on knowledge of binding. Peachey conducted research of the Diderot Encyclopedie (we have a complete set in our collection) to determine how bindings were constructed in 18th century France. The Diderot is not a traditional encyclopedia, but a how-to manual complete with diagrams and illustrations of various processes. During his session, Jeff demonstrated how to construct one of these bindings taken from the pages of Diderot. He used demonstrations and pre-made models to do this, along with illutrations from the pages of Diderot. It was fascinating to see Jeff, demonstrate binding, tool sharpening, ploughing (plowing) and leather paring, as well as his model of 18th century binding.

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Michael Burke presented the third session on Byzantine Binding. Michael currently teaches binding in England, but has also been involved in the San Francisco Center for the Book. His presentation used historic books from the Byzantine period (circa 300-1200 AD) to construct a model of this style of binding. The book has wooden boards, quarter-sawn and drilled. The text block is sewn up in halves and then joined together. This style of binding is beautiful, but and Michael was unsure why it was sewn in halves-no doubt a question lost to history.

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I had several meals with Tony Gardner, President of the GBW California Chapter and former Head of Special Collections at Cal State, Northridge. Tony has experience working with his library development officer and shared how his institution conducted outreach using their collection.

I also had the opportunity to meet several suppliers:
Marge Salik and her daughter from Talas.
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Nancy Morains from Colophon Book Arts Supply.
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All in all, I attended a great series of sessions on book structure and history, made a number of good contacts and had some invaluable discussions with other professionals interested in binding.

Leslie at MLA 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010 8:08 pm

Music librarians are inured to battling winter weather to convene every year during February in some northern clime (during a Chicago snowstorm last year). So it was almost surreal to find ourselves, this year, at an island resort in San Diego in March (beautiful weather, if still a bit on the chilly side). Despite the temptations of the venue, I had a very productive meeting this year.

REFERENCE

In the Southeast Chapter session, it was announced that East Carolina’s music library had scored top place among music libraries participating in a national assessment, sponsored by the Wisconsin-Ohio Reference Evaluation Program (WOREP), of effectiveness in answering reference queries. Initially, the East Carolina staff had misgivings about how onerous the process might be for users, who were asked to fill out a one-page questionnaire. As it turned out, students, when informed that it was part of a national project, typically responded “Cool!” and readily participated. The only refusals were from users who had to rush to their next class.

INSTRUCTION

A panel presentation titled “Weaving the Web: Best Practices for Online Content” resulted in a case of what might be termed the Wake Forest Syndrome: walking into a conference session only to find that we’re already “doing that” at WFU. It was largely about music librarians implementing LibGuides. One item of interest was a usability study conducted by one school of their LibGuides. Its findings:

Users tend to miss the tabs at the top. One solution that was tried was to replicate the tabs as links in the homepage “welcome” box.

Users prefer concise bulleted lists of resources over lengthy descriptions.

Students tend to feel overwhelmed by long lists of resources; they want the top 3-4 resources to start with, then to see others as needed.

Users were confused by links that put them into other LibGuides without explanation.

Students had trouble identifying relevant subject-specific guides when these were offered in a comprehensive list display.

One attendee voiced concern over an apparent conflict of objectives between LibGuides that aim to transmit research skills (i.e., teaching students how to locate resources on their own) and course-specific LibGuides (listing specific resources). Is the latter spoon-feeding?

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

A panel presentation on scores approval plans gave me some useful tips, as I’m planning to set one up next fiscal year.

In another panel on collecting ethnic music, Liza Vick of Harvard supplied a gratifying number of acquisition sources that I didn’t know about (in case other liaisons are interested in these, Liza’s presentation, among others, will be posted on the MLA website: http://www.musiclibraryassoc.org). The session also produced an interesting discussion about the objectives of collecting ethnographic materials in the present era. Historically, libraries collected field notes and recordings done by (mostly European) ethnographers of (mostly non-Western) peoples, premised on producing the most “objective” or “authentic” documentation. The spread of technology in recent years has resulted in new situations: “sampler” recordings produced by the former “subjects” with the aim of representing their culture to a general public (once dismissed by academics, these now benefit from a new philosophy that views the ways people choose to represent themselves as worthy of serious attention); in the last twenty years or so, a new genre of “world” music has appeared, fusing elements of historical musical traditions with modern pop styles; and of course the former “subjects” are now documenting their own cultures in venues like YouTube. As a result, there is a movement on the part of ethnographers and librarians away from trying to define authenticity, and towards simply observing the ongoing discourse between traditional and modern communities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lynn has remarked on the need to reduce the percentage of our collections devoted to print bibliographic tools where the online environment now offers equivalent or superior discovery methods. In an MLA session that seemed to constitute a demonstration of this very principle, musicologist Hugh McDonald talked about his work in progress on a born-digital thematic catalog of the works of Bizet. Thematic catalogs have a long and venerable history in print, as definitive sources for the identification and primary source materials of a given composer’s works. They typically provide a numbering system for the works, with incipits (the musical notation for the principle themes) as an additional aid to identification, and cite manuscript materials and early editions. When freed of the space restrictions of print, McDonald envisions these catalogs as “theoretically” (i.e., when copyright issues have been ironed out) capable of documenting not just early editions but all editions ever published; not just the premiere performance, but all performances to date; not just incipits but full-text access to scores, recordings, reviews, and correspondence – compiled and updated collaboratively by many hands, in contrast to the famous catalogers of Mozart and Beethoven, who labored alone and whose catalogs are now “seriously out of date.” There are already many websites devoted to individual composers, but none, McDonald claims, presently approaches the kind of comprehensive compendium that might be realized based on the thematic catalog concept. One attendee, voicing a concern about the preservation of information in the online environment that is certainly not new and not unique to music, wanted to know if edits would be tracked and archived, noting that many librarians retain older print editions on their shelves for the light they cast on reception history and on the state of scholarship at a given time.

HOT TOPICS

Arriving late for the “Hot Topics” session, I walked into the middle of a lively debate on the comparative benefits of having a separate music library in the music department vs. housing the music collection in the main library. Those who headed departmental music libraries argued passionately for the special needs of performing musicians, and a librarian onsite who speaks their language. Those who work as generalists in main libraries pointed to music’s role in the arts and humanities as a whole, and in the increasingly interdisciplinary milieu of today’s academe. In terms of administrative clout, a sense of isolation has always been endemic to departmental libraries: one attendee who “survived” a move of her music collection from the music department to the main library reported that she now enjoys unprecedented access to administration, more effective communication with circulation and technical services staff regarding music materials, and daily contact with colleagues in other disciplines that has opened opportunities she would not have had otherwise.

Another hot topic was “MLA 2.0″: in response to dwindling travel budgets, a proposal was made to ask conference speakers to replay their presentations in Second Life.

CATALOGING

There were presentations on RDA and FRBR, two new cataloging standards, and I got to see some helpful examples for music materials, and well as a report on “deferred issues” that MLA continues to negotiate with the steering committee of RDA (these involve uniform titles and preferred access points; lack of alternative options for the principle source of information – problematic when you have a CD album without a collective title on the disc, but one on the container; definitions and treatment of arrangements and adaptations; and LC genre/form terms for music – which to use anglicized names for, and when to use the original language).

Indiana U, in their upcoming release of Variations, a program they’ve developed for digitizing scores and recordings collections, is “FRBRizing” their metadata. Unlike other early adopters of FRBR, they plan to make their metadata structure openly accessible, so that the rest of us can actually go in and see how they did it – this promises to be an invaluable aid to music catalogers as they transition to the new standard.

Another presenter observed that both traditional cataloging methods and the new RDA/FRBR schema are centered on the concept of “the work” – an entity with a distinct title and a known creator. Unfortunately, when faced with field recordings (and doubtless other ethnographic or other-than-traditionally-academic materials), a cataloger encounters difficulty proceeding on this premise. Does one take a collection-level approach (as archivists do with collections of papers) and treat the recording as “the work,” with the ethnographer as the creator? Or does one consider “the work” to be each of the often untitled or variously titled, often anonymously or collaboratively created performances captured on the recording? Music materials seem to span both sides of the paradigmatic divide, with Western classical repertoire that requires work-centered descriptors of a very precise and specialized nature (opus numbers, key, etc.) and multi-cultural research that challenges traditional modes of description and access.

Finally, I’ve got to share a witty comment made by Ed Jones of National University, who gave the introductory overview of FRBR. Describing how FRBR is designed to reflect the creative process – the multiple versions of a work from first draft through its publication history, to adaptations by others – he noted how the cataloger’s art, working from the other end, is more analogous to forensics: “We get the body, and have to figure out what happened.”


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