Professional Development

Kyle’s instruction conference roundup: Three birds with one stone

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:30 pm

If you’ve ever considered attending three conferences in three different states in the same week, you’d better be prepared to be inundated with new ideas, new contacts, and challenges to your practice. Here, I’ll attempt to find the overarching themes from my experiences at LOEX in Pittsburgh, The Innovative Library Classroom conference (TILC) at Radford University in Virginia, and at NCBIG Camp at UNCG. See also: Joy at LOEX, Amanda at LOEX, Joy at TILC and NCBIG, and Kathy at NCBIG. They’re much quicker at their writeups than I am.

Pittsburgh has bridges, baseball, and for a short weekend in May, some of the best librarians

Challenging structures and practice

It’s a really exciting time to be involved in library instruction. The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy has sparked countless conversations about IL and the role of librarians in the teaching and learning missions of their institutions. The most dominant conversation, I think, has been that surrounding critical pedagogy in libraries, which Amanda so thoroughly covered in her post. I’ll save you the rehash of Amanda, but I will say that I’m really excited to see these conversations becoming more mainstream in the instruction world (although some might react to this with some indie rock skepticism). Some have suggested that information literacy can be considered a discipline in its own right; I think #critlib is definitely the strongest evidence of a move in that direction. Eamon Tewell’s LOEX presentation “The Practice & Promise of Critical Information Literacy in Library Instruction served as both a good introduction to the topic and as an interesting snapshot of current critical infolit practices and attitudes. One finding that rang true from my own experience is that integrating critical information literacy concepts has made my instruction much more engaging and meaningful, both for my students and for me as an instructor.

Other challenges had less to do with what we mean by information literacy and more to do with how we teach it. I found the LOEX presentations “Rhetorical Reinventions: Rethinking Research Processes and Information Practices to Deepen our Pedagogy by Donna Witek, Mary Snyder Broussard, and Joel Burkholder, and “Mixing It Up: Teaching Information Literacy Concepts Through Different ‘Ways of Learning‘” by Lorna Dawes to be particularly interesting. The former investigated IL through the lens of rhetoric and composition theories, finding very relevant connections to the work of our colleagues in the writing program; the latter looked at how we might apply Davis and Arend’s “Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning to IL instruction, especially in light of the Framework.

Keeping awesome sustainable

One refrain of all three conferences was how we might create more sustainable instruction practices and avoid becoming victims of our own success. I think we face this challenge on two fronts at ZSR: our LIB series only continues to grow and evolve (looking forward to new additions to the RIS team soon!), and one-shot sessions, embedded librarian collaborations, and personal research sessions show no signs of letting up. We’re pretty psyched when we get an invite to do a one-shot for a new professor who’s willing to make it more of a collaboration than a babysitting session, but we all know that with more classes comes more student consultations.

Librarians at James Madison University shared how they use asynchronous online instruction as a scalable way to reach the 60 sections (1000+ students!) of the foundational course of their First Year Writing program, requiring just one librarian (!!!) for support, using online tutorials created with Guide on the Side and LibGuides. At the University of Virginia, they employ multiple techniques to make their one-shot instruction program more sustainable, such as focusing their efforts on specific courses, collaborating to ensure consistency across sessions, sharing resources so as not to reinvent the wheel, and setting limits on the number back-to-back sessions and the total number of one-shots taught each day. The instruction program at UVA is much more centralized: they have a standalone Teaching & Learning Team, separate from and equivalent to their two teams of subject specialists on their really interesting organizational structure. Finally, our friend Katy Webb at ECU delivered an amazing lightning talk at LOEX on how she implemented a sustainable method for reviewing and weeding their garden of LibGuides on an ongoing basis. Lots of info here in a ZIP file.

Maybe the best session I attended at any of the conferences was a session at LOEX called “Steal This Idea! Getting from Awesome to Action.” (For slides, handouts, and suggested readings, visit bit.ly/loextoolkit.) Appropriately, this engaging session fell at the end of the conference, when everyone was saturated with awesome ideas. As we all know, actually remembering and enacting those ideas is the trick, because inevitably we all come back to flooded inboxes and quickly forget about or feel that we have no time to do the things we swore we’d do during the conference. A few things I brought home from this session:

  • Keep a list of your ideas in a system that works for you. I keep mine in Trello. It’s now full of ideas from all of these conferences.
  • Separate “dreams” from more actionable “ideas.” You might not be able to accomplish the Big Thing yet, but you might someday when you have new resources or insight.
  • Schedule regular meetings with yourself to review these lists and check your progress. These meetings should be free of self-judgment! Weed out ideas that no longer work, and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Often enacting big ideas requires big (and complicated) change in an organization. Understanding what elements of a project you have, and what elements you need, is crucial to managing this kind of change. I think this slide is super amazing:

Building bridges and dismantling silos

If you’re still reading, you’re awesome! Here’s a reward for you.

Lots of the work I do involves making connections to faculty as they kick around ideas related to digital pedagogies or information literacy. Sometimes that’s just helping them find a tool or some content that will work for what they want to do in their classroom. Sometimes that’s delivering a synchronous webinar after hours to teach online students about research. But sometimes these connections result in bringing together a team of people, including Molly Keener and legal counsel, to update the university’s copyright policy, devise a system for fair use evaluations, and create a workaround for our lack of a streaming media service using the tools already at our disposal, Apollo 13-style. (More on that later, probably, but suffice it to say that Molly Keener is a steely-eyed missile (wo)man.)

What I’m getting at is that my work, and the work of many of us in ZSR, finds adjacencies to the work of various units on campus, such as the Teaching & Learning Center, Information Systems, and Online Education, to name a few. But far too often, I think, we tend to operate in our own little silos, unaware of how the work these other units are doing might overlap with our own.

So I was pretty thrilled to find there was a thread running through TILC and LOEX that spoke to dismantling those silos and building more meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with (specifically) centers for teaching excellence. One session in particular highlighted how libraries and campus partners can both “buy” and “sell” resources, personnel, services, and spaces in our shared mission of supporting the teaching and learning missions of our institutions. The presenters–a librarian and a director for the CTE at Indiana University of Pennsylvania–discussed how they’ve shared each other’s assets to their mutual benefit: co-marketing events, providing classroom spaces, and promoting services, collections, and expertise. For example, the library has used LibGuides to help the CTE organize handouts and workshop materials, and the CTE regularly sponsors faculty lunches in the library in which librarians facilitate workshops on information literacy or using library resources in their classes. A win for the library, a win for the CTE, and a win for the faculty.

Other cool things

I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Amanda on not one, but two stellar presentations during this whirlwind week. Our talk at LOEX about our LIB100 course redesign was well attended and lots of fun, and her lightning talk at TILC about using learner personas to design instruction was the best of all of them.

Required presentation selfie.

Required presentation selfie. I am not skilled at looking at the camera lens.

Finally, LOEX was a great opportunity to visit my in-laws in Pittsburgh and relax for a couple of days. Sam and I went on a hike; he checked the bridges for trolls.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor here about building relationships with faculty or something.

 

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.

Leslie at MLA 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015 8:26 pm

Lots of good presentations at this year’s meeting of the Music Library Association in Denver. As at ALA, winter weather prevented a number of colleagues from attending, but we were able to Skype presenters in most cases, and for the first time, selected sessions were live-streamed. The latter will be posted on the MLA website.

DIGITAL HUMANITIES

In a session on “digital musicology,” several exciting projects were described:

Contemporary Composers Web Archive (CCWA). A Northeastern consortium project in progress. They’re crawling and cataloging composers’ websites, and contributing the records to OCLC and the Internet Archive. The funding is temporary, so here’s hoping they find a way to continue this critical work preserving the music and music culture of our times.

RISM OPAC. The Repertoire international des sources musicales is the oldest internationally-organized music index (of manuscripts and early printed editions), but only a small portion has so far been made available online. The new online search interface they’re developing retrieves digital scores available on the websites of libraries, archives, composers, and others worldwide. They expect to have 2 million entries when national inventories are completed.

Music Treasures Consortium (MTC). A similar project hosted by the Library of Congress, it links to digitized manuscripts and early printed editions in conservatories, libraries, and archives in the US, UK, and Germany. It’s modeled on an earlier project, the Sheet Music Consortium (hosted by UCLA).

Blue Mountain Project. Named after a Kandinsky painting representing creativity, this Princeton project, funded by a NEH grant, aims to provide coverage of Modernism and the Avant-Garde in arts periodicals 1848-1923. References to music in these sources are often fleeting, so there is a need for enhanced “music discovery.” The presenter discussed the challenges of digitizing magazines: the mix of text, images, and ads; multiple languages of periodicals in this project; variations in the transcription/spelling of names (they plan to cross-index to VIAF, the international authority file).

In the Q & A period, discussion centered on the global importance of projects such as these, and the concomitant need for best-practices standards (including a requirement to link to VIAF) and multi-language capabilities in metadata schema.

INFORMATION LITERACY

Now that the ACRL Framework has replaced learning objectives with “threshold concepts,” music librarians have begun taking first stabs at interpreting these for their discipline:

Scholarship as a conversation = performance as a conversation. Most music students enter college as performers, so this can serve as a base for scaffolding. One notable difference: performance lacks a tradition of formal citation — might some way be found to codify the teacher/student oral tradition by which the performing arts are transmitted?

Authority as constructed and contextual = performers as authorities (Performer X as a leading interpreter of Composer Y’s works); also, the changing of performance practices over time; learning to listen with a critical evaluative ear.

Information creation as process: understanding the editing process for scores, and also of recordings and video (vs. live performance).

Research as inquiry: every performing-arts student who spends long hours in practice and rehearsal is familiar with the concept of an iterative process — an excellent jumping-off point for understanding research as an iterative process.

Searching as strategic exploration: this has been related to musicians’ vexed relationship with library discovery interfaces that don’t work well for music retrieval! Resourcefulness and persistence is needed to meet performers’ information needs regarding specialized details such as instrumentation, key, range, etc.

Information has value = creative output has value. Understanding how the artist fits into the marketplace; the complexities of copyright as it applies to the arts.

COPYRIGHT

The music library community has long been frustrated by issues surrounding music recordings released online but governed by EULAs (end-user license agreements) that prohibit institutional purchase. MLA and the University of Washington have recently received a IMLS grant to develop strategies for addressing these issues, “culminating in a summit with stakeholders and industry representatives.” On the agenda: EULA reform (developing a standard language); preservation (given the industry’s apalling track record, perhaps the library community can create dark archives?); and public relations. Strategies being considered: developing a MLA best practices document; creating a test case; approaching either the smaller labels (who are generally more open to negotiation) or going directly for the big three (Sony, Warner, and Universal) on the theory that if they agree, others will follow.

Another session on recordings and fair use discussed the best practices movement. Noting that the courts, when confronted by new questions, have begun referring to community practice, many disciplines and professions are drafting best-practices documents. Unlike guidelines, whose specificity make them prone to obsolescence, best-practices statements “reflect the fundamental values of a community” — which not only helps them better stand the test of time, but also results in more commonalities between communities, so that they reinforce each other, lending them more weight in the face of legal challenges. The NRPB (National Recordings Preservation Board) recently completed a study that recommended such a document, and the ARSC (Association of Recorded Sound Collections) has a handbook forthcoming.

USAGE PATTERNS

At a poster session, I learned about two surveys done at Kent State that queried the preferences of music and other performing-arts students re the materials they use. One survey noted the significant number of print resources that still occupied top places in a ranking of preferred materials: print scores were much preferred to e-scores (68% to 28%); ditto for books (80% print to 27% electronic); CDs were still used regularly. E-journals, however, were preferred to print (64% to 32%). The survey’s conclusion found a “strong sentiment” in favor of a mix of print and electronic.

The other survey debated the relevance of audio reserves. It confirmed widespread use of extra-library resources by students for their listening assignments: YouTube, streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, MP3s they had purchased themselves. Reasons given for preferring these sources: ability to listen on a smartphone or tablet (a preference also noted by commercial database vendors, who have begun developing mobile-device capabilities); personal comfort, and convenience. On the other hand, two encouraging reasons students give for using the library’s CD collection: the superior sound quality, and the availability of library staff for help.

CATALOGING

I attended a half-day workshop on genre and medium terms for music. Historically, the Library of Congress subject headings have combined, in long pre-coordinated strings, many disparate aspects of the materials we catalog: topic (Buddhism), genre (drama, folk music), form (symphonies), medium (painting, piano), physical format (scores), publication type (textbooks, catalogs), intended audience (children’s books, textbooks for foreign speakers). Since these can be more effectively machine-manipulated as discrete data than in strings, there’s a project afoot to parse them into separate vocabularies, to be used in new RDA fields, for more precise search-and-sort capabilities in our discovery interfaces.

Three vocabularies are being developed:

  • Genre/form (LCGFT) — e.g., drama, folk music
  • Demographic groups (LCDGT) — author’s nationality, gender, etc.; intended audience
  • Medium of performance (LCMPT) — for music: instruments/voices

Given the many thousands of existing subject terms, this is clearly a challenging task, and I acquired a new appreciation for its complexities as I listened to the LC folks describe their struggles wrestling music terminology (as just one disciplinary example) to the ground. Problems debated included: types of music that musicians have long regarded as genres in their own right (think string quartets) but are really just defined by their instrumentation or number of players; ditto for music set to certain texts (Magnificats, Te Deums); bringing out the distinctions between art music, folk music, and popular music (an attempt to remedy the original classical-centrism of the LC terminology); terms like “world music” that seem to have been invented mainly for marketing purposes; music for specific events or functions; stuff like master classes, concert tours, etc.; ethnomusicological (area studies) terms, which proved too numerous, and too inconsistently defined in reference sources, to be dealt with in the project’s initial phase; and tension between the need to build a logical hierarchy and recognizing the more fluid conventions practiced by user communities. While the new vocabularies are still under construction, we learned about the major changes, and how to encode the terms in RDA records.

In a session on Bibframe (a new encoding format designed to replace the aging MARC format), we heard about LD4L, a project conducted by Standford, Cornell, Harvard, and LC to develop an open-source extensible ontology to aid in conversion of MARC to Bibframe; and another project at UC-Davis to develop a roadmap for Bibframe workflows, from acquisitions operations to cataloging and conversion, and even a prototype discovery layer.

SIDELIGHTS

A Friday-night treat was the screening of a silent film (The General, starring Buster Keaton) accompanied by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (a 6-piece strings-and-winds band). The score was one they had compiled from music used by theater orchestras of the period, now archived in the University of Colorado’s American Music Research Center.

Leslie at LAUNC-CH 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015 10:21 am

I don’t often get to attend this annual conference, hosted by the Librarians Assembly of UNC-Chapel Hill, but always enjoy it when I do.

KEYNOTE

This year, we had an exceptionally engaging keynote speaker, Jeffrey A. Greene of the Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies program at Chapel Hill. He began by busting some common myths about learning:

  • Digital natives: Greene questions claims of physiological changes in young people’s brains; technology is just one of the life experiences of all sorts (whether you grew up on a farm or in suburbia, etc.) that informs thinking patterns. What is real, Greene says, is the digital divide — we can’t assume every student had a computer a home, is familiar with internet navigation, etc.
  • Multi-tasking: Greene contrasts the task of driving a car, which uses the automatic brain functions, with juggling “cognitively conscious” tasks — we just can’t do the latter effectively.
  • Learning styles: the style one uses at any given time depends on the content (try conveying the locations of the US states without resorting to any visual means).

Greene’s formula for self-regulated learning:

  • Understand the task.
  • Make a plan (a step many students skip).
  • Enact good strategies (many bright students who coasted through high school arrive in college with a very small toolbox of learning strategies).
  • Monitor progress (for anyone making their first attempt to master new material, it’s hard to add on this additional layer — students need our encouragement and guidance).
  • Evaluate and adapt (resisting the brain’s natural tendency to re-use automatic responses — to it, that’s more efficient than thinking, and re-thinking, about what you’re doing).

Greene’s presentation is posted on the LAUNC-CH website: http://launcch.web.unc.edu/events/conference/

LIB250

Another highlight was the presentation given by Ellen Daugman, Kaeley McMahan, and myself on LIB250 (our Humanities course). This was essentially an update on an article we published in 2012. We reviewed our initial development of the course, and described lessons we learned during the five years we’ve taught it, and how we adapted and improved it. We had a large and engaged audience, who offered thoughtful questions and an enthusiastic overall response. Discussions continued over lunch. A very gratifying outcome!

Our slides

Our article

 

 

Roz @ ALAMW

Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:58 am

Well, as I sit here and watch Winter Storm Linus blow snow sideways up the river, I will take some time to post my notes about my ALA Midwinter.

My MW started on Friday afternoon at the ACRL Leadership Council Meeting. I am the current Vice-Chair/Chair Elect of the Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) of ACRL. We start off each conference with a Leadership Council meeting for all ACRL leaders where we get updates, provide feedback and hear about upcoming initiatives. This year we heard updates from the three ad-hoc committees formed with the ACRL Strategic Plan: Research and Scholarly Environment, Student Learning and Information Literacy and Value of Academic Libraries. The big news is, of course, the proposed new Framework for Information Literacy (more on that later) but it was also interesting to hear that the Value of Academic Libraries committee is working on materials to help schools going through accreditation meet the requirements – templates, examples, etc. Too late for our SACS reaffirmation, perhaps, but will be useful to other schools.

Friday night I had dinner with SAGE and other members of their Library Advisory Boards. I am on an advisory board with SAGE and it’s always nice to visit with other members of the board in person and not just virtually. Dinner was at The Tortoise Club, a lovely, lively restaurant founded by one of the people who oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal. Dinner conversation focused on the future of reference publishing in the Social Sciences and how the old model of multi-volume sets only updated once a decade may need to be rethought. Interesting to hear how others from different kinds of institutions all seem to agree on that while disagreeing on what the new model needs to be. I would not want to be a publisher trying to figure out the new model and ways to continue to make money in this environment but SAGE always asks the right questions so if anyone can figure it out – it just may be them.

Then Saturday morning we had our LPSS Executive Committee meeting and our general membership meetings. I won’t bore you with the details, but our program for ALA Annual in San Francisco will be a panel presentation about libraries serving prison populations. We are partnering with the Anthropology and Social Sciences Section and the Libraries in Prisons interest group on this and it sounds like it will be really amazing.

Saturday afternoon I made the rounds of the vendor floor where I had to speak to a couple of vendors about specific products. Along the way I stopped by the Agati booth to see their amazing furniture and Mission Bell Media booth to visit with Rolfe Janke (formerly with SAGE) and Steven Bell. I am writing a chapter in their new book (edited by Steven, published by Rolfe) on library leadership. Also chatted with our reps from De Gruyters, Proquest, ABC-Clio and other vendors. No big news from any of them but good to check in.

I then made my way back (as the skies started to darken) to my hotel to attend the ACRL Board of Directors meeting where they were considering the final draft of the proposed Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. There was about 45 minutes of questions from the Board and then there was an open mic period where others could comment. For those who don’t know – the proposed framework is built around the idea of threshold concepts and would ultimately replace the current Standards for Information Literacy. The sunsetting period for the standards that the task force proposed is 18 months. There is A LOT of controversy about the framework with opinions ranging from ‘FINALLY we are getting it right’ to ‘It’s good but we have to have standards, too’ to ‘Throw out the framework – let’s just revise the standards.’ So the questioning was lively and the comments interesting. If you want to see some of the activity – check out the twitter hashtag conversation.

I have mixed feelings about the new framework – the threshold concepts are very much what we try to cover in LIB100 and LIB200 classes so they make sense to us. We never did more than use the standards as guidelines when developing our for-credit classes, but there are institutions out there that worked tirelessly to get the standards into graduation requirements or GenEd requirements at their institutions and I understand why they are really, really concerned about the idea of sunsetting the standards. The Framework works really well in talking to faculty about curricula and pedagogy but doesn’t work very well to roll up higher into your institutional goals or accreditation process. The final vote on the standards will be at the final ACRL board meeting Monday (tomorrow) and I get the feeling that they will not be given a free pass – I suspect some group will be tasked with revising the standards so they more closely align with the framework and the two will coexist. But don’t quote me on that.

And with that Winter Storm Linus has arrived and Mary Beth and I are pretty much stuck in our hotel today. We will check out afternoon sessions that are being held here but are doubtful that many, if any, will actually happen. We are staying warm and will be home at some point this week, but are not very confident that it will be tomorrow :)

Leslie at SEMLA 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014 5:07 pm

This year’s meeting of the Southeast Music Library Association was hosted by Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge. It was one of those enjoyable meetings where one can just sit back and absorb a lot of new information on a novel topic — this year’s theme was electronic and experimental music. LSU has a large program in this field, and boasts a Laptop Orchestra and a Mobile Device Orchestra. But it’s an area that many of the rest of us don’t have much occasion to deal with.

Some challenges in preserving and distributing born-digital musical works:

  • How do you define a musical instrument these days? Especially when the “instrument” is a piece of software or a smartphone? Or is part of a multi-media work?
  • How do you distribute such instruments, so that others are able to perform your work?
  • How do you notate this kind of music?
  • Obsolescence of software and hardware.

Attempted solutions have included:

  • Distributing the software for building instruments via websites, and by developing universal encoding standards.
  • Archives and repositories for software and media.
  • Rapid prototyping of instruments, for instance by producing stand-alone units (containing sensors, circuit boards, etc.) for specific projects.

Other presenters tackled the issues involved in cataloging experimental music. A colleague from Florida State identified lacunae in Library of Congress subject headings: often, the scope is either too broad (“Computer music,” “Electronic music”) or too narrow (flash-in-the-pan trends). There’s a paucity of headings for non-traditional methods of sound production, and extended techniques on instruments (we have “Prepared piano” dating from the 1960s generation, but not for current techniques like fluteboxing.) Another problem: genre and form have traditionally been the primary organizing principle when classifying music, but with much new music it’s the process of creating or performing the work (often on a random or extra-musical basis, as when sensors are placed or mapped so as to produce musical tones when people pass through a public place, or interact with a website) that is the principle aspect. A possible solution to all this: tagging, a.k.a. folksonomies. Some tags assigned by users of Last.fm, for instance, show potential to be incorporated into library catalogs, and into the LCSH hierarchy. A colleage from Chapel Hill also opened fascinating vistas for exploiting linked data in cataloging Hip Hop music: Hip Hop uses sampling from many other genres, so metadata that links to the source recordings would be of inestimable value for academic study, and for the DJs and artists who are currently involved in the identification and preservation of the source material (like Ninth Wonder, who recently guest-lectured at WFU).

On the IL front, presenters from Loyola described how, in response to an accreditation report that revealed deficiencies in the Music School’s efforts to equip its majors with technology skills, they developed a “Tech for Music” course, required for all music students. The course includes sessions on recording techniques, working with images (Photoshop etc.), software for music notation, and web presence for composers and performers, as well as good old library research skills.

All told, interesting sessions and perfect fall weather — couldn’t be better!

Metrolina Library Association’s 9th Annual Conference

Monday, June 16, 2014 1:25 pm

Last week, Kaeley and I attended the Metrolina conference in Charlotte. It was different from prior Metrolina conferences in that it was held on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College rather than at Johnson & Wales Univ. in downtown Charlotte. The conference center served as our venue and did so very well. The conference began with a keynote speech followed by 4 concurrent sessions that wrapped around a lunch and poster session. Kaeley and I have agreed to split our write-ups rather than submitting duplicate entries on the sessions we attended together.

During session 2, we attended New Frontiers: Rethinking Library Instruction in Online Learning Spaces. The speaker began by outlining the short-comings of one-shot library instruction sessions: there’s insufficient time to help students refine their topics, to encourage them to read and analyze sources, or connect different information sources in a meaningful way. He asserts that digital learning objects can overcome these short-comings.

A Digital Learning Object is an electronic resource with clear learning objectives that often has assessment tied to it. It can take many formats: lecture, tutorial, online game, interactive online exercise, or a video tutorial embedded in a research guide. It’s short and focused and the most effective ones contain interactive elements. Our toolkit videos were an early version of Digital Learning Objects.

The presenter’s advice for creating effective DLOs includes these design suggestions: start with clear objectives; use a combination of AV and text; break it into discrete sections so none is too long; include interactive elements. His process for producing an 8-module DLO on information literacy consisted of the following steps: define the objectives; assess the intended audience; write the script; design the visuals; record the audio; import captions; review, edit, finalize; distribute.

He used Adobe Captivate to create the modules, but there are many options for making DLOs. They can be embedded in research guides or in course management programs. Finally, he stressed that interactivity is the key to successful online learning.

For session 3, I attended Change Your Approach to Faculty Collaboration, the description for which read “This presentation will provide guidance on how to change approaches to faculty collaboration by playing a more integral role in academic writing and publishing teams” and she did exactly that. Ms. Sorrell provided suggestions for how librarians can move from supporting faculty research and writing to becoming co-authors with the faculty. This is especially possible when a faculty member is working on literature review.

Melanie Sorrell of UNC-Charlotte suggested librarians can play a more integral role in researching and writing lit reviews beyond searching for articles. First, she suggests, publicize your desire or intention to your faculty – let them know what you’d like to do. Publicize your own articles to your faculty so they understand you’re a published author. Approach younger, tenure-seeking faculty; they may be more open to working with you since their need to publish is great. Once you start working with a faculty member(s) negotiate with the primary author and make it clear you can do more than search for articles, such as identifying target journals or writing a section of the review. Establish author order. Once these items have been agreed upon, send an e-mail to the primary author documenting the conversation that includes you as co-author.

Once you’re established as a member of the research team, she recommends doing the following: establish a draft timeline and be sure to hit your deadlines; manage the citation management software; do some background reading on the topic; ask the lead author for a draft of the abstract; and establish a list of keywords, and share them with the author(s) to verify.

Ms. Sorrell recommends documenting your search strategy and including it in the methodology section of the article. Include keywords or subject headings, date range limitations, and any filters you applied. As the search evolves, document how you altered it, document synonyms, truncation or other changes you made. I had never thought of this before and it was a real ‘light bulb’ moment for me.

In the later stages, edit the 2nd draft, using the knowledge gained from the background reading to insure that the lit review reflects the articles’ content. Finally, help your co-authors understand the difference between subscription and open access journals as you decide where to submit it for publication.

Ms. Sorrell’s co-presenter spent the second portion describing open access and copyright issues for authors, but since Molly has covered these topics with us so thoroughly, I don’t feel it’s necessary to repeat that content here.

For session 4, I attended Crossing the Threshold: Threshold Concepts & IL by Kathy Shields and Jenny Dale in which they shared ACRL’s evolution from IL standards towards a set of threshold concepts. Threshold concepts are basic or foundational concepts without an understanding of which, a student cannot move forward or cross the threshold. Once one grasps a TC, one cannot unlearn it. Often TCs are so basic that they go unrecognized by those who understand them.

To qualify as a TC, an idea must be: transformative, integrative, irreversible, bounded and troublesome. They are often concepts that define a discipline and the way of thinking for professionals in that discipline.

Why switch from standards to threshold concepts? TCs are easier to explain to faculty in other disciplines, they offer a greater potential for collaboration, they help explain the ‘why’ behind particular practices and they’re more comprehensive – more than a matter of checking of boxes.

The threshold concepts being proposed by ACRL include: scholarship is a conversation; research is inquiry; format as process; authority is constructed and contextual; and searching is strategic. During the session, we broke into small groups and mapped the new TCs to the current standards. This made it easier to see the shift as an evolution rather than a sharp break with past practices.

Sessions 3 and 4 were the most interesting to me as the concepts are so relevant to my practice of librarianship. I’m already thinking about how I might integrate threshold concepts into my LIB230 and LIB235/ESE305 classes.

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.

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!

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.

 

 

 


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