ER&L 2014 — Freeing Knowldege: A Values Proposition

Barbara Fister at Left Coast Crime in 2008.
“Barbara Fister” by Mark Coggins

Speaker: Barbara Fister, Gustavus Adolphus College

She looked at a number of library mission statements, and they have a lot of passive terminology like “providing” for people and “life-long learning”. Our missions should be stronger to mirror the value the people see in libraries and our most deeply-held values.

Sometimes we’re more assertive. Take the Darien Statements from a few years ago, for example. “The purpose of the library is to preserve the integrity of civilization.” Char Booth says we’re shape-shifters, which is why we’re uncomfortable with these grandiose statements. But underneath all this, libraries remain the mavens of the information world.

We’ve internalized the commercialization of library services (from being like Barnes & Noble to becoming a copy of the Apple Genius Bar), to the detriment of our core values. We’re not a consumer good, but we are being viewed by some as such. Faculty, for example, consider us to be the purchaser of the things they need, and much less so a partner in information literacy.

We’re not Google or Amazon — we don’t spy on our users. So, it’s harder to figure out what our users need. And, our focus is hyper-local compared to the global data collected by G & A. Then there’s the financial piece — life-long learning means something different when we can’t (or won’t) provide access to our eresource once the student becomes an alumnus.

In the journal cancelation wars, big and global tends to win out over the small and quirky. But, now we can’t even afford the big and local, so we’re relying on ILL. “We’ll get it to you somehow.” The library isn’t really free to all, as much as we may want it to be.

One possible solution is to create communities of interest that isn’t limited by affiliation. We need to stop thinking of providers of stuff for a limited community, and to expand to connect our broader communities to knowledge. We need to work collectively across our borders to connect our infrastructures and services.

We need to provide alternatives to the market-driven philosophy that is destroying and corrupting our information ecosystem.

Another world is possible. Some associations, for example, are shifting their journals to open access models as they can. Some libraries are setting aside parts of their budgets to support open access experimental projects. The Oberlin Group is in conversations about creating a collective open access university press run by their libraries.

She spoke at length about faculty and library leadership opinions on this, which are pretty much what you would expect, and then went on at length about why we need open access, which is again, pretty much what you would expect.

We need libraries without borders.

ER&L 2013: Overcoming Librarian Resistance to Adopting Discovery Tools — A Focus on Information Literacy Opportunities

“X-Factor” by Andy Rennie

Speaker: Stefanie Buck (Oregon State University)

It’s safe to say that discovery products have not received a positive response from the librarians who are expected to use them. We always talk about the users, and we forget that librarians are users, and are probably in them more than the typical freshman. They are new, and new things can be scary.

OSU has Summon, which they brought up in 2010. She thinks that even though this is mostly about her experience with Summon, it can be applied to other discovery tools and libraries. They had a federated search from 2003-2010, but toward the latter years, librarians had stopped teaching it, so when discovery services came along, they went that way.

Initially, librarians had a negative view of the one search box because of their negative experience with federated searching. Through the process of the implementation, they gathered feedback from the librarians, and the librarians were hopeful that this might live up to the promise that federated search did not. They also surveyed librarians outside of OSU, and found a broad range from love it to not over my dead body, but most lived in the middle, where it depended on the context.

Most librarians think they will use a discovery tool in teaching lower division undergraduates, but it depends if it’s appropriate or not. The promise of a discovery tool is that librarians don’t have to spend so much time teaching different tools, so they could spend more time talking about evaluating sources and the iterative process of research. Some think they actually will do that, but for now, they have simply added the discovery tool to the mix.

Participation in the implementation process is key for getting folks on board. When librarians are told “you must,” it doesn’t go over very well. Providing training and instruction is essential. There might be some negative feedback from the students until they get used to it, and librarians need to be prepared for that. Librarians need to understand how it works and where the limitations fall. Don’t underestimate the abilities of librarians to work around you.

These tools are always changing. Make sure that folks know that it has improved if they don’t like it at first. Make fun (and useful) tools, and that the librarians know how to create scoped tools that they can use for specific courses. If you have a “not over my dead body,” team teaching might be a good approach to show them that it could be useful.

Speaker: Leslie Moyo & Tracy Gilmore (Virginia Tech)

Initially there were mixed perceptions, but more are starting to incorporate it into their instruction. With so many products out there, we really need to move away from teaching all of them and spending more time on good research/search skills.

Students “get” discovery services faster if it is introduced as the Google of library stuff.

Move away from teaching sources and towards teaching the process. Enhance the power of boolean searching with faceted searching. Shift from deliberate format searching (book, article, etc.) toward mixed format results that are most relevant to the search.

ER&L 2013: Listening to Users

“Belinha has more than good looks” by Francisco Martins

What the “Google Generation” Says About Using Library & Information Collections, Services, and Systems in the Digital Age

Speaker: Michael Eisenberg, University of Washington Information School

We’ve moved from scarcity to abundance to overload. We have so many great resources our students don’t know where to begin. They’re overwhelmed.

Think about how our computing technology has evolved and shrank in both size and price while increasing in power over the past 30 years. Where will be 20 years from now?

We live in a parallel information universe that is constantly feeding information back to us. The library is anywhere anytime, so how can we best meet the information needs of our users?

Project Information Literacy seeks to answer what it means to be a student in the digital age. They have been assessing different types of students on how they find and use information to get generalized pictures of who they are.

Why, when you have an information need, do you turn to Google first and not research databases?

Students ignore faculty warnings about Wikipedia. They still use it, but they just don’t cite it.

Students aren’t really procrastinators, they’re just busy. They are working to the last minute because every minute is highly scheduled. Have we changed our staffing or the nature of our services to help them at point of need?

Students don’t think of librarians as people who can help them with their research, they think of them as people who can help them with resources. They are more likely to go to their instructors and classmates before librarians during the research process. The hardest part for them is getting started and defining the topic (and narrowing it down). They don’t think librarians can help them with that, even though we can, and do (or should if we aren’t already).

Students are more practiced at writing techniques than research strategies. Professors complain that students can’t write, but maybe writing shouldn’t be the only method of expression.

Most students don’t fully understand the research process and what is expected. They need clarity on the nature and scope of assignments, and they aren’t used to critical thinking (“just tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you”). Most handouts from profs don’t explain this well, focusing more on mechanics and sending students to the library shelves (and not to databases or online resources). Rarely do they suggest talking to the librarian.

Students are not the multi-taskers we think they are, particularly during crunch time. Often they will use the library and library computers to force themselves to limit the distractions and focus. They use Facebook breaks as incentives to get things done.

After they graduate, former students are good with technology, but not so good with low-tech, traditional research/information discovery skills.

Information literacy needs are more important than ever, but they are evolving. Search to task to use to synthesis to evaluation — students need to be good at every stage. The library is shifting from the role of information to space, place, and equipment. Buying the resources is less of an emphasis (although not less in importance), and the needs change with the academic calendar.

What do we do about all this?

Infuse high quality, credible resources and materials into courses and classes. Consider resources and collections in relation to Wikipedia. Infuse information literacy learning opportunities into resources, access systems, facilities, and services (call it “giving credit,” which they understand more than citing). Provide resources, expertise, and services related to assignments. Re-purpose staff and facilities related to calendar and needs. Offer to work with faculty to revise handouts — emphasize the quality of resources not the mechanics. Offer flexible and collaborative spaces with a range of capabilities and technology, less emphasis on print collection development. Consider school-to-work transitions in access systems, resources, services, and instruction.

Beyond formal instruction, what are the ways we can help students gain the essential information literacy skills they need? That is the challenge for eresources librarians.

acrl northwest 2006 – day one

“The Emerging Youth Literacy Landscape of Joy” -Dr. Anthony Bernier (San Jose State University)

New Youth Literacies

  • state of current research
    • research shifted from what young people knew to how they knew it
    • young people learn bibliographic skills differently from adults
    • as a result, pedagogy itself must become more flexible
    • ethnographic research can help us
  • gaps in research
    • students are reduced to one-dimensional themes
    • information seeking is individual
    • games structure and play can inform us about youth information seeking
    • young people are viewed only as information consumers
  • libraries need to be asking why questions about young people information seeking choices
  • new paths for research
    • consider the daily life of young people
    • email is now just a quaint way to communicate with old people
    • New Youth Literacy – young people as literacy producers
      • fugitive literacy produced in small lots, non-sequential, and non-serial; using all forms of media – ephemera
      • Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, 2002
    • Information futures and young people
      • emerging technologies for education – The Horizon Report 2006 Edition – collaboration and social computing needs to be embraced by university libraries – IM reference, Flickr, Skype, pod/webcasting, etc.
      • future challenges
        • intellectual property
        • continuing information literacy skills
        • technical support

“A Sensible Approach to New Technologies in Libraries: How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons?” – Jessamyn West
http://librarian.net/talks/acrl-or

  • It isn’t about being expert on the latest and greatest, it’s about being flexible enough to learn the technologies you and your patrons use.
  • Smart people read the manual – knowing how to use tools to solve your problems is almost the same as solving them on your own.
  • In the end, it’s what you want out of your computer.
  • Web 2.0: “Your cats have profiles on Catster.”
  • Library 2.0 is a service philosophy: being willing to try new things and constantly evaluating your services – look outside the library world to find solutions to internal problems – the Read/Write Web
  • Librarian 2.0: not being the bottleneck between patrons and the information they want
  • Email is for talking to your colleagues.
  • Technocracy lives in chat.
  • “Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” — so do our users
  • “Blogs are like courseware, only easy to use.”
  • “Pew reports are like crack to librarians.”
  • It doesn’t matter if you think Wikipedia is good or bad. The reality is that’s where the eyeballs are.
  • Open APIs allow people to do nerdy type of stuff – mashups turn nifty things into tools you use for work.
  • People who have broadband connections are the ones interacting with the internet, and web-based tools are being created for them, not for dialup people.

I really liked this talk. Jessamyn is an engaging speaker.


“Web 2.0 Is the Web” or “We’re All Millenials Now” – Rachel Bridgewater
del.icio.us tag “menucha06

  • “born digital people”
  • Match the tool to the job – you can learn how to use them, so the question is do you need it?
  • How does Web 2.0 effect scholarship? Sort of is the original vision of what the web would be – everyone is a publisher and information is shared freely.
  • What is 2.0 for librarians?
    • web as platform
    • radical openness: open source, open standards (API, etc.)
    • flattened hierarchy
    • user focused
    • micro-content: blog post as unit of content; atomization of content
  • Web 1.0 is a framework based on the print world – the NetGens don’t need them

Web 2.0 that enhances library stuff

  • Social bookmarks can be constantly evolving bibliographies.
  • Blogs are a platform for sharing scholarly ideas that are not developed as a part of complex papers or monographs, and they allow for more immediate discourse.
  • Networked books (Library Journal article about the social book) – how do they effect our ideas of authorship when they can be created and contributed to by anonymous writers via wikis and other similar tools? See Lawrence Lessig’s book Code. Does canon mean anything anymore?
  • Peer review – can it be replaced by real-time peer review through comments and/or wiki edits? “open peer review”
  • Open data – using distributed computing networks to crunch numbers – more than just searching for aliens. Link to the raw data from the online journal article. Libraries could/should be the server repositories.

Maybe we should be listening to our patrons to find out where information is going. Maybe Wikipedia is the future. Instead of saying that our databases are like the Reader’s Guide, we should be saying they’re like Wikipedia, only created by known scholars and proven to be authoritative.

updated to fix the tweaky code — didn’t have time to do it until now — sorry!