11/29/2011 From SLA Future Ready 365 comes the following article to keep librarians working in our century. Thoughts on skills needed for the success of librarians in the 21st century
by Gwen Alexander
As the dean of the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should be offering learning experiences that will support 21st century librarians. The two most important skills that come to mind immediately are both related to “change”: 1) leading/planning for change and 2) recognizing change as opportunity. New technologies and global developments have accelerated the pace of change recently, which engenders related questions: How shall librarians learn the skills of adapting to change, recognizing opportunities, and planning and implementing changes for the future? Are these skills that can be taught in a master’s level course? How do people learn to discern change that adds value from change that harms? What about unintended consequences that result from change and its inherent opportunities? How can leaders of change overcome competing commitments to traditional librarianship?
In That Used to Be Us, written by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, the authors discuss the unique role America plays in providing important public services across the globe and the consequences of failing to renew domestic sources of American prosperity and strength. They argue that a strong, pro-market federal government is necessary to create favorable conditions that promote private enterprise. I would add that one of these domestic sources has been, and continues to be, our libraries and the ethic of freedom of access to information for everyone. If this is true, librarians and supporters of libraries are tasked with the responsibility of updating libraries and library services to keep them relevant to 21st century information needs. To accomplish this task, we need to know what is relevant to meeting 21st century information needs.
I think our libraries need to focus on being community information/learning centers that support education and information literacy from birth through old age. Providing access to the world of knowledge (far more than the basic subjects in formal education) in a variety of formats is still what libraries and librarians do best. Libraries are not repositories for books, computer labs, or quiet places—they are educational institutions that are vital to all age groups. We need to make sure that the general public and individuals who are part of the funding process understand that libraries are necessary to the initial and continuing education of all age groups, from birth to old age.
I began with the idea that librarians need the skills to plan and lead change and recognize change that brings additional opportunities. I am ending with the thought that all change is not necessarily for the good and we need to be able to recognize the difference so we can know which path to choose. The “good” changes are those that support libraries as community information/learning centers. SLIM has initiated a concentration in Leadership and Administration that includes courses in management, leadership and leading change, marketing and public relations, and a choice of courses focused on public libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries. Recognizing the need for change, planning change, and implementing change are taught across the curriculum. This is the change we have made as our response to the need to educate students in how to move forward in our changing profession and environment and contribute to the library and information management field as professionals in the future.
Gwen Alexander is the Dean of Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management.
11/19/2011 A librarian struggles with the definition of library in light of the destruction of the temporary library on Wall Street. What would your definition of a library be? :
This week, after tweeting a link to ALA’s President Molly Raphael’s statement regarding the destruction of the Occupy Wall Street Library in New York City, I became engaged in a conversation on Twitter about what constitutes a library. To me this seems obvious, but I had a hard time coming up with a hard fast definition. I discovered that, like Justice Stewart, I’m of the know-it-when-I-see-it mindset when it comes to identifying it, a library that is. I am not sure I can define it in terms that reconcile with the statement from ALA. If I say the dissolution or destruction of any library is wrong I need a concrete definition for library, because while it may be uncool (and probably illegal) for someone to come into my home and destroy my personal library, I’m not sure that warrants a statement from the ALA President. Let me be clear, I am in complete and total agreement with the statement from ALA. I will happily defend that statement and ALA’s choice to make it. The problem I ran into was defining a library in terms that fit with it. Not just the OWS library but any library of this type. Even after doing some digging (see below) I still didn’t feel like I could offer a succinct definition, not the 140 character kind Twitter requires and probably not even a 140 word one.
For example, the Merriam Webster definition could apply to my private library, well not the morgue part but the rest of it, so that doesn’t work. Ditto for Oxford. The Whole Library Handbook requires that it be “ organized by information professionals or other experts”. So again that would apply to my private library. But this definition also leads us into that whole merry circle of a conversation (or shouting match and snipping remarks) about what constitutes an information professional. I don’t think a collection needs to be organized by an MLS holding person to qualify as a library. You could throw publicly accessible into the definition to rule out my home library because I only begrudging lend books to friends so I’m not about to let the public en masse have access to it. But there are many great libraries not freely available to the public. I read a couple more articles, linked below, but they didn’t help either. So I give up, I’m taking it to the masses, what do you think?
What makes a library a library?
1. a : a place in which literary, musical, artistic, or reference materials (as books, manuscripts, recordings, or films) are kept for use but not for sale
b : a collection of such materials
2 a : a collection resembling or suggesting a library
b : morgue 2
3 a : a series of related books issued by a publisher
b : a collection of publications on the same subject
From the Oxford Dictionaries
“A library is a collection of resources in a variety of formats that is (1) organized by information professionals or other experts who (2) provide convenient physical, digital, bibliographic, or intellectual access and (3) offer targeted services and programs (4) with the mission of educating, informing, or entertaining a variety of audiences (5) and the goal of stimulating individual learning and advancing society as a whole.” (p.2)
- What Is a Library? An Attempt at Common Sense | Peer to Peer Review
- Council on Library and Information Resources Washington, D.C. Libraries Designed for Learning
- What is a library anymore, anyway? by Michael A. Keller, Victoria A. Reich, and Andrew C. Herkovic
- IFLA Treaty Proposal on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives (PDF) Jump to page five for the definition of a library. [added 11.20.2011]
- What Do You Think Libraries Will Look Like in 2015?
- Seth Godin Misses the Point on Libraries, Again.
- 9 Reasons Publishers Should Stop Acting Like Libraries Are The Enemy and Start Thanking Them
11/20/2011 Podcasts for Librarians via David Lee King:
Library Podcasts you Might Find Useful
by DAVID LEE KING on NOVEMBER 10, 2011
These aren’t podcasts done by local libraries, for their local customers. Instead, these podcasts are all focused on us librarians.
And I’m using “podcast” loosely in my list – it includes audio-only podcasts, call-in live shows (that then turn into downloadable audio podcasts after the fact), and video shows.
List of Librarian Podcasts (the first two swiped from Bobbi’s post):
- Whatever Mathers: Creative conversations with host Amy Mather and a revolving cast of surprise guests.
- Circulating Ideas: the Librarian Interview Podcast: Interviews with librarians.
- NCompass Live, from the Nebraska Library Commission: focus on library trends.
- This Week in Libraries: Eric and Jaap from the Netherlands host a weekly video show with a bunch of interesting guests, usually talking about the future of libraries. Definitely international in scope.
- T is for Training: call-in live show/podcast focused on training
- Games in Libraries: A podcast about Games, Gaming, and Gamers in Libraries (sporadic at the moment)
- Adventures in Library Instruction: A monthly podcast by and for library information literacy instructors and teaching librarians. The show includes features, interviews and discussion about teaching in libraries.
- LibPunk: Live call-in show/podcast focused on hot topics in libraryland
Additions from the comments (some other really cool-sounding podcasts):
- The Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory podcast
- The WGIL Room – Issues in library instruction, information literacy and emerging technology
- Dquarium Bibliotech - Libraries have always been the backbone of any information society. Bibliotech is an audio podcast that discusses all things digital technology at our libraries.
- George and Joan, Thinking Out Loud – as in George Needham, Library Strategist, and Joan Frye Williams, Library Futurist.
So – what am I missing in this list? Know of any other podcasts focused on the library/information professional industry? Let’s list them here. And make sure to listen/watch/call-in – give them a try, and see if you get something out of them!
11/19/2011 A History of Social Media via YouTube
Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Nov 1, 2011
Two Stanford scholars of the 17th and 18th centuries say the earlier era prefigured the “information overload,” with its own equivalents of Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Social networks have been key to almost all revolutions — from 1789 to the Arab Spring.
Related article: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/november/old-social-media-110211.html
Tracking 18th-century “social network” through letters
Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Dec 14, 2009
Researchers map thousands of letters exchanged in the 18th century’s “Republic of Letters” and learn at a glance what it once took a lifetime of study to comprehend.
11/14/2011 Via INFOdocket Information Industry News + New Web Sites and Tools From Gary Price and Shirl Kennedy
comes this report:
From the Library of Congress: “Finding E-books: A Guide”
Created by J. Cheyenne Hohman, University of Kentucky*
* 2011 Alternative Spring Break Internship Participant
From the Guide:
This guide is an introduction to e-books: what they are, how to use them, and where to find them, at the Library of Congress and elsewhere online. An e-book (also referred to as an electronic book, ebook or digital book) is a text that can be viewed and/or downloaded onto a computer or other digital device. E-books cover a wide range of genres and subjects. Though many e-books are currently available in both digital and conventional paper formats, some are created strictly in digital format. Conversely, some conventional paper books do not exist in digital format, because of the book’s copyright status, or the preferences of the book’s publisher or author.
Finding E-books: A Guide is Organized into 4 Sections:
11/13/2011 There’s lots of news about Wikipedia recently. Here are 2 articles: Just as Turnitin files a report that Wikipedia is the most plagiarized site on the web comes this article from the Vancouver Sun:
Wikipedia gaining respect in places of higher learning
If they were going to use Wikipedia for his class on Latin American literature, he thought, they might as well improve some of the shoddy articles
on the subject. So, for the past five years, students in his class have
edited or contributed articles to Wikipedia as part of a class assignment.
“It was a chance to break down some of the barriers between the university and society,” Beasley-Murray said.
Wikipedia is described as a “free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation.”
It was launched in 2001 and takes the first part of its name from the Hawaiian word “wiki,” for fast, and is the name of a server program that allows anyone to edit the website’s content through their own browser.
FIVE CLASSES IN CANADA
By the end of this year, Wikipedia hopes to have convinced enough professors worldwide that approximately 10,000 students will be contributing to the site. There are five classes contributing this year in Canada, but there are likely others doing it without being part of the Global Education Program.
The program’s ambassadors tour campuses, hoping to get more professors on board with the idea that their students should write Wikipedia articles rather than papers that may simply be filed away once they’re marked.
“One of the incentives for students is they’re leaving something behind,” said Jonathan Obar, who oversees the Canadian program.
“The material is staying online and making a difference.”
Wikipedia’s goal of having open-sourced learning in higher education is mirrored by similar pushes at the secondary and elementary school level.
The Toronto District School Board, for instance, lists Wikipedia as a primary source in a research guide it hands out to students, while Wikipedia will expand its college program to a high school in Virginia next year.
More often now, Wikipedia is something that’s being used in the classroom, rather than avoided.
“It is a valid source for a lot of generalized public information,” said Lisa Dempster, a teacher-librarian at Riverdale Collegiate in Toronto.
Reliable is not a word that traditionally has been associated with Wikipedia, but that’s changing.
The change began in 2005 when the prestigious science journal Nature compared Wikipedia to Encyclopaedia Britannica and found Wikipedia to be almost as accurate as Britannica, a finding that set off a war of words between the two institutions.
The evidence mounted this year, when Brigham Young University in Utah found that Wikipedia was a reliable place to learn about U.S. politicians. The school’s study found few inaccuracies in the biographical and voting details of gubernatorial candidates.
And, in September this year, a study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice found that cancer information on Wikipedia was as accurate as information on peer-reviewed, patient-oriented websites.
The only problem? Wikipedia wasn’t as readable – the wiki was written at a college level, while peer-reviewed websites were written at a Grade 9 level, the study found.
But because the information on Wikipedia can be changed in an instant, throwing off its accuracy, educators say their students need a new set of investigative skills to navigate it.
Dempster said she has to tell her students that Wikipedia is like talking to your neighbour – it’s a good place to hear about information, but shouldn’t be the only source you tap.
“It’s not just Wikipedia. It’s crowd-sourced information,” Dempster said.
She said figuring out how to help students navigate this information minefield is a “continuing conversation.”
A desire to solve those accuracy issues and to help students learn has led Wikipedia to turn to students to contribute to articles to improve the information available worldwide.
The Global Education Program is the result of nearly two years of work by a cross-disciplinary committee of policy experts that reviewed thousands of entries and found ways to correct inaccuracies.
Professors post course information to Wikipedia so that anyone can see what lessons are being taught and students use Wikipedia to collaborate in online groups.
TOP 10 SITE
The program’s inaugural year in the United States led to 800 students from schools such as Harvard and Michigan State University editing and writing articles that, if printed on paper, would have created a stack about 2½ metres high.
Professors who took part in the program last year in the United States have returned to the program this year, Obar said.
Beasley-Murray said his year-over-year use of Wikipedia in assignments has been helpful in his teaching.
Students work all semester on their Wikipedia articles – so no late-night cramming before an essay is due – and have to learn to collaborate with their classmates and Wikipedia’s editors.
“This is a Top 10 site on the Internet. The types of things the students were doing in class had real-world impact, realworld effects,” he said.
Educators who use Wikipedia also say that bringing it into the classroom helps students become more critical researchers who better identify what is true online.
“You’re constantly teaching that evaluative technique,” Dempster said.
“We’re trying to avoid truthiness, and it still always comes down to who wrote it and why.”
Beasley-Murray said his students may arrive at the start of a semester blindly trusting Wikipedia, but they don’t leave that way.
“They read it a lot more intelligently. In part, that means a lot more critically, but they’re able to distinguish between good articles and bad articles, and they’re able to see how you should use Wikipedia, which is a first place of resort, not the last.”
Jennifer Branch-Mueller, a professor at the University of Alberta who works on developing Web 2.0 lesson plans, says the problem with Wikipedia in the classroom isn’t the website itself or the information therein, but the fact that lesson plans haven’t adapted to the times.
She says teachers continue to use the same old lesson plans instead of coming up with assignments that require students to do anything beyond the memorization and repetition of facts, she said.
Then there is the next generation of teachers that has grown up with the website. Branch-Mueller said she finds those individuals are also leery about employing the website at school.
“I’m seeing quite a resistance to using technology in the classroom. Students who have succeeded in a traditional class … don’t see a problem.”
She said the student teachers she deals with, for the most part, don’t want to use Wikipedia in the classroom and struggle to find creative ways to use it and other online resources in the classroom.
“It seems to be a hard sell,” Branch-Mueller said.
“Some students are not quite there yet.”
Wikipedia hopes otherwise. It plans to be on campuses such as York University in Toronto in the coming months to have professors and students take part in its free program.
“Students are really interested in social media and professors are really interested in finding new ways … to teach students,” Obar said.
“As technology evolves, our tools for teaching students need to evolve as well.”
From the Chronicles of Higher Education’s “Wired Campus” is this article:
What Wikipedia Deletes, and Why
October 26, 2011, 2:02 pm
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, famously allows anyone to write or revise its entries, and the history of each item is open for anyone to review. Except for material that leaders of the effort consider too “dangerous” to leave online.
The fine print of its stated practices notes that in some cases, material is completely spiked from the record. Or, as the policy reads: “a revision with libelous content, criminal threats or copyright infringements may be removed afterwards.”
These total redactions are what a University of Pennsylvania research team has been mining for the past year in the hopes of shedding some light on what Wikipedia deletes forever and why. In 2010 redactions accounted for more than 56,000 of the 47.1 million revisions, according to the research team.
The researchers, Andrew G. West and Insup Lee, wondered what content on the enormously popular Web site could be so troubling that Wikipedia administrators would decide to remove it forever. “Wikipedia is at that paramount example of open-source transparency,” Mr. Lee said. “So when you see them behaving in a nontransparent manner, you want to see what motivates them to do this.”
Copyright infringement was the most common reason Wikipedia stated for deleting material, Mr. West and Mr. Lee found.
The Wikimedia Foundation has been sued over copyright and privacy issues in the past. While only 0.007 percent of page views in 2010 to the English Wikipedia site resulted in content that was later redacted, that’s enough to land the organization and its operators in hot water. That’s why leaders of the encyclopedia refer to the material it redacts as “dangerous content.”
“We’ve identified that on the surface these copyright cases are the worst,” said Mr. Lee.
“The research goal for us is, how can we provide some automated way to detect the problems so they can be removed immediately?” Mr. West added. “It’s very difficult to stop people from adding something, but we can find a way to get rid of it quickly.”
The difficulty in identifying instances of plagiarism, the pair said, is evident in the numbers. Most “dangerous content,” such as libel or invasions of privacy, is taken down within two minutes, on average. But copyright-related issues stayed up for an average of 21 days, they found.
Wikipedia’s leaders have recently increased the number of people with the ability to permanently delete text, including entries in the history pages. In May 2010, approximately 40 people held these rights; now more than 1,800 people do, Mr. West and Mr. Lee said.
The larger work force has helped to reduce the amount of dangerous content found on the site, the researchers said. But humans alone won’t solve the problem in its entirety. Sometimes they even introduce problems when trying to delete dangerous content and removing beneficial revisions in the process, which the research team refers to as “collateral damage.” This brings up the question, then, of who even gets to make the call when something is dangerous content or not.
“For all the problems on Wikipedia,” Mr. West said, “I feel strongly that the solutions have to be automatic in nature because these attackers increasingly have these machines doing their bidding for them.”
The biggest hurdle the Wikipedia operators need to overcome, in the minds of the research team, is trust. If the encyclopedia hopes to see continued success, that will be the main obstacle, they said.
More on the authors’ Wikipedia redaction research can be viewed in their full paper,“What Wikipedia Deletes: Characterizing Dangerous Collaborative Content.”
10/27/2011 From Phil Bradley’s weblog
Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, search engines and their development. These are my personal views and not those of CILIP or any other organisation I may be associated with.
October 13, 2011
A library is not…
a building. Sure, there are some lovely wonderful buildings which house libraries, and we don’t have to go back too far to see when the building that housed a library was essentially a temple of worship to the book. However, while a library needs a building (although I’m not going too far down that route any longer, since a case can easily made that it’s no longer true), it can’t define the library. Sure, it can help with the concept of a library, and it can assist in the role of the library – they used to be quiet buildings with loud rooms, but now they’re more often than not a loud building with quiet rooms, but a building full of books, neatly arranged with helpful people doing things for the members/clients/etc could quite easily be a bookshop.
A library is not a collection of books. It’s also not a collection of resources either. We cannot define ourselves by the artifacts that we use. We should – hopefully – have long gone beyond that – into other media to begin with, but then, as society has started to leave physical objects behind with the increased use of music files instead of CDs and films on demand instead of DVDs and knowledge ‘in the cloud’ instead of on CD-ROM, so has the the library and the librarians. We’re not in the book business – we have *never* been in the book business. We’re in the knowledge business, helping, assisting and facilitating what our members and our communities want. However, and this will raise a few hackles I’m sure – perhaps we’ve not done it as loudly or as obviously as we should. For many reasons – librarians are not well known for being self publicists and for shouting what they do from the rooftops, and perhaps because in our job we seek consensus and agreement rather than discord and disagreement. If it is seen that the principle role of the library/librarian is to maintain a collection, then we become defined BY that collection. The argument then turns into one of ‘what will happen if we get rid of the collection?’, rather than ‘can our community manage without the input of a librarian?’ At that point, people will say that they can manage without, because there are bookshops (although in decreasing numbers), charity shops (God help us) or Amazon or Google, for those lucky enough to have access to the net.
Problems arise when the library/librarians are not seen as part of the backbone of a community. Once this happens, it becomes logical to think of cutting it. The decisions of councils and mayors with little brain are a total puzzlement, when viewed in the light of how we see libraries. They see them as a resource which isn’t part of a community. We have an insane situation where a community is apparently forced to choose between having a library and caring for its elderly and deprived. There are a few points worth making here – firstly, it’s the role and responsibility of an elected body to run services on behalf of the community that elected them, and it’s not for them to try to abrogate responsibility back to the community, either in terms of ‘you want it you run it’ or in terms of ‘if you don’t let us do x, y will happen’. The very idea that if we don’t close libraries we have to cut social care is patently ridiculous. I would be the first to agree that a council has to prioritise, and things like hospitals, firestations, police are towards the top of the list. However, we don’t have hospitals, firestations and police stations on every corner, because at some point other things come into play. In order to have a healthy community we have to have a varied community and that includes a variety of social amenities. A better, more logical discussion might be ‘do we want a library space, or do we want a swimming pool’, although obviously a better discussion would be along the lines of a rather grander economic discourse on what the Government is or is not doing to the country as a whole.
A second point is that a library service, which is able to provide resources, artifacts and knowledge to a community does fulfill a social need and requirement. Without getting too hysterical about it, while a hospital or a day centre can be used to keep a body going, a library service keeps a mind going. In that respect, a library service is just as important as a health service – because both services are aimed at doing the same thing – keeping a society or a community safe and healthy – they’re just dealing with different elements.
So, if a library is not a building, and it’s not books or other artifacts, what is it? I’ve already said that librarians cannot and shouldn’t be defined by what we work with (if that was the case we’d all have very dim views of greengrocers who sell vegetables!), but rather by what it is that we achieve. We should be defined by the effect that we have on our society and our communities. Because really, what we do, what we’re involved with, is the knowledge business as I’ve said, and that actually equates to the power business. I often say that I wanted to be a librarian because I wanted the power, and while it’s fun to hear an audience laugh, it’s also quite sad, because clearly they often don’t see it the way that I do. Our role is not found on our shelves, in our computers, in our buildings or even in our history, but in what we DO. And that isn’t ‘stamp out books’. That’s defining us, once again, in terms of the artifacts that we may (or increasing may not) use.
Every single librarian does something special, and it doesn’t matter if they’re in a school, public library, academic, prison, commercial – any. We help to or perhaps even inspire people to read, we help people get jobs, we change lives. We make a community better. We make a community better, and yes I did repeat that, because it’s important. We help protect free speech, we help provide people with hope, and I don’t make any excuse for using such hyperbole, because it needs to be heard. It needs to be shouted. A while ago I wrote a piece on ‘What Librarians Do and what Google does’. Someone suggested that Google did good things as well, and librarians were also on the lookout for money. That’s completely missing the point, because the whole reason for librarians is to work for their members and their communities by facilitation, and by providing good, valuable credible information to better and improve what people do. If Google does this, it’s a nice sideline from their goal of making money.
Librarians are here to help their communities, and an attack on a library is an attack on a community. It may not seem like it, and clearly to a lot of councillors it doesn’t, but that’s exactly what it is. Because it’s saying that the benefit that people get from their libraries/librarians in terms of learning to read, in getting a job, in finding social services to protect them in some way, in giving people the opportunity to learn or indeed just enjoying a good book – none of that matters. And when they say that none of that matters what they’re actually saying is ‘that community doesn’t matter’ and ‘that person isn’t important’.
Libraries and librarians are not a community ‘bolt on’ service. They are an integral part of a community, they help represent a community and they contribute to the health of a community. That’s why cuts to libraries are so dangerous – not just because they deprive people of access to resources, or jobs, or information or pleasure, but because they say ‘You don’t matter. You are not important.’ That’s not a good thing.
10/16/2011 From the
(Tracking innovation, development and experimentation in information studies and library science and spotting new technologies, trends, fun stuff and much more) comes this history of literature.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2011
Mapping the Labyrinth of Literature
Understanding creative influence is essential to understanding remix culture and a centerpiece of combinatorial creativity. I recently collaborated with illustrator extraordinaire Wendy MacNaughton and Michelle Legro of Lapham’s Quarterly of a subjective visualization of creative influence in literature and other arts, but this ecosystem of cross-pollination is far more layered and complex than a playful graphic could possibly convey. The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life is Harold Bloom’s ambitious effort to peel away at these many layers. Bloom, who for the past half-century has been exploring that ecosystem as a Yale literature professor and contemporary culture’s most significant literary critic, offers insight on 30 of the world’s most iconic writers, from Shakespeare to Joyce to Emerson, and examines issues ranging from the role of “creative misreading” in the joy of literature to the supreme fiction of the romantic self to the influence of a mind on itself. Literature for me is not merely the best part of life; it is itself the form of life, which has no other form.” ~ Harold Bloom
The book is a follow-up to Bloom’s 1973 classic, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry, and was inspired by Robert Burton’s 1621 masterpiece, The Anatomy of Melancholy. Of that influence, Bloom writes:
Traces of Burton’s marvelous madness about in this book, and yet it may be that all I share with Burton is an obsessiveness somewhat parallel to his own. Burton’s melancholy emanated from his fantastic learning: he wrote to cure his learnedness. My book isolates literary influence as the agon of influence, and perhaps I write to cure my own sense of having been overinfluenced since childhood by the great Western authors.”
But the part that captivated me the most was this quote from a Leo Tolstoy letter in the book’s epigraph, which articulates the essence of my own curatorial sense of purpose better than I ever could:
For art criticism we need people who would show the senselessness of looking for ideas in a work of art, and who instead would continually guide readers in that endless labyrinth of linkages that makes up the stuff of art, and bring them to the laws that serve as the foundation for those linkages.”
A true treat for literati and remixologists alike, The Anatomy of Influence is an exquisite paean to the love of literature, one that pulls you into its enthusiasm with equal parts mesmerism and cunning precision.
(Via Brain Pickings.) See the website for the Vimeo video http://centeredlibrarian.blogspot.com/2011/10/mapping-labyrinth-of-literature.html
10/15/2011 From the following announcement
Gale Launches Librareo, an Online Community to Power up the Next Generation of Superhero Librarians
October 3, 2011
Partners with Library Journal/School Library Journal to Offer Subscriptions to Students
Farmington Hills, Mich., October 3, 2011 — Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, and Library Journal/School Library Journal magazines today announced Librareo (http://www.librareo.com), a free web-based community that supports the future of libraries and librarianship by providing students enrolled in Library and Information Studies (LIS) programs with free access to the professional resources they’ll rely upon following graduation.
LIS students in the U.S. and Canada who sign up for Librareo will get free, unlimited access to the most-requested online Gale resources throughout their library school career, such as Academic OneFile, Gale Virtual Reference Library – including access to115 ebooks commonly used in libraries today, Powerspeak Languages and several In Context products, among others. Before starting their library careers, students will be able to explore and master in-demand resources currently being used in libraries around the world. LIS students will also have access to the Librareo message board and forum, operated by library thought-leaders and LIS faculty, giving them the opportunity to make contacts and solicit timely advice and best practices from experts.
“We are very pleased to fund and create Librareo, which will power future librarians to interact as a community and learn from each other,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president, marketing, Cengage Learning. “Students will be a step ahead for their dream job by getting exposure to the resources most libraries offer their users today, while also engaging in ongoing discussions on the future of libraries with peers and experts in the industry.”
In addition to the free electronic resources from Gale, up to 3,000 LIS students will also receive a free one-year subscription to either Library Journal, which offers librarian-to-librarian reviews of books, databases and other media as well as coverage of library news, technology and best practices or School Library Journal, a monthly magazine providing similar coverage but with a focus on the needs of librarians serving youth and teens.
“We are delighted to partner with Gale on this important initiative,” said Andrew Thorne, vice president, marketing, Media Source Incorporated, parent company of School Library Journal and Library Journal. “By supporting future librarians we are supporting the future of libraries.”
Students can gain access to all of the great resources housed on Librareo without any fees or commitments – they only need to register. The complete list of selected Gale resources available to LIS students who sign up for Librareo include:
- Academic OneFile
- Biography in Context
- Career Transitions
- Culinary Arts Collection
- Educator’s Reference Complete
- Gale Business Insights™: Global
- Gale NewsVault
- Gale World Scholar: Latin America and the Caribbean
- Global Issues in Context
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Health Reference Center Academic
- Literature Resource Center
- Opposing Viewpoints in Context
- Powerspeak Languages
For more information on Librareo, visit http://www.librareo.com. Please contact Kristina Massari at email@example.com if you’d like more information on this partnership or to schedule an interview.
About Cengage Learning and Gale
Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit www.cengage.com or www.gale.cengage.com.
About Media Source, Inc.
Media Source, Inc., serves school and public libraries by bringing together the most-trusted experts and highly-respected brands in the library community to provide publications and services that provide, support, advice and guidance in all aspects of acquisitions and library management. The Media Source companies include: Junior Library Guild, The Horn Book, School Library Journal, and Library Journal. More information can be found at each company website or at www.mediasourceinc.com.
10/06/2011 From the Academic Librarian a blogging academic librarian at the Princeton Library comes the following suggestions as to how to keep up with the ever changing field of librarianship.
On Libraries, Rhetoric, Poetry, History, & Moral Philosophy
My Professional Advice
By Wayne Bivens-Tatum on September 29, 2011 7:20 PM
In my last post, I put the ultimate responsibility for professional development on librarians themselves, though without taking any responsibility from library administrations. My advice was more of a warning; the person most likely to look after your interests is yourself, so be prepared. In response to my response to her post, the Library Loon suggested that while I was a “talented autodidact” who could direct my learning in appropriate or useful ways, not everyone could. They need guidance so they don’t flounder amongst the many things there are to learn. Point well taken. Here I’m offering a little guidance, but also pointing out the places I get guidance. No librarian is an island. Also, while I’m no librarian “rock star” (whatever that might mean), I don’t think I’m being immodest in believing I’m a reasonably successful librarian, and I think the practices I discuss below contribute to that success. So, here goes. My professional advice, or how to be an autodidact while really trying.
If I could reduce my professional advice to one sentence it would be: Always act as if you’re on the market. An additional sentence might be: Graduation from library school is the beginning of your library education, not the end.
Below, I have thirteen suggestions for finding time and using that time wisely to keep up and keep learning. They aren’t especially profound or new, just the way I manage my time to do what I do. I’m not including health tips like get a good night’s sleep every night and stop drinking so much coffee, though I know there are librarians that need those tips. I would also suggest listening to Radio Swiss Classic while you work; it’ll relax you, but I didn’t think it deserved a paragraph of its own.
When you’re working, work. A lot of librarians claim they just don’t have time to read or learn new things. They’re too busy with meetings and other work. For some librarians, that’s true. All their “keeping up” would have to be done on their own time. To protect themselves from future obsolescence, it might still be worthwhile, but it’s tough. However, there are ways to gain more time. How much time at work do you spend on Facebook or Twitter that have nothing to do with work (so, not reading a Facebook update that gets you to good professional reading, but just messing about)? How long do you stand around with colleagues gossiping? Online shopping? Taking coffee breaks? IMing or texting with friends? All that time could be better spent.
Manage your email. Don’t spend a lot of time reading emails you were copied on but didn’t need to be. If you’ve read the subject line and the first sentence or two and don’t know why you were copied, you can probably just delete it. Don’t generate a lot of emails that copy people unnecessarily; you’ll end up getting replies you don’t need to read. Also, don’t reply to emails that don’t need replies; say your “thank yous” in advance when making requests. Keep your emails concise and focused, and hope everyone else does, too. Don’t subscribe to listservs with a low signal:noise ratio. If you must subscribe to some, get the digest. Set up filters to automatically file stuff you don’t need but might need. If you’re a slow typist, take one of the many free online courses and speed yourself up. I type about 75 words per minute, according to this test. That’s not even very fast, but it’s saved me a lot of time compared to some of the slow non-touch typists I see. Find the most efficient email management strategy for you. I strive for the zero-inbox approach, but the reality is often more like the 20-inbox approach (5 at the time of writing, none urgent, but each requiring action by me or someone I’m waiting for; anything not awaiting action is filed or deleted asap). Sometimes this all goes to hell, and I end up with a bloated inbox. Then if I spend a couple of hours whittling it down to nearly zero, I feel much happier.
Avoid unnecessary meetings. The biggest timewaster for a lot of librarians. Some librarians love meetings. They like to meet just to meet, even if there’s nothing to discuss. Meetings are social events for them. While there are some exceptions, in general if there’s nothing to discuss or deliberate about, a meeting is a waste of time. Announcements can be handled in an email. If there’s no agenda and topic of discussion, the chances are good that it’s an unnecessary meeting. If you have a culture of useless meetings, fight back. The over scheduled masses will be on your side.
Avoid “multitasking.“ I put multitasking in quotations because there’s really no such thing. From what I’ve read, the scientific consensus at the moment seems to be that we never multitask, we merely monotask in tandem, and every time we switch from one task to another we reduce our concentration and efficiency. So stop checking email and Facebook every five minutes and focus on that project until you make some serious progress. And then focus on email. And then Facebook.
USING THAT TIME WISELY
Read relevant news. I probably average an hour a day at least skimming dozens of headlines and reading a handful of interesting or relevant articles or blog posts, after which I generally ignore the feed until the next day. Academic librarians should keep up with what’s going on in higher education, scholarly publishing, information technology, their own college or university, libraries, and librarianship in addition to job-specific developments at the very least. That’s a tall order, one that I mostly fulfill through various online publications using Google Reader. I subscribe to the RSS feeds of the Chronicle of Higher Education and Insider Higher Education as well as our campus newspaper. IHE is fully available online in full text, and has good articles and often great discussions in the comments. CHE is subscription only for the most part, but they do have some open access articles, plus the headlines and first sentence of each article is available in the RSS feed. That’s usually enough to get an idea of what’s going on in higher education. I also subscribe to the feeds of about 35 online publications related to libraries (I’m not going to add links because I’m lazy, but these should be easy to find). My favorite newsy publications include Library Journal, INFOdocket, LIS News, Library Stuff, the Kept-up Academic Librarian, and Resource Shelf. I also keep up with the technology news through Google News. Build professional reading time into your day. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll wonder how you could have tolerated being so uninformed before.
Read relevant opinion. I also read a number of what could be called opinion blogs (a category I would include myself in). These include, but are not limited to: ACRLog, Information Wants to be Free, The Ubiquitous Librarian, Gavia Libraria, Library Babelfish, Scholarly Communications @ Duke, Sense and Reference, Peer to Peer Review, From the Bell Tower, and Hack Library School. For obvious reasons, most of these are by academic librarians. I follow many other library-related blogs, but most other blogs have short, easily skimmed posts. When I’m short on time, I read only the academic librarian blogs and mark the others as read. I save In the Library with the Lead Pipe for those afternoons when the entire library has shut down and I have nothing to do.
Read job ads. I also subscribe to job ad feeds from ALA and the Chronicle of Higher Education, glance at every one of them, and read through many of them that resemble jobs I’m qualified for, even though I’m not on the market and have no plans to leave my excellent job anytime soon. But stuff happens. Reading job ads tells you what libraries are looking for in new hires, which allows me to know whether I’m still a marketable librarian and whether there are things libraries are now asking for that it might be good for me to cultivate to benefit myself and my library. You don’t have to be ambitious to be marketable; you just need to be cautious.
Read conference programs. Learn at conferences by attending, or not attending. Lots of people go to conferences to watch presentations and participate in workshops. Great if you can afford it. However, even if you can’t afford to go to a conference, you can learn from it. A conference program is like a course syllabus. Reading through the entire program (usually free online) gives you a good idea of the things librarians are talking about and doing at the moment. For most presentations, if you have the title and description, you can learn on your own from there. Take the topic, search it in Library Lit and Google, and read a few articles. After that, you could probably give the presentation yourself. It’s autodidacticism, yes, but it’s directed autodidacticism.
Follow up on new things. Through the reading I find out about new stuff. That could be a new piece of software or service, a library trend, a better way to organize something, a new approach to outreach, whatever. If it’s anything that looks like it will add something promising to my work, I follow up on it, by reading more, using the tool, integrating a new approach, etc. Often enough, some new thing doesn’t work for me, but at least I know why it doesn’t. And once in a while something great comes along. I’m as selective or expansive about following up as my time allows, but I always make at least some time if I find something interesting.
Force yourself to learn if necessary. For a few years I gave tech presentations around New Jersey as continuing education classes for librarians. One frequent presentation came about because the program coordinator said, “I saw that someone elsewhere was doing a presentation on X topic. Could you do that?” I agreed to do them to force myself to keep up with emerging information technology. Someone at one of the presentations asked me how I knew about all the stuff I was presenting on. Simple. Research. CNet, TechCrunch, Wikipedia, and ten hours of work will do wonders for your knowledge of any given information technology subject. I’m planning a couple of presentations this semester for a department I work with. Learning what I need to learn and organizing them will take some time and effort, and to motivate myself I announced in a meeting of students that I was planning them. That way they don’t just float to the bottom of my to-do list.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Participate in ways that exploit your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. This could be at work, in professional associations, at conferences, or wherever. It also requires knowing your strengths and weaknesses, which we might easily misperceive. I know that I write well, that I’m very efficient and organized, that I work well under pressure, and that I can give a decent presentation about whatever with a little prep time, and sometimes even without it. I also know that I’m not as good with detail work as I am with other stuff (thus, no cataloging for me) and I’m shy around strangers and in large groups where I’m not the center of attention. (That is, public speaking doesn’t bother me much anymore, but mingling with strangers is sometimes literally painful to me). For example, every year we have an orientation for new students. I give tours because I’m good at giving tours. I avoid the unstructured meet and greet because I’m not good at it. This is better for me and better for the library. It’s the law of comparative advantage applied to work skills.
Think about your web presence. I write a blog (obviously), and a minor motivating factor in starting this blog was my web presence. Google me, and this blog comes up in the first few links. Read this blog, and you’ll know what I think about libraries and librarianship and a few other things and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what sort of librarian I am. Some people think that’s a bad idea. I had a discussion with an LIS student who said she would never blog or write much online, because she might say something that would offend a potential employer. That’s true, it might. Then again, if a potential employer won’t hire you because of a professional opinion you have, then that employer isn’t worth working for. On the other hand, I didn’t start this blog until I had our version of tenure, so I’m not exactly a maverick on this one. Also, deliberately, I almost never write about my library or specific work issues, at least directly. If you’re acting as if you’re on the market, then this is something to think about, and there are many options. If you’re applying for jobs, you will be Googled.
Remember what you do and want to do. I’m really bad at remembering things I’ve done when it comes time to update by C.V. or put in my materials for my annual performance appraisal, so I keep a file (actually an Evernote note) where I list every professional thing I’ve done in a given year that wasn’t directly required by my job, along with a separate list of any good ideas I might have for things to do. If I accomplish one, I move it to the done list. They don’t have to be big things, just anything that I do that isn’t required as part of my daily routine, the kind of stuff I could get away with not doing. At the end of the year I decide what is important enough to get noted on my C.V. or elsewhere. I’ve found that keeping this list (and this is only my third year of doing it) helps keep me focused on doing more than just showing up and doing the minimum work.
So there it is. Live long and prosper.
10/16/2011 A Slideshare Presentation entitled Writing for Academic Publicatio
n by Helen Fallon is viewable at the following URL.
09/19/2011 Here is a wonderful Slideshare Presentation on Librarians and Information Overload. Don’t Miss It!!
8/31/2011 From the Atlantic.com online magazine Alex Madrigal is amazed at the lack of searching ability of individuals. Outside of institutions of higher learning, who is to teach them?
Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F
by ALEXIS MADRIGAL - Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He’s the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. Follow him on Google Plus. More
August 11, 2011
This week, I talked with Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, about the time he spends with random people studying how they search for stuff. One statistic blew my mind. 90 percent of people in their studies don’t know how to use CTRL/Command + F to find a word in a document or web page! I probably use that trick 20 times per day and yet the vast majority of people don’t use it at all.
“90 percent of the US Internet population does not know that. This is on a sample size of thousands,” Russell said. “I do these field studies and I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve sat in somebody’s house as they’ve read through a long document trying to find the result they’re looking for. At the end I’ll say to them, ‘Let me show one little trick here,’ and very often people will say, ‘I can’t believe I’ve been wasting my life!’”
I can’t believe people have been wasting their lives like this either! It makes me think that we need a new type of class in schools across the land immediately. Electronic literacy. Just like we learn to skim tables of content or look through an index or just skim chapter titles to find what we’re looking for, we need to teach people about this CTRL+F thing.
Google itself is trying to teach people a little something with their AGoogleADay.com campaign, but the ability to retrieve information via a search engine is actually much bigger than the search engine itself. We’re talking about the future of almost all knowledge acquisition and yet schools don’t spend nearly as much time on this skill as they do on other equally important areas.
8/24/2011 For the original article to which this is a response, “What Students Don’t Know” see the page on the Future of Libraries
What Nobody Knows About Each Other and the Library
Really if it weren’t so sad or scary this could be the perfect plot for a Monty Python skit or the very least Colbert’s The Word.
The Inside Higher Ed’s article, “What Students Don’t Know,” provides an alarming look at studentst and libraries and research. Not surprisingly, students show an appalling lack of knowledge about their own university’s library resources and how to do competent research (they even stink at Google searching). What is surprising is how little we librarians know about what little they know. Equally sad and frustrating is how little professors (the first person students go to if they seek help on research projects) know about the library and librarians.
The article is long but it is an excellent look at students, professors, and librarians and how broken the research system is.
First, students don’t go to the library and they don’t use library resources. Google was mentioned as the search tool used more than twice as many times as any other database. Second, they overestimate their ability to do research and evaluate resources. Ony 7 of 30 students conducted reasonably well executed searches. Even their Google searches were poor. Third, if they searched something other than Google, they didn’t know how to search it (using a Google type search), and they often searched databases that would not be recommended for their topic. “Students regularly used JSTOR to try and find current research on a topic, not realizing that JSTOR does not provide access to the most recently published articles.” Finally, they don’t go to the librarian for help with research, they go to their professor. Librarians don’t even register on their radar. “Students showed an almost complete lack of interest in seeking assistance from librarians during the search process. Of all the students they observed — many of whom struggled to find good sources, to the point of despair — not one asked a librarian for help.” Yet, they know to ask us if they can’t find the bathroom.
First, faculty have low expectations for librarians. Libraries are seen as a purchasing agent. They think librarians know how to search for sources, but “don’t know how to do research.” Second, faculty assume students have a much higher level of research skills and knowledge than they in reality. They believe students will just be able to pick the skills up on their own or from a one-time search class that they may or may not have had. ”For example, a professor might tell students to find “scholarly sources” without considering that students do not actually know what a “scholarly source is.” Third professors ideals are out of sync with studnets. Students are more pragmatic while professors wished students would spend more time in “contemplations and discovery” during the research process. Students (like many people in life) do just enough to get by. “If they aren’t told to use [specific library] databases, they won’t,” hence they Google it. Most student aren’t interested in learning how to do research they just want what they need to solve the current problem. Yet professors (and librarians) think they should learn how to do research as a life long skill. The article mentions giving a person a fish vs teaching them to fish. However, not everyone is going to be fisherman nor do they want to be a master angler, yet we (professors and librarians) are expecting that of them.
Perception is our biggest problem; people’s perception of us and our perception of students. If we even register on the radar of students and professors, their perception of us is not good nor is it conducive to helping with research. “The idea of a librarian as an academic expert who is available to talk about assignments and hold their hands through the research process is, in fact, foreign to most students. Those who even have the word “librarian” in their vocabularies often think library staff are only good for pointing to different sections of the stacks.” Since most students go to the professors for help when doing research, librarians need professors to help re-direct the students back to library for research help. Yet, “faculty may have low expectations for librarians, and consequently students may not be connected to librarians or see why working with librarians may be helpful.”
We are just as guilty as professors of expecting more from students. Researchers “were surprised by the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school. Even students who were high achievers in high school suffered from these deficiencies.” Students are NOT digital natives despite growing up in the information age.
Now how does that article correlate with the medical students on your campus? How about the residents?
At one of my previous librarian jobs, I noticed that third year medical students were rotating to the hospital without any training or classes in searching Medline. Yet they were expected to find articles and write papers on cases they had seen. They were searching on Google or doing Google searches on PubMed. Only through questioning the students (the ones I saw doing crummy searches) did I learn that they were NEVER taught how to find articles or use Medline. The librarians at the medical school didn’t teach them because they didn’t need to know that stuff in their first 2 years of medical school. BUT nobody taught them before their 3rd year when they definitely needed to know and were based in the hospitals. Only through persistence was I able to work with the CORE to get a 3 part class added into their schedule where they came to the hospital library and I taught them how to use PubMed. Almost all of the students told me that this was stuff they wish they had learned earlier in their medical school career because it helped them out immensely and saved them time.
Residents leaving our hospital must always “check out” with the library making sure they don’t have any outstanding books or fees. Yet every year there are some who come to the library with the sign-out sheet in hand telling me they have never used the library before but they still need our stamp. Sure enough, they only have an HR skeleton record in our OPAC meaning they never used our resources from home, ordered an article, nor checked out a book. I hope they at least used our electronic resources while on campus, but all I can think is, “How sad, that is another one we didn’t reach.”
So, enough of the depressing stuff. How we can do better? What can we do to get perceptions changed? Clearly there is a lot for us to do. What should we be doing to to extend the library services and to get librarians thought of more? What are you or your library doing?
Professor Hacker from Chronicles of Higher Education provides tenure tracking recommendations and suggestions about disruptions in the academic setting
Starting a Tenure Box
August 4, 2011, 3:00 pm
As a first-time tenure-track assistant professor, I’m already looking down the road to the different stages of tenure review. Academia has a number of different hurdles, often based on assessment of productivity over spans of years. So whether you’re in the same position as me, further down the line, or starting to think about the job market, it’s worth building good habits in personal archiving. While caught in the moment it’s easy to think that we’ll remember everything–but committees, teaching, service, publications and other work can add up fast.
What goes in your tenure dossier (or other portfolio) varies by university. Karen Kelsky has a good overview of the basics here. Before I started planning on what types of documents to save, I looked at the tenure dossier requirements for my area at a range of universities. Just because my department now doesn’t want a certain type of documentation doesn’t mean they won’t change their minds in the future–and thinking in universal terms is important in an era of continually shifting careers.
Before the fall semester becomes overwhelming, I’ve started my first tenure “box”–a digital archive of everything that might be essential down the line. Here are some of the thoughts that have guided me in getting started:
- Too much is better than too little. As contract faculty last year, I was blissfully unaware that I should have been saving emails and letters that are now gone for good. Now, I save more documentation than I could possibly ever need to make sure I have specific details when the time comes. Will I include everything I put in the box? Not unless I hear a scale is involved in the tenure review. But it feels better to be over-prepared.
- Invest in a document scanner. Even though a number of our most important files have moved to digital, there’s still plenty of things worth keeping in a physical tenure box, including letters, signed contracts, hand-written evaluations, and other hard to replace documents. But getting those files scanned in is essential to making them part of your records. For me, it’s a lot more likely to happen if I don’t have to leave the house to do it.
- Don’t trust the cloud. My website already has a lot of the information I’d put in my dossier, but most of it is linked out to other sites. I don’t expect journal websites to go away or publications to delete their archives–but that’s exactly what happened to a journal I had an article in during graduate school. Never depend on another archive to keep the content that you might need in the future.
- Redundancy is your friend. I just invested in a serious external hard drive (I recommend one with at least 500 gigabytes of storage and good ratings on long-term reliability) to act as the last line of defense in the event of a personal archive disaster. Other ProfHackers use SpiderOak and other cloud-storage systems in addition to local back-ups. Whatever your system, back-up storage only works if you use it. We all have horror stories about lost projects, papers, or irreplaceable photos.
- Don’t wait til the ta-da nick of time. Nels Highberg wrote about approachingannual reviews with the mindset that they are fodder for the tenure dossier. As he pointed out, once a year isn’t often enough to be thinking about what you’ve accomplished. Memory fades fast. If your college or university has monthly opportunities for sharing accomplishments, take them seriously. They aren’t just opportunities to make your colleagues aware of what you’re up to–which is important on its own! They’re also a chance to be keeping track of those same events that you might forgot later.
- Know what you’ve got. A big collection of files is great, but a group of files organized with consistent structure (and perhaps a continually updated index) is even better. Take a look at examples like online tenure portfolios (from Brian Croxall’s post on simplifying tenure) and physical dossiers, especially those produced by people up for tenure in your department. Keeping a list by area of focus (such as scholarship, teaching, and service) can also help you see any gaps while there’s still time to address them.
Do you keep a tenure box, portfolio or other personal archive? How do you keep up with your own record-keeping? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Flickr user Vegansolider / Creative Commons licensed
Handling Workplace/Classroom Disruptions
August 4, 2011, 11:00 am
By Billie Hara
The school year is about to begin, and we prepare syllabi, assignments, and lectures. We collect the tools we need to start the semester, we clean our offices, we make schedules and calendars, and we purchase “first day of school clothes” (OK, maybe that’s just me). But what we don’t often think about—in early August—are the problems we might face in the classroom (or meeting rooms). Maybe we can add this to our beginning of the semester rituals: “prepare to handle disruptions.”
Here at ProfHacker, we’ve written many posts about how to handle the disruptions that arise in our careers. In this series, we present a scenario, and we’ll offer a few suggestions from ProfHacker readers about how they might handle a similar situation. Many of the scenarios we will present are dependent upon the discipline, the class size, and the culture of an institution, and we try to include as many of these variables as we can, while understanding that we can’t account for each and every situational difference. What we discuss in these posts are behaviors that– no matter the discipline or the institutional culture– impede learning for other students. We don’t write these posts to belittle students (or colleagues), but we present the scenarios so we can all learn more effective or efficient ways to deal with these disruptions.
If you have missed this series, here is what we’ve published to date.
- The Chatters (the first post of the series)
- The Bullies
- The Disrespecters
- The Barely Clothed
- The Smelly
- The Talkative
- The T-Shirt Slogan Wearers
We’d like to explore additional workplace disruptions here at ProfHacker, but here is where we need your help. What other scenarios / disruptions would you like to see us cover? We’ll present your scenario and ask readers for their input. Please leave suggestions in comments below.
[Image by Flickr user Foxypar4 and used under the Creative Commons license.]
A new blogger to this weblog is Meredith Farkas who writes about librarians and publishing in her blog:
A librarian, writer and educator reflecting on the profession and the tools we use to serve our patrons
By Meredith Farkas | August 1, 2011
A little over a year ago, I posted about how the Society for Military History had pulled the Journal of Military History out of the major aggregators that had previously offered it and signed an exclusive deal with EBSCO. What had previously been accessible up to the current issue in Academic Search Premier suddenly was only available in the full-text versions of America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts (which is a cost on top of the regular Am Hist and Life and Hist. Abs subscriptions). And given the poor selection of full-text in both products, we’d essentially be paying around $3500 for one journal. At a school with major military history programs, this was a major issue.
Immediately after I learned about this, I urged my faculty who were members of the Society to express their concern/dissatisfaction with this change. None of them followed up by telling me they had done this. Instead, they urged me to find a way to pay for online access to the journal (which we eventually did, to my chagrin) and a few acted as apologists for the Society’s actions. I, as a librarian, have little power to convince a society that they are making a decision that is bad for the institutions their faculty teach at. Their members, on the other hand, have much more power. By choosing not to take any action on things like this (either as members of organizations or writers/reviewers/editors for these journals), faculty perpetuate the scholarly publishing crisis. Eventually, Norwich may not be able to afford $3500 (or more by then) for a package from which they want only one journal. What then? But I have to say that we at the library were also complicit by paying for that access. I was strongly against it, but in the end, we knew it would end up hurting students if we didn’t get it since the faculty had access through their membership. If the faculty don’t have the library’s back, it’s difficult to take any sort of stand against unethical publishing/licensing practices.
Recently, I read “An Open Access Tale” at ProfHacker (a great blog for those in higher ed, btw!), a vignette about a faculty member doing research and discovering useful content in Open Access journals and then wondering if they should use this content in their research or just stick with “the usual suspects” in their field:
I think this captures one of the dilemmas scholars of the 21st-century face. While some of us roll our eyes at Wikipedia and blog postings that make the footnotes of student assignments, many scholars are probably rolling their eyes at graduate students or their own colleagues who cite publications from journals they’ve never heard of. Some of them are probably thinking, if this was an article worth publishing, it would’ve been published in *The* Journal of [Your Field Here] Studies, or at least in the Monumenta [Your Field Here]ica.
And if that attitude is pervasive in one’s field, who is going to publish in an open access journal, especially if they are on the tenure track? (Even if they’re already tenured, many will still want to published in the noted journals in their field.) And how can these open access journals gain prominence if the prominent scholars (at least in our country) aren’t publishing there? It seems like a Catch-22 that will never resolve until academic departments and universities take a stand and say “this is important to us and we will change our practices to support it.”
ProfHacker also recently asked faculty how much they would pay monthly to get access to a database they need as an individual subscriber. To have a blog post that entertains this possibility shows me how broken the relationship is between academia and scholarly publishing. Academic journals would not exist without the academics who publish in them, review their articles and serve on their editorial boards. And there is no recognition of that labor when their institutions (through their libraries) are charged exorbitant amounts to provide access to those journals. There were many journals at Norwich that I had to cut in which our faculty published frequently or served on the editorial boards. Clearly, we need a new system. We need to go back to a model where scholarly publishing is about providing access to scholarship, not about making a profit, and probably the best place for this to happen is through universities themselves. But this will never happen when departments and universities are unwilling to take courageous stands to change individual faculty’s practices and to support open access publishing at their institution. And what will it take — how much do they have to lose — to make that stand seem like the only reasonable option?
For more info on Meredith check the URL: http://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2011/08/01/faculty-and-change-in-scholarly-publishing/