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ACRL Conference Report

ACRL’s bi-annual conference met in Baltimore March 29-April 1, 2007. This report summarizes the session Judy, Brenda and Joy attended.

Thursday March 20

Opening Keynote

Friday, March 30

Blue Skies Ahead: a Practical and Manageable Approach to Library-wide Assessment

A panel of three librarians from Bowling Green University, Catherine Cardwell, Colleen Buff and Kelly Broughton described how they instituted an assessment program that covered all library departments. The assessment effort is ongoing, and not tied to a staff member’s evaluation. They were encouraged to take risks when designing objectives. The assessments were to be driven by practical questions such as will the assessment survey provide information that will lead to improvement of library services or students learning? Assessment was seen as a tool that enabled the library to identify best practices and determine work priorities. Among the examples described was a pre and post-test to determine if students knew how to click through OhioLink to find full-text journal articles. According to the survey results only about 63% of the students surveyed knew how to follow a link to get full-text. A full description of their assessment plan is available at http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/admin.html


Library Mashups for the Virtual Campus: Using Web 2.0 Tools to Create New Current Awareness Resources

Adrienne Lim, Linda Absher and Kerry Wu from Portland State University (Oregon) demonstrated a test campus portal that they have created which allows users to integrate library and or selected web resources and content. Within the test they choose two subject areas, film and business, from which to harvest RSS feeds, podcasts and video casts. The speakers described the process they used for identifying and harvesting the URLs, demonstrated it and talked a little about the portals problems, and where they are going with further development. The complete set of power point slides can be viewed using the following link: http://web.pdx.edu/~alim/acrl_mashups_presentation_2007_final.ppt

Subject Searches Disconnect

Margaret Mellinger and Jane Nichols described a student survey they conducted, the results of which did not differ from the results of similar surveys conducted 25 years ago. They found that students and often faculty as well, are inept at using controlled language for searching in our catalogs. They advocated that libraries enhance our ILS’s functionality through a system such as Penn Tags (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/). And /or figure out a way to mesh with the commercial web so students find items in the library (either physically or virtually) when they search Google. We should try to work with vendors or otherwise create a catalog interface that is more intuitive for searching.

Invited Paper: Learning, Emotion and Their Application for Teaching

Luz Mangurian, Professor Emerita, Towson University, gave a fascinating overview of current research covering the neuroscience and emotional aspects of how we learn and why some techniques for teaching work better than others. This talk went to the basics of the most effective ways to present information for learning. Two gems: Collaborative learning is far more effective than working alone, and learners who see a teacher's face learn faster. Further, a teacher who likes students is more effective than one who doesn't. (A genuine smile is easily detected over a "Pan Am", or flight attendent, automatic smile. Those two types of smiles originate in different parts of the brain and involve different sets of muscles. And what the learner sees physically affects how easily information is incorporated in their brain.)

John Waters, a local "Ba'mer" boy, was the speaker at the keynote luncheon. He was provocative and funny. ARCL’s choice indicated that they too have moved beyond the stodgy image of a librarian. In addition to comments on his films and the world as he sees it the director of "Hairspray" had some suggestions for librarians: Fundraising - lock people in and make them pay to get out; Helping patrons - Mark all the 'good' parts of books with post-its; Marketing - Go nude for 10 minutes everyday ; the word will get out!.

Gaming for the Ages: a Wholistic View from Collections to Services

Karen Schmitt, David Ward and Chris Lamb, librarians from the undergraduate library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began their presentation using statistics to describe the demographics of gaming in our society. The average age of those who “game’ is 33, while about 37% of American households own a game consol. Although the focus of games varies, they are beginning to infiltrate the educational sector, with greatest use as an educational tool in the military. The undergraduate library made the decision to collect games and the consoles so that scholars could evaluate the impact of games on individuals and society, could evaluate the mechanics and applications of gaming technology, and understand how games communicate concepts and ideas. The library has used this collection also to bring students into the library by hosting gaming nights. The library is also concerned with methods of preserving games as technology continues to change, so that students can recreate the original experience of playing a particular game. The librarians see themselves in the traditional role of collecting, preserving and developing services for scholars and learners within this new medium.

Invited Paper: Digital Media, Learning, and Libraries: Web 2.0, Learning 2.0, and Libraries 2.0

David Silver, a professor of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco began his presentation by defining “AEIOU” as “Already Existing Information Optimally Uploaded” and considered blogging as one way to optimally upload it. He defined web 1.0 as static sources such as the Online Encyclopedia Britannica or Journal databases, and Web 2.0 as those sites that engage in a conversation – such as Wikipedia or blogs – social software. He mentioned Middlebury College in this opening introduction and Judy set the record straight during the question and answer session – breaking up the crowd by beginning with perfect timing “I’m from Middlebury College”.

He described a course he teaches in “Digital Journalism”. As a first assignment her requires his students to physically go into the library and check out a book. In this case the assignment ran in tandem with an exhibition of graphic novels by the library. Through the use of a blog the librarians and students set up a virtual readers’ advisory for graphic novels – with the students taking a hand in selecting additions to the collection through their recommendations. He also cited several interesting sites on the web:

He used these examples to open the discussion around the intersections of social software, student learning and academic libraries.

Saturday March 31

Roundtable Discussions:

This is the World Calling: Incorporating International Internet Radio, TV and Video into Your Collections and Curriculum. John Barnett, Gettysburg College, Heather Moulaison, College of New Jersey and Joy Pile, prepared a handout and questions for the discussion.

Invited Paper: Education Without Boundaries: The Goucher Experiment

Sanford Ungar, the president of Goucher College, initiated his talk by listing the goals set forth in the current Goucher plan, which are: 1. Emphasize the global context of every academic inquiry and intellectual endeavor 2. Require students to explore international, intercultural and ecological interconn

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