Middlebury

Current events

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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:

· James Jacobs’ Tagzania page (http://www.tagzania.com/user/radref) tagging places of interest · Steve Campion’s photos in Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/13288022@N00/411036286/in/set-72157594528034069/) which shows many of the books he’s read and is linked to reviews of the books · Victor Koo’s blog (http://victorkoo.blogspot.com/2006/11/talk-on-blogging-for-seniors.html) · Lee and Sachi LeFever’s blog (http://theworldisnotflat.com/) about their year of travel · A library tagging blog (http://www.librarything.com/) which creates a virtual book group 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 interconnections 3. Build an Athenaeum, a central campus gathering place which includes a library, fitness center, café, classrooms and other community spaces that will be open 24/7 4. Increase the diversity in student, faculty and staff pools 5. Expand, enhance, reinvigorate the intellectual, cultural and social life of the institution. One of the ways in which Goucher is expanding the emphasis on the global context, is requiring the each students to spend some time abroad. Faculty may teach a 3 to 7 week intensive course which is held on location abroad, or the student may attend school at an institution in another location for a entire semester. He briefly elaborated some of the challenges with this program, including providing library services at an off-site location. He then went on to show us architectural drawings of the Athenaeum, and talk about the many services that will be housed under one roof once the structure is complete.

Mindfully Resolving Conflicts: Diversity Facilitation. This workshop was based on work done in the film "The Color of Fear". There are always new things to learn in the ways we think about and treat people who inhabit the earth with us.

Project Muse Luncheon: Representatives from Project Muse described some of the new features of this product , such as subject listing of journals (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/subject.html) . They were also promoting their new newsletter at http://muse.jhu.edu/about/librarians, a link that also includes other material useful for student instructional session. Beyond their promotions, the representatives were also interested in our feedback regarding MUSE features and searching.

RefWorks luncheon. Several recent features were described. Files may now be attached to bibliographic records and a module for alumni users is now offered.

Adapting Best Practices to Global Perspectives: Developing and Assessing Information Literacy in the Arab World This session presented by Carol Hansen now at Weber State university but formerly in Dubai, Daphne Selbert, Zayed University, Dubai and Alison Armstrong, American University in Cairo was a case of “this is how we do it here” Most of their presentation focused on describing their institutions. At both of these institutions the instruction is primarily in English, a second language for all of their students. The American University in Cairo is a privately funded co-educational university that matriculates students from Egypt, and other Arab states in the region. By contrast Zayed University is a state supported school for women that is free for women of Dubai who pass the entrance examination. An Information Literacy course is mandatory at both institutions for several reasons, among them the fact that reading in either Arabic or English is not an activity widely pursued by their students. The presenters adapted ACRL standards for their courses and require student portfolios to help them follow their own course of learning from the introductory courses to their capstone projects.

Technology and Change in Academic Libraries: What does the Future Hold?

I (Joy) found this session presented by, Steven Bell, Temple University (moderator), Debra Gilchrist, Pierce College, Wendy Lougee, University of Minnesota and Susan Barnes Whyte, Linfield College, although engaging as speakers, to be disappointing because rather than staring into the preverbal crystal ball and coming up with scenarios or predictions, the panelists were simply reacting to and rebutting an ACRL white paper (http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlissues/future/changingroles.htm). Susan Barnes Whyte began her presentation with a quote from Lewis Carroll, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get to'.' Said the Cat. I don't much care where / Said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you go, said the Cat.” She intimated that this is the dilemma facing today’s librarians. Despite the difficultly in determining how we should move forward – it is important to continue to do so. She recommend that ACRL help us initiate collaborations with Public Libraries, work with OCLC, and ask ACRL to provide (monetary) assistance in sending librarians to academic conferences. She felt that we should challenge our orthodoxies and get out of libraries in order to see beyond just what we are doing now. Debra Gilchrist reacted to the white paper through the lens of a community college advocate. She felt that diversity and social justice should be at the heart of our activities. She mentioned that technology should be used to advance pedagogy and that librarians need to become experts in instructional design. ACRL should move towards a more aggressive research agenda and help librarians learn how they can better contribute to students learning success. Wendy Lougee began her discussion by stating that the other speakers had already covered much of the field, but went on to say that in order to understand the process we need to know how users use our collections. What is their workflow, their behavioral norms and what are their fields of study. She asked how the library can help faculty keep up with changing trends in their fields, including organizing their information and collaborating with colleagues. She advocated that librarians be active partners in the academy. She also advocated for “open source” as a way to continue to build collaborations.

Invited Paper: From Soup to Nuts : Copyright, Electronic Surveillance and Social Networking Technologies? Tracy Mitrano, Director of IT Policy and Law Program, Cornell University, gave a wide ranging presentation on the big questions concerning the intersection of new technologies, privacy, intellectual property, the law, and society. Honestly, she touched on all that and more. Check out her presentation at: http://home.learningtimes.net/acrlnational?go=t952801

Sunday April 1 Penn Tags: Creating and Using an Academic Social Bookmarking Tool! Laurie Allen, University of Pennsylvania demonstrated a social bookmarking tool that they have created at Penn (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/). It allows users to create their own vocabulary and collectively create bibliographies for others to use, as a social readers’ advisory. Students can locate the same resources again by using the tags. The librarians view this “add-on” not as a replacement for the catalog, but rather a way to show annotations in an OPAC.

Analog v. Google in the CMS: RSS Feeds to the Rescue

Heather Moulaison and Edward Corrodo of the College of New Jersey described how they created an in-house RSS feed that worked with their homegrown open source management system (SOCS) to alert students and faculty to new library acquisitions. Their RSS feed serves as a virtual “new books” shelf and encourages one stop shopping to integrate library resources into the CMS.

Cruise to Success: How to Steer Your Way through the Murky Waters of Marketing Your Library. University of Texas Librarians have developed multiple ways to let meet students where they are and to break down the barriers that sometimes keep students from asking for help. They've used an amazing variety of marketing give-aways, many of which you can see in their presentation:

http://home.learningtimes.net/acrlnational?go=t952801 Nina Totenberg, known best for her reporting of the supreme court on NPR, was the final keynote speaker. Her talk covered three main areas: the role of reporters in a democratic society, the human side of the supreme courts as observed through the scribbled notes in the Harry Blackburn papers at LC, and some of the current lower court cases including, in her opinion the need for a Federal Shield law, illustrating her case by saying that it’s governments job to keep secrets, and the journalists to find them out and publicize them.

Outside the Conference:

We enjoyed a very productive dinner with our Reference counterparts at Oberlin Institutiions. One take-away is the possibility of meeting with Librarians from Williams, much as we did with Dartmouth last year. They have more questions of us coming out of their building project, and we'd like to ask them about their marketing efforts, and we'd like to ask them about their Reference Blog, which they use to document reference transactions. It automates the creation of statistical reports and provides new training, learning, and sharing opportunities. See it at http://groups.google.com/group/refblog-software/web/