Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

LRSV – Thursday

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Library Research Seminar V – Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Is There Counsel in those Curtains? Research Agendas for the Times David B. Gracy II, Governor Bill Daniel Professor in Archival Enterprise, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin

Gracy made three recommendations for modern research agendas: incorporate historical investigation/analysis; look at the institution of the library and it’s contributions in and to society; and express the relationship through time of libraries and other information organizations. He also encouraged researchers to engage readers outside of our professional community, as this will position us as authorities. An interesting quote on public sentiment – “Libraries are essential! Just not now, at this cost.” This seems to be what our government/communities are saying in relation to the funding crisis.

Using Skype as a Research Tool: Lessons Learned from Qualitative Interviews with Distance Students in a Teacher-Librarianship Program Lisa M. Given, Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta (PDF abstract)

Given mentioned that Skype is being used in a number of ways, including for patient care as a medical diagnostic tool (cool!). She (from Canada) and a student (From New Zealand) used Skype to interview distance-learning students about their information seeking habits. Students had the options of video/chat/telephone for the interviews. With video, students could show their bookshelves, study space and other physical items and the researchers could probe for further information. With chat, students could copy and paste examples of digital study habits (other chat convos between students, websites they frequented, etc). Givens mentioned that this study worked well with people who were already communicating online because there was less of a learning curve. The researchers recommended using PrettyMay with Skype to record computer-computer/computer-telephone interviews. The study is currently being shopped for publication (it will be worth reading, believe me).

Librarians in the Digital Age: Impact of Internet Adoption on Search Habits Jenny Emanuel, Digital Services and Reference Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (PDF abstract)

Emanuel is doing a study of digital native librarians compared to librarians who first got online after receiving their MLS degree to identify differences in internet-aided information seeking behavior. She is using ethnographic observations; structured, task-based comparative activities; and a millennial librarian survey. She has found similar traits between digital native librarians and undergraduates. Preliminary analysis shows: digital native librarians scan (often overlooking important information and returning to it), talk through the process of finding information, open several tabs/search several sites at once, usually try Google first (particularly for quick tasks like finding a phone number), and have little tolerance for ambiguity (bad search interfaces, etc). The other group of librarians (who started using the Internet post-MLS) usually went to print sources first (they seemed to know the collection very well), were slower and more methodical in their search, were more accepting of poor interfaces, went to Google as a last resource (even when the question was more “popular” they went to scholarly sources first), and they did not talk aloud as much during the search process.

Pilot Study of Informationist Mediated Search Susan Pilch, Informationist/Biomedical Librarian, National Institutes of Health Library (PDF abstract)

Pilch discussed a study of how the 16 “informationists” at the NIH Library impacted literature searches. The informationist program sounds similar to the liaison librarian programs most academic libraries have. They are embedded in clinical and research environments to provide personalized, subject specific assistance. Pilch pointed out that the informationist title is somewhat problematic because people don’t initially understand what kind of help they can provide.

Student-Centered Information Literacy Instruction Heidi Julien and Lisa M. Given, Professors, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta (PDF abstract)

This ongoing study is investigating the transition from high school to university in terms of students’ information literacy skills. The researchers noticed that there isn’t a lot of longitudinal data on the topic, so they decided to pursue it. One method they are using is “photovoice” journals where students are given digital cameras to record information literacy in the wild (reminiscent of the University of Rochester Studying Students project). Then they are holding focus groups where the students bring in selected photos as prompts for further discussion. They are also using the James Madison University Information Literacy Test.

Where All Are Welcome: Social Capital and the Public Library as a Community Meeting Place Matthew R. Griffis, Doctoral student, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario (PDF abstract)

This ongoing study is looking at the relationships between public library use in urban and rural areas and social capital (community and individual). Trust an reciprocity are emerging as key concepts. Notable – they went into the community to survey non-users. Found that urban public library use has a direct impact on social capital, serving as an “incubator” and reducing social isolation (among other findings). Once this is completed and published, this will be a go-to source for anyone working with civic engagement.

New Learning Spaces for New Learning Styles Mohan Ramaswamy, Director of Organizational Strategy, North Carolina State University Libraries (PDF abstract)

Ramaswamy talked about how user input impacted an NCSU library renovation and upcoming new building. Through a partnership, the library developed a program with the bus system, using GPS coordinates to display the location of buses on digital signage in the library. Students could see when the next bus was arriving and schedule accordingly. They also installed interior porthole windows in the building,  study room self-scheduling, and gaming stations. Found that the highest computer use times were 9 AM – 5 PM. Building open 24/5, students want 24/7. Most of their physical books will move to high density storage with robotic retrieval to optimize people space. A new library building scheduled to open in 2012 will feature a faculty commons and a graduate commons.


Written by Erin Dorney

October 8, 2010 at 7:38 PM

2 Responses

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  1. A couple of those sound really interesting, the third one about internet adoption, and the last one about library design (imagine that). On the third talk, did the presenters give any indication as to the quality (as discerned by patrons) of one group versus the other? I’d be curious to know if they addressed that. Also, did they talk about how the internet pre MLS group talks about what they are doing, and how this relates to improving information literacy?

    On the final talk, what was the purpose of the porthole windows? Also, are they keeping staff in the new building, or are they moving to the offsite location with high density storage? It’s nice to hear a place not saying “We’ll just digitize everything.” Thanks for sharing!

    Jason W. Dean

    October 12, 2010 at 9:28 AM

  2. Jason – With Jenny’s presentation (3rd), no she didn’t specifically address perceived quality of service in the presentation. But they might have looked at that and just not said it… I’m sure she’ll be publishing it somewhere at some point. Also, Jenny is very nice and if you emailed her I’m sure she would get right back to you with more details. The project sounds super interesting, and I am looking forward to hearing more from her as well. In the session someone else asked about the differences in talking out loud – some stated perhaps it is because the internet pre MLS feel a need to verbally state that they know what they’re doing in order to “live up to” expectations from their colleagues/internet post MLS people. Or that they think the patron hearing their discussion will have a better grasp of the material. That’s all that was mentioned, though. Def email Jenny 🙂

    As for the last one (Mohan), the porthole windows were all internal – rooms looking into other rooms. IDK the purpose, but he said the students just really like them. Staff are staying in the new building I think, the high density storage will just have a robotic retrieval system to gather requested items.


    October 17, 2010 at 9:19 PM

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