Tutorials redux: the journey from blog post to article

An article that I wrote with my colleague Hannah Gascho Rempel just appeared in the new Communications in Information Literacy. It outlines some of our ideas about tutorial creation.  For those who like continuity in academic writing, the pre-cursors to this article appeared in this space here and here.

And these ideas formed the backbone of this presentation (in our institutional repository).


Share and Share Alike: Barriers and Solutions to Tutorial Creation and Management

Goodbye, Nature Precedings

Nature’s pulling the plug on Nature Precedings their (mostly) life-sciences-focused database of preprints, conference papers, etc.  From the letter I got this morning:

Nature Precedings was launched in 2007 as NPG’s preprint server, primarily for the Life Science community.  Since that date, we have learned a great deal from you about what types of content are valued as preprints, and which segments of the research community most embrace this form of publication.  While a great experiment, technological advances and the needs of the research community have evolved since 2007 to the extent that the Nature Precedings site is unsustainable as it was originally conceived.

I’m not sure from this what made it unsustainable; I’m sad to see this go in theory, though in practice I hadn’t visited the site in a while.  Nature also says they will archive the site, and keep what’s already there available.

two teaching things + a little peer review

(via Michael Faris) – online forums for students to share tricks = online forums for teachers to learn about tricks.

And with social networking sites where it’s easy to ask questions and crowdsource answers, even those teachers who don’t know about these tactics can quickly and easily learn from each other.

(via @amandafrench) - Scholarly blogging, personal attacks & post-publication peer review

Bargh says, “I’m worried about your ability to trust supposedly reputable online media sources for accurate information on psychological science.” Well, dear professor, this is the era of post-publication peer review. I’m not that worried.

(via lots of people) a library research guide about “interrogating texts” 

While the strategies described below are (for the sake of clarity) listed sequentially, you typically do most of them simultaneously.  They may feel awkward at first, and you may have to deploy them very consciously the first few times, especially if you are not used to doing anything more than moving your eyes across the page. But they will quickly become habits, and you will notice the difference—in what you “see” in a reading, and in the confidence with which you approach your texts. 

well, that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

“Is there a database that shows if a method or perspective has been discredited?”

I got this question last week in my credit class.  This is a class where I struggle to balance the 1-credit/1-hour-per-week limitations of the course with what it means to teach about research in a meaningful way.  I am a lot closer to liking that balance now than I used to be, but it’s an ongoing struggle between the nuance and intricacies of scholarship and research that I think are really important and the how-to’s the students also need practice with.

I got this question, as I say, last week, after talking about peer review and what it really is, and how it ties into what we’ve been talking about about disciplines and knowledge communities and MLA International Bibliography.

So yay, because that’s a pretty good question that shows at least someone was buying what I was selling in that class.  But a disheartening one too.  Because this is a really important issue in this student’s two disciplines – there’s no Standard Model structuring the discourse in the areas he’s exploring – there is active and vigorous disagreement about where the fields should be going and how they should get there.  It would be awesome if there was a way to help him navigate those papers heavily cited but since discredited and those heavily cited but now just a little unfashionable and those heavily cited but controversial and those heavily cited and still shaping the discourse.

We talked a little bit about fraud, and identifying papers that have been truly pulled back out of the discourse, but that’s not the same thing. And we talked about other ways to find that context, most of which pull you out of the discovery phase into doing something else.  I was feeling pretty discouraged because not only does this database not exist, I couldn’t think of way for it to exist.  Like, ever.  In my personal experience, this is what mentors are for, and seminar experiences where you get smacked down for using something you shouldn’t …

… but then I raised the question in a faculty reception and people started thinking about citation chaining and visualizations and graphing networks and real-people connections and is there a way we *could* get at this, woven into the discovery phase?  And I started to feel less hopeless and yeah, I decided to throw that out there – is there?

do this, if you get the chance

Or maybe that should say – make the chance happen, if you can!

So far, this “what I am doing today” focus is working for me as a way to jump start writing.  Looking at my calendar for next week, I’m not sure that this will continue.  So I’m going to ride this wave while I can.

Today, in less than an hour, actually, I’m going to head over to the College of Education to hang out with a class for a couple of hours.  This has turned into one of my favorite things I do – and it wasn’t my idea.  Our director of New Student Programs and Family Outreach started inviting me to come to classes in the Adult Education and Higher Education Leadership program four or five years ago now.  The twist is that I’m not to talk about research skills so much as to talk about what I know and see in my work with first year students.

The class I’m going to today is a special topics class called First-Year College Students: Programs and Philosophies, so the connection there is obvious. There’s frequently a technology focus to the discussion I’m invited to, but we don’t always stay there.  Two years ago I remember we ended up talking about scholarly blogs and twitter accounts for most of the hour.

Why is this one my favorite things we do?  Lots of reasons.  One is because getting out and talking to people who are training to work in student affairs and student programs is a great way for me to step back and see what I do from another, really useful perspective.

Another reason is something I talked about in that webcast I did on Friday – it takes a a village to teach information literacy.  This pull quote from an old article by George Kuh gets at what I’m trying to say:

“Students who perceive that their campus emphasizes information literacy gain more in this area, net of other influences.”

In other words, students learn more about what it means to be information literate (and about how to do it) when they are pushed, every day, in real-world as well as classroom situations to think about the sources and evidence they use to make decisions and get stuff done.  When they hear from librarians in isolation – “this matters,” it’s not as impactful or effective as when they hear that from everyone.  And this stuff does matter, so talking about it to the people who are going to be working with our students in their roles as RA’s, classroom assistants, tour guides, peer mentors, writing center consultants, and more — that only makes sense to me.  Plus, they’re excellent people and the conversations are always great.

undergraduate students + iPads + photographs

Today my colleague Margaret Mellinger and I are presenting at Online Northwest, one of my favorite conferences of every year.  It’s a one-day regional technology focused conference held on my campus, which is super convenient.  And it’s a conference that really knows how to make things easier for its presenters – seriously, if you’re looking for a venue, consider it.

Today, we’re presenting on a study we’re actually still in the middle of, but which is probably my favorite thing I’m working on right now — for many and varied reasons.  About five months ago, at the start of fall term, we gave six of our undergraduates iPads and we’ve been gathering data about how they use them ever since in several different (qualitative) ways.  We knew that one piece of the data-gathering – the photo-elicitation piece – would be done in advance of Online Northwest, so we decided to talk about that piece here.

So the presentation is going to talk about the value of the research method (auto-photo elicitation) and about some of our preliminary analysis – we’ll talk about themes that are illustrated most strongly by the photographs, and also some ideas that have been coming out of the interviews that are illuminated or illustrated by the photographs.  I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s a sneak preview (click to embiggen):

One of the things that was really important to us in this study design was the idea that the iPads needed to belong to the students – that they couldn’t be loaners or have a temporary home with the students if we really wanted to see what kind of impact these devices would have on our subjects’ information practices.  The theme of ownership and personalization is part of every interview.  In our initial interview, we asked them to talk about the first piece of technology they could remember that really felt to them like it was “theirs.”  The other side of the handout has their responses.

I’ll post a link to the slides when they’re posted elsewhere.  It’s a big file.  This is one of those talks where I think the subject is SO interesting that I am a little worried others won’t see it that way — I’ll report back on the conversation as well.

(p.s. I’m also giving another talk on another research project here.  In that one my co-investigators are doing all the heavy lifting and there’s no handout.  It’ll get it’s own post after the slides are up.)

Information Literacy and the FYE

I’m doing a webcast tomorrow morning about integrating information literacy into the First-Year Experience.  I’ve done some presentations for faculty, and for some graduate classes on campus on this topic, but this is the first time I’ll be talking to (mostly) librarians about it.

Here’s the monster list of “further reading/exploration” links I’ve gathered along the way.





the mountains and the library

“When C.R. Ashbee toured Portland in 1916, two things struck him: “the mountains and the library.

waiting for the library to open

The Library, not as a building, but as an object lesson in democratic conviction; the mountains, Hood, Saint Helens, Adams and far away Rainier, and eternal reprimand.”  Ashbee described the work of Mary Frances Isom, the head of Portland’s library:

She has under her a staff of 60 men and women, and she has the great work of “making the library be alive.”  I’ve learnt from her a little of what an American library in a great town is…. Here it is a huge democratic propagandist  institution, with its subsidiary libraries and book stores, and its motor cars, its staff that searches out lonely homes where books are needed and taken, its system of inviting all new immigrants into the Library, and teaching workpeople and the school children how to use the catalogue and what it all means…. I try to mark down the difference between our libraries and the American.  Ours seem to be afflicted with the property sense.  They are public institutions for guarding the public books. Here, as she told me, they act on the hypothesis that it is better for a book now and again to be stolen than for the public not to be using the Library.

– Lawrence Kreisman and Glenn Mason, The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest.

Link post – sorry?

I have ideas, but they’re big and lengthy. I need to think some more. In the meantime, to remind me that I still know how to use this space — recent links:

From Feminist Law Professors – “What is Feminist about Open Access”

Paul Ginsparg talks about the history of arXiv in Nature (link to Whewell’s Ghost in case there is a paywall)

Another in the academic article category – “Entextualized Humor in the Formation of Scientist Identities among US Undergraduates.”  Anthropology & Education, almost certainly behind a paywall, but an interesting take on the implicit knowledge that goes into the development of a scholarly identity.

Pondering Blather thinks aloud about moving to a digital lab notebook world.  Interesting preservation and access questions ahead.

At the American Historical Association, Robert Townsend asks “Are Citations the Best Measure of History Journals”

Anita Guerrini (at Miller-McCune) asks if the “culturomics” effort described earlier this year in Science is REALLY social science?

And a little bit of awesome – Uncovered Cover Art – artists reimagine children’s book covers.