SLIM Information Literacy class

LibrarySecrets (and on Twitter)

Web 2.0 tools by Bloom’s Taxonomy Levels

Toolkit

Google Reader

Delicious linkrolls

Delicious tagrolls

WorldCAT

WorldCAT widgets

Toonlet

Vodpod widgets

Wordle

Library a la Carte

LibGuides (SpringShare)

Netvibes

Scholarship

ScienceBlogs

ResearchBlogging

SciVee

Scientia Pro Publica blog carnival

On Newspapers as Sources (A Historian’s Craft)

The Academic Manuscript (Wicked Anomie)

Useful Chemistry (Open Notebook Science)

mental debrief from WILU

There’s something about spring term that’s always crazy.  Last week was my last presentation obligation of the term – the WILU conference in Montreal.  WILU is one of my favorite conferences, based on the one time I’ve been before, and luckily we presented on Tuesday, so I was able to enjoy most of it without imminent presentation pressure looming over my head.

Kate and I presented on some very early findings from a research project we have been working on for the last several months – examining stories that instruction librarians tell.  I told Kate at the end that if I ended up blogging about this presentation at this early stage, it would be to write something up about how incredibly valuable it can be to present on research in the early stages, even in the very early stages.

Basically, the segment of the research that we presented on at WILU was drawn from an online survey where we asked instruction librarians to share some stories.  Our interest is … epistemological.  We were hoping to identify some themes that would suggest what we “know” as instruction librarians and professionals, as well as  some ideas of what we talk about, worry about, and feel proud about when it comes to  our professional practice.  This work was primarily intended to inform another round of story-gathering, done as interviews, but we were also hoping that these preliminary results would be interesting on their own.

ETA -it was brought to my attention that some more information about the kinds of stories we gathered might be useful.  This is the slide listing the prompts we used to elicit work stories.  They’re adapted from a chapter in this book.

story prompts

So beyond the obvious benefit of a deadline and potential audience forcing you into your data to figure out what it might say early on, presenting even those early findings was a really positive experience.  For one, other people are as interested in the story method as we are, which is awesome.

For another, a whole room full of other pairs of eyes is a fabulous thing.  Kate and I started the conversations that started this project talking about this conversation between Kate and I and some others (and further framed into reflective practice talk by Kirsten at Into the Stacks) though I don’t think it has stayed there.  There has definitely been research-question creep along the way.

We started the project thinking about theory/practice, a is obvious from the conversation linked above.  And we made the connection to reflective practice based on that as well – based on the idea that scholarship represents another way of knowing what we know, and thinking about ways that scholarship can inform and push our reflections on practice.

And we got a great question about whether it makes sense to conflate scholarship with theory in this context, especially when, as another commenter mentioned, much of the LIS literature isn’t clear when it comes to any theoretical frameworks the author used.  A really useful question to think about that scope of the project creep – and also exactly the kind of question I can never answer on the spot.

Theory vs. practice is useful shorthand, especially in a short session like these were.  And I do think that including non-theory generating scholarship in the initial conversations that sparked the project reflected some of the ambivalence we were seeing.  As I said at that time, I really don’t think all of that ambivalence is tied up in “if the scholarship in librarianship was more useful, or more rigorous, or more scholarly, or better-written, or  more theoretically grounded, I would totally use it.”

I also think that Schon’s Reflective Practitioner allows these things to be discussed together as well, not because he conflates them, but because he sets the Reflective Practitioner in contrast to both the pure theorist and the applied scientific researcher:

As one would expect from the hierarchical model of professional knowledge, research is institutionally separate from practice, connected to it by carefully defined relationships of exchange.  researchers are supposed to provide the basic and applied science from which to derive techniques for diagnosing and solving the problems of practice.  Practitioners are supposed to furnish researchers with problems for study and with tests of the utility of research results.

Schon argues that this hierarchical model of professional knowledge has dominated the way we understand, and teach, professional practice – and it is in both the development of grounding theory (basic, disciplinary knowledge) and the development of a body of rigorous, scientific applied knowledge for problem-solving that the practitioners, and the practitioner’s unique ways of knowing, are left out of the equation.

Which is a long way of saying that the initial connections we were making still have value for me mentally when thinking about these questions, but I’m not sure we want to stop there.  All of this begs the question of whether thinking about these questions, and thinking about the stories, with a clearer distinction between theory and practice in mind might be more useful.  I think maybe it would be.  On the one hand, clarity is good, and a lack of clarity in prior discussions might actually suggest the need for more clarity all by itself.

But the conversation brought a couple of additional thoughts to the forefront, neither of which were really clear until the mental presenting-dust settled.

Here and there along the way, I’ve been thinking about the real-world information literacy literature and its connection to this discussion.  One reason to not discuss it in our 30 minutes was the fact that some of what I have read in that literature recently (as relates to real-world information literacy in professional contexts) examines the differences between the ideal knowing captured in our professional texts/ training/ theories and the real-world/ tacit/ experiential knowing that comes with actually dealing with the uncertainty of practice.  The connections to our original questions probably seem clear, but I wasn’t comfortable calling the peer-reviewed literature our abstract, ideal text-based knowing in the same way as the firefighter’s manuals were understood in this article, for example.

Which on the one level is part of the subject of our next steps with this project – figuring out what our abstract, ideal, text-based knowing IS in instruction librarianship.  But on another level points to the problems with conflating theory and scholarship – parsing them out more clearly I think would make the connections to this body of literature more useful.

Related to this comes the question of our training (or lack therof) as instruction librarians, in LIS education and after that.  Between us, we saw several sessions about professional development for new librarians, which dovetailed with conversations we’d had about the distinction between the stuff we read related to information literacy in grad school and most of the stuff in the literature today.

Kate mentioned that the articles she read in library school instruction classes weren’t the articles about practice, but about theory.  I didn’t take a specific instruction class, but I would say the same was true at my school, and was definitely true in the learning theory class that I took.  I think to follow up on that question usefully will also require parsing that discussion more clearly.

So thanks to all of the people who participated in this great (for us) conversation, and we’ll be contacting people soon for the next round of work on the project.

Final lesson from WILU?  I’m still useless when I try to speak from notes.  Not necessarily the speaking part, though it is defintiely not natural for me, but more the actually using the information in my notes part.  I tried in this talk, not throughout but just in one moment at the end, and I still made a total mess of the process.  I walk away from them, get lost, talk past where I am in the notes, and leave things out anyway.  It’s weird that speaking from notes is as much a learned skill as speaking without them is, but it totally is.  I think I blame high school debate, and I suspect it’s too late for me now.

Peer Review 2.0, revised and updated

Watch this space – we may be able to put up a link to the actual talk at some point.  This version is being presented online, to librarians and faculty members from Seattle-area community colleges.

Sneak preview:

surprise004

Why 2.0?

Michael Gorman (Britannica Blog) Jabberwiki: The Educational Response, parts one and two

Shifting perspective – why journals?

Ann Schaffner (1994). The Future of Scientific Journals: A View from the Past (ERIC)

Archive of knowledge

(Skulls in the Stars), Classic Science Papers: The 2008 “Challenge” !

(Female Science Professor) Everyone knows that already

Community building

Sisyphus (Academic Cog), MMAP Update April 13: Publishing Advice from the Professionals

(Historiann), Peer review: Editors versus authors smackdown edition

Clickstream Data Yields High Resolution Maps of Science (PLoS ONE)

Quality control

BBC TV and Radio Follow-Up:  The Dark Secret of Henrik Schon

Bell Labs, press release.  Bell Labs announces results of inquiry into research misconduct.

Fiona Godlee, et al.  Effect on the Quality of Peer Review of Blinding Reviewers and Asking them to Sign their Reports (paywall)

Willy Aspinall (Nature Blogs: Peer-to-Peer), A metric for measuring peer-review performance

(Lounge of the Lab Lemming), What to do when you review?

Distributing rewards

Undine (Not of General Interest), From the Chronicle, Are Senior Scholars Abandoning Journal Publication (also includes a link to the original article behind the Chronicle’s paywall)

(PhD Comics) How professors spend their time

Report of the MLA Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure

Openness – access

Directory of Open Access Journals

Openness – scope

ScienceBlogs

Fill His Head First with a Thousand Questions blog

Landes Bioscience Journals, RNA BiologyGuidelines for Authors (requires authors to submit a Wikipedia article)

(Crooked Timber) Seminar on Steve Teles’ The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement

Henry (Crooked Timber), Are blogs ruining economic debate ?

Collaborative

WikiBooks – Human Physiology

Re-mixed

ResearchBlogging

ResearchBlogging on Twitter

Iterative

Nature Precedings

(sometimes) Digital

Current Anthropology

Stevan Harnad. Creative Disagreement: Open Peer Commentary Adds a Vital Dimension to Review Procedures.

(Peer-to-Peer) Nature Precedings and Open Peer Review, One Year On

Sara Kearns (Talking in the Library), Mind the Gap: Peer Review Opens Up

Miscellaneous

The awesome font we used on the slides is available for free from Typographia:

http://new.typographica.org/2007/type_commentary/saul-bass-website-and-hitchcock-font-are-back/

Photo credit (because it is tiny here) –  Surprise.  flickr user Jeremy Brooks.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremybrooks/3330306480/

talking on the web

What is it about spring term that it always ends up being overloaded?  Sometimes it is travel, and this term definitely has its share of that – informational visits to the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WILU in Montreal, and an insane 30-hour total trip across 3 time zones for a college reunion.  But unlike other travel-crazy terms, this time around it’s the presentations that have me feeling that “there’s always something more to be working on” feeling.

Upcoming – my first real forays into web-based presentations.

First, there is this one with Rachel: Social Media and the Ethics of Information.

Then a few days later, Kate and I are going to do a version of the Peer Review 2.0 talk as a professional development workshop for community college libraries in Seattle.

Given budget realities for all of us, I would expect that this form of presentation and sharing will only become more important, so I am excited to try it out.  But I’m also nervous.  I’ve definitely been in on online presentation situations where the content and/or presentation style didn’t translate very well.  And it’s not something you can practice, or at least I haven’t figured out how; every practice feels even more artificial than practicing a traditional presentation in front of the mirror.

(Not that I’d know anything about that – I am a practice-while-driving type of presenter)

So yeah, if you’ve ever sat in on a really great webcast presentation, or a really bad one, I’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t.

Library Instruction 2.0: Building Your Online Instruction Toolkit

(cross-posted at Notes and Links)

2008 ALA Annual Conference
Rachel Bridgewater, Reed College
Anne-Marie Deitering, OSU Libraries
Karen Munro, University of Oregon

Links to our examples, and many more resources to browse can be found at our Library a la Carte page: Library Instruction 2.0

Web pages, CMS tools, LMS tools

LibGuides (SpringShare)

Library a la Carte (Oregon State University)

Haiku (web-based LMS, free service is limited)

NetVibes

PageFlakes

Viviti (still in private beta)

Widgetize-able tools and applications

Sprout – use Sprout to create widgets out of RSS feeds and more

del.icio.us

CiteULike

MeeboMe

LibraryThing

SlideShare

YouTube’s Embeddable Custom Player (you must be signed into YouTube)

VodPod (to include videos from providers other than YouTube)

Resources for Keeping Up

Google Reader

Wikipedia’s page on RSS aggregators – lots to choose from!

Infodoodads

Information Aesthetics

Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day

Read/Write Web

Blackboard blogs

Games, systems and a LOTW shout-out

I have definitely hit that “what am I forgetting before ALA” mode where it is not a matter of if I forget anything, but rather how important the thing I forget will turn out to be. I am deep in the throes of preparing to present this pre-conference workshop with these awesome people while at the same time I try to make sure all loose ends are tied up here before I go.

So! I blog! Because I really want to just say a few words about one of the presentations I saw at LOEX of the West. Late, I know, but it’s sparked a really fascinating email conversation between several of my colleagues here at OSU and I want to write a few things about it before I forget them.

So the presentation was this one – A Portal to Student Learning, in which Nicholas Schiller of WSU-Vancouver argued that perhaps video games and gaming are not interesting to instruction librarians because we can make games that are more fun and engaging than traditional instruction sessions.  Instead, they should be interesting to us because the people who design games put their considerable skills, talent, time and resources to work to, essentially, teach a group of players how a system works, how to navigate that system and how to get what they need to solve problems and achieve goals within that system.

Apologies to Nicholas for that very brief and rough paraphrase but even brief and rough — it sounds a lot like what research is?

One of the overarching points here, and one that came up as well when Rachel and I talked about Alternate Reality Games at the last Online NW, is that good games and good game environments are really, really hard to do.  There are people who spend all of their professional time, every day, creating these games and environments and sometimes even they fail.  Librarians have other jobs being librarians and do we really have time to create the types of games that will be engaging, that will contain within them whatever it is that makes success within the game environment an end in itself to players?

One of my co-workers pointed out that it is hard to design a game to teach people how to research effectively because everyone’s research process is different, everyone’s goals are different, and people’s goals shift and change even as they engage in their own research process.  And that’s certainly true -if we expect their motivation to play and do well at a game to be external to the game – I want to do well at a game because of what it will get me outside the game — then I think that’s probably not the way to get engaged in a game.  But a game about information literacy skills that has within it enough motivation that people want to succeed at it for the game’s sake alone – I might be a little too cynical to be able to picture that.

But what I liked so much about Nicholas’ presentation was that he showed a way to think about this that doesn’t require us to design games that meet our users’ idiosyncratic and deeply individual needs.  It doesn’t require us to have the technical skills to develop games that will be engaging and effective.  It requires us to understand that when people are playing games they are learning, about systems and environments.  In effect, the game gives them what they need to teach themselves the rules of the game, including where those rules can be bent or broken.

And I think that’s a really exciting way to think about our interfaces, our tools and our systems.  Because they have rules too.  The ways that game designers use feedback, scaffolding, and other techniques to help the user teach themselves by doing — that seems to have direct applicability to how we can think about our systems and the tools that give our users access to those systems.  This might be a deeper and better way of thinking about visual search than I’ve been doing here for a while now.  I suspect that it is.

Because where I’m not cynical at all, I’m probably downright Pollyanna-ish, is in the idea that research brings with it its own rewards.  One reason I’m so resistant to the idea that we need to staple another motivation (winning a game) on top of learning research skills is that research itself is fun, adventurous, creative, surprising — and even competitive.  Haven’t we all felt like we won, somehow, when we made that breakthrough, found that thing that showed us where our project was going to go so that all of a sudden we could see it all the way through to the end?

I’m not sure I can describe it better than Caleb did here – talking about games and research and the fun.  I think he’s right – that libraries are very well suited to that kind of learning.  But our systems don’t always keep up.  So thanks Nick, for suggesting some ways that maybe they can.

LOTW follow-up – from people who weren’t there!

Kate and I are still buzzing from the great conversation we had with the people who came to our session at LOEX of the West. It’s always an amazing and kind of surreal experience when you find out that other people are excited by the same ideas you are.

And it seems that other people really are. Almost the second we stopped talking, we started finding other people who were. All over the web.

At ACRLog, Barbara Fister brings up the issue of promotion and tenure, and how many committees find it difficult to evaluate the significance of publications that don’t fit into the traditional scholarly formats — particularly when they are trying to evaluate the impact of scholars from other disciplines. These ideas are strongly connected to the ideas about distributing professional rewards, and we really just got started talking about the question of expertise, and evaluating work outside your discipline at the end there – good to see and think more about it.

Dorothea Salo talks about the differences between informal writing on the participatory web (like blog posts) and scholarly journal writing. She brings up one benefit to scholarly journals that we only hinted at – the way that the lengthy give and take between author and editor in the traditional publication process can make an individual article better. Not bring it up to some objective standard of quality, but make it better than it was. She also talks about something we did spend a lot of time talking about – the archive of knowledge, or the scholarly record. But she goes a lot further than we did talking about the role academic libraries play in that process.

Then today, I saw Tenured Radical’s discussion of the Social Science Research Network. She’s asking why historians aren’t participating in this project, and looking at some of the implications of that lack of participation. The SSRN is a digital archive that has as its goal the rapid dissemination of research in the social sciences. It includes an abstract database (of scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers) and an e-library of downloadable papers. These resources are available to registered members for free; there are also entry points into some proprietary database holdings, for a fee.

Tenured Radical highlights one of the reasons we think it’s so important that we are all having these conversations – not to replace traditional forms of publication, but to make them accessible. Not to encourage scholars to write for the public instead of for each other, but to leverage technological change in ways that can keep that scholarly discourse available to those who want to find it –

An insistence that the only good work has been heavily vetted through our current refereeing practices may be a mistake, much as soliciting the criticisms of others does contribute to producing good work (although it doesn’t always, I’m afraid, as cases where flawed research has slipped through to publication or to a prize demonstrates.) In its current form, it may be a fetish that is doing us more harm than good, and may be something that our professional associations need to review to take advantage of an atmosphere of intellectual vigor offered by electronic and other forms of mass publication.

LOEX of the West presentation, 2008

Peer Review 2.0: Tomorrow’s Scholarship for Today’s Students

LOEX of the West, Las Vegas

Anne-Marie Deitering & Kate Gronemyer

WEB 2.0 BACKGROUND

Five Web 2.0 themes — from the ACRL Instruction Section’s Current Issues Discussion Forum, Research Instruction in a Web 2.0 World (Annual, 2006).

DANAH BOYD EXAMPLES

{Edit: These didn’t make it into the presentation, but they are examples of some discussions on the web over the last year that started our thinking on this topic.}

danah boyd – open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals

danah boyd – Viewing American Class Divisions through Facebook and MySpace

danah boyd – editing a special issue of JCMC

NORMAL SCIENCE & INNOVATIONS

PEER REVIEW, QUALITY CONTOL & FRAUD

DISTRIBUTING PROFESSIONAL REWARDS

WHAT IF WE IGNORE NEW MODELS?

NEW MODELS

Current Anthropology

Expressive Processing: An Experiment in Blog-Based Peer Review – Noah Waldrip Fruin on Grand Text Auto

Cognitive Daily blog

ScienceBlogs – The World’s Largest Conversation about Science

BPR3: Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting — Icons

CiteULike

UsefulChem Wiki

Radiology Wiki

Open Notebook Science Using Blogs and Wikis (Jean-Claude Bradley, at Nature Precedings)

Rrresearch Blog

“The Academic Manuscript” — Wicked Anomie: Sociology Run Amok

Welcome to Nature Precedings

EDITED TO ADD:

Barbara Fister points to this article in the Chronicle:  Certifying Online Research (Gary Olson), about the challenges of evaluating online publications.  See also Barbara’s post at ACRLog: Peer (to Peer) Review.