Signs of Spring

So the second day of spring found us in the middle of Finals Week (courtesy of the quarter system that I am still not used to after 8 years), in a world that looked like THIS -

snow fort in a front yard of a house in Corvallis

Our world here doesn’t usually look like this even when it is winter.  Seriously, this is the first real snow fort I can remember seeing in the Willamette Valley and I have lived in western Oregon since I was seven.

(Finals week = no snow day, and I can’t imagine what kind of logistical nightmares people were having to deal with anyway)

So this is a long way of introducing the fact that we’re in the middle of Spring Break now, so EBSCO going dark yesterday was probably going to be as low-impact as it possibly could around here.  Which doesn’t change the fact that Shaun was in his office for less than a half hour before I saw this tweet -

- which turned out to be about EBSCO.

Which is a long way of introducing this awesome telling of the EBSCO tale, which is also a really awesome example of how to use Storify:

EBSCO:  The Reckoning

Changing expectations

Remember all of those fashion-centric shows on networks like MTV in the 1990’s? This is a bit of one, covering a famous runway show by John Galliano — scratched together with almost no support, held in a socialite’s house, with models who worked for free. I’ve been looking for coverage of this show for forever — because see the model who falls down on the stage in the beginning bit, falls down on purpose to evoke the desperation of the fleeing princess? (starts at 0:25 in)

That’s my little sister, Debbie. Not being in Paris at the time, I have only heard tell of this performance. I would love to see it unabridged, but for now, this will do.

It amazes me how quickly my expectations have changed from what I should be able to find – when I first started looking for information about this show, I was happy to find a review in an article somewhere. When I first started looking at YouTube for videos of Debbie on the runway, about two years ago, I was surprised not to find anything – surprised that there wasn’t a lot of content posted from this pre-ubiquitous digital video, pre-Internet era?

That seems a little unreasonable of me, but there it was. And now there’s lots and lots of video from that era up, and instead of feeling like I am living in the future, I expect it — and I’m really enjoying the trip back to the past.

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)

BBC Memoryshare – visualization + history

I have only spent 7 minutes in here, but I am already in love.  From the BBC – Memoryshare, “a place to share and explore memories.”

memoryshare

It’s a totally fun visualization tool – a sliding timeline down the left side of the screen lets you drill down to a year and browse through people’s memories from that year.

From the stuff you read in history textbooks — Queen Victoria’s funeral procession in 1901 (1901!!)

“Well, I was thrilled to the marrow. Because I had never seen troops of soldiers, I had never seen mounted police. Being brought up in the country, I had never seen a crowd.” (Mrs. G.S. Freeman)

To the stuff you don’t – like the day John Ballam met his wife (1987)

Compared to where I grew up the UK seemed terribly crowded and also the university issued very careful guidelines about how to anticipate violence and certain areas to avoid and of course having grown-up in the middle of nowhere this seemed to be very shocking so I got myself a roll of ten pences and carried them in my hand to defend myself.

(via infosthetics.com)

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/

DIY tutorials, library style

Or kind of.  After writing this post last winter, I started thinking about this idea as a way to connect with some of the classes I work with.  Quick recap, I was looking at craft tutorials online and came up with some common characteristics they had, that our library tutorials don’t always have:

  1. They’re kind of at the point of need, they’re kind of not.
  2. They’re all about how to make something.
  3. They usually assume some level of knowledge on the part of the user.
  4. They are presented using social tools.
  5. There’s value added. They do some of the work for the user.
  6. A lot of the time, they’re marketing tools.
  7. They are created within an existing community.

I work with some of our distance education classes, the writing classes for example, and having some very quick and easy “here’s how to get this thing done” how-to’s make so much sense for those students – I tend to answer the same questions over and over and I have access to their class space in the LMS and to their email addresses.

But it’s not just the distance classes that I am thinking about.  I taught for a business writing class and it was exactly the kind of class I frequently have trouble with.  The students need to do a little bit of very specific kinds of research for every project they have in this class — there’s no way to time a single instruction section so that it works for this class.

To show them how to find the specific types of stuff (information on non-profits, job listings, community statistics, opinion polls, company information, annual reports, and on and on and on) they need to find, in a face-to-face session inherently means spending most of the session doing straight-up how-to demos to support assignments they don’t even have yet.  There’s no way around it. There’s no way the instructor could have structured the class any better, and there’s no way that I could make these topics more relevant in a traditional one-shot.

And the stuff is pretty straightforward – it’s mostly a matter of pointing to where the stuff is, and a few tips on the how, and they can take it and with it from there.  The complex part of what students need to do in this class is to figure out what kind of evidence they need to write about the project they’ve come up with for the audience they have — that’s good, interesting work but it’s also not well-suited to a one-shot because they have to do this over and over again for every project they do.  So multiple one-shot sessions would make no sense for this class either.

What makes sense to me is to connect with this class at the start of the term, by visiting them in person since they are an in-person class.  But the quick connection at the start would be pretty easy to replicate online.  And once that first connection is made, it makes sense to me to send the class quick how-to information about the stuff they need to find, when they need to find it.

Something like this.

companytitle

I am also thinking about some of the large general education classes that I would like to support, but which we could never support with face-to-face sessions given current staffing levels.  We are already embedded into the First Year Composition curriculum, which is the only course required for all of our undergraduates.  But there are a lot of other courses that have a lot of undergraduates enrolled and some of those have assignments that require outside sources.  Thinking about the opportunity to reach 500 or so students with some point-of-need help (that reinforces the FYC lessons) in each of those classes, while continuing to reach 700-800 in FYC – that would make me pretty happy about our impact on the first-year experience.

So, is copying the craft tutorials the way to go?  Maybe it is – not entirely copying, but there are some opportunities there, I think.  Our web developer, Susan McEvoy, put together a blog for me to use just for this – that should let us track the same kind of statistics we track on the overall website.  It’s very simple, stripped-down.  The posts are just text and images.  Because I write fast, putting together one of these takes 20-40 minutes, with most of that taken up uploading images.

DIY Research

So that means I can be really responsive and tailor things to assignments.  It’s also easy to send students a link and announcement from within the LMS.  In fact, there’s a DIY Tutorial on how to do that.

So how do they match up with the craft tutorials? Do these concepts translate?  Sometimes yes, sometimes now.

1. They’re kind of at the point of need, they’re kind of not.

This is true in that they are sent to students at the point of need, and they also persist, so they can be found or re-found later.  But I don’t think they’re very searchable now, given that I haven’t done much to make that happen.  The images are all on flickr, which is something I think could be utilized better – at first I thought putting together Joe Murphy-style tutorials at the same time as the DIY tutorials made sense, but then I realized that I re-use a lot of the images.  But I think the tagging here could connect people to the finished products too, if I think about it more.

2. They’re all about how to make something.

This one, I have trouble with.  The bibliographic management ones work in this way – “make a bibliography.”  A lot of the others are more process-focused.  I tried to focus the titles at least on the thing(s) that could be found with the process, but I think this one needs more work too.

3. They usually assume some level of knowledge on the part of the user.

I did link out to other tutorials when I thought there might be things people didn’t know.  But otherwise these are limited to the specific thing they are about, not all of the building blocks knowledge people will need, or the additional questions they might spark.

4. They are presented using social tools.

Yes, and this is important.  There is an issue with the comments, since most of our users don’t log in to the system before using it.  But putting it on a blog allows for the content to be repurposed easily into our Course Pages:

rsslalac

and our LMS:

diytrssbb

5. There’s value added. They do some of the work for the user.

This, I haven’t figured out.  Perhaps if I was working in less of a teaching environment this would be easier.

6. A lot of the time, they’re marketing tools.

Absolutely!

7. They are created within an existing community.

To the extent that they are being created and conceptualized entirely within existing classes, yes, this works.  To the extent that being of a community makes them findable, I think that is less clear.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  I have no plans for assessment at this point beyond web logging information – including the time spent and return visits, so more interesting than straight hit counts.  And I have a fairly modest definition of success – these take so little effort to make, I don’t need all of the students in the class to find them useful, or even to try them.  I will keep you posted.

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.