ACRL 2013: Research Funding & Practicing Researchers

ACRL sessions are made up of multiple short presentations. In this first group I attended:

  • Academic Library, e-Science/e-Research, and Data Services in a Broader Context
  • Research Funding And Implications for Universities and Their Libraries
  • Studying practicing researchers¬†

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What's interesting today

The Devil’s Workshop: So My Students Can Eat
A community college professor writes about how his students have to choose between paying tuition and paying for groceries. I had never even thought about this in any kind of depth, and I’m not alone in that. So fundamental.

John Green’s tumblr: Why Libraries Are Different From Piracy
John Green is an author. In this post, he talks about the differences between getting a book from the library and pirating it, and why he thinks it’s better to do the former than the latter. An interesting take on this from the author’s perspective.

What's interesting today

More like “What Was Interesting Yesterday.” I had time to collect these links but that was it.

The Digital Shift: Large California Consortium Joins Movement Toward Library EBook Ownership
A system in California is among the first libraries and consortia to invest in the hardware infrastructure necessary to purchase and lend ebooks, rather than lease and lend, which is the (current) primary model. There’s also some info about a very smart publishing house that’s signed on with libraries doing this. I hope that this winds up working well, and that the Big Six follow suit. If nothing else this is going to expose this publisher’s catalog to a lot of people who might otherwise not come across their books. I know for myself, if I just really want an ebook or two to read for a trip, I’ll search for a few things on my to-read list but once that gets tiresome because it’s not available, I’ll just start browsing the system for anything that sounds interesting.

New Rambler: How do we explain patron privacy in a world of target markets?
She’s right, people are surprised that this is our standard operating procedure. When someone discovers this it’s a great opportunity to mention that we do things this way because we believe in intellectual freedom, and a good part of that is your right to read whatever the hell you want without worrying about Big Brother or a relative finding out about it. That said, libraries can and should be doing a lot of this stuff. The trick is to do it on an opt-in basis. Opt in to have us save your borrowing history, pick up your partner’s books, and send you information about things you might be interested in.

But then again. . .
Wall Street Journal: Stores Smarten Up Amid Spam Flood
There’s a limit to the usefulness of this kind of thing. I have unsubscribed from email lists of more than one company that I have shopped at due solely to the sheer volume of email they send. I want to know about your sales but you do not need to remind me of your existence every day.

New Media Consortium: NMC Horizon Connect Session > Howard Rheingold is Net Smart
Free webinar coming up next week, hopefully it will be an interesting discussion of how new/digital/social technology is affecting our lives.

Brainstorm: Plumbers Need Postsecondary Education, Too
Very true, and it’s too bad that this type of education gets lost a lot of the time. Not everyone wants to go the traditional four-years route, and not everyone should.

Wired Campus: TED, Known for Idea Talks, Releases Educational Videos
This is a very cool initiative! Take a few minutes to watch that promo video.

What's interesting today

No articles today but a couple of interesting things did come across my radar otherwise:

ProQuest has opened up their new Vogue Archive for free access through tomorrow. It goes back to 1892 and includes advertisements and everything. There’s some very cool stuff and I wish I’d heard about this sooner. Click here to check it out.

No link for this (it’s from a listserv), but today I encountered a great idea for signage by whatever you call your desk where the reference librarians sit (Reference Desk, Information Desk, Research Help Desk, Ask Here, etc etc). Someone described the type of signage they have up, which includes a whiteboard where they can post useful temporary updates, like if the campus network is down, or printers are broken. I thought this was a very cool idea. If you’re worried about it being blank, you can always use it to display something like “Today’s Hours” or the name of the librarian on duty, or a useful tip for that project everyone in a 200-level English class is working on.

And, uh, here’s what was interesting on January 30, according to the date of this draft I just found.

Temple University: Temple faculty experiment with alt-textbooks
Steven Bell mentioned this program when he spoke at the ACRL MD program this fall, and I’m glad to see it was successful. I hope that more faculty at more institutions consider giving this a shot.

New York Times: It’s Not Me, It’s You
An interesting story about how adults end friendships. We seem to do about as well ending these types of relationships as we do ending romantic ones. This article doesn’t really talk about it, but I think that social networking has added a whole new dimension to this. Personally I feel like my Facebook account is less and less a place for me to really talk about what’s going on in my life, and it seems like that’s the case for many of my friends as well – and this is mainly due to the huge number of acquaintances that I’ve added over the last few years.

Forbes: Elsevier’s Publishing Model Might Be About to Go Up in Smoke
The latest in the “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore” movement against academic journal bundling and extravagant price increases.

What's interesting today

Simmons GSLIS InfoLink: How to Get the Most Out of Library School
Oh look, an article I was interviewed for this summer is out. And not only am I the lead interviewee but the featured photo on the InfoLink homepage. Woah. Epicenter: Amazon’s Kindle Gets a Library Card
Kindle users can now borrow e-books from libraries that use Overdrive (the system most libraries use to lend e-books). Kindle users, please go check it out. Sounds like they have done a nice job integrating the Kindle features you’re used to.

The Chronicle: Women’s Colleges Try New Strategies for Success
Interesting for those of us who’ve been affiliated with a women’s college.

What's interesting today

Mashable: Why Browsing Is So Important to Content Discovery
This is a great, well-written article on why browsing is such an important part of information discovery, and how we’re losing this as we rely more and more on search alone.

ALA: Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010
Banned Books Week is coming up (September 24-October 1). Here’s the Office of Intellectual Freedom’s list of most frequently challenged books last year. Always an interesting list, and I noticed that “And Tango Makes Three” has been number one or two since 2006. (It was released at the end of April 2005.) Anyway, take a look at the list and pick out one to read!

Swiss Army Librarian: Library Media Box and Other Vending Machines
What I think is cool about these vending machines that dispense library materials is that you can put them anywhere. I love seeing stories about things like this being placed in train stations, convenience stores, etc. I can’t quickly find it now, but I seem to also recall seeing a story in the last couple of years about some small lockers set up in a convenience store, which allowed people in a town with no library to place holds on materials in the library system that served their region, and they could pickup and drop off at these lockers. (From the 9/7 AL Direct.)

Library Journal: To Fix Higher Education, Start by Eliminating Tenure
Steven Bell poses three questions to Naomi Riley, author of The Faculty Lounges: and Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For. The whole question of tenure and research vs. teaching is an important one. It seems that the focus is on faculty doing research, which is certainly part of what is driving the discussion about “is your fancy education really worth it if the professors listed in the admissions book teach one senior seminar a year.” The topic might not seem to impact libraries much, but Bell makes some important connections, which he asks Riley about.

What's interesting today

Library Journal: The Evolving Book Group: New Formats Mean More Engagement
There are two takeaways here. One, libraries probably need to rebrand away from “place where books live” to “place where interesting and stimulating things happen.” And two, when you are planning programs you need to make sure you take into consideration what your core audience wants and needs. There are a couple of key anecdotes in this story that really emphasize that.

The Chronicle Wired Campus: Trading in ‘.edu’ for ‘.com’
Brief blurb on the implications of using .edu vs .com domains. I had no idea that there was a “one per institution” rule for the .edu domain.

The Chronicle: With Cheating Only a Click Away, Professors Reduce Incentive
It had never occurred to me before reading this article that students would cheat with clickers. Duh.

The shortlist is out for the 2011 Man Booker Prize
I’ve read a couple of prize winners in the last couple of years, and enjoyed them. One of my book clubs picks a theme each year, prizewinners might be a good one for next year.

PsycINFO News: Meet Alison Cody
Oh hai, new girl.

What's interesting today

Oxford American: Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?

This is an excellent essay, well worth taking the time to read. The author explains why students today should push themselves to get more out of their education than what is offered on the surface. Go and read it, my blurbing it here cannot possibly do it justice. Just trust me that if you believe at all that people should pursue what they’re interested in, not what will pay the bills, you will appreciate this piece. Duke to expand e-books

Duke, Cornell, Hopkins and Emory have collaborated to find a way to provide access to orphan works — books published between 1923 and 1963, which are still under copyright restrictions but the author is deceased and/or the publishing company has gone out of business, and the current holder of the copyright cannot be determined. I really like the sounds of this plan, and I hope to see more programs and initiatives like this.

The Chronicle Review: The Literature Cure

Another great essay, though shorter than the first one I mentioned, covering the why we read and write, from a very personal perspective.

The Chronicle Brainstorm: Epic Failure in Covering College, Punk Rock

A response to one of the articles I posted yesterday — the one profiling some recent college grads who are struggling. The author here points out that one of the women in the story is in a really highly-regarded band and is in actuality probably not that badly off.

What's interesting today

I’ve retweeted a couple of these already today, but I’m finding a lot of interesting stuff on higher ed and libraries this afternoon. So, rather than flood folks who follow my professional account on Twitter (@alisonkcody) I’m going to round it all up here:

NY Times Motherlode: After Class, Skimpy Equality

A really interesting take on what’s happening outside the classroom with gender equality. Seems like it all depends on your perspective, but for myself, I really wonder how much the gals who say “it’s no big deal” really mean it, and how much they’ve been completely influenced by their peers. College is a time for experimentation, but for me it was also a time when I started to step out from under the influence of one particular friend, and became miles more confident after doing so. If the rest of my group had been like her, who knows what kind of person I’d be now. Anyway that’s a kind of garbled way to say that this a complex issue, and there’s probably not any right or wrong answer.

NY Times: Generation Limbo: Waiting it Out

A profile of a handful of recent grads who are underemployed. Many of those profiled are pursuing artistic interests and volunteering, which is great. But I think this article gives very short shrift to those who are really struggling to get by and are relying on government assistance despite a fresh college degree.

Library Computer Use Pre- and Post-Irene

There have been a few items floating around regarding the usefulness of libraries after a disaster like Irene, which among other things cut the power for a lot of us for a significant amount of time. Probably the most striking is the simple charts that the Darien Library (Darien, CT) posted to their flickr stream the other day: Internet Usage @ Darien Library, Pre- and Post-Irene. THere’s also this article from Bloomberg, via the San Francisco Chronicle: Hunt for Wi-Fi Crowds Cafes, Libraries with Stranded Workers. Jessamyn West also posted a nice roundup of how to get information about libraries damaged in Irene, as well as where to get info and updates about the insane hurricane damage in Vermont: Helping Libraries Damaged by Hurricane Irene. As a New Englander I’m especially interested in the situation in Vermont, and am curious to see how they adapt and recover.

Wired Campus: Online Education is Everywhere. What’s the Next Big Thing?

This is a short article talking about an initiative at Southern New Hampshire University to try and determine what’s coming down the pike after online education. I don’t think this is really something new, but the idea of letting students drive the learning process, and learn at their own pace, is important. That said I don’t know that this would really work for every class, especially in the humanities. The lit major in me wants to know how you can really study literature if you don’t put in the hours of lecture and discussion led by someone who’s utterly steeped in the author’s work.

And the last one for today

See Also…: In which I act like I have it all figured out

Steve Lawson jumps in with some thoughts spurred by recent posts elsewhere talking about how the conversation has become fragmented and distributed across many platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, etc.) and how difficult it’s become to go back and find that article that someone . . . posted somewhere . . . at some point recently . . .

He ends with the obvious point — put what you want to find later on your blog and don’t stress about writing a Big Long Thing about it. Just post it. So with that in mind this blog may or may not shudder back to a life that has more to it than just my intermittently posted roundups of what I’ve been reading.