ALISE 2009 Juried Paper Abstracts
Gail K. Dickinson
Exploratory Study of the Relationship between National Board Certification in Library Media and Information Science and Student Academic Achievement
National Board Certification (NBC) of teachers, including those in school library media specialists (LMS), has been touted as a path to increases in student achievement. However, there is a dearth of scientifically rigorous evidence to support this claim and literally no evidence to link NBC of LMS professionals and student achievement. The purpose of the Exploratory Study of the Relationship between National Board Certification in Library Media and Information Science and Student Academic Achievement (Explore NBC) is to provide a scientifically rigorous research framework for the study of NBC of LMS on student achievement and pilot that framework with a subset of the nation’s LMS professionals. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) and guided by the Explore NBC Advisory Committee, this is an ongoing two-year study of the linkages between National Board Certification of LMS and student achievement.
Explore NBC directly addresses a need in the library media and information sciences – namely to conduct rigorous evaluation of library and information services professional preparation as well as examine linkages to student performance. As such, we are implementing a scientifically-based research study designed to draw causal inferences about the relationship between the library and information services provided by school library media specialists and student achievement.
Specifically, we employ a quantitative, quasi-experimental research design to compare successful and unsuccessful NBC LMS candidates with LMS professionals who never applied for certification in terms of student achievement while controlling for other factors that affect student performance. Our methods include a survey of LMS, analysis of NBC data from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and facility data from Annual Media and Technology Report (AMTR) as well as examination of student-level standardized test scores. We term this an exploratory study because we study LMS professionals from North Carolina who make up approximately 25 percent of the NBC LMS population.
The analytic model is straightforward and built from the main research question: What effect does NBC of LMS have on student achievement? We compare three groups: LMS who are certified, those who attempted NBC but failed, and those who never attempted NBC. The model accounts for possible confounding factors of LMS demographics, facility specifications, collaboration, and district/school factors. Student achievement is measured by NCAT reading and computing test scores. Regression analyses are used to gauge the relationships. We hypothesize that LMS who are NBC will positively affect student test scores to a greater degree than those who failed to gain NBC and those who never attempted. Results from this methodologically rigorous study will be made available to the public for the first time at the ALISE annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Ya-Ling Lu, PhD
Are Low Achievers Readers?
Revising the Reference Curriculum: Collaborative Learning and Social Networking in the Online Environment
This paper looks at two critical aspects of teaching reference skills in an online environment: the evolution of reference work and sources in the online era, and utilizing Web 2.0 technologies in order to increase student class involvement, decrease isolation, and enhance retention.
Traditional print reference sources are no longer the primary gateway to information for librarians. This paper will discuss methods used to develop reference skills in a changing environment. The environmental change not only involves a shift in resources from print to electronic sources, but in the way that the sources are connected. Hyperlink programming and layering of information have fundamentally changed the way reference sources are accessed. Reference sources have evolved from stand-alone print products specializing in one type of information (i.e., geographic, bibliographic, or statistical) to multi-faceted gateways to a variety of information types. Reference librarians need to know about the availability of these sources and how to use them.
The traditional reference curriculum that teaches concrete source types is no longer suitable in an online environment. Most LIS programs use online teaching to help students gain needed technological skills. Since 2003, the University of Southern Mississippi School of Library and Information Science has been teaching its core Reference Course “Reference and Information Resources and Services” in a fully online format. This paper draws on that experience to demonstrate that reference skills can be taught online through the use of Web 2.0 technologies.
Fortuitously, new online technologies are reshaping the way “Generation C” (Dye, 2007) regards online communication. Technology provides the means for effective pedagogy, and also for creating an engaging environment for students who are often away from campus. The prevalence of online social networking software has changed how the millennial generation views professional and personal information gathering (Dye, 2007). These new forms of communication and relationship building are a solution to the dearth of social interaction in distance education.
This paper proposes that creative use of WebCT that also incorporates social networking technologies such as wikis and blogs creates an online community of students that persists throughout the length of their program. This feeling of unification and solidarity to a common cause enhances engaged participation, a key educational motivational issue (Greeno & the Middle School Mathematics Through Application Project, 1998), and diminishes feelings of isolation. By working in online groups, students create specialized knowledge communities through which they meet future colleagues, make friends, and create social networks of both personal and professional information.
The authors are currently investigating the formation of students’ attitudes about the collaborative learning as described above, and findings will be included in the final paper. The presentation will provide theoretical background and examples of student work and specific pedagogical techniques.
Name Networks: A Content-Based Method for Automated Discovery of Social Networks to Study Collaborative Learning
Assessing the Economic Value of Public Library Services: A Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis
As a way to gain greater insight into the operation of Library and Information Science (LIS) e-learning communities, the presented work applies automated text mining techniques to text-based communication to identify, describe and evaluate underlying social networks within such communities. The main thrust of the study is to find a way to use computers to automatically discover social ties that form between students just from their threaded discussions. Currently, one of the most common but time consuming methods for discovering social ties between people is to ask questions about their perceived social ties via a survey. However, such a survey is difficult to collect due to the high cost associated with data collection and the sensitive nature of the types of questions that must be asked. To overcome these limitations, the paper presents a new, content-based method for automated discovery of social networks from threaded discussions dubbed name networks. When fully developed, name networks can be used as a real time diagnostic tool for educators to evaluate and improve teaching models and to identify students who might need additional help or students who may provide such help to others.
CREATing a New Theoretical Model for Reference Encounters in Synchronous Face-to-Face and Virtual Environments
This paper reports on the development of a new theoretical model for synchronous reference encounters that encompasses face-to-face (FtF) and live chat Virtual Reference (VR) environments in dyadic communication situations (i.e., in communication between two people). This innovative model focuses attention on the dual dimensions of communication, which are the content (information) and relational (interpersonal) dimensions, following from the theoretical work of Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson (1967) and Goffman (1967).
The model highlights the critical importance of a combination of positive content and positive relational aspects for participants’ reports of successful reference encounters, including librarians and users. It is built upon substantial, ongoing research in reference encounters and a finely detailed category scheme of facilitators (factors that assist communication) and barriers (factors that impede communication) derived from Radford (1993, 1999, 2006a) and Radford and Connaway (2005-2008). The category scheme was constructed from empirical data gathered from librarians, users, and non-users in FtF and live chat VR environments as well as from chat transcript analysis.
Factors that characterize successful and unsuccessful encounters were inferred from the participants’ responses to survey and interview questions constructed and analyzed according to the Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954). For example, participants were asked to recall an experience using FtF or chat reference and describe why they felt the encounter was successful or unsuccessful (see also Radford, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2006b).
The model also acknowledges the overarching importance of context in perceptions of success. There are differences and similarities in the importance of the content and relational dimensions as reported by librarians, users, and non-users which vary among (but are not restricted to) the following contexts:
The authors will provide a detailed explanation of the model and will discuss the process involved in its development, as well as the implications and recommendations for Library and Information Science education that encourage reflective practice and service excellence in FtF and virtual environments. The model will provide an increased understanding of reference encounters from the viewpoint of both users and librarians so that greater success and satisfaction for all involved can be achieved.
Building Rapport between LIS and Museum Studies
Over the past several decades, the LIS community has adopted theories, methodologies, philosophical bases and assumptions from other academic disciplines to solidify its domain. Many of the ideas from cognitive science, psychology, management science, systems science, communication science, organizational science, and computer science have positively contributed to the emergence of new research areas in library and information science. This has resulted in a broadening of the library and information science curriculum. Recently, museum studies has been tendered more attention. Several archives programs in LIS (e.g., Pittsburgh’s museum archives, FSU’s museum informatics, etc.) try to incorporate the subjects (or contents) of museum studies. Conferences called “Museums and the Web” and “International cultural heritage informatics meetings” are attended every year by myriad museum studies researchers and LIS participants. This synthesis of studies has produced a new domain called “museum informatics.” It is an emerging, interdisciplinary field of study, which studies the sociotechnical issues that arise when people, information, and technology interact in museums (Marty, Rayward, & Twidale, 2003).
This is the challenge: How do we promote cooperative relationship between LIS and museum studies? This might be answered by recognizing similarities and differences between LIS and museum studies’ curriculum. So, this study analyzed the curriculum offered by museology or museum studies degree programs in the United States to ascertain the nature of museum studies education. In addition, it analyzed the museum informatics curricular practice of LIS graduate program in the United States to identify the current state of museum education in LIS schools.
The study began by identifying museum studies programs that offer undergraduate and graduate programs. Schools that offer a graduate certificate program are also included in this study, but they will be analyzed separately and later. However, training programs provided by a museum institution or society were excluded in this study. Programs were identified from: U. S. News, Worlds Report and Smithsonian’s Museum Studies Training Program Directory (http://museumstudies.si.edu/resources.html), Committee on Museum Professional Training’s member program (http://www.comptaam. org/aboutcompt/memberprograms.html). First, the program descriptions in each program were viewed on the open web to characterize the museum studies education: the number of credit-hours, the number of required courses, the area of interests, and other requirements were collected. In addition, course titles and short catalog descriptions were collected to identify curricular trend and content.
Then this study examined museum informatics courses in Library and Information Science programs accredited by American Library Association. Course titles, course descriptions, and syllabi were collected. The courses on the topic of museum studies were identified based on their titles and descriptions where museum was mentioned as a term (e.g., museum informatics, museum archives, etc.).
The results of this study will be expected to provide implications for museum education in LIS schools. This will inform how best to design interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary curricula approach in LIS to support the education of museum professionals.
A Novel Approach to Educating Medical Informationists
Because the information world of medical professionals is complex and ever-expanding, a new set of information professionals is needed to serve as a liaison between that world of information and the world of medicine. Davidoff and Florance (Annals of Internal Medicine 132(12):996-8, 2000 June) raised many of these issues when they proposed the concept of the “informationist,” someone who possesses both clinical knowledge and information retrieval skills and expertise. The Institute of Medicine’s Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century (National Academy Press, 2001), also underscored the need for evidence-based information in the reduction of errors and the delivery of quality care and identified the need for more training of clinicians in informatics skills and knowledge. The primary approach for educating informationists has focused on training librarians to become informationists (Detlefsen, 2002). However, an innovative approach to this challenge has been implemented through a dual degree program offered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and Duke University.
The UNC-Duke Medical Information Specialist Training (UNC-Duke MIST) program has successfully recruited and enrolled four (4) Duke Medical School students in the master’s degree program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science. One student entered the program in 2006 and three students followed in 2007.
All Duke’s third year medical students are required to engage in a year-long research experience. In 2004, the two universities approved the MIST dual degree program as one possibility for fulfilling this requirement. The students complete a master’s degree at UNC, including a master’s thesis related to medical information issues.
The MIST program has achieved its recruiting goals, and MIST staff is now engaged in an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program. Each of the students’ instructors is being interviewed concerning the students’ participation and success in the program. In addition, each student participant is being interviewed at the end of each semester, in order to assess their experiences with the dual degree program. Each student also fills out a brief questionnaire concerning the quality of each course taken.
This paper will provide background on the dual degree program and describe the evaluative methods used to assess the program. It will discuss the effectiveness of the dual degree program, with particular emphasis on the students’ perspective. It will review the lessons learned thus far, and next steps for the program and its graduates.
There is much to learn and build on from a close inspection of this ‘one-of-a-kind’ academic program. It is an innovative example of one new model for LIS education specifically focused on a field that is increasingly complex and increasingly dependent on effective information use.
Bharat Mehra [corresponding author]: 425 Communications Building, School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, 1345 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37996. Email: email@example.com; Phone: 865-974-5917; Fax: 865-974-4967.
The Role of LIS Education in the Development of Community Health Information Services for People Living With HIV/AIDS: Perspectives of Directors/Managers of Public Libraries
This paper identifies the role of library and information science (LIS) education in the development of community health information services for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) based on preliminary findings from semi-structured interviews with eleven directors/managers of local branches in the Knox County Public Library (KCPL) System located in the East Tennessee region. Select feedback reported by research participants is summarized in the paper about strategies in LIS education that can help local public librarians and others in their efforts to become more responsive information providers to PLWHA. Research findings help better understand the issues and concerns regarding the development of digital and non-digital health information services for PLWHA in local public library institutions.
Creating Community Cohesion in Chicago and beyond: can LIS education aid social inclusion?
This paper describes how LIS education in the form of a community informatics course taught at the Graduate School of Library Information Science, Dominican University, River Forest (10 miles west of Chicago) prepares students to work in new digital frontiers, as librarians, information workers, community workers, social workers, and policy makers in local, national, and international contexts. The emergent discipline of community informatics is broadly defined as the use and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in local communities, particularly underserved communities.
This interdisciplinary, socio-cultural course explores contemporary theory, research, and practice in community informatics. Community networking and information systems, social inclusion ; public access and spaces for ICT; social capital and social networks; public policy; ethics for CI researchers, and community memory, are discussed in the context of local, national and international case studies.
As part of the learning process students: define and articulate fundamental concepts of community informatics; discuss the social, economic, cultural, policy, contexts of CI; analyze and assess current local, national, and international CI projects; interpret findings of community informatics research; interpret theories which inform research and practice; apply lessons learned to an information context, and experiment with the development of new knowledge by combining theory with data collected by students.
In a practical assignment students engage with offline and online communities to observe and analyze a local community informatics site to illustrate how theory and concepts discussed in class are applied to real-life contexts. A community informatics site may be a e.g. a community technology center; a public access computing site; a community center; a grass-roots organization etc. situated in the Chicago metropolitan area. Recent assignments include: a study of the role of ICTs in the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation; teens empowerment in the Computer Clubhouse in Roger’s Park; public access computing in the Lake Forest Public Library; “bonding” and “bridging” of social capital in Chicago’s Ukrainian village neighborhood; ;the contribution of Go Local Illinois in providing health information to local communities, and the use of community technology as communication and information in EveryBlock.
Earlier this year, findings of some of these assignments were disseminated to an audience of over 100 attendees, including librarians, policymakers, researchers, academics, and activists at the eChicago Community Informatics Symposium Libraries, Community, Technology Centers and Chicago: Building and serving Our Communities held at Dominican University.
In contrast to this local assignment, students are exposed to a global perspective of CI by having the opportunity to discuss with international guest speakers (last semester from South Africa, Haiti, and Puerto Rico) how ICTs can contribute / or not towards community development strategies in developing countries.
GSLIS at Dominican University is producing a new generation of workers equipped with the knowledge and skills to aid social inclusion and cohesion in communities; workers who have a voice in the crusade to reduce inequalities between disadvantaged groups, to aid social justice, to improve economic development, and to increase civic engagement.
Innovative Information Services Improvised During Disasters: Evidence-Based Education Modules to Prepare Students and Practitioners for Shifts in Community Needs
Library and information service clients’ needs change suddenly during community wide disasters. Library research and literature about disasters emphasizes staff, client and collection physical protection as well as return to normal services, but not the special services librarians can provide during community wide disasters. A few librarians have been information first responders with much needed professional services. Just like health care professionals who understand that they have special skills useful in a disaster, these librarians practiced their profession even without their normal working environment and resources.
The authors are in the third year of a four year project, “Investigating Library and Information Services During Community-Based Disasters: Preparing Information Professionals to Plan for the Worst” supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The end product of the project will be case based modules to train students and practitioners how to improvise such services in a disaster.
The research phase of the project sought evidence of how individual librarians in a variety of libraries and a variety of natural and accidental disasters actually have designed and provided such unanticipated services. The research method of grounded theory development was based on lessons learned in preliminary studies information services improvised in Louisiana and Mississippi after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Through various library associations the researchers invited librarians to participate in a survey designed to identify possible study participants. Through searches of news reports and personal contacts, they identified additional librarians with similar experiences resulting in a contact pool of approximately two hundred librarians who had recently experienced community wide disasters. Most had carried out collection and staff protection procedures and returned to normal services. Many had performed commendable volunteer services. A minority had improvised new services for the suddenly changed information needs of their client community.
After the researchers had developed and tested the interview protocol, a representative sample of twenty librarians providing services in different disasters and different kinds of libraries participated in extensive recorded interviews. The participants also provided documentary evidence of their services. The interviews were transcribed and member-checked for accuracy. The resulting multiple case study data was analyzed using open and axial coding (with NVIVO software) to discover common themes in a variety of cases.
The researchers will develop case study materials to exemplify the best practices identified during the data collection and analysis phase. The material developed will be a combination of generic case studies and individual explanatory case studies. Each case study will include a general description of the particular community-based disaster, the responses taken by the information professional(s) involved, and a guide for discussing the issues involved in the situation.
This paper will report preliminary findings from the research phase and progress on the educational module building phase.
“We Create”: Blended Learning in LIS Courses Using the Communities of Practice Framework
While the term “communities of practice” (CoP) dates to the 1990s (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998), the phenomenon it describes is the timeless work of learning through mentoring and apprenticeships. Contrast this with our typical methods of professional development today -formalized courses or one-time workshops, often conducted as lectures that focus on individual learning and answers rather than inquiry. Theories of constructivist and social learning and an awareness of multiple intelligences and diverse learning styles have positively influenced how we teach, but much work still needs to be done to improve teaching and learning, particularly in online and blended (combined face-to-face and online) environments. The CoP framework provides an integrated model and guide for social learning that is applicable to a broad range of contexts -from classrooms and professional communities to project management and organizational development.
As formal education and library services increasingly move online, the integration of library services into the curriculum using information and communication technologies has moved beyond information literacy across the K-12 curriculum to campus-wide, web- based information literacy initiatives in higher education. The term “blended librarian” dates to 2004 when Stephen J. Bell and John Shank proposed this definition: “the blended librarian [is] an academic librarian who combines the traditional skill set of librarianship with the information technologist's hardware/software skills, and the instructional or educational designer's ability to apply technology appropriately in the teaching-learning process” (2004, p. 374).
This paper summarizes the theoretical and research foundations in inquiry learning, project-based learning, computer-mediated communication, blended learning, and communities of practice that support a CoP-based approach to blended librarianship (Bell & Shank, 2007). A CoP model that incorporates a creative tension between face-to-face and online communication (Barab, MaKinster, & Scheckler, 2004) is presented. This is followed by a description of the application of the model, with the use of social software and low threshold applications, to two courses (Reference & Online Services, and Internet Fundamentals and Design) taught by the author in an accredited MLIS program. The main advantages are: (1) The CoP delineation of social learning processes provides coherence for project-based learning approaches that build on the interdisciplinary expertise of students and also provides mechanisms for sharing that expertise and building collective knowledge on an ongoing basis. (2) The dualities, or creative tensions, posited by the CoP framework provide a means to clarify the choices faced by instructors in curriculum design. (3) The use of a CoP-based approach that incorporates social software and low threshold applications in LIS curricula can serve as a model for blended librarianship for future librarians. Student evaluations of these courses were highly positive. Finally, the disadvantages of a CoP-based approach to blended learning are discussed, with recommendations for further research and application. Teaching, learning, and librarianship, particularly reference services, can succeed or fail based on the quality of the human interactions. The CoP-based approach can positively influence human interactions in blended learning and librarianship contexts. uthor in an accredited MLIS program. The main advantages are: (1) The CoP delineation of social learning processes provides coherence for project-based learning approaches that build on the interdisciplinary expertise of students and also provides mechanisms for sharing that expertise and building collective knowledge on an ongoing basis. (2) The dualities, or creative tensions, posited by the CoP framework provide a means to clarify the choices faced by instructors in curriculum design. (3) The use of a CoP-based approach that incorporates social software and low threshold applications in LIS curricula can serve as a model for blended librarianship for future librarians. Student evaluations of these courses were highly positive. Finally, the disadvantages of a CoP-based approach to blended learning are discussed, with recommendations for further research and application. Teaching, learning, and librarianship, particularly reference services, can succeed or fail based on the quality of the human interactions. The CoP-based approach can positively influence human interactions in blended learning and librarianship contexts.
Digital Library Education Lab
Preparing LIS students to work in the digital environment is an essential part of LIS education nowadays. While most of the LIS schools offer courses related to digital information management and services such as digital libraries and digital library technologies, there are many different approaches to this type of education. In this paper, we would argue that digital library education needs digital library labs to support the teaching and learning process. The paper will first provide a review and summary of different approaches to digital library education, and then introduce the concept of digital library labs. It is emphasized that the labs provide a much needed environment where students can blend theories and practices they learn in class. Some of the characteristics of the digital library labs include:
The iSchool at Drexel currently is building its digital library labs through the Internet Public Library (IPL) presently under its management. In the past several terms, students in digital library courses have been doing assignments and projects through the labs and the IPL. This paper will also discuss this experience and present some results of incorporating the labs work as assignments or class activities. Students’ responses to these assignments and activities are very positive. Their reflections will also be presented and discussed.
Finally, the paper will invite conference audiences to participate in the construction of the digital library labs. Digital labs do not have to be confined by the physical location or school boundaries. Collaborative digital labs could be beneficial to multiple LIS schools and the digital library education as a whole.
Curation Junction, What’s your Function? Defining What it means to Do Digital Curation in order to Teach It
Information professionals are increasingly responsible for taking care of digital collections across their full life – from pre-creation design and planning to provision of access, potentially over long time scales. The activities required to fulfill these responsibilities, often labeled “digital curation,” can occur within various professional, disciplinary, institutional, or organizational contexts (e.g. social science data archive in a university, commercial collection of scanned page images, state archives, private art museum, independent research center). Graduate library and information science programs are uniquely positioned to prepare professionals who will be responsible for digital curation, but this will require new curricula and educational offerings, which may cut across traditional professional boundaries.
The DigCCurr (Digital Curation Curriculum) and DigCCurr2 projects -- both funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services -- are developing conceptual frameworks, educational offerings, professional field experiences and doctoral-level research opportunities, in order to prepare the next generation of digital curation professionals. One of the fundamental activities of DigCCurr is a detailed elaboration of the components of digital curation – i.e what it means to “do” digital curation. Based on collection and analysis of data from numerous sources (documents, surveys, interviews), we have developed a Matrix of Topics for Digital Curation Curriculum.
This paper will summarize the motivation, methodology and data that have served as the basis for the DigCCurr matrix and will explain the components of the matrix, which is based on six dimensions: mandates, values and principles; functions and skills; professional, disciplinary or institutional /organizational context; type of resource; prerequisite knowledge; and transition point in the information continuum. This paper will place strong emphasis on the second dimension: functions and skills. What do our numerous data sources suggest the next generation of digital curation professions will need to do, and what are the implications for educators at schools that prepare information professions?
Katherine Schilling, MLS, Ed.D.
Improving an online MLS course through multimedia enhancements: Results of a comparison study of a first- and second-generation online MLS course shows marked improvements in student engagement, perceptions, and learning outcomes
An MLS program online course was redesigned to use multimedia applications to improve student learning and promote more meaningful engagement with classmates and course activities and materials. This paper describes the online course redesign process and demonstrates media enhancements made to the course. The results of the comparative study of the first- and second-generation online course are also detailed.
Consumer Health Informatics (CHI) is a masters-level online course through which participants examine Internet-based and telehealth models for delivering health information to consumers. CHI originates in the School of Library & Information Science, and is also cross-posted in the graduate schools of Nursing and Informatics. First offered in 2006 and taught each spring thereafter, the ‘first-generation’ online CHI course was delivered in a primarily text-based format through the university’s Sakai course management system, OnCourse CL. In 2007, the author won a small internal grant to integrate multimedia and communications technologies into the online CHI course.
The university’s Office of Professional Development funds a course development program called Jump Start, which provides faculty with the support, time and resources to design or redesign an online, hybrid or web-enhanced course. Jump Start focuses on integrating multimedia applications to promote student learning and more efficient use of faculty time. Because the CHI course draws from a wide audience of master’s level students and community-based professionals, the opportunity for a ‘second-generation’ course redesign had the potential to impact positively on a diverse group of participants from multiple professional disciplines. Consumer Health Informatics course redesign services and resources provided through the Jump Start grant included an instructional technologist to assist with all aspects of the online redesign, course assessment and evaluation support, and graphic production and web programming support.
Faculty often wonder, however, to what extent online course enhancements can make a tangible difference in students’ learning or attitudes. After the course redesign and implementation took place, a comparison of the first and second-generation courses was conducted. First-generation course materials including all weekly topical discussion forums, small team projects, and course evaluations were compared with the same materials from the redesigned second-generation course. Content analyses of qualitative content and statistical comparison of quantitative data showed significant improvements from first- to second-generation in the level of students’ engagement in course materials and with the level of students’ engagement with small group peers. Students’ attitudes and perceptions recorded in end-of-the-semester evaluations also showed significant changes from the first- to second-generation course.
Educating Library Directors: Stage Three
This paper reports the results of a three-stage study that examined the academic educational preparation of directors of libraries. The director of libraries position is the prevalent managerial position within the library profession. Librarians work in a wide range of institutions performing a broad range of functions. Within the performance of these functions a management role exists. The Master of Library Science (MLS) is the appropriate terminal degree to prepare individuals to assume roles in this field (Gorman 2006). Most employers within this field require a library director to possess an ALA-accredited MLS degree (Education & Careers 2008).
The research question under consideration was: Do ALA-accredited library education programs properly prepare their graduates to enter library management-level positions? A multi-method research framework was established to explore the question. The overall design of this study was exploratory (Morse and Richards 2002) and iterative. The results from Stage One and Stage Two were used to inform the research focus of Stage Three, presented here.
Stage One reviewed the curriculum of the graduate library degree for 100 percent of the ALA-accredited library programs in the United States and Canada. Stage Two examined course-level content in detail.
Stage Three focused on the experiences of practicing library directors in the United States and Canada. Among the findings, 55.1% of the library directors surveyed observed that Graduate Library School (GLS) did not properly prepare them to be library directors. Almost 80% of the responding library directors shared details as to what GLS course content should be offered to help prepare future library school graduates to successfully assume library leadership roles.
Key inferences were revealed by comparing the library directors who graduated prior to 1983 to those who graduated after 1983. Directors who graduated prior to 1983 reported a higher incidence of elective courses, while those graduating after 1983 reported that the management course(s) was required. An increase in the number of GLSs offering management courses was also noted. While 39.1% of the library directors graduating before 1983 reported that their GLS offered management courses, 57.9% of the directors graduating after 1983 reported that their GLS offered management courses.
The responses provide real-world insight in to what practicing library directors have done to gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful library directors. There is some evidence that a shift of perception regarding the need for traditional management training has begun to occur. Programs that provide management training to information professionals in leadership positions, such as the Public Library Administrators’ Certificate Program, reveal an emerging interest in closing this education gap (Nichols and Koenig 2005).
The authors suggest that this trend should be accelerated. Library school students should be provided with an opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of management concepts. There should be consensus regarding the minimum standards that a library manager’s career path requires. Human resource management, strategy, planning, leadership, managing teams, managing change and conflict, communications, and decision making, should all be universally accepted as part of the requirements for the MLS degree.
Sources provided upon request
Joanne Gard Marshall, Jennifer Craft Morgan, Victor W. Marshall, Deborah Barreau, Barbara Moran, Paul Solomon, Susan Rathbun Grubb and Cheryl A. Thompson
Workforce Issues in Library and Information Science (WILIS): Using an Alumni Survey to Better Prepare Students in the Digital Age
As the nature of library and information practice continues to change rapidly, it is more important than ever that LIS programs obtain feedback from alumni. The use of such data can improve our ability to prepare future students for work in new digital frontiers and plan continuing education for the LIS workforce. Even though educators agree that such data collection and use is a priority, few programs have the resources to conduct systematic data collection on a regular basis. WILIS 1 is a three-year, IMLS funded study (2005-2008) designed to build an in-depth understanding of educational, workplace, career and retention issues faced by LIS graduates. The WILIS 1 study developed a comprehensive web-based survey to collect data on the long term career patterns of LIS graduates from six LIS programs in North Carolina between 1964 and 2007, including five university-based programs and one community college program. The response rate for the full WILIS 1 study was 35% (n=2648). Two-thirds of the respondents (66%) thought that librarians would continue to be considered leaders in the information age. Over three quarters (78%) anticipated an increasing demand by non-library employers for information science graduates. Over half (55%) of respondents saw an increasing demand for library science graduates by non-library employers. Most alumni (70%) thought formal continuing education courses were important for staying up-to-date in their field. The most in demand areas related to technology (91%) and subject expertise (84%). Alumni who graduated in the last five years were asked an additional set of questions about their educational programs and the extent to which the programs prepared them for their current positions. Of the 540 recent alumni who responded, 95% reported that their programs had provided them with skills that they can apply in their jobs. Eighty-five percent stated that their program gave them a realistic understanding of what it is like to work in the information field. The recent graduates’ portion of the full WILIS 1 career survey is currently being used as a starting point for WILIS 2, a follow up project to develop a shared alumni tracking system that can potentially be used by all LIS master’s programs. For more information, please visit http://www.wilis.unc.edu
What Should “Librarians” Know? Current Data on Support Staff Competencies
The responsibilities of MLS and support staff in libraries have always experienced change, especially in response to technological innovation. Currently, the American Library Association is involved in two separate but related efforts: the Library Support Staff Certification Project (LSSCP, http://www.ala-apa.org/certification/supportstaff.html), and a revision of MLS competencies, with possible incorporation into ALA accreditation standards for library schools (see McKinney, 2006 as well as documents from ALA/2008 Annual Meeting). Greater definition of either support or masters level library staff can enhance the professional identities of both.
In the spring of 2008, LSSCP staff conducted a listserv online survey on the subject of competencies for library support staff (LSS) in academic and public libraries. The competency sets included functional areas such as reference and components of technical services, as well as “foundations,” supervision and management, and teamwork. The end goal will be a set of required and optional areas in which LSS could become certified in a nationally-recognized process.
The survey link was widely distributed through association and other listservs, and received among the largest number of responses to any ALA-related survey: 3,591 responses: 1,579 from academic and 1,526 from public library-related respondents (486 other). The largest group by position were “MLS librarians” at 1,313, then LSS at 1,210, and directors at 575 (the rest represented a variety of positions).
This paper will describe the survey results and provide analyses of between-group similarities and differences. Some of the results could easily be predicted, for example that few academic-oriented respondents chose to even review youth services, reader’s advisory, or marketing. Other areas yield more detailed and specific data, such as: a) ethical aspects were rated as similarly important across types of respondents (MLS, support staff) and types of libraries (public, academic); b) while “metadata” issues were not very highly rated by any group, academic library respondents valued them more than public library respondents (both highly valued basic MARC knowledge); and c) while LSS themselves rated nearly every item more highly (more often in the ‘very important’ category) than did MLS librarians, library director respondents rated most items lower than even MLS librarians.
The survey data is more comprehensive than previously available on this subject. Previous studies have, for example, focused on public libraries (e.g. Helmick & Swigger, 2006), academic libraries (e.g. Oberg et al. 1992 and successive studies), specific functional areas (see association standards) or non-library skills (e.g. Mosley & Kaspar, 2008, Arns & Price, 2007). This survey in its content and its respondents crossed public and technical services, technical and interpersonal skills, and public and academic libraries.
The paper will present findings in the context of efforts to define library practice, as was anticipated by the LSSCP grant proposal. It is of special interest to compare the coverage of the topics considered to be support staff duties, with those proposed as essential for MLS librarians. For example, the LSS survey appears to incorporate more public-library-oriented areas.
Helmick, C., & Swigger, K. (2006). Core competencies of library practitioners. Public Libraries, 45(2), 54-69
Terrell G. Russell and Cassidy R. Sugimoto
MPACT Family Trees:
Academic genealogy is valuable because it provides context, history and has the potential to predict future trends in the field. However, it is most commonly done casually and without the rigor to provide a platform for discussion beyond the anecdote. This paper presents a novel technique for calculating genealogical scores for individuals and academic “families.” This data-driven technique provides a platform for greater contextualization and insight into an academic's legacy.
Everything Old is New Again:
This paper reports the results of research to determine if the I-School movement represents a deliberate split in disciplinary approach from library and information science as previously constructed; a conflict in approach to traditional library school programs; or an ingestion of traditional disciplinary content into a new iField. Beginning in the late 1990s, the media took up the question of the continued existence of libraries, and accusations that ALA accredited programs are not preparing professionals to work in libraries have followed. Leaders of the I-School movement (http://ischools.org) have reaffirmed their support for education rooted in traditional library education despite changes in disciplinary labels, curricula, and faculty research agendas.
The research was guided by the following questions:
Data collection included content analysis of: course names and course descriptions; new faculty position announcements; postings to the Jesse listserv; and abstracts and papers from the 2005 and 2007 annual I-Schools conferences, These were analyzed to determine if changes in curriculum, nature of faculty research, and professional language use had occurred.
i-Create Accelerated Discovery: A 2020 Educational Vision
This paper explores a targeted educational initiative for LIS and i-Schools—that of promoting accelerated discovery throughout the arts, sciences, professions and the general public. A few research and governmental organizations have already adopted the mission of accelerating discovery. Within information science and professionalism, the integrative concept of discovery potentially provides a clear outcome metric for information seekers—the successful culmination of inquiry. Discovery acceleration heuristics can also guide the development and operation of numerous, supportive information infrastructures, including ambient information environments. The mission of accelerated discovery can also serve to bridge long-standing splits within the information professions (e.g., between system and user orientations and between theory and practice advocates).
A requisite approach to accelerating discovery is time compression—a systematic reduction of the time span between a seminal inquiry about a given theme and its successful culmination as a personally or socially acknowledged discovery. Scientific and mathematical discoveries, for example, required about 300 years during ancient times, about 100-200 years during the middle ages, and about 10-60 years in recent times. Concepts that lead to a discovery are distributed in statistically predictable ways along a chronological timeline, and are numerically limited to about seven key elements, in accordance with the limits of human short-term memory (Harmon, 1973). Thus, information retrieval efforts can be directed to scan for key concepts along timeline positions and organize them into patterns most likely to produce a discovery (Harmon, 1978). A discovery may thus be defined as a complete and ordered set of cognitive elements or chunks aligned to produce a breakthrough (Goffman and Harmon, 1971). Through the systematic application of time compression and conceptual ordering, future scientific discovery time spans might be drastically reduced.
Another approach to accelerating discovery includes the use of General Systems Theory templates, which have been used to explain Nobel laureate discovery patterns in medicine and physiology at the cellular, organ and organism levels. Systems ontology could be applied in human-computer interfacing to prompt discovery (Balcom, 2005).
Chapters in recent volumes (36-42) of the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology discuss integrative information infrastructure approaches and technologies that potentially support accelerated discovery. Approaches include knowledge mining and discovery; bibliometric and webometric analysis; knowledge mapping and visualization; formal concept analysis; information behavior and activity analysis; semantic web analysis; social and museum informatics; and the mapping of research specialties. Current and evolving technologies include digital libraries; co-laboratories; advanced human-computer interfaces; knowledge-based systems; and machine learning.
An audacious 2020 AD vision for i-Schools involves partially embedding themselves into their respective university’s research administration leadership divisions (Harmon, 2006). I-Schools could lead in accelerating discovery via the development of a meta-science of search and research. This effort would involve the consolidation of key search/research engine heuristics and algorithms and of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies from a multitude of disciplinary and professional domains. Deployments of highly effective multidisciplinary search/research methods could thus accelerate discovery (Harmon, 2005).
A Measurement Model of Students’ Behavioral Intentions to Use Second Life Virtual Environments
Applying Theory of Reasoned Action, this paper reported a measurement tool to survey how students’ attitudes influence their behavior intentions. One hundred and twenty library and information science students were introduced Second Life virtual environments during a face-to-face training and completed the survey instrument after the session. The correlation coefficient between latent variables attitude and intention was .52. The survey yielded a Cronbach alpha score of .93, indicating a plausible reliability. Factor loadings for attitudes and behavior intention were 79.27% and 65.0%, respectively, suggesting robust construct validity
Gail K. Dickinson
Integrating Social Networking Tools in School Library Education
This paper focuses on the using and teaching social networking aspect of I-CREATE. Specifically, it presents the results of a grant-funded application of Web 2.0 technologies in one graduate school library education class.
In School Library Journal, Christopher Harris introduced what he described as “the pervasive interactivity of Web 2.0” in which school librarians were using technologies such as blogs, wikis, YouTube instructional videos, and podcast booktalks to provide 24/7 access to resources and services traditionally available only during school hours. In order to become effective School Librarians 2.0, pre-service school librarians must gain experience using these concepts in their coursework. This paper presents the results of a summer grant that applied the concepts of Library 2.0 integrated into the school library preparation program at one university, beginning with the course Administration, Management, and Evaluation of Libraries. Students are required to take this course during their first semester in the school library program.
The goals of the grant were the following:
In The Social Life of Information, Brown and Duguid noted that there are two types of distance that must be overcome in order to achieve success in distance learning2. The first is geographic. That type of distance is overcome by using technology such as Blackboard to provide students with a virtual geographic center. When students say that logging onto Blackboard is like walking into class, we know that geographic distance is being successfully transversed. Social distance is not so easily overcome, whether in face-to-face or online learning. Most school library students are adults well into careers, usually as classroom teachers. For face-to-face graduate coursework, students arrive for class after their workday ends. They are consumed by the demands of the work they just left, the traffic demands of driving to campus, and the home and family demands that await them after class. Through hybrid learning experiences using Web 2.0 tools, students can be forced to interact outside of class, creating more personal connections at times when they are more relaxed and prepared for the interaction. The overcoming of social distance is essential for school librarians, since they must be prepared to implement Web 2.0 technologies in the education program of the school upon exit from their preparation program. The degree to which these skills exist prior to entry into the program vary dramatically. This adds a degree of difficulty to course instruction.
This paper presents using and teaching social networking on two levels. First, it provides models for teaching social networking concepts without technology skills development acting as a barrier affecting students’ ability to gain content knowledge and skills. Second, it provides needed research on students’ knowledge of social networking experiences and the degree to which they intend to continue to use these tools in their personal and professional lives as school librarians.
Harris, C. (2006). School Library 2.0. School Library Journal 52(5), 50-7.
Tip of the Iceberg: Meaning, Identity, and Literacy in Preteen Virtual Worlds
Immersive virtual technologies are no longer restricted to science fiction stories or exotic research labs: they are available to a growing number of children and adults on their desktop computers via the Internet. These shared virtual environments (SVEs), or “synthetic worlds,” offer tremendous potential for learning, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving (Castronova, 1993). We are moving into an age marked by new styles of interaction and communication, one where the distinction between “play” and “learning” may be altogether meaningless (Bogost, 2008; Gee, 2008). Library and information science (LIS), however, has been slow to acknowledge the complex information behavior embedded in games, social networks, and virtual contexts beyond traditional search and retrieval.
Preteen virtual worlds (e.g. Club Penguin, HandiLand, PixieHollow, Webkinz, WoogieWorld) have emerged as exciting new entries in this field: intoxicating and engaging for children as young as four years-old, but generating concern among adults who fear the potential dangers and perceived developmental effects of these immersive virtual spaces. Parents and child advocates have expressed concern over child protections and the potential for these sites to negatively alter real-life pro-social development (Flanagan, 2007; Slatalla, 2007). Little is known, however, about the impact these sites may have on preteens, even though the sites themselves suggest the activities offer potential benefits (communication and typing skills, budgeting money, caring for pets, etc.). For example, while many of these sites promote safe and responsible use of the Internet, there have emerged a number of correspondingly negative practices, such as a community of young users who glorify cheating Club Penguin’s (http://www.clubpenguin.com) reward system, publishing their rebellious exploits on blogs and YouTube (Benderoff, 2007).
This paper explores an exploding segment of the online universe: shared virtual environments designed for children between the ages of six and thirteen years. The focus is narrow, but critical; the preteen years are a key developmental period during which children build their personal and social identity. Nearly all the research in this field focuses on adults or teens, which have greater autonomy and maturity; thus, the absence of research in this area represents a potentially dangerous oversight. This paper presents an emerging framework for examining these worlds, and the information behaviors of children who are growing up in virtual space. The framework is grounded in theories of multimodal literacy (c.f. Kress, 2003; Steinkuehler, 2008) linked with a social practice perspective on information behavior (McKenzie, 2003; Talja & Hansen, 2006). The framework is elaborated with empirical evidence drawn from an on-going cognitive ethnography (Hutchins, 1995) of Club Penguin, including interviews with children and adults, participant observation, user logs, and analysis of the preteen blogospere. The paper concludes with a research agenda for the study of virtual environments as contexts for youth information behavior, as well as the implications such studies may hold for researchers and practitioners in LIS.
Understanding how preteens use virtual worlds as problem solving and learning spaces will contribute to our growing knowledge of how social information practices develop in young people. This knowledge is of critical concern to parents, educators, care-givers, librarians, and others who mediate the real and virtual worlds of preteens. As the barriers to participating in virtual spaces are set ever lower, it becomes critical to grasp the implications of these technologies for this and future generations. SVEs offer a rich context for the development of socially mediated information practices, and may push researchers and practitioners in LIS to re-examine how we define “literacy” in the digital age.
Can Master's-level Students in LIS Programs Provide Effective Professional Virtual Reference Services (VRS)? A Report of an LIS Education Program and ASERL Collaborative Initiative
The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) selected this LIS program to support ASERL’s “Ask-A-Librarian (AAL)” Online Chat Extended Reference Service for the 2007-2008 year. The program provided more than 100 hours of online chat reference service per week to the students, faculty and staff at eight ASERL institutions: the College of William & Mary, Mississippi State University, University of Alabama, University of Central Florida, University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Research Design for Project Evaluations
The data collection methods are survey studies, interviews, and documentation analyses. This paper includes a summary of the findings of the project evaluations.
How a Simulated Library in the Second Life World Enhances Library and Information Science (LIS) Education: An LIS Education Program Study
Results and Conclusion
LIS Program Expectations of Incoming Student Competencies with Information and Communications Technology
We are investigating the use of Second Life by educational institutions, libraries, museums, archives and other information environments. The objective of this study is to understand the purpose, administrative issues, scope, management, infrastructure and support that Second Life projects currently have within their respective institutions.
Recommendations are beginning to appear with respect to how programs should move forward. Panganiban (2007) suggests that educators create immersive environments and move beyond the traditional classroom model for delivery of information. There are also positive and negative reports emerging on different institutions’ Second Life work. In lessons learned from the Alliance Library System, Bell, Pope, & Peters (2008) suggest that software and lack of efficient search tools can present obstacles to librarians attempting to work in this environment; despite these challenges, their report on the potential of Second Life is positive. On the other hand, Herring (2007) reports that his institution will forego development in Second Life because they could find no real use for it. Given the developments in the field now there is enough maturity to do more detailed analysis and comparisons.
Similarly, research efforts need to be surveyed and reported. A master’s project by Ostrander (2005) indicated that everyday users of Second Life had no experience with using libraries in virtual environments. A master’s paper by Taylor (2007) suggests that descriptions of virtual places by patrons differ from the descriptions of the owners. A joint project is being conducted by Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, Rochester and Maryland and an early career project is underway at the University of Texas at Austin for researching preservation of video games and interactive media.
Outside the field, several different approaches are being taken to investigate virtual worlds. Hall & Gordon (1998) and Woo (2005) both focus on the completion of tasks in virtual environments. Crowe & Bradford's (2006) study takes another direction, exploring young people’s identity and rationale for participating in virtual game environments.