Curiouser and Curiouser: What caught our eyes online this week

“Curiouser and Curiouser!” cried Alice…
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Welcome to Chasing Reference’s weekly roundup of the curious articles and links that have caught our eye this week!

Faculty members express conflicted views on the merits and costs of online education.

News Corps. has been split into an entertainment division (Fox News, 20th Century Fox, and Fox broadcasting) and a publishing division, containing The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, and HarperCollins.

An interesting new technology with possibly huge implications for classroom teaching is being developed at Karhlsrule Institute of Technology in Germany.  This program would allow students to access simultaneous translations of lectures, slides, and other classroom material.

Faculty members at UVA discuss the right way to lead higher education through the digital age.

Excited about the Carnegie Awards for Excellence in Fiction and Non-Fiction winners? Check out these promotional materials and programming ideas.

AIR.U is expanding broadband access at rural colleges and universities by utilizing ‘empty’ TV spectrum.

Welcome back from ALA Annual!

by Emily Hamstra

Conferences are always a great time to learn from each other. Here are just a few of my highlights from this conference:

RUSA President’s Program: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons

Joan Lippincott gave an overview of different studies, trends, and apps. Kristin Antelman talked about innovative projects at NCSU. I was totally impressed by WolfWalk, a guide to campus with photos from the NCSU archives. David Lee King suggested setting up an alert on twitter for “library” within 10 miles of your library’s location. Chime into the conversation.

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Thank you

This past Friday, ChasingReference had the honor and privilege of presenting our blog during the Emerging Leaders Poster Session at the ALA Annual Conference. We were delighted at the warm and welcoming response we received from all who attended our presentation. Thank you all so very much.
We at ChasingReference would like to give thanks to the many people and organizations that have helped us along the way:
  • Thank you to ALA for creating the Emerging Leaders program, which gave us this unique and wonderful opportunity.
  • Thank you to RUSA for sponsoring our project.
  • Thank you to our team mentors Amber Prentiss and Michael Hermann for guiding us throughout our project.
  • Thank you to Maureen Sullivan, Program Facilitator, and Beatrice Calvin, Program Coordinator, of the Emerging Leaders Program.
  • Thank you to Mary Pagliero Popp, Vice-President/President-Elect of RUSA,  for being such a strong supporter of Chasing Reference, as well as our first guest blogger.
  • Thank you to everyone who visited us at our poster session. It was a delight to meet and talk with you all.
  • And thank you to you, our dear readers, for staying with us on our journey

Insta.zibit*

by Amy Barlow

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*Insta.zibit /ˈin(t)-stə ˈzi-bət/ n. An exhibit created in under 30 minutes using Instagram. [Latin instans – urgent, end of the semester, pressure, get it done].

What you need to make an Insta.zibit:

  1. Physical or virtual real estate, on which you may mount an exhibit of images and books.
  2. iOS device or Android and the Instagram app.
  3. Students willing to have their images plastered all over the library and online (easy!).
  4. Publicity release forms, at the ready, to authorize the use of the images. I always keep a stack of blank forms in a folder near my desk.
  5. 30 minutes.

Why Use Reference Books?

by Emily Hamstra

When I was in high school, one of my favorite books was M. C. Strong’s The Great Rock Discography. From The Great Rock Discography I learned how different bands were connected, which albums to listen to, and which albums and bands to skip. It was the age of dial-up internet, and I built a record collection using a reference book and my parents’ expert knowledge.

In instruction sessions I often teach undergraduate students about reference books. When I ask undergraduates what they think of when they hear the word “encyclopedia” they often say, “Wikipedia and World Book.” This gives me an opportunity to tell them about the fabulous world of subject encyclopedias. I explain not all encyclopedias provide us with general information like World Book does. So often in first-year classes students are just getting a grasp of a particular concept or topic for the first time. They don’t always need to use an article database to find the latest article on metaphysics. Sometimes what they really need is an encyclopedia article from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy on metaphysics explaining the main concepts, arguments, major scholars, books, and articles in the field. Just like I needed those foundational albums to start my record collection, students often need a subject encyclopedia to find the foundational elements of the topic they’re researching.

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Curiouser and Curiouser: What caught our eyes online this week

“Curiouser and Curiouser!” cried Alice…
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Welcome to Chasing Reference’s weekly roundup of the curious articles and links that have caught our eye this week!

  • Are you heading to Anaheim for ALA Annual next week? We’re presenting a poster about Chasing Reference on Friday, June 22 at 3 p.m. Add the session to your schedule.

Meet RUSA’s new committee: Health and Medical Reference

by Sarah Elichko (with help from Karen Vargas)

 
RUSA’s Reference Services Section (RSS) recently welcomed a new committee to the group.  The Health and Medical Reference Committee was formed to address the needs of librarians who work with health and medical information.  You may wonder why another health sciences library group is needed – don’t the Medical Library Association and ACRL’s Health Sciences Interest Group have this covered?  Karen Vargas, Consumer Health Librarian at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (South Central Region) and chair of the RUSA Health and Medical Reference Committee, took some time to speak with me about her plans for the new committee and what sets it apart from existing groups.
 
The new RUSA committee serves public, academic, and special librarians, including both librarians who only handle medical questions occasionally and those working in health sciences libraries.  HMRC focuses on reference librarianship first and foremost.  This decision is reflected by the committee’s origin and first major project, the revival of RUSA guidelines for medical reference.

 

Guest Post: Speaking Our Users’ Language

by Mary Pagliero Popp, Vice-President/President-Elect RUSA, Indiana University Libraries

My job revolves a lot around thinking about users and their needs.  But even after nearly 40 years in the profession (or perhaps because of that), I realize that what I know is a drop in the ocean compared to what there is to know.

Recently, my colleague Anne Haines has been talking about good practice for writing for the web.  It struck me that many of these same best practices—thinking about the listener or reader and the reader’s knowledge, being consistent in the language used to refer to common library services and resources, and speaking with a clear and unambiguous voice–apply to the answers we give to users at the reference desk and in email/chat reference contexts as well as in instruction settings.  We all need to be mindful of the words and concepts we use.

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Curiouser and Curiouser: What caught our eyes online this week

“Curiouser and Curiouser!” cried Alice…
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Welcome to Chasing Reference’s weekly roundup of the curious articles and links that have caught our eye this week!

  • Amanda French wrote a review of Google Docs/Drive’s new Research Tool over at ProfHacker. (Note that the Research Tool now lets you confine searches to scholar and cite with APA, Chicago, or MLA.)
  • Zadie Smith’s essay on the New York Review of Books’ blog often reads as a love letter to libraries, including this passage: “ I thought a library was one of the few sites where the urge to conserve and the desire to improve—twin poles of our political mind—were easily and naturally united.”

Library Hours: CLOSED FOR JULY

by Amy Barlow

Providence Community Libraries (PCL), a private not-for-profit branch system with nine location in Providence, RI, is outraged over the city’s decision to cut 10% of its funding. The city’s budget meeting has been postponed several times, but should take place tonight. As a radical coping strategy, PCL is considering the closure of all library branches for an entire month (July, September, or December/January holiday season), in the event that the city passes the budget, as is. Instead of limiting hours during the day, or shaving days from the week, it is hoped that a drastic closure plan, during one of the busiest months, will cause public uproar and demonstrate the value of the branches in the communities that they serve.

I spoke with PCL’s Andria Tieman, an Adult Services Librarian, about the budget shortfall.

  • Andria, briefly summarize how the city’s fiscal decisions will impact the operation of Providence Community Libraries.

Andria: The reduction of PCL’s budget by 10% represents a reduction of $355,000 for a library that already operates on a shoestring budget.  Last year’s annual report shows that the bulk of our money was spent on staffing the libraries with little else for materials purchasing or any extras. All of our media collections are donated materials. Presently, according to a study funded by Broadband Rhode Island, 30% of Rhode Islanders lack basic computer skills. Add to that the high unemployment rate in the state, and that means we need libraries more than ever, but a 10% reduction in services would force libraries to slash hours and lay off staff.

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