Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Michigan Academy 2014 at Oakland University

As usual, I really enjoyed my time at Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. This is a one day conference, where all the library sessions are in one room and we get to hear what everyone is doing. The topics are all over the place, but that is what I like. The Library & Information Sciences is one of the largest sections in the Academy with consistent attendance, so I continue to support this gathering of Michigan (and surrounding area) academic librarians.

I like visiting the different universities across the state, and had never been to Oakland University. It was founded in 1957 and is still expanding in its wide open territory (1444 acres!) in suburban Rochester. I always visit the libraries, but this time we ran late, it was very cold and I had an errand to run in Dearborn before returning home, so I will have to visit their library at another time.

Mike Unsworth from Michigan State talked about an interesting collection he is working with – the illustrations from the Chicago Tribune from the 1880’s to the 1940’s. The scans are much higher resolution and in color, than the ProQuest scans of newspaper microfilms. The illustrations include the usual photos, but also drawings, comics and advertising. Student workers have entered in the basic descriptions, but Unsworth is adding subject headings and other details to make this a really valuable resource for students and researchers.

I talked about the importance of national libraries in the Baltics, thankful for the nudge to work on my research again. People seemed interested, as I think we don’t know enough about what libraries outside of the U.S. are doing.

Arjun Sabharwal from the University of Toledo talked about the impact of social networking on digital heritage collections. He talked about a network of institutions and repositories working together with the help of social curation to create virtual collections. He mentioned HASTAC (pronounced “haystack”), which has been mentioned in our digital humanities group; Changing Faces of Brooklyn - a crowd curated online collections at the Brooklyn Museum; and StoryCorps “Celebrating 10 years of listening to America.” His own site is Toledo’s Attic. He has integrated the site with Facebook, Twitter. Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, YouTube, and a wiki and a blog and people can contribute and comment. For example, he has gotten videos of Toledo from YouTube and put a selection on his site. Historical postcards of Toledo are on Pinterest. During the question period one of the medical librarians mentioned that there now is a PubMed commons. If you have something in PubMed, you can create an account and comment on articles. I liked the term “participatory archiving” – maybe something we can do in the Latvian community – or even at Western.

Karen Liston from Wayne State talked about graphic novels and information literacy for language learners and area studies. She told us about the fun, but also difficulties, she has had in finding and managing a graphic novel collection for the many languages in her liaison area. She has created a graphic novel page in her LibGuide for Modern LanguageStudies. She has found a graphic novel for each of her languages, though many are not found in her library. One interesting example was Boxers  and Saints, two graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang about the Boxer rebellion in China 1899-1901 – one from the internal view point, one from the Christian view point.

Chris Miko from Bowling Green State University talked about improving undergraduate information seeking practices. He talked about a learning community at his institution where librarians and teaching faculty met over a year to discuss the research practices of undergraduates.  It sounds like it was a valuable experience for all involved. They came to the conclusion that faculty don’t define research enough and don’t involve librarians in the process enough. They also looked at a survey of faculty and students, who answered the question what students found most difficult about the research process. Students themselves found the writing  most difficult, while faculty thought it was assessing sources. He is looking for ways to share this with the rest of his colleagues and continuing the discussion with faculty. There is a Bowling Green LibGuide on library basics.

Keith Engwall and Stephanie Swanberg are from the Oakland University Medical School that is in its third year with 223 students. Their medical library is mostly digital with a few print text books. The librarians are part of the School of Medicine faculty and are integrated in course development. All students have to do a research project over their four years and write a paper. What Keith and Stephanie experimented with was using chat to supplement class instruction. One of them would teach a class and the other sit in back monitoring a special Moodle chat session with the students in the class. The students needed prompting, like being asked to paste in a search strategy into chat, and then Keith could respond, though when everyone did it at once, he could not respond to all of them.

Todd Wiebe from Hope College had the most entertaining presentation titled:  “Who do they think they are? IL mastery or illusory competence of first year college students.” Wiebe scattered his presentation with witty and targeted quotes, such as the one from Darwin: “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (from The Descent of Man (1871) as found in Wikiquote by me). Wiebe went on to tell us how he tried to assess IL success of an introductory English class that all Hope students have to take.  He chose to go with the indirect method asking for self-perceptions of research skills and he predicted that freshmen would be realistic about what they don't know. He found that 70% thought they had good or excellent research skills. He started looking for studies done by others on inflated self-assessment by students and found that Kruger & Dunning had published a study in 1999 titled “Unskilled and unaware of it.” He mentioned other studies and suggested that we give students wake up calls earlier and that we don’t need to be as polite as we librarians tend to be. He has asked students to come in with two sources they think are good and then he critiques them and offers other sources.

Ed Eckel from Western Michigan University spoke about writing ethically and well and educating graduate students on proper writing practices through plagiarism workshops. Ed has found how hard it is for students to learn to write independently and not patch write, as is often the case. He has worked with the Graduate College to offer a series of plagiarism workshops that have been well received. This presentation was a catalyst for lots of lively discussion.

Julia Rodriguez from Oakland University shared how she has done open access training for library faculty, which she then hopes to expand to the rest of the university. She had an overview of all the recent changes that have happened to facilitate open access and listed all the new staff and faculty that have been added to the OU library. There were some good tips on training, such as having everyone write their elevator speech on open access and then voting on the best one. They used Padlet - http://padlet.com/ for this – one more new app I didn’t know about. During the Open Access week they held a panel on the challenges of traditional publishing.

Michele Bass is a University Library Associate at the University of Michigan who talked about her apprenticeship at the Taubman Health Sciences Library being a good training program for her becoming an informationist. The Taubman library is being renovated, the library books are in storage, and the space is being developed more for use by users. Bass answered the question “What's an informationist?” by explaining that librarians do not just provide support services, but are partners actively contributing to the work of the university.

Steven Putt and James Van Loon from Wayne State University presented on developing research data services. We have been discussing this at our library on how we can participate more in the data intensive research process, especially in the sciences and business. The need for data management plans, digital curation of data is being mandated by funding agencies, but also facilitates research efficiency and interdisciplinary research. Subject librarians and libraries can be part of this process, not necessarily providing data storage space, but helping investigators formulate a data management plan and suggesting places for storage.

Merle Rosenzweig of the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of
Michigan described the implementation of Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) at her institution. ORCID is being used as a disambiguator of authors and being adopted by publishers, institutions, and funding agencies. When submitting articles, publishers are asking for and some are requiring ORCID numbers. U of M now has an agreement, which allows them to create ORCID numbers. Every medical school faculty member has to have a CV online and they are working with Mcommunity directory to have ORCID number included.

Arlene Weismantel and Jonah Magar of Michigan State University shared their insights on the academic library as publisher. In the recently published Library Publishing Directory - 110 libraries report that their institutional repositories are publishing journals, electronic theses and dissertations, and more. This Is a good way to disseminate and preserve materials, make rare and out of print materials more available. Most libraries don’t try to compete with publishers, just proved a service for publications that publishers won’t touch. The libraries at Michigan State collaborate with their university press to provide a publishing service. Magar works with the Espresso Book Machine  and acts as a guide to many self-publishers. They have compiled and reprinted books from MSU’s past. He will help proof copies and walk people through the self-publishing process. There are guidelines on the website and in a booklet they published – Publish Instantly: Submission Guidelines and Best Practices – that I find very useful. There is a catalog of 7 million books available on demand. They also work with the community. My greatest take-away was, that we could use them as our print-on-demand service, as we will not be purchasing the quarter million dollar Espresso machine anytime soon.

Kristina Eden from the University of Michigan looked very familiar and we figured out she had interned at my library years ago. She works with a Copyright Review Management System that collaborates with other institutions. For me it was a fascinating look into the back end work of the Hathi Trust. They are working through a portion of the 11 million volumes Google Books has digitized to see which ones can be made open access. It can be difficult to figure out if something is in the public domain. They have finished looking at books published in the United States between 1920-1963 and were able to make 105,000 of them open access. Their next focus will be on the U.K., Canada and Australia. This work is being done by various institutions funded by grants. A reviewer interface has been developed where you can put in the country, automatically look up when an author died, and follow a decision tree. To achieve legally reliable and consistent results, they have developed a centralized training system with videos that are followed by a one on one screen sharing session as trainer observes the trainee. Two people review each item and if they disagree, an expert adjudicator is called in to make the final decision.

Mike Hawthorne, Katrina Rouan, Alexandra Sarkozy and Nancy Wilmes from Wayne State shared their new model for patron services at the Science & Engineering Library. The decision was made to close this branch library as gate counts, circulation and reference questions had gone down steeply and much in science and engineering is available electronically. The building is still being used for two computer labs, and the books are remaining on the shelves, but are available only by paging. They did purchase a virtual shelf browsing program. The library staff have mostly moved to the grad college library, course reserves have been moved to the 24/7 undergraduate library. They did lose some study room space, but replaced them with larger study rooms in the undergrad library. Closing the library has had them look at their collections and for reference they have had to choose to pitch it, store it, or bring it over. Some high circulation monographs and remaining print journals were also moved. Most new purchases are electronic, and the new print materials go into the grad library. They have made a one-time purchase of various back files. The new model of patron services relies heavily on electronic access to journals, paging access to print, document delivery, phone and chat reference, though liaisons continue to provide instruction and research support. The library has saved a lot on operational costs. The transition has been fairly smooth, as communicating with the campus was a priority. Each department was visited and the academic senate, student association and other key committees were informed. The closing was postponed from August to December 2013 to allow everyone to understand the upcoming changes.

Good conference!

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