Thursday, January 22, 2009

ALISE day 2

My favorite session from Wednesday was one of a set of three juried papers on social networking in LIS education. Two of the presenters talked about the use of social networking and/or technology in course delivery but the third took another tack. He used network analysis to examine the relationships between students to study the relationships between students in an online LIS class. The data he used were taken from the discussion forums. His specific question was whether name networks or chain networks were more effective for this type of study and he hypothesized that name networks were the better choice because of their use of the message content to look for names of the persons communicating. Name networks still present challenges because students may have the same name, one student can have multiple names. He used both name networks and chain networks to compare the effectiveness and then triangulated using an online survey of the participants. He found statistically significant differences between the two types of networks (using the results of the survey as a baseline, although that data was self-reported): name networks provide roughly 40% more information about social ties in a group as compared to chain networks. Self-reported networks are almost twice as likely to to share the same ties as name networks than chain networks. Name networks method found three important types of social relations: learn – collaborative work – help.

After that session I attended a “birds of a feather” luncheon where I sat at a table of educators whose expertise lay in cataloging including Arlene Taylor! We talked about the relative merits of including specific types of cataloging work (like serials/continuing resources cataloging) in a broad introduction to cataloging versus the inclusion of cataloging in a more narrowly focused course on a specialty like serials/electronic resources librarianship. The consensus was that the former method would reach more students and have a greater effect of introducing students to a variety of specialties that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to be exposed to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ALISE day 1

Attended the 'Works in Progress Poster Session' this evening, it was very well attended and there were TONS of posters to look at. Luckily, ALISE has posted the abstracts on their conference web site and anyone can access them.

Because of my involvement two years in redesigning the MJBL website ago and then evaluating the results, I was particularly interested in a poster presented by a group of doctoral students from the University of Missouri ( It described a research project they did on the usability of academic library web sites using heuristic walkthroughs for data collection with the aim of demonstrating the effectiveness of heuristic walkthrough as a method for evaluating usability and developing a set of evaluation criteria (best practices). In their poster they accomplished the first goal but not the second (remember that these are works in progress) so it will be interesting to read their final results.

I also enjoyed talking to Kyungwon Koh from Florida State about her research on the information seeking behaviors of "digital age" young people. In her poster she presented her methodology which is framed by Eliza Dressang's Radical Change Theory. [As an aside, I noticed in Koh's references list that Dressang has just published a new article on her theory in a journal called Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (vol.8, no.3).] Koh intends to use RCT to construct indicators of the particular aspects of information behaviors. Her poster abstract is at

I had thought that Becoming colleagues: The experiences of doctoral research fellows in the practice setting would be interesting to me because of my own interest in the different cultures that academics and scholars have to navigate but their focus in this poster was the elimination of boundaries between LIS scholars and LIS practitioners rather than on the characteristics of the boundaries themselves.

I knew that Chris would be interested in one titled Does Size Matter? An Exploration of Job Advertisements for Academic Library Director, 1974-2004. Chris if you read this, the first thing she asked me when I tolder her about your content analysis of library director job ads was, 'is it published'?]

Two TWU faculty had posters as well, Dr. McElrath on Safety Measures Implemented in Academic Libraries in Response to Recent Campus Violence and Dr. Curry on Information-Seeking Behavior of African-American Women with HIV/AIDS. I had a chance to introduce myself to Dr. McElrath which was pleasant.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Updated professional web site

I just finished updating my professional web site for the year. I'd like to say that I do it more than once a year (and sometimes I do) but the sad truth is that I often give higher priority to more pressing responsibilities and save up additional news, publications, and updates for the end of the year. You're welcome to have a look; If you find any broken links please let me know.

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I am... a wife a daughter a sister/sister-in-law an aunt a reader a librarian a doctor a quilter a niece a grandmother ;-) a cat owner 6 feet 1 inches tall a yoga enthusiast a cook