FY10 Annual Report

(based on a template)

For the full Word document go to https://netfiles.umn.edu/xythoswfs/webui/_xy-15397175_1

1. What were the major goals of the department this past year? Describe accomplishments within these goals.

Digital Reference
The University Libraries completed a transition to OCLC's QuestionPoint platform for InfoPoint email and chat reference services during the summer of 2009. A key driver of the transition was the opportunity to provide 24/7 service at no additional cost to the University Libraries through our partnership with Minitex's AskMN service.
Other highlights include:
  • QuestionPoint provides excellent statistical reporting capabilities.
  • Demand for digital reference services varies significantly throughout the week, suggesting the potential for an asymmetrical staffing model.
  • Users requested chat reference sessions more frequently than they submitted email reference questions.
  • Our chat reference staff are able to handle only 36% of the chat sessions requested by our users, which is in line with the other AskMN academic libraries. This highlights the benefit of having the cooperative provide back-up during hours we are not available.
  • Satisfaction levels are high among Chat users who respond to our post-chat survey.
Peer Research Consultant Program
The Libraries partnered with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) and the SMART Learning Commons to provide the Peer Research Consultant Program, targeted to support First Year Writing students and MCAE program and scholarship students. Peer Research Consultants undergo a rigorous training to develop skills in information literacy, tutoring and culturalcompetency. They met with approximately 100 students over the course of the 2009-2010 academic year and received high praise from both students and instructors.

Project Information Literacy

The University of Minnesota took part in a nation-wide survey through Project Information Literacy (PIL) which studies "how undergraduates conceptualize and operationalize tasks for course-related research and how in their everyday lives." In May 2010 a survey was sent to almost 4,000 undergraduates at the University of Minnesota. 572 students responded, giving us a 15% response rate. We plan to use this data to inform our ongoing instructional and student support efforts.
Key Trends:
  1. A large majority of U of M respondents reported they most frequently used course readings (96%), search engines such as Google (91%), and scholarly research databases (86%) for course-related research.
  2. When U of M respondents were faced with evaluating Web sites they had collected for their course-related research, three-fourths "almost always" or "often" considered the currency of a Web site (74%), the Web site's URL and what it might mean about the origins of information (74%), and the author's credentials, if they were provided (73%).
  3. Students reported having three frequent difficulties during the entire course-related research process, from researching to writing, that included : (1) getting started on an assignment (86%), (2) defining a topic (66%) and (3) narrowing down a topic (60%).
  4. Over half reported they used certain course related research practices, routines, and techniques from one course-related research assignment to the next one.
  5. They also reported using practices and routines for the information gathering part of course-related research--but these were fewer than the practices that the sample used for writing papers. Respondents reported included using a system for organizing the information they found along the way (41%), figuring out search terms to use early on (31%), and developing an overall research plan to guide the process (29%).

President's Emerging Leader Project
We were selected to be one of the projects for the President's Emerging Leaders program. Five staff from across the University worked on the topic, "Teaching 21st Century Literacies Through the University Libraries to Support the Undergraduate Experience." We expect their report and recommendations soon and look forward to use their findings as we work towards this goal.

Library Faculty Seminar for Institute of Technology/College of Science and Engineering
The Library Faculty Seminar was held May 19 and 20 with 13 faculty and instructors from the Institute of Technology/College of Science and Engineering. This program created a community of faculty and instructors committed to developing student skills in finding, evaluating and synthesizing information in their academic coursework and for lifelong learning. This pilot program included sessions on information literacy, assignment design to increase students' information and 21st century literacy skills, copyright, scholarly communication issues, library tools, services and resources. Overall, participant evaluations were very positive and many next steps are in process between faculty and librarians. We look forward to offering this type of faculty seminar again in the future.

LOEX-Library instruction conference

I am off to the LOEX-Library Instruction Conference in Dearborn, MI.

Here is a link to the sessions: http://www.loexconference.org/program/sessions.html

Here are a few sessions that I hope to attend...

The Learning Cycle: Why Library Instruction Fails to Stick and What We Can Do About It
Eric Frierson (The University of Texas at Arlington)

"Wow-I Can Touch That?" Using Special Collections to Expand Information Literacy
Phil Jones and Catherine Rod (Grinnell College)

"Granting" Collaboration: Information Literacy for Faculty
Julie Dornberger and Cotina Jones (Winston-Salem State University)

Spanning the University to Improve Information Literacy e-Instruction
Lindsay Miller, Rob Withers, and Eric Resnis (Miami University)

Innovations or substantial new undertakings

The Libraries partnered with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and the SMART Learning Commons to provide the Peer Research Consultant Program, targeted to support First Year Writing students and MCAE program and scholarship students. Peer Research Consultants undergo a rigorous training to develop skills in information literacy, tutoring and cultural
competency. They met with approximately 100 students over the course of the 2009-2010 academic year and received high
praise from both students and instructors.

Libraries Media Services continued to develop strong, integrated, production support infrastructure
between the classroom and the SMART Learning Commons.  This academic year Libraries Media Services reached over 600 students in formal outreach that supported student-produced media projects, including documentaries highlighting critical international issues, public service announcements on health topics, personal digital stories on water sustainability, and videos to promote awareness of sustainable food organizations in the City of Minneapolis. Formal outreach services included faculty consultations on developing effective student media projects (often in collaboration with campus educational technologists and the Digital Media Center), class visits discussing research, access to production resources (e.g. cameras), on-demand student production support in the SMART Commons, and follow up assessment.

Bonus material:

Many of the student-produced media projects are conducted in groups using production facilities in the SMART Learning Commons. Several higher level pedagogical objectives are met during the group process. Assessment from PSTL 1135 is used here as an illustration:
1 - Students appeared to be promoting each others success, the group work emphasized teamwork skills, there was both group and individual accountability and (most importantly) there is high positive interdependence. Effective collaborative groups work together to make each individual smarter and the team working together makes everyone accountable for their actions. Effective collaborative work is research-proven to be more effective than working individually.
2 - The groups fostered a social atmosphere and students get to know one another. Students who feel comfortable - form positive relationships -- and not as an island in the classroom are proven to be better students who can achieve higher outcomes that in independent situations.
3 - Both in having to apply anatomy/physiology problems and describe them in a new way (ie. through video) the group members all climbed quickly on Bloom's Taxonomy of learning and on its companion "new" version the Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. This not only refers to the curricular outcomes, but also in digital literacies. Having to explain, articulate aloud or create a script and video of their version of a function is extremely high up on these taxonomies.
4 - Putting the videos into a short timeframe and with a task that is doable is required in effective group learning situations. Breaking their videos down required them to think about key bullet points in the function they were describing. It made them find the most important aspects and demonstrate them rather than drag it on.
5 - Sharing group projects supported accountability and fostered class promotion of each other's learning. Students shared their videos on Youtube and linked to them on a class page created on Facebook. Class work was drawn outside the classroom in this way as a demonstration that learning went beyond the lecture and beyond the classroom.

New staff awards received.  

Technology Librarian, Cody Hanson, was one of two early-career librarians sponsored by the national Library Information Technology Association to participate in the American Library Association's 2010 Emerging Leaders program.

American Indian Studies Liaison, Jody Gray, was recognized by the American Indian Student Cultural Center as a women of the community who has "displayed outstanding achievements" and was honored at the Center's Honoring Native Women Luncheon in December 2009.

Advances or contributions to intercollege and transcollege/interdisciplinary teaching and research.

Technology Librarian, Cody Hanson, co-taught with Digital Media Center staff two semester long programs called the Educational Technology Workshop.
Geared to educational technologists across campus, the program covered a wide range of new and relevant technologies that support teaching and research.

Administrative efficiencies, service improvements achieved, and specific cost savings.

Students, faculty, and staff can now get their questions answered by the Libraries whenever they have them - 7 days a week, 24 hours a day - at no additional cost to the Libraries through a cooperative arrangement with peer institutions around the country facilitated through MINITEX. This program has more than quadrupled the hours per week during which our users can receive live online research assistance (from 30 hours a week to 168 hours a week). This averages to a FTE savings of over xxx a year. [Karen, if you want to use this last sentence let me know and I'll figure it out.]

Definition of how you measure success and performance in the Libraries.

Following their chat reference interaction with the Libraries, 159 users responded to a survey distributed during the 2009 fall semester.
87% of respondents said they would recommend the service to others and 91% said they would use the service again.

International programming activity.
The Libraries' Diversity Outreach Collaborative worked with the Office for Measurement Services to deliver a survey to all international graduate and professional school students in March.  Although results are still being analyzed, we anticipate that the survey will help the Libraries understand how this population receives information about the Libraries when they arrive at the University of Minnesota and how they characterize their interactions with the Libraries. 


Academic Support through Peer Learning: Building a Collaborative Program
Speakers: Jody Gray and Kate Peterson, University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota Libraries have partnered with the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and the SMART Learning Commons to provide the Peer Research Consultant (PRC) Program. The PRCs provide one-on-one academic support for undergraduates in three locations. The PRCs are recruited from a pool of diverse students with a strong academic record. The goals include supporting U of M Student Learning Outcomes and the vision developed by the Office for Equity and Diversity. Presenters will describe the development and pilot phase of this program in the fall of 2009, and provide an overview for creating a similar peer-learning program in your library.

ARLD Day on April 23, 2010

Prezi: http://prezi.com/u_xus4fxd4gf/


Adaptive Assistive Technology

disabilityservices.jpgDisability Services provided a demonstration of Adaptive Assistive Technology for the University Libraries on April 13, 2010 hosted by the Diversity Collaborative.  Below on the blog are materials that were made available by the Disability Services staff.

There will be a follow up discussion on Tuesday April 20, 2010 at 11:30-1:00pm in Wilson Library S30A.  Feel free to bring your lunch.   Take a look a the handouts: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/grayjl/doc/2010/04/disability-services-workshop-for-the-libraries.html

CLA Technology Showcase 2010

We demonstrated two technologies as part of CLA's Academic Technology Showcase (April 7, 2010) in Cofman's Great Hall.

Exhibit 22: Assignment Calculator and UThink Blogs University Libraries.
Here is the description: The University Libraries will showcase two of our more popular web applications: The Assignment Calculator, http://tools.lib.umn.edu/ac, and UThink Blogs, http://blog.lib.umn.edu. The Assignment Calculator breaks down research and writing projects into manageable steps based on the due date. You can adapt your own assignment from a bank of existing assignments (e.g., research paper, speech, or video) or create your own from scratch. UThink Blogs has been in existence since 2004 and is the largest academic blogging site in North America. Many classes and departments use UThink for a variety of purposes. Come and learn more about both of these popular tools!


We talked to some instructors but also a lot of other presenters. In general the attendees seemed pretty tech savvy and were familiar with both of our tools.

Here is a handout from the event: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ceslib/ces/AC_UThink_handout_CLATechShowcase_April2010.docx

Peer Research Consultants
The University Libraries' Peer Research Consultants (PRC) program is in its second semester. The program's goal is to support students as they do library research and find sources to use in their writing. Students can take advantage of day and evening drop-in hours to work one-on-one and get personalized research help on their topic. In the fall, the first semester of the program, PRCs met with over 60 students, over 60% of whom were from the University's First Year Writing program (WRIT 1301).

Digital Reference
The Libraries are now providing digital reference service through Minitex's QuestionPoint platform. This has simplified staffing and administration of the service and has provided a single, verified source of statistics. One interesting finding is that chat (as a 24-hour service) has edged out email as the most common means of requesting assistance. Chat patrons who responded to a survey presented to them at the conclusion of the transaction show high measures of satisfaction, with over 90% indicating that they will use the service again, and nearly 90% indicating that they would recommend the service to others.
libtech.jpgConference Site: http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/libtech_conf/2010/

1. There's Another App For That! Going Beyond Google Apps With Free Online Media Production Tools
Scott Spicer

Do you ever find yourself needing to quickly, document a new online service to your patrons or want to communicate a really complex search over email without having to write down every step? Well, there's a free online app. for screencasts - Screentoaster. How about creating a simple online image slideshow with audio? There's a free online app. for that too - Animoto. Voice-over PowerPoint? Try VoiceThread. Grassroots video? Yup, there's an app. for that too - Jaycut. Free online media production tools have come a long ways in the past couple of years. At a time when getting funding to purchase production software may be a challenge, these options have never looked better. So bring your ideas and creativity, you will have an opportunity to experience how to quickly "write" digitally with these user-friendly tools.

2. Building Safety Nets into the Online Library: A Presentation
Jerilyn Veldof, Shane Nackerud, Ryan Bean

Traditionally librarians have addressed research challenges by working one-on-one with patrons or teaching them through in-person or online training. But our reach could be profoundly increased by doing two additional things: 1) identifying the places at which our users stumble and/or fail while using the library's website and 2) identifying techniques or systems we could build to catch them if they stumble or fail.

Learn about this concept of "performance support" and the results of an extensive project at the University of Minnesota to incorporate performance support into its online presence. Then, stay for the workshop following this presentation!

3. Building Safety Nets into the Online Library: A Workshop
Jan Fransen, Jerilyn Veldof

Following the session, "Building Safety Nets into the Online Library," stay to participate in a 90 minute follow-up workshop. Here you'll be introduced to a simple, yet powerful method for uncovering fail points called the cognitive walk-through. You'll take on specific user personas and analyze a library website through that lens, uncovering the points where users stumble and often give up on the library.

Next you'll begin to design "safety nets" or support structures at those fail points that gently catch the users and help them be more successful researchers. You'll leave with some ideas that you could start implementing immediately.

4. A Future of the Academic Library Web Presence
Cody Hanson, Shane Nackerud

When discovery happens elsewhere, how can academic libraries add value to the research process? How can we transition our interfaces from the one-size-fits-all information fire hose to a targeted, customized research dashboard? This presentation will discuss some current projects at the University of Minnesota Libraries designed to automate the delivery of relevant information to users. We will also speculate on future directions for reconfiguring the Libraries' web presence as a personalized productivity-enhancing interface.

5. Library Integration--5000 Courses at a Time
Kate Peterson, Jon Jeffryes, Shane Nackerud

In an academic environment, students and faculty think in courses. And they should since they are the measurable units that Universities and Colleges are built around. Overall, the Library is not organized in courses and too often, provides users with an overwhelming amount of information. These barriers result in frustration for students and faculty visiting the libraries--both in-person and virtually. The University of Minnesota Libraries recently spent time exploring how the Libraries can be integrated into the "courseflow" of students and faculty. In this session, attendees will learn about our discoveries and efforts to build a Library Course Page system (LCP). The LCP automatically generates a page for each of the 5000+ courses at the University. This page brings together disparate Library systems such as print reserves, electronic reserves, librarian-created resource guides, the library catalog, subject-specific databases and more. The LCP is built using a variety of APIs, widgets, a systematic, predictable URL structure and U of M affinity strings. We are currently working towards default integration into the University's course management systems, WebVista and Moodle. Attendees will take away ideas and strategies that can be used to build a similar resource at their own institutions.

Kate Peterson gave a wonderful presentation today to our Friends of the Library group about a few of the programs we offer to students that support and enhance their learning; namely the online Unravel workshops and the Peer Research Consultants program.

Check it out!

IL: A Neglected Core Competency


Information Literacy: A Neglected Core Competency
By Sharon A. Weiner

"Key Takeaways"
  • College students think of information seeking as a rote process and tend to use the same small set of information resources no matter their question.
  • Information literacy is essential for lifelong learning and empowers individuals and societies.
  • Our educational system should expose students to information literacy from elementary school through postsecondary education so that it is a habit of mind they can call upon throughout their lives.
  • Collaborative efforts between faculty, librarians, technology professionals, and others can develop students who graduate with information literacy competency.

Researchers at the Information School at the University of Washington released an important and thought-provoking report in late 2009: "Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age."1 The study confirms and expands on the results of other reports. Its particular value is the size of the population studied, the diversity of institutions represented, and the use of both a survey and follow-up interviews for data collection.

The findings are troubling. College students think of information seeking as a rote process and tend to use the same small set of information resources no matter what question they have:

  • The primary sources they use for course work are course readings and Google.
  • They rely on professors to be "research coaches" for identifying additional sources.
  • They use Google and Wikipedia for research about everyday life topics.
  • They tend not to use library services that require interacting with librarians.

And although they begin the research process engaged and curious, they become frustrated and overwhelmed as it progresses.

The results of the study suggest that many college students view their educational experience as one of "satisficing" -- finding just enough information that is "good enough" to complete course assignments. They miss opportunities that college education provides for exploration, discovery, and deep learning.


The University of Minnesota Libraries participated in the next phase of this research--an analysis of assignments.



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