May 2009 Archives

Warm fuzzies about Libraries

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Here is an Emmy winning public service announcement about a library....including card catalog cards and everything. I wonder if this resonates with the Gen they even know what they are?

Operation Organization

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summer.jpgAs the weather outside turns nice and as all the finals and grading is finished it is time to turn to other academic pursuits...namely research and writing. It is with relish that I begin research for a paper I am working on. Being a librarian, of course, I love the research part (the writing...not as much).

I can happily follow every rabbit hole I find starting with Library Literature database and then on to Academic Search Premier with a bit of ERIC and Google Scholar thrown a squirrel before winter I collect article after article not just of my current project but also others I am interested in. But how do I organize it all?

There is a similar post in a blog on the New York Times called Defeating Bedlam.

"As a system, it was a little clumsy — photocopying was a bore, and if I wanted to spend a couple of months writing somewhere other than my office, I had to take boxes of papers with me — but it worked. I knew what I had and where it was.

Then the scientific journals went digital. And my system collapsed.

On the good side, instead of hauling dusty volumes off shelves and standing over the photocopier, I sit comfortably in my office, downloading papers from journal Web sites.

On the bad side, this has produced informational bedlam."

I am currently experimenting with Zotero. I am avid user of RefWorks but often get lazy when my focus is keeping up not real research.

Do you have any issues with your organizational schemes? What do you think students need to know of such things?

p.s. The image above is from the Scenery Collections Database.

Poor use of Wikipedia strikes again

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wikipedia_logo.jpg"HOW EASY is it for a 22-year-old, overly curious sociology student from UCD to influence the national press around the world? Quite easy is the short answer."

Basically this student added a fake quote to a Wikipedia entry on a person who had just died. The quote make its way to obits and stories around the world--seemingly no one bothered to check before printing it. It seems user generated content is part of the information world--what critical thinking skills are needed to cope?

Read more:

Upcoming Workshops for Instructors

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Grant Funding for Graduate Students
Find out more about funding opportunities available to graduate students. Learn how to use IRIS, SPIN, and Community of Science and the Foundation Directory to search for grant opportunities. Setting up e-mail updates on specific subjects will also be covered, as well as how to find internal U of M funding sources. Resources for the course are listed on the Web site of the Office of the VP for Research,
Time: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 3:00 PM -- 4:15 PM
Location: Walter 310

RefWorks Basics
Learn the basics of using RefWorks, the Web-based citation manager that is available to all U of M Faculty, students and staff. Adding references to RefWorks will be covered, as well as exporting them to Word, and selecting a style (MLA, APA, etc) for your bibliography. See for more details about RefWorks.
Time: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 10:00 AM -- 11:00 AM
Location: Walter 310

Have you heard of Bamboo?

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bamboo.jpgBamboo is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary, and inter-organizational effort that brings together researchers in arts and humanities, computer scientists, information scientists, librarians, and campus information technologists to tackle the question:

How can we advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services?

What do you think?

Quick look at an Essay Mill

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I came across this on the Chronicle of Higher Ed entitled: Journal to the Center of the Essay Mill:

Required to self-archive?

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"On Wednesday, May 14th, by unanimous vote, the faculty of the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon adopted an Open Access mandate. This mandate is the first (according to ROAR) such mandate in the world by any Department in the Humanities and the 3rd in Oregon (after OSU Library faculty and UO Library faculty). It is distinguished by the stipulation that URLs of self-archived postprints are to be included in all materials submitted to the Department for purposes of review and promotion...."

Read more.

An interesting step forward for open access. One of the biggest obstacles to open access has been tenure and promotion.

Humorous look at peer-review

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This may be useful to include in a discussion of peer-review....

Fifth-Grade Science Paper Doesn't Stand Up To Peer Review

otter.jpg"DECATUR, IL—A three-member panel of 10-year-old Michael Nogroski's fellow classmates at Nathaniel Macon Elementary School unanimously agreed Tuesday that his 327-word essay "Otters" did not meet the requirements for peer approval. Nogroski presented his results before the entire fifth-grade science community Monday, in partial fulfillment of his seventh-period research project. According to the review panel, which convened in the lunchroom Tuesday, "Otters" was fundamentally flawed by Nogroski's failure to identify a significant research gap.

"When Mike said, 'Otters,' I almost puked," said 11-year-old peer examiner Lacey Swain, taking the lettuce out of her sandwich. "Why would you want to spend a whole page talking about otters?" "

an interesting article in the Chronicle:

Not Enough Time in the Library by Todd Gilman

*"While college students may be computer-literate, they are not, as a rule, research-literate. And there's a huge difference between the two."

*"Students do not come to college armed with those skills, nor are they likely to be acquired without guidance. Yet students desperately need such skills if they hope to function effectively in our information-driven economy. As Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams opine in The Craft of Research: The "vast majority of students will have careers in which, if they do not do their own research, they will have to evaluate and depend on the research of others. We know of no way to prepare for that responsibility better than to do research of one's own." "

*"Faculty members in Yale's English department clearly recognize the growing importance of research education: They have just agreed to increase fivefold the number of undergraduates who will attend library sessions as an integral part of their introductory writing and literature courses (from 350 to roughly 1,900)."

*Reinforce the lesson with an assignment. Devise a for-credit assignment that echoes what you and the librarian have shown the students....You might also incorporate a component that challenges students to evaluate the quality of information they find, such as comparing the top results returned by a keyword search in Google with those returned in Academic Search Premier with the peer-reviewed box checked. Which results are more authoritative, and how can students tell?"

What do you think?

Workshops on Publishing

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Case Studies in Publishing -- Your Choices in Journal Contracts

In this workshop, participants will work through two common decision points raised by journal article contracts. Relevant context will be provided on academic publishing issues such as copyright and authors rights, cultural and economic norms, and promotion and tenure implications. Practical strategies and helpful tools will be discussed.

This event has been designated by the Office of the Vice President for Research to satisfy the Awareness/Discussion component of the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) continuing education requirement.

Instructor:Linda Eells
Time: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:00 AM -- 10:00 AM
Location: Bio-Medical Library, Room 555

To register go to:

Vacation...all it takes is a little research

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Wedding102.jpgMaking connections between successful Internet searching and new academic research can be as easy as talking about your favorite destination.

This blog post: Research: A Traveler's Best Friend from the Frugal Traveler in the New York Times can be a great way to introduce the concept of research.

Just like you want to find the lowest airline ticket and will search many sites to do it--so is the same process to search for a good journal article or book on a topic. I know most people don't stop at the first flight in the list--but students often do when search for a journal article.

Having students talk about/write about how they would approach researching a trip can be a good way to get across the process of research:
* Narrowing a topic (are you going to Italy or to Venice?)
* Searching (a $500 flight or a $300 flight to the same place)
* Evaluating (which hotel/hostel is better?)
* And even outlining/planning (planning your trip like planning your paper).

These connections will help students as they begin the adventure of academic research...

(p.s. that is a picture of me at the Guggenheim in New York City)