July 2010 Archives

This site presents the results of an open meeting at ALA Annual, documenting various definitions and conceptions of visual literacy. 
We have just discovered that our efforts to get the Library Course Page integrated with various University systems has paid off. There is now a "Library Resources" block on Moodle.

The process to create this was very interesting--partly because Moodle is a resource for the entire University of Minnsota system--so it was important for the developers to create a block that had value for everyone around the system. Hence the search box with "Ebscohost" and "MNCAT Plus." We were severely restricted on the wording for this drop down due to space (e.g. couldn't be Academic Search Premier). We are eager for feedback on this and to learn more about what makes sense to label these.

The links under the course title below for "Find Articles and Books" goes to the LCP page (http://www.lib.umn.edu/course/JOUR/3004) and the "Get Reserves Readings" goes to the "reserves" tab in the same page.

Here is an example of the "block" in Moodle:



We are still waiting to see an example for MyU--but if students go to their "MyCourses" tab they should see a link to the LCP along with links to their course sites in Moodle or Web Vista.

How can we tell instructors/faculty/staff to add the "Library Resources" block to their Moodle page?
After turning "editing on"--look on right hand side of the page and use the pull down menu label "Add.." under "Blocks." Select "Library Resources"


How can the Library Resources block be customized?
After the Library Resources block has been added to the Moodle page, you can click the "edit" (hammer) and you will be taken to a page to customize the block for your course. Here are the options and default settings:


If you have any questions, please let me know (katep@umn.edu).
I was demoing Find it today and showed a record with a bx recommender box. The students (graduate level) were interested and wanted to know more...comments like "it is just like shopping" "like amazon" were mentioned and the response was positive but I didn't know what level of detail to go in to...if any--is it so obvious that no explaination is needed? Anybody read any articles or blogs on how to teach about this?

Here is some information (in librarianese) on it form the wiki:

"bX is a service available from Ex Libris that generates recommendations for searchers. bX generates these recommendations based on actual use of link resolver services, such as SFX, using anonymized data contributed by institutions from all over the world. Recommendations can be presented in multiple interfaces including the FindIt menu and MNCAT Plus. More information about the service and how it works can be found on the Ex Libris website.

The service makes connections between articles as searchers discover and access them, so it is continually being refined and improved as more people use it and contribute their data to the system. We are still evaluating the implications of adding our own data to the larger pool, so currently we are not contributing our data. In the meantime, however, our users and staff can take full advantage of this service"

More on https://wiki.lib.umn.edu/ET/BX

Any thoughts? Also any plans to try to simplify the Find it Menu?

referenceservicesreview.jpgThis type of article and summary may be useful in the new Libraries website with examples for faculty. Is it necessary for the examples to be from our campus or will any good example do (or be even better?)?

Armstrong, J. (2010). Designing a writing intensive course with information literacy and critical thinking learning outcomes. Reference Services Review, 38(3).

In this article, Armstrong describes her peerreviewedarticle.jpg attempt to incorporate information literacy (IL) learning outcomes and critical thinking (CT) skills into a quarter-long capstone course in American Cultural Studies. After students choose their research project in the second class session, the librarian-professor spends three class days covering research methods. In general, the way in which the assignments are organized throughout the course are "designed to move students through the logical stages of the research and writing process and also to engage them in the dialectical relationship between research and critical thinking." Students are expected to exhibit a variety of IL and CT skills throughout the course, culminating in their final research paper. Since IL and CT skills are viewed on a learning continuum, a variety of assessments are used: qualitative and quantitative examination of citations used; a research methods questionnaire (e.g. "How did you do your research", etc.); pre- and post-course student evaluations; and overall course grading. The article provides a thoughtful source of inspiration for librarians planning semester-long IL-based courses.

from http://inkandvellum.com/blog/2010/07/current-research-july-2010/

I love these Library videos!

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From the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University... 1. New spice

2. Interlibrary Loan

3. Can you help me now?

Here are a few things I found useful as I skimmed the book by Janice Redish titled "Letting go of the words." I think these are useful as I am about to rise by subject and course pages. I think I am going to have in my head the image of the slightly impatient student at the reference desk--when you know you need to be quick and to the point or he/she is just going to leave.

  • People come to web sits to satisfy goals, to do tasks, to get answers to questions.
  • They don't read much much, especially before they get to the page that has the information they want.
  • Even on information pages, they skim and scan before they start to read
  • They want to read only enough to meet their needs
  • Write so that busy people can grab the information they need and go on to whatever they need to do next
  • We all interpret as we read.
  • Break up large documents.
  • Give people what they need
  • Cut! Cut! Cut! And Cut Again!
  • Start with key point. Write in inverted pyramid style
  • Writing informally is not "dumbing down"!
  • Talk to your site visitors
  • When you update pages, revise them to be better writing for the web.
  • Break up text with headings
  • Use action phrase headings for instructions
  • Put your site vistors' words in the headings

Do you have any tips or tricks you use when you write/edit your pages?
I just got an email from Project Information Literacy saying that their new report was about to be published:A content analysis of 191 course-related research assignment handouts professors distributed to undergraduates on 28 U.S. campuses (including the University of Minnesota). The report, "Assigning Inquiry: How Handouts for Research Assignments Guide Today's College Students," will be released in the next few days. Here is a preview:

PEL Poster

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Hello Librarians!

You may have heard from the IL Collaborative that we were working with a group from the President's Emerging Leaders Program (PEL) to investigate faculty and departmental conceptions of the Libraries and 21st Century Literacies.

At the end of the June the group presented its poster based on the research they conducted over the year.


The full-size poster if available in Netfiles.

We should have a more detailed report to share sometime in the coming months...but in the meantime let us know if you have questions!

"Instructional design is a process for systematically designing effective instructional materials and learning opportunities. Good instructional design involves needs assessment, development, evaluation, implementation, and maintenance of the learning system... These principles can help librarians design effective and high-impact teaching environments from semester long courses to one-shot library instruction classes to the effective use of signage and website design."

-taken from a pre-conference session description: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/events/instructionaldesign.cfm

Learn more at Designing Better Libraries.....What is instructional design?

John Dupuis is the Head of the Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada. You can reach him at jdupuis at yorku dot ca

A teachable moment

Category: bloggingculture of scienceeducationenvironmentinformation literacylibrarianshippersonalsocial media
Posted on: July 7, 2010 12:32 PM, by John Dupuis

So, PepsiCo has started up a new blog here on ScienceBlogs called Food Frontiers.

From the profile:

PepsiCo's R&D Leadership Team discusses the science behind the food industry's role in addressing global public health challenges. This is an extension of PepsiCo's own Food Frontiers blog.

This blog is sponsored by PepisCo. All editorial content is written by PepsiCo's scientists or scientists invited by PepsiCo and/or ScienceBlogs. All posts carry a byline above the fold indicating the scientist's affiliation and conflicts of interest.

From the introductory post:

On behalf of the team here at ScienceBlogs, I'd like to welcome you to Food Frontiers, a new project presented by PepsiCo.

As part of this partnership, we'll hear from a wide range of experts on how the company is developing products rooted in rigorous, science-based nutrition standards to offer consumers more wholesome and enjoyable foods and beverages. The focus will be on innovations in science, nutrition and health policy. In addition to learning more about the transformation of PepsiCo's product portfolio, we'll be seeing some of the innovative ways it is planning to reduce its use of energy, water and packaging.

In June, I had the pleasure of meeting Pekka Puska, president of the World Heart Federation -- we'll be hearing from him on this blog, as well as other global leaders in nutrition research, in every context ranging from government, to academia, to industry. PepsiCo's research team draws from all of those branches: Dr. Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo's Chief Scientific Officer, served as the director of the Mayo's Clinic's endocrinology and nutrition clinical trial unit, and Dr. George Mensah, PepsiCo's Vice President of Global Nutrition, was the chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Cardiovascular Health Program for almost a decade.

We have some exciting things planned for this project, including a video series that will begin with a look at the role the food industry plays in health issues, and how industry research into chemistry, physiology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, medicine, and nutrition can improve health outcomes around the world.

As we like to say, science is driving the conversation unlike ever before -- and ScienceBlogs is happy to be at the center of it all.

This has proven to be extremely controversial among the bloggers on this site, to say the least, with some expressing outrage, going on hiatus or deciding to leave. Some of the reaction:

I completely respect my colleagues individual decisions. To say the least, I'm not pleased about sharing the ScienceBlogs platform with Pepsi -- their products are definitely not a force for good in the world and their advertising and promotional efforts work against encouraging healthy eating and sustainable food practices.

But, I haven't made up my mind yet as to what I'll do. Certainly, hiatus and relocation back to my original site are both options that I will consider.

Before I make my decision I want to see how this plays out a little more -- in particular I'm looking forward to getting a feel for the posts on the new blog, whether they feel corportate or whether they attempt to engage in a conversation about food culture, health and the best way forward for a sustainable food industry. And while I'm no expert, I do suspect that if we are going to come to a more sustainable planetary food and agricultural status quo, corporations will have to become part of the solution in the future as much as they've been part of the problem in the past.

But what do I mean by "teachable moment?"

Last night as I was pondering the situation, all I could think about was how I approach Web sites when I do literature research skills sessions for science students. How I talk about knowing who creating the content, thinking about why they created it, what their biases are, what they're trying to convince their audience of. I also thought about teaching students to be skeptical, both of those they instinctively disagree with as well as those they instinctively agree with.

I thought about the ACRL's Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology:

Standard Three

The information literate student critically evaluates the procured information and its sources, and as a result, decides whether or not to modify the initial query and/or seek additional sources and whether to develop a new research process.


Standard Four

The information literate student understands the economic, ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and its technologies and either as an individual or as a member of a group, uses information effectively, ethically, and legally to accomplish a specific purpose.

And I thought about trying a little harder in the coming year to really talk about the core issues with students, especially around understanding who to trust and how to sniff out bias and misinformation.

If I was doing a search in a class and landed on a Food Frontiers post, what would I say? What questions would I ask the students?

  • Who created this post and what is their agenda? Are their biases clear?
  • Is this science or is it advertising?
  • Did PepsiCo pay to have this information posted?
  • Are they engaging comments honestly and authentically?
  • How does the presence of this blog affect the credibility of other blogs on the site?
  • Is PepsiCo at all credible in this information space?
  • Would you use this information in your assignment? If so, would you use it as expert opinion like you would a peer-reviewed journal article or would you use it as background/social context?

Like I said, I'm still undecided. A appreciate comments and advice, perhaps even more questions that my hypothetical students should ask.

A good first step (irrespective of what my personal decision is going to be) would be for ScienceBlogs to make it as easy as possible for my students to answer those questions if and when they stumble upon a Food Frontiers post.

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