Friday, June 2, 2017

Exploring SoTL and how librarians can play in this sandbox

I've been exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to help reflect and improve my instruction, particularly how that might intersect with embedded librarianship within community engaged coursework.  I stumbled (late) upon this ACRL series via the twitter hashtag #librarianSoTL. (There's also a great repository of SoTL resources at

SoTL involves:

  • Instructor/teacher reflection on and studying what we do (our own teaching output) to improve student learning.
  • Being explicit with students about why your teaching the way you do 
  • Learning theory intersects & provides a framework to help us understand how knowledge & learning happens
  • Happens across the disciplines (there's a big wide world of resources out there, but they're hard to find as their isn't a set vocabulary and outside the classic scholarly literature on teaching and learning).
Next up? Part 2 of this webinar series and reading: 
Scholarship Reconsidered by Ernest Boyer
Scholarship of Teaching, What's the Problem? by Randy Bass
From teaching to learning-A new paradigm for undergraduate e by Barr and Tagg

Principles of good practice in scholarship of teaching and learning by Peter Felton

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Created a new box on how to search Google by locale

Friday, April 8, 2016

Overview of the scholarly publication process

Here's an infographic I created using Piktochart for a recent library workshop on scholarly publishing. Piktochart is a web based tool that makes it easy to create your own infographics, posters, presentations or reports. Unfortunately, I've noticed that images/text can be distorted if you aren't viewing the infograpic at full size. This makes using the embed code much less helpful if you want to place it in a blog post or within other teaching tools such as Libguides.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Embargoes: Impediments to Scholarship Access

I just recently had an email conversation with a faculty member who was frustrated with the embargo periods for journal titles within our library databases.  I can definitely understand his frustration. Juggling access to scholarship with copyright laws and embargoes has long been a struggle for academic libraries. 

I was surprised to discover that he thought this was a library policy!  This was an excellent opportunity to explain more about embargoes, but also the greater issue of open access that lies beneath the surface of this very dark pool.

Rather than library policy, embargo periods and moving walls are imposed by publishers like Elsevier and Wiley in an effort to maintain their own revenue streams, delaying easy access to scholarship and dampening open access efforts that could otherwise have been enjoyed in order to make a profit selling individual journal subscriptions.  As authors, libraries and the Academy have pushed back at publishers with open access initiatives, a sad trend over the past few years has actually been for publishers to saddle us with even longer embargoes

In cases where paywalls prevent direct access through databases, there are a few ways that we endeavor to do in providing seamless access (or at least making it as painless as possible…).  For instance, via ILL with link resolvers on public-facing pages — those “Find text” buttons within databases and google scholar, which pull all the citation information for an article into the ILL request and saving our users a few keystrokes in entering citation information into the request form. Libraries have also banded together into multiple consortia for resource sharing and optimizing performance to reduce ILL wait times.  For instance, my library just recently joined the IDS project, a group of over 70 public and private academic libraries, the New York Public Library, and the New York State Library who have all committed to reciprocal agreements for sharing articles within 48 hours and books within 72 hours among member libraries to reduce both cost and wait times for our library users.  Libraries also strive to be responsive to the needs of our researchers by single journal subscriptions when our budgets allow.  Unfortunately, this can quickly get expensive!

Much more is needed to solve such problems and most of the answers lie in the open access (OA) movement (e.g. encouraging publishing in OA journals, modifying tenure/promotion policy to support OA publishing, adoption of Institutional OA policies by Higher Ed Institutions, implementing and linking content in OA repositories, etc.).  Each conversation like the one with this faculty member is a chance to educate academics about the harm to scholarship that comes with a lack of access; and hopefully create a few more advocates for and change a few minds about the benefits of open access.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Online ID Calculator: a review

I am digitally distinct! Visit
I just retook the Online ID Calculator test to reacquaint myself with how the results look.  I score high diversity and purity (relevancy, and I'm not sure why they didn't choose to just make it my relevancy level rather than my purity level).  It seems I do need more "validation" through endorsements, however.  The calculator mentions only two tools and both were unfamiliar: 

  • BranchOut -- a Facebook application that according to their website is unavailable as they are "currently updating their services," and asks us to "update your work and education details on your Facebook page and invite your friends to do the same."  Not very helpful...

  • BeKNOWN -- application that allows you to connect your Facebook where you can make connections between Facebook friends and jobs/organizations for which you are interested in applying.

Along with LinkedIn endorsements, I'm thinking that Facebook Page likes, blog & twitter followers and retweets might be a better measure of influence, personal branding and media presence.  I'm disappointed that the calculator doesn't take such into account.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Musings on ACRL 2015

I had the opportunity to travel to Portland, Oregon for this year’s 2015 ACRL Conference.

For me, one of the greatest highlights of the entire conference was the opportunity to hear Jad Abumrad, co-host and co-creator of Radiolab, speak about the transformative and often terrifying process of being innovative. Abumrad’s ability to weave storytelling, metaphor, imagery and technology was not only thrilling to watch, but an excellent example for any instructor interested in mastering the ability to engage an audience.  You can see an excerpt of Jad Abumrad’s ACRL 2015 keynote here.

During the conference, I made it point to attend as many sessions as I could on the new Information Literacy (IL) Framework to gain a better understanding of how to implement the framework into my own instruction.  The conference also provided the opportunity to hear from members of the ACRL task-force about the iterative process in which they developed the framework.  There has been much passionate discussion (both in virtually as well as at the conference) about how the framework should be implemented, whether the framework should replace the old ACRL Information Literacy Competency standards, if they can/will co-exist or even whether they are compatible enough to be merged cohesively by mapping the old standards to the new framework.  

Given this debate surrounding the upcoming adoption of the framework, it was helpful to hear from task-force members about the practical applications they and others have begun to use in implementing the framework at their home institutions.  For instance, at some institutions, librarians have teamed up with Teaching and Learning Centers and/or faculty to provide workshops on teaching with threshold concepts as a way of introducing the IL framework and paving the way for future IL instruction and collaboration. Other institutions are using the framework as an overlay for curriculum mapping in order to identify gaps and more effectively implement IL instruction within the disciplines at their institutions.  Another institution has shrewdly used the framework as a means to solidify the value of the library within the  institution by tying the framework to the undergraduate learning goals that underpin their general education requirements. Now that phase I for the rollout of the framework itself has been completed, next steps will include the further development of a bibliography on best
photo credit: 2015 ACRL Portland by Tracy Paradis
practices in understanding and implementing the framework, piloting programs as models of embedded IL using the framework, and promoting the framework within outside organizations, discipline associations and accrediting agencies.  Overall, I am enthusiastic about the framework and intend to closely follow phase II of the framework’s adoption, even as I begin to assess my own library instruction to fit within the the IL framework, especially where they intersect with concept thresholds within my subject disciplines.

In addition to sessions about the framework, I also made it a point to attend Char Booth’s contributed paper presentation on the curriculum mapping they’ve been developing to identify information literacy intersections across their curriculum at Claremont Colleges.  If you’re interested in course mapping, check out her conference slides entitled Strategic Cartography on slideshare and the mapping template made available under a creative commons license.

Having been to many conferences throughout my career, I can honesty say that ACRL 2015 ranks at the top of the list.  My only regret is that flight delays made it impossible to attend Battledecks (if the youtube footage of the 2013 Batteldecks is any indication, I missed something pretty spectacular). Portland was a lovely host city and I even had the opportunity to explore some of the pacific coast before taking the red-eye home to Rochester.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Downton can teach us about estate and investment planning

Image source:
Downton Abbey could serve as a case study in retirement, investment or estate planning. In fact, I was delighted to see that both Forbes and the Wall Street Journal have already weighed in on the money lessons to be gleaned from the show.  

Using scenarios from the first few seasons of the show, Forbes points out the lessons to be learned regarding poor investments, mismanaging an estate and the lure of Ponzi Schemes.  The Wall Street Journal highlights best practices for inheritance decisions (think up-to-date wills, medical directives and balancing the sentimental value with the cost of inheriting a money pit), the use (and misuse) of trusts to protect family fortunes, and the importance of a diverse investment portfolio.