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April 27, 2007

Lifelong Learning @ Your Library

Earlier this Spring, we announced our collaboration with the UIUC Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Founded in our campus commitment to public engagement, as well as our organizational commitment to meeting the University's land-grant mission, Library involvement in the OLLI program will allow us to directly support the lifelong learning goals of OLLI participants, as well as to build on our rich tradition of providing library services to residents of the State of Illinois, and other members of the general public.

Please visit the OLLI Library Services page for more details about the services and resources to which OLLI participants will have access. Please contact OLLI liaison librarian Merinda Hensley (Central Reference) if you would like to know more about our future plans for working with OLLI faculty and students or to volunteer to take part in OLLI programming.

Kudos to the many faculty and staff, both in the Library and in CITES, who have worked over the past 6 months to identify how best to serve these new members of the UIUC student body!

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"Universally Underinformed and Misinformed"

That is how a new study of student users (courtesy of the Wired Campus blog) of social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook characterizes its participants' understanding of copyright law. For example:

[while] 76% of the students said that the Fair Use doctrine allowed them to use copyrighted material, none could accurately define the doctrine. While they were generally concerned with staying on the "good side" of the law, they were "making up rules themselves" about what and how to use intellectual property. They also did not understand their own rights as creators of content.

In a world in which user-created content and social networking sites are among the innovations shaping our discussion of the future of higher education, it is clear that copyright education is a critical arena in which information literacy instruction, information technology training, and scholarly communications instruction come together.

At UIUC, our Scholarly Communications Program provides resources to faculty on how to manage their copyrights and how to support emerging models for dissemination and preservation of scholarly materials, and supports the ARL copyright education initiative. We are also beginning a dialogue with the Graduate College about how to integrate copyright education into the ongoing instructional programs provided through Central Reference to our graduate students.

In the Web 2.0 world, we all need to manage "author's rights" and navigate the shoals of "fair use." With strong leadership both in instruction and in scholarly communications, we are in a good position to work with our colleagues across campus to help all our users do just that.

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April 24, 2007

Weapons of Mass Collaboration

This week, I am attending the ARL RLLF Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I was given a copy of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2006) (which provided the title for this entry). It's an interesting book that argues, in a nutshell, that Web 2.0 technologies and the environment of openness and collaboration that they facilitate are indicative of a new era in economic and social history.

While the authors focus on the threat that this new environment presents to traditional hierarchies and understandings of expertise, there is much also to be said for the possibility for "mass collaboration" among professionals, especially in the information professions.

At UIUC, we are members of consortia like the CIC and CARLI, which allow us to see the power of collaboration across a variety of library services. We are also members of the Open Content Alliance, in which we collaborate with others to bring a wealth of content from our unique collections into the digital commons.

The power of professional collaboration is also demonstrated in an article in the current issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly, in which Karen Anello and Brett Bonfield from the University of Pennsylvania describe the development of an inter-institutional database of frequently asked questions in business information services.

It's hardly the "mass collaboration" of Wikipedia or the social knowledge development of flickr, but it's a start. It will be exciting to see in what ways the rest of it comes.

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April 23, 2007

Blog Enhancements

For those who haven't noticed, my Movable Type guru, Sharif Islam, has made several improvements to the @ Your Service site, including:

*easier access to the RSS feed;
*more obvious identification of the categories into which each post falls; and
*a Blogroll (check out these useful library service blogs, if you haven't already).

I have made a number of demands of Sharif in terms of customizing this blog in order to better meet participant needs, and I appreciate the help!

If you're enjoying this blog, and you see Sharif, please tip your hat!

Posted by swalter at 6:02 AM | TrackBack

April 21, 2007

What Researchers Want - UK Edition

By way of the Information Literacy Weblog, a study of how researchers use academic libraries and their services in the United Kingdom.

Summarizing the insights gained from over 2,000 researchers and 300 librarians, the report raises a number of important points, including the impact of born digital research, interdisciplinary research, virtual research teams, and "significant differences between researchers and librarians in attitudes, perceptions, and awareness of key issues."

As we continue work at UIUC toward establishing our Scholarly Commons service model for graduate students, teaching faculty, and researchers, studies such as these will provide valuable insight into the challenges and opportunities that we face.

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April 20, 2007

"Serious Games"

UIUC faculty Christian Sandvig (Speech Communication) and Karri Karahalios (Computer Science) will be joining "The Players of InnisMod" for a special presentation sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study entitled Serious Games: Video Games in Undergraduate General Education.

Dr. Sandvig has been one of the faculty whose teaching and research needs have been served, in part, by resources brought into the University Library through the Gaming Initiative.

Serious Games will be presented on May 2, 2007, from 12-1 pm, in the Spurlock Museum's Knight Auditorium. Come to see (part of) the future of library services.

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April 18, 2007

Health Information Literacy

An alert by way of the DIG_REF discussion list to the attention being given to a study by a faculty-librarian team at Central Michigan of the way in which people search for health information online. As they report, based on their study of user behavior:

These people will be at greater risk of making bad health decisions based on non-credible information if they conduct a basic Google search than if they search a scholarly library database . . . . We’re talking about potentially harmful information on such subjects as cancer rates, smoking cessation methods and fever management in children. People need advanced skills and knowledge to find high-quality health information on the Internet.

The importance of information literacy instruction for those conducting searches for health information was a key piece of the State Library of Washington's Information Literacy Initiative a few years ago, and it remains an essential service that academic libraries can provide to members of campus and community. At UIUC, we are hard at work designing a new approach to providing access to health information and support for health researchers, health professionals and users of consumer health services as part of our strategic plan.

This study suggests that we are none too soon!

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April 17, 2007

Making Sure We're Part of the Equation

A review of the recent joint conference of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) includes some interesting news about how our student affairs colleagues are working at the national level to make certain that they remain "part of the equation" when campus leaders are calculating how best to support student success.

Like librarians, student affairs professionals have looked carefully over the past 20 years at their educational role (something that I noted briefly in an earlier post), and NASPA has joined with an education consulting firm to create a national clearinghouse for information on research and best practices aimed at promoting student success. As one of the participating consultants told the Chronicle of Higher Education: "When we talk about accountability, we can't just limit ourselves to what happens in classrooms."

The lesson for libraries is that we, too, must be proactive if we are to remain relevant to campus discussions about promoting student success and responding to national calls for increased educational accountability. We are one of the few academic units designed to seamlessly bridge the curricular and the co-curricular experience. When we talk about the learning that can be facilitated in a library, or by librarians, we are talking about what happens in classrooms, in libraries, in computer labs, in residence halls, and anywhere else that the ability to access, manage, evaluate, synthesize, and present information is important (which is pretty much everywhere).

Members of our profession have done substantial work over the past decade on the educational impact of the teaching and learning that goes on in libraries (or as part of campus-wide commitments to information literacy). How do we make certain that we also remain "part of the equation" when relevant discussions come up on our campuses? What can each one of us do in our work with campus faculty and administrators? What can the leadership of our national organizations learn from the leadership of those of our colleagues in student affairs about helping to make the case?

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The Future of the Reference Desk

No-one I know questions the value that librarians bring to the "search" experience - an information professional can be an invaluable asset to a student, scholar, or community member with a need for in-depth information, or for assistance in locating quality information on an esoteric topic.

Many people I know, however, do question the value of the reference desk as a service model.

The problematizing of the reference desk and the call to bring librarian expertise more into the flow of the way our users actually conduct their academic work were definitely themes abroad at the recent ACRL National Conference. In those presentations, I heard many echoes of the debates that we had at the University of Kansas when we adopted a tiered service model for the reference desk (which we simultaneously combined with the circulation desk to support user desires for "one-stop-shopping" for library service). Those themes appear again in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education in an article that we should all read and be ready to discuss, Are Reference Desks Dying Out?

Is the desk, staffed by professional librarians, the best way to stay "in the flow" of academic work? Is it the best way to allocate professional human resources? Are there service models that allow users with a need for professional assistance to have access to it at the point of need, rather than ones built on a "just in case" basis?

The answer to these questions is, "Yes, but they take a lot of work to design and a Library-wide commitment to implement." And, as with other emergent service models, we will have to be careful to remember that one size does not fit all, and that the best model for one institution may not be the best model for all. These are serious questions about the future of reference services, though, and they are worth looking at carefully.

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April 16, 2007

Training Teachers @ Your Library

This week marks the end of another successful year of professional development programming for the University of Michigan's Instructor College, an exemplary training and development program for teaching librarians (and the winner of the ACRL Instruction Section's "Innovation in Instruction" award for 2003).

Many academic libraries, including UIUC, have active training and development programs, and several have programs focused on improving the work of librarians as teachers, but Instructor College has been unusual both for the breadth of its vision and for its staying power. Even when compared with similar programs at Ohio State and Washington State, the Michigan program stands out. I'm proud to have been asked to speak at the Instructor College program this week, but am also happy to have a chance to see, first-hand, what best practices we can steal ("adopt") for our program here.

Teaching is a passion both for our Coordinator for Information Literacy and Instruction and for our Coordinator for Staff Training and Development, and projects like the GSLIS-Library Teaching Alliance demonstrate that our interest in improving our work as teachers is an area where we share a professional commitment with our LIS colleagues. I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Office of Services to build on this good work and to support our organizational commitment to excellence in teaching and excellence in continuing professional education.

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April 13, 2007

Undergraduate Library Video Now Online

The Undergraduate Library video produced by UGL in collaboration with University Housing is now available for users of Windows Media Player and QuickTime.

Congratulations to our UGL colleagues (and to Meg Burger, who shines as a student needing resume help) for demonstrating the creative ways in which we can collaborate with our colleagues in Student Affairs both to offer an array of student services in libraries and to introduce new students to the ways in which libraries and librarians contribute to student success.

The "rough cut" of the video was a big hit at the ACRL National Conference in Baltimore, and is being shared with our ACRL colleagues through ACRLog.

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Library Benchmarking Study Update

How do we stack up when it comes to world-class library services?

This is the question we are hoping to start to answer by participating in the International Library Benchmarking Study being coordinated by the University of Manchester (U.K.). UIUC is one approximately 15 institutions from around the world (with the participant list still being finalized) taking part of this study, and joins the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Arizona as its American representatives.

Eleri Strittmatter from Manchester visited with a number of Library units and committees earlier this Spring as she initiated the planning phase for the study. We will hold an information sharing and brainstorming meeting on Monday, April 16th, from 3:00-4:00 pm (428 Library), for anyone wishing to discuss our participation in this study or to learn more about how we might use the data we will gather for this study as a springboard for further discussions of benchmarking, either locally or in collaboration with peer institutions in the CIC or ARL.

For more information on the Library Assessment program at UIUC (of which this is a part), please visit the UIUC Library Assessment portal.

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April 12, 2007

Library Services "on the Horizon"

If you are not already making a regular habit of reading The Horizon Report, the time has come to put it on your list.

Each year, the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative prepare a report on the technologies most likely to shape change in the teaching, learning, and research environment. The report groups these technologies by the timeframe in which they appear most likely to become "very important to higher education." The 2007 Report focuses on the following technologies:

*User-Created Content
*Social Networking
*Mobile Phones
*Virtual Worlds
*The New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication
*Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming

The Report further connects student and faculty adoption of these technologies to a key trend in higher education of relevance to library services, i.e., the need for a renewed commitment to (and an expansive view of) information literacy instruction in a world defined by "a sea of user-created content, collaborative work, and instant access to information of varying quality."

Here at UIUC, we are poised to contribute to these ongoing discussions of the evolving higher education environment thanks to the active commitment to address these trends and adopt these technologies seen in our: information literacy program, digital learning projects, scholarly communications program, provision of library services in social networking environments, and exploration of the place of gaming in libraries and higher education.

Next stop (we hope): mobile library services and SecondLife. Stay tuned!

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April 11, 2007

Google Books, Departmental Libraries, and the Universal Collection

An interesting post by a doctoral student on How Google Books is Changing Academic History, in which she compares the access to scarce materials in a departmental library model at Cal-Berkeley with the access provided as the result of mass digitization efforts (by way of LIS News).

How soon might we see a paean to our own efforts at UIUC as we bring in each year's Illinois Harvest?

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April 10, 2007

Learning 2.0

Learning 2.0, the staff development and training program developed by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (N.C.), has been getting lots of attention both for its success in helping librarians learn more about emerging technologies (blogs, RSS, flickr, and more), and for its "open" approach to the design of professional development programs. The project was mentioned more than once at the ACRL National Conference, and has also been featured in WIRED Magazine.

"Emerging technologies" is one of the many facets of our own staff development and training needs in the University Library, and projects like Learning 2.0 and Five Weeks to a Social Library, provide us with examples of how the technologies we need to master can themselves provide new ways of helping us to master them.

Take a look.

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April 9, 2007

40 Years of Service

A nice nod to the Undergraduate Library in today's DI, in which we see highlighted our commitment to providing library services in support of student needs, the importance of providing technology-enhanced library spaces, and the ongoing importance of the library as place:

Mi Jeon, freshman in LAS, admits that the technology is a big part of the reason why she chooses to study at the Undergraduate Library rather than others. However, to Jeon, the Undergraduate Library offers her something that no technology can give: a good atmosphere to study.

New technology, great resources, improving facilities, and excellent people @ your UIUC library - nice to see it recognized!

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Interest in Gaming Grows

Jeff Trzeciak, University Librarian at McMaster, has a strong interest in gaming and the application of research on gaming to library services.

He has articulated his interest in enhancing support for gaming in academic libraries in the McMaster University blog, and has added a related post to the Designing Better Libraries blog, in which he asks:

. . . what is the library community doing about getting into gaming in significant ways? Who are the leaders in this area and what are they doing to make library resources and services more accessible through game environments?

While we may not have quite cracked the nut of how to provide library services through immersive environments like Second Life, the University Library is clearly helping to provide leadership for the critical question of how academic libraries can "[get] into gaming in significant ways." UIUC librarians Lisa Hinchliffe, David Ward, and Karen Schmidt have been on the conference circuit this Spring (CIC, CNI, ACRL) proving just that and letting our colleagues across the country know about the work of the UIUC University Library's Gaming Initiative (which, yes, supports its own blog).

UIUC faculty from a number of departments are interested in gaming research, and many of our students are interested both in research and practice (lots of practice!). Thanks to the work of the Gaming Initiative group in the library, we are moving into new areas of collections and services that both meet their needs and allow us to provide leadership for national discussions of these issues in the academic library community.

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April 6, 2007

New Models for Liaison Librarians - Part One

Who is the liaison librarian to the Office of Greek Affairs?

Most of us know what a liaison librarian is - a librarian, often a subject specialist, with formal responsibility for facilitating communication between the library and a given academic department or departments, and for providing a full spectrum of library services to the faculty, staff, and students in the liaison department(s) (more on that "full spectrum" in Part Two). Don't believe me? See the Online Dictionary of Library & Information Science:

Today, we are in the early days of a new model for liaison librarians and liaison programs - one defined not only by service to academic departments and programs, but inclusive of co-curricular and extra-curricular programs. Why? Because co-curricular and extra-curricular programs have been focusing for the past 15 years on refining and highlighting the contribution that they make to the academic experience. And, if these are educational programs, it follows that they can benefit from working with the library. Not just once, and not just by chance, but in the same substantive, sustained, and ongoing way in which we work with academic departments.

Of course, few of these programs have "book budgets" or collections needs (although some do); thus, the focus of the liaison relationship is primarily on service, especially information and instructional services. What is the "subject specialty" of these new library liaisons? It depends on the liaison program, of course, but often the subject exertise lies in the librarian's knowledge of the educational content of the co-curricular program and of the research underpinning its work.

The liaison librarian at the University of Massachussetts assigned to Residence Hall Education programs, for example (http://www.library.umass.edu/reference/liaisons.html#centers), should be familiar with the student affairs research underpinning residence hall education programs [e.g., Realizing the Educational Potential of Residence Halls, 1994 (currently circulating)].

UMASS demonstrates one model for expanding our vision of the liaison librarian's work, i.e., assignment of liaison responsibilities for student affairs programs that complement a traditional set of academic liaison assignments. This was also the approach we took at Kansas (http://www.lib.ku.edu/instruction/partners/). Want to see how this could look at UIUC? I'd recommend Yoo-Seong Song's forthcoming article in Research Strategies (already available "in press" from ScienceDirect) on how his liaison work with the Business Career Services Office complements his traditional liaison work as a faculty member in BEL.

Another approach is to create new positions that focus on this new facet of liaison work. Oregon State has moved in this direction with the creation of an "Undergraduate Services Librarian" charged with the development of programmatic relations with student affairs programs. We are in the mix here, too, with the creation of the position of Outreach Librarian for Multicultural Services.

The role and scope of the liaison librarian's work is changing, both in the range of professional responsibilities and in terms of the programs with which we must commit to build programmatic and sustainable relationships if we are to serve the full range of educational programs on our campus. Yoo-Seong and Emily (and, yes, there are others, but this post is already too long) provide examples of significant progress we've made down this road already at the University of Illinois. We have a long way that we can still go, if we choose to do so.

There are several liaison relationships already existing between librarians and co-curricular and extra-curricular programs at UIUC - some more formal than others. The Office of Services is engaged in an exploration of these relationships and looks forward to documenting them, to supporting the work of these liaison librarians, and, as at UMASS, Kansas, Oregon State, Washington State, and other institutions, to representing this valuable, professional work to our colleagues and our campus as another facet of the service we provide to the students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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April 5, 2007

Comments Welcome?

Remember when I said that I was releasing this blog in "beta"?

It appears that while the "Comments" feature has been enabled in this blog, there are still a few bugs in the system when it comes to the design. I have asked my trusty blog guru, Sharif Islam, to trouble-shoot, and I'm sure this will be cleared up very quickly.

Until then, I believe that you CAN make comments, but doing so may hurt your eyes (and possibly your sense of balance). Comments are welcome, though, and we will get this cleared up ASAP.


Posted by swalter at 9:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Can You Hear Me Now?

In every library where I have worked - large and small - there have been concerns over the amount of communication and the ways in which people "find things out."

This very real issue is made infinitely more complex at the UIUC University Library, owing to the size and decentralized nature of our organization. For the Office of Services, this infinite complexity comes also in infinite diversity (with a nod to Gene Roddenberry) owing to the varying degrees to which service programs and initiatives are coordinated across the Library and the varying degree to which formal mechanisms like committees and working groups allow for timely sharing of information.

With that as prelude, I am happy to welcome you to @ Your Service, the "official" blog of the Office of Services. I will use this medium as a way of alerting everyone in the Library to ongoing projects coordinated by the Office. I will also use this blog as a means of sharing highlights of our service activities here at the University Library, facilitating discussions about new service programs and new service models, and sharing our responses to questions that come to the Office on policies, procedures, etc.

I hope you'll visit regularly, subscribe to the RSS feed, and make comments (which is a feature that, if all worked out as planned, is now available on this blog). Everyone at the Library has a role in providing excellent service and I hope this will help facilitate our Library-wide discussion of what our library service programs should look like.

Welcome aboard!

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