Thrilling Librarians Doing Thriller January 29, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
Tags: dancing, humor, librarians, library, Mental Floss, Michael Jackson, Thriller
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Wow! I just had to share this list of librarians doing the Thriller dance from Michael Jackson’s famous Thriller video! Thanks to Mental Floss! (Told ya we live double lives!)
Here’s one from the National Library of Australia, but click on the link above to see all of them! (Why are there so many??)
First Time at ALA January 13, 2010Posted by pupfiction in ALA Mid-winter Meeting.
Tags: ALA, first-timer, librarian, library, meeting
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This weekend a colleague (more like a friend) and I will be attending the American Library Association’s Mid-winter Meeting in Boston. Though it is not as extensive as the annual conference (which I hope too, to attend in D.C.), it is a fairly large venue and a good opportunity to network. I will try to blog each day to give my impressions of the meeting and what it is like to be a new librarian in such a setting. I will also be meeting my mentor, whom I was assigned to through ALA and look forward to meeting. Please share with me any tips or suggestions for attending this meeting. I will keep you updated!
A Lego Library January 4, 2010Posted by pupfiction in Amazing.
Tags: art, legos, library
I had to share this awesome rendition of the Stockholm Public Library done in Legos! Legos have certainly changed since I was little. (From Minkowsky’s Flickr Stream, posted by MSauers on Twitter)
Check out all the pics here!
6 Lessons We NEED to Be Teaching December 10, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: bibliographic instruction, databases, information, information literacy, internet, librarians, library
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I’ve been avoiding this personal diatribe for some time now so as to avoid being the whiny, criticizing librarian who sees fault everywhere but does nothing. As librarians, we are all too aware of the habit to tend toward myopia, often forgetting that most people do not understand research as we do, hence our livelihood. And though we may acknowledge that we often breeze past the simplest (but often crucial) building blocks of research, we do little to address it. With this list I am attempting to argue that bibliographic instruction needs to be rethought and needs to address the sources of research so that students understand why, for example, articles need to be peer-reviewed, other than the fact that their professor requires it.
Here is the only disclaimer I give: as a new employee and only half a year out of library school, I don’t find it in my best interest to criticize well-established methods. In time I do hope to share my ideas, but for now I’ll vent here and present the 6 lessons we NEED to be teaching to undergrads in the library.
1. What is a journal/journal article?
More often than not, bibliographic instruction (aka information literacy instruction) includes a section on how to search databases, including which databases should be used for certain subjects and how to locate them on the library’s web page. The students type in a few words and presto–there’s a full-text article directly in front of them. To a student who is embarking on her first research paper in college there is not much difference between this and Google, which leads to a plethora of misunderstandings down the road. My suggestion is this: we bring paper (yes PAPER) journals into the session; maybe even walk the students down into the stacks where the periodicals are kept so that they understand that these digital articles are things that have actually been vetted and published, thus distinguishing them from much else on the web.This brings me to my second point–
2.The nature of databases.
Now that the student understands why journal articles are superior to Google’s search results, they need to understand that certain databases cover only certain journals. This will avoid a typical problem I have encountered, that of a student asserting that they only use EBSCO…yes, but which EBSCO product? (If only these databases changed their interface for different products, how it would help us!)
3. Databases are not the same as the Internet.
Students tell me that they need research sources, but are forbidden to use the web. When I pull up a database to find peer-viewed articles they insist that these are not allowed. After I explain that the library pays for these published sources, they usually acquiesce, though lingering suspicions tend to remain.
4. The relationship between articles and URLs.
Students are savvy, resourceful, and green. Many of them will find an article and create a list of URLs for easy access to the articles from home so that they are not weighed down with stacks of paper. This practice most often occurs after bibliographic instruction and it is only when the student tries to retrieve the articles that he is left embarrassingly and frustratingly bereft of all his hard work. Embarrassed at his apparent lack of tech-savvy, and assuming the librarian knows less than himself, what are the chances that he will ask for help? That is why it is imperative we explain the proxy-server, and that journal articles can only be accessed from campus or with a password, explaining that databases create unique URLs to avoid unlawful sharing of resources. Students must realize that (once again) these are not free articles on the web and that there is a process to access them.
5. The Web is not Evil!
This statement might seem at odds with my earlier declarations, but it is important for students (and perhaps arcane professors) to know that the web is increasingly a place for good information, with the caveat that students learn the skills to identify what constitutes “good” information. With more and more respectable periodicals putting their articles online (New York Times, Time, Business Week, etc.), the Directory of Open Access Journals,and Google Books, just to name a few, the web has become a source for serious research, a place that professors should not spurn.
6. Cite! Cite! Cite!
Nothing makes me cringe more than watching students use Google’s image search to mindlessly copy and paste into a power point presentation. Students need to understand that images are intellectual property just as much as an article from JSTOR. The source of these images needs to be cited in a bibliography, yet even professors seem mute on the subject. Perhaps it’s time we all took a refresher course on copyright. Just because it’s for educational purposes doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be cited.
Though I realize that librarians are acutely aware of these oversights, especially in one-on-one reference sessions, they remain to be addressed. Let’s start the revolution now!
Shhhhhh! November 24, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
Tags: humor, library
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This is what kept happening today to me at work. Thought you should know….
Judge a book by its smell! November 12, 2009Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
Tags: books, library, science, wired
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Who doesn’t love the spectrum of book odors? From the smell of dusty, archaic library books to the smell of freshly printed Barnes & Noble books, you can often find me with my nose in a book, literally. Matija Strlic, a chemist at University College London, has developed a process called “material degradomics” to determine how degraded the paper within books are. This will greatly help rare book specialists and archivists in determining what artifacts need to be preserved and in what order. Check out the full article by Wired Science.
Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold (aka toss) ’em October 20, 2009Posted by infomavensdesktop in Uncategorized.
Tags: blogs, books, library, weeding
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Working on an astronomy bibliography today reminded me of one of my favorite blogs: Awful library books where one can peruse the annals of books that should have been tossed long ago. That is not to say that some of the books wouldn’t be great contributions to archives cataloging the evolution of human thought, culture, and technology . This site takes contributions from all over and is, besides an important reminder to librarians who refuse to throw anything away, extremely humorous.