Author Archives: Carrie Macfarlane

About Carrie Macfarlane

Head of Research and Instruction.

Friday Links December 14, 2012

Marginalia, or The Roger Williams Code: How a team of scholars decrypted a secret language—and discovered the last known work of the American theologian. (via Slate)

Ithaka, the non-profit organization that brings us JSTOR, on Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians: This study, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, uncovers the needs of today’s historians and provides guidance for how research support providers can better serve them.

3D Printing:  Wondering what this technology is all about?  Read the latest CQ Researcher report “3D Printing: Will it revolutionize manufacturing?“  Trivia question: How was this technology used in the latest James Bond thriller “Skyfall”?

Some faculty and students have been reluctant to post undergraduate theses to Scholarship at Middlebury in part because they fear it could jeopardize their ability to publish the findings in journals later on. A report published in the Chronicle of Higher Education indicates there isn’t much cause for this kind of concern. (Read the comments too, where the validity of the conclusions is debated.) Putting Dissertation Online Isn’t an Obstacle to Print Publication, Surveys Find.

Dartmouth October Conference 2012

Dartmouth October Conference 2012
“Outside the Box: Innovation in the Library”
Notes from Wendy Shook and Carrie Macfarlane

Our top 4 take-aways:

  1. For innovation to be accepted, all users, suppliers, and contributors have to buy into the idea.  When planning, look for the weakest link and always ask: Why would this user/supplier/contributor want to change?
  2. “Minute Movies.”  This could be a theme to consider for video tutorials: short scenario-based video tutorials that start with a “why” (eg, I was told I needed 3 peer-reviewed journals articles), then teach a skill to meet the need.
  3. The “Awesome” box. Students returning materials can drop them in the regular return box or in the “Awesome” box, the contents of which are then posted on the library site as student picks.
  4. The Harvard Library catalog (HOLLIS) has a text-a-call number feature. Does III or Summon offer anything like that? We’ve seen some students take a photo of a call number.

Keynote Address: A Wide Lens Perspective on Innovation
Roy Adner – Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

  1. There is a difference between innovation and successful innovation.  Innovation is seeing and filling the gap between what the user needs and what the user wants (or what you can convince the user he wants).  Successful innovation is innovation that  considers not only the user’s point of view, but whether or not that innovation can work in an existing framework, and the co-innovations required to make it a desirable solution.
  2. For innovation to be accepted, all users, suppliers, and contributors have to buy into the idea, and this means assessing changes in relationships.  “Managing adoption chains” means assessing and balancing the benefits and drawbacks for each contributor and user group (a chain is only as strong as the weakest link); the user might get an improved rather than superlative product if compromise is necessary to get all partners to cooperate. When planning, always ask: why would this user/supplier/contributor want to change?
  3. value proposition vs. scale of deployment
    • The most common pattern is prototype to pilot to full rollout
    • An alternative could be (as Apple tends to do):  rollout prototype with full scale deployment to minimize conflicting partners (conflict is avoided because the partners are buying in rather than participating in co-development) This requires assessing and applying the “minimal viable ecosystem”.
    • A by-product of the “minimal viable ecosystem” technique is the establishment of de facto leadership rather than being a collaborator.

Transforming Concepts into Actionable Project through Project Management
Shanti Freundlich – Liaison Librarian: Health Sciences, Nursing, & Social Work, Beatley Library, Simmons College
Vivienne Piroli – Deputy Library Director, Beatley Library, Simmons College

  • The principle discussion seemed to centre on “getting stuff done”; mission and vision driven projects achieved through cross-function teams and non-hierarchical leadership opportunities.

“What’s My Motivation?”: Adding Story and Context to Screen Shot Tutorials
Kari Mofford – Undergraduate and User Services Librarian, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

  • LIS can employ dramatised “minute movies” to add interest to video tutorials and to make them more memorable (even if still slightly embarrassing).
  • The awkward/embarrassment factor can be mitigated by inviting students to be part of the creative development (the overall storyboard /content developed by LIS), filming, and editing.  This might be an interesting way to reach out to students, and use their insight into making useful, memorable tutorials that have more impact.
  • It’s a good idea to start a video with the “Why,” then teach a skill to meet the need that’s been identified. Starting with the “why” can help with voice, giving the narrator a sense of purpose and conviction.

Using a Participatory Design Workshop to Renovate a Library Teaching Space         Laura Farwell Blake – Head, Services for Academic Programs, Harvard College Library
Reed Lowrie – Science Reference and Cartographic Librarian
Cabot Library, Interim Manager of Reference Services, Widener, Lamont, Cabot and Tozzer Libraries, Harvard College Library

  • This was a description of how a single, popular classroom/workspace was renovated using the input from both teaching staff and students.
  • The approach to focus groups was interesting, but inviting a lot of input can backfire when not all of the suggestions are applied and conversely, too much change can alienate traditionalists.
  • On a personal note: This was a bit of a walk down memory lane for Carrie, who used to manage this classroom and still knows several of the folks who facilitated its renovation! :)

Changing Their World, 4 Strings At a Time: Ukuleles in the Library!
Lisa Lavoie – Director of Library Services, Tunxis Community College

  • Entertaining attempt to generate interest in the library using a quirky gimmick. Their ukuleles have been borrowed hundreds of times.
  • A useful take-away, however, is the visceral reaction a tangible resource other than books can generate.

Honoring Student Assistants:  The Student Library Service Bookplate Program at Dartmouth College
Laura Braunstein – English Language and Literature Librarian, Dartmouth College

  • Bookplates are being used as a way to mark long service from student employees.
  • Students suggest the title of a book that is meaningful to them, into which the book plate is affixed.  On the positive side, book selection can make the student feel more connected to their library experience, and the thought was also put forth that this was the kind of positive reinforcement that could generate future support for the library.  the sometimes quirky, often random selections, however, did not necessarily reflect the library’s mission, and can potentially take up valuable shelf space. They have not gathered use statistics, but some copies have gone missing.
  • On a side note, the HOLLIS Catalog at Harvard now has virtual bookplates. Would we want to investigate these for this purpose?

There’s an App for That…Ask Your Librarian! 
Judy M. Spak – Curriculum Support Librarian, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale School of Medicine
Jan Glover – Education Services Librarian, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale School of Medicine

  • The discussion was largely based on the consistent use of specific apps across a cohort, and the management/development of those apps.  What stood out was that the apps and development discussed depended largely on every student, and by extension every librarian, having the same platform to work with/on.  Students are given iPads, but it is unreasonable to expect that no one will customize, or that subsequent cohorts will have the same version.
  • One surprising finding is that students and faculty both appreciated the lack of multitasking functionality on an iPad. This seems particularly relevant for faculty who are reluctant to allow the use of laptops in the classroom because of fear of distraction.
  • An interesting side note was the mention of the “personal librarian programme”, which sounded a bit like the 1-on-1 consultations we try to advertise to students.

Staffing the Information Commons in a Melded IT and Library Organization
Jill Parchuck – Co-Director Yale Center for Science and Social Science Information, Yale University Library
Themba Flowers – Co-Director Yale Center for Science and Social Science Information, Yale ITS, Academic IT Solutions, Yale University Library

  • The experiment was limited to one division of the library, and campus-wide and LIS IT seemed disconnected.
  • The thought occurs that even small steps in innovation may be difficult to adopt in institutions that have long and entrenched traditions.

Exploring the Future of Libraries: A Quick Walk Through the Work Taking Place in the Harvard Library Innovation Lab
Jeff Goldenson – Designer, Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory
Matt Phillips – Developer, Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory

  • An entertaining discussion by software developers (who weirdly apologized for not being librarians).  http://librarylab.law.harvard.edu/projects.html  Ideas included:
    • the “awesome” box: students returning materials could drop them in the regular return or in the “awesome” box, the contents of which would then be posted on the library site as student picks.  Neat idea, but problematic if the books selected as awesome reflect questionably on the institution – perhaps needs a disclaimer.
    • shelf view (will suffer a name change due to copyright infringement): a tool to generate a visual representation of a reading list as a section of bookshelf, with the metadata used to create visual approximations of spines.  It is debatable how much more useful than a list of titles this is, except that perhaps you could generate a simulated view of a section of shelf in the library and be able to navigate visually.
    • shelf.io: an app for users to generate an electronic, visual bookshelf to share (like sharing playlists, but more literary)
    • Introduction of the “library test kitchen” as an exercise in story driven design and entrepreneurship in context.  The presenters  described  becoming co-conspirators with the students and challenging the librarian-student power dynamic.  The result was unusual projects like the “white noise study table” to improve study focus,  and “coldspots” that were free from the distractions of being connected.
    • Would the Center for Social Entrepreneurship be interested in working with the library to imagine new services and tools?

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Other

  • The Harvard Library catalog (HOLLIS) has a text-a-call number feature. Does III or Summon offer anything like that? We’ve seen some students take a photo of a call number too.

POSTPONED: Liaison Discussion: How to Reach the Uninterested Student

***This has been postponed***

Topic: How to Reach the Uninterested Student. Led by Yonna McShane, Director of Learning Resources, CTLR.
Who’s Invited: All liaisons and anyone who might be interested
Who’s “Required”: Primary liaisons, please try to attend if you can. Sorry in advance for any conflicts.
Where and when: Friday, December 14, 10-11 am. Location LIB 201 (Watson Lecture Hall)

Description: Yonna frequently coaches students and faculty on how to improve their presentation skills. She’ll gear this session toward liaisons who lead LIS workshops. How can we “hook” students at the beginning of a workshop so that they stick with us for the whole class period? She will provide tips on handling question and answer sections of the presentation. Yonna also will give tips on professional conference presentations, including visual aids.
***
“Liaison Discussion Section” meetings address research and/or technology topics of interest to liaisons. They can be conversations, or presentations, or both. They take place most often on the 3rd week of the month, but in order to allow people who work different hours to attend, they’re sometimes scheduled for different days/times.

Liaison Discussion: The Portal

Topic: The Portal. Led by Matt LaFrance.
Who’s Invited: All liaisons and anyone who might be interested
When and where: Thursday, November 29, 10:30-11:30 am. LIB 105.

Description: This is an opportunity to reflect on the Portal (http://go.middlebury.edu/portal) and review its place amongst our services. Matt LaFrance, the maintainer of the project, will present on its development, features, and intended purpose. Afterward there will be time for questions and discussion.

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“Liaison Discussion Section” meetings address research and/or technology topics of interest to liaisons. They can be conversations, or presentations, or both. They take place most often on the 3rd week of the month, but in order to allow people who work different hours to attend, they’re sometimes scheduled for different days/times.

Liaison Discussion: Increasing student participation in our workshops

Topic: Increasing student participation in our workshops. Led by Richard Jenkins, Joy Pile, Wendy Shook, and Carrie Macfarlane.
Who’s Invited: All liaisons and anyone who might be interested
When and where: Monday, October 29, 9:30-10:30 am. LIB 145.

Description: We’ve all been trying new techniques to make our classes more interactive. Richard, Joy, Wendy and Carrie will share some of their recent attempts, then turn the floor over to the group for discussion. Come ready to tell others about your own ideas, whether you’ve tested them in the classroom or not. Why? Here are at least 10 reasons, and when we meet, I’m sure we’ll come up with more. Bring a laptop if you’d like to try out one of our polls.

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“Liaison Discussion Section” meetings address research and/or technology topics of interest to liaisons. They can be conversations, or presentations, or both. They take place most often on the 3rd week of the month, but in order to allow people who work different hours to attend, they’re sometimes scheduled for different days/times.

Stressed out?

Notes from “Stress, Your Brain, & Productivity,” a go/learning workshop led by Porter Knight, Productivity Vermont, October 10, 2012.

The main point of the workshop was that understanding how your brain responds to stress can allow you to improve your health and increase your productivity. Apparently, LIS is sometimes not the most tranquil place to work. LISers comprised a good portion of the audience!  Here’s what we learned.

When bad things (surprise deadlines, dissatisfied customers, arguments with colleagues…) occur, here’s what happens:

  • blood leaves prefrontal cortex, and decision-making skills falter
  • brain applies a filter that encourages you to see everything in a negative light; focus of attention narrows, prevents you from “zooming out” and seeing alternatives
  • you become preoccupied and may “check out” causing you to miss important details and info
  • blood flows to the memory/emotion part of your brain, causing you to make accidental connections that are not helpful
  • compromised health due to elevated levels of adrenalin & cortisol
  • brain is chemically dumbed down, forgetfulness for example

One solution: Organization. Create a safety net so that when bad things happen, you have tools in place that help you recover.

What about that bloodflow issue? Acknowledge, then choose to act. This actually reverses the bloodflow! Say, “I’m experiencing stress. Now I choose to…Take a deep breath, use a calm voice, shake it off, spend only 10 more minutes…”  It may help to plan ahead and “write a script” of such responses to have at-the-ready.

The brain uses a lot of energy — “each decision gets harder” because you’ve used up juice.  Here’s how you can fight “brain drain”:

  • Feed it! Eat breakfast, lunch
  • Exercise helps the brain too. It feeds oxygen into the bloodstream, and oxygen carries away the brain’s “trash” (free radicals)
  • Be aware of how your brain functions — save heavy-thinking tasks for times when you’re well-nourished and well-exercised.
  • Schedule times for your intentions & recharging so they will actually happen!
  • Protect yourself by communicating your plan to others.
  • Don’t forget to evaluate your actions for effectiveness.

Solution Summary:

  • Get organized
  • Be mindful — choose/decide.
  • Schedule & protect your intentions.
  • Connect!  Smile.  Put on your friend filter so others are more likely to view you as approachable.

Books:

Find LIS on Facebook and Twitter

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Since we got ourselves on Facebook and Twitter over a year ago, more than 220 students, faculty, staff, organizations and colleagues have ‘liked’ and ‘followed’ us. More are always welcome! Find us on Facebook at Middlebury College LIS, and on Twitter at @MiddLibrarian.

We wondered recently how we were doing. Should we go to other social networking sites? Are we posting useful news? What else do students want to know about? We polled our student workers and learned that most importantly, we need to make sure everyone knows we’re out there!  Facebook and Twitter still seem to be the most popular forums, and our content seems good.

To help us keep spreading the news, Mike Lynch (Systems Administrator) has joined us as a social media community manager. Great job this month, Mike!

We’re asked periodically by LIS staff members how to get info posted to the LIS Facebook page. The easiest way is to post it to the LIS blog. We’ll notice it, and we’ll either share it right away, or we’ll decide to share it later. (We now use the ShareThis plugin, and we have a planning calendar so that we don’t over-post.) Alternatively, send an email to Steve Bertolino, Mike Lynch, and Carrie Macfarlane and we’ll make a note of your request.