Author Archives: Judy Watts

Information Behavior of Researchers – Myths of a Google Generation

Submitted by Judy Watts

A January 2008 report by a research team (CIBER) at University College London for the British Library and JISC, the Joint Information Systems Committee that promotes the use of academic IT in the UK, shows that while most young people in the US and UK are completely at home with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information they find on the web. The report ‘Information Behavior of the Researcher of the Future’ also shows that traits commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are becoming the norm for all age-groups, from young students through undergraduates to professors. The study warns that young people are dangerously lacking in informations skills and presents the challenges for library and information services in meeting the needs of researchers.

The Executive Summary of  the report is a good read (and worth a look just for the cover graphic). You can find the full report here, and more recent publications of the JISC group, e.g., Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World, are listed here.

Going away? LIS wants to know!

Submitted by Judy Watts

I’m headed to Scotland tomorrow, and while people don’t need to know the details of where I’ll be, it may be useful for them to know that I will be away. Here’s what I did to enter that information in a place that everyone can see. In Outlook, open

Public Folders – All Public Folders – LIS – LIS Calendar

Enter your time away and save the entry. If you want to put it on your personal calendar, open it again, pull down the “Actions” menu and click on “Copy to personal calendar:. (Or, while you are creating the item, click on “Invite attendees” and invite yourself. Accept the invitation when you are back in your Outlook mail and it will be on your personal calendar.)

If you don’t use Outlook, you can ask someone who does, including the Information Desk, to make the entry for you. 

Thanks for doing this. It helps us all.

Who was that in the Library?

Submitted by Judy Watts

Our new Library has been in use for almost five years and still draws many visitors and requests for tours. This past week, Amara Lakhous, writer and freelance journalist, and film maker from Italy was our guest. Mr. Lakhous, with a translator, was traveling under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. His novel, Scontro de Civilta, which won the prestigious Flaiano prize, is a story of how immigrants such as Muslims, Eastern Europeans, and Filipinos, deal with personal identity crises while living in Rome. It was published in Arabic in 2003, Italian in 2006, French in 2007, Dutch and English in 2008, and is currently beiing made into a film. He is known through his novels, journalism, and film making as one of Italy’s most insightful cultural mediators.

While at Middlebury, Mr. Lakhouse met with students and faculty in the Italian Department about his work, gave a lecture on Islam and immigration in Italy, and met with Jay Parini.

Scronto di Civilta has been ordered for our collection.

Collection Management Policies for Reference and Music

Submitted by Judy Watts

Carrie MacFarlane, Jean Simmons, Cynthia Watters, and I are currently hard at work pounding out guidelines that describe and define the Reference Collection. This hasn’t been done in some time. Changes in technologies, the shift to digital formats, new curricular developments, and the need to serve students and faculty in the libraries and around the globe, not to mention the budget, are forcing us to examine everything from what should be acquired, to formats, to deselection and retention policies. We expect to have a draft ready soon so that other Reference Librarians can go over it with a fine-tooth comb.

Joy Pile is going through the same process for the Music collection. In each case we must establish the purpose and scope of the collection to guide our acquisition decisions. Then, we must enumerate and define factors to apply to each title under consideration, e.g., anticipated use, authority, audience level, cost, alternative sources for the information, and platform stability for digital sources. Our policies also must inform selectors of the procedures to follow to place requests for new resources. Finally, we’ll look at how we assess the effectiveness of the collections, and describe the process for removing items from the collections.

LIS Authors

Submitted by Judy Watts

Geospatial Technology Support in Small Academic Libraries: Time to Jump on Board?, by Carrie M. Macfarlane and Christopher M. Rodgers, Middlebury College, has just appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. This article describes in some detail the work that Carrie did with GIS Interns Katie Clagett and Chris Rogers leading to the Google Earth and GIS support that is now offered by Digital Media Tutors in the Wilson Lab.

Congratulations to Carrie and Chris for producing a piece that is both entertaining and useful to other institutions attempting to find a way to offer support for geospatial technologies. What is described in the article represents a huge commitment by three very dedicated individuals – Carrie, Katie, and Chris – leading to the successful application of geospatial techniques across the curriculum. There were many challenges along the way, including rapidly developing technology and the end of funding for GIS interns, but the result is that students and faculty may now find a wide range of support to suit their needs. Kudos, too, to Joe Antonioli and the Digital Media tutors for stepping up to the challenge and adding yet more ways to help.

New Video and Laptop Viewing Equipment at Armstrong Library

Submitted by Judy Watts

Students asked, and we provided!

Thanks to Dean Cadoret and others, Armstrong Library group study rooms now have equipment for video and laptop viewing.  For computer use, researchers can bring their own laptops or check out a laptop from the Circulation Desk.  For videos, a DVD player/VCR is already in the room.

This is another outcome based on feedback received from the Post-It note bulletin board Carrie MacFarlane did at Armstrong last year. Carrie and Brendan Owen, Digital Media Intern, will be doing a presentation on this effort next week at The October Conference , Space 2.0 : Small-Scale Library Redesign Projects, at Dartmouth.

Nice teamwork, Carrie and Brendan!