Melissa Gross and Don Latham Are Talking About….

Melissa Gross and Don Latham will present their paper, “First Year College Students and Information: A Phenomenographic Investigation” in session 5A.

1) What do you hope people gain from your presentation and/or panel? My co-presenter Don Latham and I are very excited to share our experience in using Phenomenography to better understand how first year college students understand and perceive information.  Phenomenography was developed in Sweden in the early 1970s, was used by Christine Bruce in her foundational study of information literacy. We are starting to see this method being used in the US in studies of information literacy and it was a very interesting process to take this approach to data analysis.

2) Are there one or two articles or websites you think attendees would benefit from reading before attending your session? Bruce, C. (1997). The seven faces of information Literacy. Australia, Auslib Press Pty Ltd.

Gross, M., & Latham, D. (2007).  Attaining information literacy: An investigation of the relationship between skill level, self estimates of skill, and library anxiety. Library & Information Science Research, 29, 332-353.

3) What do you enjoy most about presenting to a crowd with such broad interests (practitioners, researchers, students, librarians, archivists, info tech, etc)? I have been to all (but one) of the LRS conferences and have found uniformly that the discussions are particularly deep and involving as attendees at this conference are truly interested in library research.  I know there is going to be a lot of food for thought and useful perspectives shared.

4) How did you get interested or develop this research topic/project or panel topic? Our research has been trying to deeply understand the perspective students hold concerning what information literacy is and what skill set is needed to be information literate. We are also deeply interested in the problem of self-assessment. Phenomenography offers a way to focus on experience rather than particular research participants or specific phenomenon.  It provided an excellent fit between research question and method.

5) Where or to whom do you see your research/panel being most useful, implementable, or interesting? We think that people who like research methods will be interested in our talk as well as people interested in information literacy and the problems associated with promoting it.  Attendees who are interested in young people and information may also be interested in what we have learned.

6) If you have collaborated on your research or project, how has that collaboration assisted and possibly changed the development of your work? It is always good to have another perspective when you are asking new questions. One of the problems in self- assessment is how can you know what you don’t know you don’t know.  Working with another person can offer some help with that problem!

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Presenting Heather Willever-Farr

Heather Willever-Farr is presenting her paper, “Information Sharing in On-line Genealogy Forums” in session 6A. You can view the abstract of her presentation here.

1) What do you hope people gain from your presentation and/or panel? I hope they gain an understanding of the importance of information sharing among archives/special collections users, and the need for memory institutions to facilitate this information sharing via their websites.

2) Are there one or two articles or websites you think attendees would benefit from reading before attending your session? Ancestry.com

3) What do you enjoy most about presenting to a crowd with such broad interests (practitioners, researchers, students, librarians, archivists, info tech, etc)? The opportunity to hear feedback from a diverse group with potentially different viewpoints.

4) How did you get interested or develop this research topic/project or panel topic? My experiences as a reference archivist and the lack of quantitative data about archival patrons led me to explore the information seeking and sharing behaviors of genealogists — one of the largest archives patron groups. Additionally, the ubiquitous interest in Web 2.0 tools within the archival community also piqued my interest in researching how users are employing such tools to seek and share information with other users.

5) Where or to whom do you see your research/panel being most useful, implementable, or interesting? Anyone interested in information sharing among users of historical resources in a Web 2.0 environment.

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Radford, Lingel and Radford – Presenters Extraordinaires

Marie L. Radford, Jessica Lingel, and Gary P. Radford will present their paper, “Alternative libraries as heterotopias: Challenging conventional constructs,” in session 7A. You can view their abstract here.

1) What do you hope people gain from your presentation and/or panel? Our paper examines a number of alternative libraries, or libraries that actively play with traditional notions of librarianship to provide new and experimental services and/or collections. At the root of this paper are questions about what it is that libraries do for their users and assumptions about the roles and uses of libraries within communities. We hope that this project encourages people to rethink some of these assumptions in ways that are useful for thinking about librarianship as a discipline and as a field.

2) Are there one or two articles or websites you think attendees would benefit from reading before attending your session? Our paper uses Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopias to talk about alternative libraries. His essay can be found here. We also discuss a number of alternative libraries, including: the Reanimation Library, the Public Library of American Public Library Deaccesion, the Prelinger Library, Library Thing and the Cabinet National Library.

3) What do you enjoy most about presenting to a crowd with such broad interests (practitioners, researchers, students, librarians, archivists, info tech, etc)? One valuable benefit of presenting to a diverse crowd is getting diverse feedback – with such broad interests represented, it’s possible to have more vibrant and creative discussions about ideas that emerge from papers, panels and conversations.

4) How did you get interested or develop this research topic/project or
panel topic?
This paper actually emerged from a footnote! Jessica included a brief footnote in a paper for a PhD seminar with Marie that referenced some alternative libraries in the context of Foucault. After a number of discussions and e-mails traded back and forth between Marie, Jessica, and Gary, an idea emerged that involved an exploration of alternative libraries that engages library and information science literature, critical theory and social construction of librarianship. Although we each have different areas of academic interests, alternative libraries have been an intriguing way of bringing these interests together. So far, two different papers on alternative libraries have been derived from this footnote -the LRS-V paper, and another for the National Communication Association (NCA). The NCA paper will be presented at the national convention this November in San Francisco and has won the Philosophy of Communication Division’s top paper award.

5) Where or to whom do you see your research/panel being most useful, implementable, or interesting? Although this is a fairly theoretical piece, we see a number of tangible applications in both academic and professional arenas. Conversations are constantly taking place on listservs, in professional meetings and at conferences about the relevance of libraries, often in the context of the usefulness of physical libraries in an increasingly digital world. We see this paper as contributing to those conversations by talking about alternative libraries as examples of changing or evolving definitions of librarianship, touching on important tensions about libraries as institutions and librarianship as a profession.

6) If you have collaborated on your research or project, how has that collaboration assisted and possibly changed the development of your work? This project has been a very collaborative one, with three co-authors. In addition to sharing the writing process, this paper has also been a collaboration of knowledge about libraries and critical theory. Pooling disparate ideas and reframing them in terms of alternative libraries has helped us develop the notion of alternative libraries as places that help us rethink traditional constructions of librarianship.

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A Word from Lynn Westbrook

Lynn Westbrook’s paper, “Research with Vulnerable Populations: Ethical Concerns in Information Studies,” will be presented in session 5D. You can view the abstract of her paper here.
1) What do you hope people gain from your presentation and/or panel? The practicalities of understanding how LIS social power translates into research ethics. Gaining a deeper appreciation of the LIS roles in the small worlds of vulnerable populations will open doors on new research.
2) Are there one or two articles or websites you think attendees would benefit from reading before attending your session? Yes — take a look at [Paul Ramcharan, Ethical challenges and complexities of including vulnerable people in research: Some pre-theoretical considerations, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, September 2006; 31(3): 183–185] and [Lisa S Whiting, Peter S Vickers, Conducting qualitative research with palliative care patients: applying Hammick’s research ethics wheel, International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2010,Vol 16, No 2] and [Bishop, L. (2009). Ethical Sharing and Reuse of Qualitative Data. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 44(3), 255-272.]
3) What do you enjoy most about presenting to a crowd with such broad interests (practitioners, researchers, students, librarians, archivists, info tech, etc)? Developing an intellectually diverse framework for examining the assumptions and expectations of Information Studies in all its incarnations
4) How did you get interested or develop this research topic/project or panel topic? I run up what was, for me, a serious ethical quandary.  A few days later I was a guest speaker in one of our core courses in which the discussions included challenging questions on the ethics of my research with a vulnerable population.  Those two events rubbed together, generating the sparks that led to this talk.
5) Where or to whom do you see your research/panel being most useful, implementable, or interesting? Anyone who works with, addresses the information concerns of, or does research with any at-risk population should find this talk of practical value.  It’s not that I have flat solutions to propose although our discussions may generate some.  It’s that ours is a field rooted in ethics — we understand the power of information in a way that no other profession does.  Raising this questions will, I hope, help us act on our ethical beliefs with more confidence.
6) If you have collaborated on your research or project, how has that collaboration assisted and possibly changed the development of your work? I’ve collaborated with domestic violence survivors, the police who serve them, the shelter staff who care for them, and the state agencies that provide infrastructure for them.  I’ve looked at physical documents, web sites, and shelters.  I’ve observed survivors’ online discussions.  And I’ve looked into how librarians answer questions for their families.  Every single collaboration has given me greater respect for the complexities inherent in this social problem.  I firmly believe that our field has something substantial to offer vulnerable populations — that’s what keeps me going.
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Larry Nash White says…

Larry Nash White, Assistant Professor, Department of Library Science, East Carolina University, is presenting his paper, “Library Administrators’ Uses and Perceptions of Performance Measurement Information in the Strategic Development of Services and Competitive Responses” in session 7b. You can view his abstract here.

1) What do you hope people gain from your presentation and/or panel?

What I hope the audience gains from my presentation is an introduction or examination of library and information service administrators’ uses and perceptions of performance measurement information as it applies to the collection, use, and application of performance measurement information in developing services and strategic responses. I think especially in these times where being competitive and generating as much value / impact as possible is strategically essential to so many library service organizations, understanding how administrators can use and value performance data to its greatest benefit in the strategic decision making process is critical.

2) What do you enjoy most about presenting to a crowd with such broad interests (practitioners, researchers, students, librarians, archivists, info tech, etc)?

What I enjoy most about interacting with an audience of diverse interests is the exchange of ideas and opinions and the convergence of perspectives that can come about when everyone is actively sharing in the learning process. The audience exchange (hopefully with a bit humor or story) helps ensure that whether the audience is motivated to agree or disagree with the research / results being presented, they see new directions or applications for the research / topic that they did not before; that they are more aware of the research / topic; and may possibly confirm / reconfirm their convictions or perceptions after the conference. This confirmation of convictions helps ensure that the topic resonates on their professional radar; these convergences and confirmations are not always as effective in result without the multiple perspectives of interest in the audience.

3) Where or to whom do you see your research/panel being most useful, implementable, or interesting?

I believe the research will be most interesting to library and information service organization administrators, those teaching the management of library and information service organizations, or those who are interested in how the resulting data or findings of organizational performance assessment is utilized (or not) by administrators to improve service quality and value. The research helps illustrate where we are on this issue; where future research could be directed; how collaborators may come together; or where possible educational opportunities may exist. Each of these possible outcomes would be potentially useful for the intended audience.

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Connaway and Dickey on Convenience as a Critical Factor

Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Timothy J. Dickey are presenting their paper, “I Don’t Have to Know, I Go to One Spot:” Convenience as a Critical Factor in Recent User Studies of Information Behavior, in session 6A. Read about this research!

Librarians, in this day of information overload, have an instinctive and anecdotal understanding of how important convenience can be to users’ information seeking – convenience of access, convenience of saving time, and convenience of delivering information resources to the user in many different formats. As we reviewed the state of the information-seeking literature through a synthesis of twelve current major user studies conducted in the US and the UK, it became evident that there is empirical data to support the importance of convenience. We used the content analysis methodology to provide an analysis of the findings from these diverse studies in one report. In a way, this work was a group effort, as the conclusions were reached independently by a large number of different researchers.

This presentation should be of interest to anyone concerned with how people get information in the current environment: public service librarians and those who educate them, designers of systems, and information scientists. Engaging with an audience of diverse backgrounds and interests presents an opportunity for us to spark a conversation on an issue of common and widespread interest in our networked world. Those wishing a broader context for the work to be discussed in this session can peruse the complete report here.

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What’s On Tap With Melanie, Kyna and Patricia?

Melanie Griffin, Kyna Herzinger, and Patricia Sasser are presenting their paper in session 2A. Read below to find out more about it!

“Of Bits, Bytes, and Books: Use and Meaning in Digital Humanities and the
Emerging Library” began life as friendly and impassioned debates at the
Hunter Gatherer, a favorite hangout among graduate students at the
University of South Carolina. The three of us were finishing up our MLIS
degrees after completing graduate degrees in the humanities: one of us is a
musicologist, one a literary critic of the Victorian era, the other an
historian. All of us were (and are) interested in the relationship between
our previous scholarly lives and librarianship, especially the ways in which
synergistic relationships might exist between the academe, the humanities,
and and libraries in the age of digital humanities. At the same time,
however, we were skeptical of the digital surrogate’s ability to carry out
all of the functions of a printed book, piece of music, or archival record.
This panel represents our continued investigations and debates on the
subject.

We¹d like to think that attendees will take away from our panel a nuanced
and optimistic perspective on the developing relationship between the
humanities and the library. In our Cassandra-like climate, it is only too
easy to develop cynicism about both the future of the humanities and
libraries, particularly as we see budgets and job markets shrinking. We
think of our panel as an apologetic for the importance of what libraries and
archives are doing now and a challenge for what we can push ourselves to do
in the future.

Attendees might read William Pannapacker¹s famous (infamous?) article from
the Chronicle of Higher Education
(http://chronicle.com/article/Graduate-School-in-the/44846) before His take
on graduate education in humanities stirred up quite a bit of furor on the
internet. Whatever side of the debate you find yourself leaning towards, I
think it is important for professionals of all kinds to grasp the anxieties
that surround higher education in the United States. Taking these concerns
seriously doesn¹t mean submitting to their inevitability ­ we three have a
lot of faith in the enduring power of libraries and archives ­ but the more
we understand, the more effectively we can lead.

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