Thursday, February 11, 2016

ALAMW16 : The Exhibitors and a Final Wrap-Up

Sari Signorelli at the SU booth
Due to my schedule, this post has been weeks in the making. Hopefully it is ready for primetime.

The American Library Association Midwinter Conference was held in Boston on Jan. 8-12. The conference attracted 6,941 attendees and 3,879 exhibitors for a total of 10,820. Among the booths was one from Syracuse University and I worked the booth on Saturday and Sunday. Working an exhibit booth provides a very different point of view of a conference, especially when thinking about who comes into the Exhibit Hall.

Exhibitors comprise one of the economic engines behind most conferences.  Exhibitors come with the aim of talking with conference participants about their products and services.  At ALA, there are many publishers in the Exhibit Hall, who attract attention because they are giving away books and having author signings.  The rest of the exhibitors hope that people will seek them out or perhaps find them because they are wandering the Exhibit Hall. Since many of the people who attend Midwinter are leaders (and thus people who have influence), it is hoped that they will come to the Exhibit Hall and be willing to truly engage with the products and services.  However, at Midwinter, the Exhibit Hall had some quiet periods and it was clear that not all 10,000 people came into it. I suspect that the leaders were tied up by meetings, while others may have not heard the sirens song. Still I did talk to some librarians from New Hampshire, who had specifically come to the Exhibit Hall on a day-trip.  Were exhibitors saddened by the foot traffic? Yes, some were. Hopefully, ALA - and other conferences - can find ways of getting people into the hall, so that exhibitors stay engaged.

ALAMW16While I'm thinking about the conference, kudos to ALA for its work to provide an inclusive atmosphere.  ALA has a code of conduct, which was highly visible. They had a New Mother's Room and gender neutral restrooms.  Signage said that every room has seating reserved for those who use mobility devices (like a wheelchair).  Buses were available to take people between ALA venues, which was greatly appreciated.  With over 10,000 people in attendance, some events were not in the convention center and many people were in hotels that were not within walking distance of the convention center (or each other).

Because of the size of the conference, there are meetings that are co-located with it.  Several MSLIS programs met with the ALA Committee on Accreditation as part of their accreditation review.  I'm pleased that the MSLIS program at Syracuse University was reaccredited for seven years (the maximum length of time).  Our next self-study will occur in 2022!  I led our effort and so this is a huge weight off my shoulders.

Finally, because of the size of the conference, it is a time to get together with colleagues whom you might see infrequently.  Why attend a conference?  One of the answers truly is "to maintain my professional network."  Thanks to Brent Mai, Paul Signorelli and others for the conversations and the assurance that I would not lose weight while in Boston!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Article: How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain

Mickey Mouse star in Walk of Fame.jpgZachary Crockett has written an excellent article entitled "How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain" which contains good data and visualizations to help tell the story of Mickey Mouse and the changes to U.S. Copyright Law. I'll give you this tidbit as encouragement to read the entire article. It is a quote from Paul J. Heald, a professor in the University of Illinois School of Law:
Copyright correlates significantly with the disappearance of works rather than with their availability.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

ALAMW16: Connecting Faculty Through Digital Humanities

Kathy Rosa, ALA Research and Statistics
  • What are the humanities?  No one definition.
  • What is digital humanities? One web site serves up a variety of definitions. Digitally created as well as those converted to digital format.
  • How does the NEH define it? You see some definitions in grant applications. 
  • Faculty want libraries to be part of digital humanities.  Libraries are a central place for research.  Libraries have or can develop the needed skills.
  • Faculty though do not see that libraries can totally meet their needs.  Faculty want help with project management, for example.
  • Librarians want to be partners of digital humanities projects.
  • For some libraries, involvement in digital humanities is on an ad hoc basis.
  • There overall assessment of current services is quite low.
  • How does this affect the students?  Yes, faculty do give assignments that rely on digital humanity resources.
  • The full survey results are online at
David Seaman, Syracuse University
  • While digital humanities is an imprecise term, that's note a bad thing.  
  • We've been doing it for a long time. It is a collaborative process.  It requires a bundle of skills.  It is a natural interest for academic research libraries.
  • For the humanities, the libraries is their laboratory.
  • We have a lot of skills in this area and the ability to acquire additional skills.
  • We are challenged in understanding how to keep older projects in a useful state, especially when the owners have left.
  • It is getting easier to raise resources for projects, including from alumni.
  • Seeing faculty and staff hires related to digital humanities.
  • There are space implications.
  • This is an area of research.  Can the library be a collaborator on a digital humanities research project?
  • How do we evaluate and value digital humanities work in tenure and promotion cases?
Thomas Padilla, @thomaspadilla, Michigan State University 
  • Terms of possibility
  • Reuse
  • Reproducibility
  • Transparency
  • Permanence
  • Attribution
  • Hack vs. yack
  • Two definitions of digital humanities:
  • Arguments made using digital methods, tools and sources
  • Arguments about digital methods, tools and sources
  • HathiTrust
  • DPLA 

Stephanie Orphan,  Portico
  • Portico is committed to the preservation of scholarly literature published in electronic form to ensure that these materials remain accessible to future generations of scholars, researchers, and students.
  • Why use a third party? Scale and complexity
  • They currently have three services; one that has Gale as a client/partner.
  • Leveraging preservation infrastructure and experience to benefit the community.
  • Potential assistance with text and data mining.

Jon Cawthorne, West Virginia University
  • Talked about the three-legged stool that will allow digital humanities to blossom in an academic library.

Friday, January 08, 2016

ALISE16 : How do we help students to understand the distinction between personal values & professional values?

Moderator: Seamus Ross
Panelists: David Lankes, Wendy Newman, and Twyla Gibson

The Ethics and Values of Our Profession

How do we know that our students have grasped the ethics and values that are important to us and our profession?

Gibson - How do people learn ethics?  She began by quoting Plato.
In the western tradition there are three frameworks for ethics: virtue ethics (and professional ethics), deontology, and consequentialism. Deontology is "ethics, especially that branch dealing with duty, moral obligation, and right action."  She believes that ethics can be learned and taught.  They can learned through examples and modeling.

Newman - Values are the connective tissue in our schools. How do students understand values and ethics? People tend to choose LIS because it aligns with their values.  What are the barriers to those students then acting ethically or exerting their values?  Students may have insecurity to their own leadership role and capacity.  They may then not see themselves to exert ethics and values. Students may use conflict avoidance.  

What should we do as instructors to help them understand the values and use them?  We can use assignments and group work to help students understand their values, be able to discuss them, and learn how to navigate conflict.  We can use guest speakers to help students see how values play out in the workplace.  Finally, for their entire lives, students are part of a profession that has values and which can mentor students with their values.

Lankes - Ethics are alive.  Our profession and our culture has changed.  Our communities have changed norms, which have then impacted our profession.  Our students are stewards of our principles and values.  They need to be ethicists and not just ethical.  They need to be able to talk about values like privacy and security, and other current issues.  We as faculty need to provide platforms for large scale social actions for our students, but doing it in a way that does not threaten the future of the students.  We need to provide an intellectually safe place for this exploration.

Our table question was: How do we help students to understand the distinction between personal values and professional values? 

Students need to be exposed to ethics across a number of courses and also learn how to apply it in their work.  Some students may be working in libraries already and can bring in their own practical experiences.  Students also need to learn how to create policies - ethical policies (moral principles and codes of conduct).

Summary from our table:
  • Ethics may depend on context and policy
  • Ethics needs to be integrated into all courses
  • We need to be reflective practitioners 
  • Students can learn from one another

Notes from some of the other tables:
  • Many of our students are conflict avoidance
  • Students need to assert self-authority
  • Teach them how not to treat ethics as a "cookbook"
  • There is some ambiguity in how we think about ethics
  • Teach through the use of video clips
  • The context of business and medical context around ethics
  • Use classic debate techniques, where students are assigned a side or point of view to defend
  • We assume that we do talk about ethics in our classes
  • Need to teach how to negotiate conflicting values

ALISE16 : Diversity and Motivation

Keren Dali and Nadia Caidi

Different kind of diversity: rumination so nice the (un)attractiveness of th LIS programs to culturally diverse students

Why do people who are culturally diverse come to LIS programs? They ha e four research questions.
They are not looking at the statistics but at the perception of the students themselves.
They looked at North America,including aboriginal people and immigrants.
They sent their survey to the 57 LIS programs (Sept. 2014) and received 118 usable responses.

Unexpected finding - "The most striking experience for us was the intensity and the volume of the emotional response generated by the factual, neutrally worded and deliberately balanced questions of the survey,  when it came to addressing diveristym participants' descriptions and perceptions were alarmingly and overwhelmingly negative."

What does diversity mean to you?  People felt outnumbered and a sense of isolation.  Questions of whether LIS is a diversity friendly profession.  There is a lack of more global content and approaches in the material.

What is the role of th diversity or lack thereof in students liking or disliking of the LIS program? Diversity was not mentioned as part of the liking.  It was mentioned though when people were asked what they did not liked.  But it was not a major factor in how people think about their programs.

What are some support mechanisms available to culturally and linguistically diverse students?  55% answer none,not sure, unaware or don't need any.  Noted a subjective meaning of "diversity."

Students talked about value-based diversity which includes life experiences and world views.
Connecting with others on a personal level and being able to dialogue made things better.

Where do we go from here?
Philosophical shift - values-based diversity; not only inclusiveness but also competitiveness and survival of the field.
Practical argument - outreach and promotion, recruitment and retention, open and multi-sided dialogue.

Getting personal in systemic changes.

Rajesh Singh
What motivates future information professionals? (It's probably not what you think)

Based on class discussions of a blended versions of a required management course.  98 students in total. Four cohorts.

Employee disengagement Is a problem.  Gallup poll ~70% are not motivates.

Motivations is the force that initiatives and guides behavior. There are many factors that impact employee motivation.  There have been many theories about it in the last 100+ years.

He collected information from their in-class discussion 

Discussion findings:
Engagement in the work - 34%
Culture of respect and rapport - 22%
Money - 11%
Autonomy - 12%
Recognition - 21%

We need to teach our students about intrinsic factors for motivation, so they know how to use them.

Wooseob Jeong and Laura Ridenour
Fostering diversity in LIS Education: FEAL project - an IMLS grant

FEAL - Fostering East Asian Librarianship. The grant was in 2013.
East Asian backgrounds who have East Asian language skills
Project supported 12 students who are paraprofesionals to pursue the MSLIS degree.  They received mentors.  Majority of students are under the supervision of Council of East Asian Libraries  members.

Only US residents or permanent residents were eligible.  They disseminated information through specialized email lists.

There group has done targeted travel, including the ALA conference and the CEAL annual meeting.

Students took a diversified curriculum.  Students found and advocated for taking a relevant class through University of Hawaii.

Student Feedback and overall been incredibly positive.  The classes are asynchronous online.

Difficulty meeting admission requirements
Difficult to maintain work and family balance
Moving mentors/supervisors