Tag Archives: academic libraries

May 19, 2010, 12:39 pm

Redesigning your website? Why not use LibGuides as your Content Management System?

Lately… I’ve been thinking about Steven Bell’s piece
regarding the demise of the academic library website… or rather, its evolution. I
can’t prove it, but I’m pretty certain he told me once that he envisioned
library websites becoming “just libguides.”

 

At first I was dismissive. I imagined a homepage with a long
list of subjects or courses that would filter the user into the appropriate guide.
But now I’m thinking maybe this is the right path for us to take. My staff (and probably yours
too) spends an enormous amount of time and energy working
on our web presence
. But what if we chucked it all and just used LibGuides?

 

0% chance of that actually happening and I’m not entirely serious
about it just yet. But ask me in two years and my perspective could be
different.

 

What’s interesting is the
artistry of our websites. While we all pretty much offer the same…

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May 16, 2010, 1:21 pm

200th post = 4 years

So here we go. 200th post. It’s taken me four
years to get here, but that’s not too bad. It averages out to about a post per
month. Ideally I aim for one every two weeks, give or take a week. By some
accounts that’s very slow. Will Manley
cracked 100 posts in less than 6 months. And Steven Bell probably has 2,000+
over at The KeptUp Librarian (circa
2003.) But hey—tons of library blogs have gone under, and happily I’m still
here.

 

I’m in the process of retagging everything. My taxonomy has
gotten way out of wack and so over the next several days I’m going to hack at
it. I’m also going to play around with some different themes and typepad tools.
I never really considered myself a blogger, just a guy who uses a blog to tell
a story… but now, after four years, I guess I should embrace the blogger
image.  What I’m saying is I’m
going to try and make the blog look and…

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May 10, 2010, 4:19 pm

Need Homework Help? Don’t ask us! A review of Course Hero’s reference service (Part 2 of 3)

I found Course Hero’s Homework Help to be very tempting. Here
is the screen you are greeted with when you first log-in:

  
CourseHero_welcome_screen
  

Inviting, huh? And pretty straightforward. Subject. Ability
to attach your assignment. Your Due Date & Time. Submit it and then you just chill and wait while the
experts work on your homework.

 

Here is how it works:

  
Course_hero_how_works 

And who are these experts? Tutors who are allegedly affiliated with top tier universities. Let's meet a few:

  
Coursehero_expert1
Course_hero_expert2
Course_hero_expert3 

Ok, great. Let’s give them a test. I started with a fairly common question that you might get at any ref desk or via email or chat or txt around the country:

"I need to find
three "peer-reviewed" articles for my english class. I have to write
about Hawthorne and the occult. I was looking on google but can't seem to get
the full articles, just some abstracts?”


 This is the response I received:

  
Course_hero_question1
  

"Us" huh? Got a team…

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April 28, 2010, 1:32 pm

Introducing the post-library commons world: wild speculation on the future of computing and what it means for the learning environment

I’ve been thinking a lot about computers in libraries
lately.  I’m talking about
hardware, not web 2,0 stuff. I’m really hopeful that my library is able to
upgrade its public computers and move to
thin clients this summer,
but enough systems talk. 


The topic of computer access comes up regularly in my
Next Steps
interviews. Directors in all types of libraries seem to be pondering the same
thing: reducing the number of desktops and move to something else. Interest in
mobile devices continues to rise and it is very possible that we’ll move to
purely wireless machines such as laptops and iPads.
Studies
show
that people don’t typically carry their laptops around with them, so
it seems logical that libraries will need to beef up the lending of these devices. This appears to be the natural progression ahead of us. It also allows
patrons more flexibility in terms of where they can work…

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April 21, 2010, 12:25 pm

Building A User-Generated e-Reserve System: a glance into the archives of CourseHero (part 1)

My
post “
File Sharers Swap Scholarly Materials
Too

has been the most read item on this blog. People seem to really like that theme
so I’ll explore it a bit more. Often when we talk about Open Access,
Institutional Repositories, the Publishing Crisis, or similar topics it tends
to be very esoteric. There is a lot of rhetoric, debate, and models that honestly
I think only accountants and lawyers can get excited about. I’m not so sure
that the average faculty member really cares about the economics of the
publishing industry or a court’s interpretation of fair use. We’ll save that
for another day.


What
I’m really interested in is how all this stuff applies to the world outside of
libraries. I found it fascinating that The
Pirate Bay
had some (expensive) academic materials and not just Jay-Z
tracks or episodes of LOST. So, what if there was a site designed to collect
academic…

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February 7, 2010, 9:54 pm

And Our Three Millionth Volume Is… An Open Access Title? [maybe]

We’ve been kicking around ideas for our symbolic three
millionth volume. Most libraries pick an old book with an ornate cover and
build a message about the concept of printed artifacts. At UCSB we might do
that too… or maybe not. One of the exciting ideas that came up during our
initial brainstorming was selecting an open access title or at least something
that is born digital. This really rocks the boat but I think that is a good
thing. This is a chance to really make a statement about the direction library
collections are heading. It also gives us a springboard to reach out to our faculty
about scholarly communications. I can imagine a nice promotional package built
around this theme.
 

Ah, but that to choose? That’s where we are now. I thought
I’d open it up to you too. What would you select for a ceremonial “millionth”
volume?  What are some
digital items that would really…

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January 22, 2010, 11:38 am

In the Scene: highlighting creativity on campus

How about a fun post for a rainy Friday…

At most universities the athletes get a lot of attention. So do the people who win scholarly awards and whatnot… but what about the creative types? I’m not talking about the guy who ends up on American Idol or the grad student who publishes a book. I’m talking about the person studying in your library right now. The girl who plays her guitar at the local coffee shop and has some tracks on iTunes. Or the guy who writes existential poetry and is directing a black and white film on the weekends. These are the people who fascinate me. These are the people who add character to the college experience… and these are the people that I want to help.

One of my guiding principles is that academic libraries should highlight the scholarly, cultural, creative, and service contributions of the community. Not only highlight, but strive to make them…

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January 5, 2010, 6:03 pm

Libraries As Places Where Talking is Necessary? A speculative glance at the future of voice-searching

Google-voice-iphone-app3
 

I’m been thinking about voice lately… as in no keyboard and just talking. There is a lot of wild speculation about the new Apple tablet and how it is going to change the world. [Full disclosure, I am now officially one of those annoying Mac evangelists.  Not sure how it happened—it just kind of snuck up on me.]

Back on point.

There is hype around the idea of using voice for searching, writing, reading, scrolling, navigation, everything, and so on. This seems to be a trend that will only continue to gain momentum as the technology improves and spreads. Let’s leave aside our personal feelings (personally, I hate using the voice feature on my iPhone) and explore this a bit.

What if keyboards are on the way out? Not entirely—I mean, there is something pleasurable about sending a text or an email while you are standing on a bus or are in a crowded room. (Or even in a committee me…

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January 3, 2010, 10:33 am

Thoughts Heading Into 2010

I wonder if 2010 is the year that many of us academic librarians will shut down our blogs? There were a bunch of us who launched three or four years ago and who posted regularly. It felt sort of like a Gen X movement. However I’ve noticed a steady overall decline in post quantity in 2009. Walt probably has an algorithm to measure that. I think the probable cause is that many of us were moving past the newbie stage of librarianship and were really starting to sink our teeth into the profession. Now we’re just too busy for constant online reflection. Additionally, Facebook and Twitter have evolved to replace the long form narrative (blog posts) in favor of quick bursts of ideas.  (Or something like that, right Stacy?) That’s my excuse for seemingly abandoning this blog.

But it’s a new year. I have a new attitude. And like lil wayne I’m planning a rebirth. I have a handful of…

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November 8, 2009, 7:47 pm

The Library & The CMS: a wish list

I’m really excited about the relationship that is forming between the Library and our Course Management System folks. UCSB is adopting Moodle and there is a lot of momentum gathering. The Library has been invited to be development partners but also to help with assessment as well.

Here are my quick and dirty notes of blue-sky thinking. Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments. I’m also curious to hear about tips and pitfalls of working with CMS teams.

Core theme: “the library in every course”—building on their theme of “a website for every class.” We want to integrate library resources and services into the infrastructure– make it as easy as possible for students and faculty to access the library via their course management system.

1. We’d like to have a default library “widget” or tab or space for every course. This will include basic stuff, such as…

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