Friday, April 24, 2015

The BeerBrarian's Guide to Computers in Libraries 2015

Since I live in DC, I thought an insider's perspective might be useful for the upcoming Computers in Libraries 2015 conference, which meets at the Hilton just north of Dupont Circle from Monday, April 27th, to Wednesday, April 29th.

I won't be presenting this year, but I'll probably be around the expo hall, doing the lobbycon and firecon thing Monday and/or Tuesday. Come say hi.

A brief word about the guide:
With a few exceptions, anything posted below have been vetted by me. These are places I frequent, or at least have been in. Not mentioned is that west of the conference there are many embassies, which would be a nice walk during breaks, or after the sessions have ended for the day.

The Washington Post's Going Out Guide is a bit unwieldy and probably needs to be updated or taken offline, but remains useful.

I write for DCBeer.com on the side. Here's their guide to beer in the area, which also needs some updates.

Though it's a bit of a hike for lunch, 14th St NW has blown up in terms of dining and bars; there's something for everyone at multiple price points that would be worth the walk for dinner.

If you're familiar with Dupont Circle and think I missed anything, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Faculty Perceptions of a Library: Paneling for Assessment

I presented "Faculty Perceptions of a Library: Paneling for Assessment" at the Association for College and Research Libraries 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon on Friday. What follows is my presentation of that paper. Should you like to read the real thing, it's available here, and feedback is most welcome.
Abstract: This paper introduces librarians and library staff to “paneling,” a technique employed here to analyze the discourse around and within how faculty perceive an academic library at a small university. The concept of panels comes to librarianship from anthropology, and shows great promise as not only an assessment tool, but also one that informs library practices and behaviors. 
How the assessment sausage gets made. 
In both the paper and presentation I discuss the who, what, how, and why of panels. Paneling is a methodological tool, and when assessing one should use multiple tools. 

This was for one person who I knew would attend. They know who they are. 
Panels are interpretive. What I mean by this is that we, as people, create meaning when we observe, participate, and interact with each other. Panels are explicitly subjective; that is, my interpretation and understanding may differ from another person's. 


Paneling involves editing and coding the testimony of what anthropologists call informants into narratives, which gives a great deal of power, of editorial discretion, to a researcher. 


What I was looking for here are faculty narratives about the library. How do they perceive it, understand it, and tell each other stories about it. So in the spring of 2014, the then Associate Provost and now Provost and I convened a series of faculty focus groups to assess and understand how they view the library. With a major accreditation regime acting as a proverbial sword of Damocles, or a "buy-in," if you prefer, we were able to interview all of our seventy-plus full time faculty in seven semi-structured focus groups. We organized these groups by major, program, and school wherever possible, asking faculty what they thought of library services, collections, staff, website, and more. 

There were challenges to working with faculty in what are often their "natural" groups. Focus groups comprised of colleagues, some junior, some senior, are subject to the same kind of group dynamics that may occur in faculty offices, lounges, and hallways. It's a weakness of panels, one that I was very aware of. Some faculty may have felt silenced, for example, and while editing and coding faculty responses, dissent isn't included if it doesn't fit into dominant narratives. 

Nonetheless, there were very clear faculty narratives present, across majors, programs, and schools. I hand-edited and -coded these, which were then reviewed by the Provost for some measure of interoperator reliability. We were able to organize these narratives into five panels, stories about the library.
  1. Physical library space
  2. Library website
  3. Library instruction
  4. Print and online collections
  5. Customer Service
Note that it is impossible to get a clean separation with regards to these panels. It is difficult, if not impossible, for example, to talk about online collections without talking about the library website. 

With regards to the library's physical space, the dominant narrative among faculty, across majors, programs, and schools, was that the library have more flexible learning spaces. We've been able to carve out some spaces for mixed use, but they also come with mixed results. For example, multiple faculty referred to one of the library's newer mixed-uses spaces as "scary." 

Creating these kinds of spaces can be difficult, and will involve weeding, deaccession of older materials, and stack shifting. When I mentioned this to faculty, the response was positive; being in focus groups, having a conversation with them, allowed me to make that process more transparent, which will hopefully minimize problems down the road. 


At the time of the focus groups, we were transitioning to a new library website build around a discovery service, details here, and those faculty more familiar with the changes liked it. But other faculty members were frustrated with the site, and mentioned going to other institutions' websites to conduct research, or even calling for research on social media, such as "icanhazpdf."


The overwhelming narrative regarding library instruction was "more." More one-shots; more for-credit courses, as one of our schools has; and more learning objects both on the library website and on our learning management system. 


Two narratives emerged from the Print and online collections panel. First, that our collections are out of date. Second, that the policies and procedures by which we develop and grow collections are unclear. Here, as in other panels, faculty are giving us clear feedback. If we act on it, and we are, we as library staff will be better able to earn their trust. 


With regards to customer service, one faculty member referred to our reference librarian, at the reference desk, as "the nice lady at the reception desk." Overall, faculty asked for more events at the library, and some even volunteered their services, talking about their research, or current events, which I take as a sign that faculty are reaching out to the library staff, interested in partnering with us. 


What we as library staff want to do is to act on these faculty narratives, approach them from multiple angles. Faculty are telling stories about the library, narratives. As library staff, we don't have to be passive here. By listening to faculty and acting on their perceptions, we can participate in those narratives and reshape them. 

There are, of course, alternatives to panels. We could have used surveys, as many librarians are wont to do. However, surveys never would have told us about how scary one of our rooms is, for example, and with these focus groups we were able to have all full-time faculty participate. Surveys have more of an issue with representation, because not everyone, or even most faculty, would fill them out, and the questions one asks in a survey often affect the outcome, how people answer. 

On the other hand, individual interviews would be too time-consuming, as would be the case with an ethnographic study of how faculty use the library. 

Again, we were able to leverage accreditation to get full faculty participation in focus groups, but it's just one piece of the puzzle, because yes, you should use these other methods as well. Lots of kinds of meat go into a hot dog, and assessment should be multi-method as well. 


In addition, in a time when higher education seems obsessed with numbers, with statistical data, we shouldn't lose sight of other methods, there's more out there, and if we ignore it, we ignore both interesting and useful questions and answers.
Higher education is quantitative in part because of a policy orientation where evaluation is seen as equivalent to counting and measuring. - Donna Lanclos
Panels helped us uncover stories about the library, and stories have power. We're able to act on those stories, those narratives, and that too is power. And that's why I used panels here.

We might use them again, for adjunct faculty, for university staff who don't use the library for whatever reason or reasons, and maybe for students as well. They're a tool in a toolkit for assessment, and as you can tell, I think this method is more organic, and useful, than most.

I'd like to find out more about what many different groups think of our library, and I think that interpretive methods have a role in getting us there. Thank you.

----------------------
I had about 13 minutes to discuss what turned out to be more of a 15-minute presentation, so I had to gloss over issues of epistemology in discussing interpretivism, and some of the nuts and bolts of editing and coding faculty testimony, but again, the paper goes into these in a bit more depth, and I welcome your thoughts, comments, and questions.

Elsewhere on the site:
Explore the presentations and conferences tags.


Presentation image credits:
Hot dog Venn diagram via Woot Shirt, 3/19/15, http://derbyimages.woot.com/73175/7a1aad0d-9545-4a52-84a6-8aeff6266cdf.jpg
Dancing squirrel via Imgur, 3/19/15, http://i.imgur.com/op3mwqQ.gif
Snow, “Informer,” via EastWest Records, 1993, 3/19/15, giffed by Back2th90s, http://www.back2the90s.com/upload/9/6/5/back2the90s/informer-snow.large.gif
Prime Directive slide from @anthrotweets
Sword, maybe of Damocles, via MS Clip Art
Frye Meme, Futurama, Fox Network, 1999, 3/19/15, https://imgflip.com/readImage?iid=176908
Parker Posey, “Party Girl,” via Sony Pictures 1995, giffed by cryinanddrivin http://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lx8xazJ6J61qzq62xo1_400.gif
Loading Page gif via http://www.dotnetfox.com/Terms-and-Conditions.aspx
Puppy! via Imgur, http://i.imgur.com/Zhr7yNY.gif
Counting money, via Yahoo! Money, 3/19/15, http://l.yimg.com/os/publish-images/news/2013-10-16/3d716da5-9448-4fef-b15e-5e5bc58fb975_counting-money.gif


Monday, March 23, 2015

The #acrl2015 post

The 2015 Association of College and Research Libraries conference is in Portland, Oregon this week. Here's where I'll be.

Wednesday, March 25th:
Critlib Unconference. Critical theories and librarianship at Portland State University.
Battledecks. Even The Wall Street Journal is on it.

Thursday, March 26th:
There's so much going on with regards to conference sessions that I'm still narrowing down where I'll be when on this day and the next.
Everylibrary is hosting a reception at Deschutes' brewpub in the Pearl District in the evening. One of my favorite library organizations and favorite breweries, together. For those who don't imbibe, the ginger ale at Deschutes is fantastic.

Friday, March 27th:
Presenting a paper, Faculty Perceptions of a Library: Paneling for Assessment," from 11:20-11:40am in room D135-136. Here's the abstract:
This paper introduces librarians and library staff to “paneling,” a technique employed here to analyze the discourse around and within how faculty perceive an academic library at a small university. The concept of panels comes to librarianship from anthropology, and shows great promise as not only an assessment tool, but also one that informs library practices and behaviors.
Watch this space for more on the topic.

The conference reception is Friday night. It involves desserts and drinking in museums, two things I am fond of.

Saturday, March 28th:
The Portland Farmhouse and Wild Ale Festival. The timing on this was excellent, and a bunch of librarians are going to this after Lawrence Lessig's keynote. Have a gander at the beer list so far.

Speaking of beer, here's what's on my radar in Portland: Upright Engleberg Pils, Breakside IPA, Pints Schwartzbier, and Upright Fantasia and Lodgson Peche n Brett, if I can find those last two.
I'm staying within walking distance of Cascade, Hair of the Dog, and Commons, among others, and I hope to visit Gigantic as well. In sum, for both libraries and beer, I'm like a kid in a candy store here.

Cheers!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Technical Services Brain Drain? Musings From an Outlier

A few recent conversations in libraryland, mostly sparked by troublesome catalogers, have me thinking about the relationship between technical services, the so-called "back of the house" tasks in librarianship, and recognition and leadership.

Let's go ahead and thank Becky Yoose for this.
When I began working here, I had the heady title of "ILL, Cataloging, Acquisitions Specialist." It rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? In due time, that became "Technical Services Librarian," and now I think I'm one of the few with a technical service background who has made the move into library administration. And I wonder why that is.

And yet there is some dissent here. This is just my impression, but others have pointed out a number of people with this background in positions of leadership, so maybe this is just my perception, or an inferiority complex.

I haven't cataloged an item this semester. Not copy cataloging via OCLC's Connexion. Not original cataloging, using Omeka, or creating a MARC record. Instead, I've taught twelve library instruction session one-shots this semester. And I spent a lot of time writing about information literacy last year, normally a "front of the house" concern. And I wonder if my transition from technical services to administration is related to moving towards more "visible" library tasks, like teaching.

Next week I'm heading to the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, and I don't see a lot of back of the house representation in the conference program. And I don't see that representation in Library Journal's "Movers and Shakers," though some of the more technology-savvy folks could be considered technical services. An aside: I read each and every winner, congrats to all of them, to see if I can "borrow" any of their good ideas for this library.

Is there something to being back there, cataloging and acquiring, alone, or at least the perception, the stereotype of it? Are catalogers worse at communicating their value, and values, than other library staff? As Erin Leach puts it:
As much as we want people to understand our point of view, we have to start talking about how our work impacts the experience of library users in a jargon-free way. We all say that cataloging is a public service, but do we explain how the metadata that has been created and remediated in the appropriate ways has a direct effect on whether or not a user finds what they're looking for? Do we explain how fields in the records we create effect facted searching and how incorrectly coded records show up under the wrong facet? [Read the whole thing, I'll wait.]
Does these factors keep capable people from leadership roles, and if so, what do we lose? What does technical services bring to the leadership table? To start:

  • A focus on details.
  • I suspect the divide between the front of the house and the back of the house is felt more in the back, so library staff who work in the back are more likely to understand the negative effects of silos. 
  • An understanding of the role of metadata in discovery and in the user experience, per this marvelous collection of tweets

I don't have any answers to these questions, but I'm thinking about them. Please think with me.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Scholarship as Conversation: The Response to the Framework for Information Literacy

This piece is cross-posted at ACRLog.

The Association of College and Research Library's (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education (pdf) has gone through three drafts, and was sent to the ACRL Board of Directors for approval earlier this month.

It was possible to do an excellent job of teaching information literacy (IL) under the old Standards, and that remains the case. It was also possible to do a lousy job. Nothing has changed. The same is true of the Framework; some campuses will thrive under it, while others will not. In all these instances, neither the Standards nor the Framework was or is sufficient or necessary to successfully teach information literacy.

And yet the discourse around the third and final draft should make many academic librarians pause. Conversations in blog posts, listservs, and social media reveal straw men, ad hominem attacks, and a lack of understanding of educational psychology and pedagogy, among other issues. Observing these discussions, we should reflect on how we interact with each other to create knowledge regimes and epistemic communities (1). Here I will focus on blog posts.

I.

In the last few months, we've seen an Open Letter from some New Jersey academic librarians, since signed by others, ask the ACRL to not sunset the Standards, as well as a fierce rebuttal from two academic librarians in New York City, among other works.

The former accuses the ACRL Framework Task Force of being "tone deaf to the politics of Higher Ed." It also lacks any evidence of information literacy "success," however defined.
  • What did information literacy look like in New Jersey academic libraries prior to implementing the Standards, and how have the Standards helped? 
  • Who did these Standards work for? Librarians? Professors? Administrators? How, and why, or why not? 
  • What would change in New Jersey under the Framework? 
The answers to these questions go unmentioned.

In addition, the Open Letter mentions the political stakes for a shift from Standards to a Framework, but fails to show what those stakes are. I would very much like to hear more about this. (For what it's worth, at my place of work I will spend my meager political capital elsewhere, as the administration prefers the American Association of Universities and Colleges IL rubric, and I believe there are many roads to information literate Damascus.)

Maybe the Framework is "tone deaf to the politics of higher education." But maybe the politics of higher education are tone deaf to what educators, librarians included, are trying to accomplish in classrooms and on campuses. No doubt that politics is powerful, more powerful than academic library and information science (LIS) professionals, but given what I see of said politics, I'd much rather be against it than with it, and some push back is healthy.

Meanwhile, Ian Beilin and Nancy Foasberg mount a powerful defense of the Framework in a rebuttal to the Open Letter:
The Standards understand information as a commodity external to the student; something that can be obtained and subsequently “used.[i]” When we look at information in this way, we are thinking of information literate students as consumers who must choose among many options, like shoppers selecting goods from among those placed before them in the market. The Framework instead aims at a more social understanding of information and information literacy. Most notably, it uses the explicit metaphor of a conversation, but it is also interested in the ways that authority is constructed and the ways that information artifacts are produced. Research is thus framed as an interaction among people rather than a choice among artifacts.
Yet their article maligns standards everywhere with the specter of Common Core, a case of guilt by association (though to be fair, the Open Letter mentions Common Core first). To Beilin and Foasberg, the move to return to the standards is "a conservative, backward-looking disposition," never mind that one reason Common Core is so reviled in some circles is how radical it is.

Writ large, their defenses of localized learning and the role of theory in library and information science inadvertently expose Threshold Concepts (TCs), mentioned only once in their article, for what they are: a loose collection of pedagogically unsound and empirically untested practices. To wit:
  • If localization is a worthy goal of the Framework why do Threshold Concepts come from a Delphi study as opposed to individual institutions? 
  • To what extent are these Threshold Concepts like, and unlike, Standards?
  • Theories gain acceptance when tested. What are the tests for Threshold Concepts? Where are they? (2)
It is interesting that an article so focused on theory should ignore the theoretical issues that make up the bedrock of the Framework.

II.
Responses garnered from the most recent feedback form (pdf) that accompanied the third draft in November showed that, of the 206 surveys received,
• 91% were satisfied with the opportunities to provide feedback to the Task Force on drafts of the Framework
• 67.4% support the new Framework
• 63% were satisfied with the proposed definition of information literacy
• A majority of respondents were satisfied with the new frames (satisfaction ranged from 71% for Information Creation as a Process to 83% for Scholarship as Conversation).
I do not know if 206 responses is a good number or not, but one jarring realization to emerge from this process is that while many academic librarians are faculty and/or instructors on their campuses, we lack a grounding in educational psychology and pedagogy. (3) How else would we have come to either embrace or tolerate Threshold Concepts?
“What do you wish your students were able to do?” “What kind of work do you think they could create?” “What do they come to this school being able to do?” “What does a graduate of X college look like?”
Those are questions one library director asks faculty at her place of work. (4) They are good questions, but neither Standards nor a Framework makes those questions possible. If the current discussion has enabled or validated one to ask them at a place of work, that is excellent, but as I see it, those questions were always there for the asking. There is nothing in LIS education that prevents this discursive formation under the Standards, or before their adoption in 1999.

III.

The upcoming ACRL meeting at the American Library Association Midwinter meeting in Chicago will have a spirited discussion on the Framework, featuring the Board of Directors and a question and answer session. Because scholarship is indeed a conversation, at least part of the time, it is my hope that the discussions provoked by the above links, including those in the footnotes, shed some light on how librarians and information professionals interact to create knowledge and knowledge practices in the profession. I think we can do better. I will not be able to attend Midwinter, and I hope it's free of some of the discourse we've seen leading up to this point.

Meanwhile, absent a set of Standards, or a Framework, strong work in information literacy will continue to take place.


Notes:

(1) "Knowledge regimes are sets of actors, organizations, and institutions that produce and disseminate policy ideas that affect how policy-making and production regimes are organized and operate in the first place." John L. Campbell and Ove K. Pederson, "Knowledge Regimes and Comparative Political Economy," 2007 (pdf).
On epistemic communities, see Wikipedia.

(2) The Women and Gender Studies Section of ACRL will be the first to test this Framework.
Again, I point to Darrell Patrick Rowbottom's "Demystifying Threshold Concepts," Journal of Philosophy of Education (2007), in which he argues that one can test for abilities, but not concepts; that it is empirically difficult, if not impossible to show multiple conceptual routes to the same ability; and that thresholds differ from person to person, among others.
See also, Lane Wilkensen's "The Problem With Threshold Concepts," Sense and Reference, (2014), and Patrick K. Morgan's "Pausing at the Threshold," portal: Libraries and the Academy (2015).
A similar critique can be applied to Task Force committee member Troy Swanson's defense of the Framework; instead of shoehorning Standards into lesson plans and learning outcomes, we can now do the same with Threshold Concepts.

(3) Again, see Dani Brecher and Kevin Michael Klipfel's "Education Training for Instruction Librarians: A Shared Perspective," (2014) and Kimberly Davies-Hoffman, et al.'s "Keeping Pace with Information Literacy Instruction in the Real World," (2013), both in Communications in Information Literacy.
For a good example of how educational psychology can effect academic librarianship, see Jessica Olin's "Not Mutants nor Ninjas nor Turtles, but Teenagers," Letters to a Young Librarian, (2015).

(4) This footnote is not present in the ACRLog version. The library director in question feels misrepresented by my use of the questions she asks, and has commented as such on the ACRLog version of this post. Please note that she asks these questions having thought that the ACRL Standards did not serve her teaching or her community, and that she thinks the Framework is a better vehicle for teaching information literacy. Read her post.


My previous writing on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education:

The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts
Ethics, Copyright, and Information Literacy, Letters to a Young Librarian
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Some Initial Thoughts
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Beer and Music, Music and Beer: 2015 Edition

I wasn't enamored with new releases in 2014. I can't remember a year I thought was weaker, though maybe 2009 comes close, so let’s focus on what’s really good about 2014:


  • ageless wonder Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds wonderful version of “Mermaids” live in Prospect Park, 
  • the live return of Slowdive
  • the album returns of Godflesh and The Vaselines, 
  • the weirdness of Dean Blunt, Caribou, and Aphex Twin (I’ll have whatever they are having), 
  • The Wu-Tang Clan rapping (well) together again, 
  • Michael Gira and Swans continuing “comeback,” 
  • Ghostface and AZ on multiple tracks together, 
  • the concept and execution of Kreezus, Killed by Deathrock, Vol. 1 (aka, the best reissue of 2014), and 
  • Run the Jewels being an actual rap group.
My top albums, in order:

1) Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow: There are moments of pure, liquid joy on this album, and in 2014, that’s enough.

2) Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else: An alt-country album with a song called “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud” is something I am interested in.

3) Makthaverskan - II: Maja Milner has some Debbie Harry in her voice, and none of the icy composure, in this loose, cathartic album.

4) TV on the radio - Seeds: They’re back, albeit slightly poppier, and with stronger vocals.

5) Los Campesinos! - A Los Campesinos! Christmas: You know the drill; whenever they release an album, it gets slotted about here. Even if the album is a seven-song EP.

6) The Men - Tomorrow’s Hits: Rock. Action. Not a wasted note on this album.

Tier Two, in alphabetical order:

Alcest - : French metal band goes shoegaze, with sexy results.

Alvvays - s/t: Jangle so hard there’s a love song to Archie Moore on this album.

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Beck - Morning Phase: A worthy sequel to Sea Change.

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else: Seething post-grunge.

The Coathangers - Suck My Shirt: A sleazy mix of garage punk, early ‘80s Sunset Strip rock, and jangle.

D’Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah: The “Chinese Democracy” of R n B is exists, with an album of jazzy, slinky, brittle funk that sounds both loose and composed. So maybe more like the My Bloody Valentine of R n B, then.

Eagulls - s/t: Just as much emphasis on the “punk” as on the “post.”

Eternal Summers - The Drop Beneath

Fear of Men - Loom: There’s a Stereolab-fronted-by-Nico vibe here that’s quite nice.

Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World: I saw a publication refer to this music as “shitgaze,” which made me want to cry. But I guess that’s shorter than calling it shoegaze/post-hardcore/post-rock.

The Horrors - Luminous: Now they’re making songs that would play during the edgiest scenes in John Hughes movies. Yes, that’s a compliment.

Mogwai - Rave Tapes: They continue to mellow, but are no less fine, like a barrel-aged stout.

Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: Alt-country gives way to psych-folk freakouts on what’s maybe the 2014 album with the most staying power.

Trust - Joyland: I got a lot of recommendations for EDM in 2014, and the most Teutonic of them was the best, dark and brooding.

The Vaselines - V for Vaselines: No signs of rust here. Weird, weird power pop, same as it ever was.



Songs:

Lydia Loveless - Wine Lips
Freddie Gibbs and madlib - Shitsville
War on Drugs - In Reverse
The Horrors - I See You
The Fresh and Onlys - Animal of One
Lust for Youth - New Boys
Parquet Courts - Pretty Machines
Sturgill Simspon - The Promise
Total Control - Flesh War
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Food for Clouds
Mogwai - Remurdered
Against Me! - True Trans Soul Rebel



Beer (either new to the DC market in 2014, or new to the brewery, in no particular order):

via Untappd
Jester King Viking Metal - They're calling this a Gotlandsdricka, which is then aged in gin barrels. Smokey, spicy, gin-y.

Hill Farmstead-Cambridge-Kissemeyer Arctic Saison - Lemony deliciousness.

3 Stars-Millstone Brandy Lyn - a 60/40 blend of beer and cider that's perfectly balanced and blended. Light malts, nelson sauvin hops, apples, and brett all shine.

Great Raft Reasonably Corrupt - Schwartzbier is a hard style to get right, and I'm not being a homer when I say this is great.

Off Color Troublesome - Kinda Gose-y.

Oakshire Hermanne - Vinous, bright, and sour.

Anderson Valley Gose - Either the regular or blood orange version. I'm not picky.

Deschutes Black Butte 26 - An imperial porter with the kitchen sink in it, including pomegranate molasses and cranberries. I love that I can walk into a grocery store and buy this.

Adroit Theory Brandy barrel-aged B/A/Y/S - It seems like it's not a year-end beer list unless these guys have a barrel-aged stout on it.

Virtue Ciders Sidra de Nava - I can't wait for these guys to distribute in DC.

Lost Rhino Bacterium Blondus - Their first attempt at a sour was so good they didn't even have to blend it, they just bottled a barrel.

Albermarle Ciderworks Gold Rush - My favorite all-purpose apple now has a cider.

Additional shouts to the entire state of Virginia, which is killing it. Devils Backbone, 3 Brothers, Strageways, Hardywood Park, cideries... to DC Brau's Alpha Domina Mellis, which is Hopslam for people who know better.

I've done this before, and I'll do it again:

2014 Edition
2013 Edition
2012 Edition
2011 Edition

Friday, December 12, 2014

The (Third) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts and Survey Feedback

Feedback on the Association of College and Research Libraries' third draft of the Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education is due today. It will most likely be the last round of feedback the ARCL solicits before various committees and the ACRL board vote on the document. You can view the third draft here. Your thoughts are welcomed, via a survey, before 5pm US Central time. Mine are below.

First, let's compare two definitions of "information literacy," one from the third draft, the other from the second. 

or


In terms of style, I am partial towards the latter, from the second draft. I prefer a paragraph to bullets and I don't care for bolding some of the text. What I do like about this new definition is the final bullet point. 

The next set of survey questions concerns the frames, and they have come a long way. A positive way. I have been critical in particular of the Information Has Value frame. I like it much more now, and the Dispositions in particular are robust. All the same, dissent is important, and I advise members of the Information Literacy Taskforce, ACRL committees, and board to read and reflect on what Lane Wilkinson has written about the frames.

The main issue I have with these updated frames is now Searching is Strategic, an aspirational statement for anyone who's spent time at a reference desk. Searching can and should be strategic, but elsewhere the framework notes that the research process is messy, and even the dispositions for this frame note the role that serendipity plays in searching. Instead, I would like the committee to rephrase this as "Searching is Exploration," as was the case in previous drafts.

In terms of responsiveness to previous feedback, both Threshold Concepts and metaliteracy are fait accompli here; neither was ever seriously up for debate, and a scholarly cottage industry is already being built around these terms, the former of which is largely unproven and takes advantage of a lack of educational pedagogy (pdf) in Library and Information Science education, the latter of which adds jargon to an already crowded language.

I hope members of the Information Literacy Taskforce, ACRL committees, and board read and reflect on Patrick Morgan's critique of TCs. Replacing standards with a framework should not be an abdication of expertise and authority on the part of the ACRL, and that organization should attempt to combat this perception.

A few stray thoughts:

I.
The Framework opens the way for librarians, faculty, and other institutional partners to redesign instruction sessions, assignments, courses, and even curricula; to connect information with student success initiatives; to collaborate on pedagogical research and involve students themselves in that research; and to create wider conversations about student learning, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the assessment of learning on local campuses and beyond. (1)
This opening, via assessments, trial and error, or other methods, could have, would have, should have been done already by institutions with robust IL programs.

II.

The real promise of this framework remains its ability to spark conversations between librarians, faculty, and administrators, roles, and most importantly, people, who are all too often disconnected on campuses, be they physical or virtual. The success, or failure, of the framework depends in large part on our ability, as librarians, to take this document to our communities and spark those conversations.

III.

At my place of work, the administration seems committed to using the Information Literacy Rubric from the American Association of Universities and Colleges.

IV.

Please see also, my previous writing on the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education.
The (Second) Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: My Thoughts
Ethics, Copyright, and Information Literacy, Letters to a Young Librarian
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Some Initial Thoughts
The Draft Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Survey Feedback