C & RL Spotlight

Scott Walter


One of the great advantages of C&RL’s transition to an open-access, fully-digital publication can be found in the opportunities this transition provides for deeper discussion of themes found across the research publications in our field. Recently, for example, ACRL published Studying Students: A Second Look (2013), the follow-up to the studies of undergraduate students’ research habits and library use at the University of Rochester that served as the inspiration for the current generation of ethnographic research in academic libraries. Studies applying those same research methods to other student populations have appeared in C&RL, of course, including Pickard and Logan’s “The Research Process and the Library: First-Generation College Seniors vs. Freshmen” (July 2013), but this is only one facet of the broader connections between research on college students and research published in C&RL.

Peer learning and leadership programs, for example, have been an important component in student affairs research for many years. In their overview of the peer educator movement, Students Helping Students: A Guide for Peer Educators on College Campuses (2000), Ender and Newton describe how students serving as “peer health educators, peer counselors, peer advisers, resident assistants, peer tutors, supplemental instruction leaders, orientation leaders, and group facilitators. …[make] a positive and lasting difference for students with whom they have contact” (p. ix). Libraries were not included in Ender and Newton’s list of possible sites for peer education (despite the success of such programs going back at least to the 1980s with the University of Michigan’s Peer Information Counselors), but the increasingly important relationships between academic libraries and student services programs as a site for learning outside the classroom provide new opportunities to consider library-based peer educator programs within a broader campus context.

In this month’s issue of C&RL, Brett B. Bodemer demonstrates one way in which the academic library may begin to weave itself into the campus network of peer educators around its core competencies of research assistance and information literacy instruction. Bodemer’s study, completed while C&RL was still bound to its print model, was not able to take advantage of the opportunity to amplify the importance of its results through linkages with online resources for peer educators, audio files providing snippets of interviews with library-based peer educators, or excerpts from a campus-wide panel on the value of peer educators [such as the annual “Peer Tutor and Mentor Summit” at DePaul University (https://depaul.digication.com/2013_peer_tutor_and_mentor_summit/Home)], but linkages such as these are all now possible as the journal continues its transition to a wholly digital publication platform. Consider how that new platform might be used as you explore the issues highlighted in the studies to be published in this month’s issue of the journal.

  • Jane Johnson Otto. “University Faculty Describe Their Use of Moving Images in Teaching and Learning and Their Perceptions of the Library’s Role in That Use.” Abstract: This study, which engaged teaching faculty in a dialogue with library faculty, revealed a gap between faculty’s film and video information retrieval needs and provision of access by the library. Ultimately, the findings of this study can inform and transform library practices to make more moving images available for use in coursework and research.
  • Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Andrew Tsou, Sara Naslund, Alexandra Hauser, Melissa Brandon, Danielle Winter, Cody Behles, S. Craig Finlay. “Beyond Gatekeepers of Knowledge: Scholarly Communication Practices of Academic Librarians and Archivists at ARL Institutions.” Abstract: Librarians and archivists are intimately involved in scholarly communication systems, both as information providers and instructors. However, very little is known regarding their activities as scholars. This study seeks to examine the scholarly communication practices of librarians and archivists, the role that tenure plays in scholarly communication practices, and the degree to which institutional support is provided in librarians’ efforts to consume and disseminate research and reports of best practices.
  • Brett B. Bodemer. “They CAN and They SHOULD: Undergraduates Providing Peer Reference and Instruction.” Abstract: Peer learning dynamics have proven powerful in collegiate contexts. Drawing on the literature of peer learning, documented examples of peer reference and instruction in academic libraries, and preliminary evidence from current practice at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, this article provides support from the pedagogical standpoint that undergraduates not only can provide peer reference and instruction, but should.
  • Edith A. Scarletto. “Mapping the Literature of GIS.” Abstract: This study analyzed citations in four journals, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Cartography and Geographic Information Science, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, and Cartographic Journal, using Bradford’s Law of Scattering to identify three influence zones indicating core and peripheral titles in the study areas of GIS. The results can assist librarians and collection managers to support research in their institutions where GIS is both used and studied.
  • Noa Aharony. “Mobile Libraries: Librarians’ and Students’ Perspectives.” Abstract: This study which is based on the Technological Acceptance Model (TAM), seeks to explore whether librarians and LIS students are familiar with the newest technological innovations and whether they are ready to accept them. On the whole, the current study supported the two core variables of the TAM (perceived ease of use and usefulness), as well as personal innovativeness that may predict librarians’ and students’ behavioral intention to use mobile services in the library.
  • Carmelita Pickett, Simona Tabacaru, Jeanne Harrell. “E-Approval Plans in Research Libraries.” Abstract: Research libraries have long invested in approval plan services, which offer an economical way to acquire scholarly and scientific publications. Traditional approval plans have evolved and now enable libraries to expand their e-book offerings to better serve researchers. In 2010, Texas A&M University Libraries implemented an e-preferred approval plan. This article will discuss the evaluation process for research libraries migrating to an e-preferred approval plan.
  • Nancy E. Adams. “A Comparison of Evidence-Based Practice and the ACRL Information Literacy Standards: Implications for Information Literacy Practice.” Abstract: Evidence-based practice (EBP), like information literacy, is concerned with an individual’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes relating to using information. EBP is now a professional competency in fields as diverse as social work, nursing and allied health fields, and public policy. A comparison of ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education with the commonly accepted EBP model shows congruence, but the two models diverge in their use of authority of the producer as a marker of information quality and in their relative emphasis on formulation of the research question and application of information.

The essays included in this month’s issue of C&RL reflect the broad nature of the research that has been published in the journal for the past 75 years. Later this month, ACRL will invite you to consider some of the most important studies published over the life of the journal as we begin planning for a special 75th anniversary issue of C&RL to be published in March 2015 (in time for discussion at ACRL 2015 in Portland).

Please keep an eye on this space next month, as well as on the C&RL Facebook page and other ACRL social media outlets, for more information on your chance to help to choose seven “landmark articles” to be republished and discussed as part of the 75th anniversary of ACRL and C&RL.

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