C&RL Spotlight

Scott Walter


March 2015 is a big month for College & Research Libraries as we release not only our regular issue, but also our first “special” issue (an option made possible by our move to digital-only publication last year). C&RL authors and editorial board members will also take the stage at the end of the month at the ACRL 2015 conference in Portland on a panel looking at the role of the association as an engine for research in academic librarianship.

One topic appearing regularly in ACRL publications and presentations in recent years (and sure to find a place at Portland) has been the evolution of the liaison role, e.g., the just-published Assessing Liaison Librarians: Documenting Impact for Positive Change. Cornell University’s Anne R. Kenney looks back at Kara Malenfant’s influential 2010 article “Leading Change in the System of Scholarly Communication: A Case Study of Engaging Liaison Librarians for Outreach to Faculty” for the 75th anniversary issue to explore how liaison librarians can play a role in reviving “human-to-human interactions” in an age of HCI, social media, and online learning.

“Can the library,” she asks, “become the center for engagement on campus, with liaisons providing critical human support and analysis that cuts across technology, disciplines, hierarchies, social norms, and institutional and cultural contexts?”

(Spoiler alert: the short answer is “Yes!”)

New articles appearing in the special issue include:

  • David A. Tyckoson, “Question-Negotiation and Information Seeking in Libraries: A Timeless Topic in a Timeless Article”
  • Gillian S. Gremmels, “Constance Mellon’s ‘Library Anxiety’: An Appreciation and a Critique”
  • Joan K. Lippincott, “Libraries and the Digital University”
  • James G. Neal, “Still ‘Choosing Our Futures’: How Many Apples in the Seed?”
  • Karen Nicholson, “The McDonaldization of Academic Libraries and the Values of Transformational Change”
  • Megan Oakleaf, “The Library’s Contribution to Student Learning: Inspirations and Aspirations”
  • Anne R. Kenney, “From Engaging Liaison Librarians to Engaging Communities”
  • Roger C. Schonfeld, “Scholarly Societies and Scholarly Communication: A Look Ahead”

And, while there is not a study of liaison librarians, per se, in the “regular” March issue of C&RL, several topics that have been central to the journal for decades may certainly be found. Distinctive collections are the subject of new studies by Suzanne M. Schadl and Marina Todeschini (University of New Mexico) and by Joe Lenkart, Thomas H. Teper, Mara Thacker, and Steven W. Witt (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Information literacy instruction and assessment are explored in a study by Wendy Holliday and associates, and the culture of assessment is the subject of study for Meredith Gorran Farkas, Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe, and Amy Harris Houk. C&RL readers will remember the Farkas, Hinchliffe, and Houk study as the subject of a C&RL Online Forum in April 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhwz-2RsHaQ).

New articles appearing in the regular March issue include:

  • Todd Shipman, Susan H. Bannon, and Kimberly Nunes-Bufford. “The Information-Seeking Habits of In-Service Educators.” Abstract: Research on information literacy and educators has focused on preservice educators and learning information literacy skills. Little research exists on in-service educators and their information literacy skills. Purposes of this study were to identify information sources that in-service educators used; to determine relationships between information sources used and in-service educators’ professional position, age groups, experience, and information format preference; and to determine relationships between in-service educators’ information-seeking habits and prior library instruction. Results of this study indicated statistically significant relationships between information-seeking habits and prior library instruction. Other statistically significant in relationships were indicated between information-seeking habits and the age groups and current professional positions of sample population.
  • Suzanne M. Schadl and Marina Todeschini. “Cite Globally, Analyze Locally: Citation Analysis from a Local Latin American Studies Perspective.” Abstract: This citation analysis examines the use of Spanish- and Portuguese-language books and articles in PhD dissertations on Latin America at the University of New Mexico between 2000 and 2009. Two sets of data are presented: The first identifies the use of Spanish- and Portuguese-language books and articles across 17 academic departments; and the second analyzes how well local holdings meet demands for a select geographical area—Mexico. These local data contradict conclusions in general citation studies of the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages. They prove that preconceived ideas about foreign language usage from general citation studies do not provide reliable templates for local acquisition decisions. Librarians need to look at their research communities and local usage habits instead of relying on general studies for answers.
  • Meredith Gorran Farkas, Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe, and Amy Harris Houk. “Bridges and Barriers: Factors Influencing a Culture of Assessment in Academic Libraries.” Abstract: In an environment in which libraries need to demonstrate value, illustrating how the library contributes to student learning is critical. Gathering and analyzing data to tell the library’s story, as well as identify areas for improvement require commitment, time, effort, and resources—all components of a culture of assessment. This paper presents the results of a survey designed to understand what factors facilitate the development of a culture of assessment of student learning in academic libraries and what factors may hinder it. Unlike previous research in this area, which has focused on case studies and surveys with nonrepresentative samples, the authors conducted a systematic survey of academic libraries at four-year institutions in the United States and achieved a 42 percent response rate. The results suggest certain factors are highly associated with a culture of assessment and provide guidance to administrators and frontline librarians working to build such a culture.
  • Wendy Holliday, Betty Dance, Erin Davis, Britt Fagerheim, Anne Hedrich, Kacy Lundstrom, and Pamela Martin. “An Information Literacy Snapshot: Authentic Assessment across the Curriculum.” Abstract: This paper outlines the process and results of an authentic assessment of student work using a revised version of the AAC&U’s Information Literacy VALUE rubric. This rigorous assessment, which included the scoring of nearly 900 student papers from four different stages across the undergraduate curriculum, revealed much about the process of authentic assessment of student learning, the struggles and competencies of our students, and a clear path forward for improving practice. It also gave us a broad view of student learning, allowing us to immerse ourselves in student work and providing a stronger narrative to share with stakeholders.
  • Frances C. Wilkinson. “Emotional Intelligence in Library Disaster Response Assistance Teams: Which Competencies Emerged?” Abstract: This qualitative study examines the relationship between emotional intelligence competencies and the personal attributes of library disaster response assistance team (DRAT) members. Using appreciative inquiry protocol to conduct interviews at two academic libraries, the study presents findings from emergent thematic coding of interview transcripts, documents, and artifacts, as well as through the application of predetermined concept choice mapping of the data. Study findings suggest a strong relationship between emotional intelligence competencies and attributes exhibited by DRAT members as they dealt with the disasters at their respective institutions and may inform library leaders who appoint and provide training for team members.
  • Edward A. Goedeken and Karen Lawson. “The Past, Present, and Future of Demand Driven Acquisitions in Academic Libraries.” Abstract: Demand-driven acquisitions (DDA) programs have become a well-established approach toward integrating user involvement in the process of building academic library collections. However, these programs are in a constant state of evolution. A recent iteration in this evolution of ebook availability is the advent of large ebook collections whose contents libraries can lease, but not own only if they choose to do so. This study includes an investigation of patron usage and librarian ebook selection by comparing call number data generated by usage of three entities: 1) an ebrary PDA; 2) Academic Complete, which is a leased collection of ebooks; and 3) subject librarian selections based on the YPB approval plan at Iowa State University. The context is provided through a description of the development and evolution of DDA programs with an analysis of where libraries have been and where they are going with enhancing the collection development in academic libraries.
  • Joe Lenkart, Thomas H. Teper, Mara Thacker, and Steven W. Witt. “Measuring and Sustaining the Impact of Less Commonly Taught Language Collections in a Research Library.” Abstract: To evaluate the current state of resource sharing and cooperative collection development, this paper examines the relationship between less commonly taught language collections (LCTL) and ILL services. The study examined multiple years of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s resource-sharing data. This paper provides a historical narrative for the multilingual collections, collection development strategies, reference services, and outreach initiatives that reinforce and strengthen scholarly communication and resource sharing among academic libraries. The paper concludes by examining the feasibility of aggregating, or concentrating, collections of difficult-to-acquire, low-use materials at institutions that can provide service at a regional and/or national level.

Portland (and beyond)

C&RL anniversary issue authors James G. Neal and Megan Oakleaf will join C&RL editorial board member John Budd, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice board member Denise Koufogiannakis, and myself for a wide-ranging discussion of the role of the ACRL in promoting research and practice in academic librarianship. “Putting the ‘Research’ in the Association of College & Research Libraries: 75 Years of College & Research Libraries and other ACRL Research Programs” is scheduled for Friday, March 27, 8:30–9:30 a.m., in the Oregon Convention Center, Room C123-124.

We will offer a new C&RL Online Forum in April, with the subject, date, and time still to be determined. Is there a C&RL study about which you would like to learn more? Contact Social Media Editor Sarah Steiner (E-mail: ) to suggest a topic for an upcoming forum. Watch for details about the next forum in this space and on C&RL social media platforms, including Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/collegeandresearchli-braries) and Twitter (@CRL_ACRL).

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