C&RL Spotlight

Scott Walter


“We need platforms for big ideas!” That was only one of the calls to action made by panelists at the C&RL-sponsored forum on the future of research in academic librarianship at the ACRL 2015 conference in March. Close to 150 participants joined me, Jim Neal (Columbia University), Megan Oakleaf (Syracuse University), John Budd (University of Missouri), and Denise Koufogiannakis (University of Alberta) to consider ACRL’s role as an engine for academic library research over the past 75 years, as well as the ways in which the association can continue to play a leading role for the next generation of librarian-researchers.

Among the questions presented to the panelists and the participants were the following:

  1. How can ACRL promote/support continuing education opportunities related to research designed and delivered either by other professional associations or by individual libraries or library consortia?
  2. How can ACRL better coordinate and leverage the research projects and publications produced within the association to leverage association-based expertise to the maximum (journals, monographs, white papers, research agendas, etc.)?
  3. How can ACRL more effectively collaborate with LIS programs to present continuing professional education opportunities related to research that complement/extend opportunities for preservice professional education provided in LIS programs?
  4. How can ACRL collaborate with others in the academic library research sector (e.g., OCLC, Ithaka S&R, CNI, JISC) to promote strategic research initiatives that promote innovative academic library practice?

Session comments were shared over Twitter using the #acrlresearchfutures hashtag, and the session was recorded and is available through the Virtual Conference (http://conference.acrl.org/virtual-conference-pages-161.php). For those wishing to continue this conversation, plans are currently in the works for a C&RL Online Forum to be held before the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Additional information on C&RL fora, along with links to past recordings, is available at http://crl.acrl.org/site/misc/fora.xhtmlp.

New articles appearing in the May issue include:

  • Cristóbal Urbano, Yin Zhang, Kay Downey, and Thomas Klingler. “Library Catalog Log Analysis in E-Book Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA): A Case Study.” Abstract: Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA) is a new model used for e-book acquisition by academic libraries. A key component of this model is to make records of e-books available in a library catalog and let actual patron usage decide whether an item is purchased. However, there has been a lack of research examining the role of the library catalog as a tool for e-book discovery and use in PDA. This paper presents a case study of using PDA for e-book acquisition in an academic library, with a focus on the role of the library catalog in this purchasing model.
  • Alan Rubel and Mei Zhang. “Four Facets of Privacy and Intellectual Freedom in Licensing Contracts for Electronic Journals.” Abstract: This is a study of the treatment of library patron privacy in licenses for electronic journals in academic libraries. We begin by distinguishing four facets of privacy and intellectual freedom based on the LIS and philosophical literature. Next, we perform a content analysis of 42 license agreements for electronic journals, focusing on terms for enforcing authorized use and collection and sharing of user data. We compare our findings to model licenses, to recommendations proposed in a recent treatise on licenses, and to our account of the four facets of intellectual freedom. We find important conflicts with each.
  • Amanda Rinehart, Jennifer Sharkey, and Chad Kahl. “Learning Style Dimensions and Professional Characteristics of Academic Librarians.” Do librarians with different characteristics, such as type of work responsibilities or age, have different learning styles? The authors analyzed results from more than 1,500 responses to a version of the Index of Learning Styles (ILS) questionnaire based on the Felder-Silverman Learning Styles model. This model consists of eight dimensions paired on four scales: active/reflective, sensing/intuitive, visual/verbal, and sequential/global. In addition to their scores on the ILS questionnaire, respondents were also asked about demographic and professional characteristics. Statistically significant differences in learning style scores were found to exist between librarians with different types of position responsibilities. In particular, for three out of four scales, catalogers have statistically different learning styles than other librarian groups.
  • Julie Gilbert and Barbara Fister. “The Perceived Impact of E-books on Student Reading Practices: A Local Study.” This study investigates the perceived impact of future e-book collections on student research and recreational reading habits at our institution through three questions: How do students currently use library print collections? How do students use e-books? and How do these factors impact student perception of the effects of future library e-books on their research and recreational reading behavior? Students express a fairly high interest in e-books, although not without raising significant concerns. While students appreciate the ease of access provided by e-books, many imagine that research would be more difficult using e-books. Results will help the library better evaluate e-book options and navigate possible issues related to implementation.
  • Mark Robertson. “Perceptions of Canadian Provosts on the Institutional Role of Academic Libraries.” This study examines perceptions of provosts from Canadian research-intensive universities regarding their institution’s academic libraries. Interviews conducted with nine provosts explored how they perceive academic libraries in terms of alignment with institutional mission, how they envision the future of their libraries, and what they interpret as indicators of success. The results suggest that provosts perceive libraries making significant contributions to research and student learning, particularly through the provision of access to information and the evolving role of library as place, respectively. Other areas of library expertise, such as scholarly communication, appear somewhat less familiar to provosts, suggesting the need for library leaders to promote new roles within the institutional context.
  • Ronald C. Jantz. “The Determinants of Organizational Innovation: An Interpretation and Implications for Research Libraries.” The research reported here is focused on a specific type of change in an organization: an innovation. In an empirical analysis of research libraries, it was found that five factors had a significant impact on the innovation performance of the library. These factors relate to the strategy, organizational structure, and leadership of the research library. The study sample consisted of 50 libraries that were members of the Association of Research Libraries. This paper will discuss the theoretical model, explain the effects of these five variables, highlight certain additional correlations that are meaningful, and discuss implications for research libraries.
  • Katy Kavanagh Webb and Jeanne Hoover. “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in the Academic Library: A Methodology for Mapping Multiple Means of Representation in Library Tutorials.” Librarians designed a biology tutorial not only to address an assignment, but also to make tutorials more accessible to students with various learning styles. The science librarian created the content by using aspects of the Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology/Engineering, an informal survey of biology faculty, and assignments for the biology labs. The instructional design librarian created multiple modules that engaged users through text, images, audio, and interactive tutorials. The researchers used Universal Design for Learning principles to address multiple learning styles, specifically multiple means of representation, and created a mapping technique for those principles that can be applied to any library tutorial.

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