C&RL Spotlight

Scott Walter

Last month, many of us traveled to Illinois to attend “Library Research Seminar VI” (LRS-VI), a program cosponsored by the University Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as by ALA’s Library Research Round Table. Focusing on “the engaged librarian,” LRS-VI explored collaboration between librarians and faculty, practitioners and professors, and information professionals working in different environments, including academic, public, special, and school libraries. The “pipeline” was also a topic of concern for the organizers of LRS-VI, with the call for proposals including the question of how to “[recruit, train, and mentor] the next generation of librarians to be genuine research, teaching, and learning partners in their campus and communities.”1 How best to prepare librarians to design and communicate the results of their research projects is a perennial question for ACRL and College & Research Libraries, and one that we explore in this month’s issue of the journal.

In “Writing Abstracts for MLIS Research Proposals Using Worked Examples: An Innovative Approach to Teaching the Elements of Research Design,” Valdosta State University’s Anita L. Ondrusek, Harold E. Thiele, and Changwoo Yang explore the use of “worked examples” as a means of teaching research skills as a component of the professional education program leading to the master’s degree. “Worked examples” are a familiar component of education in fields such as physics, mathematics, and computer science, where specific solutions to individual problems, problem sets, etc., are taught, as are the methods by which they are most effectively reached. In earlier studies, Ondrusek explored the use of worked examples in information literacy instruction, and the current study applies the model to a specific component of the research skills course required of all students in the Valdosta State MLIS program. They suggest that worked examples might become a component not only of education leading to the first professional degree, but also of continuing professional education for librarians new to the requirements of conducting (and publishing the results of) original research as part of their professional responsibilities.

Other articles published in the November 2014 issue of College & Research Libraries include:

  • Marni R. Harrington and Elizabeth Marshall. “Analyses of Mentoring Expectations, Activities, and Support in Canadian Academic Libraries.” Abstract: Mentoring expectations, activities, and support in Canadian college and university libraries were investigated by surveying 332 recent MLIS graduates, practicing academic librarians, and library administrators. Findings indicate that the presence of a mentoring program will help attract new librarians, retain them, and aid in restructuring efforts that are currently facing many academic libraries. Preferred mentoring activities include those belonging to psychosocial support, career guidance, and role modeling themes. Other results find that librarians who were mentored as new librarians, have more than ten years of experience, and work in large academic institutions are significantly more likely to mentor others. Although currently not well-supported by academic administrators, this research shows that mentoring programs could be sustainable. Mentoring improves the professional experience for librarians who are more satisfied and engaged with their careers, which in turn benefits the organization with less turnover. Practical information from this research will guide academic library practitioners in current mentoring relationships, and library leaders can extrapolate results to support planning and implementation of mentoring programs. Implications for LIS education are also discussed.
  • Edward T. O’Neill and Julia A. Gammon. “Consortial Book Circulation Patterns: The OCLC-OhioLINK Study.” Abstract: The OhioLINK consortium and OCLC Research collected and analyzed circulation data for libraries within the consortium. The study, which examines the circulation of 28,475,701 items from more than 100 academic libraries, is the largest and most diverse compilation of academic usage data for books ever collected. The authors outline the study methodology, analyze the data, and offer insights into the consortium-wide collection usage. Circulation patterns analyzed include subject and language usage, as well as scattering, obsolescence, and duplication. The study results and conclusions offer valuable insights for library collection planning, including library purchasing, storage considerations, and future usage prediction.
  • Marisa L. Ramírez, Gail McMillan, Joan T. Dalton, Ann Hanlon, Heather S. Smith, and Chelsea Kern. “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Sciences?” Abstract: In academia, there is a growing acceptance of sharing the final electronic version of graduate work, such as a thesis or dissertation, in an online university repository. Though previous studies have shown that journal editors are willing to consider manuscripts derived from electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), faculty advisors and graduate students continue to raise concerns that online discoverability of ETDs negatively impact future opportunities to publish those findings. The current study investigated science journal policies on open access ETDs and found that more than half of the science journals responding (51.4%) reported that manuscripts derived from openly accessible ETDs are welcome for submission and an additional 29.1 percent would accept revised ETDs under certain conditions.
  • Anita L. Ondrusek, Harold E. Thiele, and Changwoo Yang. “Writing Abstracts for MLIS Research Proposals Using Worked Examples: An Innovative Approach to Teaching the Elements of Research Design.” Abstract: The authors examined abstracts written by graduate students for their research proposals as a requirement for a course in research methods in a distance learning MLIS program. The students learned under three instructional conditions that involved varying levels of access to worked examples created from abstracts representing research in the LIS field. A one-way analysis of variance detected significantly higher scores in areas related to fluency in describing the research design and the required elements of a research proposal in the groups with more exposure to worked examples, while the rhetorical skills necessary to compose a succinct abstract and to relate a proposal to implications in the field were not affected.
  • Cheryl A. Thompson, W. Davenport Robertson, and Jane Greenberg. “Where Have All the Scientific Data Gone? LIS Perspective on the Data-At-Risk Predicament.” Abstract: Scientists produce vast amounts of data that often are not preserved properly or do not have inventories, placing them at risk. As part of an effort to more fully understand the data-at-risk predicament, researchers who were engaged in the DARI project at University of North Carolina’s Metadata Research Center surveyed information custodians working in a range of settings. The survey collected information on the data characteristics and preservation plans. Forty-three information custodians completed the survey. The results indicate that at-risk data include a variety of formats, subject areas, and ownership status, as well as compliance with a variety of standards. Although a majority of respondents agree that data preservation is important, they caution that time is the greatest barrier to sharing these data. The study has implications for data rescue and for training information custodians.
  • Miriam L. Matteson. “The Whole Student: Cognition, Emotion, and Information Literacy.” Information literacy skill acquisition is a form of learning that is influenced by cognitive, emotional, and social processes. This research studied how two emotional constructs (emotional intelligence and dispositional affect) and two cognitive constructs (motivation and coping skills) interacted with students’ information literacy scores. Two studies were carried out with a group of undergraduate students. Correlation and regression analyses revealed that emotional intelligence and motivation significantly predicted students’ information literacy scores. Instruction librarians may consider incorporating greater awareness of the emotional and cognitive aspects of information literacy skill acquisition in their instructional content and delivery.
  • Noa Aharony. “Factors Affecting Adoption of Facebook: An Exploratory Study of the LIS Community Perspective.” This study seeks to investigate whether information professionals, as well as LIS students, are ready to assimilate Facebook in their work and educational environments. The study uses the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) as well as some characteristics of the “Big Five” model of personality as a theoretical base from which to predict factors that may influence the adoption of Facebook by information professionals as well as by LIS students. Findings reveal that the TAM, as well as other personal characteristics, significantly predict the likelihood of Facebook use and highlight the importance of individual characteristics when considering technology acceptance.

Also included in this month’s issue is an editorial coauthored by OCLC’s Lorcan Dempsey and myself. This editorial complements the discussion of “usable knowledge” found in last month’s “C&RL Spotlight,” and raises additional thoughts about the possible development of College & Research Libraries as a “platform publication” in our field—one in which the results of original research are reported, but also one in which a broader audience might find thoughtful and evidence-informed discussions of the role of libraries in higher education.

C&RL Online Forum, December 2, 2014

Please join C&RL Social Media Editor Sarah Steiner for the next C&RL Online Forum on December 2 from 2:00–3:00 p.m. (Eastern)/1:00–2:00 p.m. (Central)/12:00–1:00 p.m. (Mountain)/11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (Pacific).

The Fall Forum will focus on the forthcoming study, “Degrees of Impact: Analyzing the Effects of Progressive Librarian Course Collaborations on Student Performance.” Authors Char Booth, M. Sara Lowe, Natalie Tagge, and Sean M. Stone will join us for a discussion of their assessment of the impact of librarian involvement with instruction in the Pitzer College First-Year Seminar at The Claremont Colleges.

You can read the “Degrees of Impact” preprint at http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2014/07/22/crl14-621.full.pdf+html. More information on the upcoming program, including information on registration and participation, is available at http://crl.acrl.org/site/misc/fora.xhtml.

Planning for Portland

While we still do not know the exact day and time for the research forum at the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland, Oregon, we are excited to announce our panelists. Plan to join John Budd (University of Missouri), Denise Koufogiannakis (University of Alberta), James Neal (Columbia University), and Megan Oakleaf (Syracuse University) for a wide-ranging discussion of the role of ACRL in promoting research and practice in academic librarianship, trends in the literature that have proven to be of enduring concern to our field, and the complementary roles of LIS programs, professional associations, and libraries in providing continuing professional education for librarians as researchers. Neal and Oakleaf will also discuss the contributions to the 75th anniversary issue of College & Research Libraries, and panelists will engage those who attend in a discussion of the future of ACRL research efforts. Join us in Portland, and bring your questions!

1. Library Research Seminar VI: The Engaged Librarian: Libraries Partnering with Campus and Community,” www.library.illinois.edu/lrs6/, accessed October 6, 2014.
Copyright 2014© American Library Association

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