Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts

Cooperation or Duplication

Here’s an interesting project from a few libraries out west that have decided to cooperatively build a library of video instructional tutorials. So far the tutorials cover the usual things, such as popular vs. scholarly journals, why you need to cite sources, and how to develop search terms. The Cooperative Library Instruction Project makes sense because why should every library be creating its own tutorials. Why not just have one generic tutorial, not specific to any library, that can be locally customized for use by many; wasn’t that the point of TILT. That saves time and faculty could also be directed to the site for incorporating the instruction into their courses. But isn’t the idea of sharing academic library tutorials the whole point of ACRL’s PRIMO repository of instructional materials? And why create new tutorials when there may be perfectly good ones out there? For example, I think this tutorial on scholarly versus popular is quite satisfactory. Why wouldn’t the cooperative include this rather than create a new one? Isn’t that the point of cooperation – not to reinvent the wheel? All that said, take a look at the Cooperative’s tutorials. You might prefer them to others you’ve tried.

Overheard on the Quiet Car

I recently took the Acela to Boston, and was able to get on the quiet car for the 5-hour ride back to Philadelphia. I couldn’t help but notice the conductor’s announcement: “This is the quiet car. There is no cell phone use allowed. All conversation must be kept at a whisper. In the quiet car we like to keep a library-like atmosphere.” I can’t say for sure but I’m guessing it’s been a while since that conductor visited a library.

Does This Mean They Liked Me?

It used to be that when you made a presentation at a library conference or symposium you’d get a few polite “nice job” comments after the talk, and if an attendee really enjoyed it he or she might send you a note afterwards – just as a token of appreciation for a job well done or to follow up with a question or two. Times have changed. After a recent presentation, when I next logged into my gmail account I saw I had eight new followers on my Twitter account. Now, I don’t know for sure if they all attended my program, but at least one or two of the names looked familiar and it seemed more than just a coincidence. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just not sure quite what it means. I’m guessing this is the contemporary way of signaling that someone’s presentation resonated with you. It’s kind of interesting in a way. In the old days we just exchanged notes and had it done with. There’s something more permanent about following someone. Sure, you can always stop following, but how often does that happen. It’s a commitment. It’s flattering (I think), but on the other hand I feel like I”m going to disappoint these folks because my tweets are far from stimulating and are rather few and far between. Perhaps I need to pick it up and deliver more. Ah, the pressures of modern life.

News for ALA Swag Whores

Heard something interesting on the radio today. The simple pen is no longer the number one swag item being given away by corporate exhibitors. It looks like 2009 was the year of hand sanitizer. That’s right. Exhibitors have replaced their cheesy pens with little hand sanitizer bottles emblazoned with their corporate logos. So if your main reason for going to ALA is to stock up on all the pens you’ll need to keep your family and friends well equipped with writing instruments for the year, you may be disappointed in 2010. Then again you could become everyone’s go-to-guy/gal for hand sanitizer. I will be looking closely for those truly savvy vendors who put two and two together and think creatively when coming up with swag that will keep those librarians coming back for more.

4 thoughts on “Sudden Thoughts And Second Thoughts”

  1. Huh. CLIP. PRIMO. What about ANTS/LIONtv ( Lots of collaboratives, little collaboration.

    Personally, I’m not too worried about it – I’ve always been a fan of DIY screencasting – it gives online tutorials a personalized feel (we’re YOUR librarians). While the topics are generic enough to be shared, there’s got to be some benefit to hearing your own librarian (or at least your own institution’s librarians) chattering at you, right?

  2. Why did many libraries create their own online tutorials? Because librarians know what their users need. Creating generic tutorials is a great idea. However, one size fits all sometimes is not comfortable.

  3. I thought I’d heard of Primo before, so I followed your link. I’m sure the individual tutorials are good, but Primo itself leaves much to be desired. It says that instructional materials are peer-reviewed by a committee, but doesn’t name the committee or link to a committee site. There is no information on the site about selection criteria, or ways to submit a new tutorial for consideration. There are either no tutorials from 2009, or the poorly-controlled date field isn’t helping me out. Like many such projects in libraryland, it is a good idea, indifferently executed.

  4. I am coordinating CLIP, and thought I’d throw in my 2-cents.

    First, CLIP is in its initial stages (we’ve only been producing since this summer). We plan to continue producing/adapting more IL materials including tutorials and assessments, so if you are interested, please check back on our website ( or subscribe to our listserv ( If you have ideas or suggestions for materials, please feel free to comment on our site, or contact me directly:

    As for the debate raised, there are certainly other tutorial/IL material repositories out there, and there is no reason why CLIP tutorials cannot be included in them (PRIMO, ANTS- someone has to create tutorials to be included in these repositories). Are there other tutorials out there? Of course- but like any project, CLIP is trying to consider what has been produced and improve upon materials and delivery methods that may need an update. CLIP is another resource that librarians and instructors have access to- it need not be THE ONLY resource.

    A few things that we hope will set CLIP apart:

    -Tutorials are short and modular; easy to include on a course page or course management system. You can choose which tutorials are applicable and when. You can group tutorials as you like, associate them with specific assignments, etc. We also provide thumbnail images for presentation purposes.

    -You may easily link to our hosted tutorials, or download them and host them yourself.

    -Tutorials are not university specific, but source files can be downloaded and manipulated- so you can add university specific information.

    -We are providing a wide variety of source files including text-based scripts (accessibility), mp3 files of narrations, images and more, so that if you would like to adapt or reformat our tutorials or even use some of our content to create your own tutorials- you have resources.

    -We plan to create a relatively complete set of tutorials that address ACRL’s basic competency standards.

    -Our tutorials are up to date, and will continue to be updated.

    Are sharable tutorials even useful? We all know that providing specific and targeted information instruction is more relevant for students, and associating IL with assignments is especially productive. While some information instruction needs to be institution specific, I believe that there are information skills that all students should have (isn’t that why ACRL compiled standards?).

    CLIP is striving to produce tutorials that address those common skills in as flexible way as possible, so that they can be implemented as librarians and instructors think they will be the most beneficial. If some of you prefer to produce your own tutorials- great! Take a look at our tutorials, download our source files- use what you find helpful- or not. Use some of our tutorials, and produce some of your own institution-specific tutorials. Have ideas about materials that would be helpful to you? Let us know! We are working to make CLIP a relevant, helpful and up-to-date resource that instructors and librarians may choose to use.

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