ARL/ACRL Announce Scholarly Communications Institute

Building on the successful professional development model found in programs like the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute and the Institute for Information Literacy Immersion program, ACRL will be teaming up with ARL to provide an Institute on Scholarly Communication in July 2006. From the brochure:

“As a participant in this 2.5 day immersion program, you will become fluent with scholarly communication issues and trends so that you are positioned to educate others on your library staff, engage in campus communications programs and other advocacy efforts, and work collaboratively with other participants to begin developing an outreach plan for your campus.”

No information yet on program faculty, but applications aren’t due until April 1, 2006, so there’s time for much more content to be delivered. Mark your calendars!

Professional Education, Recruitment, and the Online Degree

Library Link of the Day brought me this interesting essay on online degree programs. In it, Karen Glover of Georgia Tech asks why a recent survey of HR professionals showed that they view online degrees as less “credible” than degrees earned through traditional, face-to-face programs. She wonders about this bias, and so would I (although Glover doesn’t say that the survey she cites was of HR professionals in libraries, which seems a significant point to omit). I’ve taught in 2 online MLS programs (Illinois and San Jose State) and have found the majority of my students to be as actively engaged in preparing for a career in libraries as anyone that I knew during my own F2F MLS program at Indiana. Although my perspective on their work is typically limited to what they do for my class, I certainly think that they have the opportunity to receive as good a pre-service professional education as I did (although, as anyone who has read my work knows, I’ve taken issue with a number of aspects of professional education for librarians, in general, and those issues are not any less evident in online degree programs).

Professional education and recruitment into the profession have been identified by ACRL as one of the top issues facing academic librarianship, and there is no question that the availability of online degree programs has opened up the field to people who cannot relocate to one of the cities housing a F2F program, and has opened up opportunities (albeit limited ones) for practicing librarians also not located near one of these programs to take part in LIS education. I know that I would not be at all “concerned” if a candidate for a position at Kansas had completed the ALA-accredited degree through an online program (and I might well be thinking about how that experience could translate into effective delivery of services to faculty and students making use of Blackboard here). Others? Is Glover’s citation of the general study not applicable to the academic library environment, or is this something that needs further research within our own community? Is there any difference between completing one’s pre-service professional education in an online environment vs. completing continuing education (much of which is sponsored by LIS programs and by ACRL) in that same environment?

My In-box Overfloweth

Amazing all the interesting stuff that can wash up in one’s in-box in a single day. The Chronicle reports that some of the first books scanned in the Google Library project are now online. Google’s blog shows some of the texts. I notice that some are missing the “find in a library” link to WorldCat that the library project is supposed to include (a link that is absent on the digital books supplied by publishers; the idea was to include it on the library-scanned books). Still no memo describing how Google plans to take over the world. We’ll just have to either take their word for it that they’re good guys – or use our imaginations. And wait to see what the courts decide.

If you want paranoia with that, here’s a scary item from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: your printer may be watching you. Remember how detectives used to match documents to the typewriter they were written on by noticing the top of the letter T was a little chipped? Well – that’s sort of the idea. Embed a secret code that can match a page to a specific printer. And how handy when industry does the advance work for you! It strikes me as a tad bizarre that we live in a country in which the idea of making a record of the unique grooves and lands in any handgun as it goes from the manufacturer to the marketplace is totally untenable. Nope. No way. Threatens our civil liberties. Fuggetaboutit. But ideas? Speech? Expression? Hey, those things are dangerous, dude! We need to be able to track back and see where they came from. The Feebs, of course, say it’s just to apprehend counterfeiters, but that’s about as comforting as being told I shouldn’t worry about the PATRIOT Act unless I’m a terrorist.

The EFF tidbit (not the rant) came from the wonderful folks at LII – which has a spiffy new look. Between their weekly update and the one from the Scout Report I usually find plenty of interesting academic sites to share with faculty or to add to our subject guides. Or just to make me think.

Now if Steven would just find a way to add a button to his Kept-Up Librarian that would automatically download all the news fit to feed directly to my brain, I would truly feel kept up. But I would definitely need a memory upgrade.

LJ Offers E-Learning on E-Books

Tom Peters sends word that Library Journal is sponsoring an online forum on e-books on November 15th.

From the LJ site, the topics to be discussed include: (1) trends in e-book publishing and pricing models; (2) acceptance and use of e-books by different disciplines and demographic groups; and (3) the impact of massive digitization projects (e.g., Google Print). Scheduled panelists include Warren Holder (Toronto), Suzanne Weiner (NC State), and Jim Mouw (Chicago).

Participation is free, but registration is required through Library Journal.

How Do I Subscribe To ACRLog

We have received a number of requests from ACRL members who would like to subscribe to ACRLog. Unlike an e-mail newsletter or a discussion list, this weblog has no “subscribe” option. To follow the ACRLog regularly, use a news aggregator to capture new posts as they are added to ACRLog. I would recommend that those new to the process of using a news aggregator to capture the RSS feed of a blog take a look at my RSS tutorial page – and I include links to a number of other popular RSS tutorials. It explains how the process works and how to use Bloglines, a popular, free, web-based news aggregator. Bloglines is not the only news aggregator, but it comes well recommended. Here is a preview of using Bloglines to subscribe to ACRLog.

Begin by going to the Bloglines site (you can enlarge the images below by clicking on them) and clicking on the “sign up now” link to acquire a free account.

Within minutes you will receive an e-mail that requires you to confirm your new account. After that you are ready to subscribe to ACRLog. When you first log in to Bloglines you may see a few default blogs in your “feed” list – which shows the blogs to which you are subscribed. You can use the “edit” option to delete those later. Next, click on the “add” link shown below:

adding a subscription on bloglines

Next, as illustrated in the screenshot below, type in the URL for ACRLog (http://www.acrlblog.org) into the “subscribe” box:

bloglines subscribe box

Next, click the “subscribe” button to the right of the box where you just typed in the ACRLog URL.

From the next screen, shown below, choose to subscribe by putting a check in the box – if you are presented with more than one feed to subscribe to – choose the one that has “atom” at the end of the URL – as shown below:

Next, scroll down to the “options” area and as shown below, click on the “subscribe” button to complete the process:

As you become more comfortable with Bloglines and add more feeds, consider creating folders to organize them. When you are done, you should now see ACRLog as one of your feeds. The left frame show the subscribed blogs, and the right frame shows the posts available to read. Here is what it will look like:

A common question is “What happens to the posts after I read them?” After you log out, or if you click to view another one of your feeds, all of the posts you just read are automatically deleted from the viewing area. However, if you need to retrieve previously read posts, there is an option to retrieve them again – up to a month ago.

Another frequent question is “How will I know when I receive a new post from ACRLog?” While most folks get quickly accustomed to checking their aggregator everyday, especially as they add more RSS feeds, if you do want to be reminded, Bloglines offer the “Bloglines Notifier”. It is an easily installed add-on that sits in your task bar and reminds you to check Bloglines as new posts are received:

To find the link to the “Notifier” scroll down the left panel that contains all the feeds until you come to the “Extra” section. Click on “tips” and then scroll through the tips until you come to the one about the Notifier.

I hope this will introduce our readers who are new to the world of RSS and news aggregators to a tool that will make it easier to “keep up” with ACRLog – and many other blogs and news sources as well.