Students at the University of Washington Information School have started up a new podcast, InfoSpeak, which they cast as a “lyceum” for the Information Age (with extra credit for pulling the definition of lyceum from Wikipedia). The first episode finds my favorite textbook author, Joe Janes, expounding on “Google, Search Technology, and What It Means to be Human.” Loads of potential here.
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!
The University of Chicago has previously been in the higher education news because it is bucking the trend of some peer institutions to reduce or eliminate campus space for books. At Chicago they are planning a $42 million expansion of the Joseph Regenstein Library to make room for 3.5 million volumes. As part of the planning process the University conducted a survey that collected information on the library usage habits of 5,700 students. While the survey indicates that students prefer to use online journals over print, it clearly shows that heavy digital media users are heavy physical media users. The poll findings will be presented Thursday, Nov. 17, at a conference titled â€œSpace and Knowledge,â€ which will explore the use of libraries on campus. If any of our ACRLog readers attends the conference please consider sharing your notes as a blog post here at ACRLog.
The launch of ACRLog last week generated some buzz among library blogs, but also some questions. Since this blog is a work in progress, it’s worth collecting some of those comments to think about how they might guide future developments.
InfoMan started out with an easy one, asking if we should pronounce the name of our endeavor as “A-C-R-L-og” or “A-C-R-log”. For the record, I have no idea. I’ve been using the latter, but I’ve already found blogs where that has resulted in our parent organization being referred to as “ACR,” so maybe that won’t work.
DrWeb was excited about the potential for our fostering a “discussion of overarching ideas, issues, and matters of debate within the college and research library community.” I agree, but how do we identify those ideas, issues, etc., and, from a design point of view, how do we build them into the architecture of this site? Do we, for example, adopt Hisle’s still-excellent listing of top issues? Do we create feature discussions on issues identified either by the ACRL President or as part of the ACRL strategic plan? More broadly, how do we allow for grassroots discussions of issues while being, at the same time, the “official” blog of ACRL? Again, I don’t have the answer, but it’s something that we on the Advisory Board will have to look at as this project gets off the ground.
But, it was really John Dupuis who asked the questions where the rubber hits the road, for example, how do we expand the list of contributors (both at the “comment” and the “posting” level) to better reflect the broad diversity in the college and research library community? We’ve asked ourselves that a number of times, as we have asked how to bring the best of the college and research library-oriented discussion happening on other blogs into this discussion space. One way, of course, is for interested library bloggers to seek appointment to the ACRL Blog Advisory Board (see this month’s C&RL News). The BAB is an editorial appointment like any other and there are terms of appointment that follow the guidelines established throughout ACRL. If you want in, volunteer. There have to be others ways, though, and we’d like to hear your ideas.
Finally, one blogger (and I apologize for not saving the link) asked some very important questions, e.g.: (1) how does an ongoing blog sponsored by an ALA division complement the information, discussion, and community already available by other means, both official (e.g., ACRL electronic discussion lists) and unofficial (e.g., blogs such as those mentioned above); and (2) how does an ongoing blog integrate the periodic increase in official blogging that have started to revolve around conference reports. The PLA blog provides some insight, but, like everything else, this is a moving target.
We welcome your input and hope to see more of you on the “comment” logs and (some of you) in the volunteer stream for new BAB members after Midwinter.
Another interesting piece in the Chronicle’s special supplement on libraries – this one from a professor of English who worries open stacks are a thing of the past. In “Libraries Lost” Fred D. White expresses dismay that automated retrieval, remote storage, and dependence on online browsing will discourage serendipity and diminish the possibility that students will experience the tactile pleasures of books.
Contrary to any number of “next gen” or “millenial” predictions, the students I know are fond of physical books and mostly averse to online versions. Once they get the hang of the unfamiliar LC system, they use browsing effectively as a necessary supplement to online searching. Cataloging and classification truly do belong together as the yin and yang of discovery.
There is an issue that faces libraries, though–where do you put all the stuff? Apart from adding space or converting the social areas into stacks, there’s the problem that good books will be lost in the clutter – and in that way be just as inaccessible as if they were in remote storage. College libraries do a much better job of choosing new books carefully than getting rid of books that frankly aren’t useful anymore. Yes, one can debate “useful to whom?” but for libraries concentrating on building a solid collection for undergraduates, we need to pay as much attention to what shouldn’t be on the shelves anymore as to what’s missing when we think about collection development.