July 9, 2010

The Technology of Law, Bernard J. Hibbitts, 102 Law Libr. J. 101 (2010).

Neteracy – internet literacy; people learning to work, think, and express themselves in cyberspace.

Teaching our students neteracy (as much as we can ). Students may be net-native but they are not necessarily net-literate. They carry lots of gadgets and use many applications but there is so much “they don’t know, a great deal they take for granted and, in the absence of instruction, a great deal they haven’t tried or though through. On top of this, they’re hit with a style of law school pedagogy that largely delegitimizes what they do know and stuffs them back into the boxes of traditional learning.” p.106.

Reading on the internet is different from but similar in many ways to reading printed text.

  • Gathering – looking in the right places. Students tend to think Google/Wikipedia do it all. Fail to look for encyclopedias, archives, blogs, social networks
  • Filtering – challenge what they see, where does it come from, when, style of presentation. [Questions they tend not to ask consistently with “classic” legal materials print or electronic]
  • Scanning – quickly and effectively with understanding and retention [Quality of the presentation is important, see Writing]
  • Navigating – multi-directionality of web versus linear nature of print; need to have more of a sense of where you are going, how to get there, and how to get back [need tools to track research, save for later reading, organize into different trails]
  • Comprehended – comprehension may be a shifting plan as “information on web pages and elsewhere continually appears, changes, and disappears. In other words neterate comprehension is pointedly dynamic, not definitive, and readers need to be able to cope with this kind of fluidity.” p.108.
  • Evaluated – does comprehended information seem accurate, trustworthy, need verification. The researcher must accept responsibility for the critical analysis of sources.

Writing meaningful text for the web is very different than writing for print, particularly as compared to “legal writing”. Students need to learn to exploit the web for serious professional purposes.  Web pages are scanned so

  • verbal constructions should be short
  • few subordinate clauses
  • points visually highlighted or bulleted
  • important information up from as in newpaper lead paragraph style
  • effective hyperlinking, limit digression or worst getting lost
  • Design (layout, colors, font types) becomes more critical online and not usually thought about in print
  • Construction/organization – breaking down large amounts of information into appropriate categories – edited by students in UPitt course. Hibbitts believes law librarians are the ones to develop environments in which law students and new lawyers can develop their neteracy. Creating subject specific blogs where lawyers provide a service to the community and enhance their reputation as well as that of their firm.

I need to explore my idea of training students on use/application of online tools to build a professional portfolio. Taking briefs or papers and repackaging for the web, highlighting skills learned in class, through volunteer work, internships.


Mystery Solved

July 8, 2010

The third and final  webinar in the series “Exploring the Mystery of Library Instruction: New Thinking for Your Information Literacy Initiative” was today. The specific title is “The Blended Librarian’s Approach to Rethinking Instruction and Redesigning the Information Literacy Initiative”

Things I want to think about:

  • Can we do the blended librarian thing in our setting? Part of the role of the BL is integrating “the library” into teaching and learning. If they won’t let you into the classroom can we be part of the teaching?
  • Once we understand the mystery we keep doing the same thing. We have to seek out new mysteries. Innovation should be common.
  • Visit The Blended Librarian
  • Read the 2010 Horizon Report for discussions of trends which include mobile devices and e-books.
  • What are we adding to a world where information is everywhere and easier to get? How can we demonstrate our impact? We must improve the skills of the people who ask for help but what about the rest of them? If they share what they learn with other then our reach does extend.
  • Read article by Char Booth, June/July 2010 American Libraries
  • ADDIE Model – generic process used to build effective training and performance support tools.
  • Blended Librarian Adapted ADDIE Model (BLAAM) – design thinking
    • Assess
      • 1. Identify the problem
      • 2. Brainstorm solutions
      • 3. Learn/practice with content management capabilities
    • Design
      • 4. Design library resources for  seminars
      • 5. Create and/or utilize library resources
      • 6. Develop strategy for implementation
    • Develop
      • 7. Incorporate faculty/staff & training/learning
    • Deliver
      • 8. Implement
    • Measure
      • 9. Evaluate
  • New mysteries of blended librarianship
  • Remember our wicked problems [“Wicked problem” is a phrase used in social planning to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Characterized by ambiguity, shifting information.]
    • are we making a difference; are they learning what we say they are; do they become lifelong learners; are they academically successful
  • Some products to maybe look at:
  • Web enhanced/blended courses are a trend in education

I’ve just finished How to Manage a Law School Library: Leading Librarians on Updating Resources, Managing Budget, and Meeting Expectations (Aspatore Books, 2008). Here are some things I want to remember:

Students view the library as a haven, a refuge, a home away from home. It should be comfortable and inviting. Our mission statement really isn’t a mission but declarations about us:

The Law Library provides resources and expertise to support the instructional mission of the School of Law and the scholarly research of the law faculty.  The Law Library is also an important source of legal information for the university community, attorneys, and private citizens.

Our mission should be to create a library such that our students wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. They should brag to friends at other schools about “their” library. The mission statement should capture the sense of the library’s place and its value within the community (p. 97).

Some of the authors suggested that primary materials in print are unnecessary, particularly reporters which are shunned in the “real” world (law firms) (p. 30). ABA Standard 606 should not be used as justification for continuing subscriptions to print reporters. The standards ensure a certain degree of uniformity; they are helpful but increasingly limited benchmarks with which to compare ourselves to others (p. 97). We should focus on secondary sources which are easier to use in print and monographs which are not available in print.

Our services should be tailored to maximize ease of use of the library. One library immediately purchases any book requested by a faculty member or student (p. 52). Sounds a little like the hotel that lets employees spend money to solve problems or Nordstrom which also allows employees do what is necessary to make the customer happy.

Let’s not participate in the “my library is bigger game”, meeting the needs of our patrons is the goal (p. 66). Size is not a determinant of overall quality. Rather “how close are we to the center of the intellectual life of the law school?” (p. 90).

“Suaveness of the student [re: technology] is a self-induced misconception.” They have a false understanding of what is online, a false sense of their research abilities (p. 72).

We need to transition from a collection-based institution to a service-based institution (p. 85). Organize our efforts around roles the students occupy in their three years:

  • 1L – learning language of the law, citations, test taking
  • 2L & 3L – clinical experiences, moot courts, journal staff, research assistants, summer associate, writing seminar papers, job hunting

The great libraries will “blend great collections with services necessary to return control, confidence, and understanding to their patrons.” (p. 91). The new law schools and their libraries are able to try innovations more easily than large, historic libraries (p. 111). Let’s pretend to be a new library sometime.

At UW Penny Hazelton has “closed days” for the staff. The day after the end of each term is a work day for the staff but they are closed to patrons. The staff are encouraged to clean off their desks, weed files and emails, finish complicated projects.

Just finished Design Talk: Understanding the Roles of Usability Practitioners, Web Designers, and Web Developers in User-Centered Web Design, Brenda Reeb. Here’s what I want to remember:

  • We need to use consistent terminology throughout
  • Usability includes
    • Efficient to use
    • Pleasant to use
    • Users have control and freedom
    • Consistency
    • Aesthetic/minimalist design
    • Affordances – is it obvious what it does, what happens if you click; tell people they are downloading something, how big is it.
    • Chunking – short, one topic documents
    • Progressive levels of detail – drill down for specifics, don’t put too much detail on top
    • Don’t lie – no links with nothing there (under construction is stupid); events that have passed
  • BROWSERCAM – Cross Browser Compatibility Testing Tools

    See your web design on any browser on any operating system. Check javascripts, DHTML, forms and other dynamic functionality on any platform. Not just yours. Use our bank of testing machines remotely to test your website. Includes devices as well.

  • Openwave, – devices, optimization
  • User-Centered Design – user focus must be applied to our products and services; this is the most important point, get over ourselves and how much work we put into something; it’s not personal. Even if we have people who want to be here, which we do, we shouldn’t annoy them with a difficult to navigate site that requires them to register.

A rather long report from OCLC but very interesting. Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World. Things I want to remember:

  • Use of library web sites by survey respondents has dropped from 30% in 2005 to 20% in 2007 (when data gathered).
  • What about book clubs? Is there a place for them in our library?
  • The role of the library is for learning/information
  • Community events – our community is the law school community; they never see us as a participant. Our efforts have rarely been acknowledged nor sought out.
  • Librarians using delicious tags to provide more intuitive links into their online catalogs, Pt.5, pg.8
    • San Mateo Library – delicious used for web links rather than static web pages
  • Ann Arbor District Library – RSS feeds for holds and checkouts
  • Connotea – academic bookmarking
  • Educating users on best practices
  • Provide library information in forms which can be integrated into social networks – RSS feeds, blogs, etc. which can be syndicated elsewhere.
  • Change the landscape
  • Third place – destination after home, work/school
  • Embed themselves in user community
  • Staff recommendations/What we’re reading
  • LibGuides can be integrated into Facebook
  • Offer sessions on the use of LinkedIn to create an online portfolio; a UGA template?

Across the Spectrum

June 21, 2010

I always read my AALL Spectrum, basically cover to cover. That’s pretty much how I read all the serial publications I love, Wired (love, love, love),  Lucky, Vanity Fair, and Mac Life. Back to my point. Our Reference Team discussed at length the article “Personal Librarians” by John B. Nann. While we found it an intriguing idea it was probably not really our glass of sweet tea.  We are inspired to promote our Student Services Librarian to a greater degree.

The only other item to mention is in Collaborative Tools and the Mentoring Experience and even this is minor. The authors write:

Several mentees also indicated a lack of motivation to complete the assignments because the article topics are not always relevant or applicable to their jobs.

It occurs to me that individuals participating in a leadership development program should think beyond their current job. They won’t always be in that job and that type of library, will they? True leaders are not that narrow in their interests or vision. At least that’s the kind of leader I’d like to be or to work for.

The second ACRL webinar in the series “Exploring the Mystery of Library Instruction: New Thinking for Your Information Literacy Initiative” was today. The specific title “Promoting Information Literacy through a Better Designed Learning User Experience”

Things I want to remember:

  • User experience is not an easy concept to define or understand in an academic library. We don’t have the luxury of being able to create a market for our product or service. Our potential patrons are either given assignments or have personal issues for which they need information.
  • User experience (UX) – philosophy or approach; apply to the whole library and all experiences not just reference or circulation
    • Quality of experience a person has while interacting with a specific design
  • The experience is our product
  • Age of the User Experience
    • Make it simple
    • Complexity/Confusion are deal breakers
    • If you have to learn it we have a problem
    • Good design is critical
    • Features get used if they provide good UX
  • How simple (dumb?) can we make a library? By definition what the patron wants takes more effort or they would have found it online.
  • How do we complete; we are a hi-fidelity experience, low convenience but high quality
    • Blues Brothers, We have both kinds of music, country and western. Our library provides information in both formats, online and offline.
    • All of our resources, free; the experience and skill of our librarians, priceless
  • IDEO Method to Design a Better IL UX
    • Empathic design – create emotional attachment
    • Identify the problem – listen, observe patrons. What effects retention?: content, location, method of instruction, timing
    • Brainstorm solutions – redesign, bring all instructors together, no suggestion is off limits
    • Implement the best prototype – able to evaluate if there is a difference
  • The user experience adds value
  • Read blog – Designing Better Libraries