At the Ref Desk (8/13/18): Complaints upstairs about someone playing the trumpet in one of the computer labs. Oy. [more...]
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Library Literature

Current Cites for Sept 2013

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 9/30/13 (9:10pm)

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Current Cites for September 2013 is out! You can find the issue here...

Roy has got the latest version of Current Cites up. I wrote about an interesting article that looked at how librarians can appear more "approachable" to patrons by smiling and looking up. It's something I think about every time I'm at the Reference Desk waiting for students to drop by.

Current Cites for January 2013

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/31/13 (6:38pm)

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Current Cites for January 2013 is out! You can find the issue here...

I wrote about this refreshingly idealistic article, "The Consequences of a Life in Scholarly Publishing" by Morris Philipson who sadly passed away in 2011.

To be honest, I didn't realize while reading the piece that it actually was a reprint from 1995. The author mentions "tapes or CDs of music" and that seemed a bit 'old school' but as the author explains in his conclusion: "The scholarly experience as I now understand it transcends format innovations, market changes, and fashion changes, for they are all the means. The enrichment of mind, soul, or intellect is the end." Fine stuff.

Current Cites for December 2012

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 12/21/12 (3:01pm)

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Current Cites for December 2012 is out! You can find the issue here...

Current Cites for December is out. I wrote about an interesting article on library staff magazines in the UK in the first half of the 20th Century. The author did a good job explaining the context of why such magazines were becoming necessary -- more complex systems of communication, transportation and information management, growing organizations, increasing wealth and leisure time for working people, all of which predated the computer/internet by 50 to 100 years.

Current Cites for September 2012

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/29/12 (12:11pm)

go to Current Cites
Current Cites for September 2012 is out! You can find the issue here...

I featured an article from the journal Electronic Library titled, 'An Analysis of American Academic Libraries Websites: 2000-2010'.

Current Cites for November 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 11/29/11 (2:28pm)

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Current Cites for November 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

I've got two 'cites' this month: one on Libraries moving to Drupal and another on the use (or non-use as the case may be) of Library Subject Guides by college students.

Tell Me Something I Don't Know

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 11/28/11 (3:43pm)

facebook_logo.jpg

Can it be called research when these are the results?

The analysis revealed that Facebook offers a dynamic environment for academic libraries to cultivate relationships with students. Libraries present information through status messages which suggest who they are and what they do. In addition to being informational, libraries attempt to engage and establish rapport with students through Facebook. The university setting not only creates a context for messages, but also offers a mutual set of experiences and values shared by libraries and students.

Search Box Syndrome

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 9/30/11 (10:41am)

We've been here before -- from a usability study looking at how students use (or don't use as the case may be) various library database pages:

In 2006, Steve Krug said internet users were mostly looking for something clickable to click on; BGSU students, by contrast, often looked for a search box to search in. When a search was unsuccessful, instead of retooling it, the student looked for a different search box and tried the same search again. The students in the study tried to change the subset of information they were searching, not the search they had already decided was the best one.

Okay, so the next logical question might be, is this a student preference or is there something about the design of the website that drives them to it? Maybe yes, maybe no but considering the effort we put into all of this, it's certainly worth testing.

But hark! A bit further down in the same study -- apparently vendor consolidation will save the day:

Therefore, if we want students to use a wider range of our resources, it is crucial that we teach them to recognize the resources that will be useful for them. As the brand diversity of our resources narrows, vendors and publishers merge, and vendors market more and more to end users, this strategy may become easier to adopt.

Current Cites for August 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 8/31/11 (7:19pm)

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Current Cites for August 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

I wrote about an issue of Libraries & the Cultural Record that looked at libraries during the Depression and contains this rather depressing report on the state of the Chicago Public Library by its Chief Librarian at the time:

We are afflicted by the worst financial hardship we have ever suffered.... We have bought no books for eight months, the magazine subscriptions for 1932 were cancelled."

Current Cites for July 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 7/29/11 (1:58pm)

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Current Cites for July 2011 is out! You can find the issue here...

IM Widgets More Effective Than Crummy Old Links for Library Chat Reference

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 5/16/11 (8:04pm)

First, I like this study of Chat Reference at S.I.U.-C. because it stresses the need to take its results in context. Maybe you're getting more questions about holdings because you've now got your IM widget on all the database pages listing articles your users are looking for, etc. In any case, the fact that they now have their IM Widget on those pages instead of a simple link seems to have significantly increased virtual traffic:

"The number of SVR ['Synchronous virtual reference' -- i.e. IM] questions increased by another 1,000 in the year when the library embedded a widget into the SFX link resolver menu and EBSCOhost databases. Even though the Ask A Librarian link had been included in the SFX menu and the EBSCOhost banner for many years, an increase was recorded only after the widget was embedded. The increase in SVR questions supports the notion that placement of a widget can influence use."

Julie Arendt, Stephanie J. Graves, (2011) "Virtual question changes: reference in evolving environments", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 Iss: 2, pp.187 - 205.

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