Stick to it

April 2, 2009

Normally, blogs display posts in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post appearing at the top and earlier posts be successively pushed down the screen. However, you may want to override this feature on some occasions. When you want to make sure that a post in a blog stays at the top of a blog, you create a “sticky post”. To this in WordPress, see the instructions here.


Riding the Wave

November 2, 2009

Google Wave was rolled out in Beta recently, and although I have put in a request for an account, I guess I’m still just in the queue.  At this stage, I’m not really sure what, if anything, I’d do with an account, but I’m intrigued enough that I’d like to investigate it and ponder its implications for librarianship and teaching and learning.  Educause has posted a 7 Things You Should Know report on it, which is a a good overview of where it might be heading in the classroom enviro.  So, hey, if you happen across this post and you’ve got a Wave invite to spare, I’d sure appreciate one.  Surf’s up!

Productive posters

March 13, 2009

Went to some interesting poster sessions this morning and learned about a few things I want to investigate further.  Assignment Research Calculator is OSS from U. of Minnesota that helps students manage the research and writing process.  Librians at CSU Fresno tweaked it and integrated some IL modules into it.  Want to check this out.

Another poster introduced me to yet more OSS , this time Libstats for tracking reference transactions and Libraryh3lp, which is like Meebo, but specifically designed for libraries.

My panel choices today have not been the best ones, so far.  Went to one on “statistical literacy”, but it was too rudimentary to be of much use. The next was on getting buy-in from faculty for IL programs.  Some good ideas, but mostly stuff I’d heard of already.

What I learned at ACRL, Act One

March 13, 2009

Kinda embarrassing that I don’t keep this blog updated.  Anyway, rolled into Seattle today for the ACRL conference.  Flew out of Long Beach, which is about as uncomplicated an airport as one could hope for.  Hell, we even took off early.

My hotel is just under two miles from the convention center, so it’s walkable, but only just.  Fortunately, I rather like walking around new towns; it’s the best way to discover things and get a feel for a place.  And, as it turns out, I’m close to the Needle and there are lots of interesting places near the hotel.  For the record, it’s the Queen Anne district.

As it happens, I ran into my new colleague at the registration desk and met some of her friends and former co-workers.  We promptly discovered that Naomi Klein had canceled last minute and all rather reluctantly went off to hear the last-minute keynote speaker they got in her stead, a guy named Rushmore Kidder.  His talk on ethics was actually pretty good.  Reminded me a little of the work by Marvin Brown, the father of a good friend of mine.  Where he lost me, however, was at the end when the subtext of his argument being based on fairly dogmatic  free enterprise/anti-government stance became rather transparent.

After that I went to the opening of the exhibit hall.  Had some interesting conversastions there.  While talking to a rep from Blackwell (a British bookseller), I learned about a new process of collection development that is so-called “patron driven.”  Unlike the traditional approval plan, which for a small lib like ours would never really come into question, the vendor populates your OPAC with titles that are listed as “available on demand” or some such similar wording.  Then, if a patron requests the item, the librarian can decide whether to purchase or not.  Seems to make a lot of sense.  We talked a lot about the pros and cons of it all.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t give me any pricing info as they aren’t that far along with it yet.  But, what really struck me is that just two weeks ago in my CD class when we were talking about approval plans, nobody mentioned this new strategy.  It was not in the readings and the prof never mentioned it either.  Makes you wonder what you’re paying for if the curriculum is not keeping up with changes in the profession.

Also spoke at length withSirsiDynix in an effort to do some preliminary research on getting a new ILS.  Still need to check in with the other big players in the market over the next few days.

To top off my conference activities for the day, I stopped by gaming night.  Rock Band was too intimidating.  But I did enjoy a game called Hamster Roll, which is a German game that involves balancing verious wood pieces inside a wheel.  Was also a good opportunity to meet a few folks.


November 7, 2008

Let’s link to this site.

Test Zoho Writer

October 27, 2008

This is a document created with Zoho Writer, an online wordprocessor.

The feel good factor

September 17, 2008

Everybody likes to feel appreciated, and I am no exception.  Working with students in a library, many will give you a cursory thanks for help on the spot, but it is less common for them to come up to you days later to offer thanks for helping them with an assignment after it has been turned in.  When you get that kind of feedback, it is a strong motivator.  And so it was yesterday when a student came in to thank me and show me how well she had done on the assignment.  Yay!

LIBR 240, or how to code a page the old-fashioned way

July 31, 2008

Greetings fellow coders from the SJSU LIBR 240 class!  Rather than set up a new blog for this assignment, I thought I’d just point y’all to a blog I began earlier this year for the purpose of participating in a Learning 2.0 program run at Marymount College.  Since then, I’ve not done much with it, with the exception of a few postings on my experience at ALA in Anaheim.  Anyhoo, this class has certainly helped me get a better grip on HTML and CSS, and I feel a lot more confident now in working on website design.

A session that rocked!

June 29, 2008

K, this was hands-down the best session I’ve attended so far. “Creating Change: Teacher Librarians and New Learners,” presented by Dr. Jeffrey Liles, an education professor at St. John Fisher College in Rochester. The presentation slides are available here. In a nutshell, Liles discussed a variety of different theories of learning (behaviorialist, cognitive theory, constructivist, connectivism and brain-based learning) and talked about how those theories played out in the classroom. And despite not coming from the library world (or maybe because) he really spoke directly to the experience of library instruction. He got it. He knows and understands the kind of instruction we do and the challenges we face. Moreover, he was a very dynamic and engaging speaker, clearly demonstrating he practices what he preaches.

I was also immediately sympathetic to his approach given that he kicked off with a quote from Parker Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach” (a book actually had the pleasure to work on when I was at J-B). Palmer’s notion of subject-centered teaching is really an excellent approach. And he writes with such sensitivity and understanding of the joys and frustrations of teaching that anyone who has ever stood before a classroom and cared about what they are doing will immediately connect with him.

Liles laid out a number of his assumptions for us and discussed what they mean in practical terms for teaching. i will not replicate them all here, but two things in particular struck a chord with me, and they are related. First, “less is more.” He emphasized the need to resist trying to cover too much material in a class. It is more effective to cover less material and go in depth, than to skim the surface by trying to cover too much. He knows that many faculty members requesting a library instruction session will ask the librarians to cover way too much material, and his advise is to work with that faculty member on paring down the coverage to focus on something more manageable and meaningful. Relatedly was what he coined as the “nature of the experience matters: educative vs. miseducative.” I think he said he got this from John Dewey. Here the basic point is that an educative experience is one in which the learner is motivated to go back for more. They want to learn more about the topic because you’ve done something to ignite that spark in them. If you can design a session that is educative, you will hopefully have students come into the library on their own initiative when they need help because they know that they can learn more from the librarian. And now you have the opportunity to cover more.

The whole session helped me to reflect on our instruction session and what I could do to become a more effective instructor. I certainly want to revisit what I do. For instance, moving forward, I want to do more to really engage the students in the process, beginning a session with asking them how they find information, discussing techniques and tools, having them teach each other and introducing them to resources and strategies new to them. I’m jazzed.

Missed the Direct Democracy session. For whatever reason, it isn’t listed in the conference program and by the time I booted up and found the location on the LPSS website, I discovered it was in the boonies and I had no desire to trek over to see it. So, I squeezed in some coding for my LIBR 240 class and took the opportunity to blog the other session. A little down time in between is good.

Back to the roots

June 29, 2008

Yesterday wrapped up with the presentations on RDA and FRBR. The presentation on FRBR was at a pretty high level of abstraction, which was interesting from an intellectual standpoint, but the fact that it was already 4 in the afternoon sure didn’t help my comprehension. Whether RDA really gets rolled out as early as they say (i.e. early next year), I kind of doubt it.

Ran into the guy who taught my cataloging class last fall. It was nice to reconnect with him. I also wanted to pick his brain about the advanced cataloging class he’s teaching this fall. I’d like to take it, but I’m worried about being over committed, given that I already have instructional design and building online tutorials on my plate. On the other hand, in order to stay on track for Summer 2009 graduation, I will have to take either 3 classes this fall or 3 classes next spring or 2 classes next summer. So, somewhere down the line I have to take on an extra load. Anyway, I’ll just have to email him and continue the conversation, b/c he got pulled off with friends before i could learn more.

this morning i went to the LPSS section committee meetings. Before going into the meeting chatted a while with Robert Labaree from USC. In the meeting, I sat down with the instruction committee. Nice group of folks. They’ve developed a standards document for doing research in political science, and the discussion focused on how to translated that document into a format that is palatable to faculty and which they can take the APSA in Toronto in 2009. The interesting thing for me about it all was a feeling of being very much back in my element, what with my poli sci background. It felt very familiar. So, I think I am going to join ACRL and sign up with the LPSS section and starting getting involved. It’s not really directly connected with what I’m doing at Marymount, but I have such a strong interest and background in it, it make sense to build on that.

We actually laughed a lot during the meeting as well. Which was refreshing. At one point someone quoted Michael Pallin as having said: “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” She said wouldn’t it be great if we could distill I key parts of our lives down to a 5-7 word essential statement. Then we started joking about how that would work for the standards document. Stuff like, “Find information, mostly peer-reviewed, write well.” You had to be there.

I then went to a session advertised as “Energize Your Instruction.” It was entertaining, but it really did not have anything to do with instruction per se. The presenter was a professional sort of self-help coach/speaker and he went through his version of M-B personality scales, reminding everyone to find out who there and figure out how to best work with that and with the personality types of others. Not exactly ground-breaking. But, he was amusing.

had lunch with Mary, where we traded notes on what we’d been to. Also ran into Stephen Klein, the recruiter from the LA county Lib system, Western Division. He’s so funny. Every time I see him, he’s always trying to convince me to go into PL.

Now I’m off to another session called “Creating Change: Teacher Librarians and New Learners” and then probably a session on direct democracy put on by LPSS. One of the speakers at the latter is a guy who got a job I had applied for over two years ago to set up a site called PolicyArchive, a repository of public policy papers coming out of think tanks and academic institutions. Would be interested to talk with him about how that is going.

Plan to end the day at a SLIS reception. All in all, a good day.