Fostering Website Usability Partnerships in the Academic Library Setting

Author: Bethany Messersmith
MLS/MA Journalism
Information Literacy Librarian/College Liaison
Southwest Baptist University Libraries
bmessersmith @ sbuniv dot edu

[Peer-Reviewed Article]

Website usability studies are by no means brand new. In many respects they are a close relative to the focus group session because they utilize prompts to assess opinions, as well as the usability of a product. According to Dr. Jakob Nielsen, a leading web usability consultant, “Usability allows us to make everyday life more satisfying by empowering people to control their destiny and their technology rather than be subjugated by computers” (qtd. in Chow, Bridges, and Commander 254). While website usability testing is a practice that was adopted a little over a decade ago by the library sector, librarians have always invested time in assessing user wants and needs (Battleson, Booth, and Weintrop 190). Today public and academic librarians are devoting more attention to seeking user feedback on the ease of website tasks, as “the library as ‘place,’ traditionally defined in a physical building, has expanded into a virtual environment” (Bakoyema and Groves). In light of this, developing partnerships with web design experts is critical in the academic library setting.

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Play a Game, Make a Game: Getting Creative with Professional Development for Library Instruction

Maura A. Smale, Associate Professor
Chief Librarian, Ursula C. Schwerin Library
New York City College of Technology, CUNY
msmale [at] citytech [dot] cuny [dot] edu
@mauraweb

[Peer-Reviewed Article]

Abstract

Using games in the library classroom is an active learning strategy that can increase student engagement. However, not all librarians are equally familiar and comfortable with bringing game-based learning to the library. Game On for Information Literacy is a brainstorming card game to help librarians create games for information literacy and library instruction. Inspired by other successful brainstorming card games, this game was developed, playtested, and iterated over several years in workshops, graduate-level MLIS courses, and professional development programs. Game materials are all available to download, use, remix, and share.

Keywords: game-based learning, games in education, information literacy, library instruction, brainstorming, professional development

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“Scholarship is a Conversation”: Discourse, Attribution, and Twitter’s Role in Information Literacy Instruction

by Alexander J. Carroll

Agriculture and Natural Resources Librarian

University of Maryland College Park

ajcarrol@umd.edu

Robin Dasler

Engineering / Research Data Librarian

University of Maryland College Park

rdasler@umd.edu

[Peer-Reviewed Article]

Introduction: Information Literacy & Scholarly Communication Instruction

When addressing scholarly attribution, citation, and plagiarism in one-shot instruction sessions, librarians often fail to present these issues in a manner that has relevance for students. Librarians often focus on intellectual honesty and the potential ramifications of plagiarism, both individual pursuits, rather than explaining that by creating an academic work, students are participating in academic discourse. Within Pluralizing Plagiarism, Anson argues that scholarly attribution instruction that emphasizes “policy, detection, and punishment” is antithetical to the mission of institutions of higher learning – the education of students (Anson, 2008). One of the major deficiencies of this compliance-based instruction is that it presents students with a false dichotomy that does not align with their authentic life experiences; plagiarism is demonstrated as a black and white issue, rather than existing in shades of gray. Students who have come of age within a twenty-first century information ecosystem rife with remix and parody culture will likely find teaching that presents the re-use of source material as a non-nuanced issue unconvincing. Because students respond positively to instruction that aligns with their authentic experiences, this suggests that librarians need to develop new methods for teaching attribution and scholarly discourse that not only recognize the nuance inherent to these topics, but also presents these concepts within a familiar framework (Klipfel, 2014). As a familiar platform for social interaction with multiple avenues for giving credit and a shorter timescale, Twitter presents an opportunity to place attribution, plagiarism, and integrity into a humanizing, real world context that models how discourse unfolds in an authentic manner for learners. By embedding attribution instruction into a meaningful context, librarians and other educators can make substantial and much needed improvements to traditional compliance-based instruction, which is often built upon the slow, rigid, and unfamiliar patterns of how to cite scholarly works.

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Can only Librarians do Library Instruction? Collaborating with Graduate Students to Teach Discipline-Specific Information Literacy

By Alexander Watkins

Art & Architecture Librarian, University Libraries, University of Colorado Boulder

Katherine Morrison

Arts Education and Regional Services Director, Tippecanoe Arts Federation

Former Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant, Art & Art History Department, University of Colorado Boulder

[Peer Reviewed Article]

Introduction

At many libraries the ratio of students to librarians is in the neighborhood of thousands to one; teaching these students information literacy requires a creative approach to library instruction. To expand the reach of information literacy in challenging situations, we should rethink the idea that only librarians can teach information literacy. There is a role for librarians as collaborators and teachers of information literacy pedagogy which can multiply their reach. Many instruction programs already apply similar methodologies for large first-year experience programs, but this strategy can be expanded to amplify introductory subject-specific library instruction as well.

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Creativity at the Edge: Cutting Back on Library Services during Hard Times

By Amanda Moeller and Julie Gilbert

Gustavus Adolphus College, Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library

[Case Study, Article]

Introduction

In a service profession like librarianship, it can be difficult to conceive of ever saying no. We are in the business of helping people, after all. The very notion of saying no to our users may cause a spike of fear: if we say no, will people stop seeking our services? Will they stop seeing us as useful and helpful? Of course, circumstances sometimes arise that make it necessary for us to say no to taking on additional tasks and initiatives. Conditions might unfold in our personal lives that require us to step back for a time, or we may already be working at capacity and unable to take on anything new. We might say no after concluding that we simply do not have the time or energy to add more to our plates. Or we might realize that a new task does not fit within our priorities and we let it go. In these situations, we hope our colleagues are positioned to assist with the work or that the tasks are not essential and can be tabled for now.[i]

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