So, so very true. Especially this one:
I’m sorry to bother you. Goodness, no, you are not bothering us. We are at the desks in public areas so that we can be of help to you. We might be working on a project, but that is just to stay busy until the next patron comes along and needs our help.
We have a sign behind our reference desk that says “Please bother the librarian.” I noticed and loved it when I was here to interview and now I really want to make it bigger or move it closer to where I sit or something because I want to emphasize it even more. Yes, please! Bother me! That’s why I’m sitting out here, after all. :)
Recently I’ve been getting some requests for what I have called The Improbable Source. An improbable source is some source students hope to find that is exactly on the topic of their research essay, especially when that topic is somewhat obscure. The example I used then that still stands out as the top of this category is “scholarly books and articles on email as a form of civic friendship.” You can double check the philosophical literature if you like, or you can take my word for it that nobody has ever published a scholarly book or article on this topic. When I first identified the existence of the improbable source, I suggested that the problem “is that they want sources that already do their work for them.” To some extent, that’s true. Almost always, the improbable source students desire is one that already supports the exact thesis they hope to argue. If they found the source, then they’d have to change their thesis. However, I now think the problem is larger than that. It’s not just about a hunt for improbable sources, but also about a hunt for unlikely conversations.
Excellent post on a phenomenon I have already encountered on several occasions in this my first semester at an academic library. I liked it so much I printed it out to have a visual reminder of this idea as I prepare future instruction sessions.
What this tool can do for you:
- Help you better understand how to determine the “fairness” of a use under the U.S. Copyright Code.
- Collect, organize & archive the information you might need to support a fair use evaluation.
- Provide you with a time-stamped, PDF document for your records [example], which could prove valuable, should you ever be asked by a copyright holder to provide your fair use evaluation and the data you used to support it. [why is this important?]
- Provide access to educational materials, external copyright resources, and contact information for copyright help at local & national levels.
Looks nifty! I don’t have a reason to use it now, but it’s a great tool to remember.
The host site, Copyright Advisory Network from the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy has more great tools and information about copyright and the use of copyrighted material.
Welcome to the BEN portal, the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathway for biological sciences education. The BEN Portal provides access to education resources from BEN Collaborators and is managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Over 18,827 reviewed resources covering 77 biological sciences topics are available. BEN resources can help you engage student interest, shorten lesson preparation time, provide concept updates, and develop curricula that are in line with national standards for content, use of animals and humans, and student safety.
Materials can be browsed by subject, resource type, and audience (potential audiences covered include pretty much every age level you can think of). Not everything is free, but the majority seems to be.
This seems like an interesting resource, especially if you’re teaching science topics.
Last night we mentioned that Oxford University Press will provide free access in North and South America to the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Reference to celebrate National Library Week that begins on Sunday.
I don’t know that the selected materials will be much help for reference questions, but some of them are fun to poke around in. :)
Handy list of some free online language-learning materials, reference tools, broadcasts, and other helpful links.
One of these days, I really ought to brush up on the languages I started in school. Though I’ve also wanted to learn to at least read Russian…
Here’s a cool, easy to use, free, and potentially useful keyword searchable database developed by Michael Donohoe that you might want to share, bookmark, or catalog and add to a locally developed collection of web resources.
As you enter letters into the search box the database dynamically returns NY Times clues/answers.
The database contains 432,205 NY Times clues published in The Times from 1996-2011.
(description from INFOdocket)
I acknowledge that I have been semi-absent from Tumblr and Twitter of late, for a very big and exciting reason: I’m starting a new job in January!
Long story short, my current position in Maryland is on a contract that was ending in September, then was extended until March. My job search frequently felt frustrating, but patience and persistence pay off: I have been hired as a reference (and instruction) librarian at a Christian liberal arts college in the Chicago area. My last day at my current position is Dec. 21st; my first day at my new position is Jan. 7th.
I’m super excited about this opportunity, but I’m still working out the logistics of moving 700+ miles over the holidays. Thus I’ve fallen somewhat behind on my usual reading that supplies the material for this account. For now, my focus is on packing, finishing my current work, and transitioning to the new position, so updates will continue to be irregular.
I hope to resume more regular updates around mid-January. I don’t expect the content of my Tumblr to change too much, though there will probably be more material oriented toward academic libraries and library instruction as I learn more about this aspect of reference work. :)
Tells you when a movie/tv series/etc. will be released on video/DVD/etc, including format changes (e.g. movie only available on VHS coming out on DVD). You can also sign up for email updates about specific titles.
NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) compiled the information. The page has links to overviews, state-specific pages, cleanup and recovery information, mental health information, multi-language resources, social media information, apps and widgets, and more.
I didn’t even know NLM had a disaster-related center, so this is doubly helpful. :)
Like many librarians, I was a frequent user of libraries as a child. Yet I have always avoided asking for help. I wrote an entire undergraduate thesis without talking to a librarian. If I didn’t understand something, I’d find a way to figure it out myself.
For years, my experiences fueled my desire to make the reference desk more approachable. There’s considerable research on library anxiety, and many people see libraries as a place with lots of rules they don’t understand. I still believe in the value of making the library more user-friendly, but I don’t think approachability is the only reason why people aren’t using reference services.
Like me, many people simply want to figure things out for themselves. And when there’s something about the library they don’t understand, they won’t go to the reference desk. They’ll go elsewhere.
This is very much like my own experiences—the only time I went near a desk was to check things out.
What is the CyberCemetery?The CyberCemetery is an archive of government websites that have ceased operation (usually websites of defunct government agencies and commissions that have issued a final report). This collection features a variety of topics indicative of the broad nature of government information. In particular, this collection features websites that cover topics supporting the university’s curriculum and particular program strengths.
Who created and maintains the CyberCemetery?The University of North Texas Libraries and the U.S. Government Printing Office, as part of the Federal Depository Library Program, created a partnership to provide permanent public access to the Web sites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions. This collection was named the “CyberCemetery” by early users of the site.This collection supports the mission of the UNT Libraries by acquiring, preserving, and providing access to recorded knowledge in the form of government websites.
I haven’t poked around in this too much yet, but it looks interesting!
More specifically, I’m thinking about how I answer reference questions. The analogy I’ve always used is about teaching someone how to catch fish versus giving them a fish right now. It’s rare that I just answer questions at the reference desk, especially when the asker is a student. Instead, I escort the student over to one of our public computers and walk them through the process of figuring it out for themselves. I make them work for it because I believe that working for it means they’ll eventually be able to answer questions for themselves.
My thinking on this is definitely evolving, so I’d love to get your input. For the librarians (degreed or otherwise) in my reading audience, how do you handle it? Further: does your library have an official stance on how to handle reference desk interactions? For the library science students, what have your professors had to say on the subject?
These are some interesting questions/thoughts. At our reference desk, the questions usually take the form of ‘how do I…’ or ‘where can I find…’, which lend themselves fairly readily to the teach-them-to-fish approach, though of course there are certain patrons who just want us to provide information (e.g. a call number) that they could get themselves but they don’t want to.
Our email questions are much more likely to demand an answer, but I think most of us do provide information about how we located the resources we provide in our response. Some of my favorite questions have been ones where the patron asks ‘how do I research this?’—those are fun to answer. :)
Awesome source of info about the Olympics.