Monday, December 1, 2008

Reading the Research: Journal of Academic Librarianship

Tidbits from volume 34, issue 6.

Toolkit Approach To Integrating Library Resources Into The Learning Management System:
Regardless of what librarians choose to label the various ways of doing this, articles like this one are among my favorite examples of why "How we done it good"-style reports are worthwhile. Course management systems are just one way that online library services, like online services of other kinds, are becoming distributed--in both senses of the term.

The Value of LIS Schools’ Research Topics to Library Authors’ Professional Work
This title almost seems to be begging the question, but perhaps I'm jaded--after recent conversations with professionals in various social sciences, which is where library science has borrowed its research methodology, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that LIS courses in research methods would be valuable if students gained firmer grounding in how to actually do research. In fact, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, I'd like to see library schools farm this one out to the nearest social science program.

There's also the assumption that all research in the library science field ought to follow a particular methodology. Personally, my favorite scholar in the field from whom I've gained the most professional benefit is Patrick Wilson...

Do clickers improve library instruction? Lock in your answers now
This one interests me because I've actually used clickers in a classroom setting recently. Leaving aside the much bigger and thornier question of how one actually teaches people to use the library and conduct literature searching (the two are not equivalent, if in fact they ever were), the question of retention is a good one and I'm not surprised to learn that the answer seems to be no. It's not that the things don't work, but a quick quiz at the end of a session (which is how I've used them) doesn't tell you anything about how students will actually use what you teach them. In my library we try to time library instruction for as immediate applicability as possible because really, the only way you're going to remember how to do this stuff is if you use it.

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