19 June 2012

LIDA 2012

This week I'm attending the biennial Libraries in the Digital Age conference in Zadar, a stunningly beautiful town on Croatia's North Dalmatian coast. I'm involved with a couple of papers later in the week (on Thursday and Friday) and I will write more about them then.

Monday morning's sessions began before the conference formally started with Petra Pejsova's workshop 'Grey literature: from hidden to visible'. She described the work of the National Technical Library of the Czech Republic in this field including a National Repository of Grey Literature and its involvement with the international grey literature network, GreyNet. This presentation also included a demonstration of OpenGrey, the successor to OpenSIGLE (since June 2011), although still provided by SIGLE (Systems for Information in Grey Literature in Europe). One particularly interesting exercise during this session involved examining and commenting on a typology of grey literature - which seemed to me to be quite an impressive attempt to define more clearly the somewhat ambiguous meaning of this term. It was particularly interesting to see discrete format types - such as websites and datasets - which are often collected and managed separately included in this typology.

The opening speeches welcoming participants to the conference summarised the two main themes of the conference:
  • "Changes in the world of services: Evolution and revolution in library services"
  • "Changes in the world of electronic resources: Information and digitization"

This was followed by Lynn Silipigni Connaway's paper "'I always stick with the first thing that comes up on Google': Motivating student engagement with the digital information service environment"*. This described the information behaviour of groups of high school students (the "emerging" phase"), undergraduates (the "establishing" phase), postgraduates / research students (the "embedding" phase), and respected scholars (the "experiencing" phase), as identified from a study which used semi-structured interviews, diaries and an online survey. The results were sobering - as information sources, librarians were rated lowest by student participants although academic faculty and teachers were rated highest. Student comments included "Google doesn't judge you" - in contrast to librarians who, that respondent felt, did judge. The presentation ended with an appeal for librarians to judge contexts and situations carefully in order to give the most appropriate possible service and to be aware of the barriers created by jargon.

The afternoon parallel sessions began with a presentation by Jette Hyldegaard and Haakon Lund on "IL web tutorials: constraints and challenges from an HE perspective" which discussed the findings of the SALLY project which evaluated three Norwegian information literacy tutorials using usability tests, focus group interviews and questionnaires. The paper ended with recommendations to integrate information literacy tutorials "with students' social practice" and with course pages (to ensure they are not seen as library stand alone services). The SALLY project was also described in the final afternoon parallel session, "Evaluating the role of web-based tutorials in educational practice: using interpretative repertoires and meaning negotiation in a two step analysis" which developed on the original studies of three tutorials to explore the meaningfulness and relevance of such tutorials. One particularly interesting point was that the check list role of the tutorials seemed popular - it could be used as a reference tool for checking that references and bibliographies are correct.

In between those two papers, Judy Xiao added an American perspective (from City University of New York) with a presentation on "Collaborating for student success: a model for librarian embedding in Faculty Blackboard courses" describing how the Blackboard VLE could be used to support information literacy, providing opportunities for pre- and post-instruction surveys and in some cases including plaigiarism detection software. In particular, the paper advocated embedding services for courses with a significant research element and where the librarian has specialist subject knowledge.

The afternoon sessions finished with three demonstrations of library management software, including Vero a Croatian next-generation catalogue system based on an Oracle database; Qulto, an integrated collection management system in use in central and eastern Europe; and Austrian Books Online, a collaborative digitisation project undertaken with Google.

I'll write more about day two soon!

* Generally, where proceedings papers or presentations are available for the sessions I describe, I will include a link to them. The proceedings are free to access online, but you may need to register to read some of the full-text papers.

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