As part of an institution-wide drive towards better customer service, The University of Houston chose to eliminate material recalls in favor of instant interlibrary loans. The system they created was dubbed “Quickloan” and was branded through the ILLiad login page to prevent confusion when users were directed out of the OPAC. The library conducted two small usability studies, which revealed that most users of the system were still confused by Quickloan’s function and its relation to recall. Despite confusion and some animosity, usage is steadily increasing.
The Association of Research Libraries today released a new best practices guide to fair use in academic libraries. Their aim is to establish community consensus and an understanding of the practices in use in the modern academic library to assist librarians in conforming to expectations and establish precedent for legal issues that may arise. The document addresses issues that have developed with recent technology, such as online “exhibits” of held materials under copyright. This sort of hosting, while not technically covered under prior interpretations of the law, is so rampant on the internet that it’s become a widely accepted library practice. (With perfect attribution, of course!)
The new guidelines also make leeway for the ominous video cassette problem in academic libraries. It has generally been frowned upon to create digital copies for any reason save the hyper restrictive preservation option, but it’s become clear in recent years that the VHS format is reaching its point of obsolescence.
Many articles on the topic of Millennial search strategies quickly devolve into talk about reforming these methods through information literacy training. While it is true that the search strategy of born-digital users is shallower than that of a p-book trained researcher and single search bars dominate the future landscape of many databases, Millennials are working with a deeper pool and reaching out to these users requires an understanding of the environment in which these behaviors developed. The author studied the library and non-library digital search strategies of undergraduate users at SUNY Oswego. She found that many younger users prefer a horizontal search strategy to one that is strictly hierarchical. Users flit from resource to resource, piecing together an idea of their quarry instead of spending up-front time researching the best resources and how to obtain them.
Earlier this month, when Brilliance Audio pulled its audiobooks from Overdrive lending, it seemed like it could have been a fluke. Today Penguin announced that it is also withdrawing audiobooks from the service. Penguin is relatively clear that this is backdraft from their recent decision to withhold new release e-book titles from library lending. Publishers seem to be rethinking established audiobook policies in light of new reservations around library e-book lending.
Kate covered this earlier in the week, but Apple has finally revealed their plans for the educational market and it’s pretty much as Kate predicted. Harry McCracken and Doug Aamoth of Time liveblogged the event, which began at 10 this morning. Apple will be making a foray into textbook creation and hosting and leveraging the iPad’s cool factor to create educational materials that speak to kids and teens. iBooks 2 will be more interactive and include more robust testing and index features. Students can interact with 3D models and other media and will be able to create take aways study cards from textbook material. Teachers will be able to easily drag and drop customized content in the free iBooks Author app with a suite of built-in Apple widgets.
Apple also unveiled a content agreement with Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Miflin. Textbooks are now available on iBooks and the prices seem surprisingly low, it seems Apple is working away from traditional institutional textbook deals and marketing directly to students.
The page 99 test has apparently long been a staple of reader self-advisory. The thought is that page 99 will provide a core sample of the action so readers can evaluate before investing time or money in a book. Page99Test seeks to replicate this experience for the web, but has become a platform for small and self publishing.
The offerings are extremely diverse in genre, especially considering there are so few pages at this point. The concept is enticing as well; readers must rate the page to discover the title and author and get instant feedback about how others rate the title. It’s easy to get sucked in to the new author drama. It seems like this could be a beneficial platform for self published authors and e-publishing startups. It works well as a discovery tool and readers may be more likely to invest in an unknown once they’ve been primed with an investment-free sample. The UI is clean and pleasant, with a generic blond wood motif akin to iBooks.
Kayongo, J. & Helm, C. (2012). Relevance of library collections for graduate student research: A citation analysis study of doctoral dissertations at Notre Dame. College & Research Libraries, 73(1), 47-67.
This study attempts to evaluate the relevance of library collections through use as demonstrated by citations in student work. Notre Dame Library analyzed citations in the doctoral dissertations of students in the science, arts and humanities, social sciences, and engineering departments over a 3-year period. The library owned 67% of all cited resources and of the 1,000 most popular sources, the library owned 93%. In their analysis, the library found that it needed to obtain more resources in the social sciences as the library owned fewer than 50% of cited resources. The library also found justification in maintaining older collections, as the average citation age was 19.1 years.
Education secretary Michael Gove announced yesterday his plans to overhaul the teaching of computer science in UK schools. Plans include scrapping Microsoft suite and other basic computer skills to digital native learners who grasp these technologies intuitively. The curriculum rests on a wiki-style resource that will be quickly evolving and shared by teachers. The task of writing the initial curriculum will involve tech business and higher education with participation from IBM, Microsoft, and the British Computer Society and accolades from the European directors of Google and Facebook.
Gove stated in his speech that he was inspired by the US military’s use of wikis to communicate real time information and thought it would be an effective platform for a subject that changes as rapidly as IT. With the new model, teachers will be given more freedom to design learning around student interest. The Guardian ran a joke article about what student interest based teaching would mean, but it does raise some interesting questions about the borderline legality of real fun on the internet and notions of school appropriate social media learning. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of this reinvention.
Penn State is getting ready to unveil an exciting new library collaboration space in their Pattee Library. Called the Knowledge Commons, the space will feature 9 group work spaces outfitted in the latest collaborative technology. Up to 7 group members can hook their devices to the station, trading presentation rights to the projection monitor using a device called a puck. The space also features modular walls, un-lecture halls for classroom meetings, and video production spaces and equipment.
This update is part of a larger academic library trend of offering innovative and flexible spaces in lieu of endless stacks of physical books. Book collections are moving offsite (or to subterranean, robot-controlled vaults) in greater numbers and as purchasing increasingly favors digital content, academic libraries have had to reform their image and rebuild for a mobile and device-adorned patron base.
Daytona State College spent 2-years studying 4 different distribution models in student textbooks. Print rental, electronic book rental, and device rental were investigated in existing faculty practice for financial and non-financial outcomes (such as performance, preference, and retention). They found that electronic textbook rental was significantly more expensive for students than physical book rental, in some cases rental was near the average textbook cost.
Even more telling is the trouble DSC had beginning the study. It was more difficult than anticipated to find the right textbooks in the format and payment structure required. Courses and text assignments had to be adjusted based on availability. Even if there were significant financial gains to be had with a particular format and distribution model, there’s no guarantee that publishers would offer textbooks in that model.