NELIG 2012 Keynote--Andrew Asher

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Andrew Asher, PhD Council for Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Scholarly Communications Fellow Bucknell University andrew.d.asher@gmail.com Twitter: @ aasher Where do we fit? Investigating the Social Context of Librarians and Libraries

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Social Contexts and Relationships

Context and Relationships:

Faculty Students Staff Librarians Context and Relationships Research Paper

Context and Relationships:

Faculty Students Staff Librarians Admin. Parents Context and Relationships Funders Publishers

What is Ethnography?:

What is Ethnography? The art and science of describing a group, culture, or social process.

Ethnography: Basic Tenets:

Ethnography: Basic Tenets Longer engagement with participants Intensive participation and observation

Ethnography: Basic Tenets:

Ethnography: Basic Tenets Use local (“native”) categories Examine both the insider’s perspective and the analyst’s explanation Avoid assumptions and suspend judgments

Why Ethnography?:

Why Ethnography? A holistic portrait of human behavior A nuanced view of complex social practices and processes An understanding of the richness and diversity of individuals’ experiences Developing ethnographic approaches changes how librarians view their constituents

Library Anthropology :

Library Anthropology Image: Anthrolib Map, University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries, http://www.library.rochester.edu/anthrolib/

University of Rochester:

University of Rochester User-centered & participatory design Spaces Research papers

Ethnography by Other Names::

Ethnography by Other Names: Naturalistic Inquiry Unobtrusive Study (Observation ) Case Study Method Grounded Theory

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Empirical data Real people in real situations

Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries :

Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries www.erialproject.org

Discovery Tools Project :

Discovery Tools Project 86 Students at Illinois Wesleyan University and Bucknell University Qualitative and Quantitative measures of search practices

How do students find and use information for their academic assignments?:

How do students find and use information for their academic assignments?

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What is the social contexts of these assignments?

An Ethnographic Project:

Data Collection Data Processing Data Analysis Evaluation/ Recommendation Assessment Research Question Research Question An Ethnographic Project http://www.erialproject.org/publications/toolkit/

The ERIAL Project:

The ERIAL Project 719 Research Contacts (over 600 unique participants) 280 Semi-structured Ethnographic Interviews 49 Librarians 75 Faculty Members 156 Students 60 Research Process Interviews

ERIAL Methods:

ERIAL Methods Interviewing Methods Observational Methods Visual Methods Photography Design Workshops Storyboards Mapping Methods Time-use Library Maps

Retrospective Research Interviews:

Search and Discovery Retrospective Research Interviews Assignment Evaluation Getting Help

Mapping Diaries:

Mapping Diaries

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“Asked about what they were doing in the Library on the day of our survey, 38 percent said they were completing an assignment for which they had used none of the tools supplied by the Library” Pierre Bourdieu and Monique de Saint Martin, at the Lille University library, 1965

Cognitive Maps:

Cognitive Maps

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30 Semi-structured ethnographic interviews Research Assignments Relationships with librarians/professors Demonstration of search practices Interviews

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Example: First-year IWU student attempting to locate a video to use as a source for a research assignment. Confused about where to look for materials in the catalog, as well as LC call numbers. Student has already had two library instruction sessions. Research Process Interviews

Step 1: Identifies Item in Catalog:

Step 1: Identifies Item in Catalog Misinterprets call Number as “Video Room 315.” “RM” shelving is located on the fourth floor. Not sure about where to go, the student goes to the reference desk for help.

Step 2: At the Reference Desk:

Step 2: At the Reference Desk The student staffing the reference desk is not there, leaving no one to help. The student consults a bookmark giving call number locations, decides that the item is on the fourth floor based on where “V” call numbers are shelved. “ I’m guessing--it starts with VID so that’s on the fourth floor.”

Step 3: Try the Circ Desk :

Step 3: Try the Circ Desk Decides to ask at the circulation desk. Is given incorrect information: “Videos are on the third floor.” Videos are shelved in the stacks by call number.

Step 4: Ask at the Media Center:

Step 4: Ask at the Media Center The student goes to the third floor, but is confused because she can’t find “Room 315.” Asks for help at the media center, but the student tells her that she should ask at circulation. “The circulation desk downstairs deals with where things are. We’re mainly to check out equipment. . .things like laptops. I’m sorry.”

Step 5: Read the Floor Plan:

Step 5: Read the Floor Plan The student consults the third floor signage, but can’t find the call number on the map because it shows only one floor. “This is not helping me. . .”

Step 6: Return to the Circ Desk:

Step 6: Return to the Circ Desk The student returns to circulation desk, and is finally given correct information Finds video in the stacks Total time to find item : 10 minutes Very few students will persist this long

Service Implications:

Service Implications Additional directional signage. Maps and/or locations displayed in catalog page alongside call number. Common basic service requirements and training at all service points. Increased training for library student employees.

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Research Findings Search Process|Resource Evaluation|Seeking Help

The “digital native” is a dangerous myth. :

The “digital native” is a dangerous myth.

The internet (and Google) is not making us stupid.:

The internet (and Google) is not making us stupid.

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Critical consumers and producers of information

Self-Rating of Research Skills:

Self-Rating of Research Skills SLIDE NEED ERIAL DATA IF IT IS TO BE USED Locating information: 43.5% rated themselves as “Very Good” or “Excellent” 43.5 % rated themselves as “Good” 6.5% rated themselves as “Fair” or “Poor” Evaluating information: 58.7% rated themselves as “Very Good” or “Excellent” 34.8 % rated themselves as “Good” 4.3% rated themselves as “Fair” or “Poor”

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Search and Discovery

Constructing a Search :

Constructing a Search Students don’t adequately understand Search logic How to narrow/expand results Subject headings How search engines organize and display results . “Apparently you don’t have much on Rock and Roll” --First Year in French “So, I basically throw whatever I want into the search box and hope it comes up.. . .But it’s like Google and I use it like Google. I don’t know how to use it any other way.” –Junior in Nursing

Discovery Tools :

Discovery Tools 86 Students at Illinois Wesleyan University and Bucknell University Qualitative and Quantitative measures of search practices

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(Almost) Every search is a Google search: Source: Discovery Tool Research Results, Illinois Wesleyan University/ Bucknell University, 2011 Overall, simple search was used 82% of the time.

Constructing a Search:

Constructing a Search Simple Search Students change search rather than refine “Magic” Search Terms Poorer quality search terms “Too much information” “Not enough information”

Resource Choice:

Resource Choice

Resource Choice:

Resource Choice Why JSTOR? Worked in the past Full text Sufficiently robust for many assignments Unaware of limitations Fail to investigate most appropriate databases

What a tool searches determines what students use::

What a tool searches determines what students use: Source: Discovery Tool Research Results, Illinois Wesleyan University/ Bucknell University, 2011

Search Process:

Search Process Search is embedded in social processes and relationships Peer to Peer relationships Faculty/Student Relationships Tool/User Relationships Assignment as social exchange I don't know how people wrote theses before JSTOR. Big love.” “I can't believe JSTOR has a facebook page. There is something wonderfully nerdy about liking it, but it does make life so much easier. JSTOR is AWESOME” “I ♥ you JSTOR you make my life so much easier!” --JSTOR’s Facebook page, 9/20/2010

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Evaluation

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At Illinois Wesleyan University, 42% of first-year students identified 0 or 1 resource types correctly when given 4 example citations. (This didn’t improve after 1 semester of instruction.)

Search Evaluation:

Search Evaluation Evaluation of potential sources appears cursory Eclectic, and sometimes inaccurate, methods of source evaluation. Minimum expectations of the assignment rather than the most relevant or most useful sources. “I never go past the first page.” --First Year in Music Education “. . .I’m lazy and I use the internet.” --First Year in Math

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92% of the resources utilized were found on the first page of search results . Source: Discovery Tool Research Results, Illinois Wesleyan University/ Bucknell University, 2011

Search Evaluation:

Search Evaluation Assumption that if information is not easily found then it must not exist. Remarkable ease in changing topics to fit information. Pass up unique topics in favor of topics with widespread coverage. First few sources define research question. “I pretty much pick the least amount of work necessary. If I don’t have access to it, I search for something else.” --Senior in Women’s Studies

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Getting Help

Invisible Librarians:

Invisible Librarians Very few sought help from a librarian Students didn’t understand what librarians do or their role at a university “I always assume librarians are busy doing library stuff and it’s just not the first thing that pops into my head when I think of a librarian, like helping with papers ...” --Sophomore, international studies

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“Students reject working through a librarian, rarely asking for assistance. ‘It is very difficult’, a librarian says; ‘there is a door to go through, they don’t know, they dare not’” Pierre Bourdieu and Monique de Saint Martin, at the Lille University library, 1965

Faculty as Brokers :

Faculty as Brokers Students have stronger relationships with faculty Students will seek help from librarians after a faculty recommendation Students were satisfied with these interactions once they worked with a librarian Students who developed a relationship with a librarian were more likely to return for other assignments

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Library Responses

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Relationships Building Faculty-Librarian relationships also builds student-librarian relationships

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Algorithmic Literacy

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Teaching Portable, conceptual knowledge Multi-year, developmental approaches

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Teaching Integrating librarians into the classroom Embedded librarians/Co-Teaching

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Collaboration between students, faculty, librarians, & technologists

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Teach the Teachers

For more information::

Website: www.erialproject.org Toolkit: www.erialproject.org/publications/toolkit/ E-mail: andrew.d.asher@gmail.com Twitter: @ aasher Book: College Libraries and Student Culture (ALA Editions, 2012) For more information:

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