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August 26, 2008

Google Suggest

...saw this in ars technica, checked Google, and, lo and behold, there is a suggestion feature!

Posted by markmac at 10:45 PM | Comments (1)

Scholars View of Libraries as Portals Shows Marked Decline

from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scholars' View of Libraries as Portals Shows Marked Decline

By JENNIFER HOWARD

Scholars' View of Libraries as Portals Shows Marked Decline

Know your library user—and worry about who's not using the library. That's the main advice to librarians in a new white paper that notes "a growing ambivalence about the campus library" among faculty members as more and more knowledge goes digital.

The report was released last week by Ithaka, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of technology in higher education. The paper probes the relationship between libraries and the faculty at institutions of all sizes, and how the digital shift is altering that relationship.

The authors, Roger Schonfeld and Ross Housewright, pulled together the highlights from two surveys conducted in 2006: one of American faculty members and another of librarians in charge of collection development. Mr. Schonfeld is Ithaka's manager of research; Mr. Housewright is a research analyst. Ithaka conducted similar faculty surveys in 2000 and 2003, so the new report is able to examine trends over a six-year period.

The report confirms what everyone already knows—that electronic resources are ever more central to scholarly activity. It emphasizes that scholars still value libraries as buyers and archivers of scholarship, and many still use them as gateways to scholarly information. However, it also confirms that researchers increasingly find what they need through Google Scholar and other online resources, a trend the report's authors anticipate will accelerate as more and more knowledge goes digital.

Since 2003, faculty members across the disciplines have shown a marked decline in how devoted they are to libraries as information portals. Eighty percent of humanities scholars are still devoted to library research—although that may be not because they're traditionalists but because they can't yet get what they need in digital form. But only 48 percent of economists and 50 percent of scientists value libraries as gateways.

That should worry librarians whose budgets are eaten up by high-priced science journals. What if the designated users of those materials are sidestepping the library altogether?

Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of librarians still consider the gateway function of libraries as essential. "Obviously there is a mismatch in perception here"—one that librarians need to confront if they want to stay relevant to campus intellectual life, Mr. Schonfeld and Mr. Housewright caution.

In an interview, the report's authors said that they hoped the report would get librarians talking about whether libraries should "ambitiously redirect resources" toward new and better ways to serve scholars operating in a digital environment.

"Right now we're seeing a library community that doesn't seem to be sure and isn't staking a claim to the gateway function," Mr. Schonfeld said. Perhaps some traditional functions, like the gateway role, "are things that libraries can safely retreat from."

In an interview, Steven J. Bell, an associate university librarian at Temple University, described the report as "required reading for academic librarians." Mr. Bell posted about the report on ACRLog, a blog run by the Association of College and Research Libraries. In his post, he urged librarians to think past libraries' traditional roles of gateway, archive, and buyer of scholarly material.

"We could really carve out a much more significant role" as instructional partners, Mr. Bell said.

"The good news is that faculty members still believe that libraries are working well for them," he told The Chronicle. "The bad news is that we're working so well that they may not need us any more."

The report, "Ithaka's 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher

Posted by schnitzr at 07:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2008

Slate's Sap-o-Metre

Since the Olympics began, Slate has been running this daily feature called The Olympics Sap-o-Meter. It's quite hilarious. They're basically tracking the number of sappy words sent forth by NBC commentators each day, and - not too surprisingly - 'mom' is leading the way. I wonder how the CBC would compare?

Posted by markmac at 04:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2008

"Creepy Treehouse Effect"

http://flexknowlogy.learningfield.org/tag/creepytreehouse/Tyrel Kelsey suggests:

Students reject creepy treehouses for one reason: they are creepy. I think a better approach to education is the idea of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) … which [students] can invite the professor into when they feel comfortable doing so.
In Students should build their own tree house

Posted by schnitzr at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2008

To Return or Not to Return

From the Guardian:

Library fines could become a thing of the past if a group of librarians get their way. A fiery debate has been raging for the past week between librarians, with anti-fine campaigners describing the charges as punitive, old-fashioned and creating a negative impression of libraries.

Posted by markmac at 09:46 AM | Comments (3)

August 09, 2008

Orwell's Diaries

You may have already heard about this, but George Orwell's blog diaries are being published in blog form:

The Orwell Prize, Britain’s pre-eminent prize for political writing, is publishing George Orwell’s diaries as a blog. From 9th August 2008, Orwell’s domestic and political diaries (from 9th August 1938 until October 1942) will be posted in real-time, exactly 70 years after the entries were written.

I normally don't go in for reading personal diaries (though, I did - I admit - read Manuscripts Don't Burn a couple years ago), but for some reason this old-time diary blogging is quite intriguing (to me).

Posted by markmac at 04:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2008

Sharing Research with Public at UW

August 8, 2008 (wired campus--Chronicle)

UW Website Allows Researchers to Share Projects With The Public

The Office of UW Technology at University of Washington is developing Research1, a Web site that will allow scattered researchers to reunite in online communities and share their projects with the general public through various media, including audio and video files.

“We also see it as a good place for postdocs and graduate students to get exposure and post information about their research,” Andre Tan, the lead Web architect, told University Week.

Research1, which is now in beta testing, revolves around “project hubs,” each with information that can include the project’s team members, grants, and related sites. The hubs can also contain blogs and discussions about the research.

Scientists can chose to share what they upload with the public under a Creative Commons license, or to allow only colleagues or members of the media to view, download, or use the material.

Research1, which has the support of the National Science Foundation, is a project of the ResearchChannel, a national television channel operated by UW Technology that broadcasts research videos from several universities and institutions. —Maria José Viñas

Posted by schnitzr at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2008

Videos Games and Medicine

From Medgadget:

Video Game Actually Helps Fight Cancer

Posted by markmac at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)