Yes? Digital Technology is the Future

Professor Monahan asks us to discuss where we lie are on the spectrum of digital generation theory.

Are we techno utopians that believe the internet can save the world?

Are we techno dystopians that believe the internet is a harbinger of the end of civilization?

Are we cautious enthusiasts who want to figure out how to use the new technological changes for good?

Are we skeptical of the entire discourse?

Yes?

To all of it?

We are in a transitional moment in our culture. This transition exists for many reasons, but one of the most profound is technology, especially digital technology. Our technology changes so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up or anticipate the possible outcomes or consequences.

The kids who are growing up in today’s world live in an entirely different technological landscape than I did, and I’m only thirty. While I think I fit the digital native category, I was born in 1985: I didn’t grow up with cell phones or with constant internet access. Computers and growing tech were prevalent throughout my childhood, but nowhere near to the extent that exist today.

Right before this class started, the mother in law of a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook titled “It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies.” I have multiple issues with this article, but I thought it was interesting that this sort of fearmongering and finger pointing towards technology is occurring in an age where technology is so ubiquitous. The thought struck me that this was written by someone who is not a digital native, and I wondered how scary this new world must be to someone who can’t keep up (or apparently take responsibility for their parenting styles)? (It should also be noted that the author of this article is a doctor in a rehabilitation clinic for addictions and might have more than a small personal agenda to support here). This sort of digital immigrant, as Marc Prensky points out, “w[as] ‘socialized’ differently from their kids, and [is] now in the process of learning a new language” (Prensky, 2001). And of course, this is exactly the topic of the article we read by Plowman and McPake on “Seven myths about young children and technology”.

This is certainly not a new idea either, Alvin Toffler addressed this in his 1970 novel Future Shock and the debate has continued to rage ever since.

In one of my other classes, Children’s Resources, one of the very first things we discussed was the necessity of not limiting information given to children because we think it might be too advanced for them. Children need to be able to take in information and extrapolate from it what they need without adults interfering in the process. I think this point is also necessary when looking at children and what technology we present to them. My first response to the article comparing ipads to heroine was thinking about how I would never deny my children access to the tools that they will need to succeed.

I absolutely believe that digital technology is the current state of the future, and that children today must be exposed early and often to what is available to them in order to afford them future success.

My mother did not let me play videogames as a child. Much like the themes in the above article, she believed that too much screen time was detrimental to my well-being and would firmly boot me outside to go play in the sunlight. Granted, I was much more “addicted” to reading, and she had larger problems prying books out of my hands when it came time to focus elsewhere, but…at the end of the day, one of the things I’ve noticed when comparing myself with friends of mine who did avidly play video games is the extreme difference in technological skills that we carried out of childhood. My friends who were gamers did much better in the STEM areas than I ever did, and have largely chosen professions that utilize technologies that quite frankly I can’t even begin to understand. And again, that was over twenty years ago, so I can only imagine what might happen to child today who is denied access to technology. As Bennett, Maton and Kervin state in their article on digital natives: “Immersion in this technology-rich culture is said to influence the skills and interests of digital natives in ways significant for education” (Bennett, Maton and Kervin, 2008). If digital technology is the wave of the future, the children who will succeed will be those who are comfortable with that technology and understand how to use and create it.

Marc Presnky’s article on digital natives starts with the quote “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (Prensky, 2001). I think this is extremely true. The sister of a friend I grew up with recently began high school. Her school required all incoming freshmen to have Mac laptops. Would this have happened even ten years ago? Probably not. My own elementary school now teaches classes on how to use the internet, on internet safety, and incorporates that discussion into regular coursework. Students use Twitter to talk to others all over the world, and introduce video-making and social media into their arsenal of regular classroom tools. They do this because:

If we want the children of today to continue to be learners tomorrow, we need to help them develop a sense of themselves as competent learners who can function in diverse settings. In order to accomplish this goal, the Lower School curriculum exposes children to different approaches in learning, enhances their awareness of their own individual learning styles, and aids them in discovering that there are many resources for information and knowledge, both within and outside of school. (The Columbus Academy, Lower School)

Can the internet save the world? I think the Egyptian Revolution is a good example of how the internet can cause drastic change for both good and ill. A Wired article about the Egyptian Uprising and social media says: “Did social media like Facebook and Twitter cause the revolution? No. But these tools did speed up the process by helping to organize the revolutionaries, transmit their message to the world and galvanize international support” (Gustin, 2011).

We can certainly argue over the politics and whether we believe what happened in Egypt was right or wrong…but think about that: The fact that common people were able to use a tool like Twitter to help an actual revolution take place. That is no small thing.

In the long run, are the Egyptians better off? I’m sure that only someone living in Egypt right now could even begin to give you that sort of answer. The Wired article makes a good point though, social media and other digital technology is a tool, a tool that is still being used by humans, which we all know are capable of great good and great evil. So while these tools can cause wonderful things, they can also cause terrible things. Globalization, which I believe to be one of the major things that digital technology is ensuring will happen, can be both good and bad. It can bring jobs, communication and assistance to those who need it; it can also take them away.

The protests at Standing Rock are a good example of this as well. It seems like most mainstream media is refusing to cover the protests, but Facebook has allowed continual information and communication to spread. The fact that journalists who are covering the action are being arrested, point to social media becoming a safer, more efficient way of covering future revolutions.

But am I skeptical? Of course. We are only in the beginning of the digital world. Even if we consider technology that was developed in the World War eras of the mid twentieth century, we have not yet even ventured for a century into this new world of technology. In the span of human history, that is a mere drop in the bucket.

I think there’s a huge reason that dystopian futures are so popular right now. People can obviously see the possibilities of a world brought about by technologies with devastating effects, effects we cannot predict.

But I am hopeful. I think that technology gives us the capabilities to do things that we have never imagined before. I think I will see the types of change in my lifetime that my grandparents couldn’t even dream about.

What will these drastic changes in our technological landscape bring? Only time will tell.

 

References:

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The digital natives debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Gustin, S. (2011). Social Media Sparked, Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire. Wired.

https://www.wired.com/2011/02/egypts-revolutionary-fire/

Lower School. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

http://www.columbusacademy.org/Page/Academics/Lower-School

Kardaras, N. (2016). It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. New York Post.

http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/

Plowman, L., & McPake, J. (2013). Seven myths about young children and technology. Childhood Education, 89(1), 27.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, Digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock. New York: Random House.

Library Instruction Assignment 2 – How to Apply for a Second Line Permit in New Orleans, Louisiana

For our first active instruction session, we had to make a jing video that showed someone how to do something. We could chose any “How To” topic, but we had to make sure our audience was obvious and that our instruction was clear.

Ever wonder how to apply for a second line permit in New Orleans?

Here’s how!

http://www.screencast.com/t/AfbjCKLs0v

st__anne_s_parade__8_by_jmedea-d9r7rq5

St. Anne’s Parade, Mardi Gras Day 2016, copyright Lauren DeVoe, please do not use without permission

Hot Topic – Library Related Privacy Concerns

The International Federation of Library Associations considers privacy to be a basic human right, based on statements from Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Office of Intellectual Freedom, 2010, pg 8). The United States Bill of Rights also upholds the right of citizens to privacy, and grants Americans access to publicly funded libraries. The American Library Association states that the right to privacy is “essential” to the right of free speech and free association, and created their Library Bill of Rights in response, saying: “The American Library Association affirms that rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship” (ALA, 2014). Therefore, privacy is seen as a core value of librarianship. For years, libraries have worked to educate patrons on privacy issues and to keep the information provided by patrons confidential. But rapidly changing technology is challenging libraries’ approach to privacy issues. Recent government policies, such as the Patriot Act, make the job of the library much more difficult when it comes to privacy and confidentiality. Libraries are having to change the conversation about privacy issues and work to reevaluate how to handle these issues within the library to ensure that the ethic of privacy is being appropriately upheld.

The ALA maintains that all library professionals have a responsibility to uphold privacy ethics and to facilitate free access to information. While providing access to information without censorship, libraries have upheld basic standards such as withholding patron information from third parties, not monitoring what materials patrons access, and not retaining any information collected in the course of regular patron use of resources (ALA, 2014). In the past, this has been relatively easy. Libraries have disposed of any personal information collected on patrons, such as check out histories and interlibrary loan requests. But with the advent of new technologies, like cloud sharing, this information is not so easily lost. And recent federal laws have made it even harder to deny government requests for information. Libraries continue to try to maintain control over personal information and actively work to resist government violations of privacy rights, but find themselves having to carefully balance lawful requests for information with more stringent, often unethical rights violations from government authorities (ALA, 2014). Federal agents often make this much more difficult by giving federal orders to librarians that tell them that they cannot share the information that the federal government is looking into personal information on patrons in libraries.

The emergence of the internet, Open Access and other communication technologies changes the traditional methods of libraries in regards to privacy issues and concerns. Resources that libraries have conventionally provided in print are now being offered online, and the field is at a crossroads for collecting and managing collections (Zimmer, 2013, pg 29). Web search engines, like Google, provide instant access to millions of information sources, allowing patrons unprecedented access to unfiltered, unverified data. Libraries are having to integrate this new electronic environment into their traditional services, and to approach these platforms as widely accepted sources for their users. But this brings up new questions for library ethics, especially in regards to privacy issues. In the past, intellectual activities have been protected by standards in the library field. But now, unlike in the past, to harness these new resources, libraries have to “capture and retain personal information” in order to “create user profiles, engage in activities that divulge personal interests and intellectual activities, be subject to tracking and logging of library activities, and risk having various activities and personal details linked to their library patron account” (Zimmer, 2013, pg 31). And unfortunately, due to excitement over new possibilities for access, privacy concerns are often being compromised by libraries enthusiastic over new digital possibilities (Zimmer, 2013, pg 36). The lack of clear guidelines that address developments in the new technological age creates a policy vacuum that libraries must consider going forward to further their goal to uphold patron privacy.

The difficulty comes from patron privacy being seen as a “facet” of intellectual freedom. In his article on privacy concerns and electronic resources in libraries, Alan Rubel says: “While electronic resource use, coupled with policies regarding that use, may diminish patron privacy, thereby diminishing intellectual freedom, the opportunities created by such resources also appear liberty enhancing. Any attempt to adjudicate between privacy loss and enhanced opportunities on intellectual freedom grounds must therefore provide an account of intellectual freedom capable of addressing both privacy and opportunity” (Rubel, 2014, pg 184). Vendors of electronic resources provide customized services for patrons, which in turn allows vendors to collect much more personal information on patrons and their usage of resources than ever before. While patrons receive a better product and service, they give up personal information without the ability to control how that information is used. Vendor privacy policies are not usually on par with that of library privacy policies, and vendor ethics do not line up with the ethics of libraries (Rubel, 2014, pg 185). Libraries have to walk a narrow line between service and ethics that is becoming harder and harder to navigate as time goes by. Licensing contracts often require libraries to monitor usage and provide those statistics to vendors. While this information can be used innocently to keep track of what resources are actually needed, it can also be used to track personal usage without patrons ever being aware that this information is being shared.

In their article on the paradox of privacy, Campbell and Cowan state that “Privacy, then, exists at the juncture between the user and the information used. Free and untrammeled exploration of the library’s information resources can only take place if users are free from showing others what they are reading and having to explain why and users need not fear that the information they use will enable others to identify them” (Campbell and Cowen, 2016, pg 493). Technology has the ability to create both positive and negative opportunities for privacy, and Campbell and Cowan point out that the exploitation of personal information can exist without patrons knowing that it is happening. In order to ensure that the true library ethic of privacy is attained in this new world, libraries have to continue to acknowledge the right to privacy, no matter what excuse or rationale is given.

Campbell and Cowan examine the experience of LGBTQ library patrons who use the library as safe space to locate information about their gender and sexual identities. While the library should provide a private place to research this type of information, if that privacy is given up for technological advances, these users could be “outed” and harmed unintentionally. The library assists these users to “identify information [which] requires the gradual evolution of an ability to modulate and control one’s own revelations” (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg 501). The library has created an image of itself as a safe space for these individuals to come and do research for themselves, but this can easily change if the library is not mindful of the type of personal data that it is giving out to third parties. Staff need to be trained in how to handle these privacy issues and concerns, and libraries need to be mindful of the electronic infrastructure that we are creating and using to ensure that traditional ideas of privacy can be maintained in a very new technological environment.

Social media is another resource that needs to be examined. While budgets are being cut, social media is a very good way for libraries to advertise services and continue to bring patrons through the doors. Social media allows for multiple opportunities for exposure and advertisement. But social media is a tool for Big Data Analytics to turn users into resources for information. By tagging users, or following a page, patrons give up information about themselves that they aren’t even aware that they are sharing (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg. 503). As libraries, we have a responsibility to monitor these privacy issues and to police ourselves to make sure our patrons are aware of the risks, as well as the rewards, of using these types of resources.

Because of a constantly changing digital environment, privacy is an ever evolving concern, and libraries need to be constantly mindful of how we are handling this concern. One way to stay on top of privacy assurance in the twenty-first century is to keep doing what we are already doing, only do it a little better: “The ALA’s Core Value of Privacy rests on an assumption that continues to be valid: namely, that by exercising up-to-date collection management and accurate and effective bibliographic control, we empower users to locate information with a minimum of interference” (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg 505). In the future it will be necessary to continue to be mindful of the effects of technology on privacy issues and to be willing to be flexible in how we tackle the use of these technologies. There is no one right answer to the question of how to fully maintain an ethical policy in regards to privacy, but libraries must not overlook privacy in their excitement over new and better technological products. Privacy as a core library value has not diminished: in some ways, it has only become more necessary than ever before.

 

References

ALA Council. (amended 2014, July 1). An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved

July 1, 2016, from

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/privacy

Campbell, D. G., & Cowan, S. R. (2016). The Paradox of Privacy: Revisiting a Core Library

Value in an Age of Big Data and Linked Data. Library Trends, 64(3), 492-511.

Office of Intellectual Freedom. (2010). Privacy and Freedom of Information in 21st-Century

Libraries. Chicago, Ill: American Library Association.

Rubel, A. (2014). Libraries, Electronic Resources, and Privacy: The Case for Positive

Intellectual  Freedom. The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 84(2),

183-208. doi:10.1086/675331

Zimmer, M. (2013). Assessing the Treatment of Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 Literature.

Information Technology and Libraries (Online), 32(2), 29-41.

How to Apply for a Second Line Permit in New Orleans

I’m taking a course on Library Instruction and teaching this semester. We were tasked with making a short, active instruction session on some “how to” subject. I did mine on how to apply for a second line permit. I caught a typo after the fact (of course!) and had a couple spots where I stumbled with my voice slightly, but over all I was pleased with how it turned out!

http://www.screencast.com/t/AfbjCKLs0v

 

Ethical Theory Summary – Existential Ethics

Existentialism sees the universe as an uncaring, often antagonistic place. Because of this, existentialists believe that it is impossible to know the reason and purpose of human life; without a divine presence, they feel that free will and personal responsibility govern the consequences of all people’s actions (Pierpoli, 2011). In an article that considers whether Existential Ethics are even possible, Jonathan Crowe points out that Existential Ethics are often seen as a form of moral subjectivism; the idea that morality is completely individual: “There is no objective way of judging one person’s moral preferences to be better or worse than those of another” (Crowe, 2004). Often criticized for this very sentiment, Existentialists believe that the individual, rather than the society or culture, is responsible for making decisions based on one’s own experience and judgements. Existentialism incorporates ideas of authenticity (being true to the self), absurdity (the need to create order in a chaotic world), alienation (often brought on by the absurdity of life), the idea that existence precedes essence (humans are born and then define themselves), and individualism (Existentialism, 2016). Often criticized for its “anything goes” attitude, existential ethics emphasize reliance on free will and personal responsibility. To quickly define existential ethics, existentialists reject the Aristotelian notion that one can see the good in mankind once one understands the ultimate reason for human existence, because humans define themselves after birth and have free will, and ultimately cannot be compelled into undesirable actions (Ethics, 2016).

Differing widely from other traditional Western philosophies, Existential thought came out of nineteenth and early twentieth century philosophy, and was focused on an examination of the solitary nature of human existence. Often seen to be a writing movement as well as a philosophy, Søren Kierkegaard is often considered to be the father of Existentialism, but other authors such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre were influential in creating the movement as well (Pierpaoli, 2011). These thinkers believed that rational consciousness is the only way to understand the human condition: “Sartre argues that one is morally obliged to recognize the value of both one’s own freedom and the freedom of others” (Crowe, 2004).  Existentialists argue that freedom itself is its own moral compass. People should be able to freely make choices that allow them to do what is best for their own self interests. Morality “becomes a function of individual preferences” and does not always point to one single course of action (Crowe, 2004). In early twentieth century Germany, many cited Existentialism as their rational for supporting Nazism. While not a popular ethic, Existentialism focuses on the individual need of the person enacting their own will on the world around them.

Existential philosophy was heavily influenced by the World Wars and Twentieth Century Imperialism. It seems fairly obvious why these events would have influenced philosophical thought. People were seeking answers to the conditions and horrors that were occurring in the world around them (Pierpaoli, 2011). The idea that God was dead and that we had killed Him was espoused in the works of Nietzsche, and characterizes the world view of existentialism.  Atheism is a major element of existentialism: when applied to an ethical philosophy, atheism, or the idea that we are not governed by a higher power, yields the driving notion that we are responsible for our own actions.

Twentieth Century United States militarism and industrialism lent an existential element to the works of authors such as Ayn Rand, whose work is characterized by the notion that personal responsibility is exemplified by a quest for power and wealth. This has become a staple of certain modern political movements and can be seen in the current political climate. But Rand’s views are also very different from Kierkegaard and Sartre, showing how truly differing the thoughts and beliefs of existential ethics really are. The idea that we are all ultimately doomed to failure is common: “all are on principle doomed to failure…it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations” (Bell, 1999). In stark contrast, some contemporary Existential ethics focus on personal freedom, and the idea that freedom of speech and thought is effected and enacted within the society of other free individuals. An exponent of this type of Existentialism, John Lennon, embraced Existential thought when as a Beatle he performed in Hamburg to an audience of ‘exies’ who influenced the band’s hair styles and dress. Lennon summed up his philosophy in what came to be his legacy lyric: “Imagine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try/ No hell below us/ Above us only sky/ Imagine all the people/ Living for today…” (John Lennon, “Imagine”).

References:

Bell, L. A. (1999). 2.5 Existential Ethics. In S. Glendinning (Ed.), The Edinburgh encyclopedia of continental philosophy. Edinburg, United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press.Retrieved from http://pitt.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/edinburghcp/2_5_existential_ethics/0

Ethics. (2016). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://academic.eb.com.pitt.idm.oclc.org/EBchecked/topic/194023/ethics

Existentialism. (2016). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://academic.eb.com.pitt.idm.oclc.org/EBchecked/topic/198111/existentialism

Crowe, J. (2004). Is an existentialist ethics possible? Philosophy Now, (47), 29-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1035733834?accountid=14437

Pierpaoli, P. (2011). Existentialism. In A. Andrea, World history encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from https://libproxy.tulane.edu/login?url=http://literati.credoreference.com/content/entry/abccliow/existentialism/1

 

Discovery Assignment

We were tasked to read a study done on search tools and discovery platforms and replicate the study on a much smaller scale in groups for my Reference and Research class, LIS 2500.

Here were the instructions: LIS 2500 Disc_Assignment_revised

Poster Picture

For a close up: group 2 assessment poster_final

You can listen to our presentation at: http://www.screencast.com/t/XThtWyQm

And our paper:

Introduction:

Group Two was tasked with comparing the efficacy of different search platforms in order to gain a greater understanding of the reference process and the tools available to aid in a reference interview. The group looked at four separate search platforms and compared those searches in order to draw conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of each. Using a previously published study as a basis for our study (see appendix B for information related to this article), this assessment was created to present our conclusions on the four search platforms used: the University of Pittsburgh’s Library Discovery Platform (PittCat+), EBSCO, ProQuest and Google Scholar.

Background:

Reference services are complex and the tools available for use are many. Libraries offer various search platforms to aid students in finding the right scholarly resources to meet their research needs. Choosing what search platform is best can be daunting for students. However, each search tool also offers a variety of services in order to narrow down results. The library discovery platform gathers all the libraries’ available resources and offers them in one place, allowing students to sort through thousands of offerings. Both EBSCO and ProQuest focus on the resources that those companies publish, which narrows a search down significantly, while Google Scholar searches the Google Databases and offers access to possibly millions of resources. In looking at these search platforms, Group Two looked for which platforms would offer resources that met specific requirements in order to best answer their research questions, using a CRL article (Asher, Duke, and Wilson 2013) as the basis for this process.

Literature Review:

Discovery platforms exist to make research more easily searchable and to help in smoothing out issues in the reference process. By reviewing several articles that examined the efficacy of search platforms, Group Two came to several conclusions. Discovery tools aid users in completing search scenarios and “maximize resource use, minimize student frustration, and ensure libraries’ pivotal role in information use and retrieval” (Foster and MacDonald 2013, 2). Asher, Duke and Wilson concluded in the CRL article which formed the basis of this assessment that “One of the most powerful features of discovery tools is their ability to meet students’ expectations of a single point of entry for their academic research activities supported by a robust and wide-ranging search system” (Asher, Duke, and Wilson 2013, 476). The topic of how Google was used by students when library search platforms are readily available was also a major point of discussion. Mandi Goodsett stated that “Increasingly, libraries find themselves competing for the attention of students with big search engines such as Google and Google Scholar”, which leads to the adoption of Discovery Tools that employ a single search point (Goodsett 2). Google has rapidly changed the face of library searches by forcing libraries to adapt similar looking platforms. Discovery tools appeal to users and more patrons are willing to use discovery platforms with single entry points. While librarians often criticize discovery platforms, all articles read agreed that discovery tools encourage patron use. But choosing discovery platforms can be time consuming and all articles seemed to point out that when librarians could direct patrons to using specific discovery tools, users had better experiences. In general, discovery platforms make the research process easier and most users seem to prefer the main library discovery tool to all else, since it can retrieve results from all items, types and vendors.

Methodology:

In order to create this assessment, Group Two was first asked to read an article which performed a similar study. After reading the article and discussing issues the group had in understanding the article’s study and result, the group was tasked with answering different questions using various search platforms. Each group member created a recording of their search efforts and narrated their thoughts while they did so. Once all searches had been performed, the group as a whole compared the various platforms to reach their conclusions. The group then performed a literature review and compiled this assessment after looking at our own results and comparing them to the literature read. Using the ranking system found in the CRL article (Asher, Duke, and Wilson 2013), the group ranked the articles each member referenced and created the chart found in Appendix A.

Results and Analysis:

While all four discovery platforms used returned articles that met the criteria, the library discovery platform was the group’s favorite search tool. This tool allowed users to refine their searches in a logical manner, while providing the largest number of useful results with the least amount of confusion. The platform performed a search that brought back the widest range of useful resources.

Google Scholar was the group’s least favorite tool. The Advanced Scholar Search portal did not allow as many useful refinements to searches and often provided too many results…in some cases, Group Two was not able to gain access to resources. In other cases, Google Scholar yielded search topics that were not useful and had to be culled out before search results became useable. Also not offered were tools to help patrons ascertain which resources were scholarly, peer reviewed articles. It was agreed that Google Scholar proved the least useful and perhaps the most overwhelming. Group Two would not recommend it to library patrons.

While EBSCO provided quick search results that were easily refined, sorting through its large list of databases to pare the search down to the right topics became overwhelming. However, the EBSCOhost Advanced Search interface is clean, intuitively designed, and easy to read. The available parameters provide a number of useful options to choose from when conducting research without flooding the user with too many options.

In our opinion, ProQuest’s refinements weren’t as adequate as EBSCO’s or the library discovery tool, though they were still better than Google Scholar’s. While the Advanced Search interface is intuitively designed and uncluttered, some of us felt that the Document type selection field provided too many available options to be useful for general research.

While EBSCO and ProQuest offered decent search options, Group Two found that using the library discovery tool easily incorporated both databases, and many of the same resources were found.

References:

 Asher, Andrew D., Lynda M. Duke, and Suzanne Wilson. 2013. Paths of discovery: Comparing the search effectiveness of EBSCO discovery service, summon, google scholar, and conventional library resources. College & Research Libraries 74 (5): 464-88.

Chickering, F. William, and Sharon Q. Yang. 2014. Evaluation and comparison of discovery tools: An update. Information Technology and Libraries 33 (2): 5.

Foster, Anita K., and Jean B. MacDonald. 2013. A tale of two discoveries: Comparing the usability of summon and EBSCO discovery service. Journal of Web Librarianship 7 (1): 1-19.

Goodsett, Mandi. 2014. Discovery search tools: A comparative study. Reference Reviews 28 (6): 2-8.

 

Appendix A:

 

QUESTION 1 Ebsco ProQuest Google Scholar PITT Discovery
Rater 1

Lauren

N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rater 2

Allyssa

 3  3  3  3
Rater 3

Jeremy

 3  3  3  3
QUESTION 3 Ebsco ProQuest Google Scholar PITT Discovery
Rater 1

Lauren

 3  3 3  3
Rater 2

Allyssa

N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rater 3

Jeremy

 3  3  3  3
QUESTION 4 Ebsco ProQuest Google Scholar PITT Discovery
Rater 1

Lauren

 3  3 3  3
Rater 2

Allyssa

 3  3  3  3
Rater 3

Jeremy

N/A N/A N/A N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Videos and Article Titles:

Jeremy DeMaris:

Library: http://www.screencast.com/t/I74dqXSEt

  • The effect of volcanic eruptions on global precipitation
  • Updated historical record links volcanoes to temperature changes

EBSCO: http://www.screencast.com/t/5r2MkJRyw7

  • Clarifying volcanic impact on global temperatures
  • Impacts of high-latitude volcanic eruptions on ENSO and AMOC

Google Scholar: http://www.screencast.com/t/ZMYv8rBj6

  • Atmospheric CO2 response to volcanic eruptions: the role of ENSO, season, and variability
  • The effect of volcanic eruptions on global precipitation

ProQuest: http://www.screencast.com/t/dwjsRYl1Zj7

  • Impact of an extremely large magnitude volcanic eruption on the global climate and carbon cycle estimated from ensemble Earth System Model simulations
  • Volcanic contribution to decadal changes in tropospheric temperature

Comments: Allyssa – I scored 3 on all of them. None of the materials were out of date, sufficient context was provided, and the articles directly addressed the research question in each case (in my subjective opinion). Lauren – I scored a 3 for the same general criteria: each source directly addressed the question, I believe they would be adequate for use in an academic setting, they’re up-to-date, and also appropriate for general presentations, in my opinion. Lauren also made some good observations about the appropriateness of particular resources which showed she was thinking about the question-specific requirement for this topic.

Allyssa Yanniello:

EBSCO: http://www.screencast.com/t/Aa3aBJxCxJV

  • Poor and distressed, but happy: situational and cultural moderators of the relationship between wealth and happiness.
  • Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: The Dual Effect of Wealth on Happiness.

Google Scholar: http://www.screencast.com/t/hhVLD5lJ

  • High Income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being
  • Wealth and Happiness Across the World: Material Prosperity Predicts Life Evaluation, Whereas Psychosocial Prosperity Predicts Positive Feeling

ProQuest: http://www.screencast.com/t/W3avEXHEnI9

  • Resolution of the Happiness-Income Paradox
  • Does Being Well-Off Make Us Happier? Problems of Measurement
  • Income inequality is associated with stronger social comparison effects: The effect of relative income on life satisfaction

Library: http://www.screencast.com/t/5jGiILhcPl

  • Income growth and happiness: reassessment of the Easterlin Paradox
  • Richer in Money, Poorer in Relationships and Unhappy? Time Series Comparisons of Social Capital and Well-Being in Luxembourg

Comments: Jeremy – EBSCO 3, ProQuest 3, Google Scholar 3, PITT Discovery 3. They all hit at least 5 of the 6 rubric points. Lauren – EBSCO 3, ProQuest 3, Google Scholar 3, PITT Discovery 3. However, I do want to say I thought what Lauren said about Google Scholar was very true; the tool is not very good at narrowing down topics, as it does not have an advanced search option. So some of the options were not good for a general project. However, all of the resources hit at least 5 out of 6 rubric points as well.

Lauren DeVoe:

Library: http://www.screencast.com/users/ldevoe/folders/Default/media/6706e4e8-581d-457f-b9ed-356f31059364

  • The civil rights act of 1964 at 50: Past, present, and future.
  • The origins and legacy of the civil rights act of 1964.
  • Civil rights act of 1964

EBSCO: http://www.screencast.com/users/ldevoe/folders/Default/media/33e5c4f7-0d66-4b41-85ff-562e4da7dff3

  • THE SUPREME COURT’S PERVERSION OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
  • Going Off the Deep End: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Desegregation of Little Rock’s Public Swimming Pools.

ProQuest: http://www.screencast.com/users/ldevoe/folders/Jing/media/460b2947-83cd-48c6-aed9-d0e044429669

  • Reinterpretations of Freedom and Emancipation, Civil Rights and Assimilation, and the Continued Struggle for Social and Political Change
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act: Then and Now
  • The First Serious Implementation of Brown: The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Beyond

Google Scholar: http://www.screencast.com/users/ldevoe/folders/Jing/media/40c09666-6a9e-44ea-a8b8-fcc2777a6890

  • Local Protest and Federal Policy: The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
  • Public Accommodations under Civil Rights Act of 1964: Why Freedom of Association Counts as a Human Right.

Comments: Jeremy – Library 3, EBSCO 3, ProQuest 3, Google Scholar 3, Each resource fit the criteria and met the rubric for appropriateness. I thought that Jeremy’s look at Google Scholar pointed out many of the issues inherent and though Jeremy found good resources, it was obvious that there were issues with the platform. Allyssa – Library 3, EBSCO 3, ProQuest 3, Google Scholar 3, all materials met the necessary requirements.

 

Appendix B

What is the goal of the CRL study?

The goal of this CRL study was to judge the efficacy and performance of a few different discovery tools, and to understand how users (in this instance, undergraduate students) utilize these tools to perform research. In addition, the authors of the study were interested in identifying how students approach research problems and what assumptions they make about search/discovery tools (i.e. – whether or not to trust the results returned by a specific tool) in order to help students become better researchers, allow librarians and educators to provide proper instruction, and help users understand how specific discovery tools work to obtain the highest quality resources available. The researchers looked at both qualitative and quantitative data in order to reach their conclusions on efficacy within the use of these search platforms. By focusing on how these platforms were experienced by the users, the study was also striving to “identify and address unmet student needs and instructional requirements” by studying how students use these discovery platforms (Asher, Duke, and Wilson 2013, 465). The authors also wanted this study to be more comprehensive, which is why it looks at more than one discovery platform: “This study seeks to move beyond technical issues and single-tool evaluations to make a more comprehensive investigation that compares how students use different search tools and the types of materials they discover during their searches” (Asher, Duke and Wilson 2013, 466). The study sought to understand why students chose to use certain discovery tools over others, and understand how librarians can better help students who come into the library find the best resources possible through the tools that are currently being used.

How will this CRL article relate to this Discovery assignment?

The discovery assignment is similar to this study, as we are trying to compare the efficiency of different search platforms. Two out of the four platforms we will be examining are also discussed in the study, EBSCO Discovery platform and Google Scholar. Some of the study methods outlined in the CRL article (i.e. – answering research questions using different discovery tools and judging the quality of selected resources) reflect processes we will be involved in as part of the discovery assignment. We’ll also be assessing the tools we use and providing a test case outline similar to the one utilized in the CRL study (i.e. – intro, background, methodology, analysis, results, etc.). This study asked students to evaluate different search platforms with set questions, just as this assignment will. Essentially it seemed that the CRL study was a larger version of this assignment. This assignment seems to encourage a similar process in how this class looks at discovery platforms and judges how to best research a reference questions.

What is the “muddiest point” or main idea that you didn’t understand in the CRL study?

Group 2 did not understand how correlations were calculated for the judgments of each rater using the Spearman’s Rho formula. The purpose of using such a formula was apparent, but it would help to understand how the numbers are generated in order to grasp or ‘visualize’ the derived correlations for each question in order to contextualize this step better. Also, when judging the overall quality of resources generated by each tool and comparing them to each other, the authors talked about ‘statistical significance’ (whether the higher overall score received by one tool compared to that of another tool was statistically significant), but we weren’t able to see any information in the body of the text or in the appendices to help us determine what ratio they were using to determine ‘statistical significance’ (i.e. – a mean score that is 1 point higher than another’s mean score?…or something else?).

So a list of questions that should be asked:

What is Spearman’s Rho?

How is it calculated?

Why was it used instead of a different formula?

What other formulas could be used in a study like this?

Where would we find those and actually implement them in our own projects?

What is meant by statistical significance in this study?

What statistics were being used? Or how were they calculated?

What type of statistics should we be looking at in our own research? Where would we go to find this kind of statistic?

 

Reference:

Asher, Andrew D., Lynda M. Duke, and Suzanne Wilson. 2013. “Paths of Discovery: Comparing the search effectiveness of EBSCO Discovery Service, Summon, Google Scholar, and Conventional Library Resources.” College and Research Libraries 74, no.

ROI in Academic Libraries

In the current climate of economic downturn, ROI is a way for libraries to assess and evaluate the value of e-collections. Libraries are pressured with an increasing need to account for the money that is being allocated towards their collections and services, and to prove that what is being purchased is actually being used. Return on Investment is a way for libraries to “quantify” the value of these collections. While prices for library services are increasing, academic institutions are looking closer and closer at the ways in which academic libraries are using their budgets. Carol Tenopir looks at these issue on her article on ROI in academic libraries: “The value gap occurs when the cost of library collections and services increases over time, while the perceived value declines” (Tenopir 2010, 40).

Tenopir reports that ARL libraries have begun a major project to determine better ways of looking at ROI in academic libraries. While public libraries have many ways to study ROI, academic libraries are just getting started and have not yet adapted the necessary tools for an adequate ROI process. ARL statistics are being collected and analyzed internationally. The University of Illinois started this case study by looking at “the value of the library in the grants process through proposals, the return in grant funding, and grants reporting” which will allow them to see a definable source of library income and how it impacts library budgets (Tenopir 2010, 40). The project will continue to look at grants among more institutions and then, finally, look at other sources that show libraries’ return on investment.

Tenopir concludes: “What we hope to show as the studies progress is that the library’s products and services help faculty be successful, help students be successful, and generate both immediate and downstream income that provides good return for the investment” (Tenopir 2010, 46). When I first heard of ROI, I was almost offended. When purchasing collections and databases for the library, the immediate need and use is not always quantifiable. After further reading, I don’t think that ROI is a bad thing and I think Tenopir explains why very adequately with her conclusion. We are spending large amounts of money for these products, which does in turn affect our services. Why spend money on collections that are not enhancing services to our patrons? I think that ROI is probably a good means of proving the effectiveness of our spending, and is a good way to prove to administration and other library funding services that what the library has to offer is creating a wide and immediate impact. Perhaps in an era where we don’t have to pinch pennies, this wouldn’t be as important. But in today’s academic atmosphere, ROI could become an important tool in proving the importance of the budgets allocated to the library.

social-media-roi

Tenopir, Carol. 2010. “Measuring the Value of the Academic Library: Return on Investment and Other Value Measures.” Serials Librarian 58, no. 1-4: 39-48. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed December 7, 2015).