Using Adaptive Research Consultations to Support Scholars More Effectively

Megan Potterbusch

From the April SHARE Update, this posting by Megan Pottersbush,  2016-17 National Digital Stewardship Resident (NDSR) at the Association of Research Libraries: 

“Although I enter research consultations with questions in mind—and often on paper if there is a particular library or technical goal to illuminate, I try not to assume that my current favorite tool or tools will be the best answer to whatever the researcher’s current challenge might be or even that I already know the right solution to a given challenge. Instead, I gather resources and best practices throughout my work and mentally file them away to call on when the situation warrants it. My goal is to better understand researchers’ workflows and challenges from a human-centered service perspective, and to adapt my questions and solutions to the needs I hear arise in their answers—always seeking to gain a better understanding.”

Read the full post

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Get to Know Your Functional Specialists – Liaison Update Forum

The Liaison Update Forum on Oct. 4 featured short presentations by UTL’s functional specialists, who explained what they do and how their services can be useful to liaisons. Below is a list of speakers and any slides or resources they provided with their presentation.

Suggestions for Improving the Connection between Functional and Liaison Librarians

At table discussions after the presentations, a number of suggestions came forward on how to advance collaborations between functional specialists and liaison librarians:

  • invite liaisons who may not regularly teach, to co-teach or be present during information literacy workshops
  • create a directory of functional specialists in Confluence
  • functionals could do more with liaison clusters during the pilot – come in to talk more about opportunities
  • highlight some of the tools that liaisons could promote or use (e.g. Omeka, Islandora)  as spotlight articles in In the Loop – a way of showcasing these tools to staff who may not be aware of them
  • create a visualization/flow chart of a digital project, from genesis to execution – to illustrate how projects come to be, and the path to execution and completion. This could serve as a model to faculty members who may want to make their own collections of content/images available online.
  • Add the work of functional specialists to the Library Resources for Faculty guide, to better highlight their work and increase awareness

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Proquest Databases @ U of T – Liaison Update Forum

Links and materials from the June 14 2016 Liaison Update Forum to review methodologies and communications options related to the discontinuation of selected Proquest databases.

  • Library web site: “Libraries approach to collection building” (includes links to Confluence-posted content for library staff)
  • Presentation slides: PQC methodology June14
  • Proquest Central documentation (in Confluence)
  • Sample questions and responses from today’s discussion: Each scenario was reviewed by a small group of librarians, who developed a strategy for response.  The responses were shared with the entire meeting for additional suggestions and changes.
Scenario 1 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 1 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 2 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 2 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 3 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 3 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 4 Group 2 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 4 Group 2 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 4 Group 1 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 4 Group 1 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 5 (click to enlarge)

Scenario 5 (click to enlarge)

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Liaison Librarians Update Forum March 1 2016

The March 1 Liaison Update Forum featured a presentation from Professor Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, on trends in undergraduate education that have impact on her portfolio at the U of T.  The forum also  showcased 3 additional lightning round presentations.  Each presentation was followed by small group discussion and an open Q&A session.  Presenters kept track of the questions  and have kindly recorded and shared their responses for this post.

  1. Professor Susan McCahan, on Trends in Undergraduate Education Watch the video (best in IE – volume is a little low in the beginning)
  2. Laure Perrier, Gerstein Science Information Centre, on Research Data Management: UToronto Libraries Update Powerpoint || Q&A
  3. Erica Lenton, Gerstein Science Information Centre, on Creating a service through community & collaboration  (Evidence Synthesis Service) Powerpoint || Q&A
  4. Courtney Lundigan, Graham Library, Trinity College, on Re-imagining Liaison at UTL (update on progress of the Liaison Future Directions Working GroupPowerpoint || Q&A

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Re-imagining Liaison: Faculty Liaison Program Assessment 2014-15

extracted email from Rita Vine April 21 2014

The ​UTL ​faculty liaison program has been in place for several years now, and many of you have done some wonderful work making strong connections with our faculty.  To build on our success​,​ and to align the program with our new Strategic Plan. ​

I’m writing to you today with information and a tentative timetable to take a fresh look the U of T Libraries’ faculty liaison program​.
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I have met with many of you during departmental meetings to get input on a process to reimagine faculty liaison, to advance both the Library’s Strategic Plan and the University’s strategic directions. I want to thank you for your contributions to those discussions ​. ​Many of your ideas have been incorporated into the process outlined below.

Starting this Spring, there will be an opportunity for all librarians to re-​think and re-​imag​ine​ our faculty engagement work in the next five years and beyond.  To ensure a process that is both transparent and effective, I’ve looked to the well-established UTQAP review process (see section 5.5, in particular) as inspiration and guidance, and I am proposing the following:

  1. Self-study activities: Facilitated librarian focus groups with analysis and report; facilitated focus groups with faculty about liaison work; identifying, gathering and reviewing of collected data that can help us understand both our reach and gaps (Spring-Summer 2014)
  2. An external review of the faculty liaison program (Fall 2014)
  3. Administrative evaluation of the self-study components and the external assessment report resulting in recommendations for program quality improvement (Winter 2015)
  4. Preparation and adoption of plans to implement the recommendations and to monitor their implementation (Winter 2015)
  5. Follow-up reporting on the principal findings of the review and the implementation of the recommendations (Spring 2015)

My intention is for reporting and follow-​up discussion to take place at every milestone in the process, and to share reports and data widely.
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In the next ​few days,  ​all ​librarians (both liaison and those in functional roles) will receive an invitation to attend one of several facilitated focus groups. These focus groups will provide an opportunity for you to reflect on your own liaison work to date, share​ with colleagues from across the UTL​ how you see the future  ​of librarian-faculty engagement, and ​collectively ​imagine how you will work alongside faculty in the  ​future. Focus groups will be scheduled for librarians at UTM and UTSC as well. There are enough spots in the focus groups to accommodate all librarians.

I hope that you will participate in the focus groups; your input will be important and your voice is critical to enhancing the liaison program.

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Update February 24 2015:

A summary version of the Report of Findings UTL Liaison Librarian Program Focus Groups is available. 

Dr. Debra Wallace and Ms. Lisa Norberg have agreed to serve as external reviewers, and will be on campus for meetings on April 15-16 2015.  The reviewers’ terms_of_reference are also available.

Update June 3 2015: The final report is now available.

Report on External Review: University of Toronto Libraries Liaison Librarian Program (May 2015) 

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What can liaison librarians do to support and encourage use of our less popular but outstanding databases?

As part of the June 13 2013 liaison librarians event on acquiring and deploying e-resource collections at the U of T, Dan D’agostino provided an overview of the Oxford Bibliographies and Sage Research Methods Online.  These are excellent tools but receive low use. Many faculty and grad students aren’t aware of them.

Librarians discussed how they could increase awareness of these types of tools among key users.  They shared these ideas with the group

How can we communicate with our users about OBO and SRMO?

  1. Insert a link to these resources when appropriate in course-specific Libguides
  2. When we send an email to instructors, don’t just promote the entire resource, find something within the resource that will resonate with that particular faculty member’s interests. Be targeted in your approach.
  3. Connect with graduate student organizations in departments and GSU generally to promote these resources
  4. Connect with undergraduate student unions in individual departments, promoting content in the resources that will be applicable to these students’ interests (Rita will be getting the list of departmental UG unions in September)
  5. Suggested that the low stats for these resources might need additoinal review, as some librarians indicate more robust use of OBO than stats would suggest.
  6. Connect with faculty about something else that really interests them, then inject an “oh, by the way…” on OBO or SRMO
  7. When faculty request materials to be added to their reading lists, suggest these as additional ideas for consideration if they are appropriate.
  8. Reach out to TAs in specific departments to show-and-tell these tools.  They may be interested in them for their students but also for themselves. Consider offering workshops for departmental TAs
  9. Check the calendar for your departments, and look for classes that focus on research methods.  Reach out to instructors in these classes to make them aware of how these tools can help them.
  10. Get Coursebuilder status in Portal courses for your department (ask the instructor to add you as a Coursebuilder) so that you can add these resources.
  11. Add these resources (with explanations) to your customized Library Resources pages in Blackboard using the FIXIT tool (available though the staff intranet)
  12. Find out who sends out weekly departmental newsletters to faculty and/or grad students, and ask them to insert a short blurb on the benefits of one of these resources.

You can also view the raw idea capture from the event.

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Summary: Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment

Below is a summary of the points made in the white paper: Intersections of Scholarly Communication and Information Literacy: Creating Strategic Collaborations for a Changing Academic Environment

We will be discussing the paper at the June 5 Librarians’ Information Literacy Practice Exchange.  In addition to the summary below, take 5 minutes to read Kevin Smith’s April 29 blog post, Meet Me at the Intersection, which brings together many of the key points using a recent, vivid example.

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This paper argues that librarians need to realign their activities to integrate issues of scholarly communication into their support for teaching and learning.

“Every librarian in an academic environment is a teacher.” (p. 4) The need for librarians versed in information literacy principles and techniques to incorporate scholarly communication into their information literacy programs and cases extends to every level of student, from undergraduate to graduate.  Additionally, the paper contends that individual library structures, which are in many ways are still grounded in divisions of public service and collections services,  may benefit from redesign in order to foster librarians’ deeper knowledge and capacity in both information literacy and scholarly communication.

The facts:

  • Students are not just users of information but are becoming authors and editors of new knowledge, through avenues such as:
      • student journals, as authors of published articles
      • creation of blogs, Wikipedia articles, videos, social media and online content. Many students want  to publish their content online.
  • Publishing is in a state of turmoil. The existing model of scholarly publishing is unsustainable and no single replacement model has been found, resulting in much experimentation.
  • Digital technologies are extremely fragmented; users have much greater unmediated access to scholarship now; sharing of knowledge is commonplace and in many cases, expected.  With this comes new pressures to understand intellectual property, ethical use of copyright materials, appropriate application of fair dealing/fair use. Users need help navigating these complex pathways, and as librarians we need to understand the life cycle of scholarship, its environment, and the need to respond to specific questions on a case-by-case basis
  • Universities face increased materials costs but lower budgets; increased student enrollments; reduced library staff; and increasing pressure on universities to demonstrate value and student success.
  • The published item is no longer the ultimate and preferred vehicle for all things scholarly, e.g. multimodal journals, born-digital content
  • Boundaries between disciplines are shifting/blurring
  • Increasing openness allows additional, non-traditional voices to add to the scholarly dialogue.

Information literacy implies an awareness of the social, economic and legal conditions for scholarly communication within specific disciplines.

  • Librarians have come a long way from delivering “bibliographic instruction” and increasingly see themselves as essential partners in both student learning, and as driving forces in scholarly research. They seek to create high-impact teaching and learning experiences.  Issues of scholarly communication offer many “teachable moments”
  • Adapt our teaching approaches to support students working in the digital environment, integrating new types of content into our teaching.  Our challenges now go far beyond bibliographic and textual information.
  • Students — even early-stage undergraduates — can benefit from an understanding of “the forces that shape the information they consume” (p. 7)

Some ways this can be achieved:

  • Become involved with student-run journals and formal undergraduate research programs. These offer opportunities to consult with students on economic, technological, and legal aspects of publishing.
  • In research-based courses, create experiential learning opportunities that explore elements of the scholarly communication process
  • Consult with grad students on their dissertations beyond the lit search. Help them with publishing questions that inevitably arise (e.g. reuse of figures; repository selection, access issues)
  • Partner in open online courses (e.g. MOOCs) that require advice on copyright, access and use of content
  • Develop information literacy programs that are more fully integrated into the curriculum and include scholarly communication topics
  • Incorporate interesting case studies and “active learning” into class projects
  • Treat publishing as “course work”
  • Create learning opportunities where students gain knowledge/information from peers and their environment (ie not just literature searches)
  • Help students understand best practices in the use of copyrighted and free materials
  • Help students understand the causes of  barriers to information access after they leave university
  • Help student authors use Creative Commons licenses in their work
  • Support students wanting to add senior papers or honors thesis to the institution’s digital repository — in doing so learn about copyright, OA and digital publishing

  • Help students learn new ways of thinking about evaluating, using, citing many different kinds of media
  • Help students find and use data, incorporating this into assignments. Not just numeric, but also textual data.

    Help students understand how their choices as users and creators of data affect access, reuse and preservation.

  • Teach the economics of publishing:  e.g. the academic “gift economy” where faculty volunteer labour which is sold back by publishers

  • Help students understanding the life cycle or “social life” of information, including how impact is measured
  • Educate students and faculty about disseminating the results of their work for maximum reach

  • Help students understanding emerging concepts of “peer review” (e.g. crowdsourcing post-publication)
  • Make presentations to stakeholders — faculty, departments, research groups, grad student meetings
  • Create online instructional materials aimed at different audiences
  • Build expectations of basic scholarly communication knowledge into liaison librarian role descriptions

How can librarians develop our skills and abilities in this area?

  • While information literacy roles are reasonably well integrated into many librarians’ activities, scholarly communication is much newer.
  • Liaison or subject specialist models have focused mainly on collection building, reference and disciplinary instruction support.  The comprehensive liaison model affords new opportunities to become valuable partners in new initiatives and services to the communities served.
  • Share best practices in teaching across disparate areas. “All librarians regardless of job title need to learn, understand, and practice the best approaches to instruction in their many different environments.” (p. 16)
  • Collaborate with differently-skilled librarians to develop educational programs to support information fluency among students, faculty and staff (defined on page 14) Collaborations enable librarians to become transliterate  — understand the interaction across all literacies, digital, visual, textual, data
  • Partner with faculty to help students develop new skills and new habits
  • To be resilient in the face of changing roles, we need to be willing to practice and model innovation organizationally. Explore options for organizational change that break down barriers between information literacy and scholarly communication

 

 

 

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