2014 Student Presentations
Maureen Babb – A Survey Exploring the Perceptions of Academic Librarians as Researchers
Two surveys were sent to academic librarians and non-librarian faculty at six major Canadian Universities in order to explore the perceptions of academic librarians as researchers. The surveys were the first part of a larger, ongoing, mixed-methods study. Survey invitations were sent to 493 non-librarian faculty (response rate 6%) and to 138 librarians (response rate 22%). Librarians were found to engage in research activities regularly, viewing research as a valuable component of their duties. Non-librarian faculty, however, are generally unaware of the role that research plays in librarianship, despite recognizing that it has value. Both groups identified librarianship as a service oriented profession, and indicated there may be tensions when trying to allow research and service to co-exist within one profession. Results from the librarians identified another tension, between the desire to conduct research and the lack of a research support system for them to do so. These tensions exist despite the fact that many librarians are required to conduct research. Collaborative research was identified by both groups as something which should be undertaken more often.
Lydia Zvyagintseva – Infrastructures and platforms: articulating a vision for data curation in the digital humanities
Currently, many research institutions are involved in digital humanities research, such as the production of digital editions of manuscripts, text mining tools, database-driven interactive websites, gaming and virtual environments, mobile applications, and other textual, graphic and multimedia digital objects. The challenge for the libraries that support the research of their faculty is finding ways that preserve and make accessible the results of this digital research over time. Data curation is the process that addresses this challenge through planning, selection, editing, description, management, preservation, and reuse of the research data over the course of its entire life cycle. While data curation has been predominantly associated with the sciences, humanists, especially those working with computational tools and methods, are also beginning to generate large amounts of data in a variety of formats, much of it born digitally. As a result, libraries are increasingly concerned with supporting the increasing volumes of research data. They are responding by defining their institutional policies that guide data management and preservation services. This presentation aims to define the relationship between research data management and data curation as a set of scholarly practices performed both in libraries and in digital humanities research teams. Based on these definitions, this presentation also aims to propose a vision for data curation in the digital humanities as library service by examining several projects currently underway in scholarly environments. These projects include the repositories DataStaR at Cornell University, ScholarSphere at Penn State University, commercial repositories Figshare and Dryad, and a scholarly publishing platform Readux at Emory University.
Elizabeth Kreiter – Stories from the score collection: Assessing the research needs of music students
This study explores the research needs of upper-level students of the University of Alberta Music Department. It specifically looks at student interactions with the score collection, through individual interviews with a focus group of undergraduate and graduate students. Analysis reveals that these students view the score collection as a satisfactory and highly-utilized resource; despite this opinion, graduate and undergraduate students alike report significant barriers to access when using the collection. Many of these barriers arise from the students’ lack of music-specific information literacy. It is therefore essential that we understand the inherent difficulties of any specialized research field when working to improve library service to students, and evaluate the tools and teaching that we provide, as closely as we monitor the materials that we collect.
Sarah Vela – Information Quality and the Need for Standards in Museum Records
In law, scholarship and social perception, museums are held up as equivalent to libraries and archives as the third member of LAM institutions: all three are publicly funded and are designed to preserve knowledge for the education and entertainment of society. In the operation of these organizations, however, there are significant differences in the principles and practices of museums that separate them from the other two. This presentation will focus on the poor implementation of standards in the digital records of museums as compared to those in libraries. It will be argued that the origin of this contrast derives from the early development of professional associations, such as the ALA in the realm of libraries, while no comparable organization has ever emerged for museums. Then, based on the results of a survey conducted with academic scholars who use museums in their research, the effect of this lack of standards on the perception of information quality in these institutions will be considered, as well as the importance of improving record consistency if museums are to remain academically relevant. Authority and reliability are key components of trusted resources, and museums need to develop intra- and inter-institutional standards if they are to maintain a status as equals with other information organizations.Cari Lynn Postnikoff – How an International Trade Deal Could Change Everything: The Potential Implications of the Trans Pacific Partnership
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is an international deal currently being negotiated by countries around the Pacific Rim. Negotiations are happening in secret, with only a small selection of government delegates and corporate lobbyists privy to the proceedings and working documents. Although the deal is purportedly about international trade, some portions of it – most notably the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter – have little to do with trade and could have profound consequences on information policies and basic freedoms in Canada and beyond. If the IP chapter of the TPP (leaked to the public in November 2013) passes into law as it currently stands, the Canadian patent and copyright systems would be subject to an immediate and dramatic overhaul; some of the implications of these changes could include skyrocketing healthcare costs, decreased accessibility on digital material for disabled users, and longer and stricter copyright terms with criminal penalties for infringements. This presentation will discuss the most salient points in the leaked IP chapter which may be of concern for information professionals as well as the public at large.
Meghan O’Leary – Where are you plugged-in? Which social media sites can young people use to find everyday-life information?
The average young person is virtually plugged into the Internet almost all the time through computers or cellphones. Constant connection and communication with peers has become a normal aspect of everyday life, and this presentation provides an analysis of the literature surrounding the information behaviour and everyday-life information needs of young people. Based on the literature, seven categories of everyday-life information needs have been identified. Five recommendations for social media that young people use are outlined in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, and Yahoo Answers.
Robyn Stobbs – Fiction & Information: Not Opposites, But Parts of the Reading Experience
Fiction and information may not seem to go together; however, this pilot study was the beginning of an investigation into information and adults’ experiences of fiction reading. Questions explored include: how information is sought or encountered in relation to fiction reading, what the outcomes of fiction reading are and how information relates to them, and how acquisition of information and reading affect book choices. A phenomenographic approach was taken using the qualitative method of written journals followed up by in-person interviews. Themes found through the analysis of the data collected include book selection; outcomes, both affective and educational; rereading; authority; and the social and sharing aspects of fiction reading. Information can be defined in a variety of ways, and as such, the participants used, sought, and encountered information in a variety of ways during their reading experiences. Book selection, as experienced by the participants, involved aspects of the book itself as well as information gained from previous reading and socialization. Outcomes of reading were sometimes specifically sought by a participant, such as by rereading something to fit a mood, or less purposively sought, such as the book having influence on a participant’s later life. Rereading was done by all of the participants in this study, some of which expressed a desire for authority achieved not only through rereading, but also through seeking out other outside sources and social interaction. Aspects of information come into each of these key themes, which are a part of the experience of information in relation to fiction reading, and the themes relate to and intertwine with each other.
Cherrie Smith, Anastasia Kazakevich & Alanna Scott – The Construction of Narrative in the Development of the Board Game “Clue”
“Clue” is a classic family board game, inviting players to use critical thinking skills to solve a fictitious murder. The game has evolved constantly over several decades, and has been adapted into a variety of other media including books, toys, and a major motion picture. “Clue” and its development demonstrates the ways in which audiences construct narratives around the mechanics of play in board games. We examine the history of “Clue,” including the influence of WWII on its development, the evolution of game elements such as characters and board design, and the variety of spin-offs and variant editions, including adaptations into other media. We consider the ways narratives have been imposed on the game’s structure through these evolutions. We explore “Clue” and its immersion into narrative based on Melanie Green and Timothy Brock’s Transportation Scale. We discuss the importance of “Clue” and other board games to libraries. Research by Crews (2011) supports the use of games in public, academic, and school libraries as a way to engage patrons and students, and to help develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, inquiry, and strategic planning. Engagement with board games and constructing narratives to accompany game play, can also assist in the development of complex literacy skills in players.
Morgan Hordal – Exploring the experiences of older adults with their e-book readers
E-readers have become increasingly popular and library patrons of all ages are acquiring them. Older adults comprise a unique demographic as they are not digital natives. Despite not utilizing technology throughout their lifetime, many are interested in adopting e-reader technology. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of older adults who use e-book readers. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants to determine why they chose to acquire an e-reader, their perceived advantages and disadvantages of e-reading and their e-reader, and how their overall experience compared to reading print books. The findings show that older adults are attracted to e-readers for their convenience and portability, as well as their ability to enhance their reading comfort by compensating for vision difficulties. Their lack of technical knowledge about how to operate their e-readers and the processes to obtain e-books demonstrates a continued need for instruction provided by public libraries, in particular one-on-one help sessions.
Erik Christiansen – A Study of Students’ Perceptions of Library Catalogues on Tablet Computers: The NEOS Consortium Catalogue
The objective of this pilot study was to ascertain how university students used the NEOS catalogue on tablet computers, and to discover what alterations would be necessary to improve the user experience. Four graduate students from the University of Alberta’s Education department were recruited. Each student was asked to complete a series of simple timed usability tasks – on a tablet computer of their choosing – using the NEOS catalogue. Students also answered a variety of semi-structured interview questions regarding their tablet usage, Internet browsing habits, device preference, general impressions of NEOS using a tablet, and whether they were receptive to the idea of a mobile app. Qualitative data was coded and divided into three major themes using Grounded Theory. Overall, students found the functionality and design of NEOS to be adequate. Typing, authentication, and scrolling through lists presented consistent usability problems while on a tablet. Three of the four participants said tablets were not conducive for conducting research, and instead they preferred to use a laptop or desktop. Only one participant was receptive to the idea of a NEOS app, while the rest preferred to use a web interface.