Archive for: March, 2011

University Professors Teach Too Much

This series of four posts by William M. Briggs is pretty interesting stuff.

The kind of thing where I'm torn: is it the most brilliant and perceptive thing I've ever read about higher education or is it a series of slightly early April 1st posts?

Dear Internet, I really need all you people out there to help me figure this one out. Which way does it go.

And by the way, you really have to read all four posts to get the complete message. The comment streams are interesting too.

University Professors Teach Too Much: Part I

Here is what everybody knows: the best researchers are often not the best teachers. Statistically, the relationship is negatively correlated. Prowess in the lab implies indexterity in the classroom. This is natural. An individual managing four graduate students, one post-doc, writing a new grant, revising an old one, and writing papers from the results of a third cannot devote adequate energy to preparing a Friday-morning quiz on "What is a paragraph?" to freshmen, of which a non-trivial fraction are hungover or otherwise sleep deprived. I am speaking "on average", of the predominant reality, and therefore it would be a fallacy to counter with examples of exceptional researchers who are also brilliant teachers.


Universities should become bipartite: college and research institute under one banner. In practice, each would--and should--have little to do with the other, though they would share the same name and school colors. The college mandate is to teach all undergraduate courses and those graduate courses which are non-specialized. The people that man colleges should not be researchers--unless, as will be rare, somebody wants to cross the line and write a paper on a subject dear to them. The people that man research institutes should not be teachers--unless, as will be rare, somebody wants to cross the line for a temporary change of scenery. It would be best if some "universities" eschew all research (via attrition of workers) and become solely colleges. Other universities should separate from, or eliminate their college components, and become solely research institutes.

University Professors Teach Too Much: Part II

Requiring teachers to write papers is asking them to do what they are not good at. If they were good at it (and had the desire), they would be researchers and not teachers. Teachers are wasting time publishing an article in the South-by-Southwest Far East Asia Journal of Research: C when they could have been polishing a lecture, holding extra office hours, or in just plain reading. It is a waste because the paper will never be read by anybody except the one or two referees attached to the journal, and it fools the teacher into thinking he has been productive. It also fools the promotion committee (which obsessively counts papers) into thinking they are measuring the ability of the teacher to do his job.

Counting papers is like eating opium: it is an addiction everybody knows its wrong, but nobody can resist. It's only a wonder academics don't receive spam promising a "Proven method to grow your paper numbers. 7++ new citations! Make Deans scream in delight!!!"

University Professors Teach Too Much: Part III

Colleges themselves--which, I remind us, are to be separated from research institutes--should be broken in two: traditional college and technical or trade school (this break need only be administrative and not physical). As Russell Kirk tells us, college exists to impart wisdom, not knowledge, and certainly not information or even, as is by now commonplace, trivia. Trade schools should take students interested solely or mainly in obtaining a skill or a "degree", a talisman which they must emboss on their resume to get a job at one of the many non-contemplative and undiscerning companies which require them.

Incidentally, this purblind requirement of a "degree"--and not of knowledge or ability--is why there are too many kids going to college.

Trade school will encompass majors like "business", "marketing", "sports management", "diversity studies" of any kind, "communications", "journalism", "computer science", "health", "nursing", "art" of any stripe, "engineering", "security" (yes, it exists), "criminal science1", "hotel management", and so forth, which give students a taste--an amuse bouche, but no more--of the fields in which they will toil. Cosmetology and refrigeration schools have the right idea (I do not jest nor denigrate; these are useful, honest places).


College is not a place to learn a trade or skill of any kind. It is not job training. It is a place to think; rather, a place to learn how to think, to develop the habit of discernment. As Cardinal Newman said, college is a place to "open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, [and] eloquent expression." College is the first step for those who would be future leaders.

University Professors Teach Too Much: Part IV

What Should Be Taught

I suggested (in Part III) that "computer science" students should be housed in trade schools and not college. This is because the vast majority of enrollees in this subject only want to secure a job in programming, web or game design, or the like. These earnest, honest folk really don't need to know more than the basics. (In a strange twist, professors, insisting on purity (and theory), won't teach what most of these kids want to learn. Teaching actual languages is seen as an left to trade schools?)

Hey! Wouldn't it be nice if computer students knew all about unsolvability, Turing tests, the theory of languages. It would indeed. It would also be nice if they knew all about differential equations, analysis, group theory, quantum chemistry, string theory, all the various niceties of electronic engineering, and so on, plus (for their customers) Spanish, Chinese, and French. And since no education would be complete without a thorough understanding of history, give 'em that. Shouldn't they know something about literature? And writing? And a slew of other subjects? Yes, absolutely. Let's well-round them!

I have to admit, I'm intrigued if not quite convinced.

I have some questions that perhaps the crowd can help me with:

  • How possible would it be to disentangle research from teaching in terms of government funding to the various types of institutions?
  • How would research time & effort be allocated for fields that don't have immediate practical application or sources of outside funding?
  • Are faculty so completely and uniformly convinced that research and undergraduate teaching don't somehow inform each other?
  • How much does the above vary by discipline?
  • Are students' real interests well served in this model?
  • Is the library's role in these types of institutions enhanced, diminished or about the same?


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Around the Web: What grades mean, Finding women to speak at tech conferences and more

Mar 31 2011 Published by under around the web

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Around the Web: People misbehaving on the Internet

Mar 30 2011 Published by under around the web, social media

Usually my Around the Web posts are full of pink fluffy bunny ain't-the-Internet-grand kind of links. Oh, sure, I do link to the occasional train wreck but that's rare. I really prefer that strategy because I tend to be an optiministic (if slightly cautious) person by nature.

But everyone loves a good train wreck from time to time. And here they are.

What's the purpose of this? To balance the tendency towards Web utopianism with a pinch of human nature. I think that on the whole the web is vastly beneficial to the world but I'm also not delusional enough to think there's no downside.

DC's Blog Closes Comments, Gives Up On Even Trying To Talk to You Jerks

In today's installment of "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" news, The Source, the official blog of the DC Universe, has closed down their comments section following a brief but intense flamewar that broke out on a recent post and spiraled into personal attacks against readers, creators, and members of the DC comics staff.

As for what could possibly have inspired so much anger from the readers that the Source had to lock the whole site down to keep things from getting worse -- well, it won't surprise anyone who has spent more than five minutes reading any given forum on the Internet that the vitriol was based on a subject of absolute, life-or-death importance: Who runs faster, Superman or the Flash?

TA under fire after Facebook blunder

A York University tutorial assistant (TA) is under investigation after comments deemed unprofessional were posted to her Facebook page concerning the academic level of her tutorial students.

The TA in question, Bianca Baggiarini, posted comments to her Facebook status Feb. 22. They stated, "My student's papers are making me dumber, so very stupid; by the minute. Please, make them, stop. They are infecting me with there huge and apparent stupidity, and I fear they will start to effect in my opinion the way I myself right papers [sic]."

And from a later article, TA apologizes to students regarding Facebook comments

Yeah, the whole Rebecca Black thing. Sigh.

I retweeted this joke by @HeyItsLiam: Rebecca has such the opposite of star power, I can only call her a black hole of talent.

@maisquared responded: I don't think negativity towards a 13 yr old girl is cool, neither is cyber bullying.

Actually, I do hear what Mai is saying. I agree, very slightly.

(That is, I agree about the negativity; to call the joke "cyber-bullying" is unfair. It wasn't intended for Rebecca Black to read)

I was devastated when I received my first negative reviews in national publications, at the age of 24. I can't imagine how horrible it is to be thirteen and an object of immense, international ridicule.

"Friday" is more than bad. It's ludicrous. It illustrates a kind of shiny blandness, cheerful boringness, that's all over the place in our culture. It's a perfect parody of Disney product intended for tweens. Its stupidity is surreal. It's absolutely appropriate to mock it.

It also means that a thirteen year old girl that's essentially an innocent bystander--she looks like a prop in that video, placed like a chair on a set--is taking a massive psychic beatdown.

Rebecca Black Means The (Internet) Fame Game Has Changed

Indeed the focus of Rebecca Black's ABC/Good Morning America interview was the extreme negativity of the comments ("I hope you get an eating disorder so you'll look pretty. I hope you go cut and die"). In an age of readily available tools for discussion, the value of our pop-stars is now in the extent to which we can use them as topics for social media blathering (Rebecca Black is trending on Twitter, of course) whether or not that blathering is positive.

The most fascinating part of the Black story is that she's actually famous now, which was exactly the reason her parents gave $2,000 to ARK Music Factory in the first place. From Black herself on her unlikely fame, "I think that's an accomplishment you know, even a person who doesn't like it, it's going to be stuck in their head. So that's the point of it, it's a catchy song." Exactly.

Get used to this kind of stuff. As society advances technologically, culture becomes a parody of itself, and we enjoy the parody, intentional or not, more than anything sincere. But what becomes of the Antoine Dobsons and the Rebecca Blacks, our Internet culture folk heroes?

Says Chen, "From an industry standpoint. I think if you're an Internet phenomenon you get put in this meme box, which means you can only do certain meme things, like put out merchandise related to your meme, or appear on talk shows joking about your meme. The mainstream industry kind of picks them up gingerly, with slight disgust, and throws them into stuff until they're sick of them."

'Cut and die': the web loves to hate Rebecca Black

But while the sheer absurdness of the song has made it a viral hit, Black is now feeling the ugly side of internet fame. She says she feels "cyberbullied" and has received death threats.

In just one comment that illustrates the reaction of the web to Black's song, wrote that it "may be the ultimate combination of horrible lyrics, horrible songwriting, horrible auto-tuning (apparently to hide horrible singing), horrible cameos (c'mon, USHER!?!), horrible visual effects, horrible dancing and horrible horribleness. It's so horrible, people are wondering whether the production is real or if it's an elaborate joke."

And finally, a case where a self-published author responds to a blogged book review in, shall we say, a rather unfortunate way. And it just takes off from there.

The Greek Seaman / Jacqueline Howett

The review:

However, odds of making that final click are slim. One reason is the spelling and grammar errors, which come so quickly that, especially in the first several chapters, it's difficult to get into the book without being jarred back to reality as you attempt unraveling what the author meant...

The author's response, exerpted from several comments:

You obviously didn't read the second clean copy I requested you download that was also reformatted, so this is a very unfair review. My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks.


Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails?

And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don't fool me AL.

Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?

You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail

Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.

Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!


I know its you AL talking, stop hiding and stand up and be a man!

I want this review removed or its just considered abuse.

Hmm never did get involved in your forum for reasons, now I know why.

Let's just say the entire Internet then turns on the poor author prompting this response much later on in the comments:

Please, everyone, be careful. Much as the author did everything wrong and spectacularly shot herself in the foot splashing her blood all over the internet, this thread is quickly turning into a witch hunt and it's ugly.

Do as you would be done by.

The degree to which people then rturn on the author prompts this comment:
Anonymous said...

Please, everyone, be careful. Much as the author did everything wrong and spectacularly shot herself in the foot splashing her blood all over the internet, this thread is quickly turning into a witch hunt and it's ugly.

Do as you would be done by.
March 28, 2011 2:17 PM

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Music Mondays: Five songs I really love

Mar 28 2011 Published by under music mondays

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so I thought I'd highlight some of my more recent musical discoveries.

  • Long Way Home by Kelley Hunt. So. A month or so ago I'm browsing on the second floor in a local used bookstore and some really cool bluesy music is on their sound system. I really like it but I sorta think it's Bonnie Raitt. A guy browsing nearby asks the universe, "Who is that? It's really great?" I respond, on behalf of the universe, that it sounds like Bonnie Raitt to me. He wasn't so sure. In retrospect, I guess I should have Shazam'ed it to find out for sure. Anyways, we went downstairs and asked the guy at the cash who it was and he said Kelley Hunt. This was just before her new CD (Gravity Loves You) dropped so I waited a little bit and ordered it from Amazon using some of my Affiliate funds (Thanks!). Wow, great stuff. Give it a listen and you'll really be impressed. I'm for sure on the hunt for the rest of Kelley Hunt! Dear universe: used bookstores are the best music recommendation systems.
  • Floating Bridge by Gregg Allman. Of course, Gregg Allman's been around forever so it's hard to make a case that this his most recent solo album is a "discovery" but his recent album Low Country Blues is a seriously excellent old-school blues album which I have to say I wasn't quite expecting.
  • Human Mud by Ross Neilsen and the Sufferin' Bastards. Ross Neilsen was a great discovery a few months ago. We had a family dinner at a local BBQ joint and totally unbeknownst to us, they had live music scheduled for the evening. Low and behold, it was Ross Neilsen and the Sufferin' Bastards. They play the kind of raucous blues rock that I really love so I took to them right away. At their break I immediately bought copies of all the CDs they had on hand -- one of the best ways to actually support bands these days is to buy their merch at concerts. Redemption is their latest.
  • Slave to the Rhythm by Bachman & Turner. Some more Canadian content, this is a great track from the recent Bachman & Turner CD by Randy Bachman and Fred Turner, most famous for Bachman Turner Overdrive back in the day. Once again, this is a "discovery" in the sense that I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did.
  • The Great Divide by Black Country Communion. "Super Groups" can be a bit of a disappointment, to say the least. This recent collaboration between Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Iommi/Hughes), Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) and Jason Bonham is certainly an exception to the rule. They rock pretty hard and I really appreciate the blues/funk/metal vibe. Their first CD, Black Country Communion, was great and apparently a second CD is on the way shortly. I can't wait!

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Reading Diary: Five books on the environment

Mar 28 2011 Published by under book review, environment, science books

I read these five books over about the last year or so and they all represent something I really look for in books on complex subjects -- for the most part, they concentrate on things individual people can actually do to make a difference. In this case, a difference in the future of the planet.

Whether it's where you live, what you eat, what you buy or how you get around, the choice is ours. Each of us, me and you, can make choices that, in the aggregate, can make a difference.

Mark Bittman's Food Matters and Betty Fussell's Raising Steaks are at least as much about food and food culture as about the environment. But at their core, they're both really environmentally engaged works -- about how our food choices affect the environment, especially our globalized, meat-obsessed culture. Both are very thought-provoking and will definitely make you think about how you eat. Bittman's book certainly did in our family.

Jeff Rubin's Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller may seem more like a book on economics rather than the environment. But really it's about how our obsession with oil is central to the future of our collective global society. His core concern is how the inevitably rising cost of oil as we reach and pass peak oil is going to transform our society.

Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff and David Owen's Green Metropolis are probably most explicitly about the environment of the bunch under review here. Leonard's is about our obsession with stuff and the economic, environmental and social toll that obsession takes on us. From e-waste to stretched global supply chains to inhumane labour conditions in the developing world, it's all there. Leonard makes a passionate and convincing case for consuming less and being more mindful about the source of what we do buy.

David Owen's Green Metropolis was probably my favourite of the books here. It's certainly the one that's made me the most insufferable. His thesis is basically very simple. Manhattan is the most environmentally friendly community on the planet. And that's because of population density. Where you have density you also have incredible efficiency. The more we can get people out of their cars and into public transportation or, even better, walking or cycling, the better our collective future will be. And forget all those hybrids and mini smart cars, those just make sprawl cheaper. It's all about reducing the miles driven, not the miles per gallon. Or kilometres and litres, for us Canadians.

The subtle aspects of these books (stealth environmentalists?) can be valuable in getting the message across. You think you're reading about where to find the best steaks but you're also reading about the environmental impact of the meat industry.

Now, I don't completely agree with every word in every book and I'm sure experts in the particular areas that each represent might have significant problems with some of their points, but for me the overall message of considering these books together does add a lot to the experience and certainly gave me an awful lot of food for thought.

I'd certainly recommend all of these books for anyone who wants to engage with environmental issues, particularly the Owen, Leonard and Rubin books. Those three, taken as a trilogy of sorts, form a powerful course on sustainability. All three certainly fit in any public library with perhaps only the Bittman not really fitting in an academic setting. Middle school or high school audiences could also benefit from all of them, perhaps with young people being the best audience for these kinds of ideas about the future.

Owen, David. Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability. New York: Riverhead, 2010. 368pp. ISBN-13: 978-1594484841

Leonard, Annie. The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff Is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-and a Vision for Change. New York: Free Press, 2010. 352pp. ISBN-13: 978-1439125663

Rubin, Jeff. Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and the End of Globalization. New York: Random House, 2009. 304pp. ISBN-13: 978-1400068500

Fussell, Betty. Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef. New York: Mariner, 2009. 416pp. ISBN-13: 978-0547247694

Bittman, Mark. Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2009. 326pp. ISBN-13: 978-1416575658

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From the Archives: Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

I have a whole pile of science-y book reviews on two of my older blogs, here and here. Both of those blogs have now been largely superseded by or merged into this one. So I'm going to be slowly moving the relevant reviews over here. I'll mostly be doing the posts one or two per weekend and I'll occasionally be merging two or more shorter reviews into one post here.

This one, of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, is from May 18, 2008.


It seems that at least half the time I mention this book to someone interested in the way the web is changing social patterns the response is, "Oh, I tried to read it but just couldn't finish." It's an interesting response in many ways, one that tells us a lot about this book. Mostly it tells us that we're dealing with a seriously flawed book, one that has a lot of very interesting ideas in it, but that the presentation leaves a bit to be desired.

Personally, it did indeed take me a long time to read this book, at least a couple of months, reading a chapter here and there and putting it down for weeks at a time before taking it up again. It also took me a long time to get around to writing this review; I finished the book in the fall and I'm only just writing this now in May.

The topic? The affects of the sharing and collaboration promoted by web 2.0 technologies and how they will affect mainly businesses, but also other parts of society. Blogs, wikis, recommendation systems, user-generated comments, copyright, intellectual property, all the regular stuff. Interestingly, though, this was one of the first books to really tackle these issues and bring them to wide attention in the business community.

The issues? Typically of hype-oriented business strategy books, many of the claims seem wildly over-inflated and unsupported by facts or reality. The book is also incredibly repetitive, seemingly so that each paragraph, page or chapter could stand on its own. It's a strategy I see in a lot of business books: assuming that the reader has an incredibly short attention span and wants to get the main point just from reading a few pages or a chapter or two. At the same time, of course, no one's going to pay hardcover prices for a couple of chapters. So, just repeat and rephrase the main points constantly in each chapter. I find it kind of scary that there's a new expanded edition that's just gone on sale.

The book also overplays a lot of its points -- a lot of times I thought there was a bit of almost naivete involved, that the authors couldn't see the downside of some of the ideas they promoted. Globalization, deskilling, "race to the bottom," glorification of CEOs and top executives, the 100:10:1 phenomenon in online communities, a certain disdain for anything not new, hip or cool. An unawareness of the potential for tragedies of the commons in some of the areas. The idea that what are currently fringe activities are inevitably going to become dominant in the mainstream. The authors only spent very scant and almost dismissive attention to the human cost of economic paradigm shifts.

Frustrating, yes. On the other hand, there are a lot of good reasons to stick it out and read the whole book. It does make a lot of very good points about the benefits of openness and sharing for businesses and organizations of all types and sizes. There were actually many times while reading the book that I thought that if I could give one single book to every faculty member at my institution, this would be it. It so completely encompasses what is best about the web's ability to break down barriers and promote sharing and collaboration (not necessarily primary virtues in academia) that it would be interesting to see the effects of 1200+ faculty members all reading it together. This book is really a call to action for sharing and collaboration.

Read this book, the chapter on sharing and collaboration in eScience/Science 2.0 is very good. Be persistent and you'll make it all the way through. Read it, argue, engage and debate.

Tapscott, Don and Anthony D. Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York: Portfolio, 2006. 295pp. ISBN-10: 1591843677

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Around the Web: The Tim Hortons School of Probability, $10K degrees, Mocking Rebecca Black and more

Mar 26 2011 Published by under around the web

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Friday Fun: Facebook Virtual Girlfriend Violates Terms of Service

Mar 25 2011 Published by under friday fun

The world sometimes seems like it's becoming a stranger and stranger place on an almost daily basis. Yep we're talking about Cloud Girlfriend.

From Christopher Mims at Technology Review Blogs: Facebook Virtual Girlfriend Violates Terms of Service:

Some startups don't make it past the phase where they build a mailing list of users for their service, and if Cloud Girlfriend isn't one of them, I will gladly eat my hat.


American males are experiencing a mancession, after all, which has made them less desirable as mates and more likely to remain in a state of indefinite adultescence. A virtual girlfriend is about all they can handle right now, thanks very much. How else to explain the explosion of interest in Cloud Girlfriend, which at this point is just a launch page brought to you by a company that makes it easy for any joker to set up a launch page?

Anyways, Mims has a lot more to say about the issue, especially the bit about the Facebook terms of service. He also has a bunch of links that I haven't included, so you'll definitely want to head over there to read the whole thing.

(Or more precisely, the world was always this strange, we just weren't as aware of how other people's strangeness differed from our own.)

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Stealthy librarian stories

My Stealth Librarianship Manifesto post from last month continues to gather comments and page views, albeit at a slower rate than before. Of course, that's very gratifiying to see. If you haven't checked in on the post in a while, there are probably a couple of new comments with librarians' stories that you might want to check out.

To keep the idea going, I've decided to have occasional posts highlighting "stealthy librarian" posts and articles I see around the web. These are posts that highlight facutly/librarian collaboration in teaching or research, librarians integrated with business teams, librarians at non-traditional librarian conferences and other instances of close co-operation between librarians and patrons/researchers on non-library ground.

Here's the first bunch.

'Embedded Librarian' on Twitter Served as Information Concierge for Class

What if a reference librarian was assigned to a college course, to be on hand to suggest books, online links, or other resources based on class discussion? A media-studies course at Baylor University tried the idea last semester, with an "embedded librarian" following the class discussion via Twitter.

At the start of each class session, the professor, Gardner Campbell, asked the 11 students to open their laptops, fire up Twitter, and say hello to their librarian, who was following the discussion from her office. During the hourlong class, the librarian, Ellen Hampton Filgo, would do what she refers to as "library jazz," looking at the questions and comments posed by students, responding with suggestions of links or books, and anticipating what else might be helpful that students might not have known to ask.

Opposite sides of the cafetorium: notes from a THATCamp Southeast session on librarian-scholar collaboration

"We get paid to be interrupted!"

The academics in the room started out by saying that they weren't sure when it was appropriate to ask for assistance from a librarian. At what point, they wondered, are we impinging on the librarian's time? Librarians responded that it sounded as though they needed to give out better information about the specific services librarians offer, like research interviews. In general, they said, they welcome any kind of consultation. "We get paid to be interrupted!" one librarian said.

Professional expectations inform our behavior

It emerged that both librarians and scholars are subject to professional pressures that inform their expectations of each other. Scholars were surprised to hear that it's professionally important for librarians to claim research interviews. "You like that?" one faculty member asked. "I always thought I was bothering you!" Scholars were also surprised to hear what a great professional boon it would be for librarians to be credited as collaborators. "I had no idea about the professional expectations for librarians," a faculty member said. Librarians told scholars how much they'd appreciate professional recognition like inclusion on a dissertation committee.

Embedded Librarianship Part 1: Aligning With Organisational Strategy to Transform Information into Knowledge


It's clear that adopting embedded librarianship within your organisation pays dividends on many levels. One of those is the ability to grasp the strategic mission of your organisation more strongly, which trickles down into better understanding of your partners and co-workers' contributions, challenges, language and information needs.

Grasping your organisation's strategic mission also enables you to gain deeper insights into its workings and generate deliverables that transform information into knowledge. Once this is achieved, information professionals can move beyond improving process and begin to pursue broader skills and professional goals.

Embedded Librarianship Part 2: A case study from Spain

Along with other tasks, this new role involves working with researchers in their offices physically out of the library's building, managing their output, assessing dissemination strategies, monitoring the impact of their production through bibliometric indicators or following the publication process and editing drafts before sending them to journals.

In the Spanish case we can see how the profession is evolving by incorporating elements of the "embedded model." In conclusion, using skills and techniques that librarians already have, and having the ability to apply them in different environments where they haven't been applied before and where they can really make a difference, helps to make these professionals irreplaceable.

SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian

Tech for tech's sake is over. In a year when social media is helping inform our coverage of everything from political upheaval in the Middle East to the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan, your app better do something more than be cool.

I kept coming back to the librarians as I talked to people at SXSWi because this micro-track mirrored what I saw tweeted and written about the conference as a whole. Interactive didn't feel blindly focused on discovering the killer app. Tech didn't feel like an end unto itself -- rather, it was about processing data with a purpose; data for a greater good.

Go read the articles and posts, they are truly inspirational.

If you know of a post or article that highlights or describes a stealthy librarian in action, please let me know either in the comments or at jdupus at yorku dot ca. I'll feature anything I'm sent in a later post.

And please don't be shy to promote your own work.

Here's an updated list of all the posts (including mine) that mention the manifesto:

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Around the Web: Screwing up on Twitter, Dinner invitations, Evil smartphones and more

Mar 22 2011 Published by under around the web

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