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UWE MSc

Hello to any UWE MSc in Information and Library Management people who may be reading this! Tonight is the first session this semester for the ‘Academic Libraries’ module I’m teaching. I’m looking forward to it, and to meeting the students. I’ve been buried in repositories for so long now that the MSc Academic Libraries module is an opportunity to keep up with library life outside of open access and publications lists.

We’re using Peter Brophy’s ‘Academic Libraries’ as the core text, but I’m slipping in a chapter from Tara Brabazon’s ‘University of Google’ in week 5 when we cover Information Literacy and Educational Technology.

Any suggestions on what should be covered in an academic libraries module for an MSc welcomed.

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This slideshow ‘ is a great summary of a very important concept.

Librarians have information literacy very high on their agendas. Part of IL is how to evaluate material found online – this is an important part of both scholarhip, and lifelong learning. The existance of pre-prints and non-peer reviewed material in repositories is something that often gets highlighted as questionable, rightly so. When explaining how to evaluate online material, some of the characteristics of repository material wouldn’t always fit into our ‘safe’ categories. The ‘matrix of authority’ that Laura Cohen is pointing out is a step in the right direction, bringing in additional criteria for evaluating material.

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After two long weekends in May, these five day work weeks in June are rough. June is looking busy though, with some big repository decisions coming up here, and then I’m out and about a couple of times. Next week, on the 12th June is the UKeIG Annual Seminar where I’m doing a session on Web 2.0 in academia : what works and why. I’ll put my slides on slideshare soon.
The week after, the RSP are holding their summer school again, this time in Thornton Manor in the Wirral.
I ranted about the beautiful location last year, at Dartington Hall near Totnes – someone is doing really well picking these summer school locations! After speaking with Stephanie yesterday, I think I’ll be giving a short ‘graduate’ talk.
Then, the week after that is the UC&R seminar at UWE on Web 2.0 (can’t find a link for this one at the moment).
Towards the Askenden Pub, Cambridgeshire
We were in Cambridge last week and stayed at a FarmStay in NE Essex called Rockells Farm – it’s a lovely spot, and for the fishing enthuasists, they have their own stocked lake.. We strolled to Arkesden for dinner at the Ax and Crosses – excellent food, get there early.

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I’ve just written a quick email to the Versions toolkit team to say what a great document they’ve produced – possibly the best, most practical thing I’ve read all year. It’s just so common-sensical. It lays out some useful milestone versions, and provides guidance on identifying versions, including an author checklist of information to include in a document that might be placed on open access.

This is something to keep at the forefront of our submission interface design and I’ll be adding it to our repository information pages..

The VERSIONS toolkit.

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I’m currently reading “The University of Google: education in the [post] education age” by Tara Brabazon. It’s absolutely fascinating, highly recommended for anyone interested in higher education and information skills in the digital age. I need to buy a copy myself, because as I’m reading I feel the need to highlight passages all the way, I’m nodding my head in agreement whilst I read..

I love this quote on page 45 – ‘Everything can be learnt from the web, except how to use it’. Brabazon notes Google Scholar as a welcome intervention to tertiary information seeking, as Scholar places the refereed literature amongst search results. Maybe I’m getting old, but it seems bizarre to me that higher education can function without the specialisation and expertise that comes from advanced information seeking – moving beyond Google and Google Scholar, which are great starting places, to the specialised databases and indexes. I think I’m finding Tara Brabazon’s book refreshing because after beating the infomation literacy /information skils drum for so long, especially *here*, it’s great to find an academic with the same beliefs.

I remember working on the reference desk at QUT, and one cohort of students arrived saying that their lecturer had set an assignment with a compulsory component of using at least three refereed journal articles. ‘What’s a refereed article?’ ‘What’s peer-review?’ It’s a convention particular to scholarly, academic literature, I guess, but it confers a value based on evaluation and quality control. We have sophisticated (maybe overly so) databases in which to search for this type of literature – I wouldn’t expect first year undergraduates to use these, but final year students who scrape by without them – are they cheating themselves out of really understanding their discipline?

So if we take Google Scholar, with its inclusion of refereed literature, as a step in the right direction, the problem of access remains. The commodification of information by international publishers placing tolls on access – a familar argument to those in libraries and repository circles. Interesting to see this coming from the perspective of information location, evalution and use.

Tara Brabazon is a key note speaker at the LILAC conference. I’ve been to the last two LILACs, they are the Kylie Mingoue’s of conferences – small but perfectly formed! Really enjoyable with a great mix of practitioners and researchers. I hope Tara Brabazon’s presentation goes online afterwards.

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Okay, off to a steady start – over ten items in the repository. Hopefully more to come soon. I’ve got a spreadsheet of possible authors from Web of Science and BMC. I’m checking these against the PIP, our research expertise portal. On the side I’m contacting heads of research centres and institutes. The School of Management has a great list of research publications for their staff.
Ignore what you read – so far this part has been easier than the technical set up.

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Thanks to Gareth Johnston from the RSP in Nottingham for sending this on. I think it spells out the issues in quite the sophisticated manner. Nice one Gaz! 🙂

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