John Depuis interviews "See Jane Compute"
Bravo! I am looking forward to the next one.
He also links to a new carnival for/from/by women in science, technology, mathematics, etc.: Scientiae
I'm under attack today
Apparently spammers have really gotten around the word verification... I'm going to turn on moderation which should be ok for the volume I get.
Update: Actually it's just some @554013 from Atomic SEO who has ripped off my content (notes from the science blogging conference) who is now trying to up his rank. I may just turn off comments for that post and see what happens.
Who's Who? Me!
It's not in the online version yet, but I am on pg. 3556 of the 2007 edition of Marquis' Who's Who in America. Now everybody knows my birthday :)
Lincoln on self-reliant library users
If you've ever read any qualitative research in just about any area of social sciences, you'll probably have seen references to the work of Yvonna Lincoln
. She and Egon Guba wrote some of the seminal work on qualitative research and she's the co-editor of the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research
Even though I've seen her work cited a bunch of times and read most of the Sage Handbook, it's just for one of my current classes that I've read two of her papers. She prepared this one as the "invited address" for a session at UMCP on library research (where was I in 2001 and why wasn't I there?):Lincoln, Y. S. (2002). Insights into library services and users from qualitative research. Library & Information Science Research, 24(1), 3-16. (subscription required).
She was part of a larger team evaluating SERVQUAL and reformulating it to become LIBQUAL (I understand there are criticisms of this whole process but that's not important to my point). For this paper, she went back for herself and analyzed the interview data used to develop LIBQUAL from an "interpretive and culturally-grounded" approach (p.7).
What I haven't seen elsewhere and think is really worth examining, is her take on library users' view of self-reliance. She breaks this down into two groups:
- needs help learning to use the library, then goes off on their own
- users who "develop an enduring relationship with a librarian and are confident that when they are in need, assistance will be delivered" (who also intend to "navigate the labyrinthine information universe on their own terms") (p.10)
Here's the good part (from a Foucault point of view):
"The self-reliant user-- the library user who wishes to navigate resources with a s little help as possible, as independently as possible -- seeks a kind of privacy from the surveillance of librarian help... Seeking and finding needed resources on one's own is form of resistance to the structure, discipline, regimentation, and organization of a library... rebellion"
I've actually felt that way. I'd rather explore on my own than have a librarian help me, but I thought it was just because I *am* a librarian. I get a bit offended when I have to go through an orderly (but slow) organized class. According to Lincoln, such users prefer "intransigent and slightly triumphant mapping of resources [for] himself or herself" (p12).
So what does this mean for how we support this class of users? Probably better just-in-time tools to help them build their conceptual maps, but not "oppressive" classes. Probably better signs and better user interfaces so they can "discover" relevant resources without searching or (live) librarian intervention.
She also touches on issues of library as place, which remain incredibly relevant. I highly recommend the article -- it's pretty short and very readable.
Labels: library research, qualitative research
Good news from a society publisher: RSC launches Project Prospect
It's nice to finally be able to post something positive. Via press release from RSC posted on Chm-Inf.
Royal Society of Chemistry has added semantic markup to some of their documents. Markup includes chemical identification: SMILES, InChI, structure, CML; gene ontology; and links to the IUPAC Gold Book.
I've been playing with it a bit since I saw the notice, but don't have any substantive comments yet. Somehow, though, we need to extend this past one publisher and one place.
Labels: chemistry, open science, semantic web