Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, October 31, 2005
  Carnival of the InfoSciences #13 is up!
Another great job.
  ASIST: Surveys of Scientists and Engineers
Surveys of Scientists and Engineers: Ensuring Reliable Research Evidence for Good Practice

Tenopir and King, The Critical Incident Technique

Cecelia Brown, Information Flow in Civil & Environmental Engineering in Oklahoma and Thailand
Surveyed a few Thai and Oklahoma grad students and faculty on their information use. Found some differences.

Brad Hemminger, Information Seeking Behavior of Scientists
formatting updated
  ASIST2005: Establishing a Research Agenda for Studies of Online Search Behavior
Establishing a research agenda for studies of online search behavior
Monday, October 31, 2005, 8 a.m.

They did a Delphi study.  They started with ~80 variables suggested at a SIGUSE meeting in the Fall of 2002.  They asked ASIST members and selected other researchers who have published multiple studies on online search behavior.  The survey provided scope notes on the variables.  Room was provided for open comments.  They had 77 respondents to the first study.  Almost all variables were ranked very highly.  There was some survey fatigue as only 56 people rated the last few variables.  One comment received was that all the variables might be useful in some study.  Several new variables were suggested.  In round two, they tossed the 12 original variables with scores of less than 3.5 (on a scale of 1-5) and added several more.  Tables with the results of both rounds are available in the proceedings.

Round 3 dealt with measurements.  Only 47 people responded.  This was due in part to survey fatigue and also some technical issues with Survey Monkey.  The results seem a bit ambiguous – on the same question, equal numbers call it a strength and a weakness. (for example:  hard to measure 8, easy to measure 9)

Of the respondents to the survey, more than half had greater than 4 relevant publications.  Of those many felt that search terms were really important.  Sorting of results and ranking by relevance are also important.  Information literacy skill was important although it might be a difficult variable to measure.  Experience variables – w/searching very important, w/the internet less so.  System variables were not rated as highly as the cognitive and affective user variables, in general.

Methods for data collection – part 3 – were all over the place.  Dichotomy:  the most important variables were user-centric, but there was the most disagreement on how to measure them, or even statements that they can’t be measured.  Everyone agrees that trasaction logs are important but that they don’t answer the most important question, “why?”.

What we don’t know from this:  the group of respondents was very closed – the publishing faculty.  What do other disciplines have to say?  There were no surprises.  Is there a left field and do we know what we’re missing?  Do we know what we don’t know.  The study could have been done the same way in 1985 – what about Google searching behavior?

Strength of preference was not captured.  Respondents could mark everything a 5.  Maybe should have been pick the 10 most important – but in developing work, you do need be selective.

Measurements were important if authentic and valid, but not relying on memory.  The respondents were in multiple competing camps and so disagreed – holistic and positivist.  There should be a way to apply both schools or to triangulate.

Sandra from MSR – next steps
Clarify if web searching is included.  Search topics and tasks variables all very highly rated – how can we take that and craft a research agenda?  Select a small group from very diverse points of view (international, levels of experience, quantitative vs. qualitative).  Also invite practitioners from different domains.Cross posted to the annual meeting blog
Sunday, October 30, 2005
  ASIST: Cognitive and Affective Factors in Information Seeking
Sunday, October 30, 2005, 1:30, Grand Ballroom A
Cognitive and Affective Factors in Information Seeking

Missed Diane Nahl (@#$%!)

Michael Olsson
Cannot know about the cognitive abilities of individuals, can only know the social aspects of ?  Foucault…. Dervin… Shakespeare…. Missed just about all of this. I was here, but??

Yong-Mi Kim
Amount of invested metal effort (AIME) in library searching – number or non-automatic mental elaborations necessary to solve a problem (Salomon, 1981) (ex:  re-stating, interpreting what you saw instead of just watching the pictures go by on tv).
     Factors – preconceptions about the medium, perceived self-efficacy

AIME was used in comparing print and web
They compared web (search engine) and library (OPAC? Oops what about databases?)
How to measure:  1) self-reporting 2)dual-task 3) physiological measures

Dual Task methodology --  Subject performs two tasks at the same time, measure drop in performance of task one based from doing it by itself and doing the two tasks together

They used this method to compare searching the library and searching google.  The results are mixed but a lot more time was spent by the researchers looking at search results and reading documents, and less time searching than in searching the documents

The results did not match self-reporting

Questions from the audience – a question of validity because subjects are reading the results (a: a question they are discussing).  
  I'm here.... ready for the conference to begin

Wow, they said Baltimore's the city that reads. I've actually met a few public librarians from Charlotte-Mecklenburg County and they are quite brilliant. Now I see that they are supported, too.
Friday, October 28, 2005
  A Silly Meme for a Friday
Seen on Professional Lurkr, who, btw, has much nicer needs. You google your first name needs. The top results for Christina needs:
  1. Christina needs to wear clothes ON TOP of her underwear
  2. Christina needs to be "thanked" for her comments
  3. Christina needs a hand
  4. Christina needs to name-drop
  6. Christina needs our votes!
  7. Christina needs to advance to the next tier of accomplishment
  8. Christina needs to advance from good to great
  9. Christina needs to own her whiteness and stop trying to be a rapper
  10. Christina also needs to eat healthy meals at regular intervals
Yes, well, I share a name with a famous singer, so, there you have it. BTW- I had the name first!

update: if this had gone to like 15, you would have seen that: "Christina needs to realize that she in fact is not a bad ass" (am, too!)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  ASIST 2005
I'll be attending the ASIST annual conference in Charlotte the beginning of next week. I'll be blogging it here and on the ASIST blog: http://asist2005.neasist.org/ . It will be in Flickr, too. I believe we've all agreed on the tag: ASIST2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
  The Shifted Librarian: 20051025-01: Liz Lawley's Keynote
"what if I could filter my medical searches through my doctor’s or my local university medical staff’s bookmarks?
Yahoo’s My Web should say “filter this through people,” or even better, “filter this through people I trust”
there are no bad links when I search My Web because it’s people in my trusted network"

  Frequently Answered Questions: Carnival of the InfoSciences #12
Is posted. Check it out.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
  New issue of The Cutting Edge
(it's actually for September, but we're behind the times). The Cutting Edge is the bulletin for the Maryland chapter of the Special Libraries Association. I write a little column on feeds, but the reason that members of SLA should start checking it out is that we'll be hosting the annual conference next year. If you happen to be local (or just familar with Baltimore), please consider contributing restaurant reviews, etc. (how to do this is mentioned in the bulletin). We'll also be announcing an exciting alternative to the e-mail discussion list for getting general getting around Baltimore information.
Monday, October 17, 2005
  Carnival of the InfoSciences #11

cotton candy
Originally uploaded by Muffet.

Welcome to the 11th Carnival!

David Bigwood of Catalogablog writes about End Users, specifically, the idea of software as end user. Very interesting indeed. Design for harvesting, searching, developing is increasingly

Peachy Limpin of Filipina Teacher-Librarian contributes to the biblioblogosphere conversation on the relationship between libraries and professors. I've heard the same thing from other academic librarians-- if the professors don't take library work seriously and just go through the paces, the students aren't likely to get much out of it.

Joy Weese Moll of Wanderings of a Student Librarian talks about TV as professional development. So true-- if you're in a public library, you need to scan all types of media to be able to do successful readers advisory and answer popular culture questions (why was I the only one to know how to find information on the "frankenfish"?). You also read things that aren't your cup o' tea. I remember back in my public library days waiting with baited breath for each Oprah announcement -- invariably the phones would ring off the hook moments later asking to reserve copies! I think some of the best librarians I know are omnivorous consumers of information. So you go, Joy.

Meredith Farkas of Information Wants To Be Free asks When is a Wiki not a Wiki? She defines wiki and explains why the new WorldCat functionality (allowing users to add reviews, notes, and the table of contents) does not make it a wiki (and also why she is not actually a cat -ed.)

Dave Hook of Industrial Librarian talks about Quantifying a Negative Search. This is great reading. He asks why librarians can't say that they've got xx% of the available information with xx% certainty.

Editor's Picks

Will Richardson over at weblogg-ed has a good post admitting that, yes, Read/Write Web is Work. There are great opportunities, but gone are the days when, as he says, teachers can say "'here's the book, the book is true, we can all passively read now' method of teaching" worked.

I was just commenting the other day how everyone's doing surveys now. Dave Hook of Industrial Librarian has posted his 6 Rules for Survey Requests.

Reaching a little outside of the biblioblogosphere, North Dakota psych professor Mark Grabe points to an article (nb: free reg. req. for page 2) on i-schools related to the recent conference. A quote from the article that indicates why it's included here...

The i-School concept grew from the recognition that the traditional disciplines of information science, computer science, and IT are increasingly overlapping in today's digital, information-age society, said Raymond von Dran, the dean of Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (SIS).

Rather than treat these fields as separate areas of inquiry, a growing number of colleges and universities are combining them into a single discipline. The term "i-School" refers to the program of studies for this newly emerging field, which examines not only how information is created, processed, stored, and retrieved--but also what impact it has on people and society.

There was a kerfuffle on Web4Lib this week about Wikipedia and Authority. Casey at MasionBisson weighs in.

Krafty apparently just singlehandedly brought her library online. Here are some of her lessons learned.

Paul Pival at the The Distant Librarian has some ideas and pointers to tips on how libraries can create and distribute content for the new video iPod.

Wally Grotophorst, a systems librarian from GMU, links to an alternative to Power Point, S5.

Also this week, Marydee Ojala and Richard Akerman both blogged Internet Librarian International.

Meta Carnival
Next week the carnival will be at Frequently Answered Questions . Information on submitting posts is in this post.

Submission Guidelines (which are flexible)

The last five carnivals were:
September 12, 2005...the thoughts are broken...Carnival of the Infosciences #6
September 19, 2005Mike's MusingsCarnival of the Infosciences #7
September 26, 2005The Industrial LibrarianCarnival of the Infosciences #8
October 3, 2005...the thoughts are broken...Carnival of the Infosciences #9
October 10, 2005A Wandering EyreCarnival of the Infosciences #10
updated for formatting issues.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
  Tick, tick, tick....
The Carnival's coming... have you submitted your post? You have the rest of the day today and tomorrow...
tick... tick... tick...

cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com
Friday, October 14, 2005
  Computer,October 2005 (Vol. 38, No. 10)
This issue of computer is all about search. Link above would I guess work for members of the IEEE Computer Society. Mere mortals who are affiliated with research institutions could try this link.
Updating already: So this is interesting, from the overview by the area editor..."Another school of
thought recognizes that the input query is at best an imprecise description of the user’s information need and that we must engage the user in a dialog to encourage an evolving understanding of what the user was looking for. In “Intelligent Search Agents Using Web-Driven Natural-Language Explanatory Dialogs,” Anita Ferreira and John Atkinson present a system that aims to do precisely this, in much the same way as we would interact with a librarian."

So, they get us, and are trying to replicate us. hm.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
  I spy a new feature in bloglines....
Cool- a very easy thing I recommended on Richard MacManus' site, separate the things that are "keep new" from the new-new.
So the first number is the new-new not including the keep-new and the number after the colon is the keep-new.
Update: hotkeys. interesting. now back to work!

I wonder what else the plumber brought last night?

Thank you!
Monday, October 10, 2005
  Once and future Carnivals of the Infosciences
The current carnival is posted here (the author did a most excellent job). I will be hosting next week's so please send contributions (referrals, questions, suggestions, etc) to cpikas [at] gmail [dot] com. If you put something like Carnival in the subject line that would be cool.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
  The various uses of the term "gatekeeper"
It strikes me in danah boyd’s notes (via) from her talk to LITA that she uses “gatekeeper” in the way I used it before reading some of the seminal work in LIS. There are some very important differences in the two senses of the term. A gatekeeper is a boundary person – one who is at the interface of two groups or domains. The gatekeeper may be the one to open the gate (span the boundary) or the one to bar passage between domains. The LIS tradition uses the first sense where boyd uses the second.

I believe Thomas Allen was one of the first to go into great detail about the function of gatekeepers in the flow of scientific information. I don’t have his work in front of me, but a lot is discussed in Tenopir and King
Sometimes the internal colleague who assists the information seeking process is an individual in the organization variously called a “gatekeeper,” “boundary-spanner,” “high performer,” or “hunter-gatherer.” …Gatekeepers are scientists or engineers who know information sources, have many contacts, and informally assist other in the organization to seek for and locate all types of information (Tenopir and King 2004, p80).
Wenger (my library’s copy currently at home, probably chapter 4) also discusses boundary artifacts/people and how they can provide access to information from different communities. We’re all parts of multiple communities of interest and communities of practice(Wenger 1999).

In boyd’s talk, however, she says, “As far as i was concerned, [the librarian’s] sole purpose was to act as a gatekeeper to information, impose moral judgments, and execute systematic ageism.” IOW, to prevent access to information by selectively allowing access only to a certain few.

This is a big jumping off point because I have seen (and battle) exactly what she’s talking about every day. I respect my library’s users and I know it’s not the right thing to do to prevent end user searching. I also very much appreciate what boyd says about librarians understanding the nature of information and also the relationships between information and people. The whole speech is worth a reading – I wish I could have been there to hear it.

So, which kind of gatekeeper are you? Are you holding the gate open or are you blockading it shut?

update: edited for formatting

Reference List
Tenopir, Carol and Donald W. King. 2004. Communication Patterns of Engineers. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press.
Wenger, Etienne. 1999. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Monday, October 03, 2005
  ...the thoughts are broken...: Carnival of the Infosciences #9
...the thoughts are broken...: Carnival of the Infosciences #9
Saturday, October 01, 2005
  We're under attack!!!!
So my blogs got a combined 40 comments in a few hours overnight. eek. I guess the spammers finally found a big enough hole in blogger's system. I turned on word verification and will wait to see what that does.

In the meantime: to Alena, Tweedledum, Anon. free software dude, and idiot spammers everywhere: bite me. I am not amused. I wish something unpleasant on you.

(btw- these are only my opinions)

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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