Degrees and the Nature of the Literature Review by Chris Hart

Came across a table presenting the differences and functions of the literature review amongst the various degrees such a bachelor, master and PHD. It came from this book (page 15): Hart, C. (1998). Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination (Published in association with The Open University). London: Sage Publications. I thought it was a very helpful summation. We always mentioned literature review as a singular concept to our students but expectations of the depth and breadth of the review do differ in different programmes. More are expected from the higher degree candidates. The table is re-posted Continue Reading

The MLS Project: an assessment after 60 years by Boyd Keith Swigger

This post is on this book: Swigger, B. K. (2010). The MLS Project: An Assessment after Sixty Years. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. In this book, Swigger sets out to assess whether the MLS Project, the shift of accreditation by the American Library Association from the bachelor’s degree to the master’s degree in library science as entry into the profession in the 1950s, has achieved its objectives. Did the project transform the practice of librarianship? Did it change the nature of library education? Did the social standing of librarianship as an occupation improved? The promise of historical treatment caught my fancy. Continue Reading

Web Subject Guides: virtual connections across the university community by Rachel McMullin & Jane Hutton

McMullin, R. & Hutton, J. (2010). Web Subject Guides: virtual connections across the university community. Journal of Library Administration, 50 (7), 789-797. Open URL: I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract here: A year ago, West Chester University Libraries began using the LibGuides library content management system. In the 1st year since implementing LibGuides (, our subject librarians have developed numerous subject guides, replacing outmoded and outdated web pages with new guides that have a more appealing format. We have also found that web guides can be used for projects beyond the traditional library subject guide. One of the best Continue Reading

Online web development platforms enable all reference staff to work on subject guides by James A. Buczynski

Buczynski, J. A. (2009). Online Web Development Platforms Enable All Reference Staff to Work on Subject Guides. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 14(3), 61 – 66.. Open URL: I’m reproducing the author’s supplied abstract here. Information technology has disrupted the careers of many professionals over the past decade by changing both what work is performed and how it is performed. Technical skill set gaps among reference staff are a serious problem in libraries today. The library subject or topic research pathfinder continues to play a large supporting role in a library’s reference service, yet few reference departments have a staff Continue Reading

Electronic pathfinders in academic libraries by Candice Dahl

Dahl, C. (2001). Electronic Pathfinders in Academic Libraries: An Analysis of Their Content and Form. College & Research Libraries, 62(3), 227-237. I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract to facilitate the discussion. Forty-five electronic pathfinders were selected from nine Canadian university libraries to assess their degree of conformity to suggested guidelines in the existing literature about pathfinders. The content and the format of the chosen pathfinders were assessed in terms of consistency and scope. Also considered were overall readability and whether they were effectively constructed to be used as starting points for further research. The analysis revealed that the guidelines were Continue Reading

Everything is Miscellaneous: the power of the new digital disorder by David Weinberger

This post is on this book: Weinberger, D. (2007). Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder (1st ed.). New York: Times Books. How has digitalization and web 2.0 affected the world of organization? This is what Everything is miscellaneous: the power of the new digital disorder tries to answer. The need to organize and categorize seems ingrained in us. We organize to bring some order. Categorizing and organizing helps us manage our lives and create meaning. (I remember reading somewhere that if we can use 100% of our brain capacity, we wouldn’t need to organize. 😛). Organization Continue Reading

Understanding the discovery landscape – Webinar with Marshall Breeding, Helen Livingston and Jane Burke

This post contains notes I took when I was attending a webinar: Understanding the discovery landscape: Federated search, web-scale discovery, next-generation catalog and the rest. Presenters: Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt UniversityHelen Livingston, Director, Library Services, University of South America Libraries Jane Burke, Senior Vice President, Serials Solutions, the innovators behind the Summon web-scale discovery service URL to presentation (registration required) Marshall Breeding ( Crowded landscape of information providers on the web. Lots of non-library web destinations deliver content to library patrons, e.g. Google search, Google scholar, Wikipedia. Look at Continue Reading

Designing a better subject page to make users’ searches more successful by Darlene Fichter

Fichter, D. (2005). Designing a BETTER SUBJECT PAGE to Make Users’ Searches More Successful. Computers in Libraries, 25(9), 6-56. I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract to facilitate the discussion. This article emphasizes the significance of the subject page of a library Web site on the success of user searches, referencing the author’s initiatives based on studies. First, the Web Committee tackled the category labels on the home page. We created a new label. Journal Articles & Databases, and placed it on the second line in the left-hand column. We put the beginning of the phrase, Journal Articles, in a boldface Continue Reading

Re-thinking the Library Pathfinder by J. M Kapoun

Kapoun, J. M. (1995). Re-Thinking the Library Pathfinder. College & Undergraduate Libraries, 2(1), 93 – 105. I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract to facilitate the discussion. Pathfinders help library patrons find information, learn about library resources and physical space, and develop research strategies. They can be poorly constructed, excessively detailed, and inconsistently formatted. Some cover too many topics and include forced research strategies that make them difficult to read. This article offers a format and construction guide to aid librarians in preparing readable, useful pathfinders. Kapoun offers a helpful definition for the library pathfinder in the midst of research literature Continue Reading

Making research guides more useful and more well used by Michal Strutin

Strutin, M. (2008). Making research guides more useful and more well used. [Online Journal]. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship(55). I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract to facilitate the discussion. In summer 2008, a small group of Santa Clara University librarians were charged with exploring ways of making online library research guides more user friendly and interactive. In order to know how to enhance our guides, we first asked the question, “What makes a research guide useful?” What follows is a detailed process of discovery. The process started with literature on guides, which suggests that research guides, particularly general subject Continue Reading

Thanks A Lot.

I received this thank you note from a user today. As librarians, we received a fair number of thank you notes in our work. It is nice to be appreciated and acknowledged. But sometimes I can’t help but think that it is just a courteous gesture on the part of my user and may not be an indication of my impact on their work. This email message is a little different. Thanks A Lot. I Learn Something New From You Today The new knowledge is like a fishing rod to my user. It means she can do something better tomorrow. Continue Reading

Was This Guide Helpful? by Martin P. Courtois, Martha E. Higgins and Aditya Kapur

This post contains notes from my reading of Courtois, M. P., Higgins, M. E., & Kapur, A. (2005). Was this guide helpful? Users’ perceptions of subject guides. Reference Services Review, 33(2), 188 – 196. I am reproducing the author supplied abstract to facilitate the discussion. Purpose – Most academic libraries make subject or research guides available on their web sites. Little is known, however, in terms of user satisfaction with guides. This study examines methods used to evaluate guides and reports on an online survey placed on each of more than 80 web-based guides provided by Gelman Library, George Washington Continue Reading

Internet Subject Guides in Academic Libraries by R Jackson & L.J. Pellack

Jackson, R., & Pellack, L. J. (2004). Internet Subject Guides in Academic Libraries. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 43(4), 319-327 I’m reproducing the author supplied abstract to assist the discussion. This article describes a research project to determine the uniqueness of Internet subject guides among Association of Research Libraries academic libraries. The authors examined guides in four subject areas (philosophy, journalism/communication, astronomy, and chemistry) at the web sites of 112 libraries, collecting data on the number of links per guide, the arrangement of resources, the information included about the resources, the kinds of resources included, and the number of nonworking Continue Reading

Students, Librarians, and Subject Guides by B. Reeb & S. Gibbons

To prepare for a project, I started reading up on the subject matter – library subject guides. One of the articles is: Reeb, B., & Gibbons, S. (2004). Students, Librarians, and Subject Guides: Improving a Poor Rate of Return. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 4(1), 123-130. Reeb and Gibbons discovered a disconnect between library subject guides and its intended users. They used surveys, usability tests, and usage statistics to prove that students did not relate well to the subject guides. They also discovered that users were unable to use the guides effectively. They argued that guides are usually created to Continue Reading

The 21st Century Searcher by M. Gorrell

Gorrell, M. (2008). The 21st Century Searcher: How the Growth of Search Engines Affect the Redesign of EBSCOhost. Against the Grain, 20(3), 22-24. This is a short article written by the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Ebscohost Publishing. It explained the motivation behind Ebscohost 2.0, the new Ebscohost search platform and interface. Librarians frequently concede that search engines are popular because they are convenient and quick, but quickly criticized that they do not necessarily offer the best answers. In other words, libraries are still better at high quality content. Gorrell argues that being the best may not Continue Reading

Academic libraries: Social or Communal? The nature and future of academic libraries by J.T. Gayton

Gayton, J. T. (2008). Academic libraries: “Social” or “Communal?” The nature and future of academic libraries. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(1), 60-66. I’m reproducing the author-provided abstract here to facillitate the discussion. The apparent death of academic libraries, as measured by declining circulation of print materials, reduced use of reference services, and falling gate counts, has led to calls for a more “social” approach to academic libraries: installing cafés, expanding group study spaces, and developing “information commons.” This study compares these social models with the traditional academic library, whose spirit is best understood as “communal.” It argues that this communal Continue Reading