The report was published in electronic format and sent with the agenda. It is included below for the Minutes.
Au and I attended the CLIR symposium on how research is created in Washington DC. “The Architecture of
Knowledge: How Research Programs and New Courses are Built“, featuring presentations by three prominent
scholars about the resources and methods they used to conduct original research, and how their work
eventually had a profound impact on the development of courses, digital products, and related research
areas. Although the work that each discussed was very discipline-focused, there was a common theme - how
their research created or enhanced the user experience in some way. My post to the ACRL blog can be found
I met with Chuck Hedrick, Eric Marshall, Gayle Stein, and others from OIRT in December. We discussed my new role in relation to OIRT, possible areas of collaboration, and a number of other issues including the current support structure for RefWorks.
Jeris and I met with Marie Logue, Ghada Edick and Lawanda Lewis from the Rutgers Learning Communities to talk about the new learning community program at NB. Possible areas for collaboration emerged, as well as thoughts about how to weave certain information literacy competencies throughout the learning communities. We will be meeting with the group again the end of the month.
I have been meeting with library faculty on each campus, and am in the process of meeting with library faculty at the four main libraries in New Brunswick to talk about the library's instructional program, future goals, philosophy, and formalizing current collaborations. I will continue to work broadly with the Instructional Services Committee, library faculty, and others to discuss relevant issues and seek thoughtful solutions.
Grace and I met with Professor Jacek Gwizdka from SCILS to discuss a usability initiative for the RUL website. We solicited feedback from Cabinet, and have agreed to allow Jacek's usability class to examine portions of the website and offer feedback on improving usability. Each of you has by this point been solicited for your thoughts on which areas of the website users frequently have trouble with. If this approach works, we may want to continue using this type of strategy to evaluate our site as we move towards re-design. Results and feedback from the process will be shared within the library and hopefully used to concentrate usability re-design on the most problematic areas of the site, or at least provide foundations for future re-design directions.
At ALA Midwinter, I attended the ACRL workshop on designing and using rubricks for information literacy assessment. It was an informative session, and I hope to share the resources that I gathered with the instructional services committee and anyone else who is interested. The design of rubricks is relatively straightforward, and definitely a strategy we may want to use to measure how well our students are learning in their BI sessions.
Montanaro, Liew, McDonald and Agnew talked about the plans for the content management system (Drupal) including assessing how to map what we already have to the new system and its implementation.
Montanaro provided an overview for the group and addressed some of the challenges of building a new infrastructure, and that Systems is currently in the process of experimenting with the CMS. She explained that Web Services is responsible for the architecture, and public services responsible for the content, working with usability aspects (via WAC) and interface issues. Agnew and Dent added that the project should be an example of a broader conceptualization of creating a better user experience, and one that can only be accomplished effectively through a team effort that will involve technicians, librarians, programmers, bibliographers, content specialists, etc.
Montenaro explained some of the functionality that will be provided by the new system. Research guides were a focus of the talk. Research guides will be built by mapping certain relationships between resources, subject bibliographers, and possibly academic departments down the road. The People database, discussed in detail by Agnew, will provide users of the CMS to create and edit their individual profiles, which will then be used to draw resources and links from elsewhere in the system and congregate them in one place for any particular user - removing the burden of visiting many different locations to find out if a link to a database or a description, for instance, has changed. One of the greatest tasks that will have to be accomplished at the beginning stages of the project will be the descriptions of the databases. These descriptions are what will allow the resources to accurately populate the research guides.
McDonald and Liew talked about the database functionality. McDonald addressed the flexibility of the system, as well as its extensibility. Liew/Montanaro/Agnew talked about the creation of a taxonomy to describe resources.
Liew addressed some of the challenges with a CMS. He mentioned that some who create their own research guides might feel limited in how creative they can be. This would be addressed by encouraging creators to work with developers to create more personalized pages if the stub/default pages were not suitable.
Agnew mentioned that Rutgers will be implementing Drupal at some point, and that parity will allow RUL to more easily push content onto external pages such as those of departments, student organizations, other administrative units, etc.
Agnew mentioned another caution. As the CMS is database driven, a change to a resource (its description link, etc.) in one location means a change to that resource in all locations. Thus users must be careful about implementing changes without discussion with the appropriate people.
Dent and Agnew agreed that librarians must be involved with the development of the taxonomy and the description of the resources. CDC and PSC were mentioned as venues for discussing the best strategy for getting this done. Dent and Agnew stressed that this task must have broad involvement of subject bibliographers.
Lo presented an overview and update of the LibX library tool bar. This open source tool allows users to download a Google-like toolbar to their browsers, granting quick access to a limited number of library links without visiting the library homepage to begin. It is available for use with Firefox and Explorer. Lo demonstrated the toolbar and showed the dropdown menu that can feature links to library web pages. Agnew suggested that certain resources, like IRIS, be prominently placed on the drop down. Lo demonstrated the embedded ISBN cross-searching feature that allows users to begin a search in a compatible location or website, such as Amazon, and find out whether the resource they are looking for is actually available within RUL. A similar feature can allow users to locate full text articles within RULs resources by using the tool bar, but this presents authentication challenges. Agnew, Montanaro suggested Lo work with Dave Hoover to determine if a suitable workaround could be found to allow this feature to be used.
The group discussed where the toolbar might be placed strategically on RUL computers. The labs were suggested. Certain department homepages were also suggested as another (eventual) possibility.
McDonald rasied a point about support for the toolbar should it be widely adopted by RUL, and the fact that Systems would be charged with supporting its upkeep and function.
Lo requested permission from PSC to do an internal pilot test with library faculty and staff, which was granted. Lo will send an email inviting people to download and test the toolbar, then provide her with their feedback. Lo will first check with Virginia (where LibX was developed) about some of concerns raised by the PSC such as authentication, tracking downloads, etc.
Lo stated that the toolbar page would need to be placed on the server, to allow for tracking etc. of downloads, during the pilot. Lo was instructed to work with Systems to find a suitable location.
Gardner (Judy) mentioned establishing a "Library Lab" page to place new tools etc. for library faculty and staff to experiment with.