Minutes of February 20, 2003 Meeting

Albin, Blair, Devanas, Gaunt, Grassle, Kauffman, Novak, Vanderbilt Wasserman
G. Agnew, L. Mullins

1. Grace Agnew, Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems gave a presentation on the next phase of the Libraries long-range plan. Gaunt noted that phase one of the Rutgers Digital Library was extremely successful and resulted in the acquisition of many digital indexes and full- text databases, the implementation of new digital services (e-reserves, e-reference, etc.) and the creation of new digital databases (Eagleton Poll, Camdenbase, Electronic New Jersey, etc.). The Library staff learned much during this period about managing digital content. While an abundance of resources are available, however, many do not know about them or do not know which databases to search to find the information they need because everything is in a specific "package." They prefer to search Google for its ease of use and its capability to search across numerous websites. The next phase of the DLI will be to create a sustainable information technology infrastructure for all formats of information acquired or created by the Libraries with seamless access to information regardless of its source. The DLI will support users in their roles as researcher, educator, publisher, and life-long learner. Much of the work to build the next generation of the Rutgers Digital Library will be "behind the scenes" digital architecture activity that is very sophisticated but transparent to the user. The PowerPoint slides attached provide more detail on building the DLI.

2. Lynn Mullins, Director of the Dana Library, addressed the topic of information literacy and the partnership of the library with the teaching faculty to create an environment where students graduate with information literacy skills. She noted that the Middle State Association's new guidelines list information literacy as a learning outcome that universities and colleges need to address. The Association of College and Research Libraries have provided a set of competency standards for information literacy that provides substantial background from which to work. Albin responded that most faculty may be unaware of the new MSA requirements and are most likely to focus on their own professional accreditation standards. Gaunt spoke to the many types of information literacy programs offered by the libraries, such as courses, orientations and classroom lectures, but noted that they do not scale well in a large university such as Rutgers, and that it is unclear that this work achieves the desired positive impact on all students. One approach is to use the Internet to create modular tutorials that could be used directly by students, that could be used and customized by faculty, and that would be both universal and specific.

As an example, Mullins reviewed the course being offered in Newark and New Brunswick by the Business School to incorporate information literacy into the MBA program where all students must write a business plan. The examples are appropriate to business, but some of the sections are very general- plagiarism, for example. Gaunt spoke of the uwill program at the University of Washington where tutorials were created for general information literacy, but customized with discipline examples for specific courses. Because many courses involved problem-based learning, they lent themselves to learning about and using information resources.

Albin noted that the Engineering School's accreditation association has 12 learning goals and uses problem-based learning, and such tutorials could be very appropriate for engineering courses. Devanas mentioned that the benefits for undergraduates in coming to a research university are not only to be taught by researchers, but also to learn about the research process. This could be the basis for an information literacy tutorial. Whatever is developed should be in collaboration with the teaching faculty and be re-usable in many courses, and capable of being incorporated into Blackboard or other course management tools. Albin suggested that the tutorials should be as easy to use by faculty as their textbook.

Agnew recommended that assessment tools be built into the tutorials to gauge student learning. There are several examples, including the Vanth project (Vanderbilt-Harvard-MIT).

Devanas recommended that the process should be institutionalized, but Gaunt noted how difficult it is to accomplish this at a university as diverse and decentralized at Rutgers. A suggestion was made that it might be appropriate to start with programs/schools most hospitable to problem-based learning, such as the Business School, Engineering, and Cook College.

3. As a follow-up to the last committee meeting, Gaunt announced that she sent a memo to University VP for Academic Affairs J.J. Seneca, noting that our committee had discussed the problems of junior faculty (especially in the humanities) getting a book published and the financial fragility of university presses. As a short-term solution to the problem, the committee agreed with a recommendation of the Modern Language Association's Executive Committee to pursue offering subventions for junior faculty for their first scholarly book. This topic was discussed at a recent Deans Council meeting with Marlie Wasserman present. While the deans had many questions and comments, they agreed that the concept was worth pursuing and Dr. Seneca recommended that a specific proposal with more details for Rutgers be developed.

4. Gaunt talked about planning underway within the Libraries to deal with potential budget cuts. The Libraries will be modeling various scenarios from 10% to 2% and hoping that none will need to be implemented. Contacting legislators about the devastating impact these cuts will have on the university is a priority. She also explained that there are three segments of the libraries budget: collections, salaries, and operating funds. The Libraries are very concerned about the loss of staffing, as the digital library requires more rather than fewer staff. Lines lost are unlikely to be returned. The operating funds are very limited, and may also be difficult to restore once cut. While the Libraries have always protected collections, it is the only area likely to be restored, and the most likely to be supported through external funds. If the cuts are very severe, the Libraries may have to take a significant hit in collections, ameliorate the cut with external funds and hope that this is only temporary. Vanderbilt asked about the balance between fixed collections costs and discretionary (one-time costs). Gaunt noted that fixed costs are unusually high because all digital resources are subscription-based, and we still have a large number of paper journals. The Libraries will be looking at high cost databases and alternate ways to provide access, such as canceling a full-text database and purchasing articles individually. As the final state budget may be decided late in the year (June) when faculty will have left campus, the Libraries will discuss various models with the faculty in the spring.

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