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What is metadata? A Christmas themed exploration

This content originally appeared on my Scientific American blog, Information Culture, in 2012. While the page remains, images are no longer visible. At the request of several readers, I’m reposting the content here.  When I talk to most scientists and mention the word “metadata” they look at me as if I’ve grown a second head. Despite the fact that...

Stop saying “print” when that’s not what you really mean

At the reference desk, I occasionally see students who are looking for only “print” resources. Their professors have asked them to find journal articles or books, but are requiring them to use “print” resources. The challenge here is that their professors don’t really mean “print.” Most often, they want their students to find formally published, peer-reviewed,...

The results are nice, but what I really need to know is HOW you did it

For the past few days I’ve been at the 2014 Library Assessment Conference in Seattle, WA. It has been a great conference and I’ve got tons to think about and lots to do when I get back to work. As I listen to all of the presentations one of the biggest things that strikes me is that I wish folks would spend a bit more time on HOW they did the assessment....

John Oliver as an Instruction Librarian

I’ve been a big John Oliver fan from his time at the Daily Show and his weekly podcast with Andy Zaltzman, The Bugle, but I never knew just how effective he could be as an instruction librarian. Just watch this video below as he carefully examines the emerging media form of native advertisements and the problems associated with this un-holy alliance...

Take the money and run

With library funds decreasing, for-profit publishers want your science research money. To those in the know, this isn’t big news. Publishers have been hinting about it for some time. For-profit (and some non-profit) publishers want more money, while keeping their content locked down and controlled. CC image courtesy of Flickr user Images_of_Money. But...

A new venture: the Scientific American Blog Information Culture

Some readers of this blog may be interested in  a new blog I will be co-authoring on the Scientific American Blog Network called Information Culture. I will be co-blogging with Hadas Shema, an information science PhD student who has previously blogged on some fascinating stuff on her blog, Science Blogging in Theory and in Practice. As a result, my...

Assessing Student Learning During Reference Transactions

Last week I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the annual conference for SUNY librarians at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (yes, FIT is a SUNY school!). With my exceptional colleague Kim Hoffman, we discussed a small project we did in the Fall 2011 semester to try to assess what students learned at the reference desk. Our...

Dispatches from the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education

This week I am attending the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education.  it is the first chemistry conference I have ever attended, and I admit to being a little nervous as I arrived.  I felt a little like a secret agent dispatched to a foreign land.  It seemed like only a matter of time before my secret identity was discovered and they would throw...

Student learning at the reference desk: bringing home notes

For as long as there have been reference desks in libraries, there has been a debate and a discussion about the nature of the reference transaction.  In some cases, the reference transaction is simply a question and answer exchange. The patron asks the question, the librarian finds the answer and passes it along: Q: Who was the 32nd president of the...

Explaining science using simple words: Up Goer Five

While thoroughly enjoying the recent #overlyhonestmethods meme on twitter I came across the #upgoerfive meme. This latest meme was inspired by an xkcd comic that attempted to explain the Saturn V rocket using only the 1000 most common English words.  Saturn V becomes Up Goer Five. So Theo Sanderson created a text editor that only allows you to use the...

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