Noted recently

Another link dump with the odd comment.

First Monday reports a survey by Brent Bumgarner at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stating that students use Facebook: “as a social activity…. primarily as a tool for the facilitation of gossip”. Although ‘friend functions’ was the most highly-ranked reason for using FB, ‘practical information’ was seen as moderately important, implying that there might be a role for library information in FB, at least for some students. (Practical information was rated as more important than groups or events, interestingly).

Meredith Farkas reflects on how much help is enough (to offer to students, specifically distance learners). She says

“I’m never going to stop trying to make things better, but with some people you have to put up you hands and say “I’ve done enough.” If you’re not willing to look at tutorials, read documentation or contact us, I can’t help you. The student has to take some responsibility for this failure.”

These are interesting comments. I’m struggling with similar issues (having come from a special library where we did absolutely everything possible to support our colleagues). How much should we do to help students? Isn’t part of being at university learning how to do research for yourself? Isn’t there some sort of responsibility to RTFM?

David Isaacson discusses what’s still wrong with reference (Library Journal) and argues that reference librarians should leave basic questions to support staff and instead proactively approach users, with a focus on “[answering] more complicated reference or research question[s] or teach[ing]. This could be done… face to face by appointment, via chat reference or email, or simply by being available, as other teachers are, for drop-in consultations during scheduled office hours.”

Via LibraryStuff, MIT have launched an audio/video search engine for lectures.

Nicole at What I Learned Today has a post on the Kindle, and another on e-books, quoting Roy Tennant “e-books are better for research and quick reference, print books better for cover-to-cover reading,” and “e-books are easier to search,” while “print books are easier to read”. Yes, yes. It’s not an either/or situation – it’s print, or electronic, or both, depending on user need.

Via, a funny comparison of Amazon’s shifting statements about books and reading.

About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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