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Article(s) on School of Informatics closing November 29, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Informatics, University at Buffalo.
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UB’s Spectrum has published an article on the closing of the School of Informatics: http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/Narticle.php?id=29774. Peter Rizzo’s piece gets into the details behind the closing from the point of view of UB Administration and some faculty, as well as a prominent alum. I would like to have seen more from students and alums. One criticism I have heard is that students’ concerns have found purchase in informal avenues such as blogs and classroom discussion boards (at Orientation blogs were apparently discounted as hearsay). Well…

In any case, I like this quotation from Dr. John Ellison of the Library Sciences Department:

“I question the provost’s process of dissolving the School of Informatics arbitrarily without consulting the founders group, the advisory boards — he didn’t even consult with the chairs of the departments let alone the faculty. Good administrators work through a proper process to get things accomplished,” Ellison said. “Management defined is ‘getting things done through people,’ and I think that that office, from the top down, just does not understand effective management processes; their mindset is that, ‘we decide it, therefore it is.'”

Update: The paper form of the Spectrum has quite a different feel and I urge anyone who can get a copy to please read the editorial, “Tripathi: Judge, Jury and Academic Executioner”. As of this update I could not find it posted on the publication’s website, but I think the title tells quite a bit here. This is a very strong piece that points out the Faculty Senate took months to decide on which pointers the university would use in standardizing campus lecture rooms (surely, an important decision, I am not disputing that) but that Provost Tripathi took only 4 months to finalize his decision to close the School (without consulting faculty or students).

The Spectrum editorial is not asking for the School to be saved nor stating it was erroneously dissolved. It is addressing the process by which it happened. Part of our responsibility as members of an academic community is to speak out when a process is conducted unfairly, whether it affects us directly or not, and I applaud the Spectrum for doing so.

Update: The editorial is available online, http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/Narticle.php?id=29769.

Update November 30: An article has been published in the online version of the UB Reporter entitled FSEC supports dissolving informatics school. You can read it here (http://www.buffalo.edu/reporter/vol38/vol38n13/articles/FSEC.html). The piece goes into great detail to document Interim Dean Lucinda Finley’s process in assessing the viability of the school. I just received an email via a listserv that stated the title of the article is incorrect, that the FSEC voted to “accept and file” the report, but that the rest of the article accurately represents the discussions.


New open access journal: Communications in Information Literacy! November 29, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Library Related, University at Buffalo.
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Colleagues Chris Hollister and Stewart Brower of the University at Buffalo Libraries have initiated a new open access, peer-reviewed journal, Communications in Information Literacy (http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php/cil/index)!

Chris’ talks on the issues of scholarly publication have gotten me (pleasantly) riled up on more than one occasion, and I’m thrilled that this alternative resource will allow him to practice what he’s been preaching for so long. Stewart is an expert on issues related to the “Millenials”.

Best of luck to Chris and Stewart and the entire editorial board (comprised of many of the top scholars in information literacy!). The inaugural issue is due to come out in Spring 2007. See the “Submissions” page here (http://www.comminfolit.org/index.php/cil/about/submissions) for guidelines.

From the call for papers:

“CIL seeks manuscripts on subject matter of interest to professionals in the area of higher education who are committed to advancing information literacy. Manuscripts may be theoretical, research-based, or of a practical nature. Some suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Definitions and standards for IL
  • Pedagogies and learning theories
  • Assessment
  • Developing an IL strategy within your institution
  • Designing an IL program
  • Lesson planning
  • Classroom instruction
  • Online instruction
  • Instructional competencies

I will be subscribing, and look forward to tracking (and discussing*) trends and challenges in information literacy knowing that my library can provide this for free. Bravo!

*CIL editors, have you considered a concurrent discussion board for readers to actively discuss the articles and issues? 🙂

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Leslie Burger visits the University at Buffalo November 12, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Library Related.
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Please excuse cross-posting:

Leslie Burger,  November 10, 2006: Ten Points for Librarians

I had the pleasure of attending an address by ALA President Leslie Burger yesterday at the University at Buffalo. The event was sponsored by the ALA student chapter and had been rescheduled due to the October Storm. Ms. Burger was soft-spoken, but direct, intelligent, and a passionate advocate for libraries and equally importantly, PATRONS. I took three pages of notes but will just give a few highlights here. I especially liked her story about keeping her library open late while election results came in as an example of how libraries build community. Sure we can all watch from home, but for certain things we want to be in the company of others. Even at ASIS&T during one of the large get togethers our new friend set up his laptop for us as “impromptu election info kiosk”. Ah librarians… but I digress.

Ms. Burger’s presidential initiative has been “Be a Transformative Librarian”. As a blogger, tagger, tech enthusiast and all around smiling social type, much of what she said was a no brainer for me. However, I was thrilled to hear an ALA President talk about how exciting emerging trends in technology and information science are, rather than knock them (see: “Revenge of the Blog People” by Michael Gorman, Library Journal, Feb. 15, 2005.). It was also nice to juxtapose these ideas with the good ole fashioned ones, like “playing well together” and being a “library cheerleader”. In my view the social connectivity of these technologies can and does bring up important issues to be explored, but, for example, responding to comments someone makes on your blog (because they took the time to visit you, read you, and post) is one modern day version of smiling at someone at the reference desk, or responding to a suggestion they placed in a comment box. This stuff is here to stay, and whether people are connecting socially via chat rooms, IM, blogs, flickr accounts, specific sites such as Facebook, Burger is right to ask what role libraries can have in embracing these technologies to welcome our “tech savvy” patrons.

I was equally thrilled to hear Burger advocate for administrators to support enthusiasm and passion, and forward-thinking young next-gen librarians. At least I think I heard that. I can think of a couple directors I wish I had seen there. (Not speaking about my current one here… 🙂 If there’s one thing I have learned working in Technical Services it’s don’t assume ANYTHING about people who work in technical services.) Below, my summary of Leslie Burger’s 10 Tips for Librarians. I had read these around the liblogosphere for awhile, but it was inspiring to hear her go through them all in person. Bravo!

10 Tips for Librarians:

  1. Be passionate! Be a cheerleader for libraries!
  2. Think “all community all the time”
  3. Walk on the wild side (take risks) – challenge the status quo, ask why? give someone in your organization the title of Chief Innovator (how do we apply?? Mark, you in?)
  4. “400,000 smiling faces”. Hire for attitude as well as skills
  5. Develop leadership at every level – it’s everybody’s job (not just Provost, Dean, Chair, but everybody!)
  6. Become an activist
  7. Embrace change – change is the one thing in life that’s constant
  8. Invest in the basics (2nd most important according to Ms. Burger) – need GREAT websites, catalogs that make sense – that look like how people want them to look! Need buildings that work!!!!! Patrons can go to Barnes and Noble and have coffee, why not the library? Need great collections, need funding that matters! can’t allow ourselves to be victimized by our vendors anymore
  9. Play well together – collaborateinvolve all key stake holders – this takes a lot of work
  10. “Keep everlastingly at it” (John Cotton Dana)

During the question session I asked what Ms. Burger planned on discussing in her following meeting with Provost Tripathi and Interim Dean Lucinda Finley. Would she be presenting her presidential initiative? She stated that her talking points would be more specific. 1. She would advocate for the library school at University at Buffalo to have a prominent place in the University. 2. She would clarify the ALA accreditation process as an opportunity for the program to strive for excellence, and not a punitive measure.

Kudos to the students who worked so hard to make this happen. One comment I heard from some folks afterward is that a few people left because they couldn’t hear Ms. Burger. Wonder if this room is equipped with a mic or if someone could have gone out to find one? Luckily, our colleague Jim Milles, of Check this Out, recorded the talk for his podcast series. Hopefully it came out well, and I will certainly post an update with the link when it goes online.

students, librarians and faculty at Leslie Burger talk

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ASIS&T 2006, Austin, TX November 4, 2006

Posted by jennimi in ASIS&T, Conference, Informatics.
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I’ll be posting over at jennimi about my trip to the annual ASIS&T conference, where June Abbas and I are presenting a poster about folksonomy and tagging. Flickr photos will be here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennx/tags/asist2006/) as I can upload them, and I’ll guest blogging on the conference blog, here, (http://asist2006.neasist.org/) when possible. Austin is a great town so far. This is my first trip to Texas and so far we’re really enjoying it.

ALA President Leslie Burger at UB November 10th! November 1, 2006

Posted by jennimi in library 2.0, Library Related, University at Buffalo.
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I’m posting on behalf of the University at Buffalo’s ALA student Chapter:

Please join UB American Library Association’s Student Chapter for a
lunchtime talk and discussion with ALA president Leslie Burger!

Title of talk: “Be a Transformative Librarian”

When: Friday, November 10th, 12 noon-1:30 pm

Where: 330 Student Union, North Campus, University at Buffalo

To download pdf maps of UB’s North Campus and to locate the Student Union please visit: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/building?id=student_union

Campus visitors, please see the University’s parking information here:

Cost of the talk: Free and open to all. Free lunch will be served.

More info: Contact UB ALA officers about the event, more information about
Leslie Burger’s presidential initiative: http://lb.princetonlibrary.org/index.html

Please pass this message on!

How will you transform libraries? Come and be inspired!!