More on WorldCat Identities

I have played with the site some more. One bug they need to fix involves the searching of my local library. Although my library has the title listed and my library is the top location on the list, when I click on my library’s name, the search of our catalog does not produce a result. However, if I search our catalog manually I find the title. Something about the ISBN search in our catalog is not working correctly. But, still, the promise is great!

ACRLog » Blog Archive » The Information Literacy Facade

Some great thoughts and suggestions on better ways for librarians to communicate to students and faculty what “Information Literacy” is all about. When the rubber hits the road…

ACRLog » Blog Archive » The Information Literacy Facade

Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade? Chronicle of Higher Ed Discussion

The Chronicle: 10/27/2006: Can Wikipedia Ever Make the Grade?
“Are Wikipedians good historians?” he asked. “As in the old tale of the blind men and the elephant, your assessment of Wikipedia as history depends a great deal on what part you touch.”

The Chronicle article discusses the pros and cons of Wikipedia as well as studies and experiments that have been done to test its accuracy. The results may surprise you!

Some of the key issues include:

1. Some studies have shown that Wikipedia is practically as accurate as other more reputable published encyclopedias. At least one experiment demonstrated the rapidity with which most errors are corrected. However, opponents argue that the time during which the mistakes are available as well as the ever changing nature of Wikipedia are problematic.

2. Proponents of Wikipedia argue that the knowledge of the masses is sufficient to ensure that errors will be caught and corrected. Others argue that the knowledge of experts is needed to ensure quality. Co-founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, is a strong voice for this point of view. In an article posted October 24, 2006, he argues for the role of the expert in Web 2.0 projects and describes a new effort to create a scholarly wikipedia called “Citizendium”, http://www.citizendium.org/roomforexperts.html.

Whatever experts think about Wikipedia, the truth is that students are using it. Therefore, my mantra is that we must teach Wikipedia and explain both its strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, experts who denigrate Wikipedia should perhaps jump into the fray and help to correct it or, alternatively, join Larry Sanger in creating an expert driven wiki encyclopedia, Citizendium.

Most reliable search tool could be your librarian | CNET News.com

I must admit it’s gratifying to get a nod of support from SearchEngineWatch.com, the expert on searching. The article below discusses some of the ways in which librarians still add value to the research process. I do agree with the author of this article and would surely encourage everyone at the University engaged in more than a cursory search to talk to the Reference Faculty. However, having said that, I would like to point out that there may be some issues with the example used in this article.

The site used as evidence for Google’s unreliability is a white supremacist site on Martin Luther King, Jr. This site looks quite informative and authentic and comes up high in the Google rankings. Therefore, librarians use it often as a teaching tool for students about why evaluation is necessary. Ironically, the fact that many library guides link to the page probably contributes to its prominent positioning in Google search results. If you want to see it for yourself, you’ll have to Google it, I’m not going to link to it here. 🙂 To learn more about how Google and other search engines work, take a look at SearchEngineWatch.com.

Most reliable search tool could be your librarian | CNET News.com
Your child wants to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr. You might consider consulting a librarian instead of Google, AOL or Microsoft search engines.

Writing Assignments :: Just Ask the Students

I love the philosophy of this Professor, Laurence Musgrove from Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education – Inside Higher Ed :: Just Ask the Students
“But I would also say that it’s important for us to understand that we get the students we get, and they come with a wide range of skills and attitudes and experiences in writing. It’s our job to help them continue to develop as writers and provide the right kinds of assignments and assessments that help them on that path.”

The rest of this article goes on to discuss the views of students on their rights in regards to writing assignments. He argues that thoughtful assignment creation helps students to be more successful writers. This ties in with my post from last week regarding plagiarism. A writing or research assignment that requires students to follow well defined steps, gives ample time and guidance for revision, and includes an assessment rubric goes a long way towards creating good writers. I’ve seen some very good examples of this when I’ve worked with students in our Composition Classes. I would add in that including the librarian in planning the research portion of the assignment and having the librarian co-teach the sessions when you talk about research is another great strategy.

Members of our campus community who would like more information or to schedule a consultation should contact our Instruction Coordinator, Courtney Bruch, at 549-2363.

Preventing Plagiarism

No matter how hard a professor tries to prevent plagiarism, some enterprising students will find a way to cheat.

I would offer our faculty the following rules of thumb:

1. Structure the assignment so that the grade is based on demonstrating understanding of how the final product or correct answer was achieved rather than just the final product or correct answer itself.

2. Especially in the case of written assignments, require multiple drafts and bibliographies to track the student progress in preparation of turning in the final project.

3. Ask a librarian to come in and talk to your class on the ethics of information managment and copyright law.
4. Finally, if you suspect plagiarism, search google for unique phrases to see if the text has been copied from an online site. Contact the library reference desk for assistance with this process.

Clipped from: The Kept-Up Academic Librarian: Preventing Plagiarism Requires Extra Effort
September 26, 2006
Preventing Plagiarism Requires Extra Effort

Preventing plagiarism takes hard work. Cheat-proofing her classroom pushes this biology teacher’s workweek up to 80 hours some weeks. She scoured the Internet before realizing she needed to switch a lab experiment on fruit flies because the genetic codes were online. Her assignments show just how far teachers are going to fight an unprecedented boom in cheating that has been driven by the Internet and other technology. Read more at:
http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060917/NEWS/609170639/1006/SPORTS

Posted by steven bell on September 26, 2006

Coffee Doesn’t Matter After All?

StevenB just posted today on an article in the Chronicle that discussed what makes new library buildings “work” for students. It’s interesting to me because some of the trends we have been looking at with our architects were mentioned as NOT being the factors that make the most difference. Read the post from ACRLog called the Lush and Vibrant Library.