Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2008

ECAR just published their new report on undergraduate information technology use. Here are the key findings according to OCLC Abstracts (who produced a nice short summary in their 10/27/08 issue):
  • More than 80 percent of respondents own laptops, 53.8 percent own desktops, and one-third own both a laptop and a desktop.
  • Laptop ownership increased from 65.9 percent in 2006 to 82.2 percent in 2008. Freshmen respondents are entering college with new laptops in hand—this year 71.1 percent have a laptop less than one year old.
  • Ownership of Internet-capable cell phones is also on the rise, now owned by 66.1 percent of respondents. Most respondents, however, do not yet take advantage of the Internet capability, citing high cost, slow response and difficulty of use as primary reasons.
  • Despite barriers to use, almost one-fourth of respondents access the Internet from a cell phone or PDA at least monthly, and 17.5 percent do so weekly or more often.
  • Respondents report spending an average 19.6 hours per week actively doing online activities for work, school or recreation, and 7.4 percent spend more than 40 hours per week doing so.
  • Almost all students surveyed use the college or university library Web site (93.4 percent) and presentation software (91.9 percent). Also used by most students are spreadsheets (85.9 percent), social networking sites (85.2 percent), text messaging (83.6 percent) and course management systems (82.3 percent).
  • About one-third of respondents report using audio-creation or video-creation software and 73.9 percent use graphics software (Photoshop, Flash, etc.).
  • Almost one-third engage in online multiuser computer games (World of Warcraft, EverQuest, poker, etc.) and about 1 in 11 respondents (8.8 percent) report using online virtual worlds (Second Life, etc.).
  • Students are interactive on the Web, with more than one-third contributing content to blogs, wikis, and photo and video Web sites.
  • Over 85 percent of respondents report using social networking sites. The striking change over the last two years was in how many respondents now use social networking sites on a daily basis, from 32.8 percent in 2006 to 58.8 percent in 2008.
It looks like the big winners are laptops, cell phones (but not their Internet capabilities), library websites, social networking, and graphics software.

No surprise that Second Life is the big loser.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biblio Burro

This story makes you proud to be a librarian. Bookmobiles in the the US began in Hagerstown, MD in the early twentieth century. I remember using them as a child in rural Britain in the 1960's. It was the compactness, the warm smell of books and coachwork, and the miraculous appearance of the bookmobile on our housing estate that I loved most.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shaping Liberal Arts College Library Collections

I am at the FDR Presidential Library at this conference, hosted by Vassar College.

I spend the morning touring the FDR Museum with friends. It is well worth a visit, particularly the special exhibit on FDR's first 100 days and the Eleanor Roosevelt exhibit. Such an impressive woman.

In her welcoming remarks to the Conference, the Director of the Presidential Library quoted FDR when he opened the Library in 1941. To build and maintain libraries and archives FDR said a, "nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future." Words to live by.

I have come away from this conference more convinced than ever that, as I concluded in a recent post, our future is in consortia. What distinguishes us as a liberal arts college library for our users is our close relationship with them and our focus on student learning. Some of our collections, and how they are built and shaped, are related to that those liberal artsy distinguishing features. But mostly, in terms of information resources, our users want it all. Therefore we need to embed ourselves in large scale consortia that provide convenient unmediated borrowing and also join purchase licensing opportunities. Then we can concentrate on what we do well -- individual service to students and faculty.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What is this "Followers" thing?

Look at the top of the right hand column of this blog. Notice the widget for "discerning people who follow this blog." It is a new widget from Google that I did not know about until Jeff Scott became a follower of my blog. It is a nice little feature that enables me to sense my audience (at least some of them) and enables you to keep track of blogs that interest you.

So, give it a whirl. If you don't already have a Google account, set one up and follow this blog.

By the way, Jeff's blog, Gather No Dust, is worth checking out. Thoughtful comments from a public library director.

I wonder if calling this feature "followers" is a misstep on Google's part? There are no followers in America, only leaders. Just as more of us like to think of ourselves as writers than readers. Maybe they should have called it "members", "patrons" or "trendsetters."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

How are we doing: Return of the Comments.

Even more comments. These were all left for us during September. Keep them coming.

Comments on our Service
"Tim in IT hooked up wireless for me & showed great service."
"The lady at the help desk was so helpful! I could not find this one thing, and she helped me find it and was just so great and cheerful as well. I hope to see her around and would love for her assistance at any time!"
"Great help!"
"Librarians Rock!"
"Steve V is awesome!"
Jonathan's Response: Thanks for all these great complements. When you gave me a name, I passed the complement on to the supervisor and to the person named.

Comment: "Would it possible to get a AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) for the library?"
Jonathan's Response: We passed on your idea to the Health Center. We will see what they think.

Comment: "I would appreciate free drinks and snacks!"
Jonathan's Response: Hey, who doesn't? But you will have to wait for exam time. During the week of exams we provide free drinks and snacks during the evenings.

Comment: "When I did my undergraduate degree in the 80's, it was possible to park in the back parking lot and enter through the back door. Now that I'm disabled, it would be wonderful to park out back and enter the back door."
Jonathan's Response: You still can, just ring the bell to the right of the loading dock door and someone will let you in when that office is staffed (Mon-Fri 7:45am - 4pm.) Also, both pathways round the library are wheelchair accessible. I suggest you take the upper or left hand pathway. It leads to the ramp on to the Library loggia and from there to the front door. I am looking into improving the signs near the handicap parking spots so that your options are more obvious.

Comment:"I would love to see "Mr. Holland's Opus". The library should own it. It deals a lot with music."
Jonathan's Response: Thanks for the suggestion. We have just ordered a copy. In future you can always suggest a book or DVD for the library here.

Comment: "USB drives for 24 hour use would be a big plus!"
Jonathan's Response: We have a bunch of USB sticks available for 4-hour check out for use inside the library. We will add a few more for 24-hour checkout for use anywhere. Thanks for the suggestion.

Comments on the Bookmark Cafe:
"If possible, could the Bookmark Café be open on Fridays as well?"
"No Dr. Java?"
Jonathan's Response:
I am guessing that last one is about the same issue. I have passed these comments on to Dining Services and they will be testing some open hours on Friday over the next few weeks. This library gets kinda quiet on Friday's so we shall see how this goes, but if the demand is there, they will do it.

"I think you should put some of those brown comfortable chairs (that you have by the entry) upstairs in a quiet zone. Thanks!"
Jonathan's Response: Great minds think alike! One of our proposed unfunded capital projects this year was for exactly this. In fact I think all the furniture in Olin is showing its age and needs to be updated; with comfortable leather chairs figuring prominently in the plans on all floors. Unfortunately the key word here is "unfunded." You can rest assured that everyone will hear if we get funded for this. If you know someone who has somehow dodged the current financial meltdown in the global economy and wants to invest some money in a cool project in the library, let me know. We will gladly give them credit!

"The women's restroom by the 24 hour lab is missing its' sign! A little confusion."
Jonathan's Response: Thanks for letting us know. We have reported this and will get it replaced.

Comment: "The past three times I've visited the 3rd floor, particularly the Pillow Room for quiet study, I have had difficulty doing so with many students talking, joking and carrying on. Perhaps another plain text reminder could be posted on the wall of the Pillow Room, reiterating the quiet study policies."
Jonathan's Response: Sorry to hear that. We are preparing a poster for the Pillow Room to remind people that the 3rd floor is a quiet study floor and noise travels. In the meantime, you should always feel free to ask people to tone it down or move to another floor. If you want us to do this, just ask any staff person.

Comment: "Would it be possible to have the parking lot out back to be reserved 7am to 5pm, as its funny to see the parking lot today at 7:20 with 4 spots left and the night shift having to park across campus as midnight as there are no spots when they came 4:30."
Jonathan's Response: As everyone knows, parking is not easy on campus. I have passed this comment on to Campus Safety and they are considering it. But I have to tell you: the 4pm end to faculty/staff reserved parking is standard across campus. It will get real confusing if we just change it for one lot. Also Holt students trying to get to early evening classes need those spots as well.

Thanks to everyone. Keep those comments coming!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Publishers did not take the bait

C&RL just placed my latest article on their pre-print server. It will be published in the Spring 2009 issue of the journal. I originally came across the USOE policy while writing my dissertation, specifically when I got hold of Julius Marke's book, Copyright and Intellectual Property. There are obvious links to the current NIH Public Access Policy and I thought a historical comparison might be interesting. Let me know what you think.

By the way, I am really glad to see this open access pre-print server. ACRL: livin' the OA dream!