Wait --Spring Semester is hardly done! In the Library, we're already planning for Fall Semester-- thinking through important summer projects and improvements for the next academic year. This issue of the Library Newsletter for Faculty is meant to help you find resources and services for your research and teaching in the months ahead --both the Summer and the Fall!
The Lede: Librarians Are "Having a Moment"
Speaking about post-truth and fake news, “Librarians are having a moment” –said by Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, to a national academic librarians’ conference in April. Librarians’ moment, she went on to say, is because of the trust the public (and the academy) place in librarians: “as information professionals, we’re always looking at what’s the most authoritative source for the information and teaching information literacy.” (NY Times, Jan. 19, 2017)
ILLUSTRATION BY BEN KIRCHNER; PHOTOGRAPH BY LEXEY SWALL / THE NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX
When asked “if you might need to teach information literacy to members of Congress,” she replied “If they start as children, I think there’s hope.”
Sarah Larson, writing in The New Yorker (Feb. 19) noted the “greatness and humility” in play and tension with each other at the Library of Congress: “we want our leaders to inspire us but to express personal humility.” Hayden notes that when she was formally asked to serve, “It was the word, ‘serve’ that helped me.” In her previous work at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, “you were really almost touching the people who were benefiting from the work of the library. And I had to think about, “How can I make this library that relevant, and that immediate?”
That question speaks to and for every library, including this our own. How can we make the Library that relevant, that immediate –how can we serve? The greatness of working as a librarian is in the service, in the pull of our ideals in play with the push of our members’ needs and hopes. If ever there were a time when it is particularly relevant and important to be a librarian, and to serve a library, that time is now. In a long note on Facebook, Timothy Snyder, a professor of European history at Yale, wrote “Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so.” In his book On Tyranny, Snyder writes, “Post-truth is pre-fascism.”
Librarians are indeed having a moment: a moment of truth, in every sense of that phrase. May your summer focus your hopes to teach our students to take responsibility for the real world. Take the time to affirm the truths you know.
Planning ahead for the Fall: A Resource You Should Know About: PsycTests
Professionally indexed, the PsycTESTS® database offers an extensive collection of items associated with psychological measures, scales, surveys, and other instruments essential to the research needs of professionals, students, and educators across the behavioral and social sciences. Updated monthly, this one-of-a kind repository makes it easy to discover thousands of research instruments and their psychometric properties, including a wide range of reliable measures originally developed for research but never made commercially available, as well as references to classic instruments spanning over a century. With multiple measures, research instruments, and test types in a variety of subject areas, PsycTests is an indispensable resource for researchers in multiple fields of study.
PsycTests includes a wide variety of instruments and is an ideal starting point for research projects. Finding these instruments can be tricky –some commercially available, some freely available in scholarly articles –you could wind up paying (or wishing you could pay) for something that is freely available elsewhere. PsycTests includes information on test development, review, usage, and actual testing instruments. Tests are on a wide range of subjects, including developmental, personality, intelligence, military, and more. Coverage 1910-present. Updated monthly.
Planning ahead for the Fall: A Resource You Should Know About: Ebsco Discovery Service
During the summer, the Library will change its current discovery service (labeled “QuickSearch,” or Encore), to Ebsco Discovery Service (EDS --this link is to a trial version only; our full version is in process). After careful testing and trials, librarians felt that EDS gives far better search results, more flexibility for links to research guides, topic pages, and information pages, and the greatest possible compability with our other platforms.
Ebsco Discovery Service will also include “Curriculum Builder,” an easy-to-use way to place the library’s journal articles, books, and videos in your new Blackboard course shell (since Blackboard is also migrating this summer). The Library’s books will be included (of course!) in the search scopes, as well as works in Digital Commons. The service will be fully configured and tested by late June; right now you can try out our test site here.
Planning ahead for the Fall: Review or create your Selected Works page
Every faculty member (full-time or adjunct) can create a Selected Works page that highlights your online academic and scholarly identity, accomplishments, interests, and publications. Over 200 SHU faculty have these already, and you can see a gallery of them here. You can share many kinds of resources (even streaming files), and increase the discoverability of your works through a top-rated “search engine optimization” service for academia. (This SEO service runs silently behind the scenes –you don’t have to do anything except use accurate keywords.) You can also track views of your Selected Works site and compare those analytics with others.
While many faculty like for-profit sites such as academia.edu or disciplinary sites such as researchgate.net, Humanities Commons (hcommons.org), or SocArXiv (socopen.org), one advantage of Selected Works is its University affiliation and coordination with the Digital Commons Network. Another advantage is that you can get help from a real, live human that works on your behalf for your university. Nothing prevents you from having both a Selected Works page, and a page on one of the disciplinary sites --or on LinkedIn, for that matter. (--But you have to maintain those, of course.)
If you have already created a Selected Works page, summer is the ideal time to make sure it is still accurate and up to date. Contact Bev Lysobey (email@example.com ) or Chelsea Stone (firstname.lastname@example.org ) for more information or help.