Learning about altmetrics (InfoSavvy)


Image from freeimages.co.uk

As useful as the peer review process still is, it does not account for the new and varied ways in which research is being shared.  How do blog posts about an article, for instance, reflect its impact?  What does a scholar’s Twitter following measure?  These are the types of questions addressed through altmetrics.

What are altmetrics?  One site (“Altmetrics,” n.d., ¶ 1 ) defines them as “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social web for analyzing and informing scholarship.”   Priem, Taraborelli, Groth, and Neylon (2010) provide a more thorough discussion of the concept in the Altmetrics Manifesto.

The American Library Association’s Library Instruction Round Table has addressed the concept (“Tech talk,” 2014). In the library literature we also have an article by Wilson (2013).

Scholarship doesn’t take place in a vacuum.  Altmetrics acknowledge this fact.


Altmetrics: About. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://altmetrics.org/about/

Priem, J., Taraborelli, D., Groth, P. , & Neylon, C. (2010). Altmetrics: A manifesto. Retrieved from  http://altmetrics.org/manifesto

Tech talk: Altmetrics. (2014, June). LIRT News, 36(4), 13-22.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/lirt/lirt-news-archives

Wilson, V. (2013). Research methods: Altmetrics. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 8(1), 126-128. Retrieved from http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP


Posted by on October 8th, 2015 Comments Off

American Archives Month 2015 (InfoSavvy)

Skeleton key

Image from freeimages.co.uk

The ACRL Information Literacy Framework (2015) mentions the information ecosystem.  Both material and digital sources are part of that ecosystem.  The materiality of archival sources complements the increasingly digital nature of regular library collections (Samuelson & Coker, 2014).  American Archives Month serves as a good reminder of this fact.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Samuelson, T., & Coker, C. (2014). Mind the gap: Integrating special collections teaching.  Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 14(1), 51-66.

Posted by on October 1st, 2015 Comments Off

Banned Books Week 2015 (InfoSavvy)

Banned Books Week logo

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Each year I post about Banned Books Week.  I do so because information literacy addresses the social issues around information (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015).  Banned Books Week 2015(September 27-October 3) will focus on young adult books.

Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems (WritersCorps, 2003) was challenged twice in one period.  A 2009 parental challenge led a Vineyard, NJ school principal to remove the pages with the poem “Diary of an abusive stepfather.”  In 2010 the North Fond du Lac, WI school district required the middle/high school library’s copy to be labeled for high school use (Doyle, 2010, p. 8).

Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy concerns both teen poets and censorship.  When a sleazy competition show comes to their school, four friends use poetry to launch a protest (Hattemer, 2014).

I celebrated Banned Books Week with a challenged title and a tie-in.  Will you celebrate it?


Association of College & Research Libraries (2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Doyle, R.P. (2010).  Think for yourself and let others do the same: Books challenged or banned in 2009-2010.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/banned/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/free_downloads/2010banned.pdf

Hattemer, K. (2014). The vigilante poets of Selwyn Academy. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

WritersCorps. (2003). Paint me like I am: Teen poems. New York, NY: HarperTempest.



Posted by on September 24th, 2015 Comments Off

Government information (InfoSavvy)

Last week I mentioned intergovernmental resources.  Let’s not overlook information produced by our own government.

Data.gov lets students (and the rest of us) find government data on a variety of subjects (Devine & Egger-Sider, 2014, p. 49).  We searchers can browse topics or type in keywords.

Let’s not forget the Government Publishing Office as well.  FDsys allows us to search its digital holdings.  A search for “higher education” and “transfer students” yielded 213 results.

Peer-reviewed journals have their place on the information landscape.  So do government documents.


Devine, J., & Egger-Sider, F. (2014, March/April).  Goging beyond Google again: Strategies for using and teaching the invisible web.  American Libraries, 45(3/4), 48-51.

Posted by on September 17th, 2015 Comments Off

Framing intergovernmental resources (InfoSavvy)

Globe icon

Image by sarang (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A summer webinar reminded me of an underrated resource, publications from intergovernmental agencies.  Brett Cloyd (University of Iowa) described how World Bank publications can demonstrate the ACRL Information Literacy Framework.

One of the ACRL  (2015) frames looks at authority.  The controversies surrounding the World Bank provide an example of authority being contested.  We can look at the publications in light of the controversies.

Through another frame we examine the information creation process (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015).  Cloyd (2015) uses a publication’s social media activity to discuss the varied, informal ways in which information is created and shared.

Another frame  states that information has value (ACRL, 2015).  Cloyd (2015) points to the difference between the World Bank’s fee-based eLibrary and its free publications.

I have simply shared the highlights here.  All the same you can see the frames in action.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education.  Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Cloyd, B. (2015, June 10). Using ACRL’s  new framework for information literacy to explore teaching strategies for intergovernmental information [Archived presentation]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgs_rlZNvw4


Posted by on September 10th, 2015 Comments Off

Routine reminders (InfoSavvy)

Sticky Notes

By raulalbores (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome back!  I hope summer has given you a pleasant break from your routine.  Now it’s time for some routine reminders.

Please encourage your students to activate their USM cards at any one of the campus libraries.  Online students can get a Distance Learner Card.

If you’ll be asking students to find scholarly journal articles, please also mention ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service.  We have many, many journals online.  Still, we don’t subscribe to every journal, and our subscriptions vary in full-text coverage.  Why should anyone pass up on a good article from a journal in one of those categories?

As always we librarians are happy to visit your classes and/or create research guides.  We wish you a wonderful semester!

Posted by on September 3rd, 2015 Comments Off

Leaping through the information cycle (InfoSavvy)

Center of Milky Way Galaxy

By NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/CXC/STScI (NASA JPL Photojournal: PIA12348) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The information cycle covers information creation and use over time.  A TV series can serve as a case in point.

When Quantum Leap first aired, people saw the commercials (for ex. mattind69v3, 1989/2013) and read the reviews (for ex. Haithman, 1989).  Magazines covered the show during its run: Maclean’s, for instance, reported on a controversial episode (Dwyer, 1992).  In time scholars, such as Wiggins (1993), studied the series.  Let’s not forget the books written for fans (Barrett, 1995).

An information source is created in a time and place.  The information cycle helps us see this context.


Barrett, J. (1995). Quantum Leap: A-Z.  New York, NY: Boulevard Books.

Dwyer, V. (1992). Prime-time sparks. Maclean’s, 105(9), 52-53.  Retrieved from http://www.macleans.ca/

Haithman, D. (1989, March 25). NBC’s time travel fantasy a `Quantum Leap’ of faith. Los Angeles Times.  Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/

mattind69v3. (2013). Quantum Leap pre-season 1 promo commercial for the pilot episode (Originally aired 1989).  Retrieved from https://youtu.be/g8dftxDx_j4

Wiggins, K. M. (1993). Epic heroes, ethical issues, and time paradoxes in Quantum Leap. Journal Of Popular Film & Television, 21(3), 111-121. doi: 10.1080/01956051.1993.9943979


Posted by on August 27th, 2015 Comments Off

Icebreaker time (InfoSavvy)

Ice cube trays

By Gmhofmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Soon we’ll be welcoming students, and students will be welcoming each other.  Many schools have posted lists of icebreaker activities.  Lansing Community College (2015) has an especially well-referenced list .  Such lists favor face-to-face activities.  For online icebreakers I recommend–ironically–a book, Engaging the Online Learner (Conrad & Donaldson, 2004).

Conrad and Donaldson (2004) devote a whole chapter to icebreakers (pp. 46-59).  They include both synchronous and asynchronous options.   Each idea comes with the objectives and with a credit to the contributor.

Given the social nature of information, we who care about information literacy should think about icebreakers.  What icebreakers do you like to use?


Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2004). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lansing Community College, Center for Teaching Excellence. (2015). Icebreaker activities.  Retrieved from http://www.lcc.edu/cte/resources/teachingtips/icebreakers.aspx

Posted by on August 21st, 2015 Comments Off

InfoSavvy summer vacation 2015

Girl Reading on a Stone Porch

Winslow Homer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I am on vacation this week.  Stay tuned for a new post next week.

Posted by on August 13th, 2015 Comments Off

Professional development in community (InfoSavvy)


Image by Katarina Caspersen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As grateful as I am for the conferences I get to attend, they are not the only form of professional development.  This week I’ll salute another form, the learning community.

The ERIC Thesaurus (2008) scope note defines communities of practice as “Groups of people sharing an interest or profession who interact and collaborate in order to share knowledge and develop solutions for common problems.”  Related terms include Interprofessional Relationship and Problem Solving.

Nistor, Daxecker, Stanciu, and Diekamp (2015) examined the social side of such communities.  They looked at time spent in the community, socio-emotional knowledge, and the centrality of one’s role in the community (pp. 262-263).  Of these factors the interpersonal knowledge was particularly important in developing a sense of community (p. 271).

In short communities of practice are another professional development option with a social component.  The above article was but a sample: we librarians are happy to help you learn more about the topic.


Communities of practice. (2008). In ERIC thesaurus.  Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?qt=communities+of+practice&ti=Communities+of+Practice

Nistor, N., Daxecker, I., Stanciu, D., & Diekamp, O. (2015). Sense of community in academic communities of practice: Predictors and effects. Higher Education: The International Journal Of Higher Education And Educational Planning, 69(2), 257-273.  doi: 10.1007/s10734-014-9773-6

Posted by on August 6th, 2015 Comments Off