Responding to recordings, responding to research (InfoSavvy)

Record player

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Have you heard of a response recording, a.k.a. an answer song?  As the name implies, it is a song released in response to an earlier recording.  Sometimes it will parody the original piece.  Sometimes it will continue the story related in the original.  Sometimes it will challenge the viewpoint of the original, or at least offer an alternative viewpoint (Cooper & Haney, 1990, pp. xiii-xxi).  Why am I even bringing up this topic?

Scholarship itself involves responding to previous scholarship.  The ACRL Information Literacy Framework describes scholarship as a conversation (2014, p.11).  Think of the works you have cited in your research.  At times haven’t you challenged or  expanded upon these works?

Answer songs provide a fresh way to consider the concept.  Cooper and Haney (1990) provide an extensive list of pre-1990 recordings.  Smith (1986) tells the story behind “Papa Wants the Best for You,” which gives the father’s response to “Papa Don’t Preach.”  More recent examples exist, though these earlier ones are well-documented and model the conversation.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from

Cooper, B.L., & Haney, W.S. (1990). Response recordings: An answer song discography 1950-1990.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

Smith, L. (1986, October 22). Papa gets second chance in new video. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 5E. Retrieved from,2137407

P.S. On a lighter note you can watch the video for “Queen of the House,” which parodies “King of the Road.”

Posted by on January 29th, 2015 Comments Off

The album and the journal (InfoSavvy)

CD player and MP3 player

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With the upcoming Grammy Awards I’ll indulge in recording industry metaphors for the next couple of weeks.  Online music stores (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) let you download–after you’ve purchased it–an individual song or an entire album.  Likewise a library database lets you view (if we’ve purchased the subscription) an individual article or the entire issue.  Why does this similarity matter?

In both cases you can lose something by taking the individual item out of context.  Is the song part of a concept album or a soundtrack, for example?  Is the article part of a special issue?

On the other hand you gain convenience.  Why should you pay for a whole album when you want one particular song?  Why would you read an entire issue when you want one particular article?

Those new to academic research may not be familiar with article databases.  They may either own an MP3 player or at least understand the concept of music downloads.  Perhaps the analogy might make journals and databases more understandable.


Posted by on January 22nd, 2015 Comments Off

Welcome back spring 2015 (InfoSavvy)

Welcome mat

Image by Kannanshanmugam,shanmugam studio,Kollam (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome back!

I hope that you enjoyed your intersession.  As always I’ll start the semester with a few reminders.

We librarians can visit your class multiple times.  We can visit at point of need–during any part of the semester.

If a visit doesn’t meet your needs, we can create materials to support your desired information literacy outcomes.  Our guides are the most obvious example.  Of course a visit and supporting materials need not be mutually exclusive.

Don’t forget about the Selected Works pages.  Through them we can help give your work the visibility it deserves.



Posted by on January 15th, 2015 Comments Off

Equal time for books (InfoSavvy)

Rainbow bookshelf

Image by Craig Conley from Durham, NC, US (Rainbow Bookshelf) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago I shared my favorite articles of 2014.  Now I’ll give equal time to books.  I did not restrict my list to books published in 2014, only to books I read in 2014:

Buchanan, H. E., & McDonough, B. A. (2014). The one-shot library instruction survival guide. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions.

I learned about this book in an online course (The instructors were the book’s authors.).  As did the course, the book offers ways to make the most of a single visit.

Calkins, K., & Kvenild, C. (2014). The embedded librarian’s cookbook. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

The contributors format their respective activities as recipes.  As with any cookbook you can refer back to it for many occasions.

Cook, D., & Farmer, L. S. J. (Eds.). (2011). Using qualitative methods in action research: How librarians can get to the why of data. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

I still wish to do some research.  This book provides some inspiring examples.

Gawande, A. (2010). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right (1st ed.). New York, NY: Metropolitan Books.

You may remember this one from my 9/11/14 post.  It deserves a second mention.

Wiggins, G. P. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Cook and Farmer (2011) cited this one.   I cite it because it explains backward design in a useful way.

Posted by on January 7th, 2015 Comments Off

Happy New Year! (InfoSavvy)

Festive garland

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I thank you for your support in 2014 and wish you a wonderful 2015.  Here’s to continued posts and to great readers!

Posted by on December 31st, 2014 Comments Off

Happy Holidays from InfoSavvy!

Festive decoration with pine cone and rose

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I’m spending Christmas with my family.  May your Holidays, too, be peaceful and joyous!

Posted by on December 23rd, 2014 Comments Off

My 2014 professional reading picks (InfoSavvy)

Festive lights

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With 2014 nearing its close I’ll give my annual salute to my favorite professional reading of the year. These five are only a sampling of 2014′s fine articles:

Best free reference websites. (2014). Reference & User Services Quarterly, 54(1), 50–52. doi:10.5860/rusq.54n1.50

I am saluting my favorite articles of the year: I didn’t specify scholarly articles.  Quality reference sources always come in handy.  When they’re free, they’re even handier.

Lundstrom, K., Fagerheim, B. A., & Benson, E. (2014). Librarians and instructors developing student learning outcomes. Reference Services Review, 42(3), 484–498. doi:10.1108/RSR-04-2014-0007

We librarians are happy to work with faculty on learning outcomes.  This article illustrates one way for doing so.

Murphy, J. A. (2014). Library learning: Undergraduate students’ informal, self-directed, and information sharing strategies. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 9(1). Retrieved from

Let’s not underestimate the power of informal learning.  How can library instruction account for it?

Stewart-Mailhiot, A. E. (2014). Same song, different verse: Developing research skills with low stakes assignments. Communications in Information Literacy, 8(1), 32–42. doi:10.7548/cil.v8i1.233

I liked this article so much that I gave it its own post (10/30).  It combines theory (low-stakes writing) with sample assignments.  Why can’t something be both theoretical and practical?

Walden, G. (2014). Informing library research with focus groups: The potential of seven alternative strategies to enhance participant interaction. Library Management, 35(8/9), 558–564.

Focus groups themselves can yield powerful insights.  Imagine augmenting the focus groups with such techniques as storytelling or even drawing.  Each technique comes with examples–from inside and from outside the library.

Indeed it has been a banner year for library reading.  I close by saluting the authors, named here or not, who helped make it so.




Posted by on December 18th, 2014 Comments Off

Connected concepts (InfoSavvy)


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ACRL (2014) has just released a third draft of its Information Literacy Framework.  I’m still studying it.  Overall, though, I like the emphasis on connected habits of mind (p. 1) over isolated skills.

Let’s take the frame Information Creation as a Process, for instance.  There we read about the value placed on information formats depending upon the context (p. 6).  One of the other frames happens to be Information has Value (p. 8).  Yet another frame notes that Authority is Constructed and Contextual (p. 4).  In short the frames inform each other.

I plan to write more about the Framework in the coming semester.  In the meantime we librarians are here for you as this semester winds down.


Association of College & Research Libraries (2014). Framework for information literacy for higher education: Draft 3.  Retrieved from

Posted by on December 11th, 2014 Comments Off

Tips for the time strapped (InfoSavvy)

Clock nearing twelve

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In an ideal world we’d allow ample time for our research.  In the real world life intervenes, and even the well-prepared find themselves working close to deadlines.  As the semester nears its end, I’ll remind everyone of the following library resources and services:

Full text limiters

Most databases allow you to limit your search to full text articles.  Some databases, such as JSTOR, contain a large amount of full text content.  In other words you can get additional articles right away.

Citation managers

The libraries subscribe to RefWorks.  If you use an EBSCO database (for ex. Academic Search Complete), you can also store and organize your citations via My EBSCOhost.  Such tools will save you time when it comes to the reference list.

Requestor and  ILL

Interlibrary loan is faster than ever.   When you request books via the URSUS catalog, the turnaround time is fast as well .


Let’s not forget chat technology.  Let’s not forget the human librarians ready to help you.

Extended hours

Hours vary for each campus.  For details check the finals hours on the library website.


Please share these tips with students and colleagues.  Aren’t we all time-strapped, after all?



Posted by on December 4th, 2014 Comments Off

Abundance of thanks (InfoSavvy)


By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I trust you had a safe and pleasant Thanksgiving.  Of course you have my ongoing thanks for reading these posts.



Posted by on November 29th, 2014 Comments Off