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The Information Commons

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J Miller

on 12 May 2011

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Transcript of The Information Commons

The Information Commons Jill Hallam-Miller
LS 500 111-71
April 16, 2011 History and development What is
the IC
today?
(It's an LC.) Where do we go from here? How is it relevant to reference services? Is everyone on board? Learning commons defined?
often used interchangeably with information commons

specifically designed for collaborative learning (Bonnand and Donahue 2010, 225; Lippencott 2006, 7.3; Sinclair 2009, 506)

"not library-centric" but instead incorporates "many formerly external functions and activities" (Bailey and Tierney 2008, 3) Information commons defined?
no formally agreed-upon definition

"online environment" allowing for access to a comprehensive range of digital services, and the "physical facility" in which this "integrated digital environment" exists (Beagle 1999, 82)

"model for information service delivery" (Bailey and Tierney 2008, 1)

Concerned with "knowledge seeking" (Somerville and Collins 2008, 806) References Media
Production Room Classroom Questions? History & development

Late 1980s - what does the academic library of the future look like? (Milewicz 2009, 4)

"the demise of libraries in the digital age" (Bonnand and Donahue 2010, 226)

"library as place" movement (Spencer 2006, 244) What will academic libraries be?
"service-oriented"
"computer-centered"
"curriculum design"
revamping of "bibliographic instruction" (Milewicz 2009, 4) Early information commons:

University of Iowa's Information Arcade, 1992

University of Southern California's Leavey Library, 1994

"innovative arenas and venues for student learning"

"opportunities for projecting the library's identity across campus as an agent for collaboration"

(Beagle, Bailey, and Tierney 2006, 19) So what makes it an "information commons?"
physical location
"high-touch" services
"high-tech" services
hardware, software, and support
online resources What sets it apart from the traditional library is
collaborative learning workspaces
"near-seamless integration . . . of space, services, resources, service desks, and staff" (Bailey and Tierney 2008, 2) The transformation of the commons

"shift in learning theory from primarily transmission of knowledge . . . toward a greater emphasis on creation of knowledge" (Bailey and Tierney 2008, 2)

"technology skills will often be sought after in the job market" (Lippincott 2010, 28) Millennials
"born between 1982 and 1991"
"grew up with technology from their earliest years" (Lippincott 2010, 28)
social media
mobile devices
visual learners (YouTube, gaming, etc.) concerned with the "collaborative processes by which students turn information into knowledge" (Somerville and Collins 2008, 805) What external activities and functions?
writing centers
career counseling
librarians embedded in course management software (like D2L or Blackboard)
coffee shops
(Bailey and Tierney 2008, 3) Isn't it just a computer lab?
"labization . . . the conversion of library space, usually the reference room, into computer labs" (Caniano 2010, under "From Library to Commons") No, it isn't just a computer lab.
"technology . . . is intentionally more pervasive"
the commons is designed to accommodate groups
there is a much broader range of services available (Lippincott 2006, 7.2-7.3)

Other services, like a multimedia lab wouldn't be found in a computer lab (Allen, Gould, Littrell, and Schillie 2010, 161; Bailey and Tierney 2008, 2; Milewicz 2009, 13) Is it a successful concept?
"overwhelmingly popular with students" (Spencer 2006, 244)

"enormously successful" (Lippincott 2006, 7.1)

increasing gate counts (Granath and Samson 2008, under "Table 3") What happened at the reference desk in academic libraries?

ubiquity of Internet led to decreased reference transactions despite increasing student populations
(Caniano 2010, under "Brief History"; Lippincott 2010, 32)

students are unlikely to seek out a librarian for assistance (Moore and Wells 2009, 76)

"reference librarians found themselves . . . becoming trouble-shooting experts" (Spencer 2006, 243) What's happening at the reference desk in library commons?
increasing gate counts do not equal increasing reference transactions
8% increase in gate count
11% decrease in reference transactions (Granath and Samson 2008, under "Table 3") So what did we do about it?

eliminated reference space to make room for the commons (Caniano 2010, under "From Library to Commons"; Wong 2009, 180)

moved reference books into the circulating collection (Hussong-Christian 2010, 281) What's happening at the reference desk in library commons?
1-3% of questions = in-depth reference
1-4% = ready- ("quick") reference
42% = building, service, or directional information
30% = technology-related
18% = printer help
(Barratt, Acheson, and Luken 2010, 46-47) Chat reference paints a very different picture! What does it all mean?
"the nature and extent of [faculty and student] information needs have changed" (Sinclair 2009, 505)
"redefine traditional reference services in the commons" (Stark and Samson 2010, 268)
"meet the users on the users' terms" (Sinclair 2009, 504) How we're meeting the users on their terms:
act as "guide and intermediary" to print and online resources
classes, websites, guides (Bailey and Tierney 2002, 281)
Be where they are Reference assistance in multiple formats:
instant messaging
SMS
web conferencing
Second Life
Facebook
mobile technologies
(reach students where they are)
(Moore and Wells 2009, 77)

phone
email
set up appointments
widget in CMS
(Stoffle and Cuillier 2010, 122) Making it a one-stop-shop:
invite "other campus services into the space" (Lippincott 2006, 7.4)
offer a variety of relevant services like advising, tutoring, and research classes (Stoffle and Cuillier 2010, 118) We're giving them what they want . . . aren't we?

students say they prefer face-to-face reference transactions (Stark and Samson 2010, 268)

"students reported that they were most likely to ask for help [at the reference desk] than any of the other options for help from a librarian" (Barratt, Acheson, and Luken 2010, 54)

"most millennials want a blend of in-person and online interactions" (Lippincott 2010, 32) Could a trained monkey do this job? Everyone is not on board.

"unduly catering to students [who may be] undisciplined and seeking easy answers to academic work through facile use and overuse of technology" (Lippincott 2010, 28)

focus is on undergraduate student needs and study habits even though this group represents roughly 50% of the academic population (Bailey and Tierney 2008, 7)

noisy and messy (Stoffle and Cuillier 2010, 126) Everyone is not on board.

just a lot of computers, and who needs those anymore? (Caniano 2010, under "From Library to Commons")

lack of standards for assessing impact and effectiveness of services (Tramdack 1999, 93)

lack of clarity about "role of the IC in the life of the library and institution" (Tramdack 1999, 92) How we're meeting the users on their terms:

"integrated service desk . . . handle both computer and information inquiries" (Wong 2009, 187)

"wireless reference on the fly" (Moore and Wells 2009, 76)

offer reference assistance "in multiple formats" (Stoffle and Cuillier 2010, 122)

make it a one-stop-shop "a wireless network encompassing approximately 70 percent of the campus [extends] the commons into virtual learning spaces" (Allen et al. 2010, 161) "the essential social dimension of knowledge and learning"
"encourages the facilitation of formal and informal social exchanges in campus venues such as dining halls, residence halls . . . " (Somerville and Collins 2008, 807) constructivist learning
participatory - learn by doing
mirrors successful corporate models of operation
(Sinclair 2007, 4; Somerville and
Collins 2008, 804) Implications for libraries:
new iteration--"Commons 2.0" Change is good, right?
Oregon State University's "significant remodel in 1999"
2009 upgrade to learning commons?
(Hussong-Christian et al. 2010, 273) Change is good, right?
University of Georgia
". . . students do not immediately identify the [commons] building as a branch of the library with accompanying research and reference services"
(Barratt, Acheson, and Luken 2010, 46) How about a non-commons model?
the Athenaeum
"requires academic libraries to delve further into subject specialization"
"formation of academic clubs, working groups, roundtables"
"plan and implement lectures, conferences, and presentations. . . all to be hosted by the library"
(Caniano 2010, under "From Library to
Commons") ". . . fork in the road when we all have to decide what libraries are going to evolve into, what they are going to become, and how or if we are going to continue to recognize them as libraries" (Halbert 2010, 73)
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