Current Cites

July 2013

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Jesús Tramullas, Cassie Wagner

FESABID. XIII Jornadas Españolas de Documentación FESABID 13  (May 2013)( - Every two years, the Spanish Federation of Archives, Library, Documentation and Museums (FESABID), celebrates the Spanish Conference on Documentation. This year the conference was held in Toledo, on 24 and 25 May. Selected papers have been published in open access in the conference proceedings. The publication includes 34 papers and short papers, organized into sections corresponding to Impact, Ethics, Intellectual Property, and Social Web. - JT

Junco, R., G.  Heibergert, and E.  Loken. "The Effect of Twitter on College Student Engagement and GradesJournal of Computer Assisted Learning  27(2)(12 November 2010): 119-132. ( - Assessments of student engagement and social media use in higher education has been a little thin on the ground, so it’s refreshing to see authors tackle Twitter’s impact on learning in a systematic way. The authors taught the same material to students in multiple sections of the same first-year seminar course. While all of the students connected through a Ning site, about half of them were assigned to use Twitter, too. The Twitter users had more discussions outside of class, created study groups, and earned higher end-of-semester grades. Looks like Twitter will save education, right? The authors provide a wise caveat; "Students in the Twitter group had the benefit of almost-always-on support for academic, co-curricular, and personal issues [from both their classmates and a pair of very active instructors]." It’s not the tech that made the difference, but that the teachers were available and interested when and where the students wanted them to be. - CW

Lewis, Vivian, Steve  Hiller, and Elizabeth  Mengel, et. al."Building Scorecards in Academic Research Libraries: Performance Measurement and Organizational IssuesEvidence Based Library and Information Practice  8(2)(2013): 183 - 199. ( - A library implementing a formal assessment project has many choices, and the initial stage of selecting a workable assessment method is critical. For those considering Balanced Scorecard, this article gives a succinct preview and summary of the benefits and challenges. The challenges are common to the implementation of any assessment method: the need to "find champions within the leadership group" (p. 195); communication to overcome resistance to change; and finding significant staff time and effort to allocate to the project. The authors acknowledge that "libraries ... are not widely known as change agents" (p. 196) and "The Scorecard is, by its very nature, a change driver." (p. 198) If libraries are not to become irrelevant, they must implement some kind of meaningful assessment. The Balanced Scorecard assisted four academic libraries in improving situations where "their current slates of objectives were focused more on what happened last year than on what they needed to do in the coming years to achieve their missions." (p. 188) - NN

Loftus, Wayne. "Demonstrating Success: Web Analytics and Continuous ImprovementJournal of Web Librarianship  6(1)(12 March 2012): 45-55. ( - This is a type of article I love: A "we did it well" packaged with the necessary information to reproduce the project. Loftus leads readers through how his library used Google Analytics and Drupal to gather detailed information on website user behavior through both GA’s out-of-the-box reports and custom-created variables. He even explains how to track clicks within those ubiquitous jquery tabbed and accordion search menus. I’d been looking for that little gem for a long time now. - CW

Lopez-Perez, M. Victoria, M. Carmen  Perez-Lopez, and Lazaro  Rodriguez-Ariza. "Blended Learning in Higher Education: Students' Perceptions and Their Relation to OutcomesComputers & Education  56(3)(April 2011): 818-826. ( - With all the interest in moving instruction online, what’s the place of traditional face-to-face teaching? Looking at the student outcomes from a blended learning course, the authors found that students who thought e-learning activities were useful were more likely to exploit the activities. That’s common sense: No one likes to waste time on busywork. What’s interesting, though, is that the students more motivated to use the e-learning objects earned higher grades in the course. Again, it’s tech to the rescue! Not quite, say the authors. Motivation and e-learning helps raise grades, but statistical analysis showed that some of the rise was also due to increased engagement in the face-to-face portions of the course. E-learning worked well as a complement to doing things the old fashioned way, not a cure-all on its own. - CW

McKay, Aprille Cooke. Will They Populate the Boxes? Piloting a Low-Tech Method for Capturing Executive E-mail and a Workflow for Preserving It at the University of Michigan  Chicago, IL: Society of American Archivists, May 2013.( - The Society of American Archivists has initiated a new series it calls Campus Case Studies consisting of "reports by university archivists on working solutions for born-digital records," and the latest two studies are winners. In this report and a companion entitled Partnering with IT to Identify a Commercial Tool for Capturing Archival E-mail of University Executives at the University of Michigan, McKay describes Michigan's efforts to capture and preserve archival e-mail from top university administrators. What is particularly interesting is that while the planning and analysis were first-rate and team members were well-aware of all relevant standards, the project in some ways was a failure. COTS software was not available that could meet all of Michigan's requirements; an internal administrative change in IT made moving forward difficult; and individuals in a test described here could not reliably transfer high-value email to the repository. Instead, Michigan developed an ad hoc digital workflow that may serve them better in the long run. It is reassuring to see a working program rise like a phoenix from the ashes. - PH

Scarletto, Edith A, Kenneth J  Burhanna, and Elizabeth  Richardson. "Wide Awake at 4 AM: A Study of Late Night User Behavior, Perceptions and Performance at an Academic LibraryJournal of Academic Librarianship  (2013)( - Finally, a work of library scholarship devoted to the night owls among us. This has been made possible thanks to a trend among academic libraries to remain open '24-5' at least for part of the school year. People naturally wonder how the service is being used and whether it contributes to student achievement. Results at Kent State where this study was carried out, indicate that usage, demographically speaking, represents the university as a whole. Grade point averages are "average to above average" and retention rates are also somewhat higher. Priority services according to the students themselves include "refreshments and furnishings". - LRK