Current Cites

April 2014

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Warren Cheetham, Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland

Kolko, Beth, Robert  Racadio, and Kate  Deibel, et. al."The value of non-instrumental computer use: Skills acquisition, self-confidence, and community-based technology trainingThe Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington  (April 2014)( - Play activities can be just as, if not more effective, in teaching ICT skills. This report outlines research from Brazil, which conducted research at LAN houses, which are similar to cybercafés where people engage in computer gaming and social networking. Most internet and computer trainers recognise that new learners need a hook to engage them in ICT skill development, and this research supports this notion. No matter what the age or experience of people, the desire to keep in touch with friends and family is a strong motivator for visiting LAN houses and learning to use computers. The social interactions at the LAN houses are in themselves an important motivator, with some visiting the houses despite having internet access at home. For 35% of the people contacted during the research, their relationship with technology began with social networking and for 20%, computer gaming was the introduction. The report also shows that the general public in Brazil has not embraced formal ICT learning, preferring the social learning with friends and family that LAN houses encourages. For libraries teaching ICT skills, it is important to remember the value of keeping fun and play high on the agenda, as well as designing and providing ICT spaces that encourage collaboration, discussion and socialisation, instead of just solo computer use. - WC

Little, Geoffrey. "Squaring the Circle: Library Technology and AssessmentThe Journal of Academic Librarianship  39(6)(November 2013): 596-598. ( - Assessment processes are constantly evolving along with technology, even as they assess the effective use of technology in libraries. The library associations support this effort with assessment conferences, assessment journals, and tested survey methods such as the LibQUAL+ survey created by the Association of Research Libraries. Google provides the free tool Google Analytics, which libraries can combine with their own usability program to evaluate and improve their Web interfaces. New assessment librarians will find here a quick review of available tools to assess both external and internal processes, along with a reminder that building a culture of assessment requires "flexibility, collegiality, and a willingness to look at things from different angles and perspectives." - NN

McGInniss, Jeremy. "Working at Learning: Developing an Integrated Approach to Student Staff DevelopmentIn the Library with the Lead Pipe  (9 April 2014)( - In this piece, the author encourages librarians who may have developed a negative view of the necessity of student workers in the library to rethink their attitude. As McGinniss points out, most academic libraries couldn't function without their student workers. He discusses the need for iterative training opportunities, and the importance of clearly setting goals and expectations, and providing feedback on their work. This includes giving them opportunities to strike out on their own with a project, and help to fix any errors they've made. This focus, while time-consuming, helps to ensure that the student's time as an employee of the library is a true development experience. Throughout the article, McGinniss readily acknowledges the challenges in managing student workers, making this piece a practical starting point for someone who wants to rethink their student employment program. - AC

Péoux, Gérald. "Will the Annual Bibliography of France History Survive the 'New Technologies' Turn?: A Last Attempt to Enter the Twenty-First CenturyJournal of Scholarly Publishing  45(3)(April 2014): 237-260. ( - Most of us have lived through the transition from print-based scholarship to online services. Here we are treated to a discussion of the process that transformed the venerable 'Annual Bibliography of France History' from an annual print publication to, in the words of the author, "a perpetually in-motion product". - LRK

Stromberg, Joseph. "I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content FarmSlate: Future Tense  (23 March 2014)( - In many European countries, a post-graduate degree is not finalized until it is published. Some clever German publishers have realized that they can use the same automated technology and workflow they use to create and distribute German theses to publish any dissertation or paper, so long as they can get the content. American institutional repositories, therefore, have become prime hunting grounds. Unsolicited emails offering to publish content found in IRs are flooding campuses, and many authors are signing away their rights. Stromberg tells the story of what happened when an Mauritius-based imprint of VDM Publishing, the largest of these publishers, offers to publish his undergraduate thesis. It is a nice object lesson for the unwary, and a case study of how the world of publishing is rapidly changing. - PH

Vandergrift, Micah, and Chealsye  Bowley. "Librarian, Heal Thyself: A Scholarly Communication Analysis of LIS JournalsIn the Library with the Lead Pipe  (23 April 2014)( - Scholarly communication librarians have long suffered from the "shoemaker's children" syndrome. While arguing for open access and reforms in publication, much of the discipline's professional literature is heavily restricted. How restricted is revealed in Vandergrift and Bowley's survey of 111 journals in library and information science. Their study reveals a wide range practices regarding copyright transfer requirements and pre- and post-print availability. Anyone considering publishing an article should review their dataset of journal policies and think about the possible options. Let's hope that their study either leads to an exodus from commercial journals and/or a reform of publishing practices. My only wish is that they had scored all 111 journals according to their proposed "journal openness index" rather than just the 11 most-prestigious titles. - PH