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Category Archives: Libraries

Report – Information literacy in the age of algorithms

Project Information Literacy – Student experiences with news and information, and the need for change. Alison J. Head, Ph.D., Barbara Fister, Margy MacMillan. January 15, 2020. “This report presents findings about how college students conceptualize the ever-changing online information landscape, and navigate volatile and popular platforms that increasingly employ algorithms to shape and filter content. Researchers conducted 16 focus groups with 103 undergraduates and interviewed 37 faculty members to collect qualitative data from eight U.S. colleges and universities from across the country. Findings suggest that a majority of students know that popular websites, such as Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, use algorithms to collect massive amounts of their personal data, but still find sites too useful to abandon. Many are indignant about websites that mine their clicks to sell them products, but resigned to the powers of an unregulated media environment. Some students, however, used practical strategies to protect their privacy and “confuse algorithms,” learned more often from peers than in classes. An abundance of choice for online information left many skeptical and distrustful of news encountered on algorithm-driven platforms. While some students worried about the “creepy” way ads follow them around the internet, others were concerned that automated decision-making systems reinforce societal inequalities.

​Discussions with students and faculty indicated that understanding and managing the torrent of information flowing through search engines and social media is rarely mentioned in the classroom, even in courses emphasizing critical thinking and information literacy. A critical review of a decade of research from Project Information (PIL) about how students conduct course and everyday life research, and what that means for educators and librarians provides context to these new findings. Four recommendations are provided for educators, librarians, administrators, and journalists working to promote truth and prepare students for a changing and challenged world…”

Reflections on Collective Collections

OCLC – Reflections on Collective Collections By Brian Lavoie, Lorcan Dempsey, and Constance Malpas: “Collective collections are the combined holdings of a group of libraries, analyzed and possibly managed as a unified resource. Constructing, understanding, and operationalizing collective collections is an increasingly important aspect of collection management for many libraries. This article presents some general… Continue Reading

NYPL Top 10 Checkouts of All Time

New York Public Library: “Since The New York Public Library’s founding in 1895, millions of books have been checked out by patrons of all ages throughout the city. In honor of the 125th anniversary, a team of experts from the Library carefully evaluated a series of key factors to determine the most borrowed books, including… Continue Reading

The Healing Power of Gardens

Brain Pickings – Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature – “…“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of… Continue Reading

Specialty Pencil Shop Charms Everyone From Creative Professionals to Stationery Lovers

Fortune: “Walking into Caroline Weaver’s empire in New York City feels like stepping into an Instagram photo. It’s ironic, given that her shop is dedicated to a tool many consider to be a relic of a time gone by—a product rendered obsolete by the same invention: the Internet, which in turn gave way to Instagram.… Continue Reading

A Library’s Past

Inside Higher Ed: “Two grad students convinced the University of Virginia to save and store its library’s card catalog, arguing that researchers and historians can use the cards. The card catalog for the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library was once the only way to find needed books. Over four million cards cataloged each book’s location and… Continue Reading

A History of Buying Books Onto the Bestseller List

BookRiot: “…For those unaware of how bestseller lists work, here’s a primer. They each use different metrics and data sources, but the NYT is considered to be the most “curated,” with a secretive process. It is known that they poll a large selection of independent booksellers and major retailers. These are often called “reporting” bookstores.… Continue Reading

Free Textbooks for Law Students

Inside Higher Ed – “Legal scholars are increasingly adopting and creating free textbooks in an attempt to increase affordability for students. But are these textbooks considered open educational resources? Law school is notoriously expensive, but a growing number of professors are pushing back on the idea that law textbooks must be expensive, too. Faculty members… Continue Reading

Please Support BeSpacific in 2020

Dear Readers, Colleagues and Friends – Greetings and Happy New Year. If you read BeSpacific on a regular basis and my research and knowledge discovery is useful to you, please support this site by donating $5 – or another amount, such as $10, $20, $30 – using the PayPal link on the BeSpacific Home Page.… Continue Reading