Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will the FM Radio Band Be Expanded?

I'm surprised I didn't come across this one earlier.

In March, the FCC proposed turning over the bandwidth currently occupied by analog channels 5 and 6 over to the FM band (76-88 MHz). If approved, this could open opportunities for additional channels when the digital television transition is complete next February. The spectrum currently reserved for channels 5 and 6 is immediately adjacent to the existing FM broadcast dial and could be easily be re-appropriated to expand the FM dial to accommodate up to 60 new stations.

This will be an interesting change. I know I am used to seeking out local college and Public Radio stations down in the lower FM band. The question I have is if the FCC will be simply expanding the low power band to accomondate new community stations. This may be the case since the idea was embedded deep within a proposal to promote diversity ownership. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 22, 2008

Class of 2012 Beloit College Mindset List

The class of 2012 Beloit College Mindset list is out.

A few that stood out that could have impact on how we deliver library services:

  • The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm,
  • colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware.
  • Hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence.
  • Will continue to use their cell phones and communicate via texting.
  • Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.
  • GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  • WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
  • They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
  • Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
  • As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 11, 2008

Can the Elliott Wave Predict Library Usage Patterns?

In the 1930's, Ralph Nelson Elliott, a corporate accountant, studied financial market price movements. He observed that certain patterns repeated themselves and what may appear to be random and unrelated actually create a recognizable pattern. Elliott called his discovery "The Elliott Wave Principle."

While the theory is applied mostly to financial and commodity markets, the Elliott Wave addresses much more: it attempts to find patterns that underlie collective society. It can been viewed as a measure of mass human activity that can be applied to socio patterns as well (see: The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics) These patterns underly the forces that drives the trends in human affairs from politics to popular culture.

Robert Prechter, in his book "At the Crest of the Tidal Wave," argues that using the Elliott wave principle that we are at the crest of a tidal wave of change in the public mood that will stall or reverse a 200 year cycle of rising Western European prosperity. Prechter predicts " the darkening of the social mood produces a falling stock market and ultimately, social upheaval." Yep, Wave theorists paint a extremely depressing picture of the future.

I am still trying to get a grasp of the concept, but essentially, the idea is that when quantified and graphed human activity creates a common and predictable 'wave' pattern. The trend line moves up or down the graph with the primary trend impulsively. These impulsive (dramatic) moves come in stair-step fashion, five waves at a time. Waves 1, 3, and 5 progress and waves 2 and 4 regress (or correct).

The total move in the direction of the primary trend progresses because the sum of waves 1, 3, and 5 exceeds the sum of waves 2 and 4. Waves 1, 3, and 5 move in the direction of the primary trend, while waves 2 and 4 can either move in the opposite direction or sideways.

The pattern is repeated on the decline as well as the incline. I believe that Wave and stock market watchers see the Great Depression as wave (4); the 2000 market as wave (5); we are heading down to corrective wave (A) - where Wave followers predict the Dow will drop to 1000. (You are saying by now "Thanks, Eric, for brightening my day!)

Assuming that there is something to the principle, I wonder if one looks at circulation, gate count, interlibrary loan, reference transactions if the Elliott Wave will show itself.
I will try to grab some stats in the upcoming month and report back if the Wave pattern emerges, or not.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Rethinking Scholarship in Academic Librarianship

I was asked in a comment by Karen to to my Knol post if I had a promotion and tenure model in mind which took into account emerging scholarship methods. I didn't at the time. Since then, I have been doing some thinking, reading, and talking with colleagues.

The nature of librarianship and scholarly communication has changed drastically over the past decade while the definition of scholarship for academic librarians is stuck in time. Scholarship in libraries with tenure track librarians is still universally equated with research and publication in traditional peer-reviewed journal articles and monographs. In fact, there are disincentives to exploring alternative forms of scholarship since faculty are reluctant to pursue them since such activities have historically not been valued positively, or not weighed equally, during faculty evaluations.

The impact of the lack of exploration of alternative methods by faculty librarians may be more profound than one would imagine; a growing percentage of the output of our scholarly endeavors may no longer accurately reflect the changing nature and practices of our profession.

One has to really give the Modern Language Association (the other, other MLA) and their task force a great deal of credit for communicating how they feel scholarship should be evaluated and promoted by rethinking tenure - and much more. The inspiration for their approach was Ernest Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities for the Professorate. Boyer's text also inspired Oregon State University (the other, other OSU) to also rethink scholarship and to change their guidelines.

Both MLA and OSU are broadening the view of scholarship beyond 'research." They are both articulating, advocating, and providing mechanisms for recognition of scholarship that is produced but not presented in traditional journal articles or monographs. The basic tenants of scholarship still exist in both their approaches by emphasizing the importance of validity, communicating to broader audiences, and ensuring that scholarship outcomes will be accessible and useful to others.

To help ensure that our scholarship remains relevant and in sync with changes to the profession, a revised definition of what constitutes academic library scholarship is needed. While not exactly a model, the following is a statement on the role of scholarship that is inspired by the MLA, and largely borrowed from it and the Oregon document (and acknowledged here as such):

The purpose of scholarship is to create something that did not exist before that is validated and communicated to others: a new understanding, new knowledge, new insights, new technologies and applications of knowledge that contribute to librarianship. Library faculty are expected to engage in scholarship, and each is also expected to perform responsibilities assigned their position. These assigned responsibilities typically include specific teaching, research, or administrative assignments.

Scholarship and creative activity derive from many activities , including but not limited to: research contributing to a body of knowledge; development of new technologies, materials, methods, or educational approaches; integration of knowledge or technology leading to new interpretations or applications; creation and interpretation in the arts, including the performing arts; and work on steering committees, funding agency panels and editorships where the outcome is a fundamental change in the field’s direction.

The kinds of scholarship for faculty across the range of positions at the library will vary. In some areas of librarianship, refereed journals and monographs are the traditional media for communication and peer validation; in others, presentations and exhibitions. In still other areas, emerging technologies are creating, and will continue to create, entirely new media and methods. Scholarship and creative activity its diverse forms must be based on a high level of professional expertise; must give evidence of originality; must be documented and validated as through peer review or critique; and must be communicated in appropriate ways so as to have impact on or significance beyond the library, University, or the discipline itself.

Peer validation and communication can occur in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, peer-refereed publications. In cases where validation and communication are not obvious, faculty must document how it was accomplished.

In certain positions, seeking competitive grants and contracts is an essential responsibility, and success in this endeavor—particularly when the grants are highly competitive or peer-reviewed— is a evidence of achievement in scholarship.

In consideration for promotion and tenure, scholarship and creative activity are not merely to be enumerated but are to be carefully, objectively, and rigorously evaluated by professional peers, including ones external to the University.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 04, 2008

Will Librarians Embrace Knol? Chances are....

...we will not. At least initially.

To play with Knol, I created my first document, a repurposing of my five part SOA blog series from last year. I could have created one very long blog post but decided to break it into more digestible chunks. The reformatted Knol version pulled it all together and it seems to works as a longer document. I will likely be questioned by faculty colleagues wondering why I didn't publish publish it in a traditional peer reviewed journal. This is part of the point of this post.

I spent some time reading Richard Akerman's posts about Google's Knol. Much of the criticism he provides, such as search and discovery, are well founded. I do wonder if we have grown to expect only great things from Google and are increasingly disappointed / critical when they do not immediately deliver. (can you say Gphone?) All the current shortcomings of the Knol aside, two of Richard's comments interested me:

"...a total lack of understanding of the current state of scholarly blogging..."

"If you want to make Knol a system for presenting authoritative information, you might want to look at how scholars do it in modern web-enabled scientific articles"

Google is not the only group that may not understand the current state. We only have to look in the mirror (well, not any of you. You ARE here reading this).

I have posted my perspective on the value of blogging as scholarly communication. I am a tenure track faculty librarian and the incoming Chair of our Promotion and Tenure Committee. When talking with our faculty about "scholarly blogging" it still amazes me that is how many librarians simply do not see how blogging is shaping our professional communications. I'll speculate that a majority of topics presented at conferences and eventually land up in print literature started with a half-baked idea on a blog. Certainly, blogs are the major source of topics at the various library BarCamps.

Librarians think of themselves as being on top of emerging technologies and using them to provide our customers with the best services possible. Yet, the communications methods that we use to share our ideas, our knowledge, are still grounded in the middle ages. A growing amount of content making its way into our traditional literature is so 'old' that it is no longer interesting. This may be the single reason why our traditional published literature has become so dreary.

I am sure many of our professors could wax poetically about why Knol and blogging do not merit consideration as scholarly communications. They will talk about the lack of pre-publication peer-review and authority. Chances are they would be evaluating Knol without ever using it. Their perspectives would be no different than the critic that trashes a movie before seeing it. A major breakthrough moment would be if I would get the response "I read over the blog posts about Knol the other day..."

So, while Knol has issues, it is the potential of this type of publishing I feel can help to revitalize the state of our professional communication. Tools such as blogs and Knol can let us toss out those half-baked ideas. The reviews and comments enables the author to build out newer/better/more thought out versions of the content. This is in contrast to a blog post which is generally stuck in time - much like the majority of our professional communications. Sphere: Related Content