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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Summary of Portal articles

A summary of a couple of articles recently published in portal: Libraries and the Academy has been added the ACRL's Value of Academic Libraries site

University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Library Data and Student Success Project - Updates

The articles are also linked in the "valueography" . Although the name of this made me roll my eyes a bit--I want to read just about every single article listed. It is amazing what great research is being done in this area from instruction to archives to value.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Focusing on the First Year Conference Presentation

Here our the slides from our presentation for the Focusing on the First Year Conference, Feb. 13, 2013 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

The Libraries' Role in the Success of First Year Students

Location: Room 326
It's standard advice for a college freshman: Use the library. But how many students take that advice? And what evidence exists that library use has a positive impact on student success? Which of the many services now provided by libraries are most important to students just beginning their undergraduate careers?

Working with the Office of Institutional Research (OIR), the University Libraries collected data on how people interacted with the library in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. Although limited to access points where an Internet ID can be captured, the resulting dataset provides the most complete picture of library use currently available at any institution. Moving beyond the overall counts, demographic data from OIR allowed the Libraries to aggregate use across categories like college and status.

Armed with data describing library use by first year students, along with the demographic, college environment, and prior academic factors known to influence student success, OIR performed regression analyses to discover relationships among different types of library use and the student success factors of GPA and student retention. Our presentation outlines the observed relationships and details our investigations into how much and what types of library use help new students the most.

Libraries Role Success FYStudents handout.pdf

Friday, February 8, 2013

Value to employers?

I have finally had a bit of time to catch up on some new research from Project Information Literacy (PIL) from fall. They have done a preliminary study on the research skills students bring with them to the workplace and what employers think of those skills.

Certainly beyond academic student success it would be fascinating to explore a connection between library use and workplace success.

Here is a selection of major findings from PIL:

  • Employers placed a high premium on graduates' abilities for searching online, finding information with tools other than search engines, and identifying the best solution from all the information they had gathered.

  • Once they joined the workplace, many college hires demonstrated computer know-how that exceeded both the expectations and abilities of many of their employers. Yet we found these proficiencies also obscured the research techniques needed for solving information problems...

  • Most college hires were prone to deliver the quickest answer they could find using a search engine, entering a few keywords, and scanning the first couple of pages of results...

  • Students said they leveraged essential information competencies from college to help them gain an edge and save time at work when solving workplace information problems. Many of them applied techniques for evaluating the quality of content, close reading of texts, and synthesizing large quantities of content, usually found online.

  • Overall, our findings suggest there is a distinct difference between today's graduates who demonstrated how quickly they found answers online and seasoned employers who needed college hires to use a combination of online and traditional methods to conduct comprehensive research.

Complete report:
"Learning Curve: How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace," Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy Research Report, October 15, 2012.