Information and Visual Literacy, Academic Rigor, and Professional Skepticism: some conference cogitationsPosted: August 15, 2014
This summer I had to cancel a job interview. (Sacrilege, I know!) It was especially unfortunate because the interview would’ve required a presentation and a web-tool showcase, which I was excited to perform — it’s nice to have a structured interview that you can prepare for practically. The presentation would have been on essential information-literacy skills for first-year college students, and I was planning on using a bit of humour and cultural reference as an attack plan.
Specifically, I think students (and web-users at large) would benefit from holding up Sherlock Holmes as their spirit animal: use a bit of skepticism and plenty of attention to detail, and work hard to connect all the dots, no matter how disparate things seem at first . Context is everything, and reading (everything — new stories, academic studies, and statistics-laden infographics) needs to be analytic and critical. I won’t offer any contemporary examples, for fear of digressing into those discussions, but let’s all be aware of the general state of misinformation and gullibility in the world (or, I dunno, trusting the “true story” claim at the beginning of Fargo?).
Lots of people have been discussing information literacy online lately, and I’ve been mulling on it as well. I missed the visual literacy session at ARLIS/NA this year, because I was at the information literacy MOOC session next door, where I brainstormed some alternative MOOC models (universal design, anyone?). Perhaps those of you who attended the visual-lit session can fill me in on which “real-world [library] examples of how ACRL’s visual literacy guidelines have been implemented” were shared, and whether any suggestions were made as to how to supplement the ACRL guidelines with library-specific instructions (is there a forthcoming ARLIS/NA occasional paper on this? There should be).
One question I’ve been pondering since then is how to incorporate research methods and scientific rigor lessons into information and visual literacy — how to make Sherlocks of us all. I’m sure we all took a (strenuous / boring) research methods class in the MLIS program; for me it was a repetition of the undergraduate research methods I learned as part of a psych minor. Every time you consult a data-collection study, you still have to ask: did they use a control group? Did they control for conflating variables? Are they making assumptions about causation, or drawing one of many possible conclusions? Was there a replicating study? Were the survey questions priming, or compound? Did they set their sights on statistical significance? My MLIS-level research course didn’t really enforce these obvious questions, although we all tried our hand at evaluating a study or two for rigor.
It’s being generally acknowledged that LIS / GLAM scholarly work has a relatively low standard of scientific rigor: we don’t replicate studies, we generally only survey an easily-accessible demographic (i.e. college students), and our studies are designed less to further intelligent work in our field and more to push academic librarians into tenure. We could point to a number of problems: peer reviewers with no skills in research analysis, the general left-hand/right-hand divide in LIS between practitioners and academics, and professional associations that don’t push hard enough for presentations and publications that span our full profession. If we’re no good at research methods, how will we impart these skills to our patrons?
The contemporary debate has scared me off using the word “rigor” at all, for fear of it being taken for the opposite of “diversity,” as it seems to have been co-opted lately. Rigor in a strict statistical sense transcends demographics; “rigor” used in reference to higher-education skill-sets could absolutely use some work, but that’s really more of a bad-teachers problem in my thinking. Universities have plenty of resources for academic writing, tutoring, disability accommodations, ESL upgrading, computer lessons, etc., if only students were being made aware of their shortfalls through teacher interaction and feedback.
Libraries are doing essential work in both supplementary education for students with shortfalls and in instructional design for teachers, which should include some basic lessons in how to assess students for these problems, and get them working up to speed before final marking. Is there space for librarians to provide supplementary instruction in not just information literacy and research rigor, but in visual and media literacy as well — and to target students who need that training most?
The number of high-school grads that go to post-secondary tends to hover around the 68% mark in recent years, meaning that, if we can educate every college student in basic info- or visual-literacy, we can put a huge dent into general gullibility and increase the knowledge of intelligent research methods. (I couldn’t begin to imagine how to insert this education into secondary school, but if you have suggestions or resources to share, I’m all ears.) And the sooner we plant the seeds of good scientific design, the sooner we’ll see a general improvement in scholarly output — or at least more articles admitting their limitations and mistakes from the get-go.
But this is all, literally, academic. How do we get information-literacy education out into the public, especially when most popular news outlets seem to benefit directly from a lack of critical thinking? More specifically, how do arts librarians working in visual literacy and media literacy help to educate both their patrons and the public at large — especially if visual literacy skills are universally important but we only get access to arts students?
If you haven’t read the ACRL Visual Literacy Standards, here they are (2011). ARLIS/NA has also put out standards and competencies for information literacy competencies (2007) and instruction (2002). As it stands, it’s our job to (not only teach basic info-lit, but also) hand out lessons on copyright and plagiarism, good design and accessibility, data visualization (and how it can mislead!), image-editing detective work (which invariably leads to an addiction to Photoshop Disasters), and everything from technical evaluation (“how true is the digital colour to the original?”) to art-education evaluation (“what period/genre is this from?”) and semiotics / semantics / cultural theory diversions. Skepticism and rigor in visual literacy could, I predict, lead to everything from a higher interest in art and design among the general populace, to better body image (“Nobody is that beautiful without airbrushing!”) and consumer ethics (“I’d better not buy this plagiarizing pillow“). And sometimes it’s just about getting the joke.
Information literacy might need a bit of a rebrand: like taking a technology class at your library, lots of people aren’t willing to admit they could use a refresher or don’t really get the underlying principles behind their daily use. As usual, the best policy seems to be “Get ’em while they’re young,” and making digital / media literacy and scientific rigor a base part of public education — a required seminar for all first-year college students, at least.
Can art librarians design a quick, fun, painless way to lay out the pitfalls and consequences of being design-dumb? Are the threats of bad website navigation, low-resolution printing, inadvertent copyright infringement, and lack of accessibility important enough to get bureaucratic and financial support? Or will the information-literacy MOOCs fall by the wayside, underused and unacknowledged?
[FYI: ARLIS/NA has an Academic Division (who worked with the ACRL VL Taskforce), a Visual Resources Committee, and a Teaching SIG, but no ongoing groups working on visual literacy specifically, or any published plans to update the 2007 info-lit guidelines. I have yet to hear about collaborations with the International Visual Literacy Assocation, or similar bodies, but if you know of any, post a comment! Maybe it’s time for a little ARLIS/NA visual literacy focus … ]
1: I have always been confused by Sherlock’s use of “deduction” — isn’t he using induction, to take the clues in front of his face and construct a narrative, rather than beginning from a premise and eliminating possible outcomes? If someone can give me a mnemonic or something, I would greatly appreciate it. Says he:
“Let me run over the principal steps. We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
This is a one-year fellowship, 20-25 hours per week, paid but with no specific salary information.
The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) is accepting applications for its Preservation Educational Resources Fellowship. The Fellow will work for a period of one year within the Preservation Department, assisting with the development of a suite of educational resources designed to assist individuals and organizations alike in taking initial steps to assess and establish a preservation plan for their audiovisual materials….
We wish to work with a library, archives, film production or history student/recent graduate who aspires to learn about preservation planning and archival audiovisual formats and who demonstrates the strong desire to help us advance the field of moving image preservation.
Duties will include:
Researching existing audiovisual preservation tools and educational resources
Assisting with the research and acquisition of various samples of audiovisual formats
Assisting with the identification and documentation of conditions that can impact the well-being of audiovisual materials (during both storage and also playback)
Participating in, and providing support for, the production of educational resources (including print materials, instructional videos, and web content).
Skills acquired will include:
Knowledge of audiovisual preservation best practices and familiarity with the field of media preservation. A thorough understanding of the preservation of audiovisual materials (including equipment, format identification, proper care and handling and cleaning techniques, and playback and storage best practices).
Video or audio production or post-production
Training in preservation or archives (particularly video or audio preservation), library education/ experience or current training in audiovisual archives or museum studies.
If interested, please send a resumé and cover letter to the BAVC Preservation Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bay Area Video Coalition
2727 Mariposa Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94110
The Lamar Dodd School of Art seeks a curator of visual resources who possesses a solid knowledge of technology and an acute interest in providing new proactive services and support to faculty and students. This position reports to the Director of the School of Art. The curator will be responsible for developing, managing, and delivering visual resources, and for managing and overseeing additional digital teaching materials. Essential functions of the Visual Resources Curator include administration of the collection and training student staff. The successful candidate will work within the Lamar Dodd School of Art with a community of over 900 undergraduate students in Studio, Art History, and Art Education, 100 art history undergraduate majors and minors, 100 graduate students, and more than 45 tenured faculty in these three disciplines.
It is anticipated that the future projects for this increasingly dynamic position will require multiple skills, including the ability to manage complex, multi-year projects, to work in close collaboration with the faculty, administration, and staff of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and to build relationships with the UGA. Libraries and with faculty and students across campus who may be investigating the visual arts. Projects may include digitizing the Lamar Dodd School of Art’s significant historic art slide collections, and collaborating with the UGA Libraries to develop print and digital resources and services on site in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. This challenging and rewarding opportunity requires both creative flexibility and independent individual initiative.
M.A. or B.A. in art history, architecture, visual studies or a related field. Substantial experience working with visual resources collections with knowledge of the issues around the creation, maintenance, and access of a visual resources collection, including familiarity with standards for visual materials. Experience working with digital imaging technologies and library management. Reading knowledge of multiple languages, ideally including one Romance language and German. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and ability to work in a collaborative setting. Strong organizational and management skills, including the ability to initiate, track, and manage complex, multi-year projects successfully.
MLIS or course work leading to an MLIS degree. Experience with image collection management and presentation software. Knowledge of digital images best practices. Familiarity with Macintosh operating system and proficiency with PowerPoint, PhotoShop, and web content and learning management systems (eLC). Understanding of copyright issues related to image collection management. Previous supervisory experience or team leadership.
We will receive applications for this position through the University of Georgia employment website, under the position title “Program Coordinator II” (https://www.ugajobsearch.com ).
Review of applications will begin on May 19, and will continue until the position is filled.
CONNECTICUT COLLEGE, a highly selective private liberal arts college, located in the historic seaport of New London, seeks an innovative and learner-centered Digital Scholarship and Visual Resources Librarian who understands the changing environment of instructional technology, digital scholarship, and visual resources in an academic environment. The successful candidate will lead the development and coordinate the College’s digital scholarship program. S/he will also promote and support the use of visual resources at the College. The successful candidate will also be responsible for collaborating with members of Information Services and other campus support organizations to plan and deliver information services and supporting resources. The position will be a member of the Instructional Technology Team and will assist in developing an instructional support program for the College.
The ideal candidate will provide leadership in promoting, developing and leading the digital scholarship program in the Digital Scholarship and Curriculum Center. This includes serving as an advisor to digital scholarship projects. S/he will develop the College’s digital visual resources collections and related services to support students, faculty and staff using traditional and emerging technologies. S/he will serve as a library and IT liaison to the Art History and Art departments and actively participate in research publication and conference presentations.
MLS degree from an ALA-accredited program and/or Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology, or comparable education and 3-5 years of experience in a related instructional technology or visual resources library environment is required. Professional training in librarianship, information technology, visual resources management, or a related field involving digital scholarship is also required. Candidate must also possess substantial academic background in Art, Art History or associated area; knowledge of current visual resources collection practices and digital imaging technologies and web page development, including ARTstor and Shared Shelf; experience and knowledge of current practices in digital scholarship. Experience with digital images and video is required as is experience with relevant hardware and software, and image database management; working knowledge with graphics and design software such as Adobe Creative Suites. Excellent interpersonal skills, as well as excellent writing, teaching, verbal and social/new media communication skills are needed. Must also have the ability to build and sustain key relationships with students, staff, and faculty; work individually and as a member of a team and interact well with a variety of people from all aspects of the college. Outgoing personality with strong leadership, collaboration and project management skills is required. Must be detail oriented, well-organized, ability to set priorities, and meet deadlines.
Thorough applicant credentialing, including criminal records check, will be conducted on the selected applicant. The recruitment will remain open until the position is filled. To ensure first consideration, applications should be received by March 28, 2014 .
Please send cover letter, resume and contact information for three professional references electronically to email@example.com (include your full name and “DigSch” in the subject line of your e-mail).
Connecticut College is committed to creating a vibrant community enriched by diverse perspectives, talents and experiences. We encourage applications from candidates who share this commitment and will contribute to the diversity of our college community, especially members of historically under-represented groups. AA/EOE
Arts and Architecture Librarian– University of North Carolina at Charlotte-Atkins, Charlotte, North CarolinaPosted: February 19, 2014
|Arts and Architecture Librarian|
|J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte is seeking an Arts and Architecture Librarian to serve as the subject librarian for the College of Arts and Architecture and the Hight Architecture Library.
For a full job description and additional information visit our Web site at http://library.uncc.edu/jobs/.
ONLY ELECTRONIC APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED: https://jobs.uncc.edu/ (Search Faculty Vacancies – Position #8995)
Applications will be reviewed upon receipt. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to receive full consideration.
Members of minority groups and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. AA/EOE
As always, you can also see what’s coming up through the Educational Opportunities Calendar. Keep reading for details about all the great webinars, CFPs, and scholarship opportunities below!
Title: Communicating Through Infographics
Presenter: Dawne Tortorella
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Start Time: 12 Noon Pacific
This webinar will last approximately one hour. Webinars are free of charge. Please note: we have changed hosting services fromWebEx to Adobe Connect, so we advise you to test your browser before the webinar: http://intesolv.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm
For more webinar tips, see: http://infopeople.org/webinar/tips.
For more information and to participate in the Wednesday, November 14, 2012 webinar, go to http://infopeople.org/training/communicating-through-infographics.
· Have you noticed the growing trend of communicating through infographics?
· Do you wonder where the data comes from and how to verify information displayed in visual form?
· Would you rather read a 100 page report or look at a visual presentation that conveys the story in less than one minute?
· Would you like to tell a compelling story about your library through the medium of infographics?
Visual representation of information has existed for hundreds of years in various forms and formats. Infographics (information graphics) represent the latest visual form to gain popularity. Telling an effective story through infographics requires accurate data, compelling design, and visualization tools.
During this one-hour webinar, we will discuss and demonstrate:
· blogs and infographic search resources to find examples and track trends
· differences between infographics, poster art, and data visualization
· common data sources used in infographics (big data and local sources)
· suggest library-specific data and statistics appropriate for visual presentation
· visualization tools for experimentation
This webinar will be of interest to library staff at all levels and in all types of libraries who need to present information to customers, stakeholders, and management. Senior staff and directors responsible for board reporting are especially encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend the live event, you can access the archived version the day following the webinar. Check our archive listing at: http://infopeople.org/training/view/webinar/archived.
VRA Travel Award:
VRA Travel Awards are available for attendance at the 2013 VRA conference “Capitalizing on Creativity” in Providence, Rhode Island April 3-6. The deadline for receipt of applications will be Monday, November 26, 10 am EST. The list of recipients will be announced on the VRA listserv the third week of December.
A preliminary conference schedule with a listing of workshops and sessions has already been posted at: http://vra2013annualconference.sched.org and information about costs is posted here:http://www.vraweb.org/conferences/vra31/?page_id=8 and here: http://www.vraweb.org/conferences/vra31/?page_id=11
Before you apply, PLEASE READ “Travel Award Rules and Guidelines”, “Tips for VRA Travel Awards Applicants”, and “Types of Travel Awards”, all linked here as PDFs: http://www.vraweb.org/about/awards/index.html#travel
HERE’S THE LINK TO THE APPLICATION:
The form is also linked from the What’s New on the VRA homepage.
You do not need to be a member of the VRA to apply for a travel award, but please note that upon winning an award an applicant who is not a member of VRA must purchase a membership, with the option to use funding from the travel award to do this. This year by removing the membership requirement for all applicants, we hope to draw more interest and expand membership.
In order to allow funding to go further, Tansey awards will be distributed according to financial need i.e. full awards (up to $850) may be given to some, whilst lower amounts may be awarded to others with partial institutional/ other support.
For 2013, we are fortunate to have generous financial support from sponsors and funds provided by the membership:
* The Kathe Hicks Albrecht award of $850 for a first-time conference attendee
* Two New Horizons awards of $850 each. These awards are aimed at members in the following categories: solo VR professionals, part-time VR professionals, geographically isolated VR professionals, VR professionals in smaller institutions, and/or first-time attendees
* The Joseph C. Taormina Memorial award of $250 for an applicant with partial funding
* A New Horizons student award of $300, for a full-time student enrolled in an accredited degree program and considering a career in visual resources
* $4800 in Tansey fund awards ranging from $250 to $850 each
More awards may become available and will be announced on this listserv. Also, stay tuned and watch VRA-L and the VRA website for further details about the conference. Please email if you have any questions not answered by the documents noted above.
So don’t delay – apply today!
We look forward to receiving your applications,
Heidi Eyestone & Vicky Brown
Co-Chairs, VRA Travel Awards Committee
Visual Resources Collection
Art and Art History
One North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057
507 222-7042 fax
Vicky Brown, Visual Resources Curator
History of Art Department, University of Oxford
Suite 9, Littlegate House
Oxford OX1 1PT
+44 (0)1865 286839
Call for Book Chapters: Collecting the Contemporary (Book to be published by MuseumsEtc in 2013)
COLLECTING THE CONTEMPORARY
Edited by Owain Rhys and Zelda Baveystock
We invite international submissions to be included in this forthcoming book, to be published by MuseumsEtc in 2013.
The book will be edited by Owain Rhys, Curator of Contemporary Life at St Fagans: National History Museum, Wales and Zelda Baveystock, Lecturer in Arts Management and Museum Studies at Manchester University.
Why and how should social history museums engage with contemporary collecting? To fill gaps in the collection? To record modern urban life? To engage with minority communities? To link past and present? There are many possible responses… And many museums collect contemporary objects, stories, images and sounds – consciously or unconsciously. But reasoned policies and procedures are very often lacking. And – given the uniquely detailed record of contemporary life recorded by ubiquitous media – how best are museums to record and present contemporary life in their collections?
An overview of contemporary collecting in a social historical context is well overdue. Original source material, ideas, developments and research has never before been brought together in a single volume. This book will bring together practitioners from around the world to provide a contemporary and convenient reader which aims to lay the foundations for future initiatives.
We welcome submissions – of between 3000 and 5000 words – on the practice, theory and history of contemporary collecting in social history museums, based on – but not confined to – the following issues and themes. We are particularly interested in new and pioneering initiatives and innovative thinking in this field.
Projects (including community outreach, externally funded collection programmes, projects with specific goals)
Exhibitions (including popular culture, contemporary political issues, under-represented groups
Networks – including SAMDOK and other initiatives
Fieldwork and contemporary collecting
Adopting a scientific approach to contemporary collecting
The influence of the internet, how to collect, and associated museological issues
Contemporary collecting and contemporary issues
Access, storage and conservation issues
What to collect?
How to collect?
Who should collect?
Community involvement – advantages and disadvantages
Contemporary collecting – key priority or passing fad?
Definitions of contemporary collecting
Should contemporary collecting be object or people based?
Alternatives to the accepted norms
The case for nationally or regionally co-ordinated policies
The impact of social and digital media for the future of contemporary collecting
Origins and development of contemporary collecting
Differences between institutions and countries (e.g. Sweden’s ethnological approach v. Britain’s social history approach)
Owain Rhys has recently published Contemporary Collecting: Theory and Practice with MuseumsEtc. This book gathered together disparate strands of contemporary collecting theory and history, and provided an insight into current practices at St Fagans: National History Museum. Owain is interested in formalising definitions and procedures, and in strengthening the bonds between those museums involved in contemporary collecting. Zelda Baveystock has a longstanding interest in contemporary collecting. As the first Keeper of Contemporary Collecting at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, she established a subject specialist network of urban history museums actively involved in the field in 2004. She has lectured and taught on the subject in the UK, and in Sweden.
If you are interested in being considered as a contributor, please send an abstract (up to 250 words) and a short biography to both the editors and the publishers at the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 December 2012. Enquiries should also be sent to these addresses. Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the publication and a discount on more.
The book will be published in print and digital editions by MuseumsEtc in 2013.
ABSTRACTS: 10 DECEMBER 2012
CONTRIBUTORS NOTIFIED: 11 JANUARY 2013
COMPLETED PAPERS: 2 APRIL 2013
Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
Harvard College Library
Reporting to the Public Services Librarian, this position is responsible for research support, collaboration, and outreach for visual materials in the field of Islamic art and architecture to faculty, students, and researchers. Visual materials collections include digital images and slides for teaching as well as other formats documenting all aspects of Islamic art and architecture in the Fine Arts Library including historic photographs, postcards, and ephemera. Additional responsibilities include implementation of appropriate and forward-looking image metadata schemes, digital access, and participation in collection development and management. Works closely with the Bibliographer in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and the Photographic Resources Librarian in the Fine Arts Library and the faculty and staff of the Aga Khan Program.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities:
Collection Management, Development, and Access
- Identifies, evaluates , and acquires images, digital resources, historic photographs, and other visual materials for the library’s teaching and research collection
- Assesses and selects historic photographs and other visual materials in the Fine Arts Library’s collection for digitization and preservation (in consultation with the AKPIA Bibliographer and FAL Photographic Resources Librarian)
- Works with AKPIA and other faculty members, students, fellows, and visiting scholars to set collection priorities based on research and curricular needs
- Coordinates and prioritizes production of different digital products (scanning, uploading, cataloging); tracks workflows and timely service to users
- Provides intellectual control for Islamic visual materials in OLIVIA, ARTstor Shared Shelf project, and other catalogues including collaboration to establish best practices and authority control
- Participates in planning and implementing projects involving visual materials
- Develops long-range planning for Islamic visual images collection in consultation with AKPIA faculty and staff
Reference and Instructional Support
- Provides research services for visual materials in Islamic art and architectural history for faculty, students, and researchers
- Selects and provides teaching images in appropriate formats and other visual resources for classroom lectures and course websites
- Provides individual and group research support including in-class workshops and personalized instruction
- Assists faculty and students in integrating GIS, Prezi , and other visual tools in lectures, course websites
- Prepares online research guides, reference tools, and finding aids for Islamic visual materials
- Assists with image research and provides images, as needed, for Muqarnas and other Harvard and MIT AKPIA publications
Collaboration and Outreach
- Collaborates with diverse Harvard colleagues including the Loeb Design Library, NELC, CMES, and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program
- Collaborates with AKPIA Documentation Center at MIT, Archnet, and other external initiatives on the creation and sharing of metadata, content, and services for users of visual materials on Islamic art and architecture such as SAHARA
- Works with other Harvard groups supporting interdisciplinary and digital scholarship such as academic departments and programs, DASH, CGA, and the Library Lab Initiative to develop content and research/teaching opportunities
- Supervises year-round student employees and temporary/project staff (as needed) in the creation of item level and collection-level cataloging and indexing for Islamic visual materials in all formats
- Working together with other stakeholders, develops special projects for access to and dissemination of Islamic visual culture
- Master’s degree in library and/or information science or equivalent experience
- Advanced degree at the master’s level or higher in the history of art and architecture related to the study of the Islamic world, or the equivalent combination of education, experience and/or background etc.
- 3-5 years related professional library experience required
- Knowledge of at least one Middle Eastern language (Arabic, Persian, Turkish)
- Expertise in image metadata standards and online data creation and access
- Computer skills including databases and digital image file management, required
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills required
- Working knowledge of western European languages, especially French and German
- Knowledge of the contemporary field of Islamic art and architecture historical study and its constituents
- Knowledge of other archival collections projects related to visual culture and history of the Middle East
- Ability to use a computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse
Please apply with a cover letter and resume at the Harvard Employment Site.
Apply Here: http://www.click2apply.net/wy6zy39