Evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) has been linked with medicine for a long time, and if you look at the wikipedia page, you`d get the impression that EBP only exists within the health sector. But that has changed the last few years. More and more professions are now adopting this way of thinking and working. Librarians use the term Evidence-based librarianship (EBL). The idea is, simply put, to gather information about how the users/patrons work and use the library services and combine this information with our experiences as librarians and again with the theoretical frameworks and other theoretical knowledge that exist. No small task, but very important in order to put together the best possible library services solutions for our patrons.

As part of this work we are in the middle of several independent projects now. My project is to follow a class of radiography students through an entire module and give them lectures and follow-ups through seven weeks this fall. This experiment will give me important data on how the students work on their assignments and how we can facilitate their work and what they need.

Cathrine is doing a major traffic study of library patrons. She started the count this fall and every other week (different weekdays) she`ll walk around the library to register how many students use the different zones of the library and what they are doing. We hope that this study will give us the information we need to give students a better work environment at the library and a better library experience.

We have just e-mailed a questionnaire to our students and staff and we hope that as many as possible will answer it. We really want to improve our services to you and we need your feedback. EBL in practice!

Have a great weekend:-)

Academic blogging

I have been blogging for 4,5 years now and consider blog to an embedded part of my day as an academic librarian. Whenever I have something to share, either tips on good books, experiences I have had during my day in the library or I have an opinion on something in the library community, I blog about it. I see this sharing as a natural part of being a professional. After all, libraries are about sharing knowledge and librarians are the facilitators for this culture.

Firstly, I write to learn. I think that once I have to put something down on my blog, I have to think through my ideas. And maybe this way, many of the ideas I get can actually become real projects or be turned into a more serious study. I doubt that they would have if they were just random ideas in my head. That being said, I find it very important to think while I write and not just before. I don`t write an article in Word and then post it to my blog. My blog needs to be authentic and a little spontanious. And maybe some of my ideas are unfinished when I start to write. Somehow, they become clearer to me while I write about them.

Secondly, if someone actually takes the time to read (and even comment) on my blog, that`s nice and helps me to think more, but I write for myself first and foremost. So if anyone can use my blog posts or get new ideas, that`s a very nice bonus.

Now, of course.. I`m not a scientist, so my results, ideas and so on are not something I will later try to “patent” as my own. I can understand why some scientists keep their results and research papers very close and secret until publishing it. It is the way the printed world of academia has worked for a very, very long time. Maybe it`s time to change that? Maybe it`s time to see that what I know can be worth twice as much or more if I share more openly? I don`t have all the answers to every potential problem with a more open culture within the academic world, but I would love to see more scientists blog about their research. That way, I could not only learn new things, but as a librarian I could give better services to our scientists if I only knew what they were doing..

Internet Librarian International (ILI), Oct. 14.-15. 2010

(For those of you who read Norwegian and want to read a longer report from ILI, please visit my Norwegian blog).

Cathrine, one of my colleagues, and I were lucky enough to be able to attend Internet Librarian Internation in London last week. This is becoming the conference that Norwegian librarians see as “a must” now, and the number of Norwegians and other Scandinavians attending proves this.

This year, I found that everyone was talking about value. It mirrors that most of the world is still suffering from the aftermaths of the credit crunch and that UK libraries now face massive cuts. The theme overall was therefore how to maximise the use of electronic resourses and how to measure success and value. The second major point was the situation of e-books and what it means for our profession. Will we become redundant when the printed materials start to disappear in favour of the e-resources? Are we to concerned with labels? Is it all in the name? Will there be room for librarians also in the future, or will there only be information specialists? What`s the difference? These and many more questions were raised.

We used the hashtag ILI2010 on Twitter, and so many participated that we became “trending topic” on Twitter.. to the disappointment on some users who wondered what ILI2010 was. I remember one saying: “Turns out it`s just some librarians conference. How boring is that??” Haha.. the stereotypes live on.

Anyway.. a pretty good conference with something good and something really, really bad. The way it always is. Got some good tips on new technology and tools that we`ve started to test now. Now if only the hotel could provide a better, more stable wifi connection next year… “Internet” librarian indeed..

First, clumsy attempt on Prezi

I`m getting more and more fed up with endless powerpoint presentations (I saw some excellent examples of “death by powerpoint” last week at the ILI conference in London. (Synopsis is coming). Therefore, I decided to test Prezi, a more flexible tool for presentations. I have had it on my to-do list for a long time. But today, I got around to testing. A very clumsy attempt, but maybe I`ll get better after a few more attemps? Anyway.. here it is:

http://prezi.com/wk6mbbqw0cfg/social-media/

Too much noise on twitter?

One of Norway`s best known social media specialists, Cecilie Staude, wrote on her blog last week that she was starting to get “twitter frustrated”. She said that people keep filling up her stream with useless tweets about everyday things instead of more valuable things. Staude said that it doesn`t matter how many people you follow if none of them are contributing valuable content. She wanted a new, generic twitter strategy, and was now going to unfollow half of her current follows.

I`ve written about this subject before, on my Norwegian blog, but I can`t help but comment again.

Firstly, to me twitter is of course about learning from others and to share my own content. But it is also about general communication and getting to know (sort of) the people I follow and who follow me. Deciding on a joint twitter strategy is not on my list. A strategy means formalising something that should “live freely” and be spontanious. I love that some of the people I follow share good resources, but also that they share something personal. When someone shares something about their lives (work or professional) I feel like I know them a little, and that makes it easier to contact them or comment on something that they shared. For me, I can`t separate my work life from my personal life that well anymore. The line isn`t as visible as it was before. I`m not saying that this is problem free, but I`m saying that it is how it is. That also means that I am a librarian when I`m off duty, but it also means that I am me when I am at work, too.

Secondly, social media needs to be authentic and spontanious. That doesn`t mean that I think one should use it without thinking, but that it`s not supposed to be this strategic, well thought and worked out statement. It loses all its mobility that way.

I take the useful and the not so useful content from twitter with me. I scan quickly through my stream and I`ve learned to accept that I`ll get some things and miss some things. It is the way it works. I don`t need a strategy..