, , ,

Day 13 – Worked 7 hours
Total hours thus far: 80.75

On of the first items on the agenda today was a meeting about librarians serving as advisors to first and second year students. This is a unique way that the librarians serve students at Brown as most universities and colleges only have instructors serving as advisors. These are the highlights:

* There were five librarians at the meeting and then myself. There are eight librarians who have served as an advisor to students.

* Before the meeting started, Ned Quist showed us pictures of signage used here in the Rockefeller Library. “Signage” could be anything from official signs, to paper signs, to laminated ones that are unofficially-official, to posters, to advertisements. What Ned was trying to document was the effective and ineffective use of signs and directional information in the library. What he found was that there are a lot of confusing, messy or inaccurate signs in the library. He showed us pictures of: signs that were ripped, corners that were curling, messy looking signs, signs on top of signs, signs that were confusing, signs that needed to be updated, etc. Ned felt the signage in the library could be more effective as a whole.

I have been thinking about signage quite a bit lately, as the URI Carothers Library is undergoing significant construction since the beginning of the semester. Half of the main floor is blocked off and under construction and the main stairwell is also closed for the next six weeks. The renovation is a long-coming and will create a collaborative space for students to use as the library is now a “learning commons.” There are pictures of the construction and the new learning commons area on the URI Libraries facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/urilibraries There are signs all over the library directing students in very round-about ways to the different parts of the library. To get to the Curriculum Materials Library where I work you have to go to the back of our 24 hour room and then into a weird corridor. The path to the reference stacks is the same. One major signage challenge has been directing students to various outer-stairwells as the main staircase is now closed. There are so many signs because some stairwells will only bring you to the upper floors, while others will take you to the lower level and to the upper two floors. What we are finding at the main reference desk is that students think that because the main staircase is closed, the top two floors of the library are closed as well. I feel like the signs explain that the main staircase is closed and others then direct students to other staircases. How can the library create better signs? What about thinking from the student perspective? Post signs that state: “Don’t worry – the top two floors are open! Just use a staircase other than the main one to get up there!” Just things to think about. Back to the highlights of the meeting:

* The librarians Carina and Karen thought it might be useful to meet and have a larger discussion about librarians serving as advisors. They wanted to hear about the experiences of advising in a larger context.

* This is the website about advising at Brown: http://brown.edu/Administration/Dean_of_the_College/advising/ There’s a lot of information there for further background reading.

* All the librarians articulated how efficiently the program is and how they enjoy being advisors.

* Before serving as an advisor, the librarians fill out a questionnaire which enables them to choose how broad or narrow their advisees will be. This means that librarians can decide if they would like to potentially serve: first and/or second year students, international students, students who have an interest in the subject specialty of the librarian, students who are undecided majors, etc. This can be as broad or narrow as the advisor chooses. Often with the case of many at the meeting, they left the questionnaire open and said they would like to serve first year students.

* A follow-up meeting is going to be held where someone from academic advising will come and explain more about the systems and software programs used at Brown for student information. For example, Karen and Sarah mentioned it might be helpful to understand what some of the codes mean in the student transcripts and software program.

Right after that meeting, Sarah and I met with Arlando to go over the Intellectual Property and Creative Commons Sub-Modules. He made some interesting suggestions when thinking about the tutorial modules as a whole and how they will “live” online. The ideas are simple, but organized in a highly abstracted way. I was under the impression when he described it this way it was going to be a challenge for him to create videos and the structure. His answer was surprising in that he said that this abstraction will help him in creating a shifting tutorial. He described the tutorial as being an “organized mosaic” and  a “visual thesaurus.” Both Arlando and Sarah had a few ideas of website design that could inspire the tutorial. One that I’d like to share is www.ted.com. This website has boxes which are different sizes and when refreshing the page, the boxes move around so that you are looking at the same content, but that information is organized differently. We also discussed how the mouse-over menu or floater box is used effectively in the TED website and how we can use the same idea to include further information and links.

One idea that Arlando had was to add software to the list of creative works or try to include something about software or code in the tutorial. Just like the paper plagiarsim software like “Turn it In” there is a software program that runs your program or website code to see if there is any other similar coding. He emphasized the importance of writing your own code and how that ties in to the intellectual property and copyright content on the tutorial.

Th next step in the process is for me to create an audio scratch track for Arlando so he can use it as a basis for creating the videos. He’s looking for a clear, high quality recording. I have a headset and I’m probably just going to use the program Audacity for the recording because it’s quick and simple to use. The noise pollution is particularly prevalent in the office with phones ringing, IM reference notification beeps, reference consultation appointments, ventilation noises, etc. I have decided it would be best to attempt to do the recordings at home to ensure the clarity of the recordings.

So, off I went to my apartment to try the record the audio. I had my fingers crossed that our bunny Lady was going to be napping and not bounding around her cage like the energized pest she can sometimes be. If I remember I will post a video of her antics so you get a better idea of the potential challenge I was up against if she was hyper. Thankfully she was quiet and a bit sleepy so I was successful in recording the audio. It only took two tries to get a satisfactory recording. I don’t want to buy the space upgrade for WordPress so I uploaded my audio scratch track on SoundCloud.