The Impact of Research Accessibility on Future Research, Part 1: Researchers’ Information Seeking Behavior

I was recently visiting a friend who has recently started a Master’s and PhD program at a large U.S. university; while I was visiting him, he had to work on his research, as many graduate students have to do in their “spare” time. After doing some searching he determined that the nearest book available on the topic he wanted was in Ireland, and since he needed the information in the next couple of days, he decided not to request the book through interlibrary loan (ILL). This got me thinking, so much of what people do happens so quickly, that there isn’t much time to wait to get access to research. This made me wonder, how much of future research is impacted by whether someone can quickly and cheaply gain access to other research?

Taking the book from Ireland, for example, how much does the fact that the nearest copy of a publication is in another continent affect the future of someone’s research? If I’m working in a field that’s emerging, it stands to reason that there’s not an abundance of publications available on these topics. And if I can’t access a certain piece of information I want quickly or cheaply enough, I’m likely to forgo reading it, and rely on other sources that comply with my time and money constraints. If research builds upon other research, does the inaccessible research get lost?

It’s nearly impossible to design and carry out a study that could measure this definitively, because there are so many variables like the subscription resources offered from institution to institution, the availability of research from different disciplines, and the variability of how quickly a researcher needs the research they seek.

As I started looking into this question, I realized there are many components to this, so I focused on two areas, and I’m publishing this post in two parts. The first part, is about researchers’ information seeking behavior, and how their behavior towards research that is not quickly accessible may affect future research.

The next post will be about how open access and subscription articles affect the future of research.

Continue reading The Impact of Research Accessibility on Future Research, Part 1: Researchers’ Information Seeking Behavior

What I’m reading now

I’ve started working on a new website project for my new job (another library). Most of the groundwork was laid down by my predecessor, so I don’t have to do everything from the ground up, which is kind of nice. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t do some research myself. So I went to user experience blogs I knew, and did some poking around. These are the things I’m reading now:

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Working Through Difficult Workplace Situations: Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

In almost every interview I’ve had, I’ve been asked how I deal with difficult workplace situations. Often, they’ll ask for an example of one such situation, and how I handled it.

I find these questions difficult to answer partly because my work doesn’t involve many difficult situations with other colleagues, partly because I’m bad at remembering, and partly because of how I view disagreements.

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Book Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne picture

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

This may be my favorite book now. I rarely give anything five stars, because to me that means the book was perfect. Even though I read a lot, I am rarely so thoroughly engrossed in the world of the character and able to feel as they do. I found myself thinking about this book while at work, and wondering how Cyril was doing.

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What Not to Do on Your Library Website, or the Library Websites’ Hall of Shame: Quick Links

Welcome to my Hall of Shame series. One of the many things I work on as a librarian is websites, more specifically, the usability, accessibility, and navigation of a website. In this series I will show examples of website sins libraries commit, and explain why they’re not good ideas. In all of my examples, the names of the libraries, and any other identifying information, will be blacked out to protect those guilty of these sins.

This time we’re talking about having a navigational item on your library’s website called “Quick Links.” Below are three examples of library websites that use the term” Quick Links” as a navigational item. These are by no means the only libraries that do it, so if your library is guilty of this, listen up.

A large urban public library with their Quick Links menu item circled
A large urban public library

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Who and Where are the Librarians?

I was talking with a woman a couple of weeks ago, and she was surprised to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency has librarians. It hadn’t occurred to her that librarians existed outside of the traditional public library setting, and especially into a corporate or government setting. Yet, as I was talking with her she described to me a person at her company who most likely is a librarian, but doesn’t have that word in her title. This isn’t surprising; most people have only interacted with a librarian in a public library setting, but there are many other types of libraries and librarians.

So who are these librarians, and where do they work?

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Sex is a Funny Word: Sex and Relationship Education for Children in the Library

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Image taken from Amazon.com

I recently purchased the above book for Foundry United Methodist Church (UMC)’s children’s library. The book is called Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU

The book is written for children (ages 7-10) to understand more about their bodies, sex, gender, and sexuality. The questions at the end of each section, are intended to create a discussion suggesting that the intention of this book may be for educators or parents to read the book to book to a child or a group of children. The book is written in an inclusive way that explains the many meanings of the word “sex,” and allows children to become comfortable with their bodies are and how they feel. The illustrations show a diverse group of children with many types of bodies and attitudes towards them. This book doesn’t shy away from discussing topics such as being transgender or masturbation.

Some people may think this book shouldn’t belong in a children’s library, let alone a church library. It’s understandable; talking about sex makes many people feel uncomfortable, and many parents and educators struggle with finding the “right time” to talk to their kids about sex and their bodies, and how much information they should tell them. Sex is viewed as a dangerous activity for children, and many people think that not sharing information about it until children are old enough to understand can prevent them from partaking in this activity and from being exposed to too much information when they’re not ready to process it yet.

Continue reading Sex is a Funny Word: Sex and Relationship Education for Children in the Library