Kirstin I. Duffin and Ellen K. Corrigan
Objective – This project assessed African American students’ feelings of comfort and belonging about engaging with library resources and services at a public regional comprehensive university in the midwestern United States.
Methods – This study used an explanatory sequential design. First, we surveyed degree-seeking African American undergraduates on their perceived welcomeness regarding the library’s collections and spaces, staff and users, and atmosphere and marketing. We then recruited focus group participants from the survey, and in focus group sessions, participants expanded on feedback provided in the survey, with particular emphasis on their feelings about their interactions and experiences with the library.
Results – Most students who participated indicated the library is a place where they felt safe and welcomed, although the library felt to some like a neutral space rather than a place that actively supported them. Focus group participants shared several easily implementable suggestions for making the library a more attractive campus space for African American students.
Conclusion – Student recommendations will shape the services we provide for an increasingly diverse student body. Changes to make the library as physical place more welcoming include exhibiting student artwork and featuring African American themes in displays. The library as a social space can become more welcoming in several ways. Hiring a diverse staff and providing staff training on diversity and equity topics, offering engaging student opportunities for congregation in the library, and collaborating with African American student organizations will help to foster a sense of belonging among these students. Facilitating opportunities for connection will contribute to African American undergraduates’ academic success.
Jerry Eyerinmene Friday and Oyinkepreye Sawyer-George
Objective – The aim of this study was to examine the practice of infopreneurship by librarians in public university libraries in South-South Nigeria. The study specifically intended to identify purposes of engaging in infopreneurship, methods of running infopreneurship, forms of infopreneurship practiced, benefits derived from practicing infopreneurship, and challenges encountered in practicing infopreneurship by the librarians.
Methods – The population of the study comprised all 175 librarians in 13 public university libraries in South-South Nigeria, which were purposively chosen for the study. The study employed convenience sampling to engage 102 librarians in the university libraries, who were involved in one form of infopreneurship or another. The librarians were identified through preliminary investigation, observation, and interaction with the librarians by the researchers. The instrument for data collection was a self-designed online questionnaire titled, “Librarians’ Infopreneurship Practice Questionnaire (LIPQ).” The instrument was validated by two experts in the Department of Library and Information Science in Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Reliability test was not conducted on the instrument, based on the knowledge that a valid test tends to be reliable. The researchers distributed 128 digital copies of the draft of the validated questionnaire to the librarians through personal WhatsApp accounts of the librarians, WhatsApp groups of the various university libraries and WhatsApp groups of the different state chapters of the Nigerian Library Association to which the librarians belonged. Out of the 128 questionnaires administered, 102 were properly completed by the librarians and returned, producing a response rate of 97.69%. The data collected were analyzed using weighted mean and standard deviation.
Results – The results from data analysis revealed that the librarians’ purposes of engaging in infopreneurship were to earn extra income, provide for post-retirement, meet unforeseen demands, and develop themselves. The librarians’ methods of running infopreneurship were leveraging, customizing, facilitating access to, and providing instant delivery of information. They used the following forms of infopreneurship: information brokerage, reprographic services, research-aid services, book vending and internet services. Finally, challenges faced by the librarians in practicing infopreneurship were lack of adequate finance, business infrastructure, technical skill, and high rate of presence of non-professional infopreneurs.
Conclusion – The findings in this study demonstrate that librarians under study practice infopreneurship primarily for purposes of making money and self-sustenance. They achieve this by leveraging, customizing, facilitating access to and providing quick delivery of information. With these methods, the librarians engage in information brokerage, reprographic services, internet services, research-aid services and book vending. In return, these information professionals enjoy additional income, financial independence, accumulated knowledge, and enhanced sense of fulfillment. However, the practice of infopreneurship by the librarians is hindered by shortage of sufficient funds, technical know-how, business facilities and high rate of presence of unprofessional infopreneurs in the business.
Diane Robson, Sarah Bryant and Catherine Sassen
Objective – This article reviewed twelve years of circulation data related to loss and damage of video game equipment, specifically consoles, game controllers, and gaming peripherals such as steering wheels, virtual reality headsets, and joysticks in an academic library collection.
Methods – The authors analyzed data gathered from game equipment bibliographic and item records. Only data related to the console system, game controllers, and peripherals such as steering wheels, virtual reality headsets, and joysticks were evaluated for rate of circulation, loss, and damage. Cables and bags were not evaluated because the replacement cost for these items is negligible when considering long-term budgeting and maintenance of a game collection.
Results – The majority of video game equipment can be circulated without unsustainable loss or damage. The library has been able to continue circulating video game equipment without undue replacement costs or loss of access for its patrons.
Conclusion – Although equipment will occasionally break or be lost, libraries should not let this unduly affect consideration when starting a video game collection.
Insufficient Understanding of User Benefits Impedes Open Data Initiatives at Museums / Booth, P., Navarrete, T., & Ogundipe, A. (2022). Museum open data ecosystems: A comparative study. Journal of Documentation 78(4), 761-779. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-05-2021-0102
Objective – Using Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) definition of ecosystem as “a system of people, practices, values, and technologies in a particular local environment,” to understand how art museums form their policy to interact with and respond to the various open data (OD) ecosystems in which they operate.
Design – Multiple case study consisting of interviews and subsequent qualitative analysis, as well as document analysis.
Setting – European art museum OD ecosystems.
Subjects – Subjects included 7 management staff members at 3 separate mid-size, art-based museums located in Norway, the Netherlands, and Spain; an unspecified number of representatives from a cultural-policy agency in each of those countries; an unspecified number of government, museum, and research documents from within each museum’s OD ecosystem.
Methods – The researchers identified 3 museums with OD initiatives and conducted in-depth interviews with relevant staff members at each institution. The researchers also interviewed representatives from relevant national OD policy-related agencies. The researchers coded their data and developed a list of five key OD “ecosystem components,” which they used to analyze the 3 specific museum ecosystems under consideration.
Main Results – Open data initiatives at cultural heritage institutions are subject to a number of internal and external pressures. Museums are typically responsive to their environments, and top-down policy requirements appear to be an effective means of advancing open data initiatives. Nevertheless, the value proposition of open data appears to be insufficiently understood by museum staff and other stakeholders. As a result, museums participate in OD initiatives even when the benefit remains undemonstrated and the use of OD—how and by whom—remains unclear.
Conclusion – The needs and wants of OD end-users remain ill-defined and poorly understood. As a result, museums expend resources and effort to supply OD, while remaining uncertain about the return on their investment. Attention to users could result in “more robust information flows between ecosystem components.”
Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) Prove Highly Effective for Long-Term Data Availability in PLOS ONE / Federer, L. M. (2022). Long-term availability of data associated with articles in PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE 17(8), Article e0272845. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0272845
Objective – To retrieve a range of PLOS ONE data availability statements and quantify their ability to point to the study data efficiently and accurately. Research questions focused on availability over time, availability of URLs versus DOIs, the ability to locate resources using the data availability statement and availability based on data sharing method.
Design – Observational study.
Setting – PLOS ONE archive.
Subjects – A corpus of 47,593 data availability statements from research articles in PLOS ONE between March 1, 2014, and May 31, 2016.
Methods – Use of custom R scripts to retrieve 47,593 data availability statements; of these, 6,912 (14.5%) contained at least one URL or DOI. Once these links were extracted, R scripts were run to fetch the resources and record HTTP status codes to determine if the resource was discoverable. To address the potential for the DOI or URL to fetch but not actually contain the appropriate data, the researchers selected at random and manually retrieved the data for 350 URLs and 350 DOIs.
Main Results – Of the unique URLs, 75% were able to be automatically retrieved by custom R scripts. In the manual sample of 350 URLs, which was used to test for accuracy of the URLs in containing the data, there was a 78% retrieval rate. Of the unique DOIs, 90% were able to be automatically retrieved by custom R scripts. The manual sample of 350 DOIs had a 98% retrieval rate.
Conclusion – DOIs, especially those linked with a repository, had the highest rate of success in retrieving the data attached to the article. While URLs were better than no link at all, URLs are susceptible to content drift and need more management for long-term data availability.
Increasing Access to Digital Archives Is a Complex Problem, and More Collaboration Between Archivists and Users Is Needed to Enact Solutions / Jaillant, L. (2022). How can we make born-digital and digitised archives more accessible? Identifying obstacles and solutions. Archival Science, 22, 417-436. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10502-022-09390-7
Objective – To outline current levels of access to digitized and born-digital collections, investigate and identify obstacles to increasing access, and suggest possible solutions.
Design – Semi-Structured online interviews.
Setting – Archives, libraries, and museums based in the UK, Ireland, and the United States.
Subjects – A total of 26 practitioners in archives, libraries, and museums including 12 women and 14 men.
Methods – The researchers recruited participants from existing personal contacts and those contacts’ colleagues, with attention toward diversifying in the areas of gender, career stage, institution size, and geographical location. Twelve interview questions were sent to interviewees in advance, but the questions were tailored to each interviewee during the interview with follow-up questions asked as necessary. A team of three Digital Humanities scholars conducted 21 interviews with the 26 subjects, and all but three interviewees agreed to be named in the resulting article. All interviews were conducted in May 2021, except one, which was conducted in November 2020.
Main Results – The author discusses relevant paraphrases and quotations from the interviewees under four headings: “Obstacles to access to digitised collections,” “Born-digital collections: from creation to access,” “Current levels of access to digital collections,” and “Possible solutions to the problems of access.” Key obstacles to access that emerge throughout the discussion include technological obsolescence, copyright and permissions, data protection of sensitive materials, lack of a market for born-digital records, and the problem of scale and skill gaps. Strategies to increase access include enhanced collections, less restrictive legislation, new access interfaces including virtual reading room software, use of artificial intelligence to increase discoverability, and web archives. The author makes distinctions between born-digital (e.g., emails) and digitized (e.g., scanned photographs) content throughout the discussion of results.
Conclusion – There is a paradox between the focus on data analysis in current research and the difficulty researchers have in accessing cultural data through digital archives, but increasing access to digital collections remains a challenging and complex problem. The author highlights some possible solutions that emerged from the interviews, including artificial intelligence, but also emphasizes the need to bring together an interdisciplinary community of both archivists and users, to continue shifting the conversation surrounding digital collections from focusing on preservation to focusing on access, and to advocate for changes to legislation, digitization practices, and copyright clearance.
Public Librarians Hold Critical and Evolving Role as Community Facilitators of Government Information / Zhu, X., Winberry, J., McBee, K., Cowell, E., & Headrick, J. S. (2022). Serving the community with trustworthy government information and data: What can we learn from the public librarians? Public Library Quarterly, 41(6), 574–595. https://doi.org/10.1080/01616846.2021.1994312
Objective – To understand public librarians’ experiences in addressing their communities’ government information and data needs.
Design – Semi-structured interviews.
Setting – 4 public county library systems in 2 southern states in the United States in early 2019, prior to onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
Subjects – 31 public service librarians, recruited through a combination of theoretical and convenience sampling strategies.
Methods – The researchers conducted individual interviews, ranging between 30 and 60 minutes, with each participant. Interview recordings were transcribed and processed through the qualitative data software NVivo, using a grounded theory approach with open inductive coding followed by thematic analysis.
Main Results – Six major findings were identified through thematic coding, including variability and complexity of reference questions, diversity in patron demographics, need for advanced knowledge of the local community context, preparedness of librarians to provide reference consultation for government information, balance between information and interpretation, and trust issues related to government sources. Challenges related to digital literacy level was a shared factor across multiple themes, as patrons’ government information needs are increasingly impacted by their ability to access web, mobile, and computer technologies, navigate online resources, and interpret bureaucratic vocabulary. Some librarians also expressed their own eroding trust towards the validity of government sources, such as climate change information from the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration.
Conclusion – A majority of the findings were consistent with past literature, including the breadth and depth of varying government informational needs of public library patrons and the trust patrons have for their public libraries and librarians. Researchers also noted limited initiatives by public libraries to proactively educate patrons about open data or misinformation and recommended that libraries and library science educators better prepare current and future librarians for their role as government information mediators.
Continuing Education and Data Training Initiatives are Needed to Positively Impact Academic Librarians Providing Data Services / Fuhr, J. (2022). Developing data services skills in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries, 83(3), 474. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.83.3.474
Objective – To measure the existing data services skills of academic librarians and gather information on the preferred training programs available to enhance those skill
Design – Survey questionnaire.
Setting – Libraries in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Subjects – One hundred and twenty respondents who self-identified as providing data services. Most (85%) worked in academic libraries with 7% in hospital libraries, 3% in government libraries and 5% in other types of libraries.
Methods – Permission was received from the institution ethics board to administer an incentivized survey. All respondents received a 22-question survey which consisted of a mix of Likert-scale questions, multiple choice, open-ended, and short answer questions. The survey was open for two months, beginning on February 20, 2020. One hundred and twenty responses were collected from librarians. A regression analysis was run for the four-skill set categories: general data services, programming languages and software, library instruction, and soft skills. The four variables measured were: geographic region, percentage of time spent performing data management services, length of time served in the data services role, and overall length of time spent in the library science field.
Main Results – The strongest data services skill sets were soft skills and instruction. The weakest skill set was programming languages and software. The more time a librarian spent providing data services, the higher their self-assessed score was for programming languages and software and general data services. Librarians from the United States rated themselves higher than Canadian librarians in data analysis software, data visualization, data mining, programming languages, text editors and project management. Preferred forms of professional development were learning by doing and self-directed learning. Biggest impediments to professional development were lack of time (34%), high cost (28%), and lack of support from administrators and supervisors (26%). Qualitative comments revealed challenges related to a lack of support, a lack of direction, and a lack of defined roles.
Conclusion – The survey revealed that additional training and development skills initiatives are necessary for practitioners supporting data services in academic libraries. Academic data librarianship is an emerging field with vaguely articulated roles for the data practitioner in a broad range of settings. Furthermore, the skills and training needed are not clearly defined. The standardization of education, training and the core competencies needed for the mechanics of the roles are challenging to define because of diversity within the field. Libraries embarking on providing data management services need to explore what services their community of researchers needs and plan to equip their staff with appropriate skill sets.
Public Libraries Can Be Open Science Laboratories for Citizen Science Projects / Cigarini, A., Bonhoure, I., Vicens, J., & Perelló, J. (2021). Public libraries embrace citizen science: Strengths and challenges. Library & Information Science Research, 43(2), 101090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2021.101090
Objective – The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of libraries supporting citizen scientist (CS) projects.
Design – Mixed methods program evaluation study.
Setting – 24 public libraries in Barcelona, Spain.
Subjects – Public librarians and library users.
Methods – It is a mixed methods and mixed population study done in several phases. The first phase involved training 30 librarians how to conduct a citizen science project. They were given a pre and post survey about their perceptions of citizen science and comfort-level in conducting a project. The second phase involved a project run by the now-trained librarians with library user participation. At this phase a questionnaire was given to the users at the start and end of the project. Finally, a focus group of librarians was asked about their project. The responses were evaluated through thematic analysis. Seven libraries participated in the focus groups.
Main Results – During the first phase of the study, the survey found the librarians were pessimistic about user participation in a citizen science project, both at the beginning (75%) and at the end (79%) of the session. Though they felt confident in discussing citizen science (100%) and had high satisfaction in the training (70%), only 42% felt confident to conduct a project on their own. The second phase involved the users, 94% of whom had never participated in a CS project. At the end, 70% of users said the project positively changed their perceptions of the library and 70% were satisfied with the experiment. During the focus groups, librarians said the project brought new users into the library and had the potential to build more relationships among participants and with the community. Major challenges discussed were user commitment to the project and the workload required by librarians, however they all answered positively when asked about continuing with CS projects.
Conclusion – This study showed that citizen science projects can be successfully implemented in public libraries. Public libraries are facing challenges caused by societal change, the rise of open science, and more transparent and novel democratic ways of knowledge production. Updating public library infrastructure would be needed to support these projects more fully. This may involve building partnerships and developing new guidelines. There is potential for public libraries to be leaders and innovators in citizen science.