New Tricks

Time does indeed fly! Hard to believe that your intrepid blog editor has been working here at the Kent State University Library for nine months already. So far, it has been one learning experience after another. I had no idea how much I didn’t know!
This morning, seeking a change of scenery from my luxuriously appointed office cubicle, I trekked upstairs to the 2nd floor periodicals section. I spent some very fruitful time there scanning the library literature the old-fashioned way, in print. One of my finds today was Mitch Fontenot‘s article in the Fall 2008 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly (amusing title: The Ambidextrous Librarian, or “You Can Teach a Middle-Aged Dog Some New Tricks”) on mid-life career changes for librarians. He too made the leap to academic librarianship after more than several years as a specialized librarian. I found his frank discussion of the challenge of publishing research encouraging. I went right up to the 4th floor, grabbed our copy of the recommended The Librarian’s Guide to Writing for Publication, and checked it out.
I’m not sure how this happened but somehow I never managed to take a “research methods” class when I attended library school way back in the dark ages. So sitting on my desk is a copy of Practical Research Methods for Librarians and Information Professionals which I borrowed a few weeks ago from another OhioLINK library. Late this summer, I am hoping to begin a study as part of the NAHRS Mapping the Literature of Allied Health project.
As an instruction librarian, I spend a lot of time showing other people how to search for information. Online searching is something that I also did not really study in library school. Your intrepid blog editor earned her M.L.S. a full two years before Tim Berners-Lee even proposed the World Wide Web. Of course, I have taken numerous formal training courses in searching specific databases. But I have learned the techniques of searching mainly by doing. So I found the section on search styles and tactics in Andrew Booth’s article “Using Evidence in Practice” in the December 2008 issue of Health Information and Libraries Journal very illuminating. I generally teach “building block” searching to my students but in my own searching, I am more of a “berry picker” or even a “pearl grower.”
That’s what I’m reading today. What are YOU reading today? Comment below!