Worth a look


Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 15 November 2011


Barbara Watstein, S. and Mitchell, E. (2011), "Worth a look", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/rsr.2011.24039daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Worth a look

Article Type: Editorial From: Reference Services Review, Volume 39, Issue 4

The articles in this issue are a diverse lot. Some continue our focus, begun with Volume 39 Number 3, on learning landscapes and the new reality. Articles previously published in these pages demonstrate how the interplay of physical and virtual learning landscapes impacts teaching, reference, collaboration, and management. Here too, readers will find articles that explore not only new learners, new faculty and new roles, but also emerging pedagogies and emerging service models.

Learning landscapes encompass the physical and virtual spaces where today’s library users encounter information and learn to use it effectively. Dunaway considers connectivism, a learning theory for the digital age, with especial attention to pedagogical practice for networked learning landscapes. Hahn challenges us to think about location-based recommendation services and their potential for discovery of both print and digital resources. Readers interested in data models and computing workflows necessary to implement such a system will not be disappointed in Hahn’s article. Indeed, Hahn leverages existing iPhone Software Developer Kit templates for modeling data and interface prototypes and develops both use cases and user models

We welcome, as we do annually, “Library instruction and information literacy 2010,” which compiles and annotates the literature on the topic of teaching and learning information literacy skills. This regular feature continues to be among the most frequently downloaded in RSR, and provides an excellent barometer of key directions and activity in the field. Note that this year’s significantly shorter bibliography, compiled by Anna Marie Johnson, Claudene Sproles, and Robert Detmering of Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, reflects both the decrease in the publishing activity on this topic and the compilers’ intention to focus on substantive articles and eliminate many citations for examples from the school media literature, and brief conference overviews, profiles of instruction librarians, and editorials. The authors note the increase in articles about discipline-specific information literacy (written by non-librarians) as well as less effort devoted to defining what information literacy is, which suggests, perhaps the maturation of the field.

Davis, Lundstrom and Martin and Wang turn their attention to models. Davis et al. are interested in both instruction librarians’ attitudes on teaching and how they identify themselves as teachers. Particular attention is paid to teaching librarians’ views on the effectiveness of two types of instruction models – for-credit courses and course-integrated library instruction. Wang presents a model for curricular integration of information literacy for undergraduate programs in higher education. In both articles, models help us better envision new realities.

With our next manuscript, we move from models to game-based learning. The relevance of game-based learning for teaching, learning, research, or creative inquiry has, we know, been established. Here, Smith and Baker provide the process of creating and launching two self-paced library orientation games, Get a Clue and LibraryCraft, and assesses their effectiveness in achieving the library’s goals. This paper also identifies and discusses the principal challenges of orientation games and strategies for overcoming those challenges.

Our issue concludes with one manuscript that explores behavior and a second that explores the role, function, varying frameworks, and potential of reference transaction assessment. Mavodza examines the information seeking behavior of library users at Metropolitan College of New York; her particular focus is on database usage. Are there lessons to be learned from analyzing database usage? Spend time with Mavodza and see. McLaughlin’s argument for a multiple perspectives approach to reference transaction assessment suggests that this type of assessment will contribute to a broader and more comprehensive assessment picture.

We invite you to consider, with our authors, the many facets of learning and researching at the intersection of place and placelessness where libraries exist in the digital age.

Sarah Barbara Watstein, Eleanor Mitchell