LLA Conference 2013

Re-Conceiving Relevance in an Information-Saturated Age presented by Chad Pierson, SELU
Reference Transaction (model), we have let technology take over our [librarians’] role. The basic model is:
    Inquiry --> Search --> Relevance

Which translates to:
    User chooses keywords --> Faceted search --> Librarian and patron confer on relevance
He then did a sample search in Academic Search Complete using the terms nanotechnology and medicine.
When does that moment of relevance occur, when does patron see the article(s) which fills the need and patron may not see it in the same light as you? Why is it so perception based?

Myths of relevance:
The idea was drawn from legal context, in the 1940s define “relevance” in relation to match with subject
While it is objective in its meaning, but mostly subjective in its result
We like to think that there is always a correct answer when there are usually just approximations to an answer
Precision and Recall can be an anchor for understanding this concept, but it what is important in the cognitive inference of the end user
Should be seen as an exploration, meaning can emerge as a result of the search process. There can be a process of discovery for librarian and patron. To be most effective for our users, it is important to make connections and patterns in other knowledge areas. Many places are set up by specific domain areas for knowledge which can limit how a question is approached. Patrons rely on “human intermediation” for context and meaning. It is a more “intimate enterprise” than many think.

Factors which can affect results:
  • Mood of patron
  • Mental state of librarian
  • Library user needs to have an open mind
  • Time Constraints
  • Usually short transactions (5 – 10 minutes)
  • Either party can be in a hurry
  • Need to allow for relaxed admosphere
  • Critical Thinking State
  • Inferences made
  • Analogical
  • Pattern seeking
  • Induction/Deduction
There are many theories, which can change over time (writers: Saracevic, Greisdorf, Huang and Soergel)
Some theories favor the user relevance, while systems-oriented people will focus on algorithms. Artificial intelligence will eventually start to impact.
  • Topical Relevance Types
  • Direct relevance (explicit results which seems to match)
  • Indirect relevance (start by inferring basic knowledge of query)
  • Context relevance (provide background or context for topic)
  • Comparison relevance (based on similar or contrasting situations)
Types of relevance
  • Controlled vocabulary and indexing (can be valuable, but not understood by some)
  • Keyword (Google page rank: www.webworkshop.net/pagerank.html)
  • So many do not look beyond the first page
  • Semantic context
  • www.hakia.com
  • Instead of using keywords only, it uses multiple algorithms
There is a conceptual and knowledge base model at work in both patron and librarian
Advantages of Human thinking
  1. Parallel Processing (multiple thoughts occurring at the same time)
  2. Symbolic Thinking (at an intuitive level – e.g. touch screen, icons)
  3. Nonlinear Thinking
  4. Creative Domain Thinking (switch quickly from one topic to another)
The more we look at Artificial Intelligence, the more we are learning about the human mind. Human mind is more attuned to interdisciplinary approach to thinking, for example broad categories like “humanities” or “literature.” Humans have an ability to have adaptable skill sets which include complex tool use, grammatically structures language, casual-logical reasoning, etc. Humans can think about thinking which computers/machines have difficulty with. Humans can determine and use items out of context.
Librarian is intimately involved in the process. Interface between patron and computer. The reference interview is critical to success in the process. It is important for the librarian to think outside the box. Librarian needs to go from abstract to concrete which is hard for a computer.
There is a mediating role for the librarian [Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one – Neil Gaiman]
There is a need for librarian expertise:
  • Need to challenge our knowledge domains
  • Should seek interdisciplinarity
  • Need to actively engage human thinking with machine thinking
  • Databases are human creations and we need to use controlled vocabulary
Hakia search engine claims to bring search engine results “to the next level.” They have proprietary algorithms. 
Librarians need to be more familiar with our role in the process of database creation and to think about all the other ways to approach each of our questions. This can result in librarians being more effective and creative. Exchange information among librarians serving other areas.
BCI – Brain Computer Interface
There are non-invasive devices which read visual eye movements and record brain responses to article results, there is a Microsoft Kinect device. There is a measurable brain wave which can be recorded/monitored when we respond to relevant items.
My big “take-away” from this program was a better understanding of what library technologists mean when they talk about “discovery services.”

Missing Link: Future of Reference – Panel discussion

Jessica Hetchings, McNeese State U

The library at McNeese is undergoing a renovation, and operations have moved into a ballroom, and the library is no longer a “destination on campus.” Service desks are set up to help as best they can. They have set up stations at other places on campus, for instance 3 days a week a librarian in the writing center. The goal is to provide service at the “Point of Need.”

They are trying embedded librarianship, in particular with the nursing program. They have added to online classes, and can coach students through searches. English 102 students were formerly taught in a classroom (1,500 students a year). They have now created instructional videos which are embedded into the course.

Megan Lowe, UL Monroe

Because a building burned on campus, they now have Registrar in the library and library staff are being asked questions that they cannot deal with. She sees the library being pushed, by university administrators, into a business model. But the reference interview is not efficient, it is “down and dirty.” There is a need for the library to resist the business model.

She won’t prognosticate because we will adapt to the new situations. Have to give ourselves options. The Library will need to ecome more responsible for quality control.

Quote of the afternoon: “There are people we cannot teach.” – academic librarian

Pin This! – presented by Katie Loomis

Everything on Pintrest links to somewhere else.

She also likes Presi and Wordle (wordle.net)

She has one account/profile for school and one for librarians – every teacher needs help.

Prezi is the new power point and it is free if you use school district or college/university email to log in.

“Inside, Outside, Upside Down”  
(informal title) presented by Karen Cook, State Library of Louisiana

Recorder of Documents job is in Statutes and Administrative Code. Currently they have a system and twice a year reminds all state agencies to send items (and in what quantities).

In the reent past
            Karen, started October 15
There had been a gap, 4 months without anyone in job. There is a specialist, and a cataloger each of whom started just before Karen did.
They have now almost caught up 4-month backlog
Currently deal with all documents within 2 weeks of the end of the month (i.e. all March documents will be shipped by April 15) – her personal goal is for a quicker delivery of items.
Housekeeping changes
            Changes in procedures and policies for Tech Services and Recorder’s Office
            Quality Control
            Clean up (sometimes, literally)
Updating depository info
            Learning to use Access for relational database
            Moved all depository library information from 6 files into one source
            Updating contact information for all depository libraries
Updating the web site
            Making revisions to underlying documents
            Updating new handbooks
Survey: Selection Form          
New form on Survey Monkey form
4 questions/22 responses as of Wednesday (30% of responses)
Responses due by March 20
LAC changes (Louisiana Administrative Code)
New regulations changed what agencies are required to send
Need to keep items 5 years not 6 – same as for the Federal system
This will result in changes in what libraries receive
Ongoing process of education with agencies

Next Steps
Updated content for library web pages including short, memorable URLs
Site visits (aka, inspection trips)
Begin adding recent documents to the Louisiana Digital Archive
Reversing old policy of preferring print, now prefer digital items
Review “core title list”
Review “order of distribution” if not enough copies received
Streamlined process/guidelines for weeding superseded items

New survey with questions about changes to the classification scheme – including the fact that there is no master list/plan
For some agencies (LSU) the numbering scheme is not consistent and does not show the relationship between/among agencies.
Suggestion to perhaps abandon “provenance-based” system
Finalize changes to selection form – new one will be electronic

Longer term goals

LaDoc classification scheme – need to create authoritative list and review/revise scheme
Creating agency database to include contact information, structure and history, and will include prior names
One output could be part of a history of LA government structure
Excited to work with digital documents

From Discovery to Delivery  
presented by Mike Waugh LSU & Lisa Stigall LOUIS

At LSU, the installation is EBSCO Discovery Service, which they call Discovery or EDS

It searches the library catalog at the same time as other databases. It is not federated search.

With EDS everything goes into the “knowledge base” along with all the other databases, in a way it is pre-indexed so that it can be searched pretty quickly. Uses a search box on the web page and then sends search to EDS discovery. After getting a large search result set, begin drilling down. It is easy to narrow search over time.

At LSU, discovery is set up with catalog entries to show up first.

The best strategy is to search everything first and then limit by database.

LOUIS has contract with EBSCO and will be able to add own resources to the discovery service

Why EDS? Long history, had additional products which could be integrated

Can search just specific libraries; but need to update locations with EBSCO

With EBSCO can change labels on items found and tweaked

Whatever is in the system will show….like changes in MARC records

Data is actually extracted from local source and sent to EBSCO

Did not remove the catalog….EDS does use Z39.50 to get status from catalog even if items only updated every so often.

Can suppress some databases, and that is a local decision.

It acts as a “portal for full text ‘stuff.’”

EDS works with LinkSource and other link resolvers.

From THOMAS to Congress.gov 
presented by Michelle Donlin

THOMAS was started in 1990s (103rd and 104th Congresses). January 1995 rolled out by LC.
It is populated by LC information system (LOCIS) which has data from 1973 forward.

It includes activity in Congress – Yesterday in Congress and current in House and Senate
Congressional Record from 101st Congress and index from 104th +

Committee Reports, Presidential Nominations and Treaties from 90th on

The new web site has:
  • Bookmarking and sharing widgets
  • Top 5 bills (what has been searched)
  • RSS feeds
  • Contacting members of Congress
  • Time out limits increased

Software is old which limits what improvements can be made, links are not permanent, no mobile interface, busy and unintuitive layout.
Cannot bulk download raw data and there is no easy way to capture data

  • Introduced in September 2012
  • Can search across years
  • Improved user design, cleaner, easier to find search box, mobile view
  • Includes all members of Congress since 1973, and can be filtered by state, etc.
  • Has info on the legislative process

Since unveiling have added citation normalizing filter, status of amendment, added “party history” for those who changed parties, leadership designations, CBO cost estimates for bills since 2001

Congress.gov will replace THOMAS no later than October 1, 2014

Demo of both sites.

Mid-April updates will include new views, browse by date in Congressional Record, the about page will include more info on the site and forthcoming updates

More updates on http://blogs.lc.gov/law
There are webinars available (called seminars on the Congress.gov page)

Moodle Caboodle
presented by Karen Niemla

Modular Object-Oriented Designed Learning Environment

1.      Learning management system
2.      Content Management System

Way to put things online

More complex than Wordpress or Drupal

Many institutions moving from Blackboard because of costs (Moodle is free)

Open Source: Free (sort of) – just like free kittens

There are services available at additional cost.

Why would I want Moodle?
Most of the discussion is in forums, and use the software to turn in assignments.

Moodle needs to be hosted on a web site somewhere. Can get an online host with a GUI control panel. (Secure Signup or Host Gator) Can buy “Moodle Rooms” (basically a web host which simply hosts Moodle for you…)

Different version of Moodle called Joule.

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