You may have seen an earlier post in this blog about a library research journey, related to a study on the morale of library staff. There is a growing body of work exploring the morale of librarians, but not much on that of library staff, and like any good researchers, our research team (librarians, staff, and former library staff) pounced on the gap in the literature! That earlier post outlines how the project got started, its early phases, and getting to the point of presenting our initial findings. As well as the fact that the interviews and in fact the entire process pretty much happened during a pandemic.
But, when that was written, we hadn’t done any detailed data analysis yet, and we were still a ways away from the ultimate goal of publishing the study, in order to make it widely useful. Well, nine months later (amazingly quickly) that day has arrived—goal met, destination arrived at, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, in hand! The paper has been published! Here’s what happened between then and now.
First, we actually got invited to submit the paper, by the editor of the Journal of Library Administration. That was pretty exciting in itself, and surely is largely due to the above-mentioned lack of research on this topic. Next, came the actual analysis of the transcripts of the interviews, conducted with library staff nationwide, using the qualitative data software MAXQDA. Using a tool such as this helps ensure that there is rigor in extracting the themes from the content, and I can testify that this process brings up themes and patterns you might not otherwise expect or extract! Then, because of the choice to use a research method called grounded theory, it was important to develop a theoretical model of what had evolved (this happens after extracting the themes). That brought up even more relationships and connections to consider!
At this point—time to write. Not in order—it was easiest to warm up with the introduction and methods sections, and actually the discussion and conclusion sections came next, since we’d already presented on the material and had a sense of what those would look like. After that came the literature review. Yikes, we had a Zotero library of more than 90 articles, of which 62 made it into the paper as references. That was a lot of synthesizing! But it also meant we could confidently say that we believe this is the very first in-depth qualitative study of the morale of library staff, which makes us feel that our work may be able to help libraries create positive changes for staff in library settings. By the way, using the citation management software Zotero, that reference list of 62 was populated in Word instantaneously, a far cry from the hours I spent typing the references for my dissertation on a typewriter!
Finally came the results section, the core of what we had found out, which notably includes many quotes representing the lived experiences of our 34 wonderful respondents. And, while this is not commonly done, it made sense to include not just ideas for directions for future research, but also some of the broader questions needing to be answered, that came from the wisdom of attendees at our presentations. There are also appendices with everything anyone would need to recreate our study. Which we very much hope someone will do, in the new post-COVID normal.
Next—the maze of submission to the journal: forms, making sure that author guidelines were strictly adhered to, and similar. And the waiting! It takes time to send a paper to be peer reviewed, to get and address the comments and resubmit, and get a final acceptance. But that all happened, and along with it, the chance to exhale after two years of work.
An important final detail involved whether or not the paper could be published open access, that is, freely available to ANYONE who clicks on it, whether or not their library carries the journal title. Publishing open access would be one way to honor our amazing 34 respondents, meaning that library staff who need to see and think about these issues can download immediately. But, the out of pocket cost to us from the journal (called an article processing charge, or APC) would be $3085. Impossible. Given that price, it would have to be OK to just deposit the pre-print in the UC’s eScholarship portal, and it could be found that way. But then we learned that UC Berkeley authors, through an agreement between the California Digital Library and the publisher, could get a 75% discount on the APC—almost exactly what we had left in our research funding from LAUC! So, now on the upper right of the article’s landing page you can see that beautiful, beautiful open access logo. If you are reading this, you can read the article too!
We hope you’ll take a look, and send comments and questions our way, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading this, and celebrating with us!
EVENT: Wikipedia Edit for Change: Workshop + group editing
Wednesday, February 16, 1:00pm-2:30pm
We look forward every year to offering the annual Library Wikipedia Editathon, but this year we’re mixing it up in some exciting new ways!
First, what is an editathon? It’s familiar to many of us to think about Wikipedia as a crowd-sourced online encyclopedia, which means that it’s only as good as its individual entries. Library communities in particular are deeply committed to the quality of information in this much-used resource. So, supporting Berkeley in learning to edit through a group editing event, with workshops for beginners, that is, an editathon, is a natural fit for us at the Library.
Second, what are we doing to mix it up? Our focus is Edit For Change—we will support you in editing Wikipedia towards any change you’d like to see! There is always room for improvement in Wikipedia’s topics and content. We’ll offer an introductory level Wikipedia workshop to support you in editing Wikipedia even if you’ve never edited before, and following the workshop, we’ll make edits together so you can pursue your editing interests more fully.
As an added bonus, we’re also excited to pair with the new initiatives of the recently-launched Library Data Services Program. This year we’re part of the University of California’s Love Data Week event calendar, which is an invigorating connection. How does Wikipedia connect to data? You may have heard of Wikidata, but there are also other connections between Wikipedia and data science: for example, Wikipedia’s content is a treasure trove for researchers who analyze textual content using data science methods. Here are some examples of the kind of research that is happening now, and here and here are some suggestions for approaching these methods if you are interested!
Intrigued? We’d love to have you come participate in the event! Registration is at ucblib.link/edit4change . Questions? Feel free to email us at email@example.com, and we hope to “see” you on February 16!
LAUC-B is the Berkeley chapter of the Librarians Association of the University of California, and it helps us librarians in so many ways. When we come to campus to interview, we have lunch with LAUC-B representatives (and the conversation is confidential, so we can ask the REAL questions we have). When we arrive as new librarians, LAUC-B connects us with mentors. It provides support for our promotion and review process, and it provides a strong sense of community as we navigate this complicated campus.
One important thing LAUC-B does is offer professional development sessions, culminating in its conference every two years. The 2021 conference (which we posted about here the other day) just concluded, and multiple attendees, from all over the country (and even internationally) said that it was the best one they’ve attended in the past year (just to pat ourselves on the back a little bit!). So, what does a great librarian conference look like?
First of all, it takes a village; this year, for the first time, we Berkeley librarians welcomed librarians from other UC campuses to help us, and we had planning committee members from UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego. Second, it takes communication; in the online world created by the pandemic, at the same time we both needed to get the word out widely, and we were able to, by using email lists, social media, and other channels. This was so important, because the conference content—which was amazing—depended on us reaching a range of people and settings and locations. Third, it takes flexibility (with a large dose of preparation)! The planning committee was taking the conference from its historical in-person format to happening online for the first time, and that came with many challenges, even given the wonderful support from the Library Events Department—we changed conference platforms at the last minute, we became experts at Zoom bombing prevention, and learned more than we thought possible about captioning so that we could be ADA compliant.
The title of the conference is “Reimagining Libraries Through Critical Library Practices”, and our description notes that: “Library work is embedded in and inherently tied to socio-political circumstances. The programming in this conference examines librarianship through the lenses of social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racist work, Black studies, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, cultural and critical ethnic studies, intersectional feminism, critical disability studies, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and queer interventions in digital studies.”
We felt extremely fortunate that the proposals we received were so on point and so strong and deep, including: invited keynote presentations from Clara Chu and Lalitha Nataraj; 6 additional featured presentations; 5 lightning talks; and 11 posters (with which attendees had two different time slots to engage). Many of the presenters included a land acknowledgement and/or a positionality statement as they began their talks, engaging the attendees to consider their own locations and positions, and the UC Berkeley statement included this Rematriation Resource Guide from the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. Attendees also agreed to uphold the conference’s Code of Conduct Statement.
If you’d like a sense of the 2-day event, please take a look at the conference website, and also at our Twitter hashtag. Session recordings will soon be available, linked on the website and hosted on the Library’s YouTube channel. Also notable were the elegant design offerings, including the logo you see above, which were created by UC Berkeley Library staffer and graphic designer Sarah Chieko Bonnickson, as well as the atmospheric and stress-reducing playlist, which was relayed between sessions and about which people raved, by UC Berkeley librarian Kristina Bush. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us at laucbconfinfo [at] lists.berkeley.edu, and please enjoy the Twitter screenshots below, while we enjoy our (distanced) celebratory beverages!
Librarian for Economics, Political Economy, and International Government Information Jim Church is one of the three editors of the just released IFLA publication The Government Information Landscape and Libraries, which provides case studies on challenges and opportunities for access, preservation and digitization of government information around the world. Jim is also the author of the chapter on international governmental organizations (IGOs), and he provides a terrific overview of this complex and challenging area. As Jim states, “IGO documents and publications often do not show up in Google Scholar or in the Indexing and Abstracting databases that libraries purchase. They are often not cited, or cited poorly.” Yet they are an important, often essential, source for researchers seeking information (numeric and textual) on a wide array of global topics.
We are very fortunate to have Jim’s expertise at Berkeley, and it’s great that it’s now being shared globally through this open access resource!
Head, Social Sciences Division
Social Welfare Librarian & Interim African Studies Librarian
Even beyond those who believe that librarians sit around and read books all day (which would be delightful but is most definitely not our reality), many are surprised to learn that librarians double as active researchers. This is especially true in settings where librarians are members of the faculty, but even where that isn’t the case, such as at Berkeley, librarians are born investigators and it carries over into wanting to find out about and add to knowledge of our settings.
What does it look like to conduct library research? Glad you asked! In our case, it started with a conversation and an idea. Natalia Estrada (now Berkeley’s Political Science and Public Policy Librarian, then the Social Sciences Collection and Reference Assistant and in library school) and I were talking about how much we admired the work of Kaetrena Davis Kendrick. Kendrick wrote a foundational work in the study of librarian workplace morale, The Low Morale Experience of Academic Librarians: A Phenomenological Study, and it sparked many more studies on this topic. But, where were the studies of library staff experiences? We wanted to find out!
We were lucky to recruit two colleagues who added so much to the team: Bonita Dyess, Circulation/Reserves Supervisor at the Earth Sciences/Map Library, and Celia Emmelhainz, Berkeley’s Anthropology & Qualitative Research Librarian. First we applied for (and eventually got) funding for the research from LAUC (the Librarians Association of the University of California). This meant we could pay for transcribing our interviews, give the participants gift cards, and buy qualitative data analysis software. Then we applied for (and got) approval from the IRB (Institutional Review Board), making sure we were complying with processes for research with human subjects.
Here’s where the “pandemic edition” part comes in. All this planning and applying, starting in November 2019, took time; so, at the point we were actually ready to recruit participants, it was April 2020. We were sheltering in place, and not sure how this all would work (although it was probably better than having to go virtual in mid-stream)! Nevertheless, we hurled out information about and invitations to be part of the study to every list-serv, association, and friendly librarian we could think of, nationwide. We ended up doing 34 interviews with academic library staff from a range of locations and institution types (purposefully excluding the UC system), during a three-week period in May-June 2020. Due to COVID these were all online, either by phone or Google Meet (sort of like Zoom), and we asked a structured list of questions, with room for branching into other topics, or diving deeply. Celia trained a wonderful student to transcribe the interviews, and once we had those transcripts and stripped identifying information from them, we were off– coding away (using MAXQDA software), and drawing themes, quotes, recommendations, and other findings from the surprisingly rich information we’d collected.
Next—we had to start getting the information out into the world! Our eventual goal is to write a paper, or several, for publication. There are a number of library and information science journals out there that we are considering… but that takes time as well, and we wanted to start presenting our findings sooner. So, we did an “initial findings” presentation to the UC Berkeley Library Research Working Group, and then stepped into the big time with acceptance to present a poster at the 2021 Association of College and Research Libraries online conference (our poster got almost 600 views), and with a webinar we did for the Pennsylvania Library Association (both the poster and the webinar slides are available through the UC’s eScholarship portal). All our work to get to this point is hopefully now helping others.
And, a word about connecting with our participants. We were bowled over by their generosity with us and by all they had to say: much that we didn’t expect, and much that they were grateful someone was even asking about. It ended up that we had captured one of the last opportunities to get a snapshot of pre-COVID library staff life; people were still in limbo, and talked about their regular jobs before any lockdowns, for the most part. At that point most expected to be back in their libraries and all to be normal by the end of the summer 2020. We know now that that didn’t happen, and we know that library re-openings and staff roles in them have been challenging and sometimes contentious; we wish we’d known to ask for permission to re-interview our participants—even if only to check in with them. But how could we have known? We wonder how they are.
So now, we have papers to write, and thinking to do about how to take our questions into new avenues of research—because it’s a never-ending, and completely exciting process, and, we suspect, will be very different (easier? or not?) in the post-COVID landscape. Do you have ideas for us? We’d love to hear them! Or want to hear more about our morale study? Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You may have heard that last week the Library hosted its now-annual Wikipedia edit-a-thon, a gathering of editors and fans of this amazing online resource (side note: speaking as a librarian who was taught that since Wikipedia is crowd-sourced it’s unreliable, I can say I’ve come to a much more appreciative stance after learning about its culture of fact-checking and reference, and in fact using the reference lists in articles on many occasions). Wikipedia is central to our knowledge landscape, and the UC Berkeley Library’s edit-a-thons are held so that we can improve on this landscape in the areas of art + feminism, and race + justice.
This year, because the edit-a-thon was virtual, we organizers were able to present a fascinating two-hour keynote and workshop given by Dr. Alexandria Lockett, of Spelman College in Atlanta. Dr. Lockett is a long-time Wikipedian (she started editing in 2003) who incorporates Wikipedia in her teaching, and works to question the politics of citation practices, representation, and knowledge equity there (check out her recent book chapter, “Why Do I Have Authority to Edit the Page? The Politics of User Agency and Participation on Wikipedia”).
Her talk, “Research for Knowledge Equity” had important content for everyone attending, whatever their Wikipedia editing level or interest. Dr. Lockett focused on knowledge production, and how that can “marginalize Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) scholarship and media, LGBTQ persons, African scholarship and media, women scholars regardless of color, disabled scholars, etc.” (she noted that there are Wikipedia campaigns meeting this issue, particularly #CiteBlackWomen and “CiteaSista”). She then went on to outline methods and resources for doing herstorical research, particularly on the history of Black women. Bringing the perspectives of inclusive knowledge production and informed research strategies to our editing means that Wikipedia can start to become a force for change from within, moving towards knowledge equity. As Dr. Lockett notes, “This is intellectual labor, not just tacking on facts. It will change your perspectives on knowledge production.” Want to know more? Dr. Lockett has made her slides and her list of potential articles to edit available!
After the workshop, the edit-a-thon continued in its classic format, superimposed onto Zoom. We had an editing instruction session, a breakout room for one-on-one help, and one for open editing for those who wanted a collegial space in which to work. I, for one, felt fired up by what I’d heard from Dr. Lockett, and decided to see if I could improve an article on Carol Blanche Cotton (Bowie), a Black psychologist whose dissertation focused on cognitive testing of children with disabilities, and whose name was on a list of articles needing edits. Using my librarian super searching skills (AKA Google Scholar in this case), I found an online reference to her great grandmother, Rebecca Harris, in a 1983 article titled “The Antebellum ‘Talented Thousandth’: Black College Students at Oberlin Before the Civil War”. Once I did that, I was able to add the section circled in the image above to Dr. Cotton’s Wikipedia page. It felt so rewarding to connect Dr. Cotton to her ancestor, who believed so strongly in education that she moved her entire family to Oberlin, and along the way I learned more about two women—Dr. Cotton and Rebecca Harris—who I will never forget. I hope you, reader, will have the chance to get just as excited about learning and editing, in one of the many online editathons happening now, and also at our 2022 edit-a-thon—watch this space!
For many of us in the library, last year’s Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on March 4 was the final program we held in person before the pandemic lockdowns (we actually wondered at the time whether attendance would be down due to the spread of the virus, but we had a great crowd).
Happily for us, the edit-a-thon, which is an event that gathers people together to expand and improve on the amazing information resource Wikipedia, can easily transition to an online format! The National Network of Libraries of Medicine has been holding national online edit-a-thons for years, and there are many other wonderful offerings, themed and general, to take advantage of online (check out this set of events “Honoring Indigenous Writers” from the University of British Columbia).
So, this year, our edit-a-thon will be virtual. Please come edit with us on Wednesday, March 10, from 1:00-5:00 PM! (or any portion of that time that works for you) We’ll use Zoom as a way to hold our guest speaker session and workshops on how to edit, and we will even have breakout rooms for the various editing preferences and needs of attendees. More information and the schedule can be found here; the only thing you need to do is register using this form (in order to get the Zoom link), and show up online on the day! (It would also be great, if you want to actually edit, to set up your Wikipedia account in advance)
And, about the guest speaker aspect of the event—this year, we are thrilled to offer a two-hour Wikipedia workshop (from 1:00-3:00 PM) created and led by Dr. Alexandria Lockett, from Spelman University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Lockett will discuss how both new and experienced editors can meaningfully contribute to underrepresented knowledge of Wikipedia through alternative research practices.
Questions? Feel free to email us at email@example.com, and we hope to “see” you on March 10!
Since our Love Data Week invitation post last year, the COVID pandemic has created a new world— and amazing new opportunities and challenges related to data. Just a peek at data.berkeley.edu (the portal for Berkeley’s Computing, Data Science, and Society Division) shows that data-related research during this past pandemic year, even with its intense and difficult challenges, has revealed new insights. Check out “Pandemic provides real-time experiment for diagnosing, treating misinformation, disinformation”.*
So, it’s fitting that Love Data Week 2021 at Berkeley, hosted by the UC Berkeley Library in partnership with Berkeley’s Research IT department, is focused on the kinds of issues we are confronted with in a wholly-online research environment. Join us on Tuesday for a session on ethical considerations in data, most definitely a concern with many of Berkeley’s researchers looking at issues related to COVID; on Wednesday for a talk on cybersecurity (aimed at graduate researchers but all are welcome); on Thursday for another security-related workshop, “Getting Started with LastPass & Veracrypt”; and on Friday for an introduction to Savio, Berkeley’s high performance computing cluster. Please click on this link for information on these, and registration links!
Questions? E-mail LDW 2021 at firstname.lastname@example.org . And, if we’ve whetted your appetite for data and more data, take a look at the University of California-wide Love Data Week offerings. If you’ve ever wondered what an API is, or want a quick intro to SQL, or even just want to know what the acronyms stand for, there are these sessions and more!
* The same page makes it clear that data is for everyone; check out “I Am a Data Scientist”, about a student who came to Berkeley as an English major and discovered how data can “shed light on larger-scale questions”, and “Translating Numbers Into Words: The Art of Writing About Data Science”, featuring three Berkeleyites who are getting the word out about data.
Indonesia: Spectacles of Small-scale Gold Mining, is now available online. Hosted by UC Berkeley’s Environmental Design Library, Professor Nancy Peluso’s photography exhibit explores gold extraction — and the people who live from it — in the West Kalimantan region of Indonesian Borneo. More than 100 high resolution images taken between 2014 and 2016 provide graphic insight into the daily work, tools and lives of the men and women who make their livelihoods in the Bornean gold fields. This exhibit is one of more than 50 exhibits in the multi-venued Extraction: Art on the Edge of the Abyss project.
Do you … ?
- … save random URLs in a Word or Google Doc?
- … save article PDFs on your desktop and as email attachments?
- … have a pile of article printouts sitting on your desk?
- … write down citations on sticky notes and post them to your monitor?
- … stay up late the night before a paper is due reconstructing your citations?
If you answered yes to any of the above … the answer is YES, you need Zotero (or some other citation management system).* Come to Zotero Day and learn more about this powerful tool for organizing your citations and creating bibliographies. Jennifer Dorner and David Eifler have been tag-team teaching Zotero classes which were very successful last semester, with one attracting over 150 attendees!
Spend an hour with Jennifer and David and learn to use this robust citation manager with Firefox and Chrome. These zoom workshop covers importing citations, exporting bibliographies into Word and Google Docs and sharing resources among groups. Three 1-hour sessions each day. (If you have a chance, download the program and browser connector at www.zotero.org before the workshop.)
Tuesday, January 26 (all classes are Pacific Standard Time)
- 10AM – 11AM
- Noon – 1PM
- 5PM – 6PM
Monday, February 1
- 9AM – 10AM
- 2PM – 3PM
- 4PM – 5PM
Please register to get the Zoom link – https://berkeley.libcal.com/calendar/workshops
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Can’t make it to these workshops? Try a self-paced tutorial? This tutorial includes 24 slides and 18 embedded screencasts (totalling approximately 18 minutes of viewing). Do the tutorial at your own pace and skip or fast-forward through the screencasts. In total, the tutorial can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Check it out at: Zotero Basics
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* adapted from Why use a citation management tool?, Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington.