Research Update

I blogged earlier this semester about three projects I'm researching:
  • practices & experiences of academic librarians embedded in online courses
  • factors that affect the adoption of electronic reference in academic libraries
  • ...and a project on educational background of academic library deans (with fellow librarian Annie Downey)
So the status updates on those three are as follows:
  • embedded librarians project:
    • finishing up the presentation portion of the project (organizing it as 6 case studies, with trends and discussion)
    • writing lit review for written portion of project
    • since this is for a client (as well as my class), I'm planning to format it as a thick binder with tabs for the lit review/trends, each institutional case study, and will also include a matrix of activities, as well as a summary of commonalities and differences in experiences across the case studies
  • electronic reference adoption study:
    • this is a paper for a statistics course, so it's a statistical analysis...
    • I downloaded the Academic Library Survey datasets from NCES (National Center for Educational Statistics) for 1996 - 2006 (though in the end for various reasons I was only able to use 2000 - 2006; I hope to include the other data this summer)
    • reformatting all the data and framing it correctly took quite a while!
    • I performed an ANCOVA for a binary response variable using the program "R"
    • I did some related analyses, and created graphical displays for each
    • I'm now writing the results as an article (it's my first quantitative methods article, and it's proving a bit of a tough writing job for me)
  • education of academic library deans study:
    • Annie's got us a head start on the lit review
    • we plan to do the majority of the data gathering this summer
    • we're currently working on an abstract to propose to ASHE for this fall
I'm proud of myself for actually taking the time to thoughtfully consider this semester's projects as future publications/presentations. And the more I work on the embedded librarians project, the more I see a future dissertation idea coalescing there... it's pointing in many directions, any of which could prove a fruitful topic. It's pretty exciting to feel that I'm not only researching useful topics, but that the last several semesters combined, I've managed to do at least one project each time on library support for distance learning, which I knew I wanted to pursue broadly all along. Huzzah!

And a brief note, in case I haven't mentioned it here before (I've been tweeting it alot): the task management software OmniFocus (and specifically the iPhone version, although I also have the original program on my Mac) has saved my life this semester. It's tracking my personal errands, house projects, work projects, school research, you name it. It's amazing, and if you have an iPhone it will be the best $19 you've spent.

And thus ends my flagrant advertising. (But seriously, busy techie librarians, try it out!) Or at least consider some form of task management software, no matter what computer or handheld you've got.

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