Archive for the ‘general’ category

Free, Legal Music Sharing Ignored

July 7, 2006

I caught this one on Digg this morning…Cornell University is ending its efforts with Napster to provide students with free and legal downloads of music. Most students didn’t like the service as it only provided them with legal access until they graduated. You can read the entire story at the Wall Street Journal.

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Evidence-based practice

June 27, 2006

Want to know more about evidence-based practice? The Wikipedia definition:“An approach to a profession informed by the review of evidence gathered in systematic ways. Evidence-based practice (EBP) uses research results, reasoning, and best practices to inform the improvement of whatever professional task is at hand. Evidence-based practice is a philosophical approach that is in opposition to rules of thumb, folklore, and tradition. Examples of a reliance on “the way it was always done” can be found in almost every profession, even when those practices are contradicted by new and better information. Evidence-based design and development decisions are made after reviewing information from repeated rigorous data gathering instead of relying on rules, single observations, or custom. Evidence-based medicine and evidence-based nursing practice are the two largest fields employing this approach.”

Given the intractability that change brings out in some librarians, gathering this kind of information seems like a good thing. It’s ammunition against the conventional wisdom.
For many of us there is little time or opportunity for extensive usability testing. The good news is that there is a new online journal, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, which presents articles using the evidence-based practice to information gathering. Here’s their focus and scope statement, “The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice. EBLIP publishes original research and commentary on the topic of evidence based library and information practice, as well as reviews of previously published research (evidence summaries) on a wide number of topics.”

Even if you are preparing your own usability work the journal provides a good place to start. To quote from Steven D. Levitt’s Freakonomics blog, “The effective use of statistics is one issue for which I am always happy to be an advocate.”

A new hope

May 25, 2006

Tasked to find ways to keep the staff abreast of trends in technology, we thought, "why not a blog?" OK, you're right, a blog is hardly new, but, you have to start somewhere. Within this blog we will report on what we've read, seen, are doing, might do later, hope to never do, and what we'd like to do if we had the money.

Stay tuned.