May 2012 Archives

Faculty Research: Rong Tang

While her research spans bibliometrics and citation research, mental models of online searching, user generated metadata, usability testing and user studies, the overall framework of Associate Professor Rong Tang's empirical work centers on studying users behaviors when they interacting with information. Her recent major research projects include needs assessment of PsycINFO users (funded by American Psychological Association), social question-answering patterns of user community of Yahoo!Answers (funded by OCLC/ALISE and Simmons President's Fund, collaborative research with Sheila Denn), and usability evaluation of Harvard Catalyst Web site. As one of the Simmons' Sloan Fellows, Professor Tang is also involved in examining the pedagogical framework and programmatic effectiveness of blended learning initiatives that are implemented on campus and across the country.

The APA PsycINFO study investigates the search needs of advanced academic users of PsycINFO, and further assesses the current state of library instructional services and various vendor interface designs in meeting the research needs of sophisticated users. The results of the study will lead to useful actionable recommendations to library instruction and interface design. The Yahoo!Answers research project examines question-answer sets in Yahoo!Answers for the purpose of understanding information transfer in an online Q&A community. Multi-level analysis of question types, answer types, and comments, coupled with the syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic coding allows a thorough understanding of the characteristics of speech acts and communication exchanges in an online social environment. Currently, working with staff in Center for Biomedical Informatics of Harvard Medical School, Professor Tang is in the process of developing multiple projects concerning usability evaluation and user studies of Harvard Catalyst Web site. The results of the projects may help the redesign of the interface in preparation of the launch of future versions as well as provide research opportunities for GSLIS doctoral students.

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Faculty Research: Amy Pattee

Amy Pattee is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and teaches and researches in the areas of youth literature, library services to youth, and youth culture. Amy considers her position as a professor, an advocate for youth and a critical consumer of materials for children and young adults to be an inherently political one. The issue of service to a less powerful population (and the recognition of the power we, as adults and "people in charge"--of the classroom, of the library--wield) is one that deserves thought and consideration. Furthermore, the judgments we "people in charge" pass upon youth literature, media and the media consumption practices of young people tend to carry comparably greater weight in the mainstream world than the judgments passed by young people themselves.

Amy's recent research has involved investigating the construction of magazine texts ("Mass Market Mortification: The Developmental Appropriateness of Teen Magazines and the Embarrassing Story Standard" and "When in Doubt, Choose 'B': Encoding Teenage Girls' Magazine Quizzes"), examining the creation of popular texts ("Commodities in Literature, Literature as Commodity: A Close Look at the "Gossip Girl" Series") and professional practices of literary recommendation ("Considering Popular Fiction and Library Practices of Recommendation: The Literary Status of 'The Clique' and its Historical Progenitors").

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Faculty Research: James Matarazzo

Dean & Professor Emeritus James Matarazzo, '65LS is engaged in a series of research articles with Dr. Toby Pearlstein, '87LS on the management and evaluation of corporate libraries. This investigation has led to the publication of "A Review of Research Related to Management of Corporate Libraries," in Advances in Librarianship, V. 31, 2008, pp. 83-114. This chapter will be followed by a series of six articles in Searcher Magazine, starting with the May 2009 issue. These articles, in the form of case studies, will explore the tools and skills, alternative sourcing arrangements and other topics need in order to better equip corporate library managers to be come thought leaders in their organizations.

Dr. Matarazzo is also conducting research on corporate libraries in the U.K., France, Spain and Japan. The focus of this research is on methods of evaluation and determining the strategic alignment of library/information center goals with those of the corporation.

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Faculty Research: Melanie A. Kimball

Assistant Professor Melanie A. Kimball teaches in the area of literature for youth, library services to youth and organization of information. She believes that it is vitally important that children and young adults have the very best that librarians and libraries can offer them, and that reading goes far beyond literacy in helping to shape the world of a child or young adult. She is also interested in how various forms of popular media--print, visual, electronic, audio--contribute to how young people form their identity. Her research centers on the history of public library service to youth, twentieth century children's literature, public libraries as social and cultural institutions, and the history of reading and publishing for youth. She has published articles in Library Trends, Public Libraries, and Teacher Librarian and has presented papers at conferences of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL), and the Library History Seminar, among others.

Currently Kimball is researching public library service to children in the early 20th century using the Cleveland and Buffalo Public Libraries as exemplars. She is also engaged in an ongoing study of early 20th century non-fiction series books for children on life in countries outside the U.S.

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Faculty Research: Daniel N. Joudrey

Assistant Professor Daniel N. Joudrey has just published his first book. The Organization of Information (3rd ed.), co-written with Arlene G. Taylor, is the textbook for information organization, used by students in LIS programs everywhere. Joudrey, who has been working with Taylor since he was a grad student at the University of Pittsburgh, has been at GSLIS since 2005.

In addition to preparing to work on the 4th edition of The Organization of Information, Joudrey is writing a book for Libraries Unlimited, tentatively titled, "Puzzles and Pearls: Determining What Something is About." The book is based on his dissertation research, and focuses on the nature of 'aboutness' and subject access to information resources. He, Taylor, and Tina Gross, are also currently involved in a research project on the value of Library of Congress subject headings in information retrieval in OPACs.

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Faculty Research: Lisa Hussey

Assistant Professor Lisa Hussey is focused on the issues of management and diversity in the LIS profession. Her publications include "Why Librarianship," published in Advances in Library Administration and Organization, which was based on her dissertation. She is currently writing a chapter for the forthcoming book, Critical Theory in Library and Information Science: Exploring the Social from Across the Discipline, about the connections to LIS in the work of sociologist Pierre Boudieu. Lisa has also given presentations on "Marketing Your Library."

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Faculty Research: Peter Hernon

One area of Professor Peter Hernon's research looks at the directors of academic libraries and involves the use of different methodologies. One study, which merits replication, included sixteen directors from institutions of various sizes and asked them to keep a diary (a type of formal data collection instrument) for a two-week period during which they recorded all work-related activities. Other studies have examined the leadership qualities, either for emotional intelligence or distributed (shared) leadership, that directors for the next fifteen years should possess. This research drew on the Delphi technique and identified the most important qualities, ones that might be shared among the senior management team. More recently, Dr. Hernon has looked at scenarios and alternative visions of the future as viewed by directors of libraries whose institutions have members in the Association of Research Libraries.

With the focus of the Ph.D. concentration in managerial leadership in the information professions, Dr. Hernon is now taking a broader view of leadership, one that does not center on any particular leadership theory or style. Drawing on discussions about judging the vision of leadership that the candidates for president of the United States hold, he has developed a most unusual data collection instrument, one that can lead to the use of concept mapping and other methodologies. The goal is to go beyond self-reporting and develop techniques to observe the actual practice of leadership. Leadership is not a word that is easily defined or at least a word that does not produce a definition that can gain universal acceptance.

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Faculty Research: Ross Harvey

Ross Harvey's research interests currently focus on two areas: the preservation of library and archival material, and newspaper history. Ross's interest in preservation stems from 1986-1987 when as a newspaper librarian he first became aware of the significant issues associated with paper deterioration. Since then he has researched into and published widely about the preservation of documentary heritage materials. Most recently his research has focused on the preservation of documentary heritage materials in digital form. He has published four books about preservation, the most recent being Preserving Digital Materials (K.G. Saur, 2005).

Ross's earlier research in newspaper history sought to better understand the reasons why and circumstances in which New Zealand's early newspapers were published. He was concerned that historians were not using early newspapers appropriately because they did not fully appreciate the conditions in which these newspapers were produced and the reasons why they were issued. He has published many articles on this theme, including the 'Newspapers' entry in Book & Print in New Zealand: A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997), which he also jointly edited. Later research is attempting to place early New Zealand newspapers in a wider context. The role they played in the imperial press system and networks is examined in several articles and a chapter in Media and the British Empire, ed C. Kaul (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). More recently Ross has started to investigate connections between the Australia and New Zealand press.

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Faculty Research: Jeannette Bastian

Jeannette Bastian's research interests and writings are in the areas of post-colonialism, collective memory and archival education. Her books include West Indian Literature: An Index to Criticism,1930-1975 (1981), Owning Memory, How a Caribbean Community Lost Its Archives and Found Its History (2003), Archival Internships: A Guide for Faculty, Supervisors, and Students (with Donna Webber, 2008). A collection of essays, edited with Ben Alexander, Community Archives, The Shaping of Memory, will be published in August 2009. Jeannette is currently writing a second book with Donna Webber, Archives for Librarians, that will be published by the Society of American Archivists. She is also working on several research projects and presentations including a five-year update of data on graduate archival education curricula, a study of the records of online communities and an investigation into the archival qualities of carnivals and commemorations.

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