Notes from the Trenches

Speech Pathology Writing Boot Camp at Miami University

This article describes the successful collaboration between a Speech Pathology faculty member and library liaison to use library space and resources to achieve student success at Miami University. The library as a space is currently being redefined to meet the changing needs of patrons, most notably the Makerspace.  A Speech Pathology faculty member and I collaborated to assist thirteen junior and senior students as they completed an inquiry-based learning assignment using an innovative paradigm. The faculty member suggested using the library’s computer lab as a dedicated Writing Boot Camp space for the students as they neared completion of their research assignment. The idea stemmed from her previous positive experience in a faculty writing boot camp. Three one hour and twenty minutes class sessions were dedicated to the library-based Writing Boot Camp. The faculty member and I were available to students for one-on-one consultations throughout the class sessions. During the first class, I walked around to introduce myself to students and offer individualized help. Both the faculty member and I arranged tables for students to approach us for in-depth one-on-one consultations. Students asked me seven questions during the first library-based Writing Boot Camp. The questions ranged from how to develop strong research questions, find reliable resources, use successful search methods, and properly cite. Notably, I learned that most students used Google Scholar as their sole resource. Other students also used the library catalog; however, none of the students used databases. The faculty member and I discussed this issue and decided to include a brief lesson on the value of library resources over Google Scholar, key databases in the field, and useful search strategies during the second library-based Writing Boot Camp. The students completed a survey upon completion of the library-based Writing Boot Camp. All but one student provided strong positive feedback about holding the Writing Boot Camp in the library. Anonymous responses include, “it was a great space to write and allowed for proper help/resources”, “the environment allowed me to concentrate more”, and “I loved being able to switch it up and hold class in the library–it was new and different!” The Speech Pathology faculty member recently won the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award for empowering students to succeed. This innovative use of library space is currently being evaluated for implementation on a larger scale.

-Anna Liss Jacobsen, Miami University


Oral Histories at Kenyon College

When I took the position of Digital Initiatives Librarian at Kenyon College three years ago, I inherited an office full of abandoned oral histories. On SD cards, CDs, desktops, and external hard drives, I found incredible stories – but they were stories without context, without metadata, completely inaccessible to the world. I’ve spent some time working through them, as well as supporting active oral history projects on our campus, and in the process I’ve developed best practices and recommended workflows for oral historians, and the librarians and educational technologists who support them. Two years ago, I joined the team for the GLCA Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project as their Digital Architect. I created an Oral History Metadata form, which is intended to be a user-friendly tool for oral historians in the field, as well as map easily to Dublin Core for archiving purposes. I also created a toolkit called Archiving Oral Histories from Start to Finish which guides the user from pre-interview to long-term access and preservation, with lots of tips, tools, and low cost options. OHLA is currently accepting grant proposals from all GLCA member institutions, and I encourage those of you who are part of those institutions to share the word. I also hope that the resources we’re making available through our website are useful to anyone working with oral histories. We’ve created a lot of documentation for using the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer , which is a great tool for oral histories, and has the potential to be useful for other A/V focused projects as well. Our toolkits are intended to expand and evolve over the course of the grant, so if you have any feedback, I am always happy to hear from you. You can check out some of Kenyon’s oral history project in our IR Digital Kenyon. We have a large archive from the Gullah people of coastal South Carolina, recorded over the course of three summers: And some of our students just finished a series of interviews with members of our local community. That project was the first one where I was invited to work hand in hand with the professor and students from the planning stage to archiving, and it was an incredibly positive experience. If you’d like to chat about supporting oral histories, please feel free to contact me directly; collaboration is the best part of being a librarian!

-Jenna Nolt, Kenyon College

This entry was posted in Vol. 35 no. 2 (June 2017) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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