Category Archives: Week 2

Week 2 Question

Writing has never been the primary way I choose to express myself. Typically it is through actions, or if paper is necessary through drawings, illustrations, visually showcasing my own ideas and thoughts. As such I apologize if my thoughts are not as articulate as everyone else who has posted so far.

I find that my moments of clarity come to me not while I try to distract myself, as Luker suggests, but rather when I am able to empty my mind and allow thoughts to form and solidify on their own. My preferred method of meditation – taking a nice LONG hot shower, where  I can forget about the outside world, clear my head, let the tension out of my muscles as I am enveloped in water. This is where I find my thoughts become the most lucid. As I am fond of my computer, I will not venture into the shower for 15 minutes but try to discuss my area of interest as a fully clothed productive member of society.

One thought that I stumbled upon was how effectively could a library operate if it employed the honour system with regards to returning items and keeping them in good condition. E-books are allowing library users to not have to worry about returning their item on time, as they just stop working when the digital rights management times out the file. I do not believe that physical books will be completely replaced in libraries by e-books, but the way they are treated with regards to late fined and charges may. Does holding library patrons accountable for the material in which they borrow allow the library to provide the best possible service to the public? If patrons were not held accountable would that result in a net loss for the library in terms of both material, but also the service which they could provided to the general public? Would the public be more open to higher taxes to supplement the library’s lost revenue from fines?

That led me to think about what is the role of the library, what is its function now that information is widely available thanks to the internet. In the past if I had to get something done the only resource I had available to me was the library, and (I’m dating myself here)  maybe Encarta 95. Now many people don’t NEED to go to the library to look up information. The library is going through an identity crisis, what is the place of a library in today’s society. How do we re-engage with the community? Is it through the library space? Should we cut back on certain aspects of the library, stream line it and provide other services? My own career goals involve children’s librarianship, and with that children’s programming. I see programming as way of changing the environment within a library. Is that what the focus should be for 21st century libraries?

My last thought brought me back to my childhood, where Pizza Hut had teamed up with schools, so that if you read a certain amount of books you got a punch card which would reward you with a personal pan Pizza Hut. Those delicious memories sparked the thought that, what if libraries were to partner up with companies/corporations to provide incentives for library usage. A happy meal toy for libraries. Of course this opens up a whole can of warms about a public service being in bed with a private for profit organization. Do we really want advertising directed to library users, shouldn’t that be excluded as the library represents a safe space?  Would the increased revenue from sponsorship facilitate a growth in resources and thus services to the public? What is the general public’s opinion vs. frequent library users about sponsorship. What do you as the Pepsi Generation think?

Those are the musing that I had, and need to further examine.

– Hamid

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Week 2 – Research Topic/Question

To start off with this blog post, I would like to say I completely agree with Luker’s (2008) theory that “writing engages a very different part of the brain than reading and talking do…” (p. 21). I find that I am able to express myself easily through writing and I guess that I could say that I feel more comfortable writing out my thoughts than speaking them, especially when I say something, and I realize that it did not come out the way I intended it to. Through writing, I am able to expand or even change on my already written out ideas and thoughts, especially when certain ideas do not come to me right away. Thus, it is a lot simpler and efficient when I have these initial ideas and statements already documented that I could always revisit later (this could be why diary and journal writing is still a common practice today).

I found Luker’s exercise to be quite challenging which some of my fellow bloggers have already mentioned. The most challenging part of this exercise, particularly for me, is completing it within a short time limit, yet I was successfully able to put down a lot of enlightening content. The number of ideas that I put down were beyond what I thought I was capable of prior to this exercise. Therefore, I should embrace challenges that come my way and not dismiss them or think that it will turn out unsuccessful. This exercise was not only helpful by exploring my research interests and questions, but also a way to reflect on my personal weaknesses and learn from them.

As some of you may know, I come from a Children’s Studies background and so I clearly have an interest in children and more specifically children’s librarianship, which some bloggers have previously mentioned their similar interests in this field as well. With this in mind, my research interests and questions surround the various impacts on children from their interaction with libraries. For instance, the first word I wrote down was censorship, and prior to this exercise, I was already interested in this issue as it was discussed in a few of my children’s literature courses in my undergraduate studies. However, I would like to explore further in this issue and more particularly in the increasing role of technology and how censorship has extended into the realm of the Internet. There are various parental controls and surveillances used nowadays and at times without the children’s knowledge. This idea is quite frustrating and I am not certain how others (not just in this class) feel about this, and this should be further investigated looked as this is becoming an increasing practice with the advancements of technology allowing adults to adapt to their needs, and not specifically to their children’s. I am interested in this issue as a research topic; however, I am not certain how I would formulate my ideas into a question.

I also came up with another area to focus on that would be quite interesting to explore further, but still in relation to censorship. From my various children’s literature courses I studied in the past, I realized that there are a number of books about dilemmas and questions that children increasingly face in their daily lives, such as bullying, sexuality, racism. However, many of these books have been banned from libraries and bookstores. If these books are aimed at children and focus on issues and challenges they face, then why do they not have access to them? Why should it be up to the adults to decide what books children can access when these books do not concern them? I am again not too sure how to formulate a research question based off of these concerns, but this is another topic that I would like to examine further.

References

Luker, K. (2008) Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Tracy Matos

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Week 2: Luker’s Challenge

At the risk of merely echoing the words of all of my fellow bloggers, I must admit that I find this exorcise prescribed by Luker both entirely useful and very foreboding. It is true that I have always found it helpful to write things down in order to spark new thoughts or aide in organizing the thoughts I already have.

However, this is a daunting exorcise for me since my interests at this time remain general and, as a consequence, rather expansive. It became clear to me when I took up Luker’s challenge that my main task would be narrowing my topics down to specifics. Narrowing my thoughts and interests down to a workable and interesting research question will be my chief concern for some time to come.

My interests are mainly devoted to academic libraries and the digital humanities. My background in the humanities began with my undergraduate majoring in History and minoring in English. I became more interested in the Digital Humanities during my Master’s program in History. These two interests connect very easily since many academic libraries are already involved in the digital humanities in a myriad of ways. Two of the core concepts of the digital humanities are also ideals near and dear to the hearts of those in the library sciences. Both strive to increase accessibility to information to ensure wide access and enhance teaching, learning and scholarship through the effective use of technology.

I’m interested in how the implementation of digital humanities projects impact the way that the humanities are taught to students and how it changes the way that those students engage in the field. What sort of changes come about for these students and professors when they make use of these projects in the academic libraries? For example, how does the implementation of mobile technology within the academic libraries change the way that students interact with sources and use them for research? How does the use of electronic resources effect the research process of these students? Is the lack of browsability of these sources an issue that needs to be examined? What is the impact for these students of digitization project that focus on the accessibility of primary documents?

Another closely related topic that is of interest to me is how academic libraries can effectively use their interactions with the digital humanities to prove their worth to those skeptical about the value of librarians. Since the information sciences and digital humanities have much in common, they can work together to allow both fields to extend their specialities and expand into newer roles, projects and work. Engaging in partnerships with those researching and working in the digital humanities would allow librarians to be involved in the creation of useful resources for a wide range of individuals which could then be used to demonstrate the importance of librarians. I would be interested in researching what sort of partnership librarians and digital humanists could engage in to provide both useful and desirable resources while also providing tangible evidence of the work librarians do.

Hopefully I will be able to create a viable and worthwhile research question from these topics.

I truly enjoyed reading the diverse set of research interests that were displayed by my fellow Twelve Forties and I am really looking forward to how they are all going to develop.

Thanks for reading and let’s create some awesome research!

Jesse Baker

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Week 2: Question Concerning Research Interests

As was the case with many of you fellow Twelve Fortians, I found Luker’s introductory exercise request quite the challenge. In fact, upon reading the sentence practically begging me to ‘write it down’, I firmly chose to evade performing the exercise since there were more urgent tasks to be accomplished (i.e. racing through the plethora of readings assigned for other classes). I should have known better since this exercise has inspired me to investigate the idiosyncrasies of the social world I inhabit and the collective experiences that have ignited passion and propelled me into the field of library and information science. After examining and interpreting the scrawl produced in fifteen minutes on a single-sheet of ruled, lined paper, I came to find that I indeed held an array of potential research interests. For the sake of space and time, I will provide detail for two inquiries I would pursue, were my efforts fail-proof.

I would first desire to explore the evolving nature of books and print culture as commodities propagating mass consumerist ideals and the implications this has on traditional library cataloging and categorization practices. Literature produced with a commodity-based intention attempts to reach the largest audience possible and thus often incorporates a cross-disciplined approach with regards to subject matter, genre, textual content, format and organization. An interesting way of looking at this is to compare current aims of the publishing/book-selling industry as kin to corporate business schemes absorbed with the creation of “one-stop shops” and “super-centres” housing any and every possible thing that can be marketed or translated into a product that meets consumer demand. Considering the undergraduate knowledge base I’ve acquired in Contemporary North-American and British Literature, I’d be interested in research which considers what the production and publication of a book that can be categorized in many different subject areas implies for traditional cataloging and categorization models. If there is a problem, where does it lie? What have information professionals, researchers and theorists thought of to advance, redefine or recreate the standardized cataloging models?  What are the positions, if any, in terms of sub-categorization or the creation of new categories (or concept clusters) within cataloging models? What are the positions in repositioning cataloging models to a more generalized, all-encompassing method of cataloguing to create a place for these intersectional, cross-disciplinary texts? Is it beneficial to micro-categorize, what are the positive and negative technical, theoretical, and epistemological perspectives in micro-categorizing?

I am also interested in how all this would (or how does all this already) affect the role and responsibility of librarians involved in areas other than cataloging, such as the acquisitions/collections development process, or what a specific shift from traditional cataloging methods would mean for information professionals and library users in their search and retrieval practices.

After attending a few class lectures in Collection, Development, Evaluation and Management, I began to also gain an interest in the increasing movement of libraries and information-driven institutions towards outsourced modes of collection development, particularly third-party library managing companies. Combining this knowledge with my experience working in a major national bookstore and a municipal public library, I question what implications or issues an outsourced staffing model creates in youth collections development policies and practices in a public library setting. As there are competing discourses in this area of study, a large portion often target pre-approved vendor lists, sourced from best-selling lists or popular media praise, as problematic since they embrace a cookie-cutter model of what certain demographics should be reading with little or no consideration for the content or quality of information being disseminated. I am interested in the ethical issues of this staffing model since it devises a collection merely based on pre-set, trending lists of content that falls under a broad based idea of what  “teen culture” embodies. I feel as though this reader demographic is often misrepresented as a result, for there are a diversity of needs to consider in relation to what is deemed  ‘proper’ or ‘appropriate’ content in the Junior/YA realm.

Stemming from this research interest would be the exploration of how a youth collection interspersed with higher-level literature, culturally assumed as intended for adult reading, would function if adopted on the YA shelves of a public library. Since the Young Adult materials section is traditionally intended as a space for that particular age group, how does, or how would, the presence of youth-appropriate adult literature and/or audio-visual materials affect the information behaviour practices of youth user groups, readers and audiences?

I realize now that at the beginning of this post I promised to discuss only two interests – I’ve definitely broken that promise. It’s intriguing how the attempt to investigate one question can spur a multitude more and so on and so forth. Such is the nature of our social world! Thanks for reading.

– Olivia Wisniewski

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Week 2 – Research Interest

The last time I was charged with the task of creating my own research study was in my senior year of high school. My area of research was delinquent adolescents – I cannot remember the precise research question. Obviously I took a more casual approach than what is required here!

The idea of noting down my musings when it comes to the why’s and how’s of everyday life or the world at large is a foreign concept to me. Although I would call myself inquisitive, and love to debate and think over different possibilities, choices, and “answers,” I have not had the ambition to conduct such studies myself. I am glad that we are being asked to put our questions to paper – perhaps I will learn something about myself and what I am truly curious about by taking note of it.

As you can see, I’m quite new to this and this way of thinking so I may change my mind a few times before I truly realize what I’m doing and where I want to go! I won’t attempt to find a specific research question yet – but instead, identify a research area and with more research, draw up a question.

A possible research area I have in mind is school libraries. I recently learned in my Advocacy and Library Issues course that school libraries are in decline. I would like to study this further and discover what are the consequences of this trend for young people.

 

Camille Johnson

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Week 2 – Research Question

Hi bloggers!!

So, this may be a little morbid (however, my undergrad was in Criminal Justice and Public Policy, so it seems “normal” to me), but my interest in research mainly surrounds censorship issues and intellectual freedom (most particularly illegal crimes, such as child pornography) in public libraries.

Child pornography has become an increasing issue within the policy community with regard to public spaces, such as libraries, not taking the necessary precautions in order to prevent the viewing of such material. Awareness and recognition of the problems of child pornography has grown enormously over the past two decades amongst both the government and the policy community. Many things drive concern over child pornography, but the principal factor for most people concerned about this area relates to child protection. With the introduction of new technologies, demonstrating an interest in child pornography has moved from expensive magazines and videos, to free downloads from the Internet. The use of new technologies such as the Internet has created unique challenges and problems: computer pornography is an increasing concern, especially because dissemination of such material cannot generally be controlled. There are also issues regarding the potential liability of the owners or managers of computer networks, such as universities. Although criminal charges have been laid regarding the distribution or possession of pornography on the Internet, to date there has been little judicial guidance on the issues involved. As well, recent media attention has been shed on the use of public libraries for child pornography. Popular editorial headlines that read, “City Library Becoming a Porn Palace,” “Caution: XXX Sites at Your Library,” “Porn Raises Library Board’s Profile,” “Protecting Youth Trumps the Right to Porn,” “Trustees Defy Library Chief’s Order to Keep Quiet on Porn Issue,” “Keep Library Porn Free.” The library’s ordeal began in early February of 2004, when the board came under strain to install software on all public access Internet terminals that filtered out unwanted materials. This issue had arisen out of complaints by parents who claimed their child had been exposed to unwanted material within the library.

Activists have also voiced their concerns over access to child pornography websites at the library. Councillor Al Maghnieh of Windsor, chair of the library board of directors, states that “the library is a place family, seniors and kids use, encouraging teen zones and after school activities. It’s just not the type of stuff we want in this place, this is a place for social literacy, advancing yourself and being part of the community.” Many Canadians have been led to wonder if government regulation is needed for child pornography in public libraries.

Ultimately my research question would be: How large of an issue is child pornography in the scope of public libraries? In addition, what steps can the government (as well as the community) take to mend this problem?

So, that’s my thoughts on that. I am extremely interested in ones rights and freedoms, therefore, as Luker stated: “write about what question concerning the research world you would like to investigate if you were absolutely guaranteed you would not fail. Be as ambitious and wide-ranging in your thinking as you want,” I can see why this research question would be extremely ambitious, but if I were guaranteed to not fail, this is what I would focus on!

Thanks 🙂

Victoria Grant

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Research Interest

Hi Everyone,

First of all, I really like Luker’s approach to introducing the academic research in such a fun and interesting way (salsa dancing).

Furthermore, to expand on Luker’s arguments about quantitative and qualitative research methods. I believe both quantitative and qualitative methods have their fair share of limitations. However, if combine both methods in the research, they could complement each other. Quantitative information could increase validity and credibility of the findings. At the same time, qualitative research could add information and offer more comprehensive perspectives to the readers.

My background and experience are mainly focusing on information technology and businesses, particularly, legal and accounting industry. Here are some of the questions I would like to investigate on:

1. How social media network impact the civil/criminal justice system? (Positive/Negative)

2. How information technology improve efficiency of the civil & criminal justice system?

3. Can information technology reduce wrongful conviction?

4. Does information technology improve efficiency of the securities markets? How information technology impact the securities markets?

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

Liz Lee

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