ITAL

Catch up on the June 2020 Issue of Information Technology and Libraries

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The June 2020 issue of Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) was published on June 15. Editor Ken Varnum and LITA President Emily Morton-Owens reflect on the past three months in their Letter from the Editor, A Blank Page, and LITA President’s Message, A Framework for Member Success, respectively. Kevin Ford is the author of this issue’s “Editorial Board Thoughts” column, Seeing through Vocabularies.

Rounding out our editorial section, the June “Public Libraries Leading the Way” section offers two items. Chuck McAndrew of the Lebanon (New Hampshire) Public Libraries describes his leadership in the IMLS-funded LibraryVPN project. Melody Friedenthal, of the Worcester (Massachusetts) Public Library talks about how she approached and teaches an Intro to Coding Using Python course.

Peer-reviewed Content

Virtual Reality as a Tool for Student Orientation in Distance Education Programs: A Study of New Library and Information Science Students

Dr. Sandra Valenti, Brady Lund, Ting Wang

Virtual reality (VR) has emerged as a popular technology for gaming and learning, with its uses for teaching presently being investigated in a variety of educational settings. However, one area where the effect of this technology on students has not been examined in detail is as tool for new student orientation in colleges and universities. This study investigates this effect using an experimental methodology and the population of new master of library science (MLS) students entering a library and information science (LIS) program. The results indicate that students who received a VR orientation expressed more optimistic views about the technology, saw greater improvement in scores on an assessment of knowledge about their program and chosen profession, and saw a small decrease in program anxiety compared to those who received the same information as standard text-and-links. The majority of students also indicated a willingness to use VR technology for learning for long periods of time (25 minutes or more). The researchers concluded that VR may be a useful tool for increasing student engagement, as described by Game Engagement Theory.


Collaboration and Integration: Embedding Library Resources in Canvas

Jennifer L. Murray, Daniel E. Feinberg

The University of North Florida (UNF) transitioned to Canvas as its Learning Management System (LMS) in summer 2017. This implementation brought on opportunities that allowed for a more user-friendly learning environment for students. Working with students in courses which were in-person, hybrid, or online, brought about the need for the library to have a place in the Canvas LMS. Students needed to remember how to access and locate library resources and services outside of Canvas. During this time, the Thomas G. Carpenter Library’s online presence was enhanced, yet still not visible in Canvas. It became apparent that the library needed to be integrated into Canvas courses. This would enable students to easily transition between their coursework and finding resources and services to support their studies. In addition, librarians who worked with students, looked for ways for students to easily find library resources and services online. After much discussion, it became clear to the Online Learning Librarian (OLL) and the Director of Technical Services and Library Systems (Library Director) that the library needed to explore ways to integrate more with Canvas.


At the Click of a Button: Assessing the User Experience of Open Access Finding Tools

Elena Azadbakht, Teresa Schultz

A number of browser extension tools have emerged in the past decade aimed at helping information seekers find open versions of scholarly articles when they hit a paywall, including Open Access Button, Lazy Scholar, Kopernio, and Unpaywall. While librarians have written numerous reviews of these products, no one has yet conducted a usability study on these tools. This article details a usability study involving six undergraduate students and six faculty at a large public research university in the United States. Participants were tasked with installing each of the four tools as well as trying them out on three test articles. Both students and faculty tended to favor simple, clean design elements and straightforward functionality that enabled them to use the tools with limited instruction. Participants familiar with other browser extensions gravitated towards tools like Open Access Button, whereas those less experienced with other extensions preferred tools that load automatically, such as Unpaywall.

Measuring the Impact of Digital Heritage Collections Using Google Scholar

Ángel Borrego

This study aimed to measure the impact of digital heritage collections by analysing the citations received in scholarly outputs. Google Scholar was used to retrieve the scholarly outputs citing Memòria Digital de Catalunya (MDC), a cooperative, open-access repository containing digitized collections related to Catalonia and its heritage. The number of documents citing MDC has grown steadily since the creation of the repository in 2006. Most citing documents are scholarly outputs in the form of articles, proceedings and monographs, and academic theses and dissertations. Citing documents mainly pertain to the humanities and the social sciences and are in local languages. The most cited MDC collection contains digitized ancient Catalan periodicals. The study shows that Google Scholar is a suitable tool for providing evidence of the scholarly impact of digital heritage collections. Google Scholar indexes the full-text of documents, facilitating the retrieval of citations inserted in the text or in sections that are not the final list of references. It also indexes document types, such as theses and dissertations, which contain a significant share of the citations to digital heritage collections.

Are Ivy League Libraries’ Websites ADA Compliant?

Wenfang Yang, Bin Zhao, Yan Quan Liu, Arlene Bielefield

As a doorway for users seeking information, library websites should be accessible to all, including those who are visually or physically impaired and those with reading or learning disabilities. In conjunction with an earlier study, this paper presents a comparative evaluation of Ivy League university library homepages with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates. Data results from WAVE and AChecker evaluations indicate that although the error of Missing Form Labels still occurs in these websites, other known accessibility errors and issues have been significantly improved from five years ago.

Near-field Communication (NFC): An Alternative to RFID in Libraries

Neeraj Kumar Singh

Libraries are the central agencies for the dissemination of knowledge. Every library aspires to provide maximum opportunities to its users and ensure optimum utilization of available resources. Hence, libraries have been seeking technological aids to improve their services. Near-field communication (NFC) is a type of radio-frequency technology that allows electronics devices—such as computers, mobile phones, tags, and others—to exchange information wirelessly across a small distance. The aim of this paper is to explore NFC technology and its applications in modern era. The paper will discuss potential use of NFC in the advancement of traditional library management system.

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