Research and Publications - School of Library and Information Studies

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    Implementation of an Online Catalog in a Special Library
    Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Recruiting Entry-Level Sci-Tech Librarians: An Analysis of Job Advertisements and Outcome of Searches
    (2002) Jones, Mary Lou Baker; Lembo, Mary Frances; Manasco, James E.; Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This research analyzed 167 job ads for science and technology librarian positions. Provides data on required and preferred qualifications listed in the ads. The outcome of selected searches is summarized.
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    A Greater Need for Reference Librarians
    (2007) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Susan Kantor: Scholar & Librarian
    Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Financial Tips for Librarians
    (2009) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Filtering Google Search Results Using Top-Level Domains
    (2015) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    A book chapter: Simply by entering keywords into the primary Google search box, researchers usually find useful information. But even better results are obtained by applying filtering techniques. Top-level domains (TLDs) are an effective tool to sort information retrieved from the Internet and get highly relevant results. In scientific research on topics related to forestry, for example, filtering by the dot gov TLD, a user immediately finds publications from government departments and agencies, eliminating the need to drill down through dozens of pages which can be filled with less valuable and often general information.
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    Guidance for Evaluating Library Program
    (1993) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Round Rock Public Library Moves into New Building
    (1980) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    A new public library opened in the historical district of Round Rock, Texas, in 1980. The library offered new and expanded services for a rapidly growing community near Austin, Texas.
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    Recruiting the Public Library Director
    (1981) Sandy, John H.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Digitizing the ‘Ideal’ Latina Information Worker
    (2022-03) Sweeney, Miriam; Villa-Nicolas, Melissa; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Recent examples of virtual assistant technologies designed as Latina information service workers are noteworthy objects of study for their potential to bridge analyses of Latinas’ labor history and information technology. Latinas in the United States have traditionally worked in blue collar information technology sectors characterized by repetitive labor and low-wages, such as electronics manufacturing and customer service. Latinas information service workers, though fundamental to technoscience, have been largely invisible in histories of computing. Latina virtual assistants mark a shift in this labor history by relying on the strategic visibility of Latina identity in/as the technology interface. Our research explores Latina virtual assistants designed by Airus Media, and installed as airport workers in airports along the southwestern border of the United States. We situate the technocultural narratives present in the design and marketing of these technologies within the broader histories of invisible Latina information labor in the United States. We find continuities between the ways Latinas have historically been positioned as “ideal” information workers, and the use of Latina identity in the design of virtual assistants. We argue that the strategic visibility of Latina virtual assistants is linked to the oppressive structures of invisibility that have traditionally organized Latina information service workers.
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    Alexa, are you listening? An exploration of smart voice assistant use and privacy in libraries
    (2020) Sweeney, Miriam; Davis, E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Smart voice assistants have expanded from personal use in the home to applications in public services and educational spaces. The library and information science (LIS) trade literature suggests that libraries are part of this trend, however there is a dearth of empirical studies that explore how libraries are implementing smart voice assistants in their services, and how these libraries are mitigating the potential patron data privacy issues posed by these technologies. This study contributes to this gap byreporting on the results of a national survey that documents how libraries are integrating voice assistant technologies (e.g. Amazon Echo, Google home) into their services, programming, and check-out programs. The survey also surfaces some of the key privacy concerns of library workers in regard to implementing voice assistants in library services. We find that although voice assistant use might not be mainstreamed in library services in high numbers (yet), libraries are clearly experimenting with (and having internal conversations with their staff about) using these technologies. The responses to our survey indicate that library workers have many savvy privacy concerns about the use of voice assistants in library services that are critical to address in advance of library institutions riding the wave of emerging technology adoption. This research has important implications for developing library practices, policies, and education opportunities that place patron privacy as a central part of digital literacy in an information landscape characterized by ubiquitous smart surveillant technologies.
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    How Much Statistical Data can be Recovered from Alabama Football History?
    (2019) MacCall, Steven L.; Liu, Huapa; Anderson, Melissa; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    We presented on the results of a pilot project that investigated the recoverability of historical statistical play-by-play data from the documentary football collection at the Paul W. Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama using Wikibase as our data repository. The recovery of data from the historical record for purposes of reconstructing the past in digital form is an active area of research across many areas, such as the recovery of climate data from historical ships’ logbooks. Our crowdsourced approach included volunteers who transcribed documentary materials in order to “mine” statistical play-by-play data from the 1992 and 1961 Alabama football season.
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    Digital Assistants
    (2019) Sweeney, Miriam E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    In machine learning, "uncertainty" describes the margin of error of a given measurement as a range of values most likely to contain the "true" data value. A critical cultural approach to digital assistants reframes uncertainty into a strategy of inquiry that foregrounds the range of cultural values embedded in digital assistants. This is particularly useful for exposing what sorts of ideological "truths" are enclosed and/or foreclosed as part and parcel of the design, implementation, and use of these technologies. Exploring the anthropomorphic design of digital assistants through feminist and critical race lenses requires us to confront how dominant ideologies about race, gender and technology forma a kind of cultural infrastructure that undergirds technology design and practice. From this perspective, uncertainties emerge about the "common sense" of anthropomorphic design of digital assistants, particularly surrounding how this design strategy is employed in ways that target vulnerable communities at the behest of state, corporate, and commercial interests.
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    Social Reproduction Theory in the Academic Library: Understanding the Implications of Socially Reproductive Labor as Labor
    (2019-08-25) Guild, Craig M.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Traditional Marxist and Postmodern theories have been very useful in describing the library’s ideological role within society, however they both lack an ability to explain why the library came into its current existence in a capitalist society and why it has such staying power in an increasingly privatized and performance driven society. The development of Social Reproduction Theory provides a window to begin explaining the historic development of libraries and the role they have come to play. This article looks to begin introducing an application of Social Reproduction Theory that can contextualize libraries as important components of a global capitalist system. This approach centers the labor conducted by librarians, and other socially reproductive workers, as crucial to the functioning of modern capitalism. Ultimately, this can mean new approaches to the librarian-patron relationship and new implications for library advocacy and leadership.
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    Designing the “Good Citizen” through Latina Identity in USCIS’s Virtual Assistant “Emma”
    (Taylor & Francis, 2019-07-25) Sweeney, Miriam E.; Villa-Nicholas, Melissa; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Virtual assistants are increasingly integrated as ‘user-friendly’ interfaces for e-government services. This research investigates the case study of the virtual assistant, ‘Emma,’ that is integrated into the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. We conduct an interface analysis of Emma, along with the USCIS website, and related promotional materials, to explore the cultural affordances of Latina identity as a strategic design for this virtual assistant. We argue that the Emma interface makes normative claims about citizenship and inclusion in an attempt to ‘hail’ Latinx users as ideal citizens. We find that the ‘ideal’ citizen is defined through the Emma interface as an assimilated citizen-consumer that engages with digital technologies in ways that produce them as informationally ‘legible’ to the state.
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    The Impact of the Monographs Crisis on the Field of Communication
    Yates, Steven D.; Chapman, Karen; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This study replicates and extends Yates and Chapman’s [(2007), Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 26(1), 39-51] study of references from Communication Monographs, Communication Research, and Journal of Communication for the years 2010 and 2015 to draw further conclusions on the use of monographs in journal literature in the field of communication. Results show that the use of monographs in these journals has been outpaced by references to journal articles by a ratio of 5 to 1. The references were further analyzed by date and publisher. The authors then selected a random sample of the monographs cited in the journals to explore the availability of these monographs in electronic format and found that many are available as ebooks, particularly the more recent titles. The authors also examined the references from a collection of scholarly books in communication from 2005, 2010, and 2015 and found that the use of monographs may be declining slightly. The most notable trend in these references was the increase in the number of references to items in other formats such as film, television, comic books, and websites. The authors conclude that the monographs crisis is indeed affecting citation patterns in the field of communication.
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    Educating for Social Justice: Perspectives from Library and Information Science and Collaboration with K-12 Social Studies Educators
    (2015) Naidoo, Jamie Campbell; Sweeney, Miriam E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Library and Information Science (LIS) as a discipline is guided by core values that emphasize equal access to information, freedom of expression, democracy, and education. Importantly, diversity and social responsibility are specifically called out as foundations of the profession (American Library Association, 2004). Following from this, there has been a focus in LIS on educating librarians from a social justice perspective. In this essay we will discuss some of the strategies we use for training librarians to practice librarianship using a social justice framework as a way to help social studies teachers and other educators critically think through their role in educating for social justice in their classrooms. Some areas of particular transference from LIS to K-12 educators that we focus on include locating classroom technologies as sites of power and privilege, prioritizing print and digital materials representative of culturally diverse populations and relevant contexts, and expanding the notion of literacy to include multiple literacies. These strategies lay a foundation for a critically-oriented classroom as a step towards teaching for social justice, and provide opportunities for collaboration between social studies educators and librarians.
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    Segregated Libraries, Then and Now
    Sweeney, Miriam E.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Why Do We Teach? Adult Learning Theory in Professional Standards as a Basis for Curriculum Development
    (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2013-09) Gilstrap, Donald L.; Wichita State University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This article provides an overview of adult learning theory in relation to teaching philosophies among librarians belonging to ACRL, using Hadley's Educational Orientation Questionnaire. Although not significant as a predictor, there was a nonlinear and negative correlation between librarians' familiarity with the ACRL Standards and their adult learning orientation scores (p = .047, t < .05). Additional variables are included to investigate other influences on adult learning orientation scores. Results of the study showed high significance for gender (beta = 0.213, p = 0.008), current library instruction (beta = 0.199, p = 0.025), and the number of library instruction classes taught during the current year (beta = 0.199, p = 0.041). Additional descriptive statistical analysis and qualitative responses are included, and propositions for professional development are then introduced for future discussions among the ACRL community about the importance of adult learning as well as the evolution of our teaching philosophies.