Topical LibGuides and Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

As we search for ways to improve the content of our LibGuides, it’s inspiring to look at the work done by professionals like Jenny Ferretti, Digital Initiatives Librarian at Maryland Institute College of Art’s Decker Library. When creating guides meant to connect users and resources, it’s tempting to conceptualize them as a complement to a specific class or academic program. However, by allowing ourselves to think freely about the interests we and our users might have that could be empowered by a research guide, we’re able to see how flexible LibGuides or similar software can be. We can see some of this flexibility reflected in the Bank Street’s resource guide for families of incarcerated parents, the fashion librarian’s resource guide created by the Fashion, Textiles, and Costume Special Interest Group of ARLIS/NA, the business of art guide at the University of Kansas, and Ferretti’s guide on understanding civic unrest in Baltimore.

Ferretti’s latest guide—one that pulls together the different visual, literary, and cultural references in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade—garnered a huge response from within and outside the LIS community. Ferretti was kind enough to answer a few questions via email about the reaction to the Lemonade research guide.

Curious for more? Join the #libeyrianship Twitter chat hosted by Decker Library on June 8 at 2pm EST.

AV: What has been the best thing that’s come out of creating this research guide?

JF: IRL and URL discussions hands down. Lots of people have talked to me about this guide in person and have been very complimentary even if they haven’t yet watched Lemonade. After I give my typical spiel about why I composed it, they usually respond with something like “Now you’ve made me want to watch it.”

People in the library and information service profession have been overwhelmingly supportive, but it’s also reached people who might not have thought about the information and cultural literacy aspects of Lemonade. So far it’s been viewed over 40,000 times. It’s produced such a positive reaction online that Decker Library is organizing a Twitter chat so that we can directly interact with people who have used it in their own libraries.

AV: What do you like and dislike about LibGuides?

JF: LibGuides are great for institutions and organizations who don’t have an easy way of publishing resources and information on their own websites. If I think of an idea for a LibGuide, I can make it immediately and from anywhere I have an Internet connection. If you know the basics of how to make a LibGuide, you can figure out its other features fairly easily. I also like the fact that it uses the Bootstrap coding framework. Writing code is like writing in another language, but I find Bootstrap to be among the less complicated languages that produce an attractive product, at least from a beginner’s perspective. I haven’t ventured into anything too complicated, so maybe that will change in time.

I think one of the downsides to LibGuides being very simple to use and publish, is that it’s easy to be critical about how they look. As it goes, what we want out of websites as a user changes quickly. However, since Bootstrap is so easy to use, I feel like these LibGuides present a perfect opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, make some mistakes, and try something new by editing the code.

The only other thing I have an issue with is less about LibGuides and more about how we, the people who utilize the platform, talk about them with patrons. Saying “libguide” to an incoming freshman, for example, means nothing to them. They don’t understand what you mean unless your library really pushes this word into their vocabulary (by doing outreach and promotion). My preference is to refer to them as research or library guides. I’m absolutely not saying that students are incapable of learning what you mean by the word LibGuide. What I highly doubt is that every student that doesn’t understand what a LibGuide is will speak up in order to get clarification.

AV: I read your Medium article and loved what you said about Beyoncé “closing the gap between artist and archivist.” What do you think the Beyoncé archive will eventually look like?

JF: One of my missions in my position at MICA’s Decker Library is to close the gap between artist and archivist. As MICA alum, I know how difficult it is to gain intellectual control over your work (assets), which might include knowing which versions are the most up-to-date, file naming, and what to do with master files. I thought about this for years after graduating and didn’t know how to talk about it until I started working at Smithsonian Channel archiving born-digital video. I was doing things to archive video that artists could easily learn and should learn.

I was incredibly impressed to hear that Beyoncé’s company was looking for an archivist through library and information listservs. Obviously the archivist or archivists who have seen and worked with Bey’s archive can’t talk about it, but this is an important point to stress. Artists who show frequently domestically and internationally typically have teams behind them. When I hear a mega star like Beyoncé includes an archivist on her team, it makes me think information professionals should bring this up in order to be included in new dialogues.

It’s difficult to say whether or not the Beyoncé archive will be public one day whether in part or whole. All I can say is that I hope so. With an incredible amount of video footage, the archive would be an asset not only for the content, but also for the digital footprint it leaves behind.

Thanks so much, Jenny! Remember, if you’d like to chat more about the guide, mark your calendars for the #libeyrianship Twitter chat on Wednesday, June 8 at 2pm EST.

#arlisriss Storify and upcoming journal club meeting

The Storify for the #arlisriss Twitter chat on personal motivation and inspiration is now available and will also live on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal.

Couldn’t make this chat? Mark your calendar for the next one!

Twitter chat // #ARLISriss
Monday, June 27, 2016 at 2pm EST

And don’t forget our journal club meeting on Tuesday, May 24 at 1pm EST. We’ll be discussing “Radical Purpose: The Critical Reference Dialogue at a Progressive Urban College” from Urban Library Journal by Kate Adler.

RISS Spotlight Interview: Alyssa Vincent

Alyssa Vincent_ reference desk

Alyssa Vincent

Psychology and Art Librarian 

Northeastern Illinois University 

 

 

 

 


 

Q.      What type of Reference Model do you currently use?

We have separate reference and circulation desks for the time being, but we’re talking about shifting to a blended model.

Q.       What is your favorite Reference Resource?

For written research on movements, artists, and concepts: Art & Architecture Complete. For visual references/inspiration, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s digital collections. 

Q.     Share one of the most interesting reference questions you’ve ever received.

This actually didn’t happen at the desk, but I’m working with a woman who is researching Ginette Spanier, Creative Directrice of Balmain from 1947-1976. She became quite the international figure and lectured in Europe and the United States about haute couture. I’m helping this woman create a list of every single lecture date and location for Madame Spanier. Without a  complete, free, digitized archive of all major U.S. newspapers, it’s quite the challenge! 

Q.     Tell us your favorite research subject area, or tell us what types of activities you like to do outside of the library!

Cultural studies related to fashion as well as the history of the beauty and fragrance industries. I like to cast a wide net! When I’m not watching Dior and I for the 6th time, I like to read, cook and bake, and force my cat to snuggle with me.

RISS Spotlight Interview: Amanda Meeks

Amanda Meeks, Research and Instruction Librarian

Savannah College of Art and Design (Atlanta campus)


Q. What type of Reference Model do you currently use?

We have a blended model: reference and circulation wrapped into one.

Q. What is your favorite Reference Resource?

I really enjoy getting to use our industry databases for reports and statistics, such as Euromonitor and WARC, during research consultations. Students are generally really impressed with these resources and that’s fun. I’m also partial to the NYPL’s digital image collection; there is a wealth of inspiration in that collection.

Q. Share one of the most interesting reference questions you’ve ever received.

The thing about being a research librarian is that I find so many of the questions my students bring me “interesting” and enjoy learning from them as we search for sources together. Today, though, a student asked me if they could sketch me while I worked on the desk. I’d call that an interesting “reference interaction.”

Q. Tell us your favorite research subject area, or tell us what types of activities you like to do outside of the library!

My professional research interests are currently feminist and critical pedagogy in library instruction and on the reference desk, ACRL Framework and threshold concepts and visual literacy intersections, and the research habits of art and design students. Outside of the library I like researching all kinds of things, but love packaging that research into zines and artist books most of all.

Favorite Emerging Technologies or Tools? Nominate them here!

mtrRISS members have a standing relationship with ARLIS/NA’s newest publication Multimedia & Technology Reviews, which highlights one resource per issue of particular interest to RISS membership. We’d like to extend the invitation to proactively submit your own go-to resources! Please submit using this form and indicate that you think RISS should review in the questionnaire. Thank you!

RISS Panel on ACRL Framework accepted for ARLIS 2016

We are excited to announce that the panel entitled Reshaping Library Instruction within Art & Design Education: Experimenting and implementing the Info Lit Framework” was accepted for the 2016 ARLIS conference. Here is the submitted description and our enthused line-up of panelists:

Art and design teaching librarians understand the complexity of the various research practices our students use for their academic and creative work. As a result, flexibility and creativity often inform library instruction and outreach activities in the art library environment. The Academic and College Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy, released in February 2015, gives teaching librarians a new opportunity to emphasize the natural connection between the library and the community of students, artists, and scholars. This panel will explore the ways that instruction librarians are experimenting with and implementing the new Framework and threshold concepts.  It will ask: How are art & design librarians interpreting this document within the context of their community, creating teaching tools and resources, and connecting the conceptual Framework to their pedagogical practices and visual literacy?

Speakers & Topics:
Nicole Beatty
Adventures in Librarianship and Interdisciplinary Instruction

Larissa K. Garcia
Using the threshold concepts as metaphors for the creative process in an advanced studio photography class

Amanda Meeks and Teresa Burk
Collaboratively developing a physical artifact and research guide with and for art and design students at SCAD as a way of sense-making within our unique context

Ashley Peterson
Searching as Serendipitous Exploration: Information and Visual Literacy in Studio Art Courses

Ellen Petraits
Connecting the dots to form a new constellation: Supporting studio learning environments in an emergent culture of research by connecting graduate students, library instruction, threshold concepts, and qualitative assessment

Moderator:
Chizu Morihara, Teaching special interest group partner

We look forward to an exciting discussion with many inspiring ideas and takeaways! See you in Seattle!

-Amanda Meeks, RISS vice-moderator

RISS Meeting Agenda

Please join us for the Reference and Information Services Section meeting!

When: Sunday March 22, 2015 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Room: Texas H (Omni Fort Worth Hotel 1300 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102)

Agenda:

– Introductions

– Updates on:

* Multimedia & Technology Reviews – Emilee Mathews

* RISS “Journal Club” – Beth Morris

* Top webinar topics – RISS survey results

– New Business

– Session ideas for the 2016 conference – please come with suggestions

– Open discussion: Reference models

Reference models and the changing nature of reference was high on the list of webinar topics. It was also one of the most popular sessions at the 2014 ARLIS/NA conference. Let’s revisit the topic informally. Please come ready to tell us:

What does your reference model look like? For example,

– Do you have a standalone reference desk?

– Do you have tiered reference?

– Do you have librarians, staff, students staffing the desk and other reference service points?

– What types of virtual services do you offer? Mobile APPS?

Why have you or your institution chosen this model? Are you considering a change?

Think about how academic, museum, and public library reference desks differ & what can we learn from each model?

Other ideas?

Check out the PowerPoint slides from the 2014 presentation “Retooling Art Reference and Information Services: Collaborative Tools, Strategies, and Models”

If you have comments or questions, feel free to e-mail RISS Moderator Beth Hylen,  hylenej [at] cmog.org