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Reflective Practice

Liaisons work to build a community of practice around information literacy and its related technologies. This involves participating in an ongoing reflective practice which invites the wider university, profession, and community to join that reflection. It is our hope that, by sharing our scholarship and our assessment projects, we offer engaging entry points to the conversation.

We also showcase the outstanding research of our students and faculty in order to bring together Loyola's diverse activities in this arena. In doing so, we suggest the synergy possible in discovering shared questions, concerns, methods, literature, data, theories, applications, and other approaches, while still honoring what makes each of us unique as researchers.

In particular, we recognize students for their research endeavors each year. The Monroe Library Student Research Competition (MLSRC) is our annual research competition for students of all levels, from freshman to graduate. Each spring we select as many as four recipients to recognize for their outstanding research completed during the previous calendar year. Winners receive a cash prize and recognition in several outlets, including the library's newsfeed.

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Librarian Scholarship

Elmwood Nationally Recognized for Research in Information Literacy Pedagogy

After a career teaching English and American Studies at the college-level, Assistant Professor Victoria Elmwood began her second career as a librarian at Loyola by contributing meaningfully to information literacy instruction at the Monroe Library. She has focused on best practices and methods for teaching source evaluation, and her latest scholarly research centers on the increasingly high-stakes question of how to determine the integrity of a source. Published in the December 2020 issue of top-quartile journal Communications in Information Literacy, “The Journalistic Approach: Evaluating Web Sources in an Age of Mass Disinformation” outlines a new approach to teaching students of all ages how to make these kinds of assessments. And then people started taking notice.

It came first in an email from Serbian librarian Anđelija Lazić, who requested permission to translate the article for republication in Korak Biblioteke (The Step of the Library). And as of August 25, 2021, the article has been downloaded 495 times. This not-too-shabby number of downloads in just eight months was no doubt influenced by the article’s recognition this past June by the Association of College and Research Libraries’s Instruction Section as one of 2020’s top publications on information literacy. The article focuses on an approach to teaching source evaluation that ensures a deep, qualitative assessment as opposed to the shallower read that results from a checklist-based method. Though the eponymous journalistic approach is more time-consuming than the checklist method, the article notes, users can expect to become more adept at applying this method with practice. 

Elmwood says she was both surprised and delighted by the recognition. “I see so many students who think Google is all they need to get good information, but I have to remind them that sometimes you get what you pay for,” she explains. At the same time, Elmwood notes, “Even sources from library databases can use a layer of evaluation.” 

Her peers at the Monroe Library also value the journalistic approach. Elmwood’s method of source evaluation, which grows out of several earlier critiques of the checklist model, has been integrated into the library’s new suite of information literacy modules for use in First Year Seminars. Indeed, information literacy is included as one of the three key learning objectives for the course, which is in the Loyola Core. Regarding the new push for teaching information literacy to incoming freshmen, Jason Ezell, the library’s Interim Dean of Research, Teaching, and Assessment says, “By adopting Victoria’s journalistic approach to teaching source evaluation, we demonstrate how crucial information literacy is to our Jesuit mission.” He goes on to say, “We give them the tools for acting justly in an increasingly complicated information environment by teaching all our students to engage information complexly and meaningfully.”
 

Congratulations to Kure Croker, Special Collections Registrar and Archivist, and Victoria Elmwood, User Experience and Outreach Librarian, for their selection as LDL (Louisiana Digital Library) As Data Fellows. Kure and Victoria were awarded funding to work with the digital cultural heritage material presented in the Louisiana Digital Library.

Kure is planning to use records in the Franck-Bertacci Photograph Collection to create a digital map that will highlight commercial areas in post-WWII New Orleans. Victoria has created digital maps that identify significant locations in New Orleans’s sex work industry from the antebellum period to WWII, and she plans to make her work more accessible by rebuilding her maps as an online shareable resource.

Each fellow will present their project at a Lunch at the (Digital) Library Brown Bag event, a virtual event series that will run from August to December 2021. The resulting projects and resources will ultimately be published on the LDL as a sample of the digital scholarship that can be pursued with LDL collections.

The fellowship is generously funded by the Collections as Data team and Mellon Foundation funds re-granted through the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The LDL as Data Fellowship is part of the LDL as Data project, which fosters the ethical use of the digital library’s historic state collections as data by supporting research and teaching that uses digital tools and methods to approach LDL materials in novel ways.

The Monroe Library is so proud of our talented faculty and staff. Congratulations again, Kure and Victoria!

Dr. Victoria ElmwoodMonroe Library librarian and Assistant Professor Victoria Elmwood has been selected as a cohort leader in a Department of Education-funded grant project. The $2 million grant awarded to LOUIS, the Louisiana Library Network, funds the creation of open educational resources (OER) for 25 of the state’s general education courses for students taking dual enrollment courses, which earn the student both high school and college credit. Dual enrollment courses can make college more attainable by allowing students to earn college credit at significantly lower costs and by accelerating the student’s time to complete their degree, but the high price of course textbooks and other course materials can be a barrier to participation.

The LOUIS/Department of Education grant funds the development of OER such as textbooks, quizzes, and tests that can be used in dual-enrollment classes at no cost to the students. The OER will be released under licenses that permit their reuse and modification by others in the state and worldwide.

Creation of the OER will be a collaboration between librarians, teaching faculty, and technologists. Loyola’s User Experience Librarian Victoria Elmwood will lead a cohort of five teaching faculty to develop OER for English Composition I courses. The impact of this project cannot be overstated, as approximately 20,000 high school students and 250,000 total students in Louisiana alone participate in dual-enrollment courses.

Congratulations, Dr. Elmwood!

Associate Dean Laurie Phillips was interviewed by Thanh Truong on WWL TV's Eyewitness News about fake news and misinformation for the segment, "How much can you trust the news you see?" Phillips teaches a First Year Seminar titled "Information In A Fake News World" where students focus on becoming educated and critical consumers of information by evaluating sources for accuracy, bias, authority, currency, and context.

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Student Research

Elmwood Nationally Recognized for Research in Information Literacy Pedagogy

After a career teaching English and American Studies at the college-level, Assistant Professor Victoria Elmwood began her second career as a librarian at Loyola by contributing meaningfully to information literacy instruction at the Monroe Library. She has focused on best practices and methods for teaching source evaluation, and her latest scholarly research centers on the increasingly high-stakes question of how to determine the integrity of a source. Published in the December 2020 issue of top-quartile journal Communications in Information Literacy, “The Journalistic Approach: Evaluating Web Sources in an Age of Mass Disinformation” outlines a new approach to teaching students of all ages how to make these kinds of assessments. And then people started taking notice.

It came first in an email from Serbian librarian Anđelija Lazić, who requested permission to translate the article for republication in Korak Biblioteke (The Step of the Library). And as of August 25, 2021, the article has been downloaded 495 times. This not-too-shabby number of downloads in just eight months was no doubt influenced by the article’s recognition this past June by the Association of College and Research Libraries’s Instruction Section as one of 2020’s top publications on information literacy. The article focuses on an approach to teaching source evaluation that ensures a deep, qualitative assessment as opposed to the shallower read that results from a checklist-based method. Though the eponymous journalistic approach is more time-consuming than the checklist method, the article notes, users can expect to become more adept at applying this method with practice. 

Elmwood says she was both surprised and delighted by the recognition. “I see so many students who think Google is all they need to get good information, but I have to remind them that sometimes you get what you pay for,” she explains. At the same time, Elmwood notes, “Even sources from library databases can use a layer of evaluation.” 

Her peers at the Monroe Library also value the journalistic approach. Elmwood’s method of source evaluation, which grows out of several earlier critiques of the checklist model, has been integrated into the library’s new suite of information literacy modules for use in First Year Seminars. Indeed, information literacy is included as one of the three key learning objectives for the course, which is in the Loyola Core. Regarding the new push for teaching information literacy to incoming freshmen, Jason Ezell, the library’s Interim Dean of Research, Teaching, and Assessment says, “By adopting Victoria’s journalistic approach to teaching source evaluation, we demonstrate how crucial information literacy is to our Jesuit mission.” He goes on to say, “We give them the tools for acting justly in an increasingly complicated information environment by teaching all our students to engage information complexly and meaningfully.”
 

Monroe Library Student Research Competition Winners

The Monroe Library faculty is pleased to announce the winners of 2020’s Student Research Competition, which recognizes outstanding research projects completed by Loyola students during the previous calendar year. We are always impressed and intrigued by the inquisitiveness and sophistication of the submissions, and this year was no different. All entries presented nuanced, engaging research topics that led to illuminating projects. However, our winners all excelled in their ability to identify high-quality, relevant sources and use those sources effectively to advance inquiry into their projects’ most crucial questions. This year, three students’ projects were selected for recognition based on their successful integration of library resources and on the students’ reflections on the role that research played in their projects.

Freshman Victoria Blondell’s paper, written for Prof. Jason Ezell’s first-year seminar (Beyond Stonewall: U.S. Gay Liberation), examined William Friedkin’s 1970 film, The Boys in the Band. Arguing that it was an early yet nuanced depiction of a diverse gay community characterized by a spectrum of different identities, Blondell used her research to historically contextualize the film both as a cultural artifact and to locate it within a larger filmic discourse on marginalized sexualities in the U.S. Commenting on one of Monroe Library’s primary source databases, Blondell emphasized the importance of the Gale Archives of Sexuality and Gender, which allowed her “to explore different primary sources … to gain better, direct insight into the historical context of the time period.”

Sophomore Madeline Taliancich’s paper for Prof. Laura Hope’s Irish Nationalism and Theater class read Gerald MacNamara’s play Tir-na-n-Og as an ambivalent critique of essentialist Irish nationalism as a mutable ideological construct. Her research provided a framework for understanding the historical roots of the troubles in Ireland as well as the material and political contexts of theatrical production in different Irish counties. For Taliancich, both interlibrary loan (ILLiad) and the library’s many databases proved pivotal for advancing the project. She credits time spent looking through databases with developing her “ability to discern helpful articles from ones that simply mentioned the topic.”

Senior Brian Yell’s final thesis, supervised by Profs. Kathleen Murphy and Elin Grissom, “used applied sociological and psychological theories of self-concept and identity exploration, as well as the music therapy method of therapeutic songwriting.” His project’s experimental design was supported by a fully researched and well-written literature review, suggesting Brian’s outstanding preparation for continued work in his field. Yell says of the library’s digital resources: “[they] allowed me to narrow my search results to exclude irrelevant articles, books, and journals, which helped me become less overwhelmed while conducting the research for my proposal.”

Congratulations to this year’s winners!