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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Applying Cultural Competence to Outreach Evaluation

The American Evaluation Association’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation describes the importance of cultural competence in terms of ethics, validity of results, and theory.

  • Ethics – quality evaluation has an ethical responsibility to ensure fair, just and equitable treatment of all persons.
  • Validity – evaluation results that are considered valid require trust from the diverse perspectives of the people providing the data and trust that the data will be honestly and fairly represented.
  • Theory – theories underlie all of evaluation, but theories are not created in a cultural vacuum. Assumptions behind theories must be carefully examined to ensure that they apply in the cultural context of the evaluation.

The Statement also makes some recommendations for essential practices for cultural competence, including the following examples:

  • Acknowledge the complexity of cultural identity. Cultural groups are not static, and people belong to multiple cultural groups. Attempts to categorize people often collapse them into cultural groupings that may not accurately represent the true diversity that exists.
  • Recognize the dynamics of power. Cultural privilege can create and perpetuate inequities in power. Work to avoid reinforcing cultural stereotypes and prejudice in evaluation. Evaluators often work with data organized by cultural categories. The choices you make in working with these data can affect prejudice and discrimination attached to such categories.
  • Recognize and eliminate bias in language: Language is often used as the code for a certain treatment of groups. Thoughtful use of language can reduce bias when conducting evaluations.

Two recent entries on the Evergreen Blog on data visualizations and how they can show cultural bias illustrate how these principles can be applied to the evaluation of an outreach project. The first case, How Dataviz Can Unintentionally Perpetuate Inequality: The Bleeding Infestation Example, shows how using red to represent individual participants on a map made the actual participants feel like they were perceived as a threat. The more recent blog post, How Dataviz Can Unintentionally Perpetuate Inequality Part 2, shows how the categories used in a chart on median household income contribute to stereotyping certain cultures and skew the data to show something that does not accurately represent income levels of the different groups.

NN/LM PSR Job Opportunity for Data and Technology Services Coordinator

The UCLA Library has initiated recruitment for the position of Data and Technology Services Coordinator, in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, and is actively seeking nominations and applications. The application deadline for first consideration is April 18, 2016. The complete posting is available for viewing.

Anyone wishing to be considered for this position should apply online. Applications should include: a cover letter describing qualifications and experience; a current curriculum vitae detailing education and relevant experience; and the names and addresses for three professional references, including a current or previous supervisor. UCLA welcomes and encourages diversity and seeks applications and nominations from women and minorities. UCLA seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of California, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

For questions about the position, please contact NN/LM PSR Associate Director Alan Carr.

Early-Bird Registration and Travel Scholarships Now Available for National Diversity in Libraries Conference at UCLA in August!

Early registration is available for the National Diversity in Libraries Conference 2016 (NDLC ’16) through April 30 at the rate of $175. Save $50 off the regular rate! The student registration rate is $100. The meeting, co-sponsored by the UCLA Library and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), will take place on the UCLA campus August 10–13, 2016. The conference aims to articulate the value of and develop strategies for diversity and inclusion in the library, archive, and museum (LAM) fields in order to improve organizational excellence and community engagement. NDLC ’16 program and poster topics cover areas of diversity that affect staff, users, and institutions, including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Collections and Access
  • Programming, Outreach, and Advocacy
  • Personnel, Management, and Organization
  • Challenging Topics

To learn more about the conference, check out the UCLA Library’s NDLC ’16 event page!

In addition, ARL has announced availability of up to five $1,000 scholarships for individuals to attend NDLC ’16. Funds from the scholarships may be used to cover the cost of registration, travel to and from the conference, lodging, and meals. Anyone interested in this opportunity must apply online by Friday, April 29. Successful applicants will be notified by June 6.

February Midday at the Oasis Recording Now Available!

On February 17, NN/LM PSR presented Copyright Roundup for the Midday at the Oasis monthly webinar. Marty Brennan, UCLA’s Copyright and Licensing Librarian, provided highlights of the latest developments in copyright law and the intersecting library issues. He explained everything you need to know about recent copyright court decisions, Open Access, Creative Commons, and Fair Use. You can view the webinar by visiting the Midday at the Oasis Archives page or by clicking on the YouTube video player below.

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Founding Director Appointment: UNLV Health Sciences Library

Joanne Muellenbach

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) University Libraries has announced the appointment of Joanne Muellenbach as Founding Director of the Health Sciences Library. The new Health Sciences Library will be part of UNLV School of Medicine’s first academic building, and designed to support the School of Medicine and all other health sciences faculty, staff and students located on the evolving health sciences campus. Reporting to the Dean of UNLV University Libraries, the Founding Director will be a key member of the leadership team of both the UNLV University Libraries as well as the UNLV School of Medicine. Ms. Muellenbach will begin her new role on April 1.

Ms. Muellenbach received her graduate degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin, and she has worked in hospital, academic health sciences and medical school libraries in the United States and Canada for more than 20 years. She was also the Founding Library Director for The Commonwealth Medical College, in Scranton, PA, and has served as a consultant for several other start-up medical libraries. Ms. Muellenbach is currently Director of Library and Learning Resources at California Health Sciences University (CHSU) in Clovis, CA, where she also serves as course director for Evidence-Based Medicine.

New Outcome Measurement Resource for Public Libraries

Recently the Public Library Association (PLA) initiated a service called Project Outcome. An article entitled “Project Outcome – Looking Back, Looking Forward” by Carolyn Anthony, director of the Skokie Public Library, IL, was recently published in Public Libraries Online that describes the successes of libraries using this service over the past six months.

Project Outcome is an online resource that provides evaluation tools that are designed to measure the impact of library programs and services, such as summer reading programs or career development programming. It also provides ready-made reports and data dashboards that can be used to give libraries and stakeholders immediate data on their programs’ outcomes.  And Project Outcome provides support and peer sharing opportunities to address common challenges and increase capacity for outcomes evaluation.

Following are some highlights about this service:

  1. Project Outcome has managed to create a structured approach for program outcome evaluation that can be used online by public libraries of all shapes and sizes, by people who have not done outcome evaluation before. Along with tools for collecting data, the resource has tutorials and support for libraries doing outcomes evaluation for the first time.
  2. Continued support and peer sharing as an integral part of the service means that PLA is building a community of librarians who use outcome evaluation.
  3. The stories that are shared by the peers as described in the article will increase the understanding that evaluation isn’t something forced on you from outside, but can be something that helps you to create a better library and enhance the meaning of your library’s programs.
  4. This process teaches librarians to start with the evaluation question (“decide what you want to learn about outcomes in your community”) and a plan for what to do with the findings. And the process ends with successfully communicating your findings to stakeholders and implementing next steps.
  5. Lastly, Project Outcome and the PLA Performance Measurement Task Force are planning the next iteration of their project that will measure whether program participants followed through with their intended outcomes.

Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award Nominations Due May 1!

The Friends of the National Library of Medicine seek your nominations for this year’s Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award.

  • Nominees must be currently employed as a health sciences librarian and have worked in such a position for at least five years immediately preceding the award.
  • Nominations may be made for contributions by the librarian as demonstrated by excellence and achievement in leadership, publications, teaching, research, special projects or any combination of these.
  • Nominations must be in writing and contain at least the following elements:
    1. Official nomination form
    2. Five page description of the nominee’s achievements
    3. Current resume or curriculum vitae
    4. Any additional information (no more than 10 pages) that would assist the jury in the evaluation of the nomination and selection of the recipient.
  • Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.
  • Nominations must be received by May 1, 2016, and can be submitted via mail, email or fax.

Pie Charts: Pros and Cons

Data visualization expert Stephen Few explained the problem with pie charts during this interview with the New York Times: “When looking at parts of a whole, the primary task is to rank them to see the relative performance of the parts. That can’t be done easily when relying on angles formed by a slice.” An article by American Evaluation Association’s president-elect John Gargani argues for retirement of the venerable pie chart. He make points that are repeated in many anti-pie chart blog posts. On the other hand, this post by Bruce Gabrielle of Speaking PowerPoint describes situations where pie charts can shine.

In general, most experts believe that the times and places to use pie charts are few and far between. If you have found one of those rare times, then here’s a post at Better Evaluation with design tips to follow. And for humorous examples of what not to do, check out Michael Friendly’s Evil Pies blog!

How to Throw a Data Party

A data party is another name for a kind of participatory data analysis, where stakeholders are gathered together to help analyze data that you have collected. Here are some reasons to include stakeholders in the data analysis stage:

  • It allows stakeholders to get to know and engage with the data.
  • Stakeholders may bring context to the data that will help explain some of the results.
  • When stakeholders participate in analyzing the data, they are more likely to understand and use it.
  • Watching their interactions often reveals the person with the power to act on your recommendations.

To begin the process, you need to know what you hope to gain from the attendees, since you may only be able to hold an event like this one time. There are a number of different ways to organize the event, such as the World Cafe format, where everyone works together to explore a set of questions, or an Open Space system in which attendees create their own agenda about which questions they want to discuss. Recently the American Evaluation Association held a very successful online unconference using MIT’s Unhangout, an approach that could be used for an online data party with people from multiple locations.

Here are suggested questions to ask at a data party:

  • What does this data tell you?
  • How does this align with your expectations?
  • What do you think is occurring here and why?
  • What other information do you need to make this actionable?

At the end of the party it might be time to present some of your findings and recommendations. Considering the work that they have done, stakeholders may be more willing to listen, since people often tend to support what they helped to create.

Infographics Guide from NIH Library Informationists

The Medical Library Association’s October 28 continuing education webinar, Data Visualization Skills and Tools for Librarians, was presented by Lisa Federer, Research Data Informationist at the NIH Library. The session provided information on different aspects of data visualization, including information about elements of design, such as color, line, and contrast. Lisa has also created the LibGuide Creating Infographics with Inkscape, which contains the resources for a class she taught with NIH Informationist Chris Belter. The LibGuide includes a Power Point presentation from the lecture part of the class. The slides cover design principles and design elements with links to resources such as Vischeck, a tool for finding out how colors in a chart appear to someone who is color blind, and The 10 Commandments of Typography, with suggestions for choosing font combinations that work well.

The second part of the class is a hands-on section for using Inkscape, a free, open-source graphics program, to make infographics. Inkscape allows you to use “vector graphics” to design infographics. Vector graphics are useful for image design, since they are based on pathways defined by mathematical expressions like lines, curves, and triangles, allowing images to get larger and smaller without losing any quality. If this sounds hard to do, there are Inkscape tutorials available to help. Other vector graphics editors are available, such as Apache OpenOffice Draw, a free service, or Adobe Illustrator. Comparisons with links to detailed information are available in Wikipedia’s “Comparison of Vector Graphics Editors.”