Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Very Belated Thanks

Way back in December, Sidthegnomenator of Confessions of a Middle-aged Coffee Addict gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. In typical fashion, I started a response post, and then time got away from me. I would just like to take the time now to thank her for the award. :)

It was really a rather surprising award. First of all, after over 4 and 1/2 years of blogging (wow, has it really been that long?) this is the first award I've been given. Secondly, given my lack of posts, I was extremely surprised to find that someone I don't personally know actually reads my blog (I'm sure I still have a number of friends out there who feel obligated).

I hope to someday soon get back to blogging on a more regular basis, but right now, life is crazy. I'm taking a graduate class, planning a wedding (my own - and I have quickly determined that I will never again plan another event this size), and house hunting, all while working full-time. Work is often fairly busy so I don't get around to blogging there either. But someday I will start blogging again!

But, really, thank you, Sidthegnomenator! And everyone else, check out her blog. :)

Cheating with Technology is Not Cheating?!

Plagiarism is a rampant problem on campuses and has been discussed in depth at mine. I was on a committee that discussed it, and I have taught quite a few instruction sessions on plagiarism.

So I found this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education particularly interesting. Apparently, students don't consider it cheating if they use technological methods, such as a graphing calculator with equations stored on it.

It's also interesting that professors often overlook it. It does make sense that people who cheat will ultimately do poorly on tests, but still. Really? What has happened to higher education?

And lastly, I think a call to standardize punishment for cheating is in order. My campus has an honor code and a system of enforcement. However, it doesn't get at the different types of plagiarism - unintentional, lesser plagiarism, full-blown plagiarism, etc - so professors often handle it in class and don't report it. This also results in inconsistencies across courses and frequent cheaters not getting reprimanded (well, I'd assume that latter happens, but I haven't heard of any situations).

Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On Weeding

It seems to me that few people really like to weed. I'm not sure I particularly love it, but there is something very satisfactory about clearing the collection of unwanted and unused items. I don't think academic librarians will ever hear the end of comments about how all the books in the stacks are old, but at least we can do our part to weed out some of them.

Right now, we are rather short on shelf space on the third floor of our library. While another row of shelving might be nice, I suspect we can clear a decent amount of space just by doing a bit of weeding. We are focusing first on duplicates (ever-so-affectionately called "dupes"). For the most part, academic libraries do not need duplicate copies of items, especially if they are rarely, or never, used. We are starting with the particularly tight areas, and will then move on to the rest of the third floor.

Then, we'll weed, starting with the tight areas, and finally we'll shift the whole floor.

The project will take a while, but I think we'll see a nice benefit of all the work. I am nearly finished shifting all of the books on our second floor. I've been at it for maybe 2 years, because I can only shift during breaks - the second floor is our only quiet study floor. It's really nice to see all the shelf-space now available in previously constricted areas. I'm sure our student workers appreciate the ease of shelving. Whether anyone else notices, who knows.

And, of course, all our weeded books go to Better World Books. I love their library discards program and highly recommend it.