The Instruction and Outreach Department manages and coordinates library research instruction for students, faculty and staff through course-related workshops, outreach activities, personal consultations, research guides and other instructional materials.

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Assessing the assessment conference

We’re back from three days in Baltimore, participating in the Building Effective, Sustainable, Practical Assessment conference.  This is the third conference that ARL has sponsored, and this time around Duke staff made two contributions.  Yvonne presented a poster relating our assessment efforts to the new library strategic plan, and Linda, Emily, Yvonne and I gave a lightning-fast presentation about the User Studies Initiative.   The large room was full, and we got some good questions, so I consider our presentation a success.  Folks sought out Linda and Emily at other points in the conference to talk more about their user studies.  Linda worked with CIT’s Shawn Miller on a study of the Cultural Anthropology faculty; and Emily interviewed undergraduate students writing honors theses.  The take-away message from our presentation was:  you can build staff competence and confidence in doing user studies by creating an in-house staff development program. 

Other presentations that impressed me at the conference?  Cornell, which has one of the best library assessment shops in the country, rolled out a conceptually elegant, easy to use, web-based form to report reference transactions, research consultations, and instruction sessions.  I covet that form.  The University of Washington also has a great assessment operation, and they reported on an extensive evaluation and revamp of their LibGuides template, and guide to best practices. 

I know that Emily will have more to say about the presentations that she found useful.  Meanwhile, you can look at the conference program and poster abstracts.  Conference proceedings will be available, but I don’t know when.

It wouldn’t be a library conference without a cranky blog post.  Check out Steve Bell’s rant about seat-saving.

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