During the last decade there has been burgeoning research concerning the ways in which we should think of and apply the concept of responsibility for Artificial Intelligence. Despite this conceptual richness, there is still a lack of consensus regarding what Responsible AI entails on both conceptual and practical levels. The aim of this paper is to connect the ethical dimension of responsibility in Responsible AI with Aristotelian virtue ethics, where notions of context and dianoetic virtues play a grounding role for the concept of moral responsibility. The paper starts by highlighting the important difficulties in assigning responsibility to either technologies themselves or to their developers. Top-down and bottom-up approaches to moral responsibility are then contrasted, as we explore how they could inform debates about Responsible AI. We highlight the limits of the former ethical approaches and build the case for classical Aristotelian virtue ethics. We show that two building blocks of Aristotle’s ethics, dianoetic virtues and the context of actions, although largely ignored in the literature, can shed light on how we could think of moral responsibility for both AI and humans. We end by exploring the practical implications of this particular understanding of moral responsibility along the triadic dimensions of ethics by design, ethics in design and ethics for designers.
According to a recent survey by the HR Research Institute, as the presence of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly common in the workplace, HR professionals are worried that the use of recruitment algorithms will lead to a “dehumanization” of the hiring process. Our main goals in this paper are threefold: (i) to bring attention to this neglected issue, (ii) to clarify what exactly this concern about dehumanization might amount to, and (iii) to sketch an argument for why dehumanizing the hiring process is ethically suspect. After distinguishing the use of the term “dehumanization” in this context (i.e. removing the human presence) from its more common meaning in the interdisciplinary field of dehumanization studies (i.e. conceiving of other humans as subhuman), we argue that the use of hiring algorithms may negatively impact the employee-employer relationship. We argue that there are good independent reasons to accept a substantive employee-employer relationship, as well as an applicant-employer relationship, both of which are consistent with a stakeholder theory of corporate obligations. We further argue that dehumanizing the hiring process may negatively impact these relationships because of the difference between the values of human recruiters and the values embedded in recruitment algorithms. Drawing on Nguyen’s (in: Lackey, Applied Epistemology, Oxford University Press, 2021) critique of how Twitter “gamifies communication”, we argue that replacing human recruiters with algorithms imports artificial values into the hiring process. We close by briefly considering some ways to potentially mitigate the problems posed by recruitment algorithms, along with the possibility that some difficult trade-offs will need to be made.
Automated vehicles (AVs) are expected to operate on public roads, together with non-automated vehicles and other road users such as pedestrians or bicycles. Recent ethical reports and guidelines raise worries that AVs will introduce injustice or reinforce existing social inequalities in road traffic. One major injustice concern in today’s traffic is that different types of road users are exposed differently to risks of corporal harm. In the first part of the paper, we discuss the responsibility of AV developers to address existing injustice concerns regarding risk exposure as well as approaches on how to fulfill the responsibility for a fairer distribution of risk. In contrast to popular approaches on the ethics of risk distribution in unavoidable accident cases, we focus on low and moderate risk situations, referred to as routine driving. For routine driving, the obligation to distribute risks fairly must be discussed in the context of risk-taking and risk-acceptance, balancing safety objectives of occupants and other road users with driving utility. In the second part of the paper, we present a typical architecture for decentralized automated driving which contains a dedicated module for real-time risk estimation and management. We examine how risk estimation modules can be adjusted and parameterized to redress some inequalities.
The paper has two goals. The first is presenting the main results of the recent report Ethics of Connected and Automated Vehicles: recommendations on road safety, privacy, fairness, explainability and responsibility written by the Horizon 2020 European Commission Expert Group to advise on specific ethical issues raised by driverless mobility, of which the author of this paper has been member and rapporteur. The second is presenting some broader ethical and philosophical implications of these recommendations, and using these to contribute to the establishment of Ethics of Transportation as an independent branch of applied ethics. The recent debate on the ethics of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) presents a paradox and an opportunity. The paradox is the presence of a flourishing debate on the ethics of one very specific transportation technology without ethics of transportation being in itself a well-established academic discipline. The opportunity is that now that a spotlight has been switched on the ethical dimensions of CAVs it may be easier to establish a broader debate on ethics of transportation. While the 20 recommendations of the EU report are grouped in three macro-areas: road safety, data ethics, and responsibility, in this paper they will be grouped according to eight philosophical themes: Responsible Innovation, road justice, road safety, freedom, human control, privacy, data fairness, responsibility. These are proposed as the first topics for a new ethics of transportation.
Are acts of violence performed in virtual environments ever morally wrong, even when no other persons are affected? While some such acts surely reflect deficient moral character, I focus on the moral rightness or wrongness of acts. Typically it’s thought that, on Kant’s moral theory, an act of virtual violence is morally wrong (i.e., violates the Categorical Imperative) only if the act mistreats another person. But I argue that, on Kant’s moral theory, some acts of virtual violence can be morally wrong, even when no other persons or their avatars are affected. First, I explain why many have thought that, in general on Kant’s moral theory, virtual acts affecting no other persons or their avatars can’t violate the Categorical Imperative. For there are real world acts that clearly do, but it seems that when we consider the same sorts of acts done alone in a virtual environment, they don’t violate the Categorical Imperative, because no others persons were involved. But then, how could any virtual acts like these, that affect no other persons or their avatars, violate the Categorical Imperative? I then argue that there indeed can be such cases of morally wrong virtual acts—some due to an actor’s having erroneous beliefs about morally relevant facts, and others due not to error, but to the actor’s intention leaving out morally relevant facts while immersed in a virtual environment. I conclude by considering some implications of my arguments for both our present technological context as well as the future.
How do we ensure that future generally intelligent AI share our values? This is the value-alignment problem. It is a weighty matter. After all, if AI are neutral with respect to our wellbeing, or worse, actively hostile toward us, then they pose an existential threat to humanity. Some philosophers have argued that one important way in which we can mitigate this threat is to develop only AI that shares our values or that has values that ‘align with’ ours. However, there is nothing to guarantee that this policy will be universally implemented—in particular, ‘bad actors’ are likely to flout it. In this paper, I show how the predictive processing model of the mind, currently ascendant in cognitive science, may ameliorate the value-alignment problem. In essence, I argue that there are a plurality of reasons why any future generally intelligent AI will possess a predictive processing cognitive architecture (e.g. because we decide to build them that way; because it is the only possible cognitive architecture that can underpin general intelligence; because it is the easiest way to create AI.). I also argue that if future generally intelligent AI possess a predictive processing cognitive architecture, then they will come to share our pro-moral motivations (of valuing humanity as an end; avoiding maleficent actions; etc.), regardless of their initial motivation set. Consequently, these AI will pose a minimal threat to humanity. In this way then, I conclude, the value-alignment problem is significantly ameliorated under the assumption that future generally intelligent AI will possess a predictive processing cognitive architecture.
A human driver and an automated driving system (ADS) might share control of automated vehicles (AVs) in the near future. This raises many concerns associated with the assignment of responsibility for negative outcomes caused by them; one is that the human driver might be required to bear the brunt of moral and legal responsibilities. The psychological consequences of responsibility misattribution have not yet been examined. We designed a hypothetical crash similar to Uber’s 2018 fatal crash (which was jointly caused by its distracted driver and the malfunctioning ADS). We incorporated five legal responsibility attributions (the human driver should bear full, primary, half, secondary, and no liability, that is, the AV manufacturer should bear no, secondary, half, primary, and full liability). Participants (N = 1524) chose their preferred liability attribution and then were randomly assigned into one of the five actual liability attribution conditions. They then responded to a series of questions concerning liability assignment (fairness and reasonableness), the crash (e.g., acceptability), and AVs (e.g., intention to buy and trust). Slightly more than 50% of participants thought that the human driver should bear full or primary liability. Legal responsibility misattribution (operationalized as the difference between actual and preferred liability attributions) negatively influenced these mentioned responses, regardless of overly attributing human or manufacturer liability. Overly attributing human liability (vs. manufacturer liability) had more negative influences. Improper liability attribution might hinder the adoption of AVs. Public opinion should not be ignored in developing a legal framework for AVs.
No dia 8 de setembro os serviços do EduFor estão encerrado devido ao feriado municipal do concelho de Mangualde.
O EduFor tem vindo, há vários anos, a organizar todo o processo de inscrição e seleção de formandos online, de modo desmaterializado, com recurso a plataformas próprias.
Nessa medida, e no sentido de continuar a prestar um serviço de qualidade e acompanhar a transição digital em curso em Portugal e no Mundo, o Centro de Formação EduFor passará a utilizar a Plataforma Digital CFAE360.
A Plataforma CFAE360 será, assim, a partir do ano letivo de 2021/2022, o meio pelo qual:
- O EduFor divulgará as ações de formação a implementar;
- O/A utilizador/a:
. fará a inscrição nas ações que pretende frequentar;
. obterá os seus certificados como formando/a ou formador/a;
. consultará o seu histórico de formando/a ou formador/a.
A Review of:
Schultheiß, S., & Lewandowski, D. (2021). How users’ knowledge of advertisements influences their viewing and selection behavior in search engines. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 72(3), 285–301. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24410
Objective – To examine how users’ understanding of ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) influences their viewing and selection behaviour on computers and smartphones.
Design – Mixed methods approach consisting of pre-study interview, eye-tracking experiment, and post-study questionnaire.
Setting – Usability lab at a university in Germany.
Subjects – 50 students enrolled at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and 50 non-students recruited in Hamburg.
Methods – After giving informed consent and receiving payment, participants provided information on demographics as well as how they use search engines as part of a pre-study interview. For the eye-tracking experiment, each participant completed 10 tasks each on a desktop computer and smartphone. Both the device condition order and task order were randomized. Tasks were broken down into five informational tasks (e.g., how do I build a desktop computer?), three transactional tasks (e.g., how would I go about buying a refrigerator?), and two navigational tasks (e.g., I need to go to the Apple website). The software displayed clickable screenshots of SERPs, and all clicks were recorded. iMotions eye-tracking software recorded eye fixations on areas of the page featuring organic search results and paid ads. A post-experiment questionnaire asked participants about Google’s business model and probed them about the extent to which they were able to differentiate between organic results and ads. Answers to the questionnaire were weighted and normalized to form a 0–100 scale.
Main Results – The first set of research hypotheses examining the correlation between participants’ knowledge of ads and viewing and clicking behaviour was partially confirmed. There was no significant correlation between participants’ questionnaire score and visual fixations on ads, but there was a significant negative correlation between questionnaire score and the number of clicks on ads. Users with questionnaire scores in the bottom quartile paid significantly less attention to organic results than those in the top quartile, but users in the top quartile still fixated on ads and did so comparably to users in the bottom quartile. The second set of research hypotheses examining the relationship between viewing and clicking behaviour and device (desktop versus mobile) was also partially confirmed. Users on a smartphone had significantly higher fixation rates on ads than users on a desktop computer, although click rates on ads did not differ significantly between the two conditions.
Conclusion – Knowledge about ads on SERPs influences selection behaviour. Users with a low level of knowledge on search advertising are more likely to click on ads than those with a high level of knowledge. Users on smartphones are also more likely to pay visual attention to ads, probably because the smaller screen size narrows content “above the fold.”
A Review of:
Kumar, M., & Mostafa, J. (2020). Electronic health records for better health in lower- and middle-income countries: A landscape study. Library Hi Tech, 38(4), 751–767. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-09-2019-0179
Objective – To identify how low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) approached the development of national and subnational electronic health records (EHRs) and to understand the challenges related to EHR research priorities and sustainability.
Design – Landscape study consisting of a review of the scientific literature, country-focused grey literature, and consultation with international experts.
Setting – Hospitals and healthcare systems within LMICs.
Subjects – The 402 publications retrieved through a systematic search of four scientific electronic databases along with 49 publications found through a country-focused analysis of grey literature and 14 additional publications found through consultation with two international experts.
Methods – On 15 May 2019, the authors comprehensively searched four major scientific
databases: Global Health, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. They also searched the grey literature and repositories in consultation with country-based international digital health experts. The authors subsequently used Mendeley reference management software to organize and remove duplicate publications. Peer-reviewed publications that focused on developing national EHRs within LMIC healthcare systems were included for the title and abstract screening. Data analysis was mainly qualitative, and the results were organized to highlight stakeholders, health information architecture (HIA), and sustainability.
Main Results – The results were presented in three subsections. The first two described critical stakeholders for developing national and subnational EHRs and HIA, including country eHealth foundations, EHRs, and subsystems. The third section presented and discussed pressing challenges related to EHR sustainability. The findings of the three subsections were further explored through the presentation of three LMIC case studies that described stakeholders, HIA, and sustainability challenges.
Conclusion – The results of this landscape study highlighted the scant evidence available to develop and sustain national and subnational EHRs within LMICs. The authors noted that there appears to be a gap in understanding how EHRs impact patient-level and population outcomes within the LMICs. The study revealed that EHRs were primarily designed to support monitoring and evaluating health programs focused on a particular disease or group of diseases rather than common health problems. While national governments and international donors focused on the role of EHRs to improve patient care, the authors highlighted the urgent need for further research on the development of EHRs, with a focus on efficiency, evaluation, monitoring, and quality within the national healthcare enterprise.
A Review of:
Henderson, S., McGreal, R., & Vladimirschi, V. (2018). Access Copyright and fair dealing guidelines in higher educational institutions in Canada: A survey. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 13(2), 1-37. https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v13i2.4147
Objective – To investigate the interpretations of fair dealing applied across Canadian post-secondary educational institutions outside of Quebec and to determine whether such institutions have a licence with Access Copyright.
Design – Descriptive/quantitative study.
Setting – Canadian post-secondary education sector, excluding Quebec.
Subjects – A total of 159 Canadian post-secondary institutions outside of Quebec, including 75 universities and 84 colleges.
Methods – A list of Canadian post-secondary educational institutions outside of Quebec was compiled. Data from participants relating to the research objective—reliance on an Access Copyright licence or use and interpretation of fair dealing—was collected via internet searches or, if unavailable online, via direct telephone communication with participants.
Main Results – A majority of Canadian post-secondary educational institutions outside of Quebec, approximately 78% (124 institutions), did not have a licence with Access Copyright. The smaller the institution, the likelier it was to have an Access Copyright licence. This was in part linked to the fact that smaller institutions typically do not have staff specializing in copyright; savings from terminating Access Copyright licences (charged on a per student basis) would not justify the creation of such positions. Regarding fair dealing, 18% of study participants based their approach on the Supreme Court of Canada’s six-factor test (29 institutions), while 53% applied the fair dealing guidelines created by Universities Canada (85 institutions).
Conclusion – Most of the institutions studied did not have Access Copyright licences and were relying on fair dealing instead, suggesting a bellwether for the copyright climate in the Canadian higher education sector towards fair dealing. Institutions may benefit from a future national consensus regarding interpretations of fair dealing concepts.
A Review of:
Peekhaus, W. (2018). Seed libraries: Sowing the seeds for community and public library resilience. Library Quarterly, 88(3), 271-285. https://doi.org/10.1086/697706
Objective – To describe and investigate the establishment, operation, function, purpose, and benefit of seed libraries within public libraries and local communities.
Design – Exploratory study.
Setting – Public seed libraries in Arizona, California, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Subjects – 10 librarians actively involved in creating or maintaining seed libraries.
Methods – 60-75 minute interviews, primarily over the phone, with subjects selected by means of purposive sampling.
Main Results – According to the participants interviewed, starting and operating a seed library requires front-end effort from the “host” library, active participation by a dedicated librarian and community members, as well as ongoing funding, usually on an annual basis (estimated by one participant to be $2,500/year, mostly for the purchase of seeds). Participant descriptions of their seed library operations differed, but most had a dedicated seed librarian. Participants noted that primary activities included deciding what seeds to put in the collection, arrangement of the seed collection, development of checkout and return procedures, and ongoing education. Several participants noted that such operational work was seasonal and not steady. None of the libraries included in this study had enough seeds donated to sustain their collections, but rather they relied on purchasing seeds in bulk or asking for donations from seed companies. Cataloging procedures varied in terms of complexity, and participants from one library system reported the use of a seed library cataloging template as being helpful. All participants noted they gave patrons containers to return seeds. While educating patrons in formal sessions is often difficult for reasons such as resource limitations, the interview informants agreed that seed libraries fit into the missions of public libraries by furthering information sharing, access to resources, and knowledge development.
Conclusion – Seed libraries are an active service that assist public libraries in responding to social challenges and in engaging with their local communities as a type of knowledge commons. Seed libraries align with public libraries’ shift in priorities from increasing physical collections to enriching lives by providing knowledge and tools to support food autonomy, self-sufficiency, civic engagement, and community education. These libraries are a novel service that engage and attract patrons and support libraries’ positions as community hubs.
Objective – Evidence based medical education requires supportive information services to facilitate access to the needed educational evidence. Information services designed specifically for evidence based medical education are limited or locally developed for educational units. For librarians to have an opportunity to cooperate efficiently with medical educators in evidence based medical education, they require an empirical prototype for transmission of clinical evidence at the right place and the right time. Therefore, there is a need to recognize types of information services which support evidence based medical education. The purpose of this review is to identify implementation trends of evidence based educational information services.
Methods – We found related studies by implementing search strategies in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Scopus, LISTA, and Google Scholar with keywords like: evidence based medical education, information services, and library services. We used reference-checking and citation-checking of related articles for completing the process of locating relevant articles. After employing inclusion and exclusion criteria, we selected 11 articles for inclusion in the review and analyzed them using a narrative review technique.
Results – After analyzing the results of the included studies, we identified two elements categorized as program development and five elements categorized as implementation trend. Prerequisites of program and the process of designing were essential parts of program development of information services. Schedule and type of access, how to receive educational-clinical questions, information services types, responding time, and providing evidence based outputs were the elements of the implementation process of educational supported information services.
Conclusion – Designing an evidence based educational information service strongly depends on the information needs of learners at each educational level. Schedule and type of access to information service, time of responding to the received query, and preparation of evidence based output are essential factors in designing practical educational-developed information services.
A Review of:
Mei, X. Y., Aas, E., & Eide, O. (2020). Applying the servicescape model to understand student experiences of a Norwegian academic library. Library & Information Science Research, 42(4), Article 101051. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2020.101051
Objective – To understand how the physical environment of an academic library influences user behaviour.
Design – Qualitative explorative.
Setting – An academic library at a large university in Norway.
Subjects – Twelve bachelor’s and master’s students at a business school.
Methods – The researchers used a two-step approach, with the servicescape model from the marketing discipline serving as a theoretical framework. Subjects completed several tasks involving drawing and elaborating on their usage of the library space, utilizing a bird’s-eye floor plan. This was followed by semi-structured interviews to explore how subjects use and experience the library facilities.
Main Results – Students found it important to be physically comfortable and to have enough room for the items they need while studying. The library in this study was seen more as a place for studying than for social interactions, and while some subjects reported being motivated by seeing students around them studying, others said they are distracted by having other students in their sightline. The time of the semester appeared to influence user experience and satisfaction with the library space, with spaces conducive to group work desired at some points in the semester and with single seating preferred when individual exams are taking place.
Conclusion – The library’s physical environment triggers cognitive and emotional responses in users. These responses influence how frequently they visit the library and how well they are able to concentrate while there. Because academic library spaces have an impact on student learning, it is important to design libraries with user comfort in mind. Libraries should accommodate the different ways students work throughout the semester by providing flexible study space configurations.
A Review of:
Bierman, J., Ortega, L., & Rupp-Serrano, K. (2010). E-book usage in pure and applied sciences. Science & technology libraries, 29(1-2), 69-91. https://doi.org/10.1080/01942620903579393
Objective – To determine the usage of and attitudes toward e-books among faculty in the applied and pure sciences.
Design – Online survey and in-person interviews.
Setting – A large public university in the United States.
Subjects – 11 faculty members.
Methods – Participants completed an 11-item survey covering demographic data and questions about electronic book experience and preferences. This was followed up by an in-person interview with the researchers. The interviews were structured into three sections: opening questions about e-book usage, an interactive demonstration and discussion of two preselected e-books, and final follow-up questions. Interviews followed a general script of prepared questions, but also encouraged open discussion and dialogue.
Main Results – Most participants in the study reported limited experience with e-books and only 3 of the 11 participants reported using library-purchased e-books in their research and instruction. Participants noted ease of access and searchability as key advantages of e-books. Concerns included the belief that reading and learning is more difficult on a desktop computer, as well as concerns about the stability and reliability of e-book access. Participants also felt negatively about the necessity to create a new login profile and password to access e-books. The study found no difference in the way faculty in pure and applied sciences approached e-books.
Conclusion – The authors determine that e-books will likely become more commonly used in academia. Users want e-books that are easy to use and customizable. In addition, the authors conclude that librarians need to understand their patrons’ needs as e-book users and proactively promote and market their e-book collections.
Objective – This study uses quantitative methods to determine if the metadata requirements of institutional repositories (IRs) promote data discovery. This question is addressed through an exploration of an international sample of university IRs, including an analysis of the required metadata elements for data deposit, with a particular focus on how these metadata support discovery of research data objects.
Methods – The researchers worked with an international universe of 243 IRs. A codebook of 10 variables was developed to enable analysis of the eventual randomly derived sample of 40 institutions.
Results – The analysis of our sample IRs revealed that most had metadata standards that offered weak support for data discovery—an unsurprising revelation in view of the fact that university IRs are meant to accommodate deposit and storage of all types of scholarly outputs, only a small percentage of which are research data objects. Most IRs seem to have adopted metadata standards based on the Dublin Core schema, while none of the IRs in our sample used the Data Documentation Initiative metadata that is better suited for deposit and discovery of research datasets.
Conclusion – The study demonstrates that while data deposit can be accommodated by the existing metadata requirements of multi-purpose IRs, their metadata practices do little to prioritize data deposit or to promote data discovery. Evidence indicates that data discovery will benefit from additional metadata elements.
Objective – Libraries have had to temporarily shut their doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the provision of online and remote services. This review analyzed services offered by libraries, the technological tools used, and the challenges facing libraries during the pandemic.
Methods – This study employed a systematic literature review, following the PRISMA checklist (Moher at al., 2009). The Building Blocks search strategy was employed to search for keywords of concepts in Library and Information Science Abstract (LISA), Library and Information Science Technology Abstract (LISTA), Library Science Database, Web of Science (WoS) core collections, and Google Scholar. A set of inclusion and exclusion criteria was pre-determined by the authors prior to database searching. Quality assessment of included studies was performed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (Hong et al., 2018). A tabular approach was used to provide a summary of each article allowing the synthesis of results, which led to the identification of eight broad categories of services provided by libraries in included studies.
Results – The first set of searches from the 5 databases produced 3,499 results. After we removed duplicates and applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria based on titles and abstracts, 37 potentially relevant articles were identified. Further screening of the full-text led to the final inclusion of 23 articles used for the qualitative synthesis. The majority of the studies were conducted in the United States of America (n= 6, 26.1%), followed by India (n=4, 17%), and China (n=2, 8.7%). The remaining studies were carried out in United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Romania, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe. The most common method used in selected studies was the case study (n= 11, 48%), followed by survey (n=7, 30.4%), content analysis (n=4, 17.4%), and mixed methods (n=1, 4.3%). The majority of the studies were carried out in academic libraries (74%), while the rest were based on medical, public, and special libraries. Findings show that the majority of academic libraries in the included studies are providing and expanding access to electronic resources (n=16, 69.6%) and increasing open access resources and services (n=11, 47.8%). More so, most academic libraries are assisting in virtual education and teaching endeavors of faculty and students (n=13, 56.5%). In addition, some medical and public libraries are bolstering public health safety through health literacy (n=12, 52.2%), supporting research efforts, and engaging in virtual reference services, among others. In order to carry out these services, libraries are harnessing several educational, social networking, communication, and makerspaces technologies. Most of the libraries in the included studies reported budgetary challenges, and the need for new ICT infrastructure and Internet service as they move their services online.
Conclusion – This review found that libraries are adapting in a number of ways to continue their roles in meeting patrons’ needs in spite of the growing challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown. For libraries to thrive in these trying times, there must be a well-structured approach to ensuring continuity of services. Libraries should prioritize the acquisition of electronic resources as well as increase their efforts to digitize resources that are only available in printed copies. As library services have predominantly shifted online, there should be concerted effort and support from government and funding agencies to equip libraries with the technological facilities needed to provide cutting-edge services. The quality assessment of the included studies shows that there is need for rigor and transparency in the methodological description of studies investigating library services provision in a pandemic. This review provides an overview of the ways libraries have responded to the challenges posed by a global pandemic, and hence will be of use and interest to all librarians especially those in health and academic sectors.
Objective – The objective of the study is to increase the knowledge about what questions students ask at the library desk and what the purpose is of their use of the desk. Our focus has been on the physical meetings with the students. The aim is to contribute to the discussion on the future development of the library service desk.
Methods – We recorded questions asked at the desks to explore how students use the library service desks. The recording, where library staff sorted questions into predefined categories, took place over four weeks between the years 2017–2018.
Results – Our recording showed that 63% of the questions asked at the library service desks were about loan services, document delivery, and access to physical and electronic collections. Practical things such as opening hours, lost and found items, and the location of the group study rooms, accounted for 16% of questions. Questions about information technology (IT) made up 8% of questions. Finally, the results showed that 8% of the questions from the four weeks of counting were counselling and guidance questions, and 2% were about literature lists, reference management, and reference management tools. We found more questions about counselling and guidance in the spring weeks and more practical questions in the fall. We did not find any clear connection between the number of questions and the size of the branch libraries.
Conclusion – By conducting this study, we have learned more about why students use the library desk. Our study shows that students come to the library desk to ask about a lot more than just borrowing staples. The results from the study will inform the development of the library desk service going forward.
A Review of:
Logan, J., & Spence, M. (2021). Content strategy in LibGuides: An exploratory study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 47(1), Article 102282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102282
Objective – To determine what strategies academic libraries use to govern creation and maintenance of their LibGuides.
Design – Online survey questionnaire.
Setting – A selection of academic libraries that use Springshare’s LibGuide system, mainly in the United States and Canada.
Subjects – Academic libraries with administrator level access to LibGuides at 120 large and small, private and public schools.
Methods – Researchers made their online questionnaire available on a Springshare lounge and recruited participants through electronic mailing lists. Respondents were self-selected participants. The survey consisted of 35 questions, including several about their institution’s size and type, the number of LibGuides available through their library, and how their guides are created and reviewed. There was space available for comments. The survey stated that the researchers’ goal is to complete an “environmental scan of content strategies” in LibGuides at academic institutions.
Main Results – Of the 120 responding institutions, 88% are located in either the United States or Canada and 53% reported that they do have content guidelines for LibGuide authors. Content guidelines might include parameters for topics, target audiences, or purpose. Parameters for structural elements, including page design, content reuse policies, naming conventions, and navigation, were most commonly represented at those institutions that reported having guidelines. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported that their LibGuides do not go through a formal review process prior to publication.
Regarding LibGuide maintenance, 58% reported that LibGuides are reviewed as needed, while 27% indicated a more systematic approach. In most cases, the LibGuide reviewer is the author, though sometimes a LibGuide administrator may take on a review role. The most common considerations for LibGuide review are currency, accuracy, usage, and consistency. Of the responding institutions, 74% reported that they do not conduct any user testing of their guides.
Two of the biggest barriers to introducing and maintaining LibGuide guidelines identified in the survey were lack of time and a sense of librarian ownership over content and workflow. The strong culture of academic freedom may make some librarians resistant to following institutional guidelines. Survey respondents noted that, where content guidelines are present, they tend to address “low hanging fruit” issues, such as page design and naming conventions, rather than more complex issues around tone and messaging.
Conclusion – Content creators tend to have many competing priorities, so a workflow and guideline system might help librarians spend less time on their guides. Despite a large amount of research on LibGuide best practices regarding content strategy, few institutions seem to be taking systematic steps to implement them. Further research examining the experiences of LibGuide authors and administrators and on the effectiveness of content strategy practices is necessary.
A Review of:
Jowitt, A. (2008). Perceptions and usage of library instructional podcasts by staff and students at New Zealand’s Universal College of Learning (UCOL). Reference Services Review, 36(3), 312–336. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320810895396
Objective – To examine usage of a specific set of library instructional podcasts and the potential of the format for effective library instruction.
Design – Concurrent mixed methods survey.
Setting – Multiple campuses at a polytechnic college in New Zealand.
Subjects – A total of 86 self-selected, non-random students and staff.
Methods – Web-based survey, piloted before a broader launch, with open and closed questions in one survey instrument (SurveyPro) regarding six sample podcasts accessible via the college’s library website. The researcher used closed questions to gather quantitative data with Likert and verbal frequency scales and used concurrent triangulation to ensure balance with qualitative open-ended question responses for proper later interpretation.
Main Results – Of the 86 participants in the study, 71.1% responded that the five library podcasts were “very good.” The study determined that the most useful podcast was called “My account” and helped students and staff activate and use their library accounts. Overall, students enjoyed the five library podcasts slightly more than staff. The orientation walking tour was the least popular podcast. The researchers hypothesized that this was because the podcast did not fit the users’ preferred medium, which was computer based. Even listeners who owned a portable media device preferred using a media player on their computer to access the podcasts. The participants preferred to listen to the podcasts during the day. The participants found that the 24/7 availability and the ability to listen to the material repeatedly were particularly helpful features.
Conclusion – Based on the research results, students and staff found library instructional podcasting advantageous because of its ease of access and constant availability. Some participants mentioned ways to improve the quality of the podcasts, but they found them to be an effective new medium overall. Additional research is needed to evaluate podcasts as an instructional medium.
Objective – The objective of this research was to identify the four professional competences of graduates in Library and Information Sciences and Technologies (LIST) considered most pertinent, from the points of view of students, teachers, and employers. We also sought to compare the perceptions of the different groups. The study was based on the premise that alignment of these perceptions may enhance the employability of LIST graduates.
Methods – A questionnaire, used and validated by Arias-Coello et al. (2014), was further translated by Martins and Carvalho (2018). The questionnaire consisted of a set of questions regarding four dimensions: Information Management; Communication and Interpersonal Relationships; Domain and Application of Information Technologies; Organization Management. We sent the survey by email to the target audience; it was available to complete in April and May 2018. Data analysis included calculating mean and standard deviation, as well as Shapiro Wilk normality tests, statistical tests for multiple comparisons, ANOVA, Kruskal Wallis test, Friedman test, Wilcoxon test, and Pearson's correlation.
Results – In relation to certain dimensions, one could think that age would be a determining factor, but this has not been proved. In fact, results showed that age is not a factor that influenced the importance attributed to different competences in the several dimensions. The respondents' academic degrees and areas of knowledge were linked to significant differences transversally. The Kruskal Wallis test indicated that students, teachers, and employers perceived the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills equally. As for the other competences, overall there were significant differences between students and employers, and there were significant differences between students and teachers regarding the perceived importance of organization management skills. There were also significant differences between teachers, students, and employers regarding the perceived importance of communication skills. We also found that responses within the teacher group had less dispersion of answers, therefore there was greater internal agreement. The opposite occurred in the employer group.
Conclusion – The differences detected in the perception of the different groups were minor. However, it is necessary to create initiatives for the alignment of the perceptions of students and employers, because if all groups have the same perception, they will develop and value the same skills, responding to the needs of the labor market, thus promoting the employability of LIST graduates. The inclusion of a curricular internship, even one of short duration, in the first year of the degree could also be a way of endeavoring to bring together the expectations of both groups. These suggestions are part of a proposal to change and update the study plan and enhance the performance of course management.
Objective – This review aims to determine the suitability of the READ Scale for chat service assessment. We investigated how librarians rate chats and their interpretations of the results, and compared these findings to the original purpose of the Scale.
Methods – We performed a systematic search of databases in order to retrieve sources, applied inclusion and exclusion criteria, and read the remaining articles. We synthesized common themes that emerged into a discussion of the use of the READ Scale to assess chat service. Additionally, we compiled READ Scale designations across institutions to allow side-by-side comparisons of ratings of chat interactions.
Results – This review revealed that librarians used a variety of approaches in applying and understanding READ Scale ratings. Determination of staffing levels was often the primary goal. Further, librarians consistently rated chat interactions in the lower two-thirds of the scale, which has implications for service perception and recommendations.
Conclusion – The findings of this review indicated that librarians frequently use READ Scale data to make staffing recommendations, both in terms of numbers of staff providing chat service and level of experience to adequately meet service demand. Evidence suggested, however, that characteristics of the scale itself may lead to a distorted understanding of chat service, skewing designations to the lower end of the scale, and undervaluing the service.
Objective – The goals of this study were to 1) characterize the quantity and nature of research outputs created by or in cooperation with community-based research units (CBRUs) at Canadian universities; 2) assess dissemination practices and patterns with respect to these outputs; 3) understand the current and potential roles of institutional repositories (IRs) in disseminating community-based research (CBR).
Methods – The researcher consulted and consolidated online directories of Canadian universities to establish a list of 47 English language institutions. Working from this list of universities, the researcher investigated each in an attempt to identify any CBRUs within the institutions. Ultimately, these efforts resulted in a list of 25 CBRUs. All but 1 of these were from universities that also have IRs, so 24 CBRUs were included for further analysis. The researcher visited the website for each CBRU in February 2021 and, using the data on the site, created a list of each project that the CBRU has been involved in or facilitated over the past 10 years (2010-2020). An Excel spreadsheet was used to record variables relating to the nature and accessibility of outputs associated with each project.
Results – These 24 CBRUs listed 525 distinct projects completed during the past 10 years (2010-2020). The number of projects listed on the CBRU sites varied widely from 2 to 124, with a median of 13. Outputs were most frequently reports (n=375, which included research reports, whitepapers, fact sheets, and others), with journal articles (n=74) and videos (n= 42) being less common, and other formats even less frequent. The dissemination avenues for these CBRU projects are roughly divided into thirds, with approximately one third of the projects’ results housed on the CBRU websites, another third in IRs, and a final third in “other” locations (third party websites, standalone project websites, or not available). Some output types, like videos and journal articles, were far less likely to be housed in IRs. There was a significantly higher deposit rate in faculty or department-based CBRUs, as opposed to standalone CBRUs.
Conclusion – The results of this study indicate that academic libraries and their IRs play an important role in the dissemination of CBR outputs to the broader public. The findings also confirm that there is more work to be done; academic librarians, CBRU staff, and researchers can work together to expand access to, and potentially increase the impact of, CBR. Ideally, this would result in all CBRU project outputs being widely available, as well as providing more consistent access points to these bodies of work.