In this week’s class we discussed three readings: (Bates, 1999), (Dillon & Norris, 2005) and (Manzari, 2013). This was our last general set of readings about information science before diving into some of the specialized areas. I wrote about my reaction to Bates over in Red Thread.

The Manzari piece continues a series of studies that started in 1985, surveying faculty about the most prestigious journals in the field of Library and Information Science. 827 full time faculty in ALA accredited programs were surveyed and only 232 (27%) responded. No attempt seemed to have been made to see if non-response bias could have had an effect – but I’m not entirely sure if that was needed. I couldn’t help but wonder if this series of studies could have resulted in reinforcing the very thing they are studying. If faculty read the article, won’t it influence their thinking about where they should be publishing?

We used this article more as a jumping off point in class to discuss our advisors top-tier and second-tier conferences to present at and journals to publish in. There were quite a few up on the board, even with just four of us in the class. We subdivided them into 4 groups, that were distinguished by the competitiveness and level of peer review associated with them. It was pretty eye opening to hear how strong of a signal these conferences were for everyone, with a great deal of perceived prestige being associated with particular venues. I was surprised at how nuanced perceptions were.

I had asked Steven Jackson for his ideas about conferences since I’m hoping to continue his line of research about repair in my own initial work (more about that in another post shortly). I won’t detail his response here (since I didn’t ask to do that) but the one conference I learned about that I didn’t know about previously was Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing which does look it could be an interesting venue to tune into. Another one is Society for Social Studies of Science.

We ended the class with the Marshmallow Challenge. We broke up into groups and then attempted to build the tallest structure we could using spaghetti, tape and string – as long as a marshmallow could be perched on top. The take home from the exercise was the importance of getting feedback from prototypes, and testing ideas in an iterative fashion. This was a bit of a teaser for the next class which is going to be focused on Users and Usability. The resulting structure also reminded me of more than one software projects I’ve contributed to over the years :-)

References

Bates, M. (1999). The invisible substrate of information science. Journal of the Society for Information Science, 50(12), 1043–1050.

Dillon, A., & Norris, A. (2005). Crying wolf: An examination and reconsideration of the perception of crisis in lis educatino. Journal of Education in Library and Information Science.

Manzari, L. (2013). Library and information science journal prestige as assessed by library and information science faculty. Library Quarterly, 83, 42–60.