Librarian poster forum opportunity to share research

Karen Herland

Librarians are so busy facilitating everyone else’s research we almost never hear about their own.

The 5th Annual Poster Forum, held June 1 at the Vanier Library, provided the chance to do just that. Five of the nine presentations were made by Concordia librarians who discussed the work they’ve been doing and its impact on their profession.

Kumiko Vézina presented her research on professors’ attitudes about open access publishing and archiving. She sent a survey to researchers in the six major Quebec universities asking how interested they were in making their research papers completely accessible in online repositories and journals.

She revealed that more than a quarter of the researchers had already published in open access journals, but very few were consistently self-archiving their work in repositories. Their hesitation usually hinged on misunderstanding about the legality and impact of such repositories and not on disagreement with the underlying principles.

Vézina concluded that librarians had an important role to play in countering some of these apprehensions. She also urged the librarians present to ensure that internal repositories were not only available, but actively promoted within their institutions.

Concordia is going ahead with plans to establish an internal respository of our own. Equipment has been purchased and the project will be introduced over the next academic year.

Patrick Labelle presented his research on what, if any, special needs international students had in relation to library training and access. He ran focus groups assessing the past and present study habits and needs of a cross-section of international students after they had been at Concordia for almost a year.

His conclusions were that international students arrive with the same gaps in knowledge as most local college students do. They do not necessarily understand proper citation practices, are unfamiliar with the range of materials available and are more likely to use Google and Wikipedia uncritically to find what they need.

“They really are not all that different from other first-year students, and there’s no reason to segment them,” Labelle concluded.

Both Andréa Harland and Ann Golubowski presented research related to their fields. Harland used a case study to determine the most effective way to link researchers with certain information on library websites.

Golubowski demonstrated that resource needs vary depending on the discipline. Some rely more on current journal information, others on maintaining collections of recent monographs. These results have an impact on library spending priorities.

Olivier Charbonneau presented his plans, aided with federal funding, to establish an interactive database for graphic novel collections. The books could be rated and discussed alongside more traditional classification information.

The poster and oral presentation forum was organized by Alex Guindon.