This week UNC Greensboro’s Global Engagement Office held its annual three-day Summer Institute. The Global Engagement Office was created as part of our Quality Enhancement Plan from 2014-2019 and has done an excellent job building up UNCG’s global profile along with our International Programs Center and others. International & Global Studies is a partner and, as the Assistant Director of IGS, I have had many opportunities to support these efforts on our campus. I haven’t written on this much in connection with the library because I’ve been busy, but the ideas and activities we learned would be helpful for library services and instruction.
A key part of this initiative has been on identifying and developing “intercultural competence” using the Intercultural Development Inventory. While the IDI approach isn’t perfect, it is useful for seeing intercultural competence as a continuum of development with actionable steps rather than a either/or stance (you are or you aren’t culturally competent). In addition to using the IDI with faculty, the continuum has been helpful for talking with students about their frameworks for thinking about cultural differences and similarities. We use it in IGS extensively and it is embedded in our study abroad program.
Our main presenter on the first day was Darla K. Deardorff, who talked about the culturally responsive classroom. She took us through some exercises in her book, Building Cultural Competence: Innovative Activities and Models, including the story circle method and an action plan for developing intercultural awareness. Both activities are helpful for identifying areas for personal intercultural competence development and are described in the book if you are interested.
The second day we watched an excellent TED Talk by Eduardo Briceño that talks about developing skills by balancing the time we spend in the Learning Zone (time for learning and deliberate practice) versus the Performance Zone (time for performance of our expertise). This video really resonated with me because as library instructors we spend entire semesters in the Performance Zone and struggle to find time for reflection and deliberate practice in between all the “performances.” A faculty panel then discussed the video and related it to their practices in developing intercultural competence in the classroom. Some of the ideas included leaving open days in the class for student-driven topics and providing ways for students to share experiences. This led into a discussion about overcoming resistance, including some strategies (scroll down to the bottom of that page).
Today, a group of international students from Niger, Sweden, Nicaragua, Iraq, China, and Libya came to talk about their personal experiences in an American classroom. They talked about differences in regards to the professor’s role (facilitators versus experts) and expectations about deference to the professor. I found most useful their discussion of classroom dynamics, such as group work expectations and classroom behavior. For example, most were surprised that American students would leave the classroom during class to go to the bathroom. Seems like a small thing, but I can definitely see how that would be a shock if a student were accustomed to a stricter environment. We closed out the day with Josephus III, a performance artist and poet. In addition to sharing his poetry, he talked about ways to help students engage with challenging concepts. Overall it was a wonderful three days of talking with an extremely diverse group of faculty and staff from all over the campus and representing almost all of the academic units, including the library.
I attended the institute for my position with IGS, but much of this content is critical for libraries. International initiatives have been discussed in the library world frequently, but the efforts seem slightly piecemeal and overwhelmingly service focused. In other words, do we have the resources to support patrons who want to learn about this topic? Or are we able to support the research needs of international students? Certainly, discussions of library anxiety, microaggressions, and diversity in the library hit at the ideas underlying global engagement and intercultural competence For example, Cynthia Mari Orozco provides some excellent suggestions for helping reduce library anxiety.
Nevertheless, I haven’t seen as many developmental approaches like the IDI being used to help library staff progress over time. Do you know of a library that has used the IDI or a similar tool in a systematic way and then followed through providing support with developing intercultural competence? Are there global engagement building approaches that are not predicated on the American experience with diversity? Just some questions I thought about during the institute. And, hey, summer has started, so time for a new research project, right?!
Interested in efforts to ensure access to gov info? Concerned about future access to our nation’s information heritage?
Check out the special issue pre-prints from Against the Grain from the issue that Shari Laster and I edited. The issue covers a wide range of topics, including the Data Refuge initiative, the End of Term Presidential ArchiveEnd of Term Presidential Archive, the PEGI Project and much more! We even have Canada!
Big thanks to Shari for agreeing to edit with me and to all the authors for being great colleagues!
It’s the big day for Love Data Week! Today I am featuring a few of my favorite tools using my own qualitative dataset.
I am working on my PhD in History and, although I am still early in my program, I began research for my dissertation this year. I am currently examining a set of petitions sent to the U.S. Congress that were calling for action during the Armenian massacres of the 1890s. Instead of just reading through and taking notes in Word, I decided to collect information systematically so that I can use the data for a potential digital humanities project.
As I read through, I collected the dates, locations, types of meetings, representatives, and then notes on the language used in the petition. I originally entered the information in Excel because I needed to finish a short paper, but I am switching to a Qualtrics form for final analysis. I still need to test it out and make sure it will work for my questions. I mocked this up in half an hour at the most one day before I went to NARA. If you have suggestions, let me know.
Qualtrics is easy to use and a more reliable way to input data because you can control the types of fields that can be entered. For example, I am interested in changes over time, so I can control both the date fields and the congressional information and avoid input error. Moreover, the data can be exported easily and analyzed in any software. Because I have a large set of petitions, using a system like this is absolutely necessary and more reliable for counts and a broad overview than just taking notes on the petitions.
Once I had a starting set, I used OpenRefine to clean up some fields. OpenRefine is a much easier and more reliable tool for cleaning data than Excel. For example, in my spreadsheet I was collecting information about the specific representative to whom the petitions were sent. Again, I want to know about this issue over time, so I’d like to see if individuals were receiving specific petitions multiple times and if they got petitions on other issues. But as you can see from this picture, the handwriting is not often legible. This is actually one of the easiest to read. As such, because I was inputting data under a deadline, some of the names of legislators are inconsistent (see the image below). I can use OpenRefine to easily and quickly clean fields. So, for example, all the fields with Fletcher, Minn can quickly become Fletcher, MN. Also, if I have trouble making out someone’s name on one petition but can see their state, I can use OpenRefine to give me clues as to the name from other petitions.
The tool can do much more than this. Definitely worth checking out for spreadsheet cleaning!
After I cleaned up my spreadsheet, I mapped the petition origination locations just for fun. I used Google Fusion Tables because we have GAFE at UNCG and I wanted to test it versus ArcGIS Online. For simple mapping, it is quite helpful and easy to use. As long as it can recognize location fields (City, State for example), it will try to map the data. I used this to get a sense of where the petitions were coming from. While I thought I knew because I read each one, it was difficult to get a sense of geography after reading over 200 petitions. I assumed most would be from the Northeast, but I was surprised by the actual geographic spread. Of course, a lot more could be done with this. For example, the size of bubbles could be changed depending on the number of petitions from a location.
Next, I did some basic text visualization using Voyant to explore the themes. I uploaded parts of the petition that referred to the role of the state (my research question) just to explore. You can do several things with Voyant for basic text mining, but the word clouds are always fun. You can also see the most frequently used words. In this case they were government (24), Turkish (20), people (19), humanity (18), right (17). Again this was a subset of my petitions (only one column), but it gives you the idea of what you could do just starting out.
I’ve also played around some with Atlas.ti for my documents that are not petitions, especially my primary source newspapers. I haven’t done much with that yet, but I love the iPad version of Atlas.ti and can see it as being useful later on when I have a larger set of primary documents to work with. It is mostly used for qualitative data work in the social sciences, but if you are a historian working with Atlas.ti, Nvivo, or Dedoose, PLEASE get in touch with me. I would love to have some use case scenarios.
Eventually I would also like to do some basic network analysis using Gephi but my data is not ready for that. And of course I could never go anywhere without my Zotero library that provides immediate access to all of my secondary sources and some primary documents! Yes, that is data too!
Historians wanting to do more systematic examinations of their “data” sets of primary documents should check out the Programming Historian. You can do a lot of analysis now that you couldn’t do even five years ago, but you need to start by collecting and managing the information systematically. If you would like tips on doing this, please contact me and we can talk through your project!
In honor of Love Data Week, here’s a shout out to one of my favorite data archives/resources.
Many social scientists are familiar with ICPSR, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, but faculty may not always keep up with the new goodies at the archive. Since I became a data librarian in 2007, ICPSR has expanded its resources widely to include a wealth of training materials. Along with its Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, ICPSR also has a variety of modules for teaching and learning about data, data concepts, social science concepts, and more. My favorite tool is the Social Science Variables Database that allows users to search for variables in the major data studies, about 76% of ICPSR’s holdings. In addition to isolating data studies with specific, required variables, the tool allows users to examine the questions being asked across data studies. ICPSR has much more in its expansive offerings, especially for members of its consortium. Definitely worth a look and some love!
In honor of Love Data Week I am going to do a series of posts on my favorite data resources/tools. I am a data connector, meaning my primary job is to connect people with the data they need. Because of the proliferation of tools and resources, it can be difficult to choose and find great sources. I also often work with newer data users, so I have to figure out ways to lower barriers to using data of all kinds. I can’t do it alone so I rely on a network of professionals to help me learn about new tools and think up lesson plans.
Many professional organizations out there support data librarians and other data professionals. I wish I could be involved with all of them, but only so much time in the day and bucks in my bank account. My favorite data organization is undoubtedly IASSIST, one of the first international data organizations. This group has been around since the 1970s and brings together data professionals of all types, from metadata specialists to programmers to librarians. Although its traditional focus is social sciences, IASSIST has branched out lately and its annual conference includes sessions on GIS, qualitative data, and much more. The conference this year is in Montreal, and we are joining forces with the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives. Conference registration will open up soon, so I encourage you to consider attending if you love data!
In telling our data stories (one of the themes of #lovedata18), I always remember that I am not navigating my data work alone and that I can draw upon the knowledge of my colleagues. IASSIST provides a forum for immediate assistance through its listserv and a long term network that connects me with colleagues from Australia to Nigeria, from the Federal Reserve banks to tiny colleges in the frozen Midwest. It is definitely a data resource worth considering!
My first day on Council was awesome! The proceedings went by quickly, which is unusual apparently. We had a few items of interest, however, and much more will be discussed today at Council II.
- We approved a new ALA award for mid-career professionals called the Lois Ann Gregory-Wood Fellows Program. The award is named after Lois Ann, the ALA Council Secretariat and honors her 50 years of service at ALA. The awards will provide funding for mid-career professionals who want to be involved in ALA governance, but who do not have institutional funding. More information is forthcoming on applying and donating! I will post information as I have it.
- The Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden was approved to be given honorary ALA membership. We were all happy about that one!
- The ALA Membership Committee brought forward a resolution to adjust dues with the CPI. The resolution passed and will go before the membership on the spring 2018 ballot. Another good reason to VOTE this spring!
- The ALA Executive Director Mary W. Ghikas gave figures for the Midwinter conference attendance. As of February 10, registration was 7,894, a decrease from 8,892 last year. This is certainly an ongoing issue for Midwinter, and an issue that we will discuss at Council II today!
If you have questions or concerns for ALA, please feel free to contact me! I hope to represent NC’s interests as fully as possible, but I’d love to do that with feedback from NC librarians.