Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N10) Information Literacy, John LeCarre, Data Visulization Exhibit + More

Teaching information literacy matters most to academic librarians(Chronicle)
Whether they work at a big research university, a small four-year college, or something in between, academic-library directors share a “resounding dedication” to teaching information literacy to undergraduates. Beyond that, the priorities they set for their libraries depend on the size and nature of their institutions and how many (or few) resources they have to work with.
Those findings come out of a 2013 survey of American library directors, released on Tuesday by Ithaka S+R US. That’s the consulting and research arm of the nonprofit Ithaka group, which works on “transformative uses of new technologies in higher education.”
The survey went out to heads of academic libraries at all four-year colleges and universities in the United States; 499, or 33 percent, responded, according to the survey report’s authors, Matthew P. Long and Roger C. Schonfeld.

There's a bio of John LeCarre coming and here is a preview from The Observer:
With Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, (1974), originally titled "The Eternal Autumn of George Smiley", le Carré became the storyteller of the national myth and the master of moral complexity in the looking-glass world of secret conflict. Smiley, who is partly based on Bingham but also on the Sherborne chaplain and le Carré's Oxford tutor Vivian HH Green, joined the immortals of English fiction such as Sherlock Holmes and Bertie Wooster. Le Carré, who cherishes the work of PG Wodehouse, takes an almost Victorian satisfaction from watching his characters become braided into the imagination of the ordinary British reader.
Smiley and "the Circus" of MI6 have a threefold appeal. First, by an extraordinary sleight of hand, le Carré contrived to make a fictive world seem tangible and real, what he has called "a spook world better suited to my needs". So potent was his art that former colleagues in MI5 and MI6 began to adopt his invented lingo of "lamplighters", "moles", "ferrets", "pavement artists", and the rest. Unconsciously, no doubt, his devoted readers became complicit with his fabrications. In his 2008 essay The Madness of Spies, he wrote of doing "a sort of Tolkien job" on his experience. Thus, he said, it was his fantasy to dream "the Great Spy's Dream" [of being] "at the Spies' Big table, playing the world's game". Needless to add, he has occasionally asserted the exact opposite.
British Library exhibit on the power of data visulization (NS):
A new exhibition at the British Library – its first ever science-based display – showcases some of the most striking visualisations of scientific data. One of the highlights is Florence Nightingale’s rose diagram, the graphic showing how dirty hospitals were killing more soldiers than the Crimean battles that had put them there.
Visualisation has always been vital to scientific progress. We are far better at spotting patterns or anomalies in pictures than in tables of numbers. The economists Arthur Briggs Farquhar and Henry Farquhar summed this up in 1891. “A heavy bank of figures is grievously wearisome to the eye,” they wrote, “and the popular mind is as incapable of drawing any useful lessons from it as of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers.”
When Crick and Watson were struggling to work out the structure of DNA, it wasn’t a table with a list of atomic co-ordinates that gave them the insight they needed; it was Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray crystallography. Her images provided a pictorial interpretation of the way DNA’s molecules are arranged in a double helix, and garnered Crick and Watson (though not Franklin) a Nobel prize.
 From Twitter
Breaking Out of the Library Mold, in Boston and Beyond
Publishing Lives - A New Series begins March 10th

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