Archive for August, 2013

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Information Fluency Workshop: Center for Hellenic Studies

August 30, 2013

(I wanted to title this post “What I did on my summer vacation,” but I figured that would not be very helpful for the search engines out there.)

In July I had the privilege of spending 10 days teaching a workshop on information fluency in classical studies at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC.  It was an incredible luxury to explore a topic in such depth, when in the past I have had at most an hour and a half to reach a group of students! I am very grateful to Kenny Morrell, who invited me to teach this class; Lanah Koelle, our program coordinator/librarian who contributed her expertise at every stage; Allie Marby, CHS’s summer interns, and librarians Temple Wright and Erika Bainbridge, who attended sessions and supported us at CHS, especially in the library; and most especially the workshop students, who gracefully accepted their role as guinea pigs and taught me a great deal.  The students were a mixture on American undergraduates and Greek professionals in education and information fields; each brought an inquisitive spirit and their collective hard work and openness to sharing and new ideas was a major factor in the success of the workshop. Thank you!

As a group we assembled some resources that others who are interested in this topic may find useful.  The first is a Zotero group library with folders that list the session topics. Each folder’s contents include citations for assigned readings for the session (usually fairly short, web-based readings) and citations for information resources we discussed during the session.

The students were asked to complete two assignments.  The first, the development of an annotated bibliography, is available as a Google document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cXaPqTDdOUIzI6E26SZiOFjb7a7BMzczWOfh8qXVSJc/. The second, a WordPress Research Guide, is also described in a Google document (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O3Rm8yXGlhIRPJh3PrDiMgiAgH0LiHhC44mSvq_9QNk/) and the guide itself is available via the CHS’s website.  The guide should be viewed as a work in progress; we began a project that we hope to flesh out with the participants of future workshops in years to come.

Librarians and scholars interested in libraries and archives in Greece will be delighted by Maria Konstantopoulou’s entry on this topic; Latin teachers can find many fun texts to use with beginning students in George Trapalis’ entry; Matina Goga has assembled a list of valuable links for the study of Greek society and culture; Brittany Profitt has done the same for Roman society and culture; teachers of Greek might want to think about using Tyler Verity’s entry on precisely defining words for a classroom exercise; Ashton Murphy’s entry on reading for research addresses study skills faculty may assume undergraduates possess when they arrive at college; and Vanessa Felso’s entry on latin dictionary resources is a model of clarity, useful for any undergraduate. Use them, and share them!

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Classics Lives at the Public Library

August 8, 2013

This is just a short note to mention that I started working at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County as the Grants Resource Librarian, a part of the Information and Reference Department, in mid-April.  I’ve learned all sorts of new things working in a large urban public library, but one thing that I’ve been surprised by is how regularly patrons ask for information about classical topics!  In the less than four months I’ve worked here my classics-related contacts have included:

  • a patron interested in Greek grammars; we discussed how the Dewey call number system treats ancient Greek language materials in some detail
  • a patron interested in teaching himself Aramaic
  • a patron, aged 13, looking for an ancient Greek dictionary
  • two 7th graders looking for works on specific buildings in Rome (Cincinnati’s magnet high school, Walnut Hills High School, has a very well-regarded mandatory latin program; I turned out to know their teacher)
  • a high school student looking for research on the Trojan war
  • a patron who wanted latin learning materials (apparently for self-teaching) and a text to work with (I was only passing by on this one, but I think we set him up with a Loeb of Caesar’s Gallic Wars)
  • a patron wanting text-book style overviews of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilization (who was reading for pleasure and self-education and mentioned that decades ago she had read the entirety of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall!)

Pretty impressive, right?  Despite crotchety commentary in the press and online about how public libraries are only interested in serving entertainment and pablum to the public, I can attest that we are also promoting classical studies!