Evaluating the Information Commonsfor an Imaging CommonsMoving toward the Information Commons model to repurposethe Smith ...
Professional level equipment with staff members to assist
Opportunity to work in a space with digital and analog materials
A smart workspace to work collaboratively
courtesy of OMR Architects, West Acton, MA
Ethel Walker School Centennial Center, courtesy of OMR Architects, West Acton, MA
Information Commons, University of Nevada at Reno
BibliographyBeagle,Donald. “The Emergent Information Commons: Philosophy, Models and 21st CenturyLearning Paradigms.” Jour...
Bibliography continuedLippincott, Joan. “Information Commons: Meeting Millennials Needs.” Journal of LibraryAdministration...
VRA 2013, Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st Century Challege…
VRA 2013, Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st Century Challege…
VRA 2013, Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st Century Challege…
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VRA 2013, Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st Century Challege…

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Presented by Jon Cartledge at the Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association, April 3rd - April 6th, 2013, in Providence, Rhode Island.


Session #6: Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st century Challenges
ORGANIZERS:
• Randi Millman-Brown, Ithaca College
• Jon Cartledge, Smith College
MODERATOR: Jon Cartledge, Smith College
PRESENTERS:
• Jon Cartledge, Smith College
“Evaluating the Information Commons Model for Repurposing the Imaging Center”
• Elisa Lanzi, Smith College
“Re-imaging the Imaging Center”
• Randi Millman-Brown, Ithaca College
“Transparencies to Pixels: VRC to VRC”
• Mark Pompelia, Rhode Island School of Design
“Rebirth of Analog: How the Materials Collection Saved the Visual Resource Center”
• Caitlin Pereira, Massachusetts College of Art
“Refreshing the VR at MassArt on a Shoestring”
• Ann Whiteside, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Frances Loeb Library
“Transforming the Design Library for the 21st Century”

Endorsed by the Education Committee
Transforming visual resource libraries into modern, digital-savvy VR centers can be an exciting but complicated process. New spaces can become collaborative learning spaces for faculty and students and be on the forefront of new technologies. Speakers will present their planned or recent upgrades and remodels to show how they have utilized resources available to create new spaces with new uses, discussing topics that take the audience from space design theory to planning and practice.
Thursday April 4, 2013 9:05am - 10:25am

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  • Evaluating the Information Commons Model for an Information Commonsby Jon Cartledge 4/1/2013 A faculty member’s collection of downloaded images, the visual resource center’s portal to image databases, and links to favorite museum websites create a digital space that faculty can inhabit in their office, home or in some exotic locale. Jeffery Pomerantz and Gary Marchionini refer to in their article Digital Library as Place, as personal information space. But will this personal space replace the visual resource space? The end of public interaction for visual resources?
  • Will we consolidate to a small room with a scanner, a server and laptop for data entry and communication with our constituents over the web? Or is there another possibility, more in line with developing methods of instruction? In his article The Library as Place, Geoffrey Freeman points out that “the internet tends to isolate… the physical space of the library does the opposite.” The physical space he is referring to in the article is the “information commons” what Joan Lippencott describes as “physical spaces, hardware, software, digital and print collections and expert help (where) students can create a wide variety of projects” in her article Information Commons: Meeting Millennials Needs. Recent research on the information commons and our own experience in Smith College’s Imaging Center – a campus-wide imaging facility located in the Smith College Fine Art Building - indicate that we may already be on our way to a new use for our underutilized visual resource space. I’d like walk you through this research today, and to start my exploration by discussing three commonly described objectives for an information commons, and how Smith’s Imaging Center has made small adjustments to meet those goals:
  • The first objective is professional level equipment with staff members to assist – characterized in our space by our Epson 10000 scanner. Elizabeth Milewicz, in her article Origin and Development of Information Commons points out that a key draw for users to an information commons is equipment or software that an individual is unlikely to invest in on their own. This is echoed by Bernard Fischer in his article The Ultimate Internet Café, who adds that the library should be a place for the production of knowledge. Knowledge production is often mentioned as a key goal for an information commons, and way for a facility to prove its value to the campus. As Vandegrift and Varner state quite plainly in their article Evolving the Common, “Making stuff indicates effectively that there is work being done … to provide content to an information hungry world.” Between the faculty scanning large books for lectures, architecture students scanning plans, and budding illustrators scanning drawing for college publications, this humble, but large scanner is certainly contributing to that mission.
  • The second objective is the opportunity to work in a space with digital and analog materials as represented by the our photo collection. Elizabeth Milewicz describes the change from lecture based instruction to group oriented project instruction where the faculty act as “guide to the side” instead of “sage on the stage.” Our photo collection is frequently utilized for this kind of teaching and learning. The collection was originally designed as a study collection for art history, but this function was supplanted by our online databases and Moodle. But, the collection has had a second life as a group activity for studio students. Several times in the semester studio art faculty bring their entire class to go through the collection and find a work of art to copy. Students work with each other, the faculty member and the staff to find the best work for copying, in a mediated experience far different from a search for an image in a database in a dorm room.
  • The third objective is a smart workspace to work collaboratively, like our Large screen viewing area. In their article Breaking Down Barriers to Working and Learning, Wedge and Blackburn recommend a space that “has access to technological tools…which entice the community to gather and create.” Our large screen television was originally planned to be put near our computer workstations to allow for database instruction to small groups. Within a week of its arrival, our faculty were asking if they could reserve the TV and the work tables around it as a seminar space. We responded to the demand by creating a seminar area in the back of the IC, and it used on a regular basis by art history classes, fine art classes, and Five College meetings.So, as you can see, there are features, already in use in our current space, that the Smith Imaging Center can capitalize on and bring us closer to an information commons-type VR space. But features are only part of the puzzle. In their typically down-to-earth style, Vandegrift and Varner state “introducing new media and all other growing pains … are ill-informed developments if the librarians, paraprofessionals and support staff have not re-imagined their skill sets.” In my own case, much of my day is spent has moved beyond image production into training sessions for Photoshop and Powerpoint, handouts for scanning and creating a web presence to offer these training opportunities.
  • Finally there is an issue of the space itself. I had the opportunity to talk with Anne Draudt, from OMR Architects, in West Acton Massachusetts, who have been designing public, school and college libraries. In my interview she mentioned a couple of things that echo throughout the literature:
  • 1. Use of collaborative and quiet spaces. Ms. Draudt’s firm often will make a set of layers so that the most social/noisy areas are at the outermost rim of the learning commons with spaces for more concentrated work as you move further in.2. In general the most desirable feature is flexibility so that the space can be reconfigured to respond to the kind of project and the type of learning involved at a given time. We seek to design good spaces in terms of daylight, circulation, and materials, with adequate space and power feeds to allow multiple configurations.
  • But would these changes in features, job responsibilities and architectural space actually rejuvenate our mission, or follow another empty trend to an empty VR space?
  • Donald Beagle states that “a media booth does not turn a student into a scholar,” in his article The Emergent Information Commons, but these ”elements combined with a re-conceptualized service framework projected onto a reconfigured library floor plan… become something greater than the constituent parts.” Howard Shill and Shawn Tonner’s study Does Building Still Matter: Usage Pattern in New and Renovated Libraries, “showed that of those who refurbished or rebuilt their library about 80% saw a significant increase in users, provided the improvements included things like workspaces, good connectivity and quality instruction areas. As to what these users are doing as they return, Bernard Frisher offers this interesting statistic from the ARL -- while circulation fell 7% (presumably for books) group presentations went up 61%. Perhaps the same will be said for our VR spaces in the future.
  • VRA 2013, Redesigning Visual Resource Facilities for 21st Century Challege…

    1. 1. Evaluating the Information Commonsfor an Imaging CommonsMoving toward the Information Commons model to repurposethe Smith College Imaging CenterJon Cartledge, Digital Imaging Specialist, Imaging Center, Smith College
    2. 2. Professional level equipment with staff members to assist
    3. 3. Opportunity to work in a space with digital and analog materials
    4. 4. A smart workspace to work collaboratively
    5. 5. courtesy of OMR Architects, West Acton, MA
    6. 6. Ethel Walker School Centennial Center, courtesy of OMR Architects, West Acton, MA
    7. 7. Information Commons, University of Nevada at Reno
    8. 8. BibliographyBeagle,Donald. “The Emergent Information Commons: Philosophy, Models and 21st CenturyLearning Paradigms.” Journal of Library Administration, 52:6-7 (14 September 2012) 518-537. Print.Bennett, Scott. "Righting the Balance," Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space. Councilon Library and Information Resources, Washington DC, February, 2005. Print.Bussell, Richard. "Technology in the Information Commons." A Field Guide to the InformationCommons. Eds. Charles Forrest and Martin Halbert. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press Inc., 2009. PrintDraudt, Anne, OMR Architects. Personal interview. 12 Oct. 2011Elmborg , James K. "Libraries as the Spaces Between Us: Recognizing and Valuing the Third Space."Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50.4 (Summer 2011) 338-354. Print .Freeman , Geoffrey T. "The Library as Place: Changes in Learning Patterns, Collections, Technologyand Use." Library as Place: Rethinking Roles, Rethinking Space. Council on Library and InformationResources, Washington DC, February, 2005. Print.Frischer, Bernard. "The Ultimate Internet Cafe: Reflections of a Practicing Digital Humanist aboutDesigning a Future for the Research Library in the Digital Age." Library as Place: Rethinking Roles,Rethinking Space. Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington DC, February, 2005.Print.Lippincott, Joan." Information Commons: Surveying the Landscape." A Field Guide to the InformationCommons. Eds. Charles Forrest and Martin Halbert. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press Inc., 2009. Print
    9. 9. Bibliography continuedLippincott, Joan. “Information Commons: Meeting Millennials Needs.” Journal of LibraryAdministration, 52:6-7 (14 September 2012) 538-548. Print.Milewicz, Elizabeth. "Origin and Development of the Information Commons in Academic Libraries."A Field Guide to the Information Commons. Eds. Charles Forrest and Martin Halbert. Lanham, MD:Scarecrow Press Inc., 2009. PrintPomerantz, Jeffrey and Gary Marchionini, "The Digital Library as Place," Journal of Documentation63.4, (2007): 505-533. PrintShill, Harold and Shawn Tonner, "Creating a Better Place: Physical Improvements in AcademicLibraries, 1995-2002." College and Research Libraries 64.6 (November, 2003): 431-466. PrintShill, Harold and Shawn Tonner, " Does the Building Still Matter? Usage Patterns in New, Expanded,and Renovated Libraries, 1995-2002" College and Research Libraries 65.2 (March, 2004): 123-150.PrintVandegrift, Micah and Stewart Varner. “Evolving in Common: Creating Mutually SupportiveRelationship Between Libraries and the Digital Humanities.” Journal of Library Administration, 53:1(25 January 2013) 67-78. Print.Wedge, Carole C., and Janette S. Blackburn. "Breaking Down Barriers to Working and Learning:Challenges and Issues in Designing an Information Commons." A Field Guide to the InformationCommons. Eds. Charles Forrest and Martin Halbert. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press Inc., 2009. Print

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