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Approaches to using archival and special collections in information literacy programmes: experiences at Maynooth University - Barbara McCormack

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Approaches to using archival and special collections in information literacy programmes: experiences at Maynooth University - Barbara McCormack

  1. 1. Approaches to using archival and special collections in information literacy programmes: Experiences at Maynooth University Barbara McCormack LILAC 2015
  2. 2. Outline • Special collections – instruction, primary sources, space • Maynooth University Library – Russell & JPII Libraries • Aspects of special collections instruction • Learning outcomes • Undergraduate instruction & case study • Postgraduate instruction & case study • Conclusion • References Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  3. 3. Special collections & teaching • Special collections librarians and archivists are typically involved in the following teaching delivery and support activities: – Facilitating access to information – Conducting reference interviews – Developing lesson plans – Facilitating orientation – Delivering course-based instruction • The main focus of information literacy instruction in this regard is: – The identification and evaluation of primary sources – The development of research skills and critical analysis of sources Magia G. Krause, 2010 Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  4. 4. Using primary sources Primary source instruction enables the development of transferable skills including: • Critical thinking and analysis • Evaluation of sources • Teamwork and communication • Ability to construct evidence- based arguments Anne Bahde, 2014 Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  5. 5. Teaching sessions • “When the goal of a course-specific library workshop is to bring the research process alive, the instruction cannot be a simple lecture.” Roberts & Taormina, 2013 • Potential for dynamic sessions with practical, hands-on elements • Facilitates active learning approaches Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  6. 6. The learning space • Hubbard and Lotts (2013) suggest that information literacy practitioners can use Special Collections to engage with students through “hands-on experience, and the act of leaving the classroom to visit a new space” • Maynooth University is very fortunate to have two unique spaces for Special Collections: the historic Russell Library and the recently extended John Paul II Library Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  7. 7. Maynooth University Library Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  8. 8. Russell Library • Research library with collections spanning ten centuries • Houses the historical collections of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth • Pugin designed reading room completed in 1861 • 34,000 printed works (1470-1850) • 2,500 Bibles (in 600 languages) • 12,000 pamphlets • 50,000+ archival documents • 300+ Gaelic manuscripts Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  9. 9. John Paul II Library • New state-of-the-art reading room and environmentally controlled secure store area • Houses the historical collections of Maynooth University • Approx. 3,600 rare and early printed works (pre-1850) • Approx. 4,500 printed works (post-1850) • Over 1,000 pamphlets • Extensive archival collections Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  10. 10. Aspects of special collections instruction Tours Subject specific lectures Workshops and demonstrations Exhibitions and events Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  11. 11. Learning outcomes Collection skills • Handling techniques • Consultation process • Analysis of formats • Preservation and conservation Research skills • Identifying sources • Critical evaluation • Finding aids • Primary vs. secondary sources Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  12. 12. Undergraduate instruction Manuscript to Print Maps in History Practising History Literature and Society in Seventeenth Century Ireland Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  13. 13. Undergraduate instruction – case study • ID004 : ‘Cultural heritage & the Irish literary tradition’ • Certificate for Irish Cultural Heritage • 5 credit module delivered by School of Celtic Studies with input from the Library • Topics include: – Manuscript production and tradition – Illumination and other decoration – Manuscript writing Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  14. 14. ID004 Library instruction Week Topic Week One Calligraphy demonstration and workshop in the Russell Library with renowned Irish calligrapher Tim O’Neill Week Two Lecture delivered by special collections librarian relating to manuscript tradition and physical characteristics Week Three Supervised consultation of Gaelic manuscripts and submission of assignments Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  15. 15. ID004 Assessment questions Space • What were your general impressions of the Russell Library? • What kind of collections are housed there? Item • What manuscript did you look at? • What kind of access did you have to it? Analysis • Did you find any evidence of conservation repairs? • Was the text written on paper or parchment? Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  16. 16. Postgraduate instruction History of Irish Theatre Production MLITT Research Tutorial Research Methodologies & Thesis Preparation Introduction to Palaeography Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  17. 17. Postgraduate instruction – case study • HY618: ‘Book Collections in Archives’ • Delivered by Mr. Hugh Murphy, Senior Librarian, Collection Management Services and Ms. Barbara McCormack, Assistant Librarian, Special Collections & Archives • 5 Credit module as part of the MA Historical Archives • Level 9 (Masters) • 12 lecture hours including practical sessions onsite and one offsite visit • Planned learning activities 12 hours and independent student activities 12 hours Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  18. 18. HY618 Class schedule Date Topic Week 1 (i) Introduction (ii) Manuscript tradition Week 2 (i) History of Print (ii) Printing in Ireland Week 3 Practical ‘hands-on’ session Week 4 Visit to Dublin City Library & Archive, National Print Museum Week 5 Resource Description for Print Week 6 (i) Curatorial Roles – Print to online (ii) Review Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  19. 19. HY618 Module aims This module aims to: • Foster an understanding and appreciation of rare and unique collections • Develop navigational skills in terms of finding aids and catalogues • Equip students with resource description skills • Facilitate the evaluation of printed items in archival collections • Enable a comprehensive analysis of physical characteristics of different formats (manuscript, print, and archival) Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  20. 20. HY618 Learning outcomes • Understand the key stages in the development of print and its relationship with manuscript and incunabula • Understand the key stages in the tradition of print in Ireland • Differentiate between the different types of catalogues (traditional and electronic formats) • Create a bibliographic record to a level appropriate to that item and to the repository in which it is held Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  21. 21. Pamphlet assignment • Students are asked to select an 18th or 19th century pamphlet in the English language from Library collections • Students consult their chosen pamphlet in Special Collections • A short report is written outlining: – Bibliographic information – Provenance – Physical condition • Involves an analysis of both the physical object and associated finding aid(s) Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  22. 22. Incunabula assignment Students are asked to consult an early printed work and write a short report noting some or all of the following: – Decoration and illustration – Annotations – Shelf-marks – Binding – Claps and ties – General condition Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  23. 23. Exhibition assignment Students are asked to visit an exhibition and write a short report on the following aspects: – Exhibition themes – Target audience – Promotion of the exhibition – Case labels – Exhibition layout – Floor plan(s) – Catalogues or handouts Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library
  24. 24. Resource description assignment • Part 1: students are asked to write a report discussing the following: – Impact of resource description on findability and promotion – Merits of hybrid cataloguing – Difference between primary and secondary sources • Part 2: students are asked to analyse a series of bibliographic records and identify various MARC fields Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library © Maynooth University Library https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/library Photo courtesy of Alan Monahan
  25. 25. Conclusion • Special collections librarians and archivists are educators as well as facilitators • Primary source material provides opportunities for active learning in terms of library instruction • Special collections librarians can collaborate with subject librarians to deliver IL programmes • Information literacy sessions in special collections can be delivered as ‘one-off’ sessions or a series of lectures, workshops, and tours over a semester or academic year • Further study is needed in terms of the impact of special collections instruction Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library
  26. 26. References • Bahde, A 2014, ‘The History Labs: Integrating Primary Source Literacy Skills into a History Survey Course’, Journal of Archival Organization, 11, 3-4, pp. 175-204, DOI: 10.1080/15332748.2013.951254 • Hubbard, MA and Lotts, M 2013, ‘Special Collections, Primary Resources, and Information Literacy Pedagogy’, Communications in Information Literacy, 7, 1. • Krause, MG 2010, '"It Makes History Alive for them": the Role of Archivists and Special Collections Librarians in Instructing Undergraduates', Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 36, 5, pp. 401-411, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 March 2015. • Lee Roberts, R and Taormina, M 2013, ‘Collaborative Co-Design for Library Workshops’, Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 32, 1, pp. 46-56, DOI: 10.1080/01639269.2013.755875 Barbara McCormack, Maynooth University Library

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