Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture
Assessment Librarian at Indiana University
"Discovering Information: Investigations Into How Students Search"
Friday, September 19, 2014
Gordon H. Smith Hall, Albany Quadrangle
Andrew Asher is the Assessment Librarian at Indiana University Bloomington, where he leads the libraries' qualitative and quantitative assessment programs and conducts research on the information practices of students and faculty. Asher's most recent projects have examined how "discovery" search tools influence undergraduates' research processes, how students locate, evaluate, and utilize information on research assignments, and how university researchers manage and preserve their research data.
Prior to joining Indiana University, Asher was the Digital Initiatives Coordinator and Scholarly Communications Officer at Bucknell University, where he managed the library's open access and scholarly communication initiatives, including the passage of an institutional open access mandate.
From 2008-2010, Asher was the Lead Research Anthropologist for the Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) project, a two-year study of student research processes at five Illinois universities and the largest ethnographic study of libraries undertaken to date.
An ethnographer and anthropologist by vocation, Asher holds a PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has written and presented widely on using ethnography in academic libraries, including the co-edited volume, College Libraries and Student Cultures (ALA Editions, 2012). He also currently writing a methodological handbook for librarians on developing and implementing anthropological and other qualitative research methods in libraries.
In addition to his work in academic libraries, Asher conducts research on the meanings and practices of citizenship in Poland, Germany and the European Union.
In today's networked information environment, effectively searching for and locating information are critical digital literacy skills. Unfortunately, while university students have a variety of powerful search tools at their disposal, they often lack a sufficient understanding how these tools work, as well as their strengths and limitations. Using qualitative and quantitative data collected from students at several universities, this presentation will examine the practices and processes of students as they locate information across a variety of search platforms, and will critically evaluate the potential for bias to be introduced into these processes. This presentation will describe how students' expectations engender search behaviors that privilege the role of the search tool itself in evaluating information quality, making students vulnerable to biases embedded within search systems. Working under the assumption that a truly "neutral" search system is a logical and technical impossibility, this presentation will then examine the types of social values tacitly embedded within search tools, and will evaluate how these values affect the experience of student researchers and how they may be subtlety structuring students' knowledge acquisition.
Aubrey R. Watzek Library
Lewis & Clark
July 1993-September 1998
The Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture in Library Service was established in 1999 by James J. Kopp to commemorate the contributions and legacies of a respected friend, colleague, and champion of service.
Known for her warm smile, her boundless energy, vitality, and drive, her compassion and friendliness to all creatures great and small, and her devotion to service in all its connotations, Johannah Sherrer was a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a leader, and a champion of libraries.
Johannah came to Lewis & Clark in 1993 from Duke University where she served as Head of Reference. She held positions as Coordinator of Reference Services and Collection Development and then Director of Public Services at the University of Northern Colorado. She worked at the University of Dayton from 1970 to 1979, initially as Reference Librarian and then as Head of Reference. She received her MSLS from the University of Kentucky, an MA in History from the University of Dayton, and her BA degree from the University of Portland.
Johannah authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters and was a frequent speaker and panelist at library conferences. She chaired the ALA's Professional Ethics Committee and several other committees at the national, regional, and state levels.
If you are interested in contributing to the Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture Fund, you can do so through the College's Online Giving Form.
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Previous Sherrer Lecture Presentations
2013 -- "What Librarians and Faculty Should Know about Today's Students and Their Research Practices"
Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy
2012 -- "Coming Soon to Campus: The New "Free Agent" Learner - Are You Ready?"
Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow
2011 -- "Forward Thinking: Aligning Library Services with Faculty Needs"
Roger C. Schonfeld, ITHAKA S+R
2010 -- "Think with Me: The Possibilities of
Public Conversations in Cultural Institutions"
Dr. David Carr, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2009 -- "Straws In the Wind: Emerging Models of Library Service"
Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, University of Washington
2008 -- "Aligning Academic Libraries with Real User Needs"
Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester
2007 -- "A Convergence of Pathways: Re-imagining Image Collections for Tomorrow's Teachers and Learners"
Elisa Lanzi, Smith College
2006 -- "Peering Through the Net: Student Perspectives on the Net Generation--A Panel Presentation"
Craig Beebe, Tyler Caffall, Charlotte Helmer, Mahria Lebow, Mindy Ross, Eric Valentine
2004 -- "On the Same Path: Faculty, Librarians, and IT Collaboration"
Susan L. Perry, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Council on Library and Information Resources
2003 -- "The Changing Face of Service: A Panel Presentation"
Patricia Cutright, Victoria Hanawalt, John Helmer, Elaine Heras, Scott Smith
2002 -- "Service in a Collaborative Way"
Joan K. Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information
2001 -- "The Importance of Being Learned"
Elizabeth A. Dupuis, University of Texas
2000 -- "The Fate of Service in an Increasingly Digital and Commercial World"
Jerry D. Campbell, University of Southern California
1999 -- "Service in a Complex Future"
Walt Crawford, Research Libraries Group