A Mid-Semester Retrospective

It’s been a little over two months since I started my MLIS degree at the iSchool, and I have more questions than ever. In spite of feeling full of questions, I have discovered an avenue of librarianship that intrigues me. During week 2, I was introduced to Briet’s perspective, where documents include the unexpected, such as live animals being observed by humans. To Briet, anything that documents humanity, whether it be in a traditional paper/stone format or not, is considered a document (Buckland, 1997). By extending the definition of what a document is, of what information is, also impacts users and access. It impacts users as the massive influx in information may cause users to feel overwhelmed and become unable to filter through all the information thrown their way. Information overload negatively impacts information literacy and users’ ability to absorb information (Bawden, 2009). Why am I mentioning this since I didn’t write about it in any of my learning journals? Well, understanding what impacts patrons’ ability to access and absorb information ties well into the overall themes that I have been exploring. Those themes are accessibility (through discoverability of resources and through accessing titles for folks from minority groups) and the sustainability of digital texts. Sustainability of digital texts ties into access because if the information stored in a digital format is as vulnerable to disappearing as those explored in class (Barone, 2009), then that information is at risk of not being accessible to the users of the future.

My first learning journal looked at the availability of Latinx texts (pulled from BookieCharm’s 2019 Latinx recommendation list) across two library platforms: hoopla digital and overdrive. I first considered the discoverability after reading Spencer’s (2019) “Creating a Culture of Use”. Generally, I like to explore concepts by applying them to projects. An aspect that I hadn’t examined in my learning journal, which could be a way of measuring use, is to look at the amount of holds/wait period. I also didn’t realize that, when I was trying to look at the steps that my local library had taken to inform users of the library’s electronic features, I was looking at a LibGuide.

I explored measures being taken to steward (Sheffield, 2016) and preserve digital information (Houghton, 2016) in my second learning journal. I also began questioning what measures were being taken to decide what was worth persevering and what was not worth persevering. How much time is being taken to consider each piece of information (Teper, 2014), and perhaps more importantly, who is making those decisions? What is their frame of reference for making decisions on what to digitize? How do they decide what items to digitize when weeding to reduce their physical collection to allow for more community spaces (Barbakoff, 2017)? Could there be a push for workshops and further daily self-education to help us as librarians to identify our biases for better stewardship of the information we have access to and to better propagate that material, when appropriate?

The impact of bias on information access and retrieval is a topic that has concerned and continues to concern me. Before starting graduate school, I believed that social media could be a way for libraries could better connect with the communities that they serve and better understand what our communities want and need. I also viewed social media space as a place to make users aware of library services that they might not initially expect. When week 6 began discussing metadata, I became very interested in explorations of tagging. At first, I wasn’t sure if tagging would be included under the umbrella of metadata. Pomerantz (2015) article helped me understand how all-surround and impactful metadata is our everyday lives, but Elings (2007) showed me how metadata doesn’t always take the same format depending on the type of institution. While this may seem like something intuitive, it wasn’t for me. I’m still wrapping my mind around the concept of metadata, and this curiosity is what has driven me to focus two learning journals (3 & 4) around it.

The impact of bias on information access and retrieval is a topic that has concerned and continues to concern me. Before starting graduate school, I believed that social media could be a way for libraries could better connect with the communities that they serve and better understand what our communities want and need. I also viewed social media space as a place to make users aware of library services that they might not initially expect. When week 6 began discussing metadata, I became very interested in explorations of tagging. At first, I wasn’t sure if tagging would be included under the umbrella of metadata. Pomerantz (2015) article helped me understand how all-surround and impactful metadata is our everyday lives, but Elings (2007) showed me how metadata doesn’t always take the same format depending on the type of institution. While this may seem like something intuitive, it wasn’t for me. I’m still wrapping my mind around the concept of metadata, and this curiosity is what has driven me to focus two learning journals (3 & 4) around it.

Both of these journals centered around the idea that user-generated tags, could potentially address where the traditionally controlled vocabulary has some inherent biases and gaps in access points. Some of these biases were discussed in week 8’s reading. Adler’s (2017) article examined the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSHs) being born out of the 19th century, where discussion of eugenics and sterilization of disabled folks were commonplace. Howard’s (2018) article pointed out the racist placement of LCSHs and the limited amount of subject headings concerning African Americans. Howard (2018) also examined the limited amount of LCSHs concerning LGBTQ+ texts.

In journal 3, I sought to understand better there was research on user-tags compared to a more traditional controlled vocabulary. I was able to locate an article that compared LCSHs to LibraryThing user tags (DeZelar-Tiedman, 2011). Both DeZelar-Tiedman and Rafferty (2018), point out that the greater the number of user-generated tags, the more reliable the tags. Gross (2016) pointed out the many flaws of eliminating controlled vocabluary and stated that user-generated tags have many redundancies (personal tags, spelling errors). Having read the Gross (2016) and Hedden, I wanted to take a closer look at user-generated tags. Having seen book-related tags on Instagram and different “shelf” tags on GoodReads, I decided to compare them to the LCSHs. For one reason or the other, hands-on activities like the GoodReads to Instagram to LCSHs comparison of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi and Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds help me absorb information.

Moving forward, I’d like to look at more examples of metadata in action. I’m finding myself gravitating more and more toward information organization and cataloging. I want to understand the pre-existing framework that has been used to organize information. I also want to learn about alternative systems of organizations, like Mukurtu CMS (Christen, 2017). Understanding metadata is crucial as our daily lives become increasingly digital and as the information we receive becomes increasingly filtered depending on how we query the system and based on our pre-existing preferences and biases, however unacknowledged.

References

Barbakoff, A. (2017). Balancing connections and collections. Library Journal. September 15. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=balancing-connections-collections-library-design.

Barone, F.; Zeitlyn, D.; Majer-Schönberger, V. (2015). Learning from failure: The case of the disappearing website. First Monday 20(5). Retrieved from: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5852/4456

Bawden, D.; Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: Overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. Journal of Information Science 35(2): 180-191. 

Buckland, M. K. (1997). “What is a “document”? Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48(9): 804-809. Retrieved from: http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~buckland/whatdoc.html

Charm, B. (2019, August 25). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oS3rSAM9_M

Christen, K. (2017, July 13). We have never been neutral: Search, discovery, and the politics of access. OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/rMd6-IS3cmU

Connaway, L. S.; Powell, R. R. (2010). Chapter 3. Selecting the research method. In Basic Research Methods for Librarians. 5th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 71-106. 

DeZelar-Tiedman, C. (2011). Exploring user-contributed metadata’s potential to enhance access to literary works. Library Resources and Technical Services, 55 (4), 221-233. Retrieved from: https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84860126184&doi=10.5860%2flrts.55n4.221&partnerID=40&md5=8ed263cd72a666e256b92c96be06901b

Elings, M. W.; Waibel, G. (2007). Metadata for all: Descriptive standards and metadata sharing across libraries, archives, and museums. First Monday 12(3). Retrieved from: http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1628/1543

Emezi, A. (2019). Pet (First ed.). New York: Make Me a World.

Gross, T.; Taylor, A. G.; Joudrey, D. N. (2015). Still a lot to lose: The role of controlled vocabulary in keyword searching. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53(1): 1-39.

Hedden, H. (2016). Chapter 1. What are taxonomies? The Accidental Taxonomist. 2nd ed. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 16-32.

Houghton, B. (2016). Preservation challenges in the digital age. D-Lib Magazine 22(7/8). Retrieved from: http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july16/houghton/07houghton.html

Howard, S. A.; Knowlton, S. A. (2018). Browsing through bias: The Library of Congress Classification and Subject Headings for African American studies and LGBTQIA studies. Library Trends 67(1): 74-88. 

Pomerantz, J. (2015). Chapter 1. Introduction. In: Metadata. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1-18. 

Rafferty, P. (2018). Tagging. Knowledge Organization 45(6): 500-516. 

Reynolds, J., Nabaum, A., & Reynolds, J. (2019). Look both ways : A tale told in ten blocks (First ed.). New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Sheffield, R. T. (2016). More than acid-free folders: extending the concept of preservation to include the stewardship of unexplored histories. Library Trends 64(3): 572-584. 

Spencer, K. (2019). Creating a culture of use. Against the Grain. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/31SEHol 

Teper, J. H. (2014). Selection for preservation: a survey of current practices in the field of preservation. Library Resources & Technical Services 58(4): 220-232. Retrieved from: http://www.library.illinois.edu.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/proxy/go.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edswss&AN=000346756100002&site=eds-live&scope=site 

Comparison of LCSH, Instagram usertags, and GoodReads usertags

For this present learning journal, I would like to explore the differences and similarities in the LCSH, Instagram user-driven tags, and GoodReads user-driven tags. Similar comparative research has been done previously using other social media platforms. Rafferty (2018) has written a thorough and informative survey of the literature. The texts that I will select will be the shortlisted National Book Prize nominees. I initially want to do this for the fiction, nonfiction, translated literature, poetry, and young adult shortlists, but the timing of such a project does not work with my current schedule. Instead, I will be looking at the young adult shortlist as there is a strong presence of young adult readers on social media. Admittedly, these texts may not have as many tags as titles released before 2019, but I am hoping that the prize attention had more folks adding them to their shelves/to-be-read pile. Through this exploration, I hope to have a better grasp of LCSH, how professional indexers choose LCSH, and how that differs from users. I will be pulling the LCSH from my local libraries catalog, and then I will be comparing it to the top 30 non-personal (Hedden, 2016) tags on GoodReads. I selected the number 30 because this is what DeZelar-Tiedman (2011) used when comparing LCSH and LibraryThing. For Instagram, it will be somewhat more complicated as Instagram does not allow users to see the entirety of tags associated with a given hashtag. I think that for Instagram, due to time constraints, I will compare the tags related to the top ten posts.

The shortlist for the National Book Prize, Young Adult Fiction Portion

Immediately, I am aware that, even with just five texts, this may be more time consuming than I had anticipated. The number of redundancies in the GoodReads tags are far higher than I had expected, even after reading Gross’s (2015) paper. The distinction between a YA text and a middle-grade text seems lost on a lot of readers; some also include ya-mg as a tag. How does one know which tags to consider, and which to exclude?

I disregarded tags that had to do with format (audiobook, kindle, ebook, hardback, etc.). I also excluded multiple date-related tags, tags related to the appearance of the book, marketing-related tags, and tags that relate to the reader’s love of books. Oddly, for Look Both Ways, the tag middle-grade was tagged 50 times, whereas young adult was tagged 20 times.

Photos of top ten post tagged Awaeke Emezi that include photos of Pet

When I began looking at Instagram, the trends that I saw in the top 10 tags used on posts with Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet were not related to the book. Rather, they were related to the book community on Instagram, to book aesthetics, and to marketing pushes from the publisher. While it is arguable that the marketing post applicable, I chose not to look at them as they are less user-driven than publisher driven. There was also quite a bit of misinformation in regards to Emezi’s gender identity. Emezi is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. In certain tags, Emezi’s labeled as a black woman writer, and that is not their identity. Part of the trouble with Instagram is that it is part of a vast ecosystem, and there is no way to distinguish between posts related to a given book and posts that are related to other subjects that might use the #Pet subheading. If you search #AkwaekeEmezi, you are notified that there are 1,294 posts with this tag, but there is no way to differentiate being her different books and other posts featuring Emezi.

The GoodReads tags are more accurate. This accuracy may be the result of a higher number of users utilizing those tags, and in a way, verifying them.

When looking at the GoodReads and Instagram tags and comparing them to the LCSH, you can tell that the information conveyed by the LCSH has minimal overlap with the GoodReads/Instagram terms. The only overlap is young adult fiction and transgender people. The GoodReads/Instagram terms aren’t as specific as the LCSHs.

Look Both Ways top ten Instagram posts

I then took a look at the top ten #JasonReynolds Instagram posts that featured Look Both Ways. For one reason or another, the tags on these posted had more usable and consistent tags. There was less publishing marketing taglines on these posts as well.

The LCSHs in my library catalog for Look Both Ways isn’t as thorough as some of the other entries. It should be considered that the book isn’t available in any of the neighboring library systems, and has just been put on order in the capital’s library. Even considering this, the LCSHs are more detailed than the usertags. The most utilized tags were the ones who were put in the forfront, which is just replicating what is already happening in society.

The readings paired with this “experiment” has made me lean more towards an intermediary option. I don’t think that user tags should be discounted because I’m still hopeful that there is a way that tags could be used to broaden the existing discourses, but there needs to be some type of guidelines to make the information usable and findable.

References

DeZelar-Tiedman, C. (2011). Exploring user-contributed metadata’s potential to enhance access to literary works. Library Resources and Technical Services, 55 (4), 221-233. Retrieved from https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84860126184&doi=10.5860%2flrts.55n4.221&partnerID=40&md5=8ed263cd72a666e256b92c96be06901b

Emezi, A. (2019). Pet (First ed.). New York: Make Me a World.

Hedden, H. (2016). Chapter 1. What are taxonomies? The Accidental Taxonomist. 2nd ed. Medford, NJ: Information Today, 16-32. Retrieved from http://www.library.uiuc.edu/proxy/go.php?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=390140

Juliano, L., & Srinivasan, R. (2012). Tagging it: Considering how ontologies limit the reading of identity. International Journal of Cultural Studies15(6), 615–627. Retrieved from https://doi-org.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/10.1177/1367877912451684

Nesset, V. (2018). Indexing databases for our users, not ourselves. The Indexer 36(3): 105-109. Retrieved from http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?EbscoContent=dGJyMNHX8kSep7A4zdnyOLCmr1Gepq5Ssam4Sq6WxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGut1C3rLZNuePfgeyx43zx1%2B6B&T=P&P=AN&S=R&D=lls&K=133445368

Rafferty, P. (2018). Tagging. Knowledge Organization 45(6): 500-516. 

Reynolds, J., Nabaum, A., & Reynolds, J. (2019). Look both ways : A tale told in ten blocks (First ed.). New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Preservation & Librarianship, an inquiry

Throughout this week’s reading I found myself contemplating preservation in ways that I had never considered when I was just a reader. With Sheffield’s (2016) “More than acid-free folders: extending the concept of preservation to include the stewardship of unexplored histories,” I began to wonder if any parameters or guidance for weeding texts with the principle of stewardship had been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Creating the kind of space for social justice work that librarians and archivists hope to achieve is nevertheless much more complicated than simply broadening the collecting scope to integrate as much material as possible from previously underrepresented groups. As cultural theorist Roderick Ferguson (2012) explains, absorbing minority archives into the university creates a representational politic that might prove its progressive credentials, but this integration does not challenge any real power structures within the institution. In other words, just because a university preserves unexplored history does not mean that it is ready to acknowledge or confront any of the structural inequalities that exist in order to create the conditions in which that history remains unexplored to begin with. Preservation of unexplored history cannot take place if systems of power are also preserved.

The duty to steward unexplored history is therefore much more than a return to the simple task of ensuring that records are kept from harm; stewardship does not in fact necessarily mean pulling records out of the barn, but rather working with the community to ensure that the barn is a safe place for these materials. It may also mean offering professional expertise and institutional resources to a community when the barn is not a safe place, even if there are no expectations that the records should come under institutional custody. As a Core Value and a core duty for information professionals, this extended concept of Preservation as a duty to steward requires deeper thinking about the power relationships that exist among and between underrepresented or underserviced groups and the librarians and archivists who serve them. That is, information professionals must begin to think more critically about how to work with communities to ensure that documentary evidence is preserved, and to think less about how to add it to their collections. There must also be some recognition that community archivists and librarians are under considerable pressure to hand over their collections to satisfy an institutional mandate to build more representative collections, and many will resist this practice of “swallowing up.” The duty to steward must therefore include a commitment to develop a sympathetic understanding of the reasons why particular record creators remain autonomous, and a respect for this political principle even if their records remain in peril. Keeping records from harm may in fact mean keeping them out of the hands of those never meant to explore them. This contradictory aspect of stewardship will take some adjustment for those practitioners unwilling to challenge the assumption that “all information wants to be free.” It does not; some history is unexplored because its creators want it to remain that way. Information professions must also respect this condition of preservation.

Rebecka T. Sheffield

In Teper’s (2014) “Selection for preservation: a survey of current practices in the field of preservation”, I found myself baffled by how 42% of librarians spend 3-5 minutes considering the best practice criteria and I was further baffled by how 69% felt there was little to no reason to closely check the digitized copies’ condition. How much information has been lost? What, if anything, can be done to recover it? Well, let me tell you that the next article “Learning from failure: The case of the disappearing website” (Barone, 2015) did not ease my worries in the least! So, what can we do? What literature has been published in regards to digital preservation that holds the tenants of stewardship? Especially those cited in the quote above. I am also interested in looking into the digitization of primary sources relating to members of the autistic spectrum. I’m aware of several archives dedicated to lgbtqiqa+ voices such as Herstory, One Archive, Lavender Library, and Victorian Queer Archive, but I haven’t encountered any archived neuroatypical voices.

In my exploration the existing body of literature, I was able to find an article outlining the latest updates from the Digital Preservation Task Force that was set up by NASIG. The NASIG set up the Digital Preservation Task Force in hopes of preventing the loss of invaluable information (Keller, 2019). From reading the session update I found out the the NASIG had created a registry in order to track whether an archive has been backed up sufficient time to be not at risk of disappearing.

The Keepers Registry defines three as a healthy number of copies to prevent a site from being in danger of being lost. While that might seem like an easy goal to achieve, a quick look at The Keepers Registry will show you that it isn’t. Whether it be due to financial constraints, lack of administrative support, or a myriad of other reasons, websites aren’t getting archived. I’ve screenshot two examples of websites that may be at risk of being lost according to The Keepers Register’s parameters.

The Digital Preservation Task Force has also created a 101 Guide to Digital Preservation that serves as a decent start guide to digital preservation for librarians (“NASIGuide: Digital”, 2018). It can be accessed through the link below.

https://www.nasig.org/site_page.cfm?pk_association_webpage_menu=311&pk_association_webpage=13829

Information specialists have come to the conclusion that the maintenance of information is not solely the responsibility of libraries. We see this in many of this week’s lectures and it is also echoed in the Digital Preservation Task Force update (Keller, 2019). So, what can libraries and publishers do to combat this problem? Well, here’s a quote with some of the session updates suggestions.

Robertson suggested several ways librarians and publishers can work to solve these problems. First, all involved parties can identify gaps and work collectively to fill them. Part of this process includes amplifying the smaller voices—small institutions, small publishers, and so on. Robertson explained that many large publishers have undertaken significant digital preservation in the past few years, largely due to encouragement from librarians, so now is the time to focus on smaller publishers. Many of the aforementioned resources created by the Task Force are meant to assist with this process, such as the “Talking Points and Questions to Ask Publishers About Digital Preservation” resource. Next, digital preservation efforts need to be expanded globally. More attention needs to be given to content published outside of North America and the United Kingdom. International collaboration is already occurring between publishers, libraries, and third-party organizations, and that collaboration can be leveraged to increase preservation of resources published by less well-represented countries and regions. Finally, library publishing and Open Access resources need to be included in these conversations. This is an area where librarians can and should push for preservation of their library’s publications and local Open Access resources. Robertson emphasized that for all of these opportunities for improvement, acquisitions and
e-resources librarians can play an important role in communicating preservation priorities to publishers, especially during license negotiations. To combat these challenges and gaps, Robertson suggested librarians and publishers collaboratively build preservation policies that are explicit, intentional, and transparent. A good preservation policy outlines a long-term commitment to preserve resources, clarifies what should be preserved, and allows for evolution of details to account for changes in the industry. Librarians can help encourage publishers to build these policies and include them in site licenses.

Shannon Regan Keller

As for my attempts to see if there were any archives dedicated to voices on the autistic spectrum, well, thus far it has been unsuccessful. As I am fairly new to querying databases in a thorough way, I may be using the incorrect search terms to pull up relevant information. Even when trying to mine a list of historical figures who may I been autistic, I see one ongoing thematic. Most of those who are associated with being autistic in a way that pleases society and thus is of note enough to be documented are white-passing, if not white men. Some of them are of note enough that I am sure that their papers have been acquired and archived. The one exception I see on reoccurring lists, who isn’t contemporary, is Emily Dickinson. It is arguable though, that Dickinson was reclusive due to the stigma associated with epilepsy and not due to potential autistic traits. One should note, however, that women on the autistic spectrum are correlated with a higher likelihood of also being epileptic (Thomas, 2017). Regardless of Dickson being on the autistic spectrum, there is a lack of inclusion of autistic voices in historical sources. Furthermore, I have been able to find no record of people on the autistic spectrum who aren’t of European-descent. Being on the autistic spectrum isn’t exclusive to any given race and ethnic group. Certainly, the majority of the literature on autistic spectrum disorder has centered around white males and present researchers are having trouble accounting for the exponential high occurrence in white males (Thomas, 2017). This increase occurrence may be further complicated by misdiagnosis of people of color and provider biases. Ultimately, the lack of inclusion of works by folks on the autistic spectrum in the historical narrative demonstrates that what is being archived is still framed by what is held up as important by the archivists and by society at large.

References

Barone, F.; Zeitlyn, D.; Majer-Schönberger, V. (2015). Learning from failure: The case of the disappearing website. First Monday 20(5). 

Brown, Julie. (2009) Writers on the Spectrum :How Autism and Asperger Syndrome have Influenced Literary Writing London : Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Durkin, M.; Maenner, M.; Baio, J.; Christensen, D.; Daniels, J.; Fitzgerald, R.; Imm, P.; Li-Ching, L.; Schieve, L.; Van Naarden Braun, K.; Wingate, M.; Yeargin-Allsopp, M. (2017). Autism Spectrum Disorder Among US Children (2002-2010): Socioeconomic, Racial, and Ethnic Disparities. American Journal of Public Health107(11), 1818–1826.

Thomas, S.; Hovinga, M.; Raj, D.; Lee, B. (2017). Brief Report: Prevalence of Co-occurring Epilepsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder: The U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health 2011-2012Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders (Vol. 47, pp. 224–229).

Keller, S.R.; Robertson, W.; Steinle K.; Thibault, D.R. (2019). Digital Preservation Task Force Update, The Serials Librarian, 76:1-4, 51-54.

Sheffield, R. T. (2016). More than acid-free folders: extending the concept of preservation to include the stewardship of unexplored histories. Library Trends 64(3): 572-584.

Teper, J. H. (2014). Selection for preservation: a survey of current practices in the field of preservation. Library Resources & Technical Services 58(4): 220-232.

Discoverability and usability of new services at my local library

After reading this week’s readings on accessibility, users and usability of library collections, the evolving role of the library collection, open access repositories for scholarly activity, and the twitter archive, I found myself reflecting back on “Creating a Culture of Use: An ATG Hot Topic” by Katrina Spencer the most. While the themes approached in the other readings were thought-provoking (especially those concerning creating making more physical space for folks to occupy within the library, space that was traditionally reserved for collections of books), the reality of patrons not knowing what services their libraries provide is one that I see in my day-to-day. In 2018, my local library started using hoopla digital. This is a third-party pay-per-use service with a “collection of more than 750,000 eBooks, audiobooks, comics, albums, movies and television shows” (“hoopla digital Inks”, 2019) that libraries use to supplement their existing catalogue. This transactional, always available model may be changing as hoopla digital brokers deal with publishers who require different modalities. My local library allows five checkouts per month. Since its inception, I’ve spoken to many of my reader friends, and none seem to know about this service. In this entry I would like to look at what measures the library has taken to inform its public on the acquisition of hoopla digital. I also would like to see if there are any guides to navigating hoopla. I’ve noticed, through social media, that the categorization system of hoopla can sometimes be a limiting factor to readers finding books/audiobook/comics that interest them. I will also attempt to see if the library has been able to allocate more resources towards the acquisitions of books through the OverDrive/Libby interfaces when not offered by hoopla. First off, I will state that I didn’t see any physical advertisement on the hoopla digital services until a couple months into the service when brochures were placed near the checkouts. Now, let’s look on the recently revamped website.

eLibrary Menu
eLibrary Menu

Immediately, I noticed that there is a new, dedicated eLibrary pull down. Let’s see if we can find hoopla digital and maybe a guide to using it.

eAudiobooks offering for audiobooks

Immediately, I notice this useful list of resources that includes audiobooks with a brief summary of the service. Let’s see if the hoopla link will include a guide to accessing and using hoopla.

Instructional guide for hoopla digital

As you can see, there is a basic guide to hoopla included. While this is a good start, it could explain why less of my colleagues and friends know about the service. You see, the way hoopla filters for information is not dissimilar to Netflix’s system. Hoopla likes to sort information into categories that it creates, and then recommends based on the users’ taste. When it comes to browsing their offerings without a specific title in mind, it can be fairly frustrating as the same titles tend to appear over and over again.

hoopla's category system
hoopla’s category system

As a user, I’ve found that the easiest way to browse is by adding the “Just Added to hoopla” category, selecting “new” and skimming through the offerings. Doing this allows the user to browse through the hoopla catalogue without being constrained by the categories. I believe it would be helpful to users to have a more in depth guide to using hoopla. Even if it were to just explain that what you see will vary intensely if you select “popular” or “new” on any given category. Prior to writing this entry, the app interface showed users a limited amount of titles compared to the desktop version. This was a happy discovery, but one that would be nice to have known about through a library guide. Of course, it is difficult for anyone to account for all of the rapid shifts in a given technology, but guides could save users’ time. Moreover, they could help walk users through the recommendation set-up process so that the algorithm that hoopla uses could be more accurate. If you leave it blank, and mostly use hoopla for reading comics, you may end up with the following:

Comics recommendations on hoopla
Comic recommendations on hoopla

Can you tell that I’ve read a lot of Giant Days and Fence on hoopla? Strangely, I’ve read no Batman, but maybe that recommendation comes from my love and reading of Motor Crush on hoopla. That said, as a user, I’m curious to know how I can switch my additional recommendations to cover more than comics and also to cover a higher diversity of comics instead of issues/volumes of comics that I already love. Now, let’s take a look at the overall audiobook/ebook collection (including Overdrive and hoopla digital) for my local library. As it is Latinx Heritage Month and the start of the Latinx Readathon, I will be querying for latinx titles that I will be pulling from Priscilla of BookieCharm’s latinx readathon recommendation lists. Historically, it has been difficult to find all of the books that get recommended to me on audio at my local library and I’ve had to supplement what the library offers through the use of Scribd, Audible, and Libro. This year I’ve done most of my reading in audio format so I will be aiming to find these in audiobook format, but ebooks will be my back up.

Priscilla of BookieCharm’s Latinx Book Recommendations

Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions! Having queried both hoopla and OverDrive for Priscilla’s recommendations, I noticed that there was very little overlap on the titles offered. Generally, titles that were offered on hoopla were not available on OverDrive. This matches well with the idea of hoopla as furthering the library’s pre-existing catalogue in OverDrive. While Alma and How She Got Her Name by was offered on both hoopla and OverDrive, the format offered was different. From what I have gathered from my own searches, hoopla appears to have more audiobooks than ebooks for 2019 releases. The only title that appears in both ebook and audiobook format across OverDrive and hoopla is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. As a huge fan of Poet X and With the Fire on High, I can say with much bias that many copies of these titles should be carried. You don’t just win the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award without warranting many acquisitions!

Results of looking at hoopla and OverDrive (hoopla is in the upper left and text while OverDrive is in the bottom and the middle)

References

Albanese, A. (2019). Hoopla Expanding to Offer Multiple Models. Publishers Weekly (Online), 17. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=137090143&site=eds-live&scope=site

Audiobook Categories. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/audiobook/categories?page=1

Charm, B. (2019, August 25). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oS3rSAM9_M

Comic Recommendations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hoopladigital.com/browse/comic/recommended?page=1

eAudiobooks. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by- format/eaudiobooks

hoopla digital Inks eBook Deal with Kensington Publishing. (2019, July 15). PR Newswire. Retrieved from https://link-gale-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/apps/doc/A593382414/BIC?u=uiuc_uc&sid=BIC&xid=a6901942

Hoopla. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bozemanlibrary.org/elibrary/by-format/eaudiobooks/hoopla