Library Staff and Faculty Share Research

Event coordinator Alison Armstrong and Ruth Farrell compare notes.

The UVM Libraries’ first Research Conference was held on August 2nd, 2011 in the Bailey/Howe Library. Library faculty and staff shared details of research initiatives ongoing within the libraries, through oral presentations and poster sessions.

Ruth Farrell, Associate Vice President for Research Administration, opened the event by questioning why research gets done at a university, despite the challenges presented by time constraints, lack of funding, and the burden of associated administrative tasks. “What you do,” she assured assembled library faculty and staff, “impacts every single student and every single faculty member.”

Fred Pond, of the Dana Medical Library, presented Old Vermont Film, New Opportunities for Research, describing his efforts in collaboration with the Vermont Historical Society (VHS) to preserve and digitize items from the VHS’s collection of 16mm films. To date 24 films have been digitized, some of which can be viewed at

In An Analysis of Clinical Questions Asked at Professor Rounds, Nancy Bianchi, of the Dana Medical Library, described a study that analyzed 213 questions posed at the College of Medicine’s Pediatrics professor rounds, reviewing the types of information resources consulted to discover answers. 91% of questions were answerable, but Bianchi cautioned that in the context of the pedagogical model of professor rounds, “sometimes not finding an answer is as important as finding an answer.”

Fred Pond, Nancy Bianchi, and Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies Domenico Grasso

The Bailey/Howe Library’s Scott Schaffer examined possible impacts of higher education on census data with College Students and the US Census. Citing examples of counties such as Alachua, FL, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Brazos, TX, with poverty rates significantly higher than the national average, despite hosting large research universities, Schaffer raised questions about the ways college students’ habitats and finances are reported via census data, and how they might affect overall data about population, income, and ethnicity.

Daisy Benson, of Bailey/Howe Library, reported on A Portrait of UVM Students: the 2010-2011 First-Year and Senior Library Surveys, two surveys administered in 2010 and 2011 to measure the technology behaviors, confidence in information-seeking skills, and actual research skills of incoming first time first year students and outgoing seniors. A report on the 2010 first-year survey is available at

Donna O’Malley and Fran Delwiche, of Dana Medical Library, reported on Aligning Library Instruction with the Needs of Basic Science Graduate Students, a project to improve the library’s existing model by working in greater collaboration with basic science faculty and significantly revising workshop offerings, which resulted in increases in average information session attendance from twenty to 138 by 2010.

Researchers Say the Darndest Things

Researchers Say the Darndest Things: Using Semi-structured Interviews to Uncover the Unique Information Behaviors of Basic Sciences Researchers in an Academic Health Center, presented by Laura Haines, of the Dana Medical Library, presented data from a qualitative study of semi-structured interviews with basic science researchers that indicated interests in advanced searching skill building, institutional repositories, and targeted communications.

Marianne Burke, of Dana Medical Library, presented Finding the Evidence for Patient Care: Results of an Education Intervention with Vermont Primary Care Providers. Burke was the principal investigator for a project funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine that surveyed nearly 300 primary care providers about their use of information resources. Courses were developed for local providers, based on the resulting data.

Bailey/Howe Library’s Birdie MacLennan, Tom McMurdo, and Prudence Doherty co-presented on From Reel to Real: the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project, detailing the progress made to date in this National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project to make digitally-available 100,000 pages of Vermont newspapers published between 1836 and 1922, and discussing possible avenues for further research, such as analysis of optical character recognition technologies or the social and agricultural history represented by titles such as St. Johnsbury’s Vermont Farmer. Digital newspapers from Vermont and beyond are available via

Mingling between presentations

Selene Colburn, of Bailey/Howe Library, and Paul Besaw, of the UVM Dance Program, co-presented Incorporating Information Literacy and Site Specific Dance, a case study of a course the presenters co-taught in the spring of 2011 that integrated place-based historical and related topical research with somatic and choreographic practices, as students created works in localities on and around UVM’s campus.

Bailey/Howe Library’s Karl Bridges’ The Fragility of the Internet examined the United States technology and network infrastructures from the point of view of national securities challenges, with attention paid to the potential cyberterrorist threats.

Daniel DeSanto, of Bailey/Howe, presented Developing a CDI Long Trail Collection iPhone App: Process and Implications. DeSanto has been working on the creation of a mobile application that would feature the more than 900 digitized images created from lantern slides in the Bailey/Howe’s Special Collections. View historic Long Trail images at

Empirical finding: snacks!

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