Presentation Title

Visual Literacy, Knowledge Generation and the Academic Library

Location

Room 1005

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

The organization and visual representation of knowledge as presented in academic libraries is becoming less relevant to today’s university student. With the advent of electronic databases in the 1960s continuing through the current environment where full text electronic journal content is the norm, print journal holdings are quickly becoming archive or legacy collections which are rarely used by today’s students. Basically, students rarely need to look for and retrieve physical journals from library shelves as online, full-text versions have replaced physical copies.

Student library research today typically involves searching one or more electronic databases for articles usually on a particular topic or subject, identifying the relevant titles and saving the results on an electronic device or citation manager. Since the student no longer needs the journal article citation elements – that is the journal title, volume, number, year, and page number to look for and find the article itself – the citation itself is becoming irrelevant in real practical sense. It could be argued that the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is more relevant than the citation. But also in a greater and more significant sense, because the student no longer needs to go to the physical journal collection, look for and find the journal title and see the sequential and discrete volumes and issues, the organization of published research literature is no longer visually obvious. The continuous generation of knowledge and the ongoing publication of research findings in a particular discipline as represented by the physical volumes of a particular journal are no longer visually experienced by the student. In a very real sense, the contrast between the elements of the traditional journal citation and the relatively new (implemented around 2000) DOI illustrates this point. The journal citation tells the student where that one article or piece of research fits within a broader scope and timeline while the purpose and function of the DOI is to only identify the singular object.

Without the visual representation and use of the library’s physical journal collection, librarians and faculty cannot assume students intuitively understand the traditional organization and presentation of published knowledge. This subtle yet profound change should be recognized and addressed by the academy and in the curriculum.

Presentation Description

With full text online content being the norm, undergraduate students rarely need to find and retrieve print journal articles. As such, do today's students understand or appreciate the relevancy of the traditional journal citation? More significantly, without the experience of visually seeing shelves of the journal runs, do students lack a deeper understanding of the long term knowledge generation process?

Keywords

visual literacy, academic libraries, knowledge generation

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 30th, 4:15 PM Sep 30th, 5:30 PM

Visual Literacy, Knowledge Generation and the Academic Library

Room 1005

The organization and visual representation of knowledge as presented in academic libraries is becoming less relevant to today’s university student. With the advent of electronic databases in the 1960s continuing through the current environment where full text electronic journal content is the norm, print journal holdings are quickly becoming archive or legacy collections which are rarely used by today’s students. Basically, students rarely need to look for and retrieve physical journals from library shelves as online, full-text versions have replaced physical copies.

Student library research today typically involves searching one or more electronic databases for articles usually on a particular topic or subject, identifying the relevant titles and saving the results on an electronic device or citation manager. Since the student no longer needs the journal article citation elements – that is the journal title, volume, number, year, and page number to look for and find the article itself – the citation itself is becoming irrelevant in real practical sense. It could be argued that the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is more relevant than the citation. But also in a greater and more significant sense, because the student no longer needs to go to the physical journal collection, look for and find the journal title and see the sequential and discrete volumes and issues, the organization of published research literature is no longer visually obvious. The continuous generation of knowledge and the ongoing publication of research findings in a particular discipline as represented by the physical volumes of a particular journal are no longer visually experienced by the student. In a very real sense, the contrast between the elements of the traditional journal citation and the relatively new (implemented around 2000) DOI illustrates this point. The journal citation tells the student where that one article or piece of research fits within a broader scope and timeline while the purpose and function of the DOI is to only identify the singular object.

Without the visual representation and use of the library’s physical journal collection, librarians and faculty cannot assume students intuitively understand the traditional organization and presentation of published knowledge. This subtle yet profound change should be recognized and addressed by the academy and in the curriculum.