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UNYSLA Event Recap: Bibliometrics and Culture of Innovation

By Esther Jackson

Elaine Lasda Bergman, Bibliographer for Social Welfare at the University at Albany, started off the afternoon sessions of the 2012 spring UNYSLA meeting with her presentation, Bibliometrics: New Ways to Measure Scholarly Output (slides available on SlideShare). Elaine’s presentation focused on the study of bibliometrics, as well as different sources from which to obtain citation data. Journal Impact Factor, (JIF), Source Normalized Impact Per Paper, (SNIP), and Scimago Journal Rank, (SRJ) were all discussed. Bergman also addressed different metrics for scholars, authors, and institutions, with the H-index being the main focus of discussion, with other indexes also mentioned, as well as the benefits and limitations of each.  Bergman demonstrated use of both Publish or Perish and Scopus, and also discussed the pros and cons of using these and other services. Bergman’s examination of the many problems and variations existing for information professionals in regards to the world of bibliometrics was a frank and detailed illustration of the innovative methods needed to carry out the classic mission of faculty support and information access.

Christian Miller, Reference, Instruction, and Outreach Coordinator at the Martin P. Catherwood Library in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, ended the day with Ideas Don’t Grow on Trees: How to Cultivate a Culture of Innovation and Creativity in Your Library and emphasized the importance of information professionals “creating intelligent learners”.  Miller stressed the need to create a culture of creativity and innovation, focusing on the idea of combining unlike things or ideas, or creating something that has never been done before.  Creativity was emphasized as being a crucial trait which information professionals must cultivate in order to evolve the old ideas of what libraries are, and innovate them for the future.  Miller’s talk concluded with several “creative thinking techniques”, engaging the audience in several activities, including Forced Connections, a word-association exercise, and the Marshmallow Challenge, a team design exercise.  Miller’s presentation and engagement with his audience was a memorable and entertaining illustration of innovative methods, and the way in which information professionals can use them to challenge themselves, and inspire positive change in both libraries and library users.

 Teams working on the marshmallow challenge (upper left, right and lower left) and the tallest structure (lower right)

I attended the meeting as part of the UNYSLA Student Shadow program and this experience was a great opportunity for me to meet and network with many different professionals in my field, learn some new and interesting things about the challenges and opportunities of special librarians, and was a lot of fun.  I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to participate at this meeting, and hope that I can encourage other students at the University at Buffalo to do the same in the future.


Esther Marie Jackson is completing her MLS at SUNY Buffalo, (UB). She has a BAS from the University in Toronto where she majored in Celtic Studies and minored in both East Asian Studies and Art History, graduating in 2009.
Since beginning her studies at SUNY Buffalo, Esther has worked in both the Preservation Department and the Interlibrary Loan Department on her campus. She serves as a student member of the UB Department of Library and Information Studies Advisory Board, and also holds the position of the UB SLA Student Group President. Her focus is on arts libraries, (along with a more general interest in special libraries), with an emphasis on cataloging. Her interests trend towards preservation, (both traditional and digital), as well as marketing, social media, and print design. In her free time, Esther enjoys reading, finding homes for lost books, and exploration.

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