Friday, January 2, 2015

Data Tracking: A Problem or No Big Deal?

Hello, I hope everyone had a great holiday season, my Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays were fantastic and now that we have made it through New Year's Day I am looking forward to my final semester at the University of Kentucky.

One of my classes this past fall allowed students to lead weekly class discussions by selecting pertinent articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education and setting up prompts/discussion questions to jump start the class conversation. Around Thanksgiving, we read this article about whether or not it was ethical for the researchers at Harvard University to use cameras in order to track student attendance without telling the students about the study. One of the questions asked by that week's discussion leaders was whether or not we felt differently about our privacy if it was predominantly online information being tracked versus information about our physical interactions.

I was surprised to find that many of my classmates were not all that concerned by the data tracking, and seemed to even appreciate it if they benefited from it in some small financial way (such as a targeted coupon). Moreover, several classmates mentioned that since they were not doing anything illegal then they had nothing to be concerned/paranoid about. I won't quote anyone directly without their permission (although if you are a classmate who has stumbled onto this blog and would like to give me permission to republish your comment, I will do so), but below I have copied and pasted my response to the prompt. Feel free to let me know what you think, because I am very curious to get the opinions of others on this subject.

(Originally published in a Blackboard discussion thread on November 15, 2014)

"I wish that I could share my classmates' nonchalance towards data tracking, but even though I am considered a millennial I am a bit more wary of those who gather the information. Regardless of whether or not I get less annoying ads or better coupon deals, I  don't believe anyone has a right to track someone unless it is for crime solving purposes. And I don't think that wanting your data protected necessarily means you have anything to hide. It is your information, and people, companies, and the government should respect that. You would not open the door to the police or door-to-door salespeople so they can rifle through your things and get a better idea of what products they should market to you. Granted, companies are going to track what sells in their stores and do marketing research but the data they gather on their sales should be stripped of your identifying information and they certainly should not sell your e-mail address! Furthermore, how do I know that companies are keeping this information safe? Look at Target and Home Depot, just to name a few companies that have been targeted by hackers for identity and credit card theft. Bottom line is that if someone has your information, someone else can most likely get it, whether that is the government or hackers which sometimes might be one in the same." 
"I know this may seem paranoid, but it is only paranoia if it isn't true. Look at what whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed about the NSA and their spying practices. Some of this information has led cell phone makers to up the security and encryption on cell phones, and now the FBI is saying that could be a problem for them in solving crime. The nerve of people for expecting their privacy! Part of me feels as though law enforcement officials, particularly on the federal level, are too reliant on easy access to people's electronic data for fishing expeditions in order to make their cases. Although I do understand that there must be some give and take with the expectation of privacy and solving crime, but there also must be better oversight aimed at deterring unnecessary data tracking." 
"As for the original question about whether I feel differently about online data tracking versus the tracking of physical interactions I would have to say no, because I feel that neither should be unnecessarily surveilled nor tracked without my knowledge unless I am a legitimate suspect in a crime. To me this is just a further, albeit more personal extension of the ALA's Code of Ethics' third tenet which states: "We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted." If we as librarians would consider it our duty to fight a National Security Letter (NSL) from the FBI in order to protect our patrons' rights to privacy, then to me it stands to reason that we should be as protective of our own privacy." 
"This is also why I believe that there are grave potential implications to academic libraries. Universities have long been bastions of learning and innovation. How is that supposed to continue unfettered if scholars are unable to trust the institution's ability, or willingness to protect their information? Many colleges have visiting professors from around the country and abroad which is aimed at bringing the brightest scholars to their campus. If professors are concerned about the government intruding on their privacy whether because of their country of origin or area of research, and they know that the library won't or is unable to protect their privacy, then they will most likely go elsewhere. I understand that this may seem like an over exaggeration, and I suppose it is to some extent in order to make my point. However, while the misuse or unnecessary data tracking may seem to be a minor concern, over time it could easily evolve into a much scarier and serious issue for academic libraries as a whole." 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pathfinder: Women in the Civil War

One of the things I did this semester was create a pathfinder for my Introduction to Information Services class. A pathfinder is essentially a guide librarians will sometimes create in order to help patrons find credible sources on a specific topic. Our guide had to provide a list of annotated reference works including e-sources, databases, periodicals, free web resources, organizations, etc. In my pathfinder, I chose to focus on a history topic that interested me which was women in the American Civil War. Side note, if this is a topic that interests you as well then you should check out Karen Abbot's Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy which is a non-fiction account about four different women and the roles they played in the Civil War.

Note: I tried to fix some of the formatting of this pathfinder since it was originally a pdf, but it may not translate very well on blogger. But I tried!

Women in the Civil War
By Whitney Waddell

This pathfinder is a guide to resources meant for history scholars interested in learning more about the various roles that women played in the American Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865. The following resources contain a broad expanse of information ranging from language guides and historical biographies about prominent figures to the firsthand account of a woman who doubled as both a nurse and a spy during the Civil War.

Library of Congress Subject Heading
  - For library browsing use the Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
          o E456-655, The Civil War.
                  E467, Biography
                 E468 Comprehensive Works, General History 
                 E628, Women’s Work
  - Relevant subject headings include:
    o United StatesHistoryCivil War, 1861-1865Women
                  Further narrow searches by adding any of the following terms: -- Anecdotes, 
                         --Bibliography, --Encyclopedias, --Fiction, --Juvenile Literature, --Poetry, 
                         --Songs and music.
    o United StatesHistoryCivil War, 1861-1865—Women’s Work
    o United StatesHistoryCivil War, 1861-1865Participation, Female
    United StatesHistoryCivil War, 1861-1865Social AspectsEncyclopedias
    WomenUnited StatesHistory19th Century
    WomenUnited StatesHistory19th CenturyEncyclopedias

Reference: Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
  - Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn. The Encyclopedia of Women’s History in America. New York: Facts on File, 1995.
    o HQ1410 .C85 2000
    o This encyclopedia of women’s history in America catalogs and highlights
               important events, activists, court cases, and more with over 500 A-to-Z

  - Frank, Lisa Tendrich. Women in the American Civil War. Santa, Barbara, CA: ABC- CLIO, 2008.
    o E628 .W655 2008
    o This encyclopedia features 400 A-to-Z entries, as well as letters, diaries, other
              original documents, and essays on the roles of women during the Civil War.
page2image9576 page2image9736
  Garrison, Webb B. The Encyclopedia of Civil War Usage: an Illustrated Compendium of the Everyday Language of Soldiers and Civilians. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2001.
    o E468.9 .G373 2001
    o This comprehensive encyclopedia clarifies certain phrases and slang during
               the Civil War era which is very useful for historical scholars.

  - Harper, Judith E. Women during the Civil War: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2004.
    o E628 .H37 2004
    o This encyclopedia details the many roles women played in the Civil War and
              features biographies of prominent women, pictures, and maps.

  - Wright, John D. The Language of the Civil War. Westport, CT: Oryx Press, 2001. 
    o E468.9 .W755 2001
    o This dictionary is a guide to the language of the Civil War and features
              explanations of slang, military jargon, and other idioms from that era.

General Stacks
  - Berkin, Carol. Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
    o E628 .B47 2009
    o This book focuses on the wives of prominent men in the Civil War and their
               perspectives at the time. Angelina Grimke Weld, whose husband was the abolitionist 
               Theodore Weld, Julia Dent Grant, wife of General Ulysses S. Grant, and Varina Howell       
               Davis, wife  of the President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis.

  - Cashin, Joan E. First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis’s Civil War. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006.
    o E467 .1.D27 C36 2006
    o This biography details the internal struggles of Varina Davis, wife to President
              of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis, before, during, and after the Civil  

  Edmonds, S. Emma E. Nurse and Spy in the Union Army: Comprising the Adventures and Experiences of a Woman in Hospitals, Camps, and Battle-fields. Hartford, CT: Published by subscription only by W.S. Williams & Co., 1865.
    o E628 .E36 2005
    o This is a firsthand account written by a field nurse who doubled as a spy
              during the Civil War.

  - Eggleston, Larry G. Women in the Civil War: Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, and Others. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003.
    o E628 .E375 2003
    o This book details how women provided aid in the Civil War, assuming
               positions ranging from nurses and doctors to spies to disguising themselves
               as men and enlisting in the Civil War.

  - Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.
    o E628 .F35 1996
    o In this book, Faust relates stories about southern women and the changes in
              responsibilities and freedoms that the Civil War thrust upon them.

  Krowl, Michelle A. Women of the Civil War. Petaluma, CA: Pomegranate Communications; Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2006.
    o E628 .K76 2006
    o This book recounts prominent and lesser-known female figures during the
              Civil War including women who followed their husbands into the war by

  - Lamphier, Peg A. Kate Chase and William Sprague: Politics and Gender in a Civil War Marriage. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
    o E415.9.S76 L36 2003
    o This book uses the marriage and subsequent divorce of Kate Chase and
              William Sprague as a vehicle to discuss the role of politics and gender during
              the Civil War era.

  - Schultz, Jane E. Women at the Front: Hospital Workers in Civil War America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
    o E621 .S35 2004
    o Utilizing government documents, Schultz brings to light the women who
              provided medical aid during the Civil War. Also available as an e-book and listed below in                    
              the e-source section.

  Waugh, John C. Surviving the Confederacy: Rebellion, Ruin, and Recovery: Roger and Sara Pryor during the Civil War. New York: Harcourt, 2002.
    o E467 .W36 2002
    o This book is details the lives of a Virginia family as they experienced the Civil
              War from start to finish.

  - Culpepper, Marilyn Mayer. Trials and Triumphs: The Women of the American Civil War. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1991.
    o Culpepper focuses on how the freedoms and responsibilities that women had
              during the Civil War changed the perspective of women and what they could
              or could not handle.

  - McDevitt, Theresa. Women and the American Civil War. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.
    o This book has more than 800 entries and focuses on the experiences and
              contributions of women in the Civil War.
page7image10752 page7image10912
  Schultz, Jane E. Women at the Front: Hospital Workers in Civil War America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
    o Utilizing government documents, Schultz brings to light the many women
              who provided medical aid during the Civil War. Also available as a physical
              book and listed above in the general stacks section.

  - Wood, Kirsten E. Masterful Women: Slaveholding Widows from the American Revolution Through the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
    o This book studies slaveholding widows from the American Revolution
               through the Civil War and how they were perceived by society at the time.

  - Zeinert, Karen. Those Courageous Women of the Civil War. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.
    o This book focuses on female contribution during the Civil War and is written
               for teens interested about women of the Civil War.page8image10296

  - Note: As this pathfinder is library neutral, the databases linked below are to the website of that       
             database. You should check your public library or academic library to see if they have     
             subscriptions to these databases for access or see about downloading a free trial of the     
             database from the company.
  - Key Words and Search Terms: Many times you can type in what you are looking for and find  
   something useful, however it is helpful to use quotations around key words with more than one  
   word to make your search more accurate. You can further narrow those results by adding other key  
   words with an addition symbol to ensure that any results include both sets of terms. Below are   
   some examples of key words and search terms for the topic of women in the Civil War.
    o women + “civil war”
    o female + “civil war”
    o gender + “civil war”
    o women + “American military history” 
    o nurses + “civil war”

  EBSCOHost (ABC-CLIO American History): This database is aimed towards high school students and has resources for history research related to American history, politics, culture, along with other topics.
    o Tips: If you are viewing an eBook in the ABC-CLIO database there are options available to  
              the user such as saving bookmarks and taking notes in the eBook, as well as citing the book  
              in various formats.

  - EBSCOHost (Academic Search Complete): This database has a large collection of full- text journals covering many topics ranging from anthropology to history and other related topics.
    o Tips: You can refine your search results by what type of sources you are looking for such as  
              academic journals, magazines, or newspapers among others. Also you can use the   
              database’s subject-thesaurus term guide for similar or related subjects.

  - EBSCOHost (America: History and Life): This database retrieves American history related results from over 2,000 journals ranging from journal articles and reviews to dissertations.
    o Tips: You can search all fields, or you can limit the results to one particular field. Another  
              helpful alternative is the option that allows the user to specify a historical period when   

 - Note: Many states have historical societies that have some sort of publication which may be useful if you are looking for state-specific historical information.

  - Kent State University Press. Civil War History. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.    
    Published by Kent State University Press this is a well-regarded, quarterly academic journal 
               that focuses on America during the Civil War era including the buildup which led to the war 
               and continuing through the end of the Reconstruction period.
    Example article from Civil War History:
                 Venet, W. H. (June 01, 2002). The Emergence of a Suffragist: Mary
                         Livermore, Civil War Activism, and the Moral Power of Women. Civil
                        War History, 48, 2, 143-164.
page11image13856 page11image14016
 - Organization of American Historians. Journal of American History. Oxford University Press.
    In print since 1914, the Journal of American History is the quarterly publication of the  
              Organization of American Historians and features articles, book reviews, and other topics  
              related to American history.
    o Example article from the Journal of American History:
                 Jordan Jr., E. L. (2006). The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History:  
                        Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War's Defining Battle.  
                        Journal of American History, 92(4), 1441.

- Routledge. Women’s History Review. London, England: Routledge.
    o This is an international journal which is published six times a year and focuses specifically  
              on women’s history in the 1800s and 1900s predominantly. The journal features articles,  
              book reviews, and short viewpoints all meant to encourage discussions and debates on 
              gender issues in history.
    o Example article from the Women’s History Review:
                 Kaufman, W. (January 01, 2004). No non-combatants here: women and civilians in  
                         the American civil war. Women's History Review, 13, 4, 671-678.

 - Tennessee Historical Society. Tennessee Historical Quarterly. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Historical  
    o In print for almost 75 years, the Tennessee Historical Quarterly is a quarterly journal that  
              focuses on everything Tennessee history related, from the time of the first settlers in the area  
              up through the 1900s. In addition to peer- reviewed articles, the journal also includes book  
    o Example article from the Tennessee Historical Quarterly:
                   Hoffschwelle, M. S. (July 01, 1991). Women's Sphere and the Creation of Female 
                          Community in the Antebellum South: Three Tennessee Slaveholding Women. 
                          Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 50, 2, 80-89.
page13image7920 page13image8080
Free Web Resources
 - Selected Online Works by Civil War Era African-American Women.
    Data accessed: October 15, 2014.
    o From the website: This document compiles the historic full text of works, now available in   
              digital format and free, written by and about African American women who lived during the  
              U.S. Civil War. Multiple full text versions are provided to allow users to choose the version 
              that best displays on their electronic device.

 Women’s History A to Z from Encyclopedia Virginia
    o Data accessed: October 14, 2014.
    o In addition to articles about women during the civil war, this Virginia
              encyclopedia features entries about civil war widows, prominent female
              activists, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

 - Women in the Civil War from
    o Data accessed: October 16, 2014.
    o This interactive website discusses women in the Civil War with prominent
               figures and topics hyperlinked so the reader can learn more about those particular issues. In                 
               addition, the website provides illustrations or pictures from the time period, as well as links  
               to short videos on the topic.

Annotated Organizations
 - United Daughters of the Confederacy
    o Date accessed: October 10, 2014.
    o From the website: This organization is the result of the merging of the many
              organizations founded by women after the end of the Civil War. Their website lists their    
                   “To collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the War      
                           Between the States and to protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by  
                           Confederate valor”
                   “To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing a proper education”
                   “To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivor of the War and those  
                           dependent upon them”
                   “To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the  
                           Confederate States of America”
                   “To record the part played during the War by Southern women, including their patient 
                           endurance of hardship, their patriotic devotion during the struggle, and their untiring 
                           efforts during the post-War reconstruction of the South”
                   “To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization”

 - Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War
    o Date accessed: October 10, 2014.
    o From the website: Olive Howard, Harriet Knapp, Eva Merwin, Frank Merwin
              and Bertha Martin organized on May 30, 1885 and held the first meeting on June 3, 1885 at            
              the home of Eva Merwin.” Originally incorporated as “The National Alliance of the  
              Daughters of Veterans of the United States of America” in December of 1885, the  
              organization was eventually renamed the “Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War,   
              1861-1865” in 1944. The organization is comprised of direct female descendants of soldiers        
              who served honorably in either the Union Army, Navy, or Marine Corps.

 - Society for Women and the Civil War
    o Date accessed: October 11, 2014.
    o From the website: “A membership organization dedicated to increasing
              awareness and understanding of women’s lives and roles in the American Civil War.” The     
              organization also hosts an annual conference with speakers on women in the Civil War. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fall Semester Update.

So I am still* alive and kicking. I had planned on keeping this blog updated with posts about library school, however this semester has been my busiest yet and I have not had the time to post as much as I would have preferred. I'll try and post more frequently next semester. This semester I am taking:

LIS 621: Introduction to Information Services
LIS 645: Public Libraries
LIS 646: Academic Libraries

Throughout the course of my first year in the program, I gradually adjusted to the larger amount of weekly readings, made great strides in my writing abilities, and I feel as though the quality of my work greatly improved and was more on par with a graduate level. And just when I was thinking I had graduate school down pat, this semester comes along and knocks me flat. Seriously. I was not expecting the number of projects and assignments this semester. Overall there is a combined total of thirteen assignments in all three courses, six in one class, five in another, and two in the other. As if things were not stressful enough between staying on top of all of the weekly readings and discussion assignments, many of the additional class assignments are due within a day of one another!

Melodramatic stressing aside, I have managed to do relatively well so far this semester. I was trucking right along, joyfully anticipating the start of winter break in five weeks, when I got a not so great grade on an assignment. FYI, 'not so great grade' is not my perfectionist way of saying an A- or a B+ instead of an A+. I'm not THAT much of an annoying, overachiever to be quibbling over an A- /B+ and an A+ in such a challenging class.

Let me be clear, I am not disputing the grading of the assignment or anything like that. I am more concerned that the grade is an indication that I am woefully unprepared for a post-MLIS career since it is so far off from my normal grades. Not that it takes much to send me into an insecurity spiral of DOOM, but when most of my grades are A+ and then I get a drastically different grade, it is unnerving and makes me wonder if I have what it takes/belong in the library and information science field. 

This is what my pity party typically looks like.

However, after I allowed myself a ten minute pity party (complete with cute animal pictures), I went back to work studying the class readings for the upcoming week. Because as much as I sometimes want to spend my time bemoaning one grade, and I do think that concern is appropriate, I cannot allow it to make me lose focus on everything else. I am one semester and five weeks away from graduating with my master's in library and information science. I still have five additional assignments, four or five (depending on the class) discussion assignments, and a final exam until I can relax during the holiday break. I also have to keep in mind that I have done remarkably well (in my, admittedly biased, opinion) for a student who had a four year break between college and graduate school, and who has absolutely zero** library experience. Regardless, I cannot expect to ace every assignment nor know everything LIS related upon graduation. I just need to have faith that my education will provide me the foundation to be successful in a library/information science career and that on-the-job experiences will fill in the remaining gaps.

That's enough angsty school reflections for me, back to work!

*Knock on wood, because the semester isn't over yet!
**Unless you want to count the summer I spent shelving books as a volunteer at my local public library in middle school.

P.S. - These are my go-to cute GIFs for when life gets you down:


GIF Source: Buzzfeed, where else?