The 5th Annual SSL Boot Camp Part one

Tufts University

By Steve McFarland from somerville, ma., usa (light on the hill) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

June 5 marked the 5th annual Social Science Librarians Boot Camp.   Though I am awaiting some permissions, here are the highlights I can relate at press time.

The day started with faculty speakers sharing their research.  Dr. Calvin Gidney (Tufts University) thought about what children learn about themselves and about the world through television.   He and his team examined the content, especially sociolinguistic content, of several top-rated cartoons.   The project will continue with interviews of the shows’ producers and with a study of how children understand the content.   Dr. Jennie Pyers (Wellesley College) discussed her research on language delay and theory of mind.  She looked at how language delay impacts such abilities as inferring intentions and coordinating pretend play.  In the process I also learned about a relatively new language, Nicaraguan Sign Language.  Dr. Ruth Grossman (Emerson College) presented on her work with children who have high-functioning autism.  She researched both how these children express themselves and how their communication is perceived by others.  The findings will be useful to those who help such children.

Then a panel of doctoral candidates spoke about their use of libraries.  Sarah Detzner (Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) spoke as a  writing center director.   She noted some common gaps in student understanding.  She suggested some possible ways to address these gaps: progressive assignments, integrated workshops, models, etc.   William Johnston (Harvard University Graduate School of Education) offered a library user perspective.  He recommended more consistency in online platforms.  He also saw a librarian role in educating students about different publishing opportunities, including alternatives to peer-reviewed journals.

Of course this post doesn’t do justice to any of these presentations.  If you’d like to know more, please let me know.  Next week I’ll discuss the afternoon session.