Social Science Librarians’ Boot Camp 2018

Elephant statue at Tufts University
Elephant statue at Tufts University


The eighth annual Social Science Librarians’ Boot Camp took place on June 1.  Dr. Claire Wardle (Harvard Kennedy School) talked about First Draft,  which fights misinformation by conducting research, training journalists, and more.  Eric Huntley (MIT) talked about data visualization, especially around climate change data.  Both speakers mentioned the importance of local context–either fostering collaborations between local news and national outlets or seeing the local impact of rising sea levels.  They also mentioned the power of narrative and emotion.  Misinformation can be most compelling when we want a story to be true.  A compelling map can inspire action when drier presentations might not.

Then we attendees rotated through three brief roundtable discussions.  There we exchanged practical tips on such issues as faculty outreach, information ethics,  and open educational resources (OERs).  One favorite tip was reminding students that paywalled resources are a privilege available to them as college students: OERS, however,  are available to them even after graduation.

Helen Mayer (Forward F1st) spoke about the needs and strengths of first generation college students.  Her talk raised a question in my mind: How can we librarians help first generation students navigate academic information, and honor the real world information skills they already possess?

Patricia Condon (University of New Hampshire) led an afternoon session on research data management, and then Katie Zimmerman (MIT) led a session on copyright basics.  In both sessions we participants worked with cases.  This practice reinforced some content from the ACRL Roadshow.  If students need practice opportunities, so do librarians.

Once again I thank Tufts University and the Boot Camp planning committee for their hospitality.  In case you are wondering about the image, it represents Jumbo, a circus elephant (P.T. Barnum was a Tufts benefactor.).

Photo credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel [CC BY-SA 4.0]  from Wikimedia Commons

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