Wednesday, November 25, 2020

WHSLA Election - Candidates for 2021 open board positions

WHSLA Members in good standing will be invited to vote on four open 2021 Board positions:

  • One President-Elect
  • One Secretary
  • Two Board Members-at-Large

All members in good standing will receive an email the week of November 30 with their invitation to vote. 

Thank you to the following WHSLA members for volunteering to run as candidates! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Playdoh surgery

This surgeon mom has been improving her kids' fine motor skills using some extremely detailed Playdoh models.  Fair warning, despite being made of Playdoh, it's still pretty gross.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Evaluating Information During Covid-19: Preprints, Retractions, Rumors, and more ...

Evaluating Information During Covid-19: Preprints, Retractions, Rumors, and more ...

Presented by Erica Brody and Hillary Miller, Librarians at Virginia Commonwealth University.  This program was sponsored by he NNLM.   Learn more and register to get MLA credit.  

Description: In the midst of a global pandemic, every person has to balance the “need for speed” with the risks of moving too fast. Healthcare providers seek reliable information about treatments while making immediate life-or-death decisions. Researchers investigate biological mechanisms and interventions to combat COVID-19 and share their findings as quickly and responsibly as possible. And each of us wades through the flood of headlines and rumors for answers that will keep us safe. Looking at the case of hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19, we will explore the risks and rewards of different forms of information, from published articles to tweets.

Learning Objectives:

    • Navigate the quickly shifting landscape of information in a pandemic.
    • Describe ways to approach the quality of information that is being produced and disseminated at a faster pace than ever seen before
    • Identify the limitations and cautions of relying on a single source of information for decisions

This was one of the BEST 1-hour webinars I've seen in a long time.  Erica Brody and Hillary Miller addressed many of the questions I've been wrestling with this year as a health science librarian during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  

Using the example of Hydroxychloroquine, Brody & Miller trace the timeline of when it first emerged as a possible treatment for Covid-19 in Jan - Feb 2020, to the point where people started demanding it from their health care providers, despite any real or conclusive evidence that it worked.   

This whole evolving story of Hydroxychloroquine had me baffled as it was happening --  The research I had done clearly discounted it as a treatment for Covid, yet friends on Facebook and social media insisted that it worked, that "scientists were hiding the truth."  

Brody and Miller put Preprints and Preprint servers in their rightful place in the hierarchy of evidence.

Further, they offer Tools & Tips for Navigating an Infodemic:


  1. Retraction Watch and the Zotero Plugin can comb through your "library" flagging any citations that were retracted.
  2. Publons - Post publication Peer Review
  3. to id articles that support / refute findings.   It works as a browser extension in Chrome, tracking 700+ million articles, many with big name publishers.


  • Do NOT rely on a single study.
  • Obtain evidence from multiple sources.
  • Verify IF and HOW peer review was done.
  • Researcher's expertise should be specific to the study. Beware of celebrity doctors.
  • What do the authors say about the limitations of their study?
    • What are their conclusions?
    • Was this misrepresented in the media?

Finally, the speakers recommended the following article:

Stick around for the questions after the session.  The audience asked some really interesting and difficult questions that will make you think. 

See more excellent FREE programming from The Network of The National Library of Medicine.

See related: 

Correction of Health Misinformation on Social Media, from September 29, 2020

  • The recording is a little wonky in that the slides didn't kick in until half-way through, but the information is good if you treat it more like a podcast and just listen.  It gives me some hope that not all is lost on this this front.  
  • See info on the 3-part series, including links to course materials and recordings.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

Professional Development Award Report: FYE (First Year Experience) Conference

Carrie Papa-Schold was a recipient of one of the two WHSLA 2020 Professional Development Awards. Below, she tells us about her experience at a pre-COVID conference. 


Thank you WHSLA for the grant towards attending the FYE (First Year Experience) Conference in Washington, D.C. on February 21 – 24, 2020.  (Yes, just before Covid hit the US.)

In my current job at George Williams College (GWC) in Williams Bay, WI, I am the Assistant Director of Academic Support and Disability Services.  I also help out with the library as the “campus librarian”.  GWC is part of Aurora University in Aurora, Illinois where the Phillips Library Director manages of all of the contracts through CARLi.  We have a small library (located at one end of a building on two floors with two fireplaces, 8 computers, three study tables and seating for an additional 8 more students) that is staffed mostly by student workers.

In my role, in academic support, I am an academic coach working with students who are underprepared for college.  Most are from low income and first generation families. The work with the freshmen class is what brought me and my supervisor to the FYE Conference.  The purpose of the conference is to bring together educators and administrators to teach and learn about enhancing the first year student experience.  I was thrilled to find that about a dozen of the presentations and poster sessions were on Information Literacy.  I was fortunate to attend 3 of them.

Poster sessions (The following was the one I was most interested in seeing and talking with the presenter)

Information Literacy Misconception of Students in First-Year Experience Courses. Michelle Keba. Palm Beach Atlantic University.

This poster was of a study (not yet published) done by Michell Keba at her institution using the methods from the research article Predictable Information Literacy Misconception of First-year College Students (Hinchcliffe, Rand, & Collier, 2018).  The original study was designed to determine if students either lacked knowledge versus misperceived their information literacy skills using the “misconception inventory”.  By identifying common misconceptions, potential learning outcomes were developed to guide information literacy instruction.  The misconceptions identified in the Hinchcliffe et al. (2018) article are:

·         Library

o   First year students believe they are supposed to do their research without assistance

o   First year students perceive the library as only a place to get books or to study

o   First year students believe that all library sources and discovery tools are credible

·         Information Access

o   First year students believe that freely available Internet resources are sufficient for academic work

o   First year students think Google is a sufficient search tool

o   First year students believe that accessibility is an indicator of quality

·         Research Process

o   First year students believe that research is a linear, uni-directional process

o   First year students think that every question has a single answer

·         Information Literacy

o   First year students believe that they are information literate

Hinchliffe, L., Rand, A., & Collier, J. (2018). Predictable Information Literacy Misconceptions of First-Year College Students. Communications in Information Literacy, 12(1), 4–18. Retrieved from

The New Library Session: Forget the Library - Focus on Information.  Elizabeth Johns, Kristen Shonborn, Kristen Welzenbach.  Goucher College.

Faculty request librarians to teach students about the library and how to use it.  What students need is how to identify appropriate information sources from the internet to library databases.  This is a shift to teaching students about information literacy to address the information era abundant with credible and non-credible information.

Developing Interdepartmental Information Literacy Solutions: The First Year Experience in the Misinformation Era. Kate Otto, David Lemmons, & Sherry Larson-Rhodes. Marquette University.

Information is easily accessible through the library, internet, and social media to name a few.  Students need to learn the value of good information versus bad.  Information literacy efforts help to educate students on how to locate, evaluate, and effectively/ethically use the information they are accessing regardless where they find the information.  Librarians play key role in leading information literacy efforts.

There are three types of “information”.

1.       Misinformation – unintentional

2.       Disinformation – intentional, false, shared to cause harm

3.       Mal-information – intentional, true, and harmful

This is a life-skill to be used throughout college and career.

Education on information literacy can be achieved through collaborative efforts on campus.  The first step is to define “information literacy” to ensure understanding between faculty and staff.  The Association of College & Research Libraries Association (ACRL is a section of the American Library Association) offers guidelines and a framework for information literacy in higher education that can be used to guide initiatives in the college setting.

Outcomes from conference attendance:

·         Gathering information on where information literacy is being taught on campus to identify gaps in student learning regarding information literacy

·         Created a module on information literacy that has been incorporated into academic coaching

·         Developing a module for the senior seminar class on how to effectively locate information post college when they no longer have access to the subscription databases.

Respectfully submitted by:

Carrie Papa-Schold, MLIS
papaschold at gmail dot com

WHSLA 2020 Business Meeting: recording now available

 If you couldn't join the WHSLA 2020 Business Meeting live, the recording is now available

Evaluating Information during COVID-19: an NNLM webinar recording

WHSLA member Jannette Bradley recommends this webinar from NNLM: Evaluating Information during COVID-19: Preprints, Retractions, Politics, Rumors, and More

"VCU librarians Erica Brody and Hillary Miller discuss the quickly shifting landscape of information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics of discussion include descriptions of the types of current information related to research on COVID-19, a review of the progression of information about hydroxychloroquine, and the consequences of the hydroxychloroquine information explosion."