Online Distance Education and Embedded Librarianship Integration

Online Distance Education and Embedded Librarianship Integration

Robin Phelps-Ward (Ball State University, USA), Thalia Mulvihill (Ball State University, USA), Lisa Jarrell (Ball State University, USA) and Brenda Yates Habich (Ball State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch218

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While the archetypal view of the traditional librarian often evokes images of a person standing behind a large reference desk waiting for someone to approach the designated area, the embedded librarian is far from this portrait. While Holley (1985) describes librarianship as a profession that requires an understanding of higher education history and development, an appreciation for scholarship and learning, a working knowledge of knowledge acquisition, and an ability to decipher and evaluate research findings, Meijer (1982) defines librarianship as

a form of cultural enterprise whose main characteristic is the stimulation of the optimum use of mankind’s cultural heritage insofar as it consists of coded thoughts recorded in documents that are and must be held in readiness for use with the ultimate objective of making possible cultural progress … in its particular sphere. (p. 26)

Holley and Meijer frame the conversation about embedded librarianship, which includes a host of requirements, abilities, and values. As Shumaker (2012) explains, embedded librarians are “on-call experts who can apply their expertise on demand to meet the information needs of any and all clients” (p. 4). Rooted in the concept of integration and collaboration, embedded librarianship

… moves the librarians out of libraries and creates a new model of library and information work. It emphasizes the importance of forming a strong working relationship between the librarian and a group or team of people who need the librarian’s information expertise. (p. 4)

Though embedded librarianship derives its roots from Barbara Dewey’s (2005) metaphor of embedded journalists who attached themselves to the military throughout the Iraq War, today’s embedded librarians find themselves attached to many facets of the university, engaged in numerous activities, while operating at various levels and using different forms of embedment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Distance Education: The form of learning, which moves the learners’ education beyond the traditional on-campus course.

Content Management System: Computer software, which allows users to store, create, and edit content while collaborating within an online workspace environment with other users.

One-Shot Instruction: The delivery of library resources and information literacy skills typically taught at the beginning of a content-specific course to assist students with research-oriented assignments or projects.

Embedded Librarianship: A model of librarianship, which moves librarians beyond the bounds of the library and into student spaces, classrooms, and within online environments.

Integrated Librarianship: A model of librarianship, which strategically integrates librarians within the vast array of academic, student, faculty, institutional, and community processes and goals.

Co-Teaching: The act of collaboration between one or more faculty to facilitate varying combinations and degrees of course design, grading, or delivery within the instruction of a course.

Learning Management System: A software application typically used within educational contexts to facilitate e-learning courses and programs.

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