Module 5 Reflection: Evaluating Collections

Module 5 explored collection evaluation and collection analysis. This is an area which I have explored a little myself when completing a weeding project at a previous school. After reading the module material and articles I am more aware of specific evaluation tools and criteria.

The Module material provided an overview of several areas which make up collection evaluation – including analytics, weeding, and responsibility. While I have experience in weeding collections, I have not fully considered the ways in which data and analytics can support this. Grigg and Johnson covered a variety of evaluation methods, including quantitative and qualitative methods. Johnson also separates methods into ‘collection-based’ or ‘use- and user-based’, which provides a useful breakdown of where certain types of tasks relate. Grigg focuses on 6 main methods of assessment which could apply to both print and e-books. The methods which stood out to me as effective and simple to implement were ‘usage data’, ‘focus groups’/user observation/user opinion surveys.

Larson’s CREW method for weeding was also of interest. This is not a method I was previously aware of.

C- Continuous

R- Review

E- Evaluation

W- Weeding

The design of the CREW method integrates collection analysis into an item’s life cycle. Larson states that CREW enables information to be gathered in collection strengths and weaknesses. I consider this a useful resources which I hope to come back to and review fully.

I hope to incorporate a variety of qualitative and quantitative collection evaluation methods into my future library positions. I would like to use opinion surveys and focus groups to direct purchasing towards filling gaps of student and curriculum interest. I would also like to identify the best reports in my LMS to assist with weeding, and integrate the CREW method into how I weed.

 

References

Grigg, K. S. (2012). Assessment and evaluation of e-book collections. In R. Kaplan (Ed.), Building and managing e-book collections: a how-to-do-it manual for librarians (pp. 127-137). American Library Association.

Johnson, P. (2018). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. American Library Association.

Larson, J. (2012). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew

Part B: Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences

Digital Texts

What makes a good digital text?

Within each of my reviews (50 Below Zero, Green Gables Fables, and 80 Days) I referred to the qualities of good literature as identified by Walsh (2013) and Yokota and Teale (2014). The key points of analysis of a digital text become how it engages the reader (Walsh, 2013) and how the reading experience is enhanced (Yokota and Teale, 2014).

A good digital text can mean different things to different reader groups. As Walsh (2013) comments, young readers require texts with solid narrative structure and a variety of vocabulary, whereas older readers need complex plots and characters for analysis. Yokota and Teale identify 3 questions which form the basis of their criteria, which are integrated into my reviews.

Through exploration of different types of digital literature, the application of these criteria have been observed in different ways. What is obvious throughout this exploration is that the digital elements used must add to the story and the reader’s experience.

What counts as a digital text?

A digital narrative is a story which has been designed and created specifically for viewing on a digital device. Unsworth (2006) and Lamb (2011) have similar points of view on what digital literature is.

According to Unsworth (2006), digital texts fall into three categories:

  • Digitally augmented
  • Digitally re-contextualised
  • Digitally originated

Lamb’s (2011) labels of eBooks, enhanced eBooks, and interactive storybooks fall into Unsworth’s (2006) final category. These are texts which are born digital and have no hardcopy format.

The important factor when identifying if a text would be considered digital literature would be to consider its origins and current format. There are many types of digital literature already, and there will be more to come.

What purpose do digital texts serve?

Digital texts can serve to increase access to reading material and opportunities to increase literacy and explore different formats of text.

Walsh (2013) highlights the world outside the books through discussion forums, author websites, research into books, and hyperlinks within texts. All these can help to engage students who might not necessarily be readers. Through digital texts, readers can use text to speech, hyperlinks, music, and interactive features to assist with comprehension. Students can incorporate the multimodal elements to become active participants in reading.

Experience Comparison

I am a print reader. I like the feel of a paper book in my hands, being able to flick back and forth as I make a connection to something earlier in the text, being able to see how much I have read versus how much still to go, I like the smell of a well-loved book, and looking at texts displayed on a bookcase. I think I will always prefer a printed book.

Jabr (2013) and Cull (2011) discuss some impacts of digital learning, and my experiences studying online suggest similarly that comprehension is impacted through reading course material on screen. Printing readings to highlight relevant facts by hand and copy notes from the screen is still beneficial.

While exploring various digital texts for this task, the ones I enjoyed the most were those which were most like print books (eg. your standard print to digital eBook). Except for the texts chosen for review, which were enticing because of the story they tell.

Contrary to several opinions (Walsh, and Skains), exploring Inanimate Alice as part of the semester content was not a pleasurable experience. As a digitally created text it contains many features which make it quality digital literature, including music, moving images and interactivity. But I found the whole experience quite distracting. It was difficult to focus on the actual text and take it all in. In contrast, 80 Days as a game-based narrative also included these elements but to a more subdued level, which enabled a high level of focus on the story being told.

Opinion and Application

The digital text I most enjoyed was the enhanced book Green Gables Fables. This text is a vlog adaptation of the story Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. It highlights issues and themes from the original text and places them into a 21st century setting.

Green Gables Fables could be implemented into the Australian Curriculum English (literature strand) or Media Arts (or as a cross-curriculum topic). In English the videos could be used as part of a text study; and in Media Arts, as an example of script writing, filming and editing skills.

Due to the short nature (4-5 minutes) of each episode it would be possible to watch a selection of episodes within class time. Activities which could be undertaken include:

  • Making a comparison between issues and themes in the videos and their own experiences;
  • Analysing the vlog for narrative and language elements;
  • Comparing vlog to original text;
  • Analysing the vlog for media elements;
  • Creating their own vlog based on a book they are interested in;

By incorporating a different style of text into English (enhanced book, as opposed to book), a wider range of students may engage in the text and the activities. Incorporating a creative task, such as making a vlog, empowers students in their learning; they become ‘active knowledge developers’ (Hur & Sub, 2012, p.324). In addition, students are developing new skills for the future.

New digital texts and digital adaptations of old texts are on the rise. It is necessary to stay abreast of developments and be critical of digital text choices for use in the classroom.

References

AnneWithAnE. (2013, August 9). AnneWithAnE. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/user/greengablesfables/videos

BradField Company. (2019) Inanimate Alice. Retrieved from https://inanimatealice.com/

Cull, B. (2011, June 6). Reading revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday 16(6). Retrieved from https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3340/2985

Hur, J. & Suh, S. (2012). Making learning active with interactive whiteboards, podcasts, and digital storytelling in ELL classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 29(4), 320-338. doi: 10.1080/07380569.2012.734275

Ingold, J. & Humfrey, J. (2014). 80 Days [Mobile application]. Cambridge: inkle.

Jabr, F. (2013, April 11). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learningandleading

Skains, RL. (2010). The shifting author-reader dynamic. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 16(1), 95-111. doi: 10.1177/1354856509347713

Unsworth, L. (2006). E-literature for children: Enhancing digital literacy learning. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/863c5c8d-9f3f-439f-a7e3-2c2c67ddbfa8/1/ALiteratureCompanionforTeachers.pdf

Yokota, J. & Teale, WH. (2014). Picture books and the digital world. The Reading Teacher, 67(8), 577-585. doi: 10.1002.trtr1262

Review 1: 50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch

50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch is an eBook with an engaging storyline for children. The edition read for this review is available through the South Australian Public Library Network. The story uses repetitive elements to encourage reader participation, and harnesses suspense to keep the reader interested. 50 Below Zero could be used for English class to discuss the narrative format, and specific elements of storytelling. The recommended age group for this text is 5-10 years.

Guernsey (2011) highlights the need to for digital features to improve comprehension and engagement with the text. In the creation of this eBook version, Munsch took the opportunity to record his narration of the text and include background music and sound effects. The music is relevant to the content of the story and adds suspense and action to keep the story engaging. Munsch’s narration keeps the story moving. As the writer, he knows exactly what interpretation of the text he intended. As such, his narration includes changes to speed, voice and volume. In addition, the text is highlighted in red lettering as Munsch reads, this allows readers to follow along. These enhancements are optional extras. It is still possible to read the text as a simple reproduction of print. There is no additional interactive features, animations or videos included; therefore I am assessing this text as an eBook.

50 Below Zero uses the print text as its basis, as such, the layout of the eBook format follows the same design as the print format. A double page spread on the screen shows an illustration on one half of the page and text on the other half of the page. This is a common layout for picture books. The double page spread view will change proportionally dependent on the size of the device screen for viewing. Martinez & Harmon (2012) recognise the connection that illustration and text have with each other to build understanding. This is important, as without viewing image and text side by side, some interpretation and understanding for younger readers may be lost. When viewed on a smart phone held landscape, the double page can be seen, however, when held portrait, only a single page is accessible at a time.

This edition is easily accessible for free to South Australian Public Library Network patrons through Libby by OverDrive. Other editions are also available for Kindle and digital download, and may incur a small cost. The read aloud feature of this text makes it easily accessible to readers of all ages and abilities. 50 Below Zero uses literary elements to maintain reader interest. This includes character development, interesting plot, setting, point of view and tone (Martinez & Harmon, 2012). In addition, the literary device of repetition is used throughout the story. Students will begin to anticipate the repetitive content and be able to read along with the text.

The integrity of the story is not lost through the transition to a digital environment. The eBook is a direct reproduction of the physical book. The additional features in this eBook (narration and sound effects) do not detract from the story line. The music provides an indication of how the reader might be feeling during the story and helps them to get into the main character (Jason’s) mindset.

50 Below Zero contains elements of quality literature, including the progression of the story in a sequential manner, a realistic setting (for those who experience extreme cold temperatures), empathetic or humorous response, and opportunities for questioning and creative tasks. Munsch (2019) describes varying reactions to this story: those who have not experienced extreme cold think it is funny, those who have react with empathy. Questioning examples include ‘what would you do if you were Jason?’, and for creativity, ‘where will he end up next?’

50 Below Zero by Robert Munsch is an eBook replication of the printed text. There are some additional features which add to the eBook’s readability and longevity. This text exhibits traits of quality literature through empathy, language used, and problem-solving opportunities. 50 Below Zero would be a good inclusion to a classroom library to support literacy learning.

References

Guernsey, L. (2011). Are ebooks any good? School Library Journal, 57(6), 28-32. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/

Martinez, M. & Harmon, J. (2012). Picture/text relationships: An investigation of literary elements in picturebooks. Literacy Research and Instruction, 51, 323-343. doi: 10.1080/19388071.2012.695856

Munsch, R. (1986). 50 below zero [Libby edition]. Available from https://onecard.network

Munsch, R. (2019). The Official Website of Robert Munsch. Retrieved from https://robertmunsch.com/book/50-below-zero

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://doms.csu.edu.au/csu/file/863c5c8d-9f3f-439f-a7e3-2c2c67ddbfa8/1/ALiteratureCompanionforTeachers.pdf