Monthly Archives: June 2006

The things you find

There’s increasing interest in having academic librarians cover plagiarism in their BI sessions. I’ve been preparing some material for a class and came across this horrific account. A newly minted PhD was contacted by a PhD student from another institution. They were researching a similar topic and she kindly sent him a copy of her dissertation. Understand this happens a lot. For example, students are trying to find an abstract that was in a conference proceeding that neither the librarian nor they can locate–they may contact the author(s) for a reprint. Anyhow, she comes to discover that not only hasn’t this guy cited her in his dissertation, but he’s stolen almost all of her work whole cloth and claimed it as his own. He lost his degree, his reputation, and his new job. Really, he came off easy, in my not so humble opinion.

This is not a new story, of course, but it was new to me. I haven’t had much call to focus on plagiarism until now; I’m also looking up things on fabrication/falsification of data. That just scares the daylights out of me.

McKinley Stinkers

At the behest of a friend, I taped and recently watched June Bride. It’s a formulaic late forties romantic comedy. My friend is interested in the history of interior design and recommended it for those reasons. Robert Montgomery and Bette Davis are two journalists who were once an item. He came down with a bad case of committment phobia and ran off to be a war correspondent. The war is now over. The New Look is in and Robert Montgomery’s character is now writing for a Better Homes and Gardens clone, which is edited by none other than Bette Davis. Their first assignment is to go off to the wilds of small-town Indiana and do a makeover on one American family about to undergo a wedding.

I found it interesting viewing for two reasons. One of the ingenues is played by Betty Lynn, who later went on to play Thelma Lou on the Andy Griffith Show. The second reason has more to do with the changing times. Although Davis plays a woman who is extremely bright, intelligent, successful and darm good at her job, the movie ends with her giving all that up to go off and follow Robert Montgomery to Eastern Europe as a properly submissive American wife. These kinds of endings become increasingly common during this period–not that they negate the 90% of the film where we’re shown that the career woman is just as good if not better than her male counterpart.

Incidentallly, “McKinley Stinker” is a big ol’ Victorian. The characters make jokes about the wallpaper, take saws to the sofa (which made no sense to me) and the gingerbread. I’m sure for audiences in 1949, the end product was fresh and modern, but here in the 21st century, that the “Truman Modern” is any vast improvement.

Librarian manifesto

Brilliant post. About time somebody said it.

Levels of Evidence coolness

I came back from MLA last week and am now going through the usual pile of material one accumulates at a conference. I rather liked one poster in particular. Dartmouth and Yale’s medical libraries collaborated to produce this handy dandy EBM Page Generator.

In evidence-based practice, the health care provider is called upon to find “evidence” on which they base their clinical decisions. There’s a lot more going on, of course, but this is part of it. “Levels of evidence” generally categorizes the various types of literature, some having more weight than others. It is usually depicted as a hierarchical pyramid.

I like to use it in BIs, but sometimes the levels aren’t appropriate for the discipline or they don’t include the types of literature I want to cover. Yes, you can construct something with autoshapes, but it’s usually a pain to do that. So kudos to the folks who came up with this idea.