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Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
As explained on the B Sides’ home page, on early vinyl records “B sides were a place where artists could push themselves intellectually and experiment without being constrained by the forms that their record labels believed would be commercially successful.” The page notes, “B Sides… proudly carries the B side metaphor forward by giving an underrepresented group of new scholars a voice to experiment, explore, and contribute to a growing field.” You’ve got to like a publication with such a goal.
Published online since 2010, B Sides showcases student and alumni work from the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science, that work including writing, images, posters, presentation slides, audio recordings, and videos. It is meant to provide an online place for students and alumni to discuss their work and contribute to the scholarly library professional literature.
Among the seven articles listed on the page from 2013 and 2014 I found a wide range of interesting, and useful, ideas and discussions, including: “File Naming Standards for Digital Collections” (which points out they don’t exist), “How and Why, Not What and Where” (which discusses “the growing need for a new perspective on the instruction of library research skills that extends beyond the items themselves to the methods and strategies for information retrieval in a variety of contexts”), “Where the Queer Things Are: Library Services to LGBTQ Youth” (which discusses how “Libraries must do everything possible to provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth to build their identity and interact with the community”), “An Examination of Youth Services in Public Libraries” (exploring “the qualities that make successful youth services in public libraries in the United States”), “Librarians in the Midst” (love this title! It highlights “the Need for Librarians with a Background in Science to Collaborate with Science Instructors in the Science Classroom”), and “Spaces of Encounter: Community and the Public Library” (a poster that “sheds light on and discusses two different sorts of negotiations of space and how they relate to the public library.” The posted is accompanied by a recording of the author’s presentation speech for the poster session).
There’s another paper listed whose title fascinates me: “With the Turn of a Wrench and the Click of a Mouse: A Case Study of the Online Learning Practices of HVAC Professionals and Homeowners.” Its abstract states that “this study examines the learning practices on display in several discussion forums on the site www.heatinghelp.com,” a site that both HVAC professionals and homeowners turn to for addressing problems and concerns about heating systems. It’s listed as being a poster session, but when I tried to open it the PDF just cycled and cycled, never opening (at least after the 15 minutes I gave it before I gave up). Too bad as I’d love to see it.
There aren’t a huge number of articles posted here, but what is here is good and worthy of the attention of librarians in a host of public, academic, and special libraries. Do take a look at B Sides and discover the thought and experimentation that’s going on among these talented students. Highly recommended.