Friday, March 20, 2020
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, ET

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This is an online event.



No Boxes - Webinar (03/20/20)

Interdisciplinary Research for Scholars, Students and Everyday Explorers in Your Library

In the world of school assignments, term papers, and graduate theses, the lines among the scholarly disciplines are mostly clear. You are going to learn math or music, art or history, theoretical physics or classical Greek, or criminal justice or aviation mechanics or metallurgy. If you want to study written communication in college, you might have the choices of taking classes in advertising, literary nonfiction, poetry, technical writing, playwriting, the art of the essay, radio and television journalism, and the science of the citation and the Chicago Style Manual. Mostly, the departments that host those topics will be under different leadership, on different floors, in different buildings, and collaboration among the professors is not the rule.

But in life after the classroom, the world is not divided into competing schools and departments with separate collections and databases. The “real world” favors generalization and multiple sets of knowledge.

  • A real estate agent needs to know about zoning law, accounting, insurance, architecture, interior design, and the construction trades.
  • A commercial artist needs to know about graphic design including typography and digital imaging, marketing and advertising, current standards in the printing industry, project management, and details of their current customer’s business.
  • The executive director of a nonprofit for at-risk youth needs to know fundraising, supervision, psychology, laws pertaining to guardianship, pop culture, police procedures, legal and illegal drugs, and marketing.
  • The doctor uses statistics to analyze the veracity of drug trials. 
  • The anthropologist uses history and economics to understand the evolution of the modern family. 
  • The psychologist brings dance and art classes into her therapy sessions. 
  • The medical researcher partners with an oil industry chemist to discover a revolutionary treatment for cystic fibrosis.

What if the schools and academic institutions your library serves don’t understand the importance of studies and research that cross arbitrary boundaries? How can you strengthen your skills as that interdisciplinary generalist that can help students prepare for solving complex problems?  And can you better support library users research issues that don’t fall into just under one heading in the virtual card catalog?

Topics include building a “human” library and expert think tank for library personnel and users, identifying independent scholars who research outside of academe and institutions, educating staff with generalists who share different connections, building special collections that cross boundaries, encouraging nonfiction browsing, and cultivating working relationships with teachers and professors devoted to “erasing the lines”.

Virtual Trainer: Pat Wagner

Pat Wagner is a trainer and consultant who has worked with libraries, universities, and allied institutions since 1978. She attended two colleges that emphasized interdisciplinary studies, and she thought that was the norm in higher ed under she became a college instructor. Her husband, Leif Smith, founded a 25-year-old research organization that specialized in working for innovators, including inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, writers–including journalists and authors, scientists, and yes, even librarians. Their customers were often at the cutting edge of their fields and needed diverse sources for their projects, so much of their work was outside the confines of predetermined scholarly boxes.

She loves to respond to complex questions that cross the boundaries of multiple disciplines.

This is an online class. Access information will be emailed one week ahead.

Cost: NEFLIN classes are free of charge for Florida library staff. Registration is required for all classes and NEFLIN members get priority.