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Librarians, Scholarship, and Faculty Status.  David Fox University of Saskatchewan Library. University of Calgary Information Resources Planning Day May 6, 2004. Librarians (and Other IR Professionals), Scholarship, and Faculty Status.  David Fox University of Saskatchewan Library.

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librarians scholarship and faculty status

Librarians, Scholarship, and Faculty Status

David Fox

University of Saskatchewan Library

University of Calgary

Information Resources Planning Day

May 6, 2004

librarians and other ir professionals scholarship and faculty status

Librarians (and Other IR Professionals), Scholarship, and Faculty Status

David Fox

University of Saskatchewan Library

University of Calgary

Information Resources Planning Day

May 6, 2004

a little about me
A little about me
  • Academic librarian for 30 years
  • College and university library experience
  • 9 positions in 3 institutions
    • Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan
  • Faculty status and tenure in all 3
  • In and out of scope
  • Currently: Head, IT and TS, UofS Library
a little about me4
A little about me
  • Management: 3-54 staff
  • Scholarship: one monograph, one chapter in a collection, two refereed articles, three conference proceedings, numerous technical reports and newsletter articles, and twenty+ conference presentations.
scholar or manager
Scholar or manager?
  • Both
  • Manager by choice; scholar by necessity
  • Scholarly work necessary for tenure, promotion, merit increases
what this talk will cover
What this talk will cover
  • What is scholarship?
  • What is the nature and extent of librarians’ scholarship
  • What motivates librarians to engage in scholarship
  • What is the value (if any) of scholarship by librarians
    • to the individual
    • to the library and host institution
    • to the profession
what is scholarship
What is scholarship?
  • Ernest Boyer: Scholarship Reconsidered : Priorities of the Professoriate, 1990
    • Based on a survey of faculty, 1989
    • Traditional view of scholarship as research and publication only is too restrictive
    • The interests of undergraduate education, and ultimately of society, require a broader definition of academic excellence
    • The faculty reward system must support that broader definition
the scholarship of discovery
The scholarship of discovery
  • Traditional research
  • The creation of new knowledge
the scholarship of integration
The scholarship of integration
  • Synthesizing new knowledge from existing facts
  • Interpreting existing knowledge in new ways
  • Interdisciplinary research
the scholarship of application
The scholarship of application
  • The acquisition of knowledge through professional practice
the scholarship of teaching
The scholarship of teaching
  • Improving and expanding ones own understanding of a discipline by teaching others
  • Transmitting knowledge in a way that inspires new scholars
the boyer model continued
The Boyer model, continued
  • The 4 dimensions of scholarship are inseparable
  • Faculty reward systems should recognize excellence in all 4 categories
  • Librarians are engaged mostly in the scholarship of application
rethinking scholarship the oregon state experience
Rethinking scholarship – the Oregon State experience
  • Building on Boyer’s work C. J. Weiser led an initiative at OSU in 1996 to:
    • develop a scholarship matrix
    • develop a simple working definition of scholarship
    • implement that definition in the university’s standards for tenure and promotion.
oregon state s definition of scholarship
Oregon State’s definition of scholarship
  • “Scholarship is any form of creative intellectual work that is validated by peers and communicated.”
    • A simple, elegant statement
    • The OSU “litmus test”
    • Applies to all fields of intellectual endeavour
    • Scholarship is not restricted to universities!
the scholarship of management
The scholarship of management

Managing in a scholarly way

  • Good management can be “creative intellectual work”
  • Study and apply management theory, principles of leadership
  • Peer validation?
  • Communication?
conference presentations as evidence of scholarship
Conference presentations as evidence of scholarship
  • A much more immediate form of communication than published articles
  • Can they be peer validated?
  • Conference evaluation forms should request explicit feedback on each presentation
nature and extent of librarians scholarship publishing
Nature and extent of librarians’ scholarship (publishing)
  • Scholarly “output” of academic librarians (Joswick; Weller et al.)
  • Content of library literature (Crawford; Bao)
  • Quality of the library literature (Floyd & Phillips)
scholarly output of academic librarians
Scholarly output of academic librarians
  • What % of academic librarians publish and how much do they publish?
    • Joswick (CRL, July 99) studied journal articles published by 1,294 Illinois college and university librarians between 1995-1999
    • 13% of the population published at least one article
    • Avg. output of 1.27 articles/author
    • 64.46% of authors produced just one article
    • Only 8.42% of authors produced more than 3 articles
scholarly output author analysis
Scholarly output – author analysis
  • Where do librarians publish?
    • 90% of articles were in library publications
  • What are the characteristics of librarians who publish?
    • Males slightly over-represented
    • More frequent contributors are from larger, research-oriented institutions
    • Collaborative authorship is increasing
    • Women more likely to collaborate than men
scholarly output journal analysis
Scholarly output – journal analysis
  • Weller, Hurd, and Wiberly (CRL, July 99) studied the contribution to peer-reviewed literature by practising academic librarians in the U.S.
    • Looked at 3,624 peer reviewed articles in 32 library journals published between 1993-1997
    • 43% of articles were authored by practicing academic librarians
    • Avg. output of 0.96 articles/author
    • 78.35% of academic librarians produced just one article
    • Only 2.78% of academic librarians produced more than 3 articles
    • 55.03% of articles were produced by a single author; 36.35% had 2 authors; 5.95% had 3 authors; 2.66% had 3+ authors
content of the library literature
Content of the library literature
  • What do academic librarians write about, and is it research?
  • Xue-Ming Bao (CRL, Nov 2000) analyzed the content of 682 refereed articles in CR&L and JAL from 1990-1999 in relation to the 1992 ACRL Research Agenda
content of the library literature25
Content of the library literature
  • “The analysis finds that articles on collections, services, staffing and the Internet have taken up the major portion of the peer-reviewed sections of C&RL and JAL. It also reveals that a wide variety of researchable questions remain to be studied and reported.”

(Bao, CRL, v. 61, no. 6, Nov 2000, p. 536)

content of the library literature26
Content of the library literature
  • Gregory A. Crawford (CRL, May 99) examined the nature of articles in CR&L and JAL for 1996, 1997
  • Focused on the type of article, structure, methodology, data collection, statistical analysis… to determine the “research” content of these journals
  • Concluded that 74% of the articles in C&RL and 39% of the articles in JAL could be characterized as research-based…. And that percentage has increased compared to earlier studies
quality of the library literature
Quality of the library literature

Floyd and Phillips studied the question of whether pressures felt by librarians to publish within the constraints imposed by their institutions are affecting the quality of the library literature.

Barbara L. Floyd and John C. Phillips, “A Question of Quality: How Authors and Editors Perceive Library Literature”. (CRL, Jan 1997, pp. 81-93.)

floyd and phillips findings
Floyd and Phillips findings:

Unlike teaching faculty librarians generally enjoy little support for research:

“Despite pressure to publish… few librarians worked for institutions with written policies specifying how much time employees could spend on research. Only 19 percent of the authors indicated their institution had such a policy, with an average of four hours per week allowed for research…”

Barbara L. Floyd and John C. Phillips, “A Question of Quality: How Authors and Editors Perceive Library Literature”. (CRL, Jan 1997, pp. 81-93.)

floyd and phillips findings29
Floyd and Phillips findings:

“…One author noted that although librarians were permitted four hours each week, this was ‘theoretic, not a reality on any regular basis’. Another who reported having two to three hours each week for research commented: ‘Obviously, this time alone is nowhere near adequate to sustain a significant publishing record.”

Barbara L. Floyd and John C. Phillips, “A Question of Quality: How Authors and Editors Perceive Library Literature”. (CRL, Jan 1997, pp. 81-93.)

floyd and phillips findings30
Floyd and Phillips findings:

Quality of library literature is compromised by:

  • Librarians’ schedules of assigned duties
  • Lack of release time for scholarship
  • Other time commitments, e.g the need to keep abreast of rapid technological changes in the field
  • Barriers to publication posed by editorial and authorship elites

Barbara L. Floyd and John C. Phillips, “A Question of Quality: How Authors and Editors Perceive Library Literature”. (CRL, Jan 1997, pp. 81-93.)

floyd and phillips findings31
Floyd and Phillips findings:

Improving Quality:

  • Administrators must allow release time for librarians to conduct research
  • Tenure/promotion committees should assess quality, relevance of submitted articles
  • Editorial boards should assess qualifications of authors to publish
  • Open up the publishing process to admit a wider range of qualified authors and ideas
  • Publish outside the field of librarianship

Barbara L. Floyd and John C. Phillips, “A Question of Quality: How Authors and Editors Perceive Library Literature”. (CRL, Jan 1997, pp. 81-93.)

what motivates librarians to engage in scholarship
What motivates librarians to engage in scholarship?
  • Intellectual interest
  • Problem-oriented research
  • Status, prestige
  • External requirement
    • standards for promotion and tenure
the motivation for librarians scholarship
The motivation for librarians’ scholarship
  • To what extent do local standards for promotion and tenure influence librarians engagement in scholarly publishing?
  • Do librarians have difficulty meeting these standards?
the motivation for librarians scholarship34
The motivation for librarians’ scholarship
  • Numerous articles suggest that the degree of institutional expectation for scholarship, and the opportunity provided, are significant factors influencing the scholarly output of librarians

(Hart; Hoggan; Weller, et al)

the motivation for librarians scholarship35
The motivation for librarians’ scholarship
  • W. Bede Mitchell and Mary Reichel investigated the influence of scholarly requirements on librarians’ ability to earn tenure (CRL, May 99)
  • In a survey of 374 research institutions employing tenure track librarians 60% required some scholarship and 34.6 encouraged it.
  • 92.2% of librarians who underwent tenure review during a 3 year period were approved.
  • The authors concluded that the requirement for scholarship does not appear to be a deterrent to librarians’ success in obtaining tenure
uofc handbook for academic staff in information resources 6 th ed
UofC Handbook for Academic Staff in Information Resources, 6th ed.
  • Section 4: Criteria for Appointment, Promotion and Performance Assessment
  • Revised Requirements of Academic Staff by Rank (April 19, 2002)
4 12 3 scholarship and innovation research publications creative activities
4.12.3 Scholarship and Innovation (Research, Publications, Creative Activities)
  • Librarians have a responsibility to contribute to the creative intellectual process that is scholarship. Acknowledgement is also given to innovation which is a key element contributing to the effectiveness of the Library. Evidence of individual achievements in these areas would include
  • 4.12.3.1 Value to the Profession
  • 4.12.3.2 Value to the Library
  • 4.12.3.3 Value to the University
  • 4.12.3.4 Value to other Libraries
4 12 3 scholarship and innovation research publications creative activities38
4.12.3 Scholarship and Innovation (Research, Publications, Creative Activities)
  • 4.12.3.1 Value to the Profession
  • publication of books, journal articles, bibliographies, book reviews, guides to the subject literature, literature reviews
  • entry of information into refereed databases
  • Contributions to an edited book
  • editing a professional newsletter or journal
  • participation as a contributor or speaker at professional workshops or conferences
uofc handbook requirements of academic staff by rank librarian
UofC Handbook:Requirements of Academic Staff by Rank: Librarian
  • 4.15.3.5 Professional Growth, Service, Scholarship and Innovation
  • Evidence of continuing professional growth, service and scholarship is required. Meaningful participation in provincial, national or international bodies is expected. Librarians holding non-administrative posts are expected to demonstrate scholarly contributions to further librarianship or related academic disciplines.
uofc handbook 4 16 annual appraisal
UofC Handbook: 4.16 Annual Appraisal
  • 4.16.3 b) Goals
  • 5. Weighting of criteria to be applied to an individual’s performance in the coming year is mutually established by the individual and the Principal Evaluator, within the following guidelines:
      • Professional Performance 65-90%
      • Scholarship 5-15%
      • Service 5-20%
uofs library standards for promotion and tenure
UofS Library standards for promotion and tenure

“The four scholarships of teaching, discovery, integration and application…. are considered in the context of permanent status and promotion considerations.”

uofs library standards for promotion and tenure42
UofS Library standards for promotion and tenure

“The practice of professional skills is the most important category for the consideration of tenure and promotion. It includes both the demonstration of competency in librarianship (application) and the sharing of knowledge gained through such application within forums where such knowledge is subject to the scrutiny and assessment of one’s peers (scholarship). Application is of equal importance to scholarly work,”

uofs library standards for promotion and tenure43
UofS Library standards for promotion and tenure

“5.2 Scholarly Work

Research, scholarly and/or artistic work is creative, intellectual work which is in the public realm and which has been subjected to external peer review.Publication in reputable peer-reviewed outlets is the primary evidence in this category.”

uofs library standards for promotion and tenure44
UofS Library standards for promotion and tenure

“Scholarly work is expected of all librarians. Unlike traditional faculty research, a librarian’s scholarly work usually derives from professional practice. Candidates for permanent status or promotion will engage in scholarly work appropriate to academic librarianship with the fundamental expectation that the results of scholarly work will be shared with other members of the profession and the academic community.“

uofs standards communication of scholarly work
UofS Standards: Communication of scholarly work

“The appropriate vehicles for dissemination of scholarly work will include one or more of the following peer reviewed outlets:

  • Articles in scholarly journals;
  • Books, chapters in books;
  • Technical reports/reports to agencies derived from research;
  • Presentations at academic, scientific or professional meetings;
  • Editorial work;
  • Substantial translation work;
  • Curated exhibits.”
communication of scholarly work continued
Communication of scholarly work, continued

“External peer validation of scholarly work is also derived from evidence of the adoption, implementation or replication of a librarian’s work on policy, practice, technological developments or library services by others in the extended library community.”

uofs standards for tenure as or promotion to librarian iv
UofS Standards:For Tenure as or Promotion to Librarian IV:

“…there must be compelling evidence, beyond that demonstrated for the rank of Librarian III, that:

2) The candidate as part of … professional practice has made a significant contribution to the creation and dissemination of knowledge through scholarly work…”

uofs standards for tenure as or promotion to librarian iv48
UofS Standards:For Tenure as or Promotion to Librarian IV:

“…There must also be evidence of leadership in the establishment and execution of a clearly defined program of scholarship and a positive indication that the candidate will maintain activity in scholarly work as well as in professional practice….

uofs standards for tenure as or promotion to librarian iv49
UofS Standards:For Tenure as or Promotion to Librarian IV:

“… The candidate will have played a leading role in scholarly investigations and disseminating the results in reputable peerreviewed outlets. The candidate will have made a contribution sufficient to be recognized by colleagues in their field in other parts of Canada or internationally. “

scholarly expectations uofc
Scholarly expectations - UofC
  • Scholarship broadly defined as: “a creative intellectual process”
  • Scholarship expected at all ranks
  • Scholarship and professional practice are considered as different categories
  • Multiple acceptable forms of scholarship
    • including publications, conference presentations, bibliographies, pathfinders, technical descriptions, consultations
  • 5-15% of annual performance appraisal
  • Somewhat greater expectation for scholarly contribution by “non-administrative” librarians?
scholarly expectations uofs
Scholarly expectations - UofS
  • Scholarship defined as: “creative, intellectual work which is in the public realm and which has been subjected to external peer review.”
  • Scholarship expected at all ranks
  • Scholarship is considered an integral part of the practice of professional skills
  • There must be a “clearly defined program of scholarship”
  • Peer reviewed publication is the primary evidence of scholarship
  • No guidelines for the proportion of time to be spent on scholarship
  • For tenure and promotion, scholarship must be assessed by “at least three senior academic librarians drawn from comparable institutions”
conclusions from comparison of uofc vs uofs scholarly expectations
Conclusions from Comparison of UofC vs. UofS Scholarly expectations
  • Both universities require scholarship by librarians at all levels
  • UofC applies a balanced formula for assessment of performance, scholarship, service
  • UofS appears to have more formal, more demanding expectations in terms of type, level, and evaluation of scholarship.
  • These are two different environments
  • Librarians’ behaviour will conform to the environment
  • Which model do you prefer?
scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

Not everyone agrees that librarians should research and publish. Kingma and McCombs looked at the opportunity cost of faculty status for librarians:

“Faculty status for academic librarians has consumed the attention of the profession for the last forty years… However, very little attention has been paid to the opportunity costs of faculty status as a component of the total cost of library services… “

Bruce Kingma and Gillian McCombs (College & Research Libraries, 56, May 1995, p. 258-264).

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics54
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

“The opportunity costs of faculty status include the value of the time that librarians use to pursue research interests in addition to the financial costs. The time costs include sabbaticals and other forms of release time, such as the hours allowed the librarian each week to write scholarly articles or give presentations outside the library…”

Bruce Kingma and Gillian McCombs (College & Research Libraries, 56, May 1995, p. 258-264).

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics55
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

“There are also across the board overhead costs. The peer review process, used to monitor the production of research and perform quality control functions, involves time spent by librarians to review files and meet collectively.”

Bruce Kingma and Gillian McCombs (College & Research Libraries, 56, May 1995, p. 258-264).

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics56
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

Kingma and McCombs suggested that librarians may need to provide evidence that the benefits to the university justify the opportunity costs of faculty status.

They also concluded that faculty status does not result in better quality library services, more productive faculty, or higher salaries for librarians!

Bruce Kingma and Gillian McCombs (College & Research Libraries, 56, May 1995, p. 258-264).

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics57
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

Herb White has argued that:

“Real displacement of value systems and of work priorities can occur when librarians try to resemble faculty members or, even worse, when their tenure dossiers are evaluated by faculty who have no idea what professional librarians do and simply insist that librarians ought to look like them...”

H.S. White, “Faculty Status for Academic Librarians: The Search for the Holy Grail” (LJ 11/15/96, p. 39-40)

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics58
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

“… It should be obvious that our schedules cannot produce the same volume of research and publication without limiting our formal job assignments to between five and ten hours per week. Since that won’t happen, we must stress to faculty that judging us by their standards is absurdly unfair. Instead we should emphasize that we are entitled to all of their benefits and all of their status, not because we are exactly like them, but because what we do is important and our contributions are just as significant.”

H.S. White, “Faculty Status for Academic Librarians: The Search for the Holy Grail” (LJ 11/15/96, p. 39-40)

scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians some skeptics59
Scholarly publishing and faculty status for librarians – some skeptics

“Over the years I've interacted with librarians before and after they've achieved tenure and/or been promoted, and I can't say that I've noticed any cognitive, behavioral, or affective amelioration as a result. Good librarians are good librarians, with or without faculty status. ... If all the time spent writing often forgettable articles for journals of often questionable quality and compiling bloated dossiers were converted into service delivery, we'd be much better off.”

Blaise Cronin, “The Mother of All Myths” Library Journal 126 no3 144 F 15 2001

answering the skeptics opportunity cost
Answering the skeptics – opportunity cost
  • The opportunity cost argument can be made about faculty as well as librarians
    • The research vs. teaching debate all over again
  • What is the alternative?
    • Yes, there is an immediate service cost to having librarians engaged in research and publishing
    • The cost of not doing the research is stagnation for the library profession
answering the skeptics quality and quantity of research
Answering the skeptics – quality and quantity of research
  • The quality argument also applies to teaching faculty
  • The biggest factor affecting quality and quantity of librarians’ research is release time
  • Where scholarly publishing is a requirement for tenure and promotion the library has an obligation to provide release time for this activity
  • Librarians should negotiate release time for research and publishing corresponding to the importance placed on these activities within the standards for tenure and promotion
answering the skeptics faculty status
Answering the skeptics – faculty status
  • It’s naïve to expect that librarians could successfully argue that we are entitled to all the benefits of faculty status “because what we do is important and our contributions are just as significant” as the faculty’s.
  • The value system and reward structure of universities emphasizes research, publishing and teaching above all else
what is the value if any of scholarship by librarians
What is the value (if any) of scholarship by librarians?
  • to the individual
  • to the library and host institution
  • to the profession
value to the individual
Value to the individual
  • Acquisition of knowledge
  • Personal growth
  • Professional status, prestige
  • $$$
value to the profession
Value to the profession
  • Without scholarship any profession would stagnate
  • Practicing academic librarians contribute 43% of the library literature
value to the library and host institution
Value to the library and host institution
  • Creative intellectual work directed towards enhancements in service and local practices benefits the library/institution
  • Innovation isn’t scholarship unless it is shared with and validated by peers
  • Is it the innovation, not the scholarship, that’s of value to the local institution?
  • There may be some prestige value to the library/institution from scholarship by its staff
  • The library/institution bears the opportunity cost of the scholarship
librarians scholarship and faculty status summary
Librarians, Scholarship and Faculty Status - summary
  • Scholarship is any form of creative intellectual work that is validated by peers and communicated
  • Scholarship has 5 dimensions: discovery, integration, application, teaching, and artistic expression
  • Scholarship requires evidence of external recognition Positive external peer review is the usual standard applied
  • Librarians are engaged mostly in the scholarship of application
  • There are many scholarly opportunities for librarians arising from professional practice
  • Librarians are motivated to engage in scholarship for reasons of intellectual interest, work-related problem solving, and externally imposed requirements
librarians scholarship and faculty status summary68
Librarians, Scholarship and Faculty Status - summary
  • Scholarship by librarians is required for faculty status, tenure and promotion at most universities
  • Institutional expectations for scholarship by librarians is increasing. The bar has been raised.
  • Where scholarly publishing is a requirement for tenure and promotion the library has an obligation to provide release time for this activity
  • Unless library services are to suffer universities must incorporate librarians’ release time into their staffing models
  • Librarians write about what they know: articles on services collections/acquisitions, and staffing dominate the literature
  • Quantity of scholarly publishing by practising academic librarians is modest (avg. of 1 peer reviewed article every 5 years)
summary
Summary
  • Approx. 60% of the articles in major scholarly library journals are research-based
  • The quantity and quality of librarians’ scholarship is limited by time constraints and other factors, e.g. a lack of training in research methods and statistical analysis
  • Despite concerns of quality and quantity, practicing academic librarians contribute 43% of the library literature.
  • Some observers dispute the benefits of faculty status for librarians
  • Some skeptics argue that librarians should reject the faculty model and concentrate on service
  • There is an opportunity cost associated with librarians’ scholarship. The same is true for the teaching faculty
summary70
Summary
  • There is no clear connection between the degree of participation in scholarship and library quality
  • Librarians will continue to embrace the faculty model because it bestows higher salaries, benefits, and prestige
  • The cost of not doing research is stagnation for the library profession
  • Scholarship provides value to the profession and the individual. The value to the library and the parent institution is less clear, and may actually be a negative value
my opinion
My opinion
  • Librarianship is primarily a practice-based discipline. A degree of scholarship is important and necessary to keep the profession vital. However, the services that librarians provide are the primary reason we exist, and are important, valuable, and essential in their own right.
  • I agree with Herb White that we should vigorously assert the value of what we do, and not try to imitate the faculty. Our full-time, year-round assignment of duties is such that we will never be able to match the scholarly output of the faculty.
my opinion72
My opinion
  • However, I’m not optimistic that we will ever be able to convince university administrations, or even our own faculty associations, that librarians deserve the same salary levels as the teaching faculty. It just won’t happen.
  • Danielle Hoggan* cites research by Rodger Lewis and Richard Meyer that some economists believe that librarians emulating the faculty model too closely will in the long run be counter-productive. Seeking increasing amounts of release time to engage in scholarship may risk undermining the status and benefits we now enjoy.

*Hoggan: Portal, v. 3, no. 3 (2003) 431-445

my opinion73
My opinion
  • If librarians spend more and more time on research and scholarship, the work of running libraries will have to be done by paraprofessionals. Then it won’t take university administrators long to conclude that we don’t need as many librarians!
  • So let’s be scholarly, but not too scholarly. Let’s remember that it’s collection building and services that got us this far. Let’s not turn our back on the skills for which our profession is justifiably well regarded in an effort to be something we’re not.
  • Librarians who really wish to live the scholarly life, and to enjoy faculty salary levels, should quit the library, go get PhD’s, and then find a job where they can concentrate on research, publishing and teaching.
slide75

David FoxHead, Information Technology and Technical Services DivisionsUniversity of Saskatchewan Library

phone: (306)966-6031   (ITS) phone: (306)966-5949   (TS)fax: (306)966-6040

http://library.usask.ca/~fox/

http://library.usask.ca/~fox/scholarship.ppt