Engagement with scholarly work as professional development

Why read books, book chapters, journal articles, and other scholarly work as part of your professional development? As a manager, why support and enable colleagues to do so? In this post I discuss some challenges for library managers and leaders in supporting deeper engagement with scholarly work, and some issues in the library profession more broadly with engagement with everything we term “theory”. To be clear, this is a personal reflection on experience not a systematic piece of research; and I am aware I speak from a position of privilege in various ways.

Note on terminology: by ‘scholarly work’ I mean to be inclusive of works of both research and scholarship; if you make no distinction between these terms, no problem. I am using ‘librarianship’ interchangeably with ‘library and information science’ (LIS).

“Pro-intellectualism ftw”

I’ve been thinking about this subject for a while and the vintage 140-character tweets quoted below were fresh libraryland discourse when I started drafting this post. This thread from Chris Bourg about reading and recommending scholarly work in the workplace as an everyday activity, a standard expectation, was the first time I had seen a library director make quite this statement:

The whole thread was inspiring and motivational. The discussion in replies made me think about what gives us permission to act in our workplaces beyond the expectations of our roles and job descriptions, and helped me overcome concerns about push-back and reactance that had limited my routinely recommending scholarly work in a work context.

In these tweets and the exchange between Jessica and Michelle, I recognise both the practitioners’ enthusiasm and frustrations as well as the administrator’s sadness and concern. I am sure many of us can quote analogous examples from experience; I have heard similar thoughts from colleagues.

The reason I identify with these views is that connecting the literatureor theorywithin and beyond librarianship to what we do in practice seems such an essential part of practice itself. We can generate knowledge from our practice by reflection and a reflexive stance, but theoretically-informed reflection and application of ideas to practice requires connections outside and beyond practice.

“Thinking is an action. For all aspiring intellectuals, thoughts are the laboratory where ones goes to pose questions and find answers, and the place where visions of theory and praxis come together.” (hooks, 2010 p.7)

bell hooks’s understanding to me shows the integrative relationship of theory and practice, in how reflective thought has a questioning or problem-posing nature. This idea of integrating “theoretical talk”, a term hooks uses to describe writing (1994, p. 70), into practice necessarily implies contextualising others’ knowledge at vital points within our own situation, and using it to improve that situation whether in a personal, interpersonal, or broader social contexts. This view is is rooted in critical theory, which implies a role of theory as liberatory: that is toward constructing an improved social totality (borrowing here Georg Lukács’s term). It necessarily implies reaching beyond our own understandings. On reading, Paulo Freire wrote that:

“Reading is one of the ways I can get the theoretical illumination of practice in a certain moment. […] Information can be got through reading a book, and it can be got through a conversation.” (Freire and Horton 1990, p.98-99)

I feel it is this illumination, a sense of theory shedding light on practice that is the valuable thing we get from directed reading. Despite Freire’s insight about the value of discourse or conversation, reading is a highly practical means of attaining knowledge to inform this illumination. Incidentally, and I digress, We make the road by walking quoted here (dual authorship with Myles Horton, but the quotes are Freire) is a beautiful book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the purpose of education within a democratic polity.

“Reading, as study, is a difficult, even painful, process at times, but always a pleasant one as well. It implies the reader delve deep into the text, in order to learn its most profound meaning. The more we do this exercise, in a disciplined way, conquering any desire to flee the reading, the more we prepare ourselves for making future reading less difficult.” (Freire 1994, p. 65)

Freire’s position at times can be very uncompromising, with reading a painful but necessary confrontation with new ideas that over time prepared us better for future engagements. The key point I draw from this challenging view is that of learning as an aid to action in practice, that is in ‘actioning’ the theoretical and developing understanding by utilising the theoryor the established scholarly body of knowledgeof our discipline.

In engaging with texts critically we connect with ideas, but the literature also shows what practitioners think possible, shows how we define the limits of practice, and hints toward what is left open to new exploration and discovery. This creative engagement allows us to better think forward to changing circumstances, beyond the basic elements of our technique and immediate cause-and-effect of day-to-day experience. I tend to emphasise multidisciplinary breadth in general reading in comparison to the more focused in-depth research we may undertake for particular projects, however I do think this is a both/and situation. In my experience reading ‘locally’ within librarianship leads toward our local maximum, which may or may not also represent a global maximum. Multidisciplinary approaches help us toward the global maxima, or at least provides points of triangulation outside librarianship that help confirm the coherence of our positions.

For example, in developing understanding of reflective practice I found the literature deepest and most fully-theorised within teaching and health and social care literature. In the social work literature I found a developed concept of critical reflective practice which uses critical theory as a lens for “searching for the assumptions implicit in practice” (Fook and Gardner 2010, p.26) when we iteratively make and remake knowledge in practice. It is impossible for me to say I could have developed the same ideas without this broader exploration.

Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi's model flow is associated with high challenge and high skill level.
Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model. (Words and image from Wikipedia, license CC-BY-SA.)

My experience is such learning is a stretch and brings with it discomforting feelings, if not always anxiety or worries. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (2014, pp.227-238) theory of flow describes how tasks that balance challenge with skill level can achieve a state of optimum performance where our awareness of thoughts, feelings, and action merge.

In encountering and making sense of this theory I initially misunderstood it, as the explanation I heard was based on the idea of optimum performance of everyday workplace tasks. Digging into Csikszentmihalyi’s research and scholarship it became clearer that flow is not necessarily a pleasant experience, which I now recognise in many of my experiences of self-directed learning. The analogy I think best captures my sense of uprootedness or sudden removal from a comfortable place, and the dawning awareness of new knowledge is Sara Ahmed’s explanation of these “ordinary feelings”:

“Every experience I have had of pleasure and excitement about a world opening up has begun with … ordinary feelings of discomfort, of not quite fitting in a chair, of becoming unseated, of being left holding onto the ground.” (Ahmed 2006, p.154)

Time Trades

As well as stretch, I feel focus on areas to develop and improve has to be rooted in self-awareness and self-direction of our practice. I see this type of more directed reading as a purposeful use of our time rather than a chore to be slogged through; and ideally believe self-directed learning can become a habit to work into continual, ongoing practice. I am conscious of and hoping to avoid a sense of investing time for a particular return suggesting the type of neoliberal entrepreneurial approach to education that Sam Popowich (2018) problematises in a recent blog post. Above, a more positive reflection on the value of time is offered in Jeffrey Lewis’s Time Trades.

Practice is in any case more complicated than implied by the idea of theory straightforwardly informing action. In the complex, messy situations of the workplace I rarely perceive a straightforward path where, for example, a colleague has read an article and then implements something based on it. Although I am comfortable quoting from scholarly work to make or emphasise a point in a work context, the notion that we might lay out a 1:1 relationship to colleagues showing how each particular action is rooted in theory belies the mechanics of learning and development and its relationship with practice.

For library work, I perceive the skills needed for this type of focused reading and learning are a key workplace information literacy (IL) skill, understanding that our more academic digital and information literacy skills can be reflexively shaped and developed within libraries-as-workplace. By workplace information literacy, I mean the growing area of research and scholarship that explicitly focuses on IL in workplaces, compared with an academic taught or research study environment where IL is typically learned. A presentation at the 2018 LILAC conference by Marc Forster and Stéphane Goldstein provides an excellent recent summary.

How we can support each other

“Theorizing—even reflection—is seen as a frill in an environment where we are always crunched for time. […] Reading as a means for creating dialogue that develops ideas and affective connections between people does not happen as regularly as it should in neoliberal libraries.” (Coysh, Denton, and Sloniowski 2018, p.130; p.137)

In their book chapter about a reading group set up to read Michel Foucault’s The order of things, Sarah Coysh, William Denton, and Lisa Sloniowski get to the heart of how workplaces often fail to practically support the reflection and dialogue that many of us would agree theoretically is valuable. Being “crunched for time” and lacking a supportive environment are constraints and impediments. Unsurprisingly, the reading group mentioned above took place outside the authors’ workplace in their own time. Likewise, outside work I have always found library workers keen to share reading recommendations and discuss them at conferences and unconferences, in Twitter chats, in conversations one to one. Those situations are those with engaged, self-selected participants who are interested in the subject and want to take part, and as such can be extremely supportive and affirming experiences.

In a recent blog post Carrie Wade discusses the issue of resistance to theory itself:

“The deepest structural issue with library education and publication: theory is treated as something without gravity. Theory is relegated to blog posts by some of our profession’s most brilliant minds—but as a profession we actively denigrate such forms of publication as being of lesser importance.” (Wade, 2018)

I agree with Carrie’s points, and feel this critique should be extended to our ongoing self-directed learning. I believe there is value simply in managers and leadership teams being supportive of, and valuing theoretically-informed reflection and exchange of ideas. In the absence of support, or even hostility to theory, engaging with scholarly work is still highly practical and accessible in many ways: there is no need to ask anyone for permission; no need to wait for training to become available and secure funding to attend it; and is it possible to read widely and in-depth using materials available Open Access or free-to-read, or acquired by other means of legal scholarly sharing.

In senior management roles I have recruited and managed team members in posts that require a postgraduate qualification or equivalent experience. I feel it reasonable to expect these colleagues to be connected with the scholarly literature, keeping up to date, reflecting and relating theory and practice into a coherent praxis of academic librarianship. However, an assumption of needing no support with reading and reflection for professional development can reflect a privileged position. My experience of coming to librarianship via a non-traditional route was that it was a struggle to anticipate and grasp the theoretical approaches and assumptions, and foundational knowledge of the discipline. This wasn’t because the content was intellectually too difficult, but because of the time needed to explore and understand a new area, to learn its language and concepts, and become comfortable enough to engage with established practitioners was substantial alongside working full-time.

Within our professional discourse it is disturbing to see disparaging, if low-level, comments about reading for professional development. This can come across as a lingering wish for gatekeeping and controlling access to knowledge. In opposition to these positions, I ask why can’t all library workers have access to this knowledge—why can’t we support and scaffold each others’ learning? In my experience, sometimes what we need most are supportive environments and inclusive communities as we discover a new “world opening up”.

References

Ahmed, S. (2006) Queer phenomenology. Durham, NC: Duke University.

Coysh, S.J., Denton, W., and Sloniowski, L. ‘Ordering things’, in Nicholson, K.P. and Seale, M. (eds.) The politics of theory and the practice of critical librarianship. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice, pp. 130-144 [Online]. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34415

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014) Flow and the foundations of positive psychology. Reprint, London: Springer, 2014.

Fook, J. and Gardner, F. (2010) Practising critical reflection. Maidenhead: Open University.

Forster, M. and Goldstein, S. (2018) ‘Information literacy in the workplace’, LILAC (Librarians’ Annual Information Literacy Conference), Liverpool 4-6 April. Available at: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/4801/

Freire, P. (1994) Pedagogy of hope. London: Bloomsbury.

hooks, b. (1994) Teaching to transgress. Abingdon: Routledge.

hooks, b. (2010) Teaching critical thinking. Abingdon: Routledge.

Horton, M. and Freire, P. (1990) We make the road by walking. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

Lukács, G. (1971) History and class consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

Popowich, S. (2018) ‘The value of degrees’, Sam Popowich, 4 July. Available at: https://redlibrarian.github.io/article/2018/04/07/the-value-of-degrees.html

Wade, C. (2018) ‘Inquiring the library’, Library Barbarian, 22 March. Available at: http://seadoubleyew.com/inquiring-the-library/

Wikipedia contributors (2018). ‘Flow (psychology)’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, [Online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Flow_(psychology)&oldid=836178438 (accessed April 13, 2018).

Reflective practice and critical reflection recommended reading

I was recently asked by colleagues for some recommended reading on reflective practice in general and critical reflection in particular, and as several people asked me to share this I thought I would do so here.

Reflective practice in general

Schön, D.A. (1983) The reflective practitioner. New York, NY: Basic Books.

A classic text, and one that should be seen in Schön’s context of time, place, and employment. Heavily critiqued and interpreted in the last 30+ years; I’d argue understanding reflection-in-action vs. reflection-on-action remains core to effective reflective practice and that this is still a challenging work when considering professional technical skills for practitioners.

Finlay, L., (2008) Reflecting on reflective practice. Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/opencetl/resources/pbpl-resources/finlay-l-2008-reflecting-reflective-practice-pbpl-paper-52

For me Finlay is the best starting point for a review article on reflective practice. Written for the Open University PBPL CETL (which dates it if you remember CETLs…) but presenting, effectively, a wide-ranging literature review on reflective practice useful to anyone. Very helpful for an overview of different approaches or ways of doing reflective practice.

Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective practice : writing and professional development. 3rd edn. London: Sage.

A useful overview of reflective writing. Its utility to you may depend on your view of the importance of narrative, but worthwhile if you have any intention of writing reflective pieces on your experience.

Brookfield, S. (1994) ‘Tales from the dark side: a phenomenology of adult critical reflection’, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 13 (3) pp.203-216. doi:10.1080/0260137940130303

An interesting exploration of negative aspects (the ‘dark side’) of critical reflection for adult learners. Recommended reading for how to avoid or overcome these issues in practice. Sadly not available OA or free-to-read.

Argyris, C. (1991) ‘Teaching smart people how to learn’, Harvard Business Review, (May/June). Available at: https://hbr.org/1991/05/teaching-smart-people-how-to-learn

On challenges of applying Argyris and Schön’s single-loop vs. double-loop learning to professional practice.

Drucker, P.F. (1999) ‘Managing oneself’, Harvard Business Review, (January). Available at: https://hbr.org/2005/01/managing-oneself

Not pitched as about reflection, but contains useful nuggets on ways of thinking about development. Warning: contains some problematic ideas and sweeping statements.

Critical reflection or critical reflective practice

I take critical reflective practice to mean particularly the ‘two stage’ approach of analysis and deconstruction followed by reconstruction and change developed and articulated in the 2000s by Jan Fook, Fiona Gardner, and Sue White, alongside contributions from many other researchers. Their particular combination of theoretical underpinning and practical method is the one I prefer because it chimes with in with my own values and preferred approach to thinking about professional practice.

These researchers scaffold their approach with four theories, this list is paraphrased in part from Gardner (2014) and Fook and Gardner (2007):

  • Reflective practice itself, including an idea of experience or practice knowledge that I would describe as praxis, eg. articulated in Fook and Gardner (2007 p.24), “[R]eflective practice can be seen as a process of researching practice theory, by developing it directly from concrete practice”
  • Reflexivity, emphasizing a consciousness of how users perceive themselves and us, and how we perceive ourselves and each other in context as practitioners and researchers
  • Postmodernism and deconstruction, in this case particularly emphasizing concerns with attitudes to and influences of power
  • Critical social theory, including an emphasis on social justice as a concern

One challenge for us is taking these ideas out of their original context of health and social care and making them applicable to library and information professional practice. Personally, I think this is entirely possible as the idea of praxis implies:

  • Applying theory to practice deductively
  • Creating theory from practice via inductive formation of knowledge and new theories of practice

My point, is we needn’t wait for someone to write the ‘Critical reflection in library and information science’ textbook but can work on these ideas immediately. 😉

Gardner, F. (2014) Being critically reflective. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gardner’s is my favoured introduction to critical reflection concepts and methods. It’s written to work for students and both new and experienced practitioners, providing practical examples while referencing more complex texts for underpinning theory, some of which are below.

Fronek, P. (2012) Jan Fook: critical reflection. [Podcast]. Available at: http://www.podsocs.com/podcast/critical-reflection/

Fook, J. (2006) ‘Beyond reflective practice: reworking the “critical” in critical reflection’, Professional Lifelong Learning: beyond reflective practice, Leeds, UK, 3 July. Available at: http://medhealth.leeds.ac.uk/download/1404/keynote_janis_fook

This conference keynote and podcast can be combined with Gardner’s book on critical reflection as an overview for ‘core’ reading. Jan Fook’s keynote for a medical education conference includes both the ‘what it is’ explanation and a retheorizing of critical reflection. I really like her summary on p. 14 for the focus on the political aspects:

“In reworking a theory of critical reflection, I would now articulate critical reflection as involving the ability to understand the social dimensions and political functions of experience and meaning making, and the ability to apply this understanding in working in social contexts” (emphasis in original)

The podcast interview is meant as an overview – Jan Fook’s style and enthusiasm are compelling, start here if you are unsure about where to dive in.

White, S., Fook, J., and Gardner, F. (eds.) (2006) Critical reflection in health and social care. Maidenhead: Open University.

Lehmann’s chapter 14 particularly interesting as this links a reflective writing approach to critical reflective practice; the ‘five questions’ she poses are also very useful for unpicking underlying assumptions.

Fook, J. and Gardner, F. (2007) Practicing critical reflection: a resource handbook. Maidenhead: Open University.

Other than Gardner (2014) I think this is the best introduction containing a more detailed explanation of the theory plus a plan for how to carry out practical reflective conversations as a group.

Vince, R. and Reynolds, M. (2002) ‘Organizing reflective practice’, Organization Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities, Copenhagen, Denmark, 28-30 April. Available at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/conf/olkc/archive/olkc3/papers/contribution115.pdf

I include this here as Vince and Reynolds link reflective practice to critical management studies as a way of developing a model moving beyond Schön. Their overall view of ‘collective reflection’ is a useful expansion of, and critique of some limits in Schön’s work.

Ghaye, T. (2005) Developing the reflective healthcare team. Oxford: Blackwell.

Does what it says: the focus is on team-based reflection in healthcare, from a UK context. Much of what is here is generalizable and I think this is a particularly good starting point for managers or leaders looking at ways of developing reflective teamwork.

Critical theory and praxis

A major attraction for me to critical reflection was how Fook, Gardner, and White combine ‘traditional’ reflective practices with critical theory. With that in mind I wanted to include a few suggestions for starting points I think are useful in this area that may help in understanding the above. Lauren’s recommended reading list below includes these and much, much more: everything from critical theory ‘big names’ to specific library and inform recommendations.

Generally I’d also recommend Foucault, but struggle to pick one particular work. If pressed I’d include Discipline and Punish due to the focus on power and how disciplinary mechanisms were extended to the 20th century (Taylorist, Fordist) workplace, and the classic chapter on panopticism. It’s what I’ve recommended to my team as a starting point.

Leckie, G.J., Given, L.M., and Buschman, J. (eds.) (2010) Critical theory for library and information science. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

In my opinion the best general introduction to how critical theory can be applied to library and information work.

Freire, P. (1970) Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin.

A foundational work on praxis and critical pedagogy, quotable and inspiring. Of its time and place (citations include Lenin and Mao) so should be taken as a starting point for developing ideas.

Day, R.E., (2000) ‘Tropes, history, and ethics in professional discourse and information science’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 51 (5), pp.469–475. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(2000)51:5<469::AID-ASI7>3.0.CO;2-B

Free-to-read preprint available at: http://info.slis.indiana.edu/~roday/articles/tropes.pdf

Reading lists from our community

Smith, L. (2014) ‘Radical Librarians Collective (Part Three): Critical Theory’, Lauren Smith, May 16. Available at: https://laurensmith.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/radical-librarians-collective-part-three/

This blog post links to Lauren’s critical theory in LIS reading list (Google Doc) but is worth reading for additional background and the wonderful top ‘All-Time Must-Read Critical Theory in LIS texts’ list.

The Mnemosyne-Atlas: adding Pinterest to the library catalogue.

Why pinterest?

Last week I attended a talk by Phil Bradley at the Cilip in London AGM (a podcast of this talk Around the World on a Library Degree is available). Phil pointed out Pinterest as a particularly useful and interesting site to watch. I had not heard of this before so registered an account. Shortly after I noticed the Pinterest implementation at Darien Library.

Pinterest is a social networking site for sharing photos. Users organise items of media on boards – typically thematically or for a particular event.

I was immediately struck by the appearance of a full pinboard, it made me think of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne-Atlas. The Mnemosyne-Atlas was Warburg’s unfinished work, a series of plates (or boards) showing images from the classical period to Warburg’s present time. Alongside classical and renaissance images it included photographs, maps, woodcuts, advertisements, fragments of text, posters, and so on – all kinds of visual media. Warburg intended the boards to be accompanied by commentaries, but these were incomplete on his death in 1929 and only fragments exist.

Taken as a whole it is a summary of all of Warburg’s various interests. It has been compared with avant-garde photo montages in form but is something more, perhaps even a “visual archive of European cultural history” (Rampley, 1999). A photograph from an exhibition of Mnemosyne-Atlas plates is shown above. This is from a set on Flickr called aby warburg – the mnemosyne atlas.

Without expecting every user to be a scholar and cultural theorist of Warburg’s stature, I think there is value in supporting linking our catalogue records to Pinterest as it will allow users to relate them to other images and construct different meanings from them.  I feel it’s especially appropriate for Senate House Libraries which includes the library of the The Warburg Institute.

What is different about Pinterest is it makes creation of ‘vision boards’ easy – many sites now support pinning an image to Pinterest, and there are smartphone apps allowing you to pin anything you can photograph.

How to do this in Encore

At Senate House Libraries we have testing a beta version of the next release of our next-generation catalogue (or discovery interface), Encore. Caution! Everything described below links to a beta version of our catalogue that is not yet finished.

Adding a “Pin It” button is made possible by the ability to insert your own Javascript on the bibliographic record display of the new version of the catalogue. To be able to pin a catalogue record to a Pinterest board at minimum we need an image and a link to associate with it; a description of the image is optional. In this case the image is of the book jacket.

Here’s the Javascript to accomplish this, mind any line wrapping and WordPress oddness if you copy and paste it – file also available on Pastebin.

<script src="//s7.addthis.com/js/250/addthis_widget.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
(function() {
var azImageDiv = document.getElementById("imageAnyComponent_0");
if (azImageDiv) {
if (azImageDiv.width>1 && azImageDiv.height>1) {
// key is a variable Encore uses for checking Google Books. It contains 'ISBN:' plus an ISBN10.
var azAsin = key.substring(5);
var pinterestDiv=document.createElement('div');
pinterestDiv.innerHTML = '<span class="bibInfoHeader">Pinterest</span><div class="addthis_toolbox addthis_default_style" ><p>' + '<a class="addthis_button_pinterest" pi:pinit:url="https://encore.ulrls.lon.ac.uk/iii/encore42/record/C__R' + recordid + '" pi:pinit:media="' + 'http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/' + azAsin + '.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg"' + ' pi:pinit:layout="horizontal"</a></div>';
document.getElementById("customBottom").appendChild(pinterestDiv);
}
}
})();
</script>

Commentary

The challenge is to ensure we only render the Pin It button when we’re confident we have a book jacket image.

First step is to get the imageAnyComponent_0 div and check the size. This div contains the jacket image on Encore and is put there by the catalogue. Amazon returns a 1×1 pixel GIF if it has no jacket to offer, so if the image is larger than this it is probably a jacket image. Having the image is key: if we don’t have it we render nothing.

Assuming we have a jacket image I use the Add This to insert a Pinterest button which will pin a larger version of the jacket image and a link to the catalogue. Add This makes it very easy to deal with various social media buttons with minimal effort, plus it includes analytics information allowing us to judge use of these services on the catalogue. I recommend it.

Getting the ISBN turned out to be easy as the vendor’s Javascript for checking for Google Books previews already declares a variable key containing ‘ISBN:’ plus the ISBN-10 of the book.

Result

Here is how the the Pin It button appears in Encore:

If you use the Pin It button, it results in the creation of a pin like this, which can be found on my (testing!) board Catalog records from@SenateHouseLib:

Problems

I think this is a satisfactory start: comments, improvements and criticism welcome (but especially improvements).

First problem is Add This doesn’t seem to support passing a description for the pinned item. To make sharing as “frictionless” as possible I wanted to the add part of the page title as a description, for example: Senate House Libraries — Love is a dog from hell : poems, 1974-1977 / Charles Bukowski would be fine, and the Pinterest user can edit this during pinning. I added this manually to my pin above. Based on the syntax for the other options above it should be: pi:pinit:description=”description” but that doesn’t work.

Second problem is Amazon images doesn’t support ISBN-13, only ISBN-10. However the Encore catalogue will use the first ISBN that appears in the catalogue record which might be an ISBN-13. Converting from ISBN-13 to ISBN-10 is not a complete solution as although you could pin the item, you won’t see the jacket image in the catalogue in the first place.

Photo credit

Mnemosyne-Atlas boards photographed by Flirck user dzsil, license CC BY-SA.

References

Rampley, M. (1999). ‘Archives of memory: Walter Benjamin’s Arcades project and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas’, in Coles, A. (ed.) The optic of Walter Benjamin. London: Black Dog, pp. 94-119.