H. Vernon Leighton
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Leighton, H. Vernon. "A Theory of Humor (Abridged) and the Comic Mechanisms of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces." In Theology and Geometry: Essays on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Edited by Leslie Marsh. (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2020), pp 1-21.
In order to examine the comedy of A Confederacy of Dunces (Confederacy) by John Kennedy Toole, I present a theory of humor (abridged), including some neuroscience. Within that framework, I examine Confederacy's comic mechanisms. The novel uses the comic devices of farce and concurrent incongruities to generate its humor. The overarching incongruity of the book is between how Ignatius Reilly sees himself and how he is portrayed. He sees himself as crusader and genius; he is shown to be coward and fool. Ignatius's primary personality trait is his selfish immaturity. He is both the trickster of the plot and one of the blocking characters who is tricked. Ignatius shares many qualities with physical comedians. Toole may have drawn on concepts of the trickster and fool available at the time he wrote the novel from thinkers in psychology, sociology, and historical studies, particularly the work of Enid Welsford.
Leighton, H. Vernon and Diane May. "The Library Course Page and Instruction: Perceived Helpfulness and Use among Students." Internet Reference Services Quarterly 18.2 (2013): 127-138. doi: 10.1080/10875301.2013.804019
Research guides can be divided largely into guides on particular subjects—subject guides—and guides tailored to the specific needs of courses—course pages. Recent studies indicate that online research guides are generally not helpful to college students unless the guides are linked to a course, either by being a course page or by being accompanied by an instruction session with the librarian. In this article, we report the findings of a study where students in a medium–sized (25 student), upper–division business course were asked about the helpfulness of a course page, the helpfulness of the librarian's accompanying instruction session, and how much they used the page. The student survey used mostly Likert scale questions. The study also reports on the course page's link traffic. Our results confirm earlier findings that a course page used in conjunction with librarian instruction is an effective tool to enhance student research. There were no control groups, and all respondents received both course page and instruction session. Seventy–one percent of the respondents indicated that the course page helpfulness ranged between “somewhat” and “very helpful,” and less than 10% of respondents said that they would not recommend a course page to other classes. Link traffic results indicate that neither a business subject guide nor a legal subject guide would have been as helpful to the respondents. These results support the argument that course pages should be preferred to subject guides when feasible.
May, Diane, and H. Vernon Leighton. "Using a Library-Based Course Page to Improve Research Skills in an Undergraduate International Business Law Course." Journal of Legal Studies Education 30.2 (2013): 295-319. doi: 10.1111/jlse.12003
This article addresses the use of a library course page as a research guide in an undergraduate international business law course. It discusses the importance of global knowledge as a learning outcome and the historical development and the use of library course pages as tools to assist students. The article presents the results of a student survey to assess the Course Page and librarian presentation and a traffic log of the Course Page. The authors draw conclusions regarding the use of a library course page supplemented with a librarian presentation, as a tool to assist business students with legal research in an international business law course. The article ends with a detailed teaching note to assist teaching faculty replicate the process.
Leighton, H. Vernon. "The Dialectic of American Humanism: John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, Marsilio Ficino, and Paul Oskar Kristeller." Renascence 64.2 (Winter 2012): 201-15. doi: 10.5840/renascence201264242
Part of my John Kennedy Toole Research project. This paper uses texts from Paul Oskar Kristeller to show how John Kennedy Toole used the ideas of the Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino within the novel A Confederacy of Dunces (Confederacy). Confederacy portrays a dialectic between competing definitions of humanism. Though Kristeller is considered an intellectual historian, his greatest impact was his establishing bibliographic control over many rare manuscripts from the Italian Renaissance (a task which is traditionally done by librarians).
Leighton, H. Vernon. "A Refutation of Robert Byrne: John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces, Chaucer, and Boethius." Notes on Contemporary Literature 42.1 (January 2012): 11-12.
Part of my John Kennedy Toole Research project. This article proves that a claim in a previous scholarly article regarding what John Kennedy Toole knew at the time he wrote his novel was incorrect. It uses information from the Toole Papers located at Tulane University Library.
Leighton, H. Vernon, Joe Jackson, Kathy Sullivan, and Russ Dennison "Web Page Design and Successful Use: A focus group study." Internet Reference Services Quarterly 8.3 (2003), 17-27.
The paper describes focus groups from 1999 at Winona State University which studied the usability of a library's website. Two focus groups were asked to use Web pages that incorporated the elements under examination. While the users' preferences were noted, the research team was more interested in which design elements affected the users' ability to successfully find the information they were asked to locate. Whereas the authors' findings agree in many cases with conventional tenets of good Web page design, variances in user success suggest that those designing library Web sites may have other usability factors to consider.
Leighton, H. Vernon. "Developing a new Data Archive in a Time of Maturing Standards." IASSIST Quarterly 26 (Spring, 2002): 5-9.
A paper presented at the IASSIST Conference in Storrs, CT, in 2001. I had spent my sabbatical as the programmer for the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive at Princeton University. This paper describes some of the strategies used to minimize labor efforts when developing a new data archive. Some data archive software products are reviewed and critiqued. Basic scheme is to use a data entry friendly format to edit the codebook, then use PERL scripts to construct a DDI compliant codebook in XML. That XML codebook is then used by other scripts to generate a suite of data products, some using XSLT, for use in the archive. The project was managed by Elizabeth Bennett under the direction of Ann Gray. The subject expert was Larry McGill. The hard work was done by Winona Meltzer and Colleen Burlingham. From the programmming end, the CPANDA project was carried to completion by the very capable Andrew Dzhigo in 2003. Visit CPANDA
Leighton, H. Vernon and Jaideep Srivastava. "First 20 Precision among World Wide Web Search Services (Search Engines)." Journal of the American Society for Information Science 50 (July 19, 1999): 870-881. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(1999)50:10<870::AID-ASI4>3.0.CO;2-G
A rewrite of our 1997 paper that studied precision among Web search services (see below). Although the data is the same, some of the findings and interpretations have changed. Significant revision from the web version below, including a rethinking of the concept of relevance.
____. Precision among World Wide Web Search Services (Search Engines): Alta Vista, Excite, Hotbot, Infoseek, Lycos. Last updated 8/27/97.
Five search engines, Alta Vista, Excite, Hotbot, Infoseek, and Lycos, are compared for precision on the first twenty results returned for fifteen queries. All searching was done from January 31 to March 12, 1997. Steps have been taken to ensure that bias has not unduly influence the evaluation. Friedmann's randomized block design is used to perform multiple comparisons for significance. Analysis shows that Alta Vista, Excite and Infoseek are the top three services, with their relative rank changing depending on how one interpreted the concept of "relevant."
Leighton, H. Vernon. "On the future of the book and libraries." Electronic Message posted to the Government Documents Discussion List. Govdoc-L@PSUVM.PSU.EDU. 1 April 1996.
This is no April Fool's Joke. Let me know what you think.
Leighton, H. Vernon. Performance of World Wide Web (WWW) Index Services, June 1995
Final Project for a course in Computer Systems Performance Analysis. This study has been so well received that I added a forward with more of my data and have added the Kirsch letter and my reply directly to the html version of the document.
Leighton, H. Vernon. "Course Analysis: Techniques and Guidelines," Journal of Academic Librarianship 21(May 1995): 175-179. doi: 10.1016/0099-1333(95)90036-5
An update to the theory of course analysis. Presents the various techniques for gathering course information and the formats for creating course descriptions. And the appropriate situations for their use.
Leighton, H. Vernon. "Electronic Availability Lists for U.S. Federal Document Depository Libraries: Opportunities and Realities," Government Publications Review 19 (May/June 1992): 279-287.
In this paper, I explored the possibilities of creating needs and offers lists in electronic formats. The conclusion was that the logical electronic format was as an ascii text, and not as a structured and indexed database.