Showing posts from September, 2016

Texas Tech Providing Document Delivery of 3D Printed Materials

Here at Texas Tech University, we just received word that starting in Spring 2017, the Texas Tech Libraries Document Delivery department will offer a new 3D object service. You can have 3D objects fabricated for instructional use.This includes anything like carbon nanotubes and molecules, architectural features and buildings, and even more unusual items like human vocal cords. The SHAPES Project is currently looking for ideas to fill its catalog with document delivery material that will be useful to a major research university. For more information about 3D printing at Tech, see our 3D printing services FAQs . What a cool way to fuse library services with new technology. 

Happy Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week runs from September 25 - October 1, 2016. This year, Banned Books Week is specifically celebrating diversity. From the Banned Books website : Below is a selection of books by diverse authors or containing diverse content that have been frequently challenged and/or banned. While diversity is seldom given as a reason for a challenge, it seems, in fact, to be an underlying and unspoken factor. These challenged works are often about people and issues which include LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities—people or issues that, perhaps, challengers would prefer not to consider. A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines A Hero Ain't Nothin But a Sandwich by Alice Childress A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by  Sherman Alexie All American Boys by Jason Reynolds Always Running by Luis J Rodriguez Am I Blue?:  Coming Out from th

Open Educational Resources in Higher Ed.

During the SPARC presentation last week , in addition to discussing open access, the representatives also discussed open educational resources (OER). A few interesting facts and figures: Since 2002, college textbook costs have increased 82% (GAO) 2 in 3 students say they decided against buying a textbook because the cost is too high (Student PIRGs) 1 in 3 students say at some point they earned a poor grade because they could not afford to buy the textbook (Student survey) 1 in 2 students say they have at some point taken fewer courses due to the cost of textbooks The Hewlitt Foundation defines Open Educational Resources as "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or are released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others." To truly be open, the resources should be free and have the 5 R's of reuse rights: Retain Reuse Revise Remix Redistribute The benefits of open educa

Current Open Access Initiatives

Last week, I attended a wonderful presentation by representatives from SPARC on open access initiatives in the United States. Some interesting facts and figures include: US Libraries spend 2.1 billion dollars on journal subscriptions per year (2014).  Elsevier and Springer have profit margins higher than Microsoft, McDonald's, Apple, Pfizer, Google, Disney, Starbucks, Exon Mobil, or Walmart (2014).  The overarching question is how can research be so expensive to access, especially when the federal government funds (i.e. taxpayers) so much it? That's where open access initiatives come in. Foundationally, "open access means free, immediate online access to scientific and scholarly articles with full reuse rights." ( Budapest Open Access Initiative ) Currently there are to two major paths toward open access for research: 1) Open access journals and 2) Self-archiving And there is a huge incentive for researchers to make their work accessible and open. C

A Must Read: StevenB's Designing Better Libraries Blog

If you haven't run across Steven Bell's blog  Designing Better Libraries , it's a must read. It explores "the intersection of design, user experience, and creativity for better libraries."

Academic Librarians & The Google Effect

I am often asked "Now that everything is online why do we need librarians?" It's a question that I would have likely considered myself before I became a librarian. And it's a tough question because it implies that the very nature of your work - the work that you know to be more important than ever in a time of ubiquitous online access - is not necessary anymore. I'd like to think that this way of thinking, that libraries and librarians are no longer necessary, is more of the exception than the rule, but I'm not so sure. Joshua Kim on InsideHigherEd did a great job of articulating the value of librarians in the Google age. He was recently asked "When it is time to do research on educational technology do you start with your favorite search engine or do you invest time delving into your academic library's education research databases?" It's a fallacy that librarians expect people to start with the research in the library's database. W

Legal Research: Knowing When to Stop

Beginning researchers often ask, "How do I know when I'm done?" This is a legitimate question because legal research can send you down many rabbit holes with seemingly endless resources to sort through. The University of San Francisco School of Law put together a wonderful research guide on point. Here are a few good indicators that you've reached the end of your research project: You've found the answer. Sometimes — this is rare — you will quickly find the authoritative law that applies to your fact pattern. Be sure to Shepardize or KeyCite to check to see if your sources are still good law.  You keep finding the same primary authority no matter which research method you use or which sources you consult. It's usually a good idea to double-check your research by checking two or three sources on the same topic to see if they all cite to the same authority. When you've done thorough research, and you keep turning up the same citations no matter wh