Wednesday, September 28, 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. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

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 the Silence by Marion Dane Baue
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Girl
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X; Alex Haley
Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out  by Susan Kuklin
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A Anaya
Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
George by Alex Gino
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman
Hoops by Walter Dean Myers
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
King & King by Linda de Haan
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
Nappy Hair by Carolivia Herron
Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
Palestine: A Nation Occupied by Joe Sacco
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor
Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
This Book is Gay by James Dawson
This Day in June by Gayle Pitman
Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Check out the Banned Books website for other information on promotional events to support the right to read!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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 educational resources cannot be overstated. A multi-institutional study in the Journal of Computing in Higher Education shows the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students:
  • higher or equivalent grades
  • higher average credit load
  • higher or equivalent completion rates
If you are interested in making your educational resources open, Creative Commons is a wonderful way to release under an open intellectual property license. 

If you would like to find and use open educational resources, The University of Minnesota created an Open Textbook Library that is a "tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions."

Ultimately, using OER in 1 course per year could save US students $1.42 billion (Student PIRGs).

The full presentation can be found here:

Monday, September 19, 2016

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. Citation impact for mature researchers has been shown to increase dramatically through open access.

So, you  may ask, what is being done to fix this problem? Currently there is a Presidential Policy Memorandum from 2013 expanding open access to the results of federally funded research.

And there are various stakeholders trying to memorialize this policy memorandum into law with S.779 - Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015.

This is a huge step forward in the open access movement. You might consider contacting your representatives to promote the passage of this law.

For more information and to see the PowerPoint from the presentation, please see this link:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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. We all know that most people will start their research where they feel comfortable - generally with their favorite search engine. We know this because librarians often do the same thing.

But as Kim notes, the appearance of ubiquitous information - the Google effect - has served to increase the the professional value of my relationship with academic librarians. The reason for this conclusion about the importance of the value of these relationships can be found in what Google can’t do - and in what academic librarians do beautifully. What I can’t do with Google is have a conversation.  I can’t discover what I don’t know when interacting with Google. I can’t evolve my understanding in dialogue with Google. From Google I can get facts, data, and information - but I can’t contextualize that information within the problem that I am trying to solve.  Nor can that information be placed within the cultural and organizational context in which I’m trying to utilize that information to answer a question or tackle a challenge.

And I use this way of thinking when I teach my students legal research. I understand that they will use Google, but I want them to also be able to contextualize the information that they find. I teach them a 4-step legal research strategy that starts with a preliminary analysis that includes planning their research and looking in secondary sources to find an overview of the law. After I've talked about the reputable secondary sources available through library subscriptions, I have a frank discussion with them about using Google to find information. I then have a discussion with the students about what they might find on Google and how that information fits into the 4-step process.

In the InsideHigherEd article, Kim goes on to discuss the other benefits of working with his academic-librarian colleagues. My librarian colleagues bring a deep level of expertise to these conversations that is different from other folks in my network. This expertise may be around information science, or open access and open resources, or how a new discipline (such as the digital humanities) is forming.  This expertise may be subject matter related.  This expertise may have to do with how physical and digital spaces change, merge and interact. Almost always, I learn from my librarian colleagues in our conversations new things about how learning and knowledge production are changing, and how we can be most effective in an environment of ever-increasing demands and ever-shrinking resources, time, and attention.

Lastly, Kim asks if there Is a shared understanding across higher ed that Google is in reality the best friend of the profession of academic librarianship - as ubiquitous information makes contextualized knowledge and ongoing collaborations ever more essential as drivers of both individual productivity and institutional quality?

I, for one, certainly hope so.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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 where or how you look, that's a sign that you've reached the foundational cases on point. Again make sure to Shepardize or Keycite. 
  • Your project deadline is fast-approaching. Remember that the best research is pointless if you don't leave enough time to write the paper or to tell the client or assigning attorney what you've found.

What if you're not finding authorities that address your research issue?

If research hasn't yielded any results after 30-45 minutes, it may be time to reevaluate your research strategy. Think comprehensively and creatively. Research broader rules, analogous facts or doctrines, and⁄or the law of other jurisdictions.

Make sure you are:
  • applying a variety of research techniques
  • using both primary and secondary sources
  • using both print and online sources
  • consulting resources from different publishers or vendors (remember that Lexis and Westlaw offer a lot of the same primary sources (cases, statutes, regulations, etc.), but the secondary sources available on each system, like treatises and practice guides, tend to not overlap very much.)

Consult a librarian.