Perhaps nothing terrifies a college student like the research paper: finding a topic, creating an original thesis, searching and vetting sources, reading thoroughly, writing meaningfully – all difficult, time consuming tasks requiring focus and perseverance.
However, today’s technologically transformed library offers students tools that vastly simplify the research process. Sources emerge with a finger swipe, and incorporating them into a paper is simpler with an online library catalog. Compared with 30, even 20 years ago, searching and finding sources today has never been more streamlined, and academic research has benefited.
Students curious about library research methods pre-Internet – or promotional videos from the mid-‘80s – should see this quirky, parodical video, made in 1986 to feature Ekstrom Library, which had been built five years earlier. Unearthed recently by Anna Marie Johnson, UofL Libraries Head of Research Assistance and Instruction, the video is interspersed with tongue-in-cheek “ads” promoting various library resources (one features Cleopatra requesting information on asps, a large python curling nearby). It presents a pseudo-athletic event, held in Ekstrom library, in which two students compete to find information the fastest on an obscure subject (“squirrel cage motors” and “dancing mice”) using the various tools in the library.
In the video, students confront the difficult “athletic” challenge of conducting research, something intended as parody. However, compared with today’s research methods, the students’ tasks do indeed look athletic.
“Conducting research was very different from today’s methods,” says Johnson. “In fact, back then the process of finding a scholarly journal article involved several time-consuming steps in three separate locations.”
“First, you had to find the right subject index. So, if you were looking for articles in psychology, you needed to know that there was such a thing as Psychological Abstracts and that those were located in the reference section of the library. In addition, if you wanted all the articles on your topic for the last five years, it would likely involve paging through multiple volumes of the Abstracts.”
“Once you settled on some articles – which may have required you to also look up a journal abbreviation since the journal names were often abbreviated to save space – and wrote down the citations , you had to look at a printed list, which was often on a different table or shelf, of all the journals the library subscribed to in order to determine if the articles you wanted were in the library.”
“Remember, there were no cell phones handy to take pictures of your citations,” she added.
“Finally, you would take your list of citations upstairs to the journal stacks and choose the correct bound volume of the journal that you needed.”
“Contrast that with today,” Johnson goes on. “You probably are not even walking into the library, but you are accessing a database on the web that Ekstrom Library subscribes to, searching 50 years of those printed volumes, and with often one or two subsequent clicks, finding a PDF of the article you’re seeking, all without leaving your couch.”
So while we sympathize with students confronting their first college research paper, we can say this: researching a topic today is wildly more convenient than in years past, and as a result, the act of writing, research, and even thinking, can be deeper, better synthesized, and stronger.
You can see the video for yourself here.
By Rachel Howard
Most peer-reviewed academic journals are subscription-based: some require high fees from academic libraries and their institutions, while others charge authors directly if they want to make their content freely available to other scholars and researchers through open access. The University of Louisville recently launched its own open access, peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Respiratory Infections, using ThinkIR, the University of Louisville’s institutional repository in University Libraries.
Released on January 30, the new journal is one of several open access journals planned for hosting in ThinkIR that will serve the needs of scholars and researchers worldwide regardless of their means and without toll barriers.
Left to right: Rachel Howard, Sarah Frankel, and Jessica Petrey of University Libraries; Dr. Julio Ramirez, Dr. Bill Mattingly, Kimberley Buckner, and Matt Grassman of Division of Infectious Diseases.
Doctors in UofL’s Division of Infectious Diseases approached their Clinical Librarian, Kornhauser Library’s Jessica Petrey, last year about their idea to publish two open access journals: one focused on respiratory infections and the other on refugee and global health. They had thought through the aims and scope of these journals, and identified who within the division and the field they wanted to be involved, but they needed the Libraries’ help with hosting it and providing digital preservation of journal content – a prerequisite to getting it listed in PubMed.
Jessica put them in touch with Rachel Howard, Digital Initiatives Librarian, whose work involves digital preservation as well as open access. As a result of the work of Rachel, Sarah Frankel, the Libraries’ Open Access and Repository Coordinator, Dwayne K. Buttler, the Evelyn G. Schneider Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication at UofL, and the Scholarly Communication and Data Management Work Group, the Libraries developed policies, procedures, and agreements to support the Division of Infectious Diseases as a pilot project for a new phase of repository development. Jessica expanded her support of the Division by serving as copy editor of the journal.
On January 30, 2017, the Division of Infectious Diseases celebrated the launch of Journal of Respiratory Infections Volume 1, Issue 1, with a party at MedCenterOne. Petrey, Howard, and Frankel were in attendance, where they were warmly thanked by Division of Infectious Diseases Chief Dr. Julio Ramirez.
by Erin Gow
Perhaps not surprisingly, given recent news, the Law Library has seen a sudden surge in questions about U.S. executive orders.
Wondering how to find out more about them? Here are a few good resources to get you started.
Executive orders are published along with other Presidential documents in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 3, which you can access online, in print in the library, or through a subscription database such as Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, Lexis or Westlaw.
To see recent executive orders visit the White House page. The American Presidency Project and Federal Register also reproduce executive orders, although there may be a slight delay before the latest orders are available.
For current and older Presidential documents, consult the FDsys compilation, which includes executive orders along with letters, statements and other documents.
Historic executive orders are available through the National Archives and through HeinOnline’s Daily and Weekly compilations of Presidential documents.
For more information about the issuing, modifying and revoking of Executive Orders, see the Congressional Research Service’s 2014 report.
By Trish Blair.
Back in the days before handheld technology, art history students used to create their own flashcards using a photocopier and glue stick. Now ARTstor has created a mobile app that does all that work for you!
ARTstor is a more convenient way to quiz yourself on images as you study for finals. Their mobile app has been released for the public on Android. For Apple users, there is no app to download; just go to http://mobile.artstor.org from your mobile device. Watch a short video about ARTstor Mobile here.
ARTstor is a digital library of over over 2,000,000 fully searchable images. Images can be searched by keyword, date range, geography and classification. Students can also create image groups for varying projects and interests. Want a folder of all 111 images from Keith Haring? You can have it. Need to study Italian cathedrals? Create a list based upon the date range and location in Italy.
The prime feature of the mobile app is Flashcard View. This allows students to view images without text – until you touch the image, thus revealing the information to double-check your knowledge. Now students can be sitting on a bus, eating lunch or enjoying a sunny day at the park and still study using their mobile phones.
Registration is required to use ARTstor. The good news is that UofL students get access to ARTstor thanks to the University Libraries. Set up an account with a non-mobile device, download the app, and get to searching. This can be done at any machine on campus or at home with a connection via the proxy server.
Beneath the flurry of renovation on the third floor in Ekstrom Library, the Libraries have made some strategic moves to allow for expanded digital access to some bound journals that have been removed prior to construction.
Older, hardbound journals have been removed to clear space for the Delphi Center’s new Teaching Innovation Learning Laboratory (TILL), slated for construction this summer in Ekstrom. However, these collections haven’t gone away; most have either been replaced by digital versions, or moved to the Robotic Retrieval System (RRS). In most cases, the Libraries are expanding access to journals and other collections.
“We’ve increased the number of journal titles available digitally,” said University Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “This will greatly benefit all the Libraries and their patrons.”
“In some cases, we’ve been able to provide access to all editions of journals that were previously only available in part.”
The Libraries’ administration has forged agreements with publishers, including Mergent, for business collections; JSTOR, for humanities and social science materials; Wiley, for science, public health, medicine, and social sciences titles; and the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine).
“The TILL, the expanded collections, and, in future, the renovated learning spaces, are all ways the Libraries are working to advance the University’s research and teaching mission,” Fox said.
Fundraising efforts are in place to renovate the entire third floor, to upgrade student seating and study spaces. Over the summer, an additional arm of the RRS will be built to house lesser-used journals and other materials removed from the third floor.
If you walk around the third floor in Ekstrom Library, you’ll notice some changes in progress. Crews have removed furniture and dismantled shelves in the northeast to make way for enhanced study spaces, more comfortable seating, and a new teaching laboratory.
With a fully renovated third floor as the ultimate goal, space is currently being cleared for construction of the Delphi Center’s new Teaching Innovative Learning Lab (TILL), which is set to open by Fall semester 2016.
Currently in the final design phases, the TILL will provide space and equipment for faculty to learn and experiment with innovative teaching methods. The new laboratory, which is part of the University’s 21st Century Initiatives and supported by Interim University Provost Neville Pinto, will provide a large learning lab, collaborative spaces, conference rooms and offices for Delphi Center staff. Construction will proceed throughout the summer to prevent major disruption for students.
Some logistical changes will confront visitors in the near-term: several large study tables frequented by large groups have been moved to the second floor, where recently upgraded lighting will better serve group study.
Reference materials formerly shelved in the northeast have either been relocated to the Robotic Retrieval System (RRS), or replaced by expanded online databases available via the Libraries website. For example, databases such as JSTOR (http://www.jstor.org/), a digital repository of academic journals, books, and primary sources, has been expanded to offer access to new materials.
For the relocated physical reference books and other materials, Ekstrom plans to build a new arm within the RRS. Libraries Dean Bob Fox worked closely with the Provost and the Delphi Center to move this key library priority forward.
Remaining renovations to the third floor, including new study areas, furniture and other enhancements, are part of later phases of the project.
As many of you are aware, the University of Louisville Libraries system is upgrading its catalog to the latest version, OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery, a cloud-based system. The upgrade, scheduled for early June, will enhance search capacity, expand user services, and continue to meet the evolving requirements of library faculty and staff.
Most of the changes will be minor shifts in the interface or functionality, but you may also notice changes in:
• The login screen for off-campus access.
• The process for renewing books online.
• The process for requesting items from the Robotic Retrieval System.
• The Journal Finder.
All changes will be described in this WorldCat Discovery Guide. (Please check back as the guide will be regularly updated).
Simultaneous to the switch of the catalog, a much larger transition will be happening behind the scenes, on the library staff side of the system. The UofL Libraries will move from the Ex Libris Voyager system, in use since 1998, to OCLC’s WorldShare Management System (WMS). The change in workflow is significant, as WMS’s technology represents an evolution to a cloud-based system of library operations. While some issues are inevitable in a transition of this scale, the Libraries will strive to minimize the impact on patron services.
Three other Kentucky universities, Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Northern Kentucky University, have either gone live, or plan to soon, with WorldCat Discovery. Over 325 libraries in three countries are currently using WMS to share bibliographic records, publisher and knowledge base data, vendor records, serials patterns and more. UofL Libraries will be the third Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member to use the system.
The UofL Libraries apologizes in advance for any inconvenience caused by this upgrade, and welcomes your feedback on the new system. For any additional questions, please contact the Libraries’ WMS team: Tyler Goldberg (email@example.com), Randy Kuehn (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Weiling Liu (email@example.com).