Embed Library Resources in your Blackboard Course

What if you could lead your students to library databases without them even leaving Blackboard? Now you can.

The University Libraries have worked with the Delphi Center to make it possible to embed material from the library website directly into Blackboard. You can embed an entire guide or a single box from the library’s site.

embedded guide

Blackboard instructor’s view of library guide added to course assignments

Our subject librarians often create guides tailored to a particular course, for example, POLS 495: Comparative Foreign Policy. Now you can embed that entire guide into your Blackboard course page. Or, you can embed any box from the University Libraries’ main website (pages beginning with https://library.louisville.edu).

Some of our most used guides include:

We’ve created instructions on how to use this new feature at Embedding LibGuides into Blackboard. If you need assistance, our Online Learning and Digital Media Librarian, Amber Willenborg, is available to help you set it up.

library guide

Student view of embedded library guide



Happy Anniversary to UofL’s Institutional Repository, ThinkIR!

By Sarah Frankel, Open Access & Repository Coordinator

On February 12, 2015, Digital Initiatives Librarian Rachel Howard imported over 1,000 Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) from the University Libraries’ Digital Collections into the newly created ThinkIR: The University of Louisville’s Institutional Repository. Three years later, this particular collection now has nearly 3,000 titles which have been downloaded over 500,000 times! This same year, graduate students began submitting their theses and dissertations to ThinkIR directly, after approval from their committees. This has saved much time and effort, now that we no longer have to scan each paper or track down students to sign permission forms!

thinkIR homepage

In 2016, we began recruiting faculty scholarship for inclusion in ThinkIR and also developed a mediated deposit model where we create research profiles for faculty members, investigate the copyright status of their works and ultimately upload what can be included in ThinkIR. Today, we have 341 faculty papers in ThinkIR and over 50 faculty profiles have been created, which we anticipate will grow even more in the coming year.

In early 2017, the first open access journal hosted by ThinkIR – Journal of Respiratory Infections – was launched. We also host the Journal of Refugee & Global Health. Both journals are managed by UofL faculty and staff on the Health Sciences Campus.

In addition to these successes, ThinkIR is also home to the College of Education & Human Development Capstone Projects and the College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. In 2017, the administrators of the Honors Program and several faculty advisors began using ThinkIR in what we refer to as the “caterpillar” model. Each student submits a proposal, the faculty member reads it and submits their review, the proposal is then replaced with the thesis document by the student, then the faculty member submits a final review, the thesis is approved by the administrators and posted to ThinkIR. The entire process from beginning to end is completed using the repository!

To date, our most downloaded item is a 2012 Master’s Thesis from the Department of Pan African Studies: “The hidden help : black domestic workers in the civil rights movement” by Trena Easley Armstrong – this has been downloaded 7,725 times since February 12, 2015!

University Libraries offers new digital historic Courier-Journal

Despite recent budget challenges, the University Libraries have been able to maintain, or in some cases expand, the digital and print resources we offer our patrons. We have retained existing databases such as Elsevier’s Science Direct platform, and through cost efficiencies we are excited to offer new products, including the digital version of the historic Courier-Journal (1830-2000). Access to this new resource, which provides complete electronic access to the full Courier-Journal back file, is available from our web site at: https://library.louisville.edu/ekstrom/cj

The Libraries have realigned resources to assess efficiencies and create a more sustainable operating environment that ensures students, faculty and researchers can continue their important scholarship. Over the past year, the University Libraries system has:

  • Reassigned staff to focus on building sustainable collections.
  • Implemented a comprehensive e-resource management system.
  • Assessed costs and analyzed usage data for all databases and subscriptions.
  • Evaluated program needs and incorporated input from faculty.
  • Studied peer institutions for comparison.

As budget reductions brought about a significant funding shortfall for FY 18, we made the difficult decision to not renew the Elsevier platform whose costs had dramatically increased. In fall 2017, at the urging of Health Sciences Center faculty, the University restored funding for this critical resource.

We understand the Libraries’s centrality to scholarly work and are therefore excited to continue providing these rich resources for the University community. However, where we cannot provide access to resources, we offer our Inter-Library Loan system (ILL), as well as a broad spectrum of resources for faculty: http://library.louisville.edu/faculty.  You are invited to share your concerns with us via this online comment form.



“Which bridge did Muhammed Ali throw his medal off of?” and other interesting questions answered by the Research Assistance & Instruction Department

By Anna Marie Johnson

Imagine a job where you were able to learn about all kinds of different and fascinating topics in the process of helping someone answer a burning question that they have. That is part of the work of the Research Assistance and Instruction (RAI) office. Librarians, professional staff, and peer research assistants answer questions like these (and much more prosaic ones such as “Why can’t I access this journal article I need?”)  via e-mail, chat, phone, or face-to-face:

  • How many buildings are there on Belknap Campus?
  • How did St. Paul come to be a Roman citizen?
  • What is the childhood address of Hunter S. Thompson?
  • What was the roll call vote for the Kentucky senators and House members for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
  • Can you help me research design for justifying the excavation of a privy?
  • What are the cultural reactions regarding American Indians during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1870-1929)—particularly in how American Indians and the related federal policies were represented in the media?
  • Where can I find industry and consumer data for Gillette Fusion?
  • What are the general prosodic characteristics of English and Spanish?

Over the years, we have helped with questions that ranged from the esoteric (journal articles on the dead Sabaean language, from someone wanting to piece together the language and write a book about it) to the downright impossible, such as the patron who wanted a copy of the WHAS Radio broadcast license from 1927, or the patron researching obscure magicians and street performers from Europe.

“What’s the best book you’ve ever read?”

While we go to great lengths to track down an answer, sometimes there’s a little luck involved. One day, a call came in to Rob Detmering, the librarian responsible for Film Studies. The caller was looking for one of the original copies of a 1972 film called Asylum of Satan. The film had reportedly been shot here in Louisville and the out-of-state caller thought that the university might have a copy. Rob asked around to the Archives, the Art Department, and a few other campus contacts that he thought might know something,

“How many theaters exist in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel?”

but to no avail. Rob did some digging in the online database for the Courier-Journal that the library subscribes to and discovered the film had been shown at a film festival in 2008 at Baxter Avenue Theatre. Rob called the theater and spoke with someone who not only knew the film but knew the location of the copy that they had used in the showing.

We often learn a lot as we’re helping.  Our former Libraries Diversity Resident George Martinez received a question from a faculty member asking about the history of the African American Theater program at UofL. He looked through some microfilm and consulted with our colleagues in the Archives & Special Collections to find articles that traced the history of a controversy over how money generated by the Fiesta Bowl was being used for scholarships. The results of that controversy was the increase in hiring and scholarship distribution to increase the diversity at UofL.

Got Questions? Ekstrom’s RAI Department can help you track down your answer! Oh, and there is some doubt as to whether Ali ever threw his medal off any bridge, but the closest answer is the Clark Memorial.


Research DIY: Self-Guided Library

By Amber Willenborg

Research assignments can lead to enlightenment, but, as the scholarship on information literacy indicates, the path isn’t easy. The Project Information Literacy Freshmen Study found that students face many challenges with finding and using information, from locating appropriate databases to reading research articles and evaluating information. With this in mind, and in direct response to faculty requests for a one-stop research resource for students, the library has unveiled our new Research DIY website.

choose topic

Research DIY is an online tool featuring visually appealing infographics, videos, and step-by-step instructions to help students get started with a wide variety of research tasks. The PIL Freshmen Study revealed that students struggle most with formulating online searches, selecting and locating research resources, and reading and comprehending materials. On the DIY website, students will find resources that directly address these struggles: a video on generating keywords for searching, numerous videos with instructions for finding a variety of source types like scholarly articles, and an infographic on how to approach reading research articles. Research DIY also includes content created in conjunction with the University Writing Center to help students appropriately integrate sources into their research papers.

ask yourself

While the website is easy for students to find and use on their own, we encourage instructors to link to the site on Blackboard or in their syllabus, or direct students to sections of the website that would be helpful for particular assignments. In addition to Research DIY, the library offers a variety of teaching tools including online learning modules for practice with information literacy concepts and research guides for more in-depth information on research topics and resources. Librarians are also available to create custom content tailored to your class or assignment. The path may not be easy, but the library is here to illuminate your way forward to success.

additional tips

New Guide Provides Best Sources for Data and Statistics

By Chris Heckman, Intern, Research Assistance and Instruction, Ekstrom Library

Do you need to know the rate of accidental gun deaths in the U.S. between 2006-2012? What about the voting records of your representatives in Congress, or the percentage of households with running water in a particular Afghan province?

Finding very specific data like this can be a significant challenge for both new and experienced researchers. That’s why the University Libraries offers research guides, or collections of curated links to useful journals, databases, and depositories of statistical data, organized by subject. These can be invaluable resources for students beginning the research process, as well as for faculty who want to impart research skills in their students.

Social Sciences and Outreach Librarian Sam McClellan has recently added a new research guide, Finding Data and Statistics,  which provides links to several databases and search engines for use with a variety of topics. For example, Zanran is a search engine specifically designed for finding statistics on the internet. A search as simple as “birth rate Somalia” returns over 2,700 relevant graphs, charts, and tables for a researcher to easily narrow down and comb through. You can find a link to this research guide in any of the social sciences subject guides.

picof page

The Finding Data and Statistics guide also includes links to social science data archives from universities such Cornell, Princeton, and Northwestern, all freely available for students at University of Louisville to use.

The new guide allows for narrowing by topic, including criminal justice, economics, education, environment, health, politics and elections, labor and employment, public opinion, religion, and urban planning and housing. Selecting any of these topics takes the user to a collection of links to useful data sources. For example, narrowing by “health” yields links to over 50 different data sources along with descriptions of those sources. These data archives are selected because they are freely available (or available to anyone with a UofL Library account), and because they contain a wealth of information for researchers interested in health issues in the United States and abroad. From statistics on the prevalence and mortality rates of specific diseases to information on access to healthcare by region, a wide array of information is available here at a researcher’s fingertips.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) are available here, as well as data from international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank. Broad research tools such as CDC Wonder, a search engine provided by the CDC for navigating the agency’s public records, or WHOSIS, the WHO’s statistical information system, can assist with research on a wide array of topics, but there are also databases for more narrowly focused research areas.  For example, the AIDS Public Information Dataset from the CDC provides data specifically on HIV/AIDS incidence in the U.S., while the Cancer Statistics resource from NIH provides data on cancer in the United States. You can find data from some current large-scale studies here as well. For example, results from Princeton University’s ongoing Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study are useful for research on children’s health, particularly among children with single parents.

Several resources provide information on mental health concerns (the NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, the HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), child and adolescent health concerns (Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, Monitoring the Future Series, The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, UNICEF Data: Monitoring the Situation of Children and Statistics, Guatemalan Survey of Family Health 1995), and healthcare cost and utilization (Health and Medical Care Archive @ ICPSR, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HHS), Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (HHS)).

The Health section of the Finding Data and Statistics guide contains many more avenues for researchers to explore subtopics in the health field, and health is just one of the topics available in the guide. Anyone conducting research at University of Louisville should consider giving the research guides a try!

Point of Care Tools @ Kornhauser

Kornhauser Library provides access to point-of-care tools such as DynaMedPlus, Essential Evidence Plus, and First Consult.  Effective Monday, September 4, 2017, Kornhauser  will no longer be able to offer access to UpToDate and understand this is a significant transition.  Kornhauser Librarians are here to help with the transition, and are can provide training sessions on these additional resources.

If you have any further comments or questions please direct them to our comment form at http://library.louisville.edu/forms/contact.