“Where can I study with a whiteboard?”
“Can I reserve a room to study in the library?”
Find your spot with Ekstrom Library’s new Study Space Finder at http://uofl.me/lib-study2.
One of life’s greatest pleasures is browsing bookshelves, searching for topics at random, finding the unexpected, neglecting all commitments to ponder at leisure.
Anyone seeking such non-digital delights can visit libraries on the Belknap or HSC campuses, or for virtual browsing, our website. But how did these physical and virtual books make it to the stacks and website, to be discovered by inquiring eyes and fingertips?
Each book’s journey to the shelf is deliberately egalitarian, says Tyler Goldberg, Head of Technical Services and Print Collection Development. Anyone affiliated with the University may request books, videos, recordings or other materials via this link on the Libraries’ website (http://library.louisville.edu/forms/order-recommendation). Allowing suggestions from University-affiliated individuals aligns with the Libraries’ mission to provide free and open access to information for our patrons.
After a request comes in, Tyler and Technical Services Acquisitions Specialist John Burton confer to determine: 1) whether we already have an item; 2) whether it meets basic criteria for inclusion in our collection; 3) if so, where to order it; and 4) how to pay for it.
After searching Amazon or other online sites, John orders an item, inspects it when it arrives, and ensures it is as advertised, i.e., not ripped, not missing pages, published in the wrong language, or another book altogether. (These errors have all happened.) Before the book is ordered, John has to choose a fund from which to order the book, either from an endowment or gift*, or from the main Libraries budget.
Continuing the journey, a book, DVD or other item arrives at a Technical Services staffer’s desk, to be barcoded, cataloged (added to Libraries’ online catalog), and passed to a staff member for labeling, stamping, and a final check. Items without records or incorrect information are bounced back to Tyler. For those items without records, she creates and adds a record to the WorldCat database.
After final processing, materials arrive at their final destination, perhaps the Browsing Collection on the third floor of Ekstrom Library, or the African American Collection on Ekstrom’s second floor, or the general stacks — wherever it will be among its counterparts, waiting to be gazed at fondly by browsing eyes.
So there you have it. Our librarians and staff deal with machinations behind the scenes so you can study, research, write that scholarly paper, or continue in the simple pleasure of book browsing.
*Many of our loyal and fantastic donors have contributed funds for general materials and specific genres, and the Libraries depend upon these gifts to augment our collections. Some of these funds support specific subject areas, such as Asian studies, humanities, engineering, women’s studies, finance, children’s literature, biology, American literature, and even railroads. Given the budget cuts to collections, these gifts are more valuable than ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Heads up! Changes ahead.
The University Libraries are making some big changes to improve the user experience of our web site. We are in the process of moving our site entirely into the LibGuides content management system and making changes that we hope will make your time on our website more efficient and enjoyable.
What’s changing? These major areas:
- Library site design
- Room reservations – including reservable group study spaces!
- Appointments with librarians
- Request forms
Starting August 1st you’ll see changes in the site. The pages for the Art Library, Music Library, room reservations, hours, and request forms as well as the Research Guides will be in a new design. The rest of the site will be following and we will release the next batch to the public site over the winter break. As the pages move into the new system there will be a number of URL changes. For example, the Music Library’s URL will change from http://louisville.edu/library/music to http://library.louisville.edu/music/home.
The new design includes:
- A more consistent experience of what we formerly called “Research Guides” and now call “Subject Guides.” Each subject will open to a page that very concisely lists
- the most recommended databases for that subject,
- a list of the related subject and course guides, and
- a picture and contact info for the subject librarian
- Throughout the site a tab appears on the right side of the page with buttons that:
- provide contact info for the librarian most relevant to the page you’re on
- open to a site search function
- open to an “email this page” function
- bring the user to the top or bottom of the page
- A new font custom-made for its readability online called Merriweather.
The rooms in our libraries are scheduled for many purposes from library instruction sessions to lectures by prominent leaders, authors, and scholars. In the past there have been multiple systems for reserving the different types of rooms, starting in the fall we hope to make this a lot easier for our patrons.
We’ll be using a new booking system called LibCal. People who want to schedule a room can look at the calendar, see what times are available, click on the time(s) they want, and make their request. It’s that simple. This system will be available to reserve rooms in Ekstrom Library, the Bridwell Art Library, and the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library.
In the fall semester we’ll also be doing a pilot program to test using LibCal to allow students to reserve group study rooms. They’ll be able to go online and make a reservation for one of several group study rooms on the first floor of Ekstrom Library.
Research Appointments with Librarians
Our research librarians will begin using the LibCal system to schedule appointments online. We’re hoping this will reduce the amount of time between when a student/researcher makes a request and when they can see the librarian. Each librarian will enter his/her available times into LibCal and when a student wants to make an appointment they can just choose an available time that works for them. Easy peasy!
Our users may notice that forms are a little easier to use in the Fall. Some design changes will mean less scrolling, plus there will be fewer forms to choose from which we hope will make it easier to find the form you want. The new system allows us to ask “conditional” questions. When a conditional question is answered it provides different information depending on which option was chosen. This allows us to have a single form where multiple forms may have existed previously. For example, now there is one form for holds – regardless of which library has the item or whether the item is a book or video. If a person chooses book, for example, the form automatically shows just the questions related to getting a book.
So, yes, this is a lot of changes! We hope you find the new site fun and easy to use. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask – just Contact Us.
When they need help with their writing, most UofL students know to contact the Writing Center, located in Ekstrom Library’s Learning Commons.
But what about the meat and bones of their papers: research, i.e., finding, evaluating and citing sources? For this equally challenging and unwieldy task, students have an excellent resource in the librarians in Research Assistance and Instruction (RAI), also located in Ekstrom’s Learning Commons.
A phone call or appointment made online will get students a face-to-face meeting with a research librarian, who can help them find relevant sources and learn better methods of research to benefit their future scholarship.
UofL sophomore Christian Bush is a recent convert to the benefits of research assistance. He thought such help was only available to students in higher grades.
“Students at all levels and at all times need this help, and don’t realize such a resource is available,” said Bush, a History and Asian Studies major. “When you first enter college, you have an impression that research appointments are sacrosanct; that only seniors working on their senior papers can get help.”
But after a savvy History professor suggested Bush reach out to RAI for help with his research, Bush found he could access the services himself. Required to create an archeological site profile for his class, History 341, Introduction to Egypt, Bush “did what most students do, I googled. But I couldn’t find any information on Google at all,” he said.
In particular, he needed a specific site profile from 1911 that was nowhere to be found. Exasperated, he set up an appointment with RAI online, after which the response was “lightning quick,” Bush said. “They called the next day.”
At the research appointment, RAI Librarian Sue Finley showed Bush not only the original excavation report he needed, but subsequent ones, up to modern-era excavation where ground-penetrating radar helps archeologists explore underground tombs.
“I got a wealth of information,” Bush said. “More than enough to write my paper, and then some.”
But beyond helping with his immediate needs, Finley “took me through her methodology for locating the sources. She spent a good amount of time showing me how to use databases and work with sources, the nitty-gritty of the research.”
“If I hadn’t been able to meet with her I wouldn’t have had such a strong research base and it would have made the profile much less substantial,” he continued. “The fact that she taught me how to research and how to go through sources and then use the sources within sources; that’s benefited me outside that project.”
“A paper is only as strong as your writing skills and your research; if you don’t have solid research, there’s only so much you can do.”
The short-term results were important to Bush, too: “I got an A on the paper,” he said, smiling.