Studies have shown that students will forgo buying a textbook due to its price even while acknowledging that they will do worse in the class without their own copy. With hardcopy textbooks costing as much as $400 with averages running between $80 and $150, many students feel financially pressured to not purchase the text.
Open Educational Resources (OER) can help students succeed by reducing their costs and improving their access to course materials. OER are freely available material and the availability of them is growing as faculty recognize the advantages to students and their financial considerations in whether to buy textbooks, or indeed, to complete their degrees.
In order help faculty learn about OER, the University Libraries have created a new website, https://library.louisville.edu/oer/, that provides information on what OER are, how to find them, and how to implement them.
The Defining OER section introduces what OER are and how they benefit student learning.
The Finding OER section includes search options for OER metafinders and library e-books (which are available at no additional cost to UofL students, staff, and faculty). On the OER by Subject tab, faculty can link to individual guides for specific subjects which provide highlight available materials. The Evaluating OER tab provides a suggested list of questions faculty should ask when determining whether a particular OER will work for their class.
The Implementing OER section provides information on creating and adapting OER, creative commons licensing, and contact information for consultation services with our OER Librarian.
We invite you to explore the site and start thinking about how you could use OER to improve student success.
Richard, Brendan, Dean Cleavenger, and Valerie A. Storey. “The Buy-In: A Qualitative Investigation of the Textbook Purchase Decision.” Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice 14, no. 3 (2014): 20-31.
“Average Cost of College Textbooks.” Updated August 12, 2021, accessed May 13, 2022, https://educationdata.org/average-cost-of-college-textbooks.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected academic libraries and the roles of online learning librarians? That question formed the genesis of a recent paper and presentation by Amber Willenborg, Ekstrom Library’s online and undergraduate learning coordinator, and co-author and presenter Tessa Withorn, online learning librarian at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Willenborg and Withorn presented findings from their paper, Online Learning Librarianship in a Fully Online World: Findings (and Advice) from a National Study During the Covid-19 Pandemic, at the April virtual conference of the Association of College & Research Libraries’ (ACRL).
Prior to the past year of virtual work, some academic librarians may have doubted the efficacy of online librarianship, said Willenborg, but many came to appreciate the practice during the pandemic, at least according to the impressions of online academic librarians.
“In a previous study we found that online learning librarians often felt siloed and were often solely responsible for online learning work,” Willenborg continued. “But as academic libraries rapidly expanded online offerings, online learning librarians found that their colleagues were more supportive and open to online learning, where in the past they had been hesitant about its value.”
During the pandemic, online learning librarians themselves took on more leadership roles, spent more time training colleagues, and were managing an increased workload. This gave other librarians a greater appreciation for the role of online learning, according to the paper’s findings.
Initially, with a goal of uncovering difficulties within the profession, Withorn and Willenborg asked academic online learning librarians about their roles and challenges in early 2020. However, the pandemic hit soon after interviews were concluded, so the two decided to re-interview the same librarians in late 2020 to find out how their roles had changed.
Interviewees offered helpful advice to academic librarians who may be newly involved in online learning work due to the pandemic. “Find a support network and be proactive about training and professional development,” said Willenborg. “That was the topline advice: online learning is a lot of work but don’t get discouraged.”
The paper and presentation on these findings followed up an earlier study on online learning librarians titled A Foot in Both Worlds: Current Roles and Challenges of Academic Online Learning Librarians, co-authored by Willenborg and Withorn, a former Ekstrom Library student assistant. The two colleagues also presented together at the Kentucky Library Association’s Library Instruction Retreat in 2018.
Presenting at ACRL is an exceptional honor, with only 30% of presentation submissions accepted for inclusion in the conference. Willenborg also appeared at ACRL’s 2017 conference to discuss a poster.
“We received a lot of positive comments during and after our presentation,” said Willenborg. “Online learning librarians in attendance really identified with our findings.”
Citizen Literacy, the University of Louisville Libraries’ online toolkit to promote information skills and resist disinformation, continues to gain recognition. The latest notice is in The State of America’s Libraries 2021: A Report from the American Library Association by the American Library Association, which offers an overview of how libraries operated in the US during the past year during the global pandemic. The report lists Citizen Literacy in its section on disinformation.
The University Libraries created the online portal to help students become better consumers of media, research and information. Launched to coincide with the final weeks of the 2020 election season, Citizen Literacy promotes essential information skills like algorithmic literacy, news literacy, how to evaluate expertise, how to investigate the veracity of online sources through lateral reading, and how to become an informed voter.
The site was created by Rob Detmering, head of Research Assistance and Instruction; Amber Willenborg, online and undergraduate learning coordinator; and Terri Holtze, head of web services.
Citizen Literacy was also recently praised in a recent report by Stanford University on general deficiencies in university instruction on digital literacy. The report shows that students are mostly unable to discern legitimate news and information sources from falsehoods and proposes innovative teaching methods to combat this deficiency. Citizen Literacy embodies a good kind of remedy, the report concludes.
“Institutions need to follow the example of forward-looking librarians and information specialists at the vanguard of new approaches to dealing with misinformation—often on shoestring budgets at liberal arts colleges and state universities. . . . Robert Detmering and Amber Willenborg, librarians at the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville, have produced a series of polished videos (with just the right dose of snark) that provoke college students to reevaluate their online behavior. We hope these and similar efforts will shine a light on a path for other colleges and universities to follow.”“Educating for Misunderstanding: How Approaches to Teaching Digital Literacy Make Students Susceptible to Scammers, Rogues, Bad Actors, and Hate Mongers,” (Working Paper A-21322, Stanford History Education Group, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2020). https://purl.stanford.edu/mf412bt5333
Additionally, Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education featured an interview with Detmering and Willenborg on media literacy; CHE’s weekly “Teaching” column focused on how higher education can combat disinformation by teaching media literacy through various means, and the Citizen Literacy toolkit was one strategy mentioned.
When Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” in 2005 it not only described misleading rhetoric during the ramp-up to the Iraq war, it captured a central dilemma of our modern media environment: shattered, segmented media ecosystems allow many of us to create our own version of reality. In such an environment, leaders can manipulate us with words that sound truthful but are false.
Determining reality in a “post-truth” era is challenging. It is also a central tenet of citizenship. Particularly during a presidential election season.
How can faculty teach students to become savvy consumers of information in this environment?
The University Libraries has created a new online toolkit called Citizen Literacy to tackle the issue. Launched to coincide with the final weeks of the 2020 election season, Citizen Literacy promotes essential information skills like algorithmic literacy, news literacy, how to evaluate expertise, how to investigate the veracity of online sources through lateral reading, and how to become an informed voter.
“We hope faculty will use these tools to engage students with these important information literacy topics in the context of specific academic disciplines,” said Rob Detmering, Ekstrom information literacy coordinator and one of the site’s creators. Amber Willenborg, online learning and digital media librarian, also created content and narrated the videos, and Terri Holtze, head of web services, designed the online site experience.
The site contains short videos, downloadable handouts and infographics that can be incorporated into syllabi or coursework.
In the news literacy section are strategies to help students examine the value of credible news sources and identify deceptive stories, including “fake news.” Another section helps students understand algorithms whose unseen mechanisms skew online searches in a way that impacts privacy and political understanding.
The toolkit includes multiple ideas for class activities that can be easily adapted across disciplines, and that work in both online and face-to-face settings. Faculty can easily incorporate parts in their courses.
Several faculty and staff will represent the University of Louisville Libraries at the upcoming Kentucky Library Association Conference this weekend at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Following are some of the presentations and presenters at this year’s event, which runs from September 21-23.
ETDplus: Guidance for Graduate Students’ Research Output
Rachel Howard, Digital Initiatives Librarian, and Dwayne Buttler, JD, Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication
The IMLS-funded ETDplus project has produced guidance documentation, workshop materials, and software tools for students and staff to use in managing complex digital objects such as research data sets, video installations, websites and music recitals. These intellectual works cannot be captured in words alone and implicate copyright, metadata, file formats, versioning, and other research and practical challenges. We will demonstrate these freely available resources and their potential uses.
Renovations and Innovations: Merging Departments and Unit Cultures
Matthew Goldberg, Head, Access & User Services, Ekstrom Library; Ashley Triplett, Student Supervisor and Social Media Library Specialist, Ekstrom Library
This is the story of Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville and its renovations during 2015 and the experiences we had merging nine separate sub-departments into a single unit called Access and User Services. What may seem like a challenging process turned into an opportunity for growth and development. We will explore how we reexamined how the public desks prioritized our patrons and how we grew from several disjointed departments into a single unit with a unified department culture.
Kentucky and the Great War: Filling and Operating Military Camp Libraries
Jonathan Jeffrey, Department Head, Manuscripts Coordinator, Western Kentucky University; and Delinda Stephens Buie, Curator of Rare Books, Archives & Special Collections
The American Library Association provided library services in U.S. military camps during WWI. To fill those libraries, Americans donated 3 million books in 1918 with Kentuckians contributing generously. Louisville’s Camp Zachary Taylor was part of the ALA’s work to provide wholesome activities in the training camps. They also sought to show the value and even “manliness” of libraries. Perhaps ironically, much of the work at Taylor was done by women from the Louisville Free Public Library.
Research DIY: Enhancing Online Learning Through Strategic Planning and Collaborative Professional Development
Robert Detmering, Information Literacy Coordinator, Information Literacy Coordinator; Amber Willenborg, Online Learning and Digital Media Librarian
We enhanced and expanded our online instruction program, while building buy-in within a departmental culture that was not enthusiastic about this work. Through strategic hiring, staffing reallocation, and collaborative professional development, we created general and customized online tools and services, including course-embedded content. We will share our team-based creative process, promotional activities, and initial assessment data for our homegrown research DIY site, Discover It Yourself.
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!
To benefit their patrons – physicians, clinicians, medical and dental students – clinical librarians at the University of Louisville’s Kornhauser Library are actively seeking to deepen their understanding of contemporary medical theories and practice.
This summer, Assistant Director and Clinical Librarian Vida Vaughn attended the prestigious Evidence-Based Clinical Practice (EBCP) workshop at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Her main goals were to learn how to assess biostatistics in medical literature, expand her awareness of evidence-based practice, and become a better clinical librarian and teacher.
She soon realized that biostatistics analysis “is a graduate program in itself. But I came away knowing I can look at the literature more competently now.”
Vaughn’s work involves teaching students and clinicians on the Health Sciences Campus in the classroom setting, small groups or one-on-one, and also partnering with other medical educators. She said the workshop has helped her work more effectively, particularly with medical faculty at UofL. Gaining their buy-in and confidence is a constant mission and based on hard work, she said.
“I learned how much physicians crave the assistance of a librarian. When they heard what I do for UofL Physicians, they were just amazed and wanted to know how to get something similar started in their organizations.”
“They have so much advanced medical knowledge and training that it can be challenging,” said Vaughn. “You have to work very hard to prove yourself, to begin to gain a level of trust. But when you help solve someone’s problem for them, they become your best advocate.”
The immersive, week-long workshop is designed to benefit physicians, nurses, dentists, clinical librarians and other health-care professionals, who learn more about EBCP – and how to teach it – in a small-group setting. EBCP is a contemporary approach to healthcare practice that “explicitly acknowledges the evidence that bears on each patient management decision, the strength of that evidence, the benefits and risk of alternative management strategies, and the role of patients’ values and preferences in trading off those benefits and risks.”
All attendees work for 10-hour days throughout the week to explore a broad curricula. Vaughn worked alongside three family practice physicians, two naturopath physicians, an optician, a research professor, a mentor in training, and another clinical librarian. “It was extremely extensive, very intense. Everyone leaves completely exhausted.”
What surprised her most was how clinicians truly view her work as a librarian.
“I learned how much physicians crave the assistance of a librarian. When they heard what I do for UofL Physicians, they were just amazed and wanted to know how to get something similar started in their organizations. The type of embeddedness and buy-in that exists at our institution is not readily available to many clinicians around the country. At UofL, our clinical librarian team has made a concerted effort to be accepted as part of the medical teams. With some departments, I’m embedded to the point of being considered part of the furniture.”
Despite the asymmetry in medical training between the participants, there was no haughtiness or “lording it over anyone. Their attitude was, ‘We’re just here to help each other get through the workshop.’ It was an intense learning experience for everyone.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how supportive the physicians were on my process and learning. They were very engaged and mentored me through the workshops. In the critique of her presentation, her fellow group mates counseled, ‘You shouldn’t apologize so much for what you feel you don’t know because you know much more than you think.’
“I felt extremely sustained by that because I had felt quite out of my league at times.”
Vaughn, who is president of the Kentucky Medical Library Association, spoke about the workshop at a recent KMLA meeting and found a highly receptive audience.
“Now that we have made this investment in my learning, it’s my turn to come back and teach my staff and colleagues and impart the things I’ve learned.”
With trends shifting in technology and scholarship, University of Louisville Libraries’ faculty and staff are finding meaningful ways to transform their libraries. At last week’s Association of College and Research Libraries Conference in Portland, Oregon, U of L Libraries faculty presented their research and led roundtable discussions on a variety of issues pertinent to the changing landscape.
Libraries Dean Robert E. Fox, Jr. led several research presentations including one on best practices in managing student advisory boards to help increase their value to the library. Additionally, Fox and Associate Dean and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling led a roundtable on locating academic support services within the library to enrich students’ experience.
Other lecture topics included best practices on integrating new employees swiftly and seamlessly into their vocational culture. Melissa Laning, Associate Dean, and Keisling asked the question: “After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment?” The two also led a roundtable discussion on the topic.
Libraries Diversity Residency Librarian Rosalinda H. Linares led a lecture on “delivering value through innovation, leadership, and inclusion” and highlighted cutting-edge projects produced by current and former residency librarians. Residency librarians are new graduates who work for limited times, typically a year or more, in a University Library to gain experience in their new profession.
A full description of topics follows:
Paper presentation by University of Louisville Libraries Dean Robert Fox
Successful + Sustainable Student Advisory Boards
(With Meg Scharf, University of Central Florida, and Ameet Doshi, Georgia Tech)
Libraries use effective student advisory boards to receive ideas, feedback, and constructive criticism. But with good management, a student advisory board can increase its value to the library. This presentation discusses the key elements of successful student advisory boards and identifies best practices in board management in use by three libraries. The purpose of the board, recruitment of members, conducting meetings, creation of a comfortable, open meeting environment, and member communication practices are presented.
Roundtable led by Dean Robert Fox and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Partners Not Tenants: Co-Locating Student Academic Support Services in the Library to Promote Student Success
Colleges and universities are increasingly focused on helping their students achieve academic success, and the library is a logical academic support venue. Based on their experiences the facilitators will lead a conversation about building academic support services in the library by developing successful partnerships with non-library units and reorganizing spaces to integrate those units into the library.
Poster Presentation, Dean Robert Fox and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Build Your Program by Building Your Team: Inclusively Transforming Services, Staffing and Spaces
Having quantitative data can be an important step in planning any type of organizational change but it’s also important for leaders to gather input by listening and incorporating feedback from users, staff, and campus partners. Based on their experience in one university library, the presenters will demonstrate successful techniques for leading a sustainable transformation of services, staffing, and spaces that combined study data along with a highly inclusive planning and implementation process.
Poster Presentation, Associate Dean Melissa Laning and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Creating Organizational Community: The Role of New Employee Onboarding Practices
After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment? What do they wish their employers would learn about them? Based on interviews with academic librarians who have been in their current positions for less than three years, the presenters will share their findings about how academic library employee orientation programs can create a more cohesive organizational community and where improvements can be made.
Roundtable led by Associate Dean Melissa Laning and Ekstrom Library Director Bruce Keisling
Creating Community: What do you Really Want to Know the First Year on the Job?
After payroll and parking, what do new librarians really want to know about their new jobs and places of employment? Do orientation programs cover those issues? Based on their recent review of onboarding programs, the facilitators will share some findings about how academic library employee orientation programs can create a more cohesive organizational community and lead a conversation about enhancing new employee orientation.
Poster Presentation by Rosalinda H. Linares, Diversity Residency Librarian, University of Louisville
Library Residents on the Bleeding Edge: Delivering Value Through Innovation, Leadership, and Inclusion
(With Sara Arnold-Garza, Residency Coordinator, Towson University; Ariana Santiago, Instruction Librarian, University of Houston)
This poster highlights cutting-edge projects produced by current and former residency librarians. Projects will illustrate the pillars of a residency experience: the role of the residency librarian as a catalyst for innovation, the importance of leadership skills for imagining and executing work in new areas of academic librarianship, and the value of a diversity perspective to sustaining programs and services that support the variety of campus communities.
By Anna Marie Johnson, 10/22/2014
“The New Flood Tide of Immigration”: You’d guess that was a headline from USA Today last month? Actually, it is a headline from 1921 which appeared in the Annals of the American Academy of Political Science. How about the headline “How good are cold and flu shots?” It’s from Science Digest, 1960. “New Hopes for Syria” is an article from 1937. All of these articles and many more that can provide students with a better perspective on today’s headlines can be found in the Reader’s Guide Retrospective database. Comparing coverage of a news story from the past and today can be illuminating to students in many disciplines: history, English, sociology, biology, psychology to name a few. This kind of exercise could be a great class discussion starter or an opportunity for a short paper or project.
This database is the electronic version of the old, green books that comprised the Reader’s Guide, stalwart source for most beginning research. The database covers magazines from 1890-1982. Many of the articles are available via full-text links and others are available in microfilm or even in bound print form in Ekstrom Library. For more ideas about how to incorporate material from this database or any of the other 200+ databases to which the library subscribes, contact an Ekstrom Library reference librarian in your discipline: http://louisville.edu/library/ekstrom/reference/