May I Help You? How Ekstrom Responds, Analyzes and Acts on Your Questions

By Matt Goldberg, Head, Access and User Services

Have you ever stopped at a desk in Ekstrom Library to ask a question, such as: Do you have any copies of Dan Brown’s new book? Where’s the bathroom? What time does the library close? If you have, our desk staff have carefully recorded the question and answer so that we can determine trends in patron needs and service requests in an effort to improve how our library operates.

Using a program called Gimlet, the Access and User Services Department (AUS) records every question and answer asked at the west, east, and technology desks, and this data is reviewed weekly by departmental staff. Beyond looking to make sure our staff is giving correct information, we do significant work to refine, manipulate, and extrapolate the hundreds of questions asked per week.

Gimlet word cloud

The collection of these questions is quite labor-intensive, thanks to the frequency of questions asked by patrons. From June 2015 to May 2016, there were nearly 32,000 questions asked at the desks, an average of more than 2,600 per month, or about 90 per day. Each question is tagged by the desk staff to group them into easily sortable categories (internal directions, policy, technology, research, etc.) so that we can go back and look for data trends.

You might wonder how we use these trends to make decisions. For instance, in early 2015, we noticed that there were an abnormally high number of printing and copying questions being handled by desk staff at the east and west desks. To alleviate this we opened the technology desk in the computer commons to give students more direct technology help. In another instance, high levels of directional questions have led to improved signage across the building to help patrons find what they are looking for with more visual cues.

We routinely examine trends in the data to examine our own processes and policies. Last semester we opened the east side of the building until 2 a.m., a move that was fueled by a combination of student suggestions, gate count data, and Gimlet numbers that showed students in the building later in the evening than usual. We periodically run visualization reports of the data to see how users are asking their questions, producing word clouds like the one above.

So the next time you ask a question in Ekstrom, just know, we are listening and always looking to be of better assistance!


Wikipedians Unite at UofL Libraries

2017 is the second year that UofL’s Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library hosted community members to learn about how to edit Wikipedia.  Over a dozen people attended this event to combat gender disparity in the art world.

Artist Elizabeth Catlett wrote “No other field is closed to those who are not white and male as is the visual arts. After I decided to be an artist, the first thing I had to believe was that I, a black woman, could penetrate the art scene, and that, further, I could do so without sacrificing one iota of my blackness or my femaleness or my humanity.”1

Not only is the field of contemporary art difficult for women and non-binary people to break into, but the highly-masculine culture of Wikipedia is also a barrier to gender equality.  For example, articles about topics typically associated with females (Polly Pocket) are typically shorter and link to fewer references, while those associated with males (Nerf) are longer, and include more references.

In a 2011 survey, Wikimedia found that less than 13% of its contributors were female.

Art+Feminism is a global, grassroots campaign to end gender disparity within Wikipedia, not only in terms of the number or articles about women in the visual arts, but more importantly the number of female editors.  Attendees gathered to attend a training about how to edit Wikipedia articles before beginning to make edits of their own.  In Louisville, attendees included UofL students, professors, and local St. Francis School high school students.  New editors corrected facts, added citations to existing article, and ultimately created two new articles.

Articles improved include those about African-American artists Senga Nengudi and Elizabeth Catlett.  Both are sculptors, and known for their work on themes of race, gender, and class.

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  1. Farris, Phoebe. Women Artists of Color: A Bio-critical Sourcebook to 20th Century Artists in the Americas. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1999.

Seeking Your Opinion on Ekstrom Renovation

By Maurini Strub

It’s been over a year since the east wing of the 1st floor of Ekstrom Library was renovated.  We hope that during this time you’ve enjoyed using the space, and maybe discovered a new favorite spot.

Before the renovation, we collected feedback on your needs, desires and difficulties, and that data helped inform the design of the space. Design solutions include a clearly identified, “one-stop shopping” service desk; enhanced technology support and printing services; an intuitive approach to the layout of services and spaces; and a mixture of learning and study spaces.DSC_0045

Assessing how well we met our goals is the focus of a survey we’ll be conducting through April 25.  As you walk through the first floor-east, you’ll see some questionnaires, and a large red box as you enter the east lobby (see photos).

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The survey seeks to discover your satisfaction with these improved learning spaces, how these spaces have impacted your success at UofL, your experience using our services, and the value of collocating some of our primary services. Concurrently, we’ll conduct periodic observations and review collections usage data.

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We’d love to hear about your experience in these new spaces. Please feel free to complete this very short questionnaire or fill out the paper one and leave it in the red box in the lobby!


Interest in Dystopian Fiction Surges

By Carolyn Dowd and George Martinez

Following the November election, George Orwell’s 1984 became an instant best-selling novel. It is one among a number of 20th Century dystopian novels making a resurgence in popularity recently. A bitterly contested American election and subsequent change in governing style may have prompted some to seek out fictionalized accounts of dystopian realities, as an odd form of comfort.

1984

What is dystopian fiction?  Contrary to utopian fictions, in which an author projects an ideal worldview of humanity, dystopian fictions offer a darker vision of human behavior, where desired societal norms are turned on their heads. Thus, a society might led not by a beneficent, wise and humane ruler, but an immature, inhumane, simple-minded fool.

In 1984, Winston Smith lives under the intolerable, crippling and constant scrutiny of the ironically named ruler of Oceana, Big Brother. His attempts to find individual freedom within such a society forms the main drama of the novel.

Other examples of dystopian fiction include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World,  Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Want to dig further into our collection of dystopian fiction? Here’s a list:

handmaids taleThe Road by Cormac McCarthy

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

The Stand by Stephen King

V For Vendetta by Alan Moore

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Blindness by José Saramago

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

 

 


Editing to Defeat Gender Disparity in Wikipedia

By Trish Blair

In a 2010 survey Wikipedia found that less than 13% of its contributors identify as female.    While the reasons for the gender issues are debatable, the results represent marginalization in the form of a combined history.  To combat this issue Art + Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon events were created.  Every year, since 2014, there have been over 280 events across six continents to combat this problem by creating and updating thousands of Wikipedia articles about women in art.

art-and-feminism

Last March the Bridwell Art Library participated for the first time, in collaboration with the Hite Institute of Art to create a page for the International Honor Quilt which UofL is the permanent repository.  This massive community based art project was on display in the spring of 2016 at the Hite Gallery and fit nicely into our first editing project.  We had 13 people working diligently to collaboratively research and create a new Wikipedia page.  It was hard work but we all felt a sense of accomplishment when our page was uploaded.

This year the Bridwell Art Library is proud to announce that our Art + Feminism Edit-a-Thon will be held Thursday March 23 from 4pm-7pm inside the library at Schneider Hall.  We would like to invite anyone to join us who in interested in learning how to edit Wikipedia regardless of age, gender or human experience.  If you are drawn to art or feminism come help us to research, create and celebrate great women artists.

To sign up please go to:

http://tinyurl.com/uoflartfem17

All you will need to bring is yourself, a laptop or tablet, and the desire to be a part of this incredible worldwide event.

 

 


New Peer-Reviewed Journal in ThinkIR

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.

img_7675bestLeft 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.


Executive Orders: Best Sources for Research

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.