Tag Archives: Crerar Kiosk

Zar Symposium, “Open Data: Science, Health, Community,” available online

Video recordings from the 5th biennial Kathleen A. Zar Symposium, “Open Data: Science, Health, Community” are now available online.  The symposium featured speakers from Mozilla, the National Library of Medicine, the City of Chicago and more, who provided insight into open data projects and initiatives which have an impact on science, health, or community.

Read more in the full program schedule.

This project has been funded in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LMO12312346-01 with the University of Iowa.

Enrico Fermi and the nuclear chain reaction

page from Fermi's Notebook D14,"Numerical Calculations"

A digitized page from Fermi’s Notebook D14,”Numerical Calculations,” from November 12, 1943, to May 27, 1944. (Fermi, Enrico. Collection, [Box 42, Folder 3], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.)

In addition to the activities that have taken place on campus to observe the 75th anniversary of first nuclear reaction, the Library holds many complementary resources.  Visit the Enrico Fermi and the Nuclear Chain Reaction library guide for more information, including links to digitized materials.

Read more about Enrico Fermi and the first nuclear chain reaction:

Book cover, Enrico Fermi, Physicist

Enrico Fermi, Physicist (1970) by Emilio Segrè.

Book cover, The Pope of Physics : Enrico Fermi and the birth of the atomic age

The Pope of Physics : Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age (2016) by Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin

Launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library

The Changing Nature of Scholarship

The advent of digital technology has opened up new horizons that have inspired scholars to transform the nature of their scholarship. From the rapid analysis of a human genome to the sharing of social science data sets to data mining vast quantities of text—scholars are continually developing new digital approaches to creating, analyzing, and sharing their research.

Brenda L. Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian (Photo by John Zich)

While digital scholarship activity among the University of Chicago faculty is growing, this new kind of scholarship comes with a challenge. Researchers must master a dizzying array of computational tools and techniques, they must think about how to manage their data in ways that can be used by other researchers, and they must find solutions for archiving and sharing their data that meet the increasingly stringent requirements of funding agencies. As faculty and students increasingly incorporate computational and algorithmic methods (e.g., text mining, network analysis, GIS and geo-spatial mapping, image analysis, data analysis) into their research process, they are looking for partners to provide the technical and human resources necessary to support their research activities, foster innovation, and facilitate cross-divisional collaboration.

Digital scholarship encompasses all parts of this new life cycle of digital research, from the changing ways in which scholars collect and analyze data to their increased interest in new techniques for preserving and sharing that data. The Library is a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and the home of a great deal of expertise on archiving and sharing information. Accordingly, we are preparing to enhance our offerings and collaborations with faculty in each segment of this life cycle.

Envisioning a Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library

Faculty tell us that “a substantial barrier to the adoption of computational and digital methods at the University of Chicago has been the isolation of faculty members from colleagues who are experimenting with similar techniques. . . . A physical space designated for such inquiry could help bridge this knowledge gap by providing an environment in which to explore the application of these techniques, receive hands-on training through tutorials or workshops, and benefit from informal collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines.”

To meet this need, I am pleased to announce that we are beginning the work of launching a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library, which will become a new nexus for intellectual energy and growth, providing a space that will support state-of-the-art technologies and services that facilitate the exploration of new methodologies, the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, and the sharing of research results.

Establishing such a transformative center at the Library will require identifying high priority needs and thinking creatively about how to resource those needs. Thanks to the generosity of Robert, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, we will soon be able to hire a Director for the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) who will develop a strategic vision, begin to build services, and coordinate with existing library staff. Our new CDS Director will jumpstart the process and position us to pursue additional funding to support a full suite of services. I am grateful to the Nelsons for their early support of the Library’s digital scholarship initiatives.

We are now beginning a search for this Director and look forward to having this position filled in the coming months. As the Center develops over time, we expect that we will be able to facilitate a wide range of activities. Possibilities fall into three categories.

  • Scholarly Exploration and Collaboration. A combination of intellectual programming (symposia to host international scholars, tutorials, brown-bag presentations, workshops, faculty lectures), services (project consultation, data archiving), and technology (scanning equipment, workstations equipped with GIS and other specialized software) will make the Center a hub that brings faculty, students, and scholars together in ways that spark interactions and facilitate cross-divisional collaborations.­
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Training.  Faculty turn to the Library as a partner to supplement classroom instruction with workshops, targeted training, and onsite training by embedded librarians who can teach the skills necessary for students to succeed. In addition to supporting initiatives across campus to develop courses and programs that integrate new computational methods and theories into a wide range of disciplines, the Library has partnered with UChicagoGrad to provide fundamental digital scholarship skills needed by graduate students to become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.
  • OCHRE database screenshot

    The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

    Project Incubation and Execution. The Center for Digital Scholarship will provide services, such as project consultations, data acquisition and conversion, workshops in tools and techniques, and core technical infrastructure.  Researchers would benefit from guidance on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work and from assistance by staff with the experience and networks that can facilitate project components that are new to the researcher. Examples of such projects are the Library’s collaboration with Chicago Booth’s Richard Hornbeck on the location and digitization of 19th-century manufacturing data and with the Oriental Institute’s David Schloen on the OCHRE database system.

I look forward to being joined by the new Director of the Center for Digital Scholarship, who will collaborate with colleagues within the Library and across campus to develop a vision for the Center and plan for the rollout of services critical to digital research and teaching projects of many kinds.

 

Librarians and faculty collaborate on digital scholarship

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty work with Library experts

Professor Hornbeck points to digitized census page during discussion with Kathleen Arthur and Sherry Byrne

Professor Hornbeck (center) discusses the digitization process for the Census of Manufacturers with Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur (right) and Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Social scientists, humanists, and business faculty across the University of Chicago campus are rapidly adopting and inventing new digital tools and techniques. Whether they seek to analyze 19th-century American manufacturing, the ruins of the ancient walled city of Sam’al, or the transmission history of Hamlet, UChicago scholars and students are employing new digital approaches to gathering, analyzing, preserving and sharing their data and scholarly findings. As they do so, Library staff members with expertise in everything from digitization to GIS to digital data curation and archiving are developing innovative ways to collaborate with faculty to advance digital scholarship.

Gathering and digitizing data from the Census of Manufacturers

The U.S. Census of Manufacturers has the potential to be an internationally recognized resource, Professor of Economics Richard Hornbeck explains—as important for academic research as the census data on individuals available currently through IPUMs and Ancestry.com. Conducted every decade from 1850 to 1900, the Census of Manufacturers gathered firm names, product types, production quantities, and values for every establishment producing more than $500 worth of manufactured goods. Census takers also collected input data on capital stock, raw materials, power source, wages, and employment. If combined into a machine-readable format in one accessible location, the complete census data would become a powerful tool for understanding 19th-century manufacturing across the United States and in specific regions.

And yet, up to this point, the establishment-level data has never been accessible to researchers in one location. The Census Bureau has compiled and published county-level and county-by-industry summaries, but the firm-level data has been scattered across the country in different archives, libraries, and historical societies, in formats ranging from original handwritten records to microfilmed copies. That will change for data from 1850 to 1880, thanks to a collaborative digitization effort now underway, led by Professor Hornbeck, who has enlisted a team of professional and student research assistants, as well as Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian; Kathleen Arthur, Head of Digitization; Emily Treptow, Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction and Outreach; and Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for IT and Digital Scholarship.

The project began in 2016. Early on, Hornbeck approached Treptow, Byrne, and Arthur with questions about how to digitize microfilm, including more than 100 rolls that Vanderbilt Professor Emeritus Jeremy Atack had been storing in his basement and more than 90 rolls located at a dozen archives, libraries, and historical societies across the country from the New Hampshire State Archives to the University of Arkansas and the Center for Research Libraries.

Although Hornbeck and research professional Julius Luettge located most of the microfilm themselves, the trusted relationships that the University of Chicago Library has established with other research institutions enabled Byrne to borrow and oversee the digitization of items that would not have been released to an individual researcher.

The Library’s experts have also advised on numerous matters along the way, such as how to create high-quality scans of manuscript materials and good metadata. “A project of this nature could easily be overwhelming,” Hornbeck said. “It’s great to have library professionals watching over this.”

Other faculty members pursuing complex digitization projects like this one are invited to contact the Library to discuss the possibility of collaborating. “Researchers benefit from guidance from Library staff on strategies for organizing and executing digital project work,” explained Long. “We can facilitate project components that are new to researchers.” Such cooperation has left Professor Hornbeck with more time to focus on analyzing his data. He is currently working with Martin Rotemberg at NYU to examine the substantial growth in American manufacturing from 1850 to 1880 and to estimate how the expanding railroad network impacted manufacturing productivity.

UChicago faculty, students, and staff working on the digitization of the U.S. Census of Manufacturers include, from left, Preservation Librarian Sherry Byrne, undergraduate research assistants Anselm Jia and Guozhen (Gordon) Ji, research professional Andrea Cerrato, Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow Richard Hornbeck, research professional Will Cockriel, undergraduate research assistants Gyeom Kim and David Ardila, and Head of Digitization Kathleen Arthur. (Photo by Eddie Quinones)

Teaching GIS

Taylor Hixson describes her job as “helping anyone who is new to the field of GIS.” Brought on board as the Resident Librarian for Geographic Information Systems in Fall 2016, she helps faculty and students find data sources and advises faculty on how they can organize, preserve, and share their geographic data with others: for instance, by creating metadata, by depositing data in the University’s digital repository, Knowledge@UChicago; and by making data accessible through the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal at geo.btaa.org.

Hixson maintains office hours in the Maps Collection in Regenstein Library, offers GIS workshops throughout the academic year, and assists individuals by appointment. She also provides customized training for students in particular classes upon faculty request.

Last year, Susan Burns, Associate Professor of Japanese History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, contacted Hixson as she was planning the GIS components of a course on Edo/Tokyo: Society and the City in Japan. Burns’s class attracted everyone from first-year College students to second-year graduate students, who entered with diverse backgrounds in Arc-GIS and historical research methods. Hixson was able to provide training for students at all levels.

After each of four class periods devoted to introducing basic Arc skills, Hixson held review sessions for students who wanted more help. She also worked individually with students on using the Esri Story Map platform for their final projects, mapping everything from schools to bathhouses to public protests. “Many students expressed to me how grateful they were for Taylor’s help, and of course, I am as well,” Burns said.

Hixson’s first year at the Library has proven that there is demand for GIS Services from faculty and students across schools and divisions. The demonstration of this need has confirmed the Library’s decision to hire a GIS and Maps Librarian who will continue to develop the Library’s GIS program.

OCHRE and the Library’s infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services

When archaeologist David Schloen and database specialist Sandra Schloen began working to create OCHRE—the Online Cultural and Historical Research Environment at the Oriental Institute—they knew they wanted to design a customized user interface to record, integrate, analyze, publish, and preserve texts from the Ancient Near East, including some of the most difficult ancient languages to model in a database environment. To fulfill their vision, they needed a partner who could provide an infrastructure that would power their project.

Map view of OCHRE interface

The map view interface in OCHRE, showing Tell Keisan excavation locations. (Courtesy of Miller Prosser)

The Schloens turned to Charles Blair, Director of the Digital Library Development Center, and ever since he has led the Library team that hosts OCHRE’s high-performance database system as it has grown to support roughly 30 projects in fields from philology to archaeology to history. Each has its own framework for organizing data that is tailored to the needs of the project. One project currently underway, Critical Editions for Digital Analysis and Research (CEDAR), will provide a single software environment where scholars can trace textual variants and explore the transmission of major literary traditions. Initial test cases will be the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, the Sumerian copies of the Gilgamesh Epic, and the various early printings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Blair and a Library Unix systems administrator, Fred Seaton, maintain the OCHRE database server and advise on archival procedures for the curation of project data. “Deeply rooted in the library tradition, Charles has a watchful eye on the future and is committed to helping the OCHRE Data Service devise and implement strategies to ensure the long-term viability and accessibility of our data,” said David Schloen, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

“Charles and the Library are natural partners for the Schloens on the OCHRE Data Service because we all share a commitment to providing services and features that satisfy the full cycle of data management,” explained Long. Blair had already led the Library team that built an infrastructure to support Library databases such as the University of Chicago Photographic Archive and the Special Collections Finding Aids, and other University projects such as the Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) and a collection of digital images for teaching, LUNA.

“OCHRE was able to leverage our existing infrastructure for description, discovery, and archiving services, and we would be happy to provide the same type of service to other University of Chicago faculty and staff who have their own development teams but need an infrastructure for their interface,” explained Blair.

OCHRE database screenshot

The OCHRE database allows users to view photographs of artifacts (here, Ras Shamra tablets) alongside associated machine-readable data such as descriptions, epigraphs, interpretive information, transliterations, and translations.

New librarians exploring new frontiers

The Library is taking numerous steps to expand its staff expertise and its work in digital scholarship in the coming months and years. Library Director and University Librarian Brenda Johnson recently announced the imminent launch of a Center for Digital Scholarship at the Library. In addition to hiring a Director for this new Center and a GIS and Maps Librarian, the Library is preparing to hire a Social Sciences Data Librarian, a Scholarly Communication Librarian, and a Biomedical Data Librarian who will increase the Library’s capacity to provide innovative digital research and teaching services. The Library is also proposing with the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago to bring on board a two-year Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow who would focus on building the understanding and infrastructure necessary for managing data critical to the study of energy, environmental science, and climate change.

One of the services open to UChicago faculty in every field is Knowledge@UChicago, a digital repository that preserves and shares the scholarly, creative, and administrative assets of the University. Faculty are encouraged to deposit their scholarly articles and small data sets at this time, and plans will soon be made to expand the repository’s capacity when the new Scholarly Communication Librarian joins the Library. Visit knowledge.uchicago.edu for more information.

New GIS Computers in Map Collection

The Regenstein Library Map Collection has installed three new computers to support research using GIS and spatial analysis. These computers are available for use during regular Map Collection hours.

The following software is available:

  • ArcGIS for Desktop 10.5.1
  • ArcGIS Pro 2.0.0
  • ArcGIS Maps for Office (Excel, PowerPoint)
  • GeoDa
  • QGIS
  • Google Earth Pro
  • Adobe Creative Suite 5
  • R and R Studio
  • Stata
  • vLab

Picture of all three new computers in map collectionThe computers have dual, high-resolution monitors and 32 GB RAM. Box Sync is also available on these computers for users to connect and save data between the desktop software and Box, which provides UChicago users with unlimited storage space.

Additional technology in the Map Collection includes a large format and a flatbed scanner, a microform reader, and data resources from China Data Center and Geolytics.

GIS software and support is also available in Crerar Library, where the library’s computers have ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Pro, GeoDa, QGIS, and Google Earth Pro as well as a connection to vLab.

For questions about these computers or how the library supports GIS and spatial data, contact Resident Librarian for GIS Taylor Hixson (taylorhixson@uchicago.edu), or visit her in the Map Collection during walk-in GIS office hours Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. during the academic quarters.

Consult the library’s research guides for more information about getting started with GIS and finding spatial data and maps.

Webinar: Create, Link, and Share Your Bibliography – PubMed Tools and ORCID Identifiers for Authors

In this 30-minute webinar, NCBI staff will discuss author disambiguation and the advantages of using an ORCID ID–a free, unique identifier that will remain constant, even if your name changes.  Also learn how to find your citations in PubMed, create a bibliography, and share your publication list with others.

Date & time: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 11:00 PM – 11:30 PM CDT

Register

After the live presentation, the webinar will be uploaded to the NCBI YouTube channel. Learn about future NCBI webinars on the Webinars and Courses page.

Well Equipped: Library Technology from Days Past

library worker with photoduplication equipment

From the Photographic Archive (URL: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/), Identifier: apf1-02019.

September 18, 2017 – June 7, 2018
Location: Crerar Library First Floor

Over the years Crerar Library has used the newest equipment and technologies to make books, journals and other information accessible to patrons.  These tools have evolved through the years.  A library card system has been replaced with online catalog with significant collections available electronically.   Early techniques for photocopying and microfilming materials have been eclipsed by digital scanning services.  Displayed are objects and photos of some of these earlier technologies used by the Library.

A Web version of this  exhibit is also available: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/collex/exhibits/well-equipped-library-technology-days-past/

Free ebook on the Cassini mission and Saturn

To celebrate the conclusion of the Cassini spacecraft’s mission to Saturn, IOP Publishing is making its ebook on the topic, The Ringed Planet: Cassini’s Voyage of Discovery at Saturn, free now through Oct. 15, 2017.

Download your free copy here!

Saturn and its rings

Saturn and its rings; image taken by Cassini.  Image Credit: NASA/JPL/SSI.

Online tutorials in the sciences and medicine

Looking to do some online training over the summer?  Check out one of these options:

Global population data available

The LandScan 2015 Global Population Database is now available. Download the data directly from the library catalog by clicking the Full text online link.
Screenshot of LandScan 2015 Population Database

East View, the data publisher, provides this information about the updated database:

  • Adjusted population totals and distributions for Syria, Iraq and Ukraine to account for refugee and internally displaced persons movements as of June 2016
  • Results from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s LandScan HD data, (developed at 3 arc-seconds) for certain national and regional areas
  • Output from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Settlement Mapper Tool” (which rapidly delineates and characterizes settlements using high-resolution imagery)
  • Refined urban built-up areas
  • Thousands of additional smaller villages and populated places
  • Improved spatial precision and population distribution values

The library also has the LandScan 2007 Global Population Database.

For assistance or questions about accessing this or other spatial data through the University of Chicago Library, contact Resident Librarian for GIS Taylor Hixson (taylorhixson@uchicago.edu). More information about the library’s support for spatial data and GIS is available in the library’s research guide.