Tag Archives: Crerar Kiosk

Expanding services for faculty in a changing environment

Brenda L. Johnson

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

Today’s scholarly environment presents an increasing array of challenges and opportunities for faculty and graduate students. New funding agency requirements call on researchers to present advance plans for openly sharing and preserving their data.  Researchers are seeking ways to obtain data in new formats, to visualize information in new ways, and to rescue and share data for new purposes.  Across disciplines, researchers are constantly challenged to find and adopt new tools and techniques. The Library is meeting this challenge by launching new initiatives, developing cutting-edge skills among our librarians, and bringing on new staff members who can assist researchers in this changing scholarly environment.

Stacie Williams

Stacie Williams, Center for Digital Scholarship Director

The Library’s new Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) will be an umbrella for many of these services, facilitating the analysis of complex data, the visualization of theoretical relationships, the preservation of core research, and the sharing of research results. Stacie Williams, who joined the Library in August as the inaugural CDS Director, brings experience working with researchers in her previous position managing the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship at Case Western Reserve University. Williams is working with subject librarians and faculty to identify priorities for establishing new spaces, technical infrastructure, and services that meet research and teaching needs.  Following are some of the key areas in which initiatives are already underway.

Data preservation and sharing

Nora Mattern

Nora Mattern, Scholarly Communications Librarian

The Library is expanding Knowledge@UChicago, the University’s digital institutional research repository, to better support the needs of data preservation. Led by new Scholarly Communications Librarian Nora Mattern, the Library is migrating Knowledge@UChicago to a new platform that was initially developed at CERN to support high energy physics. The new Knowledge@UChicago will launch in January and will provide funder-compliant solutions for researchers to share and preserve their code, data, and research results.  Mattern also provides consultations on good data management practices, writing data management plans, and copyright.

The Library is also partnering with the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC) to host a Council on Library and Information Resources Postdoctoral Fellow in Energy Economics Data Curation, Ana Trisovic. Trisovic is focusing on the particular challenges EPIC faculty face in collecting and preserving energy data, which is often available only from private industry or difficult-to-use government websites. She will be building a clearinghouse for EPIC’s data to facilitate discovery and reuse, as well as developing solutions for preserving and sharing the code that researchers use to analyze their data. Trisovic will use the skills she gained earning a PhD in Computer Science and her experience developing similar preservation solutions at CERN, applying them to the field of energy economics.

Data acquisition and use

Kristin Martin

Kristin Martin, Director of Technical Services

The challenge of acquiring data for research is shared by many disciplines. For example, the Library subscribes to thousands of electronic books and journals, but researchers interested in data mining these texts cannot easily do so using the vendor’s PDFs, which are intended for individual reading. Kristin Martin, the Library’s Director of Technical Services, excels at working with publishers to provide alternative access that is optimized for data mining.  The Library’s subject specialists can work with faculty across the disciplines and with Martin to seek such alternative access.

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster, Social Sciences Data Librarian

Elizabeth Foster, the Library’s new Social Sciences Data Librarian, can take this one step further, not only helping researchers find and acquire relevant data, but also helping them transform that data, for example, by formatting it to match the requirements of a particular tool.  Foster will offer workshops and will be developing data analysis consultation services, with a focus on using R and Stata.

Geospatial analysis

Cecilia Smith

Cecilia Smith, GIS and Maps Librarian

Faculty in many disciplines are exploring the ways spatial and temporal analysis and visualization can be used to gain new insights into their data. Cecilia Smith, the Library’s new GIS and Maps Librarian, can consult on the use of GIS information and geospatial tools to analyze and visualize trends in data from mapping the shifts in the border of the Roman Empire over time, to plotting the incidence of traffic accidents in relation to red light cameras, to mapping the impact of environmental factors on health outcomes, and more.  Read “Opening a GIS Hub at Crerar Library” for more information.

At-risk data and data rescue

Sarah G. Wenzel

Sarah G. Wenzel, Bibliographer for the Literatures of Europe and the Americas

Researchers interested in documenting historical trends are often stymied when early data are in analog formats not conducive to data analysis.  Heritage data–such as weather data and astronomical observations–are often the only evidence remaining of ephemeral or disappearing phenomena.  The Library is currently partnering with the Humanities Division to ensure that the UChicago Digital Media Archive’s linguistic and ethnomusicology recordings made by former faculty are converted from fragile magnetic tape to a digital form that can be used by researchers today. We are also working with the Ivy Plus Libraries on a web archiving project. Sarah G. Wenzel, Bibliographer for the Literatures of Europe and the Americas, co-developed a proposal with a colleague at Columbia University to create a digital archive of comics and artists’ websites.  Currently, more than 150 websites are being actively archived by this project and can be found at archive-it.org/collections/10181.

The expert and talented staff members of the Library are committed to expanding services that meet faculty needs in this changing environment. We look forward to working with you and encourage you to visit our Center for Digital Scholarship web page and to contact your subject specialist, Stacie Williams, or Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Digital Scholarship, to discuss your research needs.

Scientific reproducibility, data management, and inspiration

“Science moves forward by corroboration–when researchers verify others’ results,” the journal Nature states in its July special edition on Challenges in Irreproducible Research.  “There is a growing alarm about results that cannot be reproduced. . . . Journals, scientists, institutions and funders all have a part in tackling reproducibility.”

Stefano Allesina discusses a data management plan with Elisabeth Long, who points sto the plan on screen.

Librarian Elisabeth Long (left) discusses a data management plan with Professor Stefano Allesina. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

Science faculty across the disciplines are increasingly taking up the challenge to publish their research in ways that are more easily reproduced, and librarians are collaborating with these researchers to ensure that rigorously collected data, metadata, and algorithms are preserved and made accessible to the research community.

“Many of these efforts revolve around teaching, planning, and practicing excellent data management throughout the research life cycle, from grant writing to publication,” said Elisabeth Long, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology and Digital Scholarship.  “The University of Chicago Library is offering a growing set of data management research and teaching services that help UChicago scientists win grants and produce and publish reproducible results that will shape the future of their fields.”

Teaching good data management from the beginning

The UChicago Biological Sciences Division recently played a leading part in improving graduate education in its discipline by developing a National Science Foundation-funded course called Responsible, Rigorous, and Reproducible Conduct of Research: R3CR.  All UChicago first-year BSD graduate students are required to take the course, learning how to use current methods in computational biology in an ethical and reproducible way.  Elisabeth Long has partnered with the course’s creators, Professors Victoria Prince, Stefano Allesina, and Stephanie Palmer, to provide a class session that introduces students to the principles of data management in the lab setting.

“Biology produces a lot of data, and we have seen the kind of mistakes that people can make that are terrifying,” Professor Allesina said. “Elisabeth talked a lot about how you make sure that you’re keeping your data safe throughout your thesis research: how you should name your files, where you should save your files, how you make sure they are saved for posterity, and where there are institutional repositories or online repositories where you can publish your data.”

The Library is partnering with researchers across campus to develop practices and tools that can facilitate the kind of recordkeeping and data curation that is currently demanded of scientists.  Librarians are offering workshops and training sessions that prepare University of Chicago students to graduate with exceptional data management and preservation skills.

Electronic lab notebooks and data management plans

This Autumn Quarter, the Library’s new Center for Digital Scholarship begins offering drop-in consultation hours and customized one-on-one sessions to work with faculty on their data management plans, choosing between the University’s Knowledge@UChicago research repository and disciplinary archives for preserving and sharing research outputs.

The Center will also offer advice on selecting and using research management tools such as electronic lab notebooks and the Open Science Framework.  Research management tools provide platforms where faculty can centralize all their research activities, enabling easy file management, version control, protocol sharing, analysis activities, email, and other interactions between members of a lab. “One challenge confronting researchers is choosing from among the many existing systems,” Long said. “The Center for Digital Scholarship’s consultation services can pair librarians with individual faculty members, or bring sessions to your labs to explore the best solution for your particular research scenario.”

When the data don’t stand alone

Complex research workflows that present particular challenges for reproducibility often occur in fields where data are processed multiple times before final analysis. “In such cases, preserving the data alone is insufficient to support reproducibility,” Long explained. “The computational code for processing the data must also be preserved along with its relation to the data at various stages of processing.”

Marco Govoni, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Engineering and Argonne National Laboratory, has been developing a tool for mapping and documenting these relationships.  Qresp: Curation and Exploration of Reproducible Scientific Papers (at qresp.org) guides the researchers through the process of documenting the relationship between the datasets, scripts, tools, and notebooks that were used in the creation of a scientific paper. Librarians are working with Govoni to explore ways in which the Library could support his work and potentially integrate it with the Library’s new institutional repository platform.

Data and inspiration

In consulting with librarians, faculty sometimes discover unexpected sources of data, inspiring new research projects.  When Long was talking to the R3CR class about data management and how they will submit their dissertations to ProQuest, a national dissertation repository, Professor Allesina began to consider the value its metadata could provide for the study of careers in science.  “There’s a lot of interest in trying to see if we can improve the situation in the sciences by increasing representations, for example, of women or minorities,” Allesina explained, “but one thing that we lack is some sort of longitudinal analysis, because once PhD students are out the door, it’s very difficult to find them again.”

Librarian Nora Mattern, Professor Stefano Allesina, and a sketch of a computational pipeline. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

At Allesina’s request, Long put him in touch with the Library’s Director of Technical Services, Kristin Martin, who worked with ProQuest to obtain the name, institution, and year of graduation for dissertation authors from the U.S. and Canada from 1993 to 2015.  He is now planning to combine that metadata with publication data from Scopus to track the length and locations of scientists’ careers in academia.

Such a study raises specific reproducibility challenges.  In working on a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to support this research, Allesina turned to Nora Mattern, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Debra Werner, Director of Library Research in Medical Education, for advice on how to integrate proprietary data owned by ProQuest and Scopus into the data management plan.  “How much can you share with other scientists?” Allesina asked.  “Can you share some summary statistics of the data?  Can you share de-identified data? If you imagine that someone wants to repeat my analysis of PhD students, will they have sufficient data?” Mattern and Werner helped him to structure the data management plan and to consider the legal implications.

When Allesina came to the United States from Italy, he was surprised at the role he found librarians taking in the digital age.  “Here librarians are thinking forward,” he said.  “Nowadays we have this mass of information. How do we navigate that? How do we organize it? How do we make it searchable? I am always amazed that people can be so helpful. I was dreaming of this data about PhDs, and I talked to Elisabeth, and she said ‘let me look into that.’ After a few weeks, I got gigabytes of data.”

His advice to colleagues: “Run it by a librarian before giving up.”

To consult with a librarian on data management and scientific reproducibility, talk to your Library subject specialist or email data-help@lib.uchicago.edu.

 

Opening a GIS Hub at Crerar Library

Location is important. Tracking the movement of contagious disease helps contain its spread. Demographic geography influences access to financial and retail services. Virtualized medieval cities provide opportunities to explore the contexts of historical events. Each of these phenomena can be studied with GIS.

GIS and Maps Librarian and students with map of Chicago on monitor

GIS and Maps Librarian Cecilia Smith (center) discusses mapping tools and resources with (from left) students Paul Gilbert, II, College ’20, and Emil Sohlberg, College ’20. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

Geographic information systems, or GIS, is used to analyze locational information across disciplines such as public health, environmental science, sociology, economics, policy, history, and many more. Faculty and students are increasingly integrating GIS into their research, and opportunities to learn the technology are growing at the University of Chicago.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Kathleen and Howard Zar Science Library Fund and support from the Library Council, the University of Chicago Library is developing a GIS Hub at the John Crerar Library to enable geospatial research and learning activities on campus. The Hub will be located in Crerar’s Kathleen A. Zar Room, named in honor of the late director of the science libraries. Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian, sees the new Hub as critical to supporting research on campus. “The GIS Hub at the Library will provide faculty, students and staff from every discipline at UChicago with access to important technology and resources and, very importantly, the ability to consult with a GIS Librarian with expert knowledge,” she said.

Eight workstations in the Hub will offer GIS software, including QGIS, GeoDa, and ArcGIS. Large, high-resolution monitors will allow detailed visualization work. The GIS Hub will facilitate individual and collaborative work. Instructional technology will also provide a venue for geospatial workshops and demonstrations.

As the new GIS and Maps Librarian, I will support faculty and students through consultations on gathering and exploring geospatial data, spatial literacy, and visualizing geographic information.  I will also offer workshops on working with GIS data and getting started with the software. At Chicago, I will build on my recent experience as a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Geospatial Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries, where I collaborated on research projects with faculty from geography, sociology, anthropology, history, urban planning, and ecosystem science. The Early Modern Shipwreck project at modernshipwrecks.com is a good example of one of my collaborations with faculty where I provided geospatial expertise.

The GIS Hub opens to the campus community in Fall 2018, located with the new Media Arts, Data, and Design Center on the first floor of the newly renovated Crerar Library. The Media Arts, Data and Design Center will open in early Winter Quarter.  This co-location is an exciting opportunity for faculty and students to access technological and maker resources for interdisciplinary research and learning.

For questions regarding GIS resources at the Library, please contact me at ceciliasmith@uchicago.edu.

Featured Library technologist: Emma Boettcher

Emma Boettcher is the University of Chicago Library’s User Experience Resident Librarian. She has a Master of Science in Information Science from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and joined the Library in 2016 as part of a residency program that brings top recent graduates to Chicago.  Denizens of Regenstein may recognize Boettcher as the librarian who frequently conducts user testing in the lobby. Elisabeth Long talked with Boettcher about how her work enables faculty and students’ research in a changing environment.

Q: Tell us about a project you’ve worked on that has affected a website or tool that faculty and students are using today.  What was your role?  How did you contribute to the final product?

Emma Boettcher

Emma Boettcher (Photo by John Zich)

A: This past spring we launched a new streamlined process for requesting a book through Interlibrary Loan. We knew that this new service would address many of the frustrations our patrons experienced when requesting books through our legacy Interlibrary Loan services, but we also knew that it would represent a major change in patrons’ workflow.  My role was to do testing that would inform the design of the service so that these changes would be easy for patrons to understand. This included everything from labeling to page organization to visual cues that guide the patron toward the best option.

Our designer put together a set of prototype options, and I developed several research scenarios that linked the prototypes with live data so that I could watch testers try to accomplish some common tasks and see where they ran into problems, took circuitous routes, or performed actions that we weren’t expecting. The findings were used by the development team to make the service easier to navigate.

Q: What is one of your favorite projects, and what did you like about it?

A: I am currently working on a wayfinding project to study the maps and signage in Regenstein.  We are concentrating not just on how a patron finds a book in the Library Catalog but also on how they then go about finding the book itself, whether it lives in the bookstacks, a reading room, or in a reference collection.  What I like about this study is that it shows that user experience testing is not just about online experiences. It covers the much wider context of all the things people might be doing in our library.

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: Although a lot of my work focuses on faculty and students’ experiences of our library services, librarians themselves are also major users of our library systems. I am currently involved in a national and international open source project to develop a next generation library management system.  I use my user experience skills to study how different librarians across the project want the system to function.  It is fascinating to see where librarians from UChicago, Duke, and Germany, among others, have different ideas about workflows they need to support and where their needs converge.  I work with librarians from across the partnership to define specific interactions, such as what actions need to happen when a book is checked out to a patron, and then my job is to act as the translator between them and the developers who are building this open source system.

This interview is the first in a series on Library technologists.  Watch the Library News site for more such interviews.

“Library Adventures in a Digital Age,” a history of medicine pop-up display

Library Adventures in a Digital Age

Join Dr. Mindy Schwartz, Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director for Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, in the Special Collections Research Center for a special pop-up display of rare medical history collections.

Library Adventures in a Digital Age:
Chicago Connections
Friday, October 26, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center
Regenstein Library, 1st floor

View a selection of books and objects from our collections that enhance our understanding of the history of science and medicine, and learn how they can be used for research and teaching. A resource guide will be available.

For more information about the event, contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Apply for the Library Student Advisory Group

Mansueto and Regenstein

Mansueto and Regenstein libraries (photo by Tom Rossiter)

The Library Student Advisory Group serves as a formal channel of communication between students and the Library administration. The group discusses matters related to all six campus libraries, including collections, spaces, and services, along with issues relating to the present and future needs of the student community.

The Library Student Advisory Group meets once a quarter and representatives serve for two-year terms with an option to renew.

We are looking for student representatives from the following schools and divisions:

  • College (Class of 2022)
  • Biological Sciences Division
  • Booth School of Business
  • Harris School of Public Policy Studies
  • Physical Sciences Division
  • Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Social Sciences Division
  • School of Social Service Administration.

Please complete our online application by October 26, 2018.

For more information about the Library Student Advisory Group, or the application process, please contact:

Rebecca Starkey
Librarian for College Instruction & Outreach
773-702-4484
rstarkey@uchicago.edu

ChemDraw Prime software annual renewal

University of Chicago users of ChemDraw Prime may now download the most recent version of the software for use.  The process requires use of an @uchicago.edu email address and an in-software activation using a code provided to registered users.  Instructions for download and activation are available on the Chemistry LibGuide as a PDF file .  Users encountering any difficulties in downloading or activating the software may contact Andrea Twiss-Brooks, atbrooks@uchicago.edu or 773-702-8777 for assistance.

ChemDraw Logo

Crerar Librarians

Crerar reference librarians are now temporarily located in the 3rd floor of the renovated Crerar Library.   Deb Werner is in 315 and Jenny Hart in 313.  We will be here until our new office space is constructed on the north side of the first floor.

Our phone numbers remain the same.  If you have any questions feel free to give us a call or email us.  We are happy to set up an appointment to meet with you!

 

The Scholarly Environment at the University of Chicago Library

Welcoming, Comfortable, Respectful to All

Welcome to the University of Chicago Library.  As the new academic year begins, we would like to greet all new and returning faculty, students, and staff.

The Library’s mission is to provide comprehensive resources and services in support of the research, teaching, and learning needs of the University community.  We hope that you will get to know some of the many librarians who are here to help you and to take full advantage of our offerings.

The University of Chicago Library is the heart of a University that seeks to enrich human life through the growth of knowledge. For the pursuit of knowledge to flourish, the Library is committed to maintaining an environment for users that is supportive of study, research, reflection, and scholarly collaboration; welcoming; safe; respectful of all; and comfortable, with spaces for quiet individual study, research, and reflection and designated areas for collaborative work.

In the past year, there has been graffiti found on Library walls that has been drawn to our attention and has disturbed some members of our community.  We ask that you join us in creating and sustaining a scholarly environment at the Library by notifying Library staff when you find such graffiti so that it can be removed and by reading and acting upon our complete statement of User Rights and Responsibilities for Creating and Sustaining a Scholarly Environment, and our policy on Maintaining a Scholarly Environment below.

Please contact us at scholarly-environment@lib.uchicago.edu if you have any questions about these policies or our scholarly environment.

Creating and Sustaining a Scholarly Environment

Library users and staff share responsibility for creating and sustaining an environment supportive of scholarship. To ensure this environment,

  • You have the responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect.
  • You have the responsibility to refrain from engaging in behavior that creates a disturbance, interferes with the right of others to use the Library for research and study, or otherwise detracts from a scholarly environment.
  • You have the responsibility to learn about and comply with Library policies for maintaining this environment.

These responsibilities come with the following rights:

  • You have a right to ask others to end conversations, lower their voices, or maintain an environment supportive of scholarship.
  • You have a right to request and receive assistance from a Library staff member in maintaining an environment supportive of scholarship.
  • You have a right to expect that in addressing problems, Library staff will take measured steps to restore a scholarly environment.

Maintaining a Scholarly Environment

All Library users and staff share in the responsibility for maintaining an environment supportive of scholarship. These responsibilities include the following:

  1. Exhibiting conduct appropriate to research and study by
    • maintaining quiet in all individual study areas and in the stacks
    • conducting group study and quiet conversations only in Library-designated areas
    • refraining from loud or boisterous behavior
    • silencing cell phones, laptops, and electronic devices when in Library spaces
    • restricting cell phone conversations, with care taken to avoid disturbing others, to Library designated spaces

2. Helping to preserve library collections by

    • following the Library’s Food & Drink Policy
    • not writing in, underlining, highlighting or otherwise damaging library materials

3. Helping to sustain the library’s physical spaces by

    • not smoking inside, or within 15 feet of entrances of, Library buildings (in accordance with University policy and City of Chicago ordinance); including not using electronic cigarettes or other such delivery systems
    • not bringing animals into the Library, except service animals assisting those with disabilities (in accordance with University policies for Service Animals and Assistance Animals)
    • securing bicycles only to official racks outside of the Library
    • not using scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, skates or other conveyances (except those assisting persons with disabilities), within the Library or near Library entrances
    • not posting signs, notices, or other material except in designated locations or with special permission, in accordance with the Library’s Policy on Promotional Activities

4. Creating a comfortable and supportive environment for other Library users and staff by

    • wearing clothing, including shirts and shoes
    • not exposing others to pornographic or obscene images
    • using Library spaces only for the purposes for which they are intended

5. Complying with Library and University policies, which ensure a safe and respectful community for all by

    • presenting appropriate identification when asked to do so by Library staff or University officials who have also identified themselves
    • leaving Library spaces at closing
    • not entering Library staff areas without permission
    • closely supervising children brought with you to the Library
    • not taking photographs of others for personal use without permission of the individual(s); not filming or taking photographs of Library spaces and users for publication or commercial purposes without permission of Library administration
    • not soliciting or conducting surveys without advance Library approval
    • not using Library space for political fundraising or any other partisan political campaign activities, in accordance with University policies regarding political activity

Prohibited actions that are illegal, endanger safety or are considered serious violations include:

  1. Engaging in criminal activity, including theft, battery, or assault
  2. Vandalizing or defacing of Library material, equipment, collections, furniture, or facilities (including creating graffiti)
  3. Stalking, harassing, or making unwanted sexual advances
  4. Engaging in sexual activities or indecently exposing oneself
  5. Violating the University’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct (including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking) or denigrating individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any protected classes under the law
  6. Bringing firearms of any kind, explosives, or other dangerous objects or materials into the Library
  7. Violating the University’s Drug and Alcohol Policies
  8. Violating the University’s Policy on Information Technology Use and Access or the Library’s Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources

The above lists of responsibilities and prohibited actions are not to be taken as exhaustive.

Crerar renovation update

The John Crerar Library’s Access and Circulation Desk has reopened in its newly renovated home on the Lower Level, next to the bookstacks.  The new space houses staff and services such as circulation, Scan and Deliver, search requests, and course reserves.

Crerar Library exterior including entry area

The John Crerar Library (Photo by Kathy Zadrozny)

Also located on the Lower Level is a new study space that is open for University of Chicago-affiliated users, as well as approved visitors, researchers, and guests. The main quiet study space features new furniture with seating for 100 people in a beautifully lit space, with a glass wall on the east side and a window on the west side providing natural light during the day. Additionally, two group study rooms will be available for University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to reserve via Book a Room. Each group study seats up to 8 people and features a whiteboard wall.  Just outside the quiet study space, PCs will be available for use. The PCs provide standard Library software, as well as Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Copy/print/scan stations will be in a room just north of the quiet study space.

As we move into our new space, the area of the first floor where these services were previously located will be closed for renovation as we partner with our colleagues in Computer Science, the Humanities Division, and UChicago Arts to create additional space to support design, GIS, gaming and media arts.

Thank you for your patience as this part of the construction nears its end, and we look forward to seeing you in our new location.