Professional Development

During December 2011...

“E-Resources Licensing” webinar according to Chris

Friday, December 23, 2011 12:10 pm

Derrik and I attended a Lyrasis webinar called “E-Resources Licensing- Overview and How-to for the Non-Lawyer” on Thursday, December 15. The goal of the webinar was to introduce the license agreements that frequently accompany electronic resources before purchase and explain what the responsibilities are for both the licensee and the licensor. Lyrasis instructor Russell Palmer had three objectives for the class stated in the slides:

  • To understand general license terms.
  • To understand permissions statements.
  • To suggest revision/remedies to unfavorable license language.

Mr. Palmer opened the webinar by asking the group how often we had read the “Terms of Service” agreement that often accompanies the software we use in our daily lives, such as iTunes. Most of the class, including myself, indicated that we usually click through without reading the terms in full. Mr. Palmer stressed that we should read the terms every time: not only for familiarity, but also for understanding what we could expect as an end user. I know that I’ll be reading these agreements more frequently in the future!

We also learned that any license agreement signed by an institution can have the effect of restricting rights that are guaranteed by U.S. copyright law, superseding both Sections 107 and 108 of Chapter 17 of the U.S. Code (otherwise known as the “Fair Use” and “Reproduction” clauses). Mr. Palmer strongly suggested that users review these portions of a license agreement carefully, since they can easily be overlooked during negotiations.

A common license agreement has six parts:

  1. Terms and definitions: usually listed first, this section details the language used in the document.
  2. Authorized and non-authorized uses: what the end user can do with the information within a database, particularly with an emphasis on distribution and approved formats.
  3. Duties: the obligations for the licensee and licensor, including privacy and remote access.
  4. Jurisdiction: the state or country where the terms of the license are binding.
  5. Legal remedies: how matters such as indemnity (is the library responsible for any abuse by a user?) and omission (what does it mean for the licensee if something is not covered in the agreement?) are resolved.
  6. Modification/cancellation: the sections that are decided in negotiations that would tailor a license to the particular needs of a specific institution that are agreed upon by both parties.

While Mr. Palmer recommended that legal counsel should always review a license before its adoption, there has been an initiative by NISO to simplify the terms of a license agreement for specific purchases. Known as SERU (Shared Electronic Resource Understanding), it is a set of guidelines between a licensor and a licensee that would be agreed upon without excessive negotiation before a specific resource can be activated. Derrik explained further that SERU is designed to ideally streamline, not replace, a license agreement for individual titles. While it would not be ideal for a journal package like ScienceDirect, it would be perfect for acquiring access to a journal title purchased individually.

I found this workshop to be extremely informative as a novice to the process. I learned a lot more about the pitfalls for license agreements and why it is so important to secure their terms in advance. I was also glad that Derrik was in the room, because his insights were useful as I was increasing my own understanding. So if iTunes pushes out another update before the end of the year, I’ll know what to look for in the” Terms of Service”!

Berlin 9 Open Access Conference

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 6:12 pm

In early November, I attended the Berlin 9 Open Access Conference in Washington, DC. Convened annually since the first Berlin conference in 2003 (in Berlin, Germany, hence the name, and where the Berlin Declaration was crafted), this was the first time the conference had been held in North America, and only the second time it had been held outside of Europe (it was in Beijing last year). In was an incredible experience, bringing together policy makers, administrators, researchers, librarians, funders, and publishers for two and a half days of presentations and discussions on the status of open access worldwide.

My conference started actually not with official B9 events, but rather a half-day tag-along meeting of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). Founded in summer 2011, COAPI is a group of North American institutions that have faculty-adopted open access policies (institutional or departmental), or are actively working toward adoption. Thanks to the policy adopted by the ZSR Library Librarians’ Assembly, Wake Forest was one of the 22 founding member institutions, and I represented us at the COAPI’s first face-to-face meeting in DC at the National Academies of Science. Our conversation focused on three key topics: implementation; institutional repositories and open access policies; and, publisher responses to institutional policies. It was energizing having 30+ people in the room discussing strategy, logistics, challenges, opportunities, successes, and set-backs. I am eager to see how COAPI develops and look forward to our next group gathering, tentatively scheduled for March.

From my morning at the National Academies, I moved over to a building at Johns Hopkins University for two afternoon preconferences: the first on Open Access Publishing and the second on Open Access Policy Development. The most interesting facts I learned in the preconferences were from Peter Binfield, publisher of PLoS ONE and the Community journals:

  • in 2011, PLoS will publish 17,000 (of 35,000 submitted), 14,500+ of those in PLoS ONE; this will account for approx. 1.6% of articles indexed in PubMed this year
  • PLoS ONE is not only steadily gaining traction among authors, as evidenced by rising submission rates, but is also gaining stead competition from other publishers not wanting to be left behind: SAGE, BMJ, Nature, and others have launched “clones” in the past 18 months

The next day, the conference moved to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute campus in Bethesda, which is an absolutely breathtaking facility. I had expected a fairly sterile research facility composed of large, drag buildings, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself on a campus of deep red brick buildings with well-landscaped grounds and very comfortable furnishings (see below for a photo of the courtyard where I lunched the first day). Unlike the conferences I’m used to attending, there was only one session to attend at a time, so I never felt torn in deciding where to go. And since we were a smallish group (approx. 250 attendees) at a secure facility, we all felt comfortable staking our seats for the day and leaving our stuff behind while taking advantage of the ample conversation/networking time build-in between sessions.

The conference organizers did a great job of lining up panelists (each session was a panel, only 4 (long) sessions each day) that covered the broad spectrum of open access: from policy to business applications to humanities research opportunities to open education to research funders and the patients they serve. I am still, 6 weeks out, trying to process and synthesize everything, and think through how the work we are doing at Wake Forest can be expanded to better maximize the potential of open access. The biggest take away was the unofficial theme that emerged over the course of the two full days: the open access movement seems to be moving from content is king to context is key. This is a very important shift, as it indicates that our understanding and application of open access in publishing, archiving, and policy making is becoming more nuanced and unforeseen opportunities unfolding. A prime example that I learned of at B9 is that the World Bank is currently in the process of opening all of their data and publishing all reports openly, free for any and all to use, as they have come to understand that their mission is better accomplished by lifting artificial access barriers. Never thought I’d say this, but Go World Bank!

I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to attend the Berlin 9 conference, not least because I returned to campus armed with great information to take before the Faculty Senate the following week, where I had been invited to speak regarding Wake Forest becoming an institutional signatory to the Berlin Declaration. As was reported at the most recent Librarian’s Assembly, the Faculty Senate was unanimously supportive of Mark Welker signing the Declaration on behalf of the University, and he did so in late November (although we’re still waiting to be officially listed). As amazing as this conference was, I’m keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed I get to go to Berlin 10 next year…in South Africa!!

NCLA Bibliographic Instruction Group: Teacher Librarian Academy

Friday, December 16, 2011 9:48 pm

Today, I had the opportunity to travel to Jackson Library at UNC-Greensboro to attend a NCLA Bibliographic Instruction workshop titled, “Student Engagement and Active Learning.” The presenters were Jenny Dale and Amy Harris, both UNC-G librarians. Jenny kicked off the day with introductions and a think-pair-share exercise asking, “What make a good presenter?” The librarians present were involved in instruction with their respective institutions which ranged from high schools to universities as far away as East Carolina. As you can imagine, the group eagerly participated in the discussions and activities.

This workshop reminded me of what an incredible job I have and what a wonderful opportunity our students have with our LIB100 and 200 courses. I was the only one in the group teaching a for credit course; most of the discussions centered around motivating students in one shot sessions (incentives, positive feedback, competition, and fun).

Jenny presented John Keller’s Motivational Design model which includes attention, relevance, confidence. and satisfaction. She also talked about Jacobson and Xu’s model which says that there are three elements to successfully motivating students: enthusiasm, clarity, and interaction. Perhaps the most interesting nugget of learning came when she showed a graphic of a “Learning Pyramid” that shows a scale that says that students only retain 5% of lectures, 10% of what they read (four other levels between), and 90% of what they teach others. Here’s the interesting fact: there is no research out there to back these claims!

After lunch, we discussed practical ideas for active learning activities. My favorite was UNC-G’s human citation activity where they get volunteers to come to the front and they give them pieces of a citation to hold. The audience tells the people where to stand to put the citation in the correct APA or MLA citation style order. Another interesting activity was Gardner Webb’s book truck rodeo where they take book trucks and put about 12 books on each truck. The students are divided in small groups and the team who gets the books in correct LC order first wins candy!

I spent a good portion of the afternoon trying to help a new librarian at St. Augustine’s plan how to structure her one shot sessions for the freshmen seminar classes in the spring. We are so fortunate to have so much time with our LIB100 students!

I believe the greatest value of my trip to Greensboro was simply getting to meet other instruction librarians from across the state. It was a good day, but I’m glad to be back home at Wake Forest!

Three Ways to Improve Your Peer Mentor Programs

Thursday, December 15, 2011 10:20 am

Allison McWilliams sent out an invite to the ZSR Mentoring Committee to attend a webinar: “Three Ways to Improve Your Peer Mentor Programs.” Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the webinar on the day that it aired. This week I was able to view the recorded webinar.

The webinar offered some excellent advice for staff who work with peer mentors. Webinar speakers were: Jimmie Gahagan (University of South Carolina); Craig Benson (University of Missouri); and Joe Henry (Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning).

Gahagan (who has published on residential learning initiatives) kicked off the webinar by defining the term peer leader as, “students who have been selected and trained to offer educational services to their peers.” He noted that there is value in the peer leadership experience for students in the following areas: academic success, leadership skills, and diversity. During the presentation, Gahagan mentioned the National Peer Educator Survey (NPES) which was developed by a team of researchers and college health experts. Gahagan referenced an article by Wawrzynski, LoConte, and Straker (2011) in New Directions for Student Services that describes learning outcomes for peer educators. An assessment of peer mentors’ needs at the University of South Carolina reveals that students want: professional development; networking opportunities; and feedback and recognition. These were identified by Gahagan as “The Big 3 Gaps.”

In terms of filling these gaps, Benson discussed professional development. Benson noted that “students are effective in helping others.” To assist peer mentors, a lot of training is provided. At Benson’s institution (University of Missouri), there is semester-long training. The Peer Mentoring Program at Sheridan has been around for 14 years.

At all three institutions, networking plays an important role in peer mentoring. Peer mentoring opportunities connect students with other students across campus. It also links them with potential resources for employment.

The third gap deals with feedback and recognition. It is important to create strategies to recognize the efforts of the peer leaders. For example, “A Peer Leadership Recognition Event” at the University of South Carolina provides an opportunity to recognize students and say thank you.

This webcast provided an opportunity to find out about peer mentoring at other institutions. I was able to pick up some ideas that the ZSR Mentoring Committee could consider in developing future mentoring programs.

Digital Humanities Symposium at UNCC

Friday, December 9, 2011 4:27 pm

Data Visualization

Earlier this week, Rebecca Petersen and I took advantage of the opportunity to attend Exploring Digital Humanities: Practicalities and Potential, a symposium hosted by Atkins Library at UNCC. The day-long event was a collaborative effort between the library and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The morning was devoted to four speakers and the afternoon (which unfortunately we could not stay for) offered hands-on sessions. However, it was well worth the trip to hear the four morning speakers. I am going to primarily focus in on the first speaker, but Robert Morrissey presented about the ARTFL Project and PhiloLogic (a retrieval and analysis tool), Paul Youngman presented “Black Devil and Iron Angel revisited: Using Culturomics in Humanities Research” and UNCC’s Heather McCullough introduced the Library’s new Digital Scholarship Center (which had just been officially launched that day and has a staff of 7, including a usability person, the scholarly communication librarian, a data services/GIS librarian, lab manager and the outreach librarian).

Mark Sample, from George Mason University, started the day off with an introduction to the digital humanities. In the short months that I have been trying to wrap my head around the meaning and purpose of this, Dr. Sample offered the best explanation I’ve yet heard. He jumped right in by asking which is the correct way to ask this question: “What IS digital humanities?” or “What ARE digital humanities?” It was a quick acknowledgement that, not only are people confused about the scope of the field, they don’t even know how to ask about it! Which is right? He says that in practice, the plural is correct, but grammatically, it is singular. ‘Digital humanities’ is a nebulous, made-up term. It describes practices that have been in place for a long time. Originally, it was called ‘humanities computing'; it was a way of talking about using computers to do humanities. The first instance of this goes back to 1949 when Father Robert Busa approached IBM’s Thomas Watson to sponsor his Index Thomisticus, a corpus of the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The project lasted 30 years, resulted in a print version, CD-ROM version and is now available via the web. The term ‘digital humanities’ was coined in 2001 by John Unsworth (an LIS Dean at University of Illinos at Urbana-Champaign!) as a marketing approach to the Companion to Digital Humanities. Some thought that this term would describe humanities computing in a more palatable way! Sample gave us an interesting timeline view of how the field developed by showing us a time-lapse evolution of the Digital Humanities Wikipedia page (using the view history) since the first article was written in 2006.

Sample sees the field of digital humanities as encompassing a two-fold endeavor: 1) it allows scholars to approach humanities in new ways using new tools that facilitate production of knowledge, and 2) it allows representation of knowledge. When discussing the Wikipedia articles, he noted that the early versions focused on presentation instead of production. One of the examples of ‘production’ he discussed was the Proceedings of the Old Bailey which is “a fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court.” This project was cross discipline and cross institutional. He showed us a dot map of all the trials that have the word ‘killing’ in them. He showed the tracking of the term ‘loveless marriage.’ Another project he presented was the Walt Whitman Project, which he said was both production and representation. In this project every edition of Leaves of Grass is included, allowing researchers to compare across editions. An example of representation is Drama in the Delta, a role playing video game that puts the player in the experience of Arkansas camps where 15,000 Japanese were interned during World War II. It doesn’t produce new knowledge but it is designed to represent knowledge to students in a new way.

Having bodies of searchable text of these magnitudes allow scholars to ask questions that couldn’t have been imaginable if they had to plow through the manuscripts manually. One interesting concept he introduced was the idea of distance reading versus close reading. As opposed to “close reading” of a text, “distant reading” allows researchers to analyze not just one or two books but thousands of them at a time.

I’ve written much more than I usually permit myself in these postings, but want to mention Youngman’s use of pattern analysis using Google’s Ngram Viewer and his recommendation of the Culturomics site that has a corpus of over 5 million words. One thing he stressed about using data from Google books (he calls Google Books a game changer) is that, yes, the data is dirty, but you can still work with it. He says that pattern analysis is what it’s all about and these tools allow a scholar to get a larger perspective by using a shotgun approach to discover patterns. It allows you to spot what perhaps could be a trend but then the key is to collaborate with others to verify real trends.

It was a very productive morning that provided me with many resources to explore as well as a much better understanding of what digital humanities is: from Sample: “Digital humanities are what digital humanists are doing at any given time.”



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