Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Rushing to the End of the Semester?

Image of a brain Last week, CUA Research Day had interesting research on mindfulness. As we all gear up (pay heed to that motion metaphor!) for the end of an academic semester, here are some readings on note taking and attention; mind mapping; and the art of slow!

Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away

And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people. [Source: Mueller, Pam A. and Oppenheimer,  Daniel M. 2014. “The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard:
Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” Psychological Science OnlineFirst,. doi:10.1177/0956797614524581. ]

Thinking through Comics with Nick Sousanis’s Grids & Gestures

Having briefly thought about this, I want you to take a single sheet of paper (any size, shape will do) and drawing with a pencil or pen, carve it up in some grid-esque fashion that represents the shape of your day. It can be this day, a recent day, a memorable day, or a typical/amalgamation day. And then inhabit these spaces you’ve drawn on the page with lines, marks, or gestures that represent your activity or emotional state during those times represented. The emphasis here is to do your best to not draw things. (You can always do that later!) And also, you can leave space blank on your page – but that has to mean something. This isn’t writing where you can finish a final sentence mid-page. Every inch of the composition is important in comics – so be aware of that as well. Finally, when I do this in class or with groups, I give people about 5-10 minutes to do it, so they have to make decisions quickly. Try to give yourself a similar limit. [Source: Salter, Anastasia. 2016. Thinking through Comics with Nick Sousanis’s Grids & Gestures. ]

‘Slow Professor’: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

In a corporate university, argues Slow Professor, “power is transferred from faculty to managers, economic justifications dominate, and the familiar ‘bottom line’ eclipses pedagogical and intellectual concerns.” But slow professors nevertheless “advocate deliberation over acceleration” because they “need time to think, and so do our students. Time for reflection and open-ended inquiry is not a luxury but is crucial to what we do.” [Source: Berg, Maggie and Barbara Karolina Seeber. 2016. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. And, Flaherty, Colleen. “‘The Slow Professor’.”, accessed April 19, 2016.]


Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Research & Libraries

2016RESEARCHDAYPROGRAM-1Join us on Friday, April 15 for the inaugural CUA Research Day!

What do all the CUA Research Day presenters and poster participants have in common? They started with a question and they did research!

The recently published Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2015 findings include that while the discovery process has many access points, faculty still rely heavily on the library web site and catalog; faculty need more information about data management and repositories; monographs are favored over ebooks; and traditional scholarly outputs – journal articles and books – still reign supreme.

The most important finding for libraries may be:

Interest in supporting students and their competencies and learning outcomes shows signs of surging. Since the previous cycle of the survey, there has been an increase in the share of faculty members who believe that their undergraduate students have poor research skills and a substantial increase in the perceived importance of the role of the library in helping undergraduate students develop research, critical analysis, and information literacy skills.

We will see you Friday, April 15 at CUA Research Day! Look for these poster presentations from the library:

Comparing Religious Studies and Theology Faculty Citations and Library Holdings, 2002-2012: an Update

Digital Toolkit: Essentials for the Researcher of Today and Tomorrow: What we can learn from #HamiltonMusical!

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Academic Research in the News!

ComplexityAcademic research publishing may be at a tipping point (the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.) A new Slate (daily web magazine) article asks, Why Is It So Expensive to Read Academic Research? If nothing else, the article has a readable explanation of the “serials pricing crisis.”

The article expounds on the controversy around Sci-Hub : “[T]he effect of long-term operation of Sci-Hub will be that publishers change their publishing models to support Open Access, because closed access will make no sense anymore.” It is a reminder that the scholarly ecosystem is a complex organism.

What should academic researchers do? Math might help!

Seven Things Every Researcher Should Know About Scholarly Publishing

Scholars, funders, libraries, and publishers, including scholarly societies, have different positions within this system and often very different agendas; as Joe Esposito notes “where you stand depends on where you sit.” Scholars want their work to be reviewed and circulated, though they may have different ideas about how this should happen. Funders want to encourage research and demonstrate its use. Libraries want to circulate good scholarship, though they may have different perspectives on how good work is created and how it should be discovered by researchers and then made available. Publishers want to facilitate the production of good scholarship, and make it available. While all stakeholders have much in common, often the focus is on the differences. Again, researchers don’t need to understand each and every approach, but to appreciate that there is a broader context that contains a range of perspectives.

Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics

[About licenses…] Although the licences described above mostly involve payment and are relatively restrictive, the open and shared nature of the internet has led to development of a range of ‘open’ licences which promote permissive use of copyright works. The most famous of these are the Creative Commons licences conceived by American lawyer and activist Laurence Lessig. These licences are described in more detail in the FAQ section, but works made available under Creative Commons licences provide a hugely valuable resource and all of them are available free of charge under clear re-use terms. At the time of writing, there were over 1 billion works licensed under Creative Commons, including thousands of educational resources, millions of Flickr photos, and the entirety of Wikipedia.

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Predictive Analytics, it’s a Rap by Dr. Data!

A new title this month at Mullen Library is Mathematics Without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation by Michael Harris. No apologies here if your vocation is data  – Dr. Data drops first choreographed rap video about predictive analytics. Thanks, Eric Siegel, Ph.D.!

Predictive analytics learns from the data you supply,
and predicts if you will click, buy, lie, or die.
It ain’t astrological – it’s math, it’s methodological.
So better pay attention cause my flow is pedagogical. [Full lyrics]

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Open Data to the Rescue?

People Have Mixed Hopes About Whether Open Data Will Improve ThingsValid data and a belief that government is a public good can be motivators in society. The PEW Research Center 2015 report Americans’ Views on Open Government Data documents the not-quite-tipping-point of the value of open data. It seems the jury is still out!

More data is available everyday:

DATA.GOV – managed and hosted by the U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies

OECD Data – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

World Bank Data – Economic Indicators

DC Open Data – District of Columbia GIS (DC GIS)

Researchers are working toward shared definitions and repositories of data. Data management is an added task that researchers find troublesome. Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Open Data to the Rescue?”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Ubiquitous Data!

Data – it’s everywhere! From ‘March Madness’ to politics to infrastructure to Broadway musicals, data is shaping our understanding of the world. You don’t have to look very far to find data, data sets, coding and visualizations. Try 30 Places to Find Open Data on the Web.

2016 NCAA Brackets

From the news this week see:


Even Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog site riffs on the words per minute in Hamilton’ Is the Model of a Modern Fast Paced Musical. Full disclosure, this author admits to reading baseball data too often!

How does this ubiquitous data impact the university, academia and research? Universities are using data visualizations to connect students and alumni to their institutions. See this Interactive Alumni Map from CUA.

Faculty and students are learning new coding tools and data visualization techniques to tell the story of their research. Libraries are awash in usage data from electronic resources for decision-making. Librarians are collaborating with researchers on all aspects of the data life cycle; from data management planning, to data collection, to archiving research data.

Future posts in March will focus on data and digital scholarship. We will discuss library support for data-driven digital endeavors. Topics of interest will be data science, data management, e-Science, digital humanities, API’s, text and data mining.

Tell us about your data CUA! Contact Kim Hoffman


Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Celebrate #FairUseWeek16

Celebrate Fair Use Week 2016 – what better way to keep learning and keep up with the author’s issues than by listening to Peter Suber discuss open access!

Gary Price, Editor, infoDOCKET and Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project and the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication discuss key issues in the Open Access (OA) movement. Questions include: What are some of the key open access issues authors and librarians don’t understand? What are your thoughts about predatory publishing and possible solutions to it?

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: It’s the Content, Not the Container!

By Royal Society (Gallica) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Is the PDF dead?

Beginning in 1666, academic scholarship becomes public through print academic journals. Today, in our electronically enabled universe the portable document format PDF has become the standard for scholarly communication. In 2008 the PDF became an International Organization of Standardization standard – ISO 32000-1:2008. The PDF (the container) made the transition of electronic and print scholarship possible. It is the content of academic research that furthers ideas and progress.

It may be time to rethink our dependence on the PDF. Two recent articles highlight new scholarship needs that are not served by the PDF.

Text and Data Mining Are Growing and Publishers Need to Support Their Use – An AAP-PSP Panel Report

Hypertext Markup Language HTML made researchers giddy with the promise of networked scholarship. The reality has become the hybrid paradigm of online journals and  the PDF which does not serve the pace and global reach of scholarship today. Beyond the marketing and analytics available from  text mining, there may be unforeseen connections in the data mining of a corpus of scholarship.

Challenging the print paradigm: Web-powered scholarship is set to advance the creation and distribution of research

The scholarly literature is rife with potential for data mining, across all fields. Just for starters: data mining could be used to better understand how perceptions of key historical events have shifted with time, as well as how philosophical conceptions of consciousness have evolved. These are just two of countless potential applications. Although data mining may feel like the province of the hard sciences, there is no epistemological reason why this is the case. Any field of scholarship could benefit from tools that detect patterns within the scholarly literature that are not apparent to the naked eye. A human being cannot easily digest 20,000 papers or monographs, but data mining software can do so with no trouble.

See this short history of Scholarly HTML . Imagine the possibilities of text mining across all disciplines. Can we do this with the digital format of scholarship today?





Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Passion!

Experience Research Passion!

Scholarly communications can get bogged down in discussions of metrics, publishing models, open access,  promotion & tenure, and funder mandates. These discussions are important but miss that essential ingredient that makes the world spin and life worth living – passion!

The first CUA Physics Department Colloquium of February featured Raffaele Resta, Ph.D. speaking on Are Polarization and Magnetization Really Bulk Properties?   Dr. Resta’s was an Adjunct professor from 1996-1999 at The Catholic University. The passion of the researcher drew the audience along on his more than forty year journey of the mind imaging and mathematically establishing polarization and magnetism theories.

Dr. Resta has one of the most cited papers and many books on his subjects. While we, who are not physicists, may not understand the intricate mathematical equations on Dr. Resta’s slides; we can recognize his passion for his subject and appreciate the language of this passionate research:

What is a good property? Why do we need somewhat exotic theories? What is the nearsighted QM Maxwell demon? One’s head spins with imagining that the nasty position operator “r” is ill defined, convergence with the Flake size, orbital magnetization density, or the Haldanium paradigm (F.D.M. Haldane, 1988)…

Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Passion!”