Digital Scholarship: Knowledge is Power

If “knowledge is power” as attributed to Francis Bacon [1], the job of an academic library may be as David Lankes says:

“These libraries  are  already  part  of  a  culture  and  community  dedicated to learning and founded on the principles of knowledge creation through conversation. Textbooks, journals, symposia, and lectures are all conversations.  They  may  be  sequential,  rigid  in  format,  or  plodding,  but  they  are conversations  nonetheless. “ [2, p.131]

Today’s news brings us new challenges in knowledge creation and conversation in the phrases “million-person research cohort” and “dataveillance” and “informational struggle.”

“million-person research cohort”

The Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program seeks to leverage the information to treat and prevent disease from your genes, environment and lifestyle. According to Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) has allocated funds in 2016 to have the NIH build a large-scale cohort to collect information at the:

“intersection of human biology, behavior, genetics, environment, data science and computation, and much more to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.”


The PEW Research Center began polling on privacy after the 2013 leaks about the NSA surveillance of online and phone communications in the US. From The state of privacy in America: What we learned:

“Many technology experts predict that few individuals will have the energy or resources to protect themselves from “dataveillance” in the coming years and that privacy protection will likely become a luxury good.”

“informational struggle”

From All Signs Point To Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack by Thomas Rid

“Informational struggle,” Adamsky observes, is at the center of New Generation Warfare. Informational struggle means “technological and psychological components designed to manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it, and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments, and societies.” 

Academic libraries are where conversations about today’s new and yesterday’s sources can take place.

“Academic  libraries  and  the  librarians  who  run  them  need  to  be  in  the vanguard of this expanding access to higher education and to the scholarship and knowledge that make it possible. They must help guide the academy in providing not only sources for scholarship, but scholarship itself to the world.” [2, p136]

[1] Cf. Bacon Meditationes Sacræ (1597) sig. E3v, ‘Nam & ipsa scientia potestas est’. “knowledge, n.”. OED Online. June 2016. Oxford University Press. (accessed July 25, 2016).

[2] Lankes, R. David, Newman Wendy, Kowalski Sue, Tench Beck, Gould Cheryl, Silk Kimberly, Newman Wendy, and Britton Lauren. “Fitting Knowledge in a Box.” The New Librarianship Field Guide. MIT, 2016. 125-30. Web.


Digital Scholarship: What’s Next?

Call it being curious. Call it being proactive. Call it being engaged. Maybe it is just human to look to the future. Here are some reports from 2015 and 2016 that give us clues to what the future of learning and libraries may look like.

Libraries & Learning

2016 ALA State of America’s Libraries Report
2016 PEW Libraries and Learning
Horizon Report 2015 Library Edition
2015 CLIR The Center of Excellence Model for Information Services

Trends in Digital Scholarship

SPEC Kit 350: Supporting Digital Scholarship (May 2016)
2015 CLIR Building Expertise to Support Digital Scholarship: A Global Perspective


NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Initiative: Persistent Identifiers in Scholarly Communications
NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Initiative: Alternative Outputs in Scholarly Communications
2015 The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management
‘Preserving Transactional Data’: new DPC Technology Watch Report

Sam Seaborne, of The West Wing: Season 2, Episode: Galileo, reminds us to ask “what’s next?

Digital Scholarship: Rest Promotes Productivity!

Lin-Manuel Miranda reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Lin-Manuel Miranda ‏@Lin_Manuel 15 Jun 2015 #MrowbackMonday In 2008 I bought Chernow’s Hamilton bio to read on vacation. @HamiltonMusical rehearsal starts today.

Finishing up our reading theme for June, we remind you to read, perchance, to dream!

Lin-Manuel Miranda: It’s ‘No Accident’ Hamilton Came To Me On Vacation
“The moment my brain got a moment’s rest, ‘Hamilton’ walked into it.”

In his award-winning musical “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda makes the case that if Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton had taken a break from work during one particularly high-pressured summer, he could have gone onto become one of America’s greatest presidents. Instead, Hamilton refused to go on vacation with his family and made the worst decision of his life by starting an affair. The career-killing mistake is now infamously known as one of America’s first political sex scandals.

Take a break!

Digital Scholarship: How & What? We Read!

This week’s post was meant to be a treatise on libraries role in students’ journey to information and reading habits – and we will get to that. We were overwhelmed by well-intentioned people referring us to this article: The Mistrust of Science By Atul Gawande  June 10, 2016. It is a part-scathing and part-hopeful piece on the role of science communication today. One of the important tenets in this article is the indication that ‘neuroscience and computerization’ are linking the fields of science and humanities in a new and important way.

Few working scientists can give a ground-up explanation of the phenomenon they study; they rely on information and techniques borrowed from other scientists. Knowledge and the virtues of the scientific orientation live far more in the community than the individual. When we talk of a “scientific community,” we are pointing to something critical: that advanced science is a social enterprise, characterized by an intricate division of cognitive labor. Individual scientists, no less than the quacks, can be famously bull-headed, overly enamored of pet theories, dismissive of new evidence, and heedless of their fallibility. (Hence Max Planck’s observation that science advances one funeral at a time.) But as a community endeavor, it is beautifully self-correcting.

Beautifully organized, however, it is not. Seen up close, the scientific community—with its muddled peer-review process, badly written journal articles, subtly contemptuous letters to the editor, overtly contemptuous subreddit threads, and pompous pronouncements of the academy— looks like a rickety vehicle for getting to truth. Yet the hive mind swarms ever forward. It now advances knowledge in almost every realm of existence—even the humanities, where neuroscience and computerization are shaping understanding of everything from free will to how art and literature have evolved over time. Continue reading “Digital Scholarship: How & What? We Read!”

Digital Scholarship: Officially Summer, READ!

beach-book-coffee-mug2The promise of summer is time to read!

Wherever you may be reading this summer, here are some lists to ignite your reading imagination:

With this post we heartily encourage you to take time to read this summer.

If you are worried about reading habits, here are two articles – discuss!

Kaufman, Geoff, and Mary Flanagan. “High-Low Split: Divergent Cognitive Construal Levels Triggered by Digital and Non-digital Platforms.” In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 2773-2777. ACM, 2016. doi:10.1145/2858036.2858550

Mangen, A. (2016), The Digitization of Literary Reading. Orbis Litterarum, 71: 240–262. doi: 10.1111/oli.12095

Digital Scholarship: Have Your Say on Altmetrics!


The National Information Standards Organization NISO has been working under an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant to “explore, identify, and advance standards and/or best practices related to a new suite of potential metrics” in scholarly publishing. This work focuses on “new assessment metrics, which include usage-based metrics, social media references, and network behavioral analysis. In addition, this project will explore potential assessment criteria for non-traditional research outputs, such as data sets, visualizations, software, and other applications.”  Read more about the NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Initiative.

If your university of library is involved in research data services, this draft provides guidelines at every level. It explains the relationship between an article CrossRef DOI, a dataset DataCite DOI, and the scholar responsible with an ORCID ID. NEW! Alternative Outputs in Scholarly Communications: Data MetricsDraft for Public Comment May 13 – June 11, 2016

Our university has just become a member of ORCID. This draft will lead to discussion of the importance of machine readable persistent identifiers. NEW! Persistent Identifiers in Scholarly CommunicationsDraft for Public Comment May 13 – June 11, 2016

As universities and libraries have discussions about digital humanities, this draft provides lists of alternative scholarly output. NEW!  Alternative Outputs in Scholarly CommunicationsDraft for Public Comment May 13 – June 11, 2016



Digital Scholarship: Are You Following the News?

If you are following the news and understand what is going on in the world of scholarly publishing and libraries – you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din!¹ It gets curiouser and curiouser. ²

In early May, CrossRef announced Members will soon be able to assign Crossref DOIs to preprints . This is seen as a positive step in Open Access. Scholarly publication that has been peer reviewed, but is not the final published version is known as a preprint. Many researchers have their preprint publications available, often on web sites or in repositories. One example of a preprint repository is e-Print archive.

Today, we learn that SSRN — a leading social science and humanities repository and online community — joins Elsevier.

And, from Nature Social-sciences preprint server snapped up by publishing giant Elsevier.

Scholarly communications and science communication is a puzzlement!³

Can John Oliver set us straight? See: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies (HBO) 

[1] “Gunga Din (Lit.) Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘Gunga Din’ (1892) tells of an Indian water-carrier who is killed bringing water to a wounded English officer in the battlefield. The poem ends with the famous lines:

Tho’ I’ve belted you an flayed you, By the livin’ Gawd that made you, You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

The phrase ‘you’re a better man than I,  Gunga Din!’ is used in admiration for someone’s daring, courage and selflessness.

Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion, Third Edition, 2012: p162

[2] Ibid. Curiouser and curiouser: A phrase used repeatedly by *Alice in Lewis Carroll’s children’s story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland…

[3] Puzzlement: As a mass noun: the fact or condition of being puzzled; perplexity, bewilderment, confusion. Oxford English Dictionary (online).

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: If Librarians Were Honest

Happy end of your semester, academic year, or college experience from your CUA Librarians! Happy summer and visit a library!

No one spends time here without being changed.

From “If Librarians Were Honest” by Joseph Mills

“… a book indeed sometimes debauched me from my work….”!!!!
– Benjamin Franklin
If librarians were honest,
they wouldn’t smile, or act
welcoming. They would say,
You need to be careful. Here
be monsters.
They would say,
These rooms house heathens
and heretics, murderers and
maniacs, the deluded, desperate,
and dissolute.
They would say,
These books contain knowledge
of death, desire, and decay,
betrayal, blood, and more blood;
each is a Pandora’s box, so why
would you want to open one.
They would post danger
signs warning that contact
might result in mood swings,
severe changes in vision,
and mind-altering effects.
Read the whole poem in The Artist’s Library by Erinn Batykefer and Laura Damon-Moore: p54