Posts with the tag: digital scholarship

What is Fair Use Week?

This week is Fair Use Week (February 22 – 26, 2021). The mission of Fair Use Week is to celebrate “the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines.” Events are scheduled and the latest blog titled “We are All Fair Users Now” highlights the ways we have moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic. What is Fair Use? Check out the infographic below.

Other infographics include: Fair Use in a Day in the Life of a College Student; Fair Use Myths & Facts; Fair Use Promotes the Creation of New Knowledge; and How Fair Use Helps in Saving Software.

Enjoy the week!

What is Love Data Week?

Love Data Week (Feb. 8-12) is an international celebration of data hosted by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Love Data Week is a project to raise awareness of the importance of data in our daily lives and to build a community to engage on topics in data analysis, preservation, curation, dissemination, sharing, and reuse. This year’s theme is “Data: Delivering a Better Future.” You can follow LDW on social media with the hashtag #LoveData21. Check out the events happening internationally. There are some useful website links on working with data at the end of this blog.

About the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

This is the first year that ICPSR is sponsoring Love Data Week. The ICPSR is an international consortium of more than 780 academic institutions and research organizations that provides “leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community.” You can find data, share your data (for free!), use their resources to teach about data, and take courses in their summer program.

 

Digital Scholarship Workshops

This semester, the Libraries are offering Digital Scholarship workshops with a focus on data. Our theme is “Working with Our Data.” Please RSVP through the Events page (the Nest) or email Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship.

Using OpenRefine for Cleaning Data          Wed., Feb. 17, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
When working with your dataset, have you wondered how to remove ‘null’ or ‘N/A’ from fields, handle different spellings of words, or determining whether a field name is ambiguous? For this workshop, we will use the open access software, OpenRefine, to clean, manipulate, and refine a dataset before analysis (https://openrefine.org/).

Basic Text Analysis using AntConc          Mon., March 1, 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Computational analysis of textual data can aid in reading and interpreting large corpora. Exploring a large number of texts can uncover linguistic patterns for future exploratory analysis. Participants will gain hands-on experience analyzing textual data with AntConc (http://www.laurenceanthony.net/software/antconc/). No coding experience necessary.

Working with Tableau          Thur., April 1, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Learn the basics of Tableau Public (free service) to create interactive visualizations of your data. This workshop will focus on the structure of the program and the terminology used. Students and faculty can download a one-year renewable license (https://www.tableau.com/academic).

ArcGIS Basics          Wed., April 14, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Learn all about Geographical Information Systems by acquiring an understanding of the fundamentals of mapping your data using ArcGIS (https://www.arcgis.com/home/signin.html). We will use ArcGIS public account and not ArcGIS Online.

Note: Each workshop will require the attendee to download and install the software before the workshop.

Register through the Events page at libraries.catholic.edu or email Kevin Gunn (gunn@cua.edu). All workshops will take place on Zoom, recorded, and made available on the University Libraries’ web site or YouTube Channel.

Useful Links

The Open Data Handbook

List of File Formats

U.S. Government (Data.gov)

Google Dataset Search

Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications

University Research Day — Abstracts Needed

We encourage you to submit an abstract for The Catholic University of America’s sixth annual University Research Day (URD). The date for this year’s URD is Thursday April 15, 2021. Much more information and guidelines for submissions are available on the URD website (http://researchday.cua.edu/).

To apply to present a paper or poster at URD 2021, please complete the abstract submission form available on the URD Abstract Submissions page. Abstracts must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb.19, 2021, to be considered. 

There will be a second URD Abstract Workshop Feb 2 at noon for students who need assistance in writing an effective abstract. Please see the announcement on the Nest: https://nest.cua.edu/event/6669680.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact researchday@cua.edu.

We look forward to another exciting University Research Day!

The URD 2021 Planning Committee

Student Wellbeing

Every two years, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes in College & Research Libraries News an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries and the change our institutions are experiencing. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


“Academic librarians are natural connectors, guiding their users to not only resources, but also connecting them to people, services, and spaces that can provide assistance” – Ramsey & Aagard, 2018 

Endless rows of well-loved books. Physical space, digital resources, and information in droves. Scholarship and intellectual curiosity. These are all concepts readily associated with academic libraries. But what about wellness, mental health and holistic student support? These concepts might not first come to mind, but they are a vital part of academic libraries.

In a recent article in Library Journal, Steven Bell asserts that the opening of academic libraries to the larger local community has pushed mental health concerns to the forefront. His discussion centers around a new trend of employing social workers, who can provide mental health and community resources, in some public libraries. Academic libraries, often serving smaller and more specialized communities, have sometimes been seen in the library community as guarded from these conversations. While, yes, increased community access in academic libraries may increase focus on wellbeing and support, mental health should not be a new concept to any library.

Image and statistics sourced from Active Minds

1 in 5 adults (individuals age 18 and older) have a diagnosable mental illness. And 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue during their time in school (Active Minds Statistics). While these statistics may seem discouraging, they also highlight the idea that no one struggles alone. We all have mental health and academic libraries can emphasize student wellbeing in an exceptional way. Libraries play a key role in providing current, accessible and free information. Information that can help someone dealing with a mental health issue. Additionally, the space and programming provided by libraries can support wellbeing on multiple levels. Students may be struggling with food insecurity, family responsibilities and sleep deprivation in addition to their academics. Moreover, COVID-19 is impacting the wellbeing of students, and everyone, as we cope with constant change and increased health concerns.

So, what exactly is wellbeing?

Merriam Webster defines wellbeing simply as “the state of being happy, healthy, and prosperous.” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) But the concept goes much further than that. Wellbeing encompasses holistic student support, from traditional academic support to mental health awareness to emphasis on physical care.

Image sourced from CC0 Creative Commons

The goal of wellbeing is supporting a student with what they struggle with, allowing them to better cope, and ultimately succeed personally as well as professionally (Cox & Brewster, 2020). To some, connecting this idea of wellbeing to a library, may seem somewhat ephemeral. Sure, libraries provide books that provide a sense of joy, right? And depending on where someone is in their massive research project, that might not even be a certainty. But while books are a crux of all libraries, there is much more that libraries do. As community hubs, academic libraries connect students to resources, space and services that support physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Partnership and Programming

Academic libraries can provide a unique synergy when partnering with other university entities and student organizations. Albertsons Library at Boise State frequently partners with their Health Services team allotting space for them to interact with students in a new setting, the library. In a variety of events, the Health Services team brought in nutritionists to interact with students, provided flu shots and tips for stress management (Ramsey & Aagard, 2018). This collaboration between the library and other university organizations can reach new students who may not otherwise utilize university wellbeing services or, conversely, the library. It also allows students to access new resources and for multiple groups, to bring their own expertise to students.

Other examples of wellbeing initiatives include collection development of self-help books, libguides related to wellness and reading recommendations. More innovative, recent trends in programming include therapy-pet sessions, meditation rooms and designated nap spaces in libraries (Ramsey & Aagard, 2018). Worth noting, of course, is that a lot of these initiatives are suited for a pre-COVID 19 world. As libraries around the world shift services, finding new avenues to support wellbeing virtually is important.

Partnership can extend beyond the university community as well. Academic libraries could consider hosting mental health trainings or webinars with local groups, such as Mental Health First Aid or a local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapter. Trainings like these educate students about their own wellbeing while also providing information on assisting others who may need support. Libraries are often perceived as a “safe” place and this environment can spark conversations about mental health that may not otherwise have the space to grow (Cox & Brewster, 2020).

Library Value

Reserve and Renew

The concept of wellbeing must always extend to library staff as well. Reserve and Renew is a zine that aims to open the conversation about mental health in the library field. Printed annually, the zines highlight stories and lived experiences from library and information science students as well as library professionals. In order to support student wellbeing, library staff must consider their wellbeing as being just as valuable.

Whether the library provides a moment of escapism, a needed resource, a place to study, a source of internet access, or even someone to talk to, librarians are here providing those services. As we all navigate through this year, libraries continue to provide services that impact communities in a myriad of ways. Our doors remain open for study space reservation by current students which can provide a space beyond the virtual world we all inhabit, what feels like 24/7. Additionally, University Libraries continue to provide book pick-up services. Our most up-to-date COVID-19 procedures and services can be viewed here, Libraries COVID-19 Information Guide.

Other resources for Catholic University students include the Counseling Center, the Cardinal Cupboard, and additional food resources in DC.                                                      

References and Additional Reading

Active Minds (2020). Statistics. https://www.activeminds.org/about-mental-health/statistics/

Bell, S. (2019). “Time for a new position in the academic library?” Library Journal. October 9. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=Time-for-New-Position-in-Academic-Library-From-the-Bell-Tower

Cox, A. & Brewster, L. (2020). “Library support for student mental health and well-being in the UK: Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 46 (6). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102256

Eberle, M. (2018). “Academic libraries and mental health.” Massachusetts Library System. https://www.masslibsystem.org/blog/2018/11/19/academic-libraries-and-mental-health/

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2020). https://www.nami.org/home

Mental Health First Aid. (2020). https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org

Ramsey, Elizabeth and Aagard, Mary C. (2018) “Academic Libraries as Active Contributors to Student Wellness.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 25 (4): 328–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2018.1517433

Reserve and Renew zine. (2020). http://lismentalhealth.org/reserve-and-renew-zine/

Streaming Media: Challenges and Opportunities

Every two years, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes in College & Research Libraries News an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries and the change our institutions are experiencing. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


In a world in which technology is advancing more rapidly than ever before, streaming media – media that is presented to users in real time as they need or desire to use it – has become especially pervasive. Streaming services are one of the key ways in which we watch television; listen to music; and access lectures, live theater performances and other internet resources for research and entertainment purposes. From Netflix to Hulu, subscription numbers continue to rise. This was the case even before the COVID-19 pandemic kept many people at home.

Remote students appreciate streaming services (American Libraries Magazine, 2016).

Educators have long known that images and audio provide information that is not always apparent through the written word and that students have different learning styles. For example, some are visual learners and are best able to process and retain information that is conveyed in images. For that reason, we have seen teachers at all levels incorporating visual content into the curriculum to complement assigned texts.

As librarians and information professionals, it is our responsibility to note these changes and see how we can apply them to best serve our patrons. So it should come as little surprise that libraries too have started subscribing to streaming services.

Just as individuals weigh factors in deciding which and how many of the ever growing and competitive offerings they will select – Disney+, Sling, Amazon Prime, Curiosity Stream, Peacock, Criterion Channel, Apple – librarians take several factors into consideration when choosing the streaming services available to libraries. These factors include: content, ease of use and accessibility, and budgeting terms and costs.

Common educational materials available through streaming services.

Content

For librarians, the process of selecting streaming services is not as simple as subscribing to a favorite platform with your favorite sitcoms. There are other factors to consider. Are there streaming services that cater to an especially large group of students on campus engaged in similar kinds of research? Will the instructors be showing these films in the classroom? Does the streaming service limit its offerings to education films? Is there also demand for popular films, film classics, television programs, recent mainstream movies, documentaries, animated films, concerts, and/or foreign-language films? If so, which service has the content most requested by the university community? Does the service include features such as captions and the ability to select and save a film clip?

Ease of Use and Accessibility 

Librarians have also seen the usefulness of subscribing to streaming media services because it allows them to meet students wherever they are, whether or not those students are coming onto campus to take classes. Many students had taken advantage of options for online education before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes offered for students enrolled in online (and in-person) programs might require accessing films for reading or research purposes. Academic librarians must pay careful attention to what kinds of classes are being offered, just as they do when choosing print materials commonly used in courses offered at their university.

During the recent pandemic, faculty in particular have faced significant challenges in providing resources for their students while teaching them virtually. One benefit of streaming services is that even if library staff are unable to work onsite and provide access to scans of library print materials for classroom use, reference librarians can point professors to streaming services accessible through library databases. Given this increased need to consider the preferences of faculty and other users while library service remains limited, patron input will continue to be invaluable for librarians even after they can once again access physical library materials.

These charts show selection methods commonly used by librarians.

One final trend to note is the recent need for librarians to consider access by the entire college or university community when choosing streaming media. The goal is to find resources that allow students with disabilities equal access. When it comes time for librarians to consider which subscriptions to renew, they will increasingly consider how resources measure up to the accessibility standards put in place by the library and the university (Schroeder 2018, 401). Issues related to accessibility include small print; limited voice output or recognition; and PDF documents that are not formatted to be compliant with updated standards (Schroeder 2018, 405, 409). As is made clear from this case study, it is now required that many librarians will be familiar with issues of accessibility and able to offer support to students needing accessible resources.

Budgeting Terms and Costs 

Budgetary constraints also restrict the kinds of streaming services that academic libraries can provide. When libraries provide students and faculty with access to streaming services, it is generally because they have worked with vendors to obtain a license for particular groups of films, documentaries, recordings, etc. These licenses guarantee a price for only a certain amount of time, and changes in price and content require acquisitions librarians to revisit existing subscriptions frequently. They must remain aware of copyright agreements and competing interests among streaming service providers in order to ensure that those services continue to provide access to a specific set of resources. In some instances, patron-driven models – which require payment based upon students’ use of electronic materials – become too expensive for libraries. Because of these considerations, streaming services must be evaluated in light of the library’s collection development policies: the policies libraries use to guide their decision-making when acquiring new materials (Wahl, 2017). Ensuring that license agreements comply with copyright regulations can also occupy librarians’ time.

Another way to highlight the unique challenges libraries face in deciding between streaming media services is to differentiate between institutional and individual subscriptions. Students and faculty are aware of the monthly standardized fees that they pay for their own personal subscriptions. However, they are unlikely to be aware of the financial strain that subscriptions at the institutional level can cause: the streaming services simply become another “free” service provided by the library. Chris Cagle acknowledges this in his article published in Film Quarterly. He explains that students probably have little idea that their use of streaming materials can have this kind of impact on a library’s budget. While librarians choose streaming services that provide access to a wide range of resources, these streaming services can become out of reach if they require that libraries pay according to frequency of patron use. Recognizing that no service can provide access to everything, librarians might begin choosing less expensive subscriptions to services that have comparatively limited access rather than services such as Kanopy that offer extensive access at a potentially crippling cost.

Services at Catholic University Libraries 

The Catholic University Libraries subscribe to a variety of streaming services, including audio and video (for a complete list, click here). Two of our latest additions are Quest TV, a service offering access to concerts and documentaries, through September 30th of next year, and On the Boards TV, a portal for viewing performance films of ground-breaking artistic projects in dance, theater, music, and experimental forms. Look beyond HBO Max…you might be surprised what you find!

Additional Reading

Dunn, Cathy. 2020. “Streaming Video Acquisitions: Factors to Consider.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 32, no. 2: 133-135.

Lowe, Randall A., et. al. 2020. “Managing Streaming Video: The Experiences of Six Academic Libraries.” Journal of Electronic Services Librarianship 32, no. 2: 119-126.

Rodgers, Andrea. 2019. “Once upon a Time in Streaming Video: A Community College’s Adventure with Kanopy’s PDA Model,” College & Research Libraries News 80, no. 9. https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/view/23578/30892

Schroeder, Heidi M. 2018. “Implementing Accessibility Initiatives at the Michigan State University Archives.” Reference Services Review 46, no. 3: 399-413.

Wahl, Mary. 2017. “Full Steam Ahead: Designing a Collection Development Workflow for Streaming Video Content.” Library Resources and Technical Services 61, no. 4. https://journals.ala.org/index.php/lrts/article/view/6471/8573

Wang, Jian, and Elsa Loftis. 2020. “The Library Has Infinite Streaming Content, But Are Users Infinitely Content? The Library Catalog vs. Vendor Platform Discovery.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 32, no. 2: 71-86.

Social Justice and Critical Librarianship

Every two years, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Research Planning and Review Committee publishes an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries in higher education. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


Introduction

When the June issue of College & Research Libraries News was going to press, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee could not have known just how relevant social justice—one of nine top trends they identified—would become as the year wore on. Indeed, they admit: “This article was written well before the world was fully aware of the novel coronavirus that has since spread around the globe.”

Nighttime photograph of police in riot gear standing in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 31, 2020.
George Floyd Protest by Ken Fager. May 31, 2020. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

As it happened, though, the article on the 2020 top trends in academic libraries appeared not only months into the pandemic (which continues to rage around the world) but, more significantly, just days after George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day by a police officer. Since March, the pandemic had been bringing increased attention to the digital divide and systemic racism (especially as evidenced by the plight of low-wage workers, who are disproportionately people of color), but Floyd’s murder in May triggered international outcry for an honest-to-God reckoning. The DC Public Library responded very quickly to the “sickening killing,” recognizing the fact that “Libraries have always served a critical role during times of upheaval and disruption.” Meanwhile, Catholic University President John Garvey did not mince words about the “sin of racism.”

Although public libraries have traditionally been on the front lines when it comes to social justice, academic libraries certainly have a role to play, too. As part of a Catholic institution, the library community at CatholicU arguably has an even higher calling to social justice. In the remainder of this post, I will introduce the concept of critical librarianship and point to some recent examples of how the University’s library community is embracing social justice.

Critical Librarianship

In a nutshell, critical librarianship “acknowledges and then interrogates the structures that produce us” (Drabinski, 2019, p. 49). In other words, critical librarianship (#critlib) wrestles with the social inequities that make it imperative for others of us along the way to level the playing field. The clichéd first step is admitting there’s a problem: “libraries and others in the classification business” partake in the necessary evil of perpetuating ideological structures (Drabinski, 2019, p. 50). For example, academic libraries customarily arrange their materials in accordance with the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system. Developed in the United States, the LCC is a prime example of a power structure with a built-in Western bias that, as a result, “[facilitates] some ways of knowing and not others, [and represents] certain ideological ways of seeing the world, and, crucially, not others” (Drabinski, 2019, p. 50). Now, no one is suggesting that we throw the LCC out the window. A library without a classification system would be chaos. At the same time, however, as stewards of information we must be cognizant of the ways in which the library winds up reinforcing the “ghettoization and marginalization” that minorities of all sorts—racial, sexual, religious—experience every day in the wider world (Drabinski, 2019, p. 51).

On the one hand, the classification conundrum resonates with me as an English major whose favorite class was a required one in which we read Stephen Greenblatt, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Seamus Deane, Louis Althusser, and others whose ideas have shaped critical theory and literary study. On the other hand, geeking out over the perniciousness of ideology seems painfully academic when the field of library and information science (LIS) is still so blindingly white. This is especially true of academic libraries, which tend to be “homogeneously staffed” by not just white people, but narrowly middle-class, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, English-speaking white people (Drabinski, 2019, p. 55). For the record, that’s me on every count.

As I researched critical librarianship for this blogpost, I found myself less persuaded by collection development strategies like “spiral collecting” (Berthoud & Finn, 2019) and more convinced that the root of the problem in LIS stems from Dr. Nicole A. Cooke’s observation that it “is a predominantly white profession serving communities that are anything but” (Cooke, 2020, p. 90). In the courageous 2019 series “Getting it on the Record: Faculty of Color in Library and Information Science,” Dr. Cooke along with Joe O. Sánchez assembled “ethnographic counter-stories” in order to identify patterns of experience among LIS faculty of color. (CatholicU’s own Dr. Renate L. Chancellor was among the contributing authors.) Aside from tokenism in the form of “diversity hires,” the overwhelmingly white LIS profession is also guilty of paternalism; libraries have “a long history of perceiving and treating ethnic minorities and differently abled patrons as in need of extra help, special instruction, and charitable tolerance” (Cooke & Sánchez, 2019, p. 172). The authors argue emphatically that social diversity is about more than “avoiding legal liability and fulfilling bureaucratic quotas”; it promotes an all-around “healthier and better intellectual environment for an academic setting than social homogeneity” (Cooke & Sánchez, 2019, p. 177).

#CritLib at CatholicU

From my standpoint—as a full-time employee of the archives and a part-time graduate LIS student—the library community at CatholicU has two things going for it.

Collage of three images of Pope Leo XIII from the University's museum collection
Less historically, reminders of Pope Leo XIII’s importance to the University are hard to miss as you make your way around campus today. Clockwise from right: a massive marble statue of Pope Leo XIII dominates one end of the foyer in McMahon Hall; an enormous portrait of him hangs on the wall of the Provost’s office a few doors down; and, importantly for us, a bust of Pope Leo XIII stands on the first floor of Mullen Library.

First of all, the University has a strong historic connection to social justice, perhaps best embodied by Pope Leo XIII—whose “landmark 1891 document Rerum novarum has often been called the Magna Charta of modern Catholic social teaching” (Holland, 2003, p. 2). A few years before he issued his revolutionary encyclical, Pope Leo XIII helped usher the University into being. (To this day, CatholicU celebrates Founders Day on April 10—the day in 1887 when Pope Leo XIII wrote to Cardinal Gibbons approving the plans for the University.)

Secondly, the University is home to the only graduate LIS program in the District (which is in turn one of only two programs in the wider region, the other of course being the University of Maryland’s iSchool). As such, CatholicU is not only a center of intellectual discourse on LIS but also an ambassador of sorts. To that end, it is notable that the LIS Department does not merely preach the #critlib values of diversity and inclusion; all of the full-time faculty are not only women, but women of color.

Drawing on its dual role as a regional ambassador for librarianship and an heir of Pope Leo’s legacy, the library community at CatholicU has actively risen to the occasion in recent months.

Summary

Although the impetus for this blogpost was the 2020 top trends article, I would like to leave off by paraphrasing a point that Dr. Cooke made in her recent lecture: Social justice is not a trend. It is a continuous imperative. Critical librarianship calls us to be vigilant and conscientious in our work by constantly re-examining our practices with an eye towards social justice.

References and Further Reading

Berthoud, Heidy and Rachel Finn. (January 2019). “Bringing Social Justice behind the Scenes: Transforming the Work of Technical Services,” Serials Librarian, 76(1–4), 162–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/0361526X.2019.1583526.

Brown, Nicholas A. (October 2020). Maryland Libraries’ Antiracism Programming Goes Global | Programs that Pop. Library Journal. https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=maryland-libraries-antiracism-programming-goes-global-programs-that-pop

Cooke, Nicole A. (2020). Critical Library Instruction as a Pedagogical Tool. Communications in Information Literacy, 14(1), 86–96. https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2020.14.1.7.

Cooke, Nicole A. (2017). Librarians as active bystanders: centering social justice in LIS practice. In K. Haycock & M.-J. Romaniuk (Eds.), The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts (2nd ed., pp. 39–47). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Libraries Unlimited.

Cooke, Nicole A. and Joe O. Sánchez. (2019). Getting it on the Record: Faculty of Color in Library and Information Science. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 60(3), 169–181. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/jelis.60.3.01.

Chancellor, Renate L. (2019). Racial battle fatigue: The unspoken burden of black women faculty in LIS. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 60(3), 182–189. DOI: http://dx.doi.org.proxycu.wrlc.org/10.3138/jelis.2019-0007.

Drabinski, Emily. (April 2019). What Is Critical about Critical Librarianship? Art Libraries Journal, 44(2), 49–57. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/alj.2019.3.

Holland, Joe. (2003). Modern Catholic Social Teaching: The Popes Confront the Industrial Age 1740-1958. Paulist Press.

Machine Learning and AI in the Library

Every two years, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes in College & Research Libraries News an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries and the change our institutions are experiencing. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


When you think of AI, what comes to mind? There are dichotomous images in books and movies. In one view, there is the AI created to support and supplement the work of humans. In the other view, there is the robot uprising. In the library, AI and machine learning can be powerful tools. As with any tool created by man, AI can project biases or inaccurate readings into a situation. With that in mind, responsible and limited use of AI and machine learning can be a resourceful method of expanding limitations within libraries. Image of humanoid robot

What is AI and machine learning?

Encyclopedia Britannica defines AI as “Artificial intelligence (AI), the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience.” Machine learning is the branch of AI that programs computers to learn from experience. (Encyclopedia Britannica). John McCarthy, professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University, coined the term ‘artificial intelligence’ during the Dartmouth Conference in 1956.

Growth of Research in AI Although the concept of artificial intelligence has been around for decades, popular awareness has grown exponentially. As popular awareness increases, so too does the number of research papers and books. An examination of the Google Books Ngram Viewer indicates a steep increase in the number of books published on the topic of machine learning. The same trend is also evident in the journal literature.

Fig 1: Analysis of term appearing in Google Books Ngram Viewer, 10/27/2020

Web of Science shows 36,603 results for artificial intelligence and 105,220 for machine learning over the past 10 years. The past two years have seen the greatest growth, with an increase of 10,000 titles on machine learning between 2018-2020.

Fig 2: Analysis of term appearing in Web of Science entries, 10/27/2020

Libraries and AI

But what, you may wonder, does a library have to do with artificial intelligence? One lesson we have all learned from the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine is that libraries provide much more than physical collections. The infrastructure that provides access to ebooks, journal articles, and services online also provides access to the big data that could be used to analyze general user needs. For example, adding AI to a bibliometric analysis of required course readings could lead to a forecasting of student research needs, potentially improving student retention as the library pivots to meet those needs. With AI, library collections and services could become more individualized in much the same way that Amazon makes purchase recommendations based on past searches. AI has already changed the way many person-centered jobs are performed. “By 2022, today’s newly emerging occupations are set to grow from 16% to 27% of the employee base of large firms globally, while job roles currently affected by technological obsolescence are set to decrease from 31% to 21%. In purely quantitative terms, 75 million current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms, while 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time” (World Economic Forum, Future of Work, 2018).

World Economic Forum. (2020) Strategic Intelligence: Bias and Fairness in AI Algorithms. https://intelligence.weforum.org/topics/a1Gb0000000pTDREA2

If you have a smartphone, consider how many times a day you turn to your device to check your calendar, search for the name of a song or an actor, watch a video, or even interact with other smart devices around you. During the pandemic, you may have had more conversations with Alexa or Google Assistant than with a real person. The question may occur to you whether an artificial intelligence bot could do as good a job at service occupations such as librarians. Research shows that acceptance of AI bots for service functions increases based on the anthropomorphism of the bot and the emotional ability of the person to accept AI. (Gursoy, 2019) While we may never see AI bots taking the place of librarians at a university library reference desk, librarians are already using AI to assist with research inquiries. Librarians help researchers navigate and understand the biases that algorithms develop. As Geneva Henry, Dean of Libraries at George Washington University writes, “Searching the internet using popular search engines, for example, can employ deep learning algorithms that continually learn from previous searches.” (Henry, 2019) Librarians often are called to help narrow a search and target the best results from hundreds of thousands that a search engine or database returns.

Ethics of AI

As with all software, AI can evidence the biases written into algorithms by humans. Additionally, because machine learning software is made to develop new neural networks, the algorithms can develop biases not initially observed. A bias can be as simple as listing the most likely link first in a results list, or as insidious as not recognizing the faces of people of color. To overcome bias in AI and machine learning, it’s important to work toward diversity and inclusion in the workplace and programming.

Additional Reading

B.J. Copeland, Artificial intelligence, Encyclopædia Britannica, August 11, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/technology/artificial-intelligence.

McCarthy, John, Marvin L. Minsky, Nathaniel Rochester, and Claude E. Shannon. (2006) “A Proposal for the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, August 31, 1955,” AI Magazine 27, no. 4, 12–14, https://doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v27i4.1904.

Gursoy, D., Chi, O., Lu, L., & Nunkoo, R. (2019). Consumers’ acceptance of artificially intelligent (AI) device use in service delivery. International Journal of Information Management, 49, 157–169, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2019.03.008

Henry, Geneva. (2019) Research Librarians as Guides and Navigators for AI Policies at Universities. Research Library Issues, 299, p. 47-65, https://doi.org/10.29242/rli.299.4

Griffey, Jason, ed. (2019) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Libraries. Library Technology Reports, 55, no. 1, https://doi.org/10.5860/ltr.55n1

Kennedy, Mary Lee. (2019) What do artificial intelligence (AI) and ethics of AI mean in the context of research libraries? Research Library Issues, 299, p. 3-13, https://doi.org/10.29242/rli.299.1

Padilla, Thomas. (2019). Responsible Operations: Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI in Libraries. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research, https://doi.org/10.25333/xk7z-9g97

Young, Jeffery R. (2019) “Bots in the Library? Colleges Try AI to Help Researchers (But with Caution),” EdSurge, June 14, 2019, https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-06-14-bots-in-the-library-colleges-try-ai-to-help-researchers-but-with-caution.27

Open Access: Transitions and Transformations

Every two years, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes in College & Research Libraries News an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries and the change our institutions are experiencing. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


Open Access Week 2020 Banner
Courtesy: International Open Access Week

Welcome to Open Access Week 2020! As with many fields, research institutions and the Open Access community are reexamining how existing practices and systems are built upon historical practices of discrimination and exclusion. This year’s International Open Access Week theme is Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion. Check out the International Open Access Week site or follow the Twitter hashtag #OAWeek to learn more and join the conversation.

Open Access (OA) refers to “free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results” as needed (SPARC). The underlying principle behind Open Access is that making research and scholarly work open will benefit humanity as a whole by making knowledge available to all, and allowing other researchers to review and build upon work done by their peers. Advancement happens when “research results are made openly available to the community so that they can be submitted to the test and scrutiny of other researchers…new research builds on established results from previous research” (cOAlition S). We’ll consider some of the current trends in OA that affect academic libraries. 

The push toward Open Access has gained momentum in the past fifteen years as the relationships between research institutions and publishers has changed. Since the 1990’s, publishers have sold journal subscriptions as bundles to institutions (usually through their libraries), similar to a cable package. The publishers have benefitted by guaranteeing these revenue streams, and institutions have benefitted by being able to provide access to a higher volume of scholarly writing than they would if they were working with individual journals. Over time, however, the cost of these packages (referred to as “big deals”) has risen faster than most academic library budgets, and there is sometimes little flexibility in choosing the content available through these deals. 

Additionally, a great deal of the research done worldwide is publicly funded, so researchers generally create scholarly content and review the work of their peers at no cost to the publishers. Publishers charge institutions to publish research findings, and then again to access that scholarly content that their own researchers created. Scholarly publishing has become very profitable for publishers, even as the cost of subscription fees has grown increasingly prohibitive for institutions.

Libraries at many institutions have reassessed the value of these deals and whether or not the large expenditure for bundled journal access is worth it. There have been several high-profile examples of breaks between institutions and publishers in the past couple of years, including the University of California and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ending their contracts with Elsevier, and more. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) tracks the status of big deals cancelled by selected research institutions and consortia worldwide here

With many of these traditional agreements ending, institutions and publishers are finding new ways to work together. These kinds of contracts are called “transformative agreements,” which generally means contracts move away from the traditional subscription-based model and toward Open Access publishing. The term “transformative” is somewhat open to interpretation, and there are different definitions. In general, however, transformative agreements typically involve the following components: changes in cost structures (a “shift from paying subscriptions to paying for publishing”), copyright held by authors/creators rather than publishers, and making contract terms available to the public.

Open Access logo
Courtesy: International Open Access Week

One positive trend is the growing number of resources available to institutions and organizations looking to learn more about Open Access, and possibly rethink their contracts with publishers. These include the University of California Office of Scholarly Communications’ toolkit for negotiating with publishers, which was developed based upon UC’s experiences in negotiating with Elsevier. The Efficiency and Standards for Article Changes (ESAC) Initiative,  which aggregates information for the open access market and publishers, maintains a registry of transformative agreements worldwide as a resource for  institutions looking to change their own contracts with publishers. ESAC also maintains a collection of negotiating principles from institutions and consortia worldwide for reference.

An organization of European scientific agencies, called cOAlition S, formed in 2018 and launched an initiative to require that scientific research supported by public funds must be published in alignment with Open Access principles by 2020. Last year, this deadline was moved to 2021 in order to give researchers and publishers more time to adapt their practices. The fundamental principles of Plan S have not changed, and the plan includes guidance on how to implement this shift. The scientific community will no doubt be monitoring this plan and how it affects participants, but we may see a considerable shift in this direction.

Developers have created several tools to support users access the growing number of Open Access resources. These include Open Access Button, Unpaywall, Lazy Scholar, and Kopernio, all of which function as browser extensions to help researchers find Open Access versions of scholarly articles. There have been several recent studies that assess the usability and effectiveness of these tools, including these two published in Information Technology & Libraries that evaluate the user experience and effectiveness of such tools. As these tools are refined, and more are developed, we can expect to see additional studies on their usability and how they impact research.

Screen shot of Open Access filter button in SearchBox

When using SearchBox to explore the University Libraries collections, members of the CU community can find OA resources in their search results by simply selecting the “Open Access” filter in the left navigation column.

 

Additional Reading:

 

Research Data Services (RDS): Opportunities and Challenges

Every two years, the ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee publishes in College & Research Libraries News an article on the top trends and issues affecting academic libraries and the change our institutions are experiencing. We will be highlighting some of these trends through a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.


Research data management (or RDM) refers to the organization, storage, preservation, and sharing of data collected and used in a research project. Many academic libraries offer research data services (RDS) that cover all aspects of the data management lifecycle (figure 1). Examples include assisting researchers with data management plans, using file naming conventions, and exploring data repository options. Specific issues may cover the type of data collected and its format, backup policies for the storage of data, accessing and sharing data, and the issues of privacy, consent, intellectual property, and security that pervade RDM.

Figure 1: https://guides.library.ucsc.edu/datamanagement

Research data management is important for several reasons. First, data is a scholarly product and yet is a fragile commodity easily lost. An investment in RDM saves time and resources over the course of the data lifecycle. Good managers increase the quality and accessibility of the data to ensure valid reproduction and replication of results. Last, easing the sharing of data allows other researchers to make valuable discoveries.

Recent trends have focused on these themes: awareness and education initiatives, implementation of data standards, and training the next generation of librarians and data specialists.

Awareness and Education Initiatives

Governments and organizations are coordinating efforts toward open access, open data, and open science. Examples include the Canadian Government (Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government), the European platform OpenAIRE, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Open Science by Design). All are striving to shift scholarly communication toward transparency and openness in communicating and monitoring research; specifically, “coordinate open science and research data efforts, to align science with societal values and strategically plan for public access of data” (ACRL Research Planning and Review Committee).

The State of Open Data Report 2019 by Digital Science discusses the trend for adopting and accepting open data, with the point that “the research community is now demanding more enforcement of the mandates that have been adopted by many governments, funders, publishers and institutions around the world.” The report even states that “the majority of researchers want funding withheld and penalties for a lack of data sharing.”

Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research is a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine published in 2019. As the report says: “Open science aims to ensure the free availability and usability of scholarly publications, the data that result from scholarly research, and the methodologies, including code or algorithms, that were used to generate those data.” The benefits of open science can include new standards that support reliability, reproduction, and replication; addressing new questions from multiple perspectives and expanding interdisciplinary collaboration; disseminating knowledge quickly and inclusively; and public-funded research available to everyone.

Implementation of Data Standards

Courtesy: Scott Graham

The maturation of guidelines illustrates how data standards are permeating the scholarly communication process. The FAIR data principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse) were created in 2016 by GO-FAIR and have been widely adopted in research data management. Most researchers are unaware of the FAIR principles although this is changing slowly.

Solutions include inter-institutional collaboration with a focus on networks for data curation. Organizations such as the Data Curation Network have developed workflows and checklist resources to educate librarians and establish best practices. These resources were founded by data curators, data management experts, data repository administrators, disciplinary subject experts, and scholars, many with professional librarian training. National initiatives such as the Canadian Data Curation Forum held in 2019 is designing a national data curation network. Ethical data management and curating data for reproducibility were just some workshops given. CODATA is the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (ISC) and coordinates a wide variety of initiatives, task groups, and working groups.    

Responsible RDS is maturing slowly and adoption remains slow. Barriers to developing RDS at academic institutions include long term financing, a shortage of qualified staff and specialists, an extensive array of data science skills across the institution, and researcher indifference in general. An examination of 114 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) institutions by the Data Curation Network found that while 44% had an established data repository, very few websites had information about data curation support.

Training Next Gen Librarians and Data Specialists   

Besides the broad efforts made by institutions listed above, professional library school programs have taken it upon themselves to implement their own programs. Data science courses have expanded the LIS curriculum in the last two years. Full-fledged online courses have been introduced. The Research Data Management Librarian Academy (RDMLA) started in 2018 and offers a complete overview of RDM best practices.

Courtesy: Gert Altmann

The course was developed by a team of librarians and LIS faculty at several U.S. universities and the publisher Elsevier in order to promote RDM best practices. Modules include navigating research culture, advocating for RDM in libraries, launching data services, project management and assessment, data analysis, data visualization, coding tools, and platform tools. The curriculum will expand in fall 2020 with two new modules: “Data Copyright, Licensing, and Privacy,” and “Delivering Data Management Training: A Guide to DataONE.” In late 2021, a Chinese version of the Academy will be released.

Even for trained data librarians, there are still gaps as the National Library of Medicine determined in a 2019 workshop. Developing the Librarian Workforce for Data Science and Open Science identified seven skill categories data librarians needed to improve including “data skills, computational skills, research and subject matter knowledge, traditional library skills, skills for developing programs and services, interpersonal skills, and skills for lifelong learning.” It is a given that one data librarian cannot master all of these skill sets.

Summary

While the obstacles of uneven open access, skill shortages, knowledge deficits among practitioners, and the maturing of best practices and standards are acknowledged as impediments to progress, there is an overall optimistic trend of growing understanding of the vital importance of Research Data Services for the scientific enterprise. Effective management of our data resources is occurring among researchers, data managers, and librarians, with cooperation and collaboration among institutions, organizations, and networks, with this perspective seen as an integral part of research data management.

The Catholic University of America offers a Master’s degree and a certificate in data analytics in the School of Engineering and courses in data science in the Department of Library and Information Science. These courses have appeared in the last couple of years to address the data skills gap in the workforce. Students, faculty, and researchers interested in discussing Research Data Services for their projects can check the library’s Digital Scholarship website for additional information.

Suggested Readings

Cox, A. M., Kennan, M. A., Lyon, L., Pinfield, S., & Sbaffi, L. 2019. Maturing research data services and the transformation of academic libraries. Journal of Documentation. Retrieved from: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JD-12-2018-0211/full/pdf?title=maturing-research-data-services-and-the-transformation-of-academic-libraries

FAIR Principles: https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/

Federer, Lisa, Sarah C. Clarke, and Maryam Zaringhalam. 2020. “Developing the Librarian Workforce for Data Science and Open Science,” January 16, 2020, https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/uycax.

Johnston, Lisa R., and Liza Coburn. 2020. “Data Sharing Readiness in Academic Institutions.” Data Curation Network. https://datacurationnetwork.org/data-sharing-readiness-in-academic-institutions

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25116.

Wilkinson, Mark D., et al. 2016. ‘The FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship’, Scientific Data, 3. https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.18

Webinar Recordings: Introduction to the Open Science Framework and Raising Your Scholarly Digital Profile

The recordings and slides for our two webinars held this month are now available.

Introduction to the Open Science Framework, April 24, 2020

The Open Science Framework (OSF) is a platform for research project management and collaboration. See how to use the OSF for your entire project lifecycle (e.g. discovering research, work with other researchers at other institutions, and share your research and datasets). The OSF is great for Humanities and Social Science researchers! Instructors: Lea Wade, STEM Librarian, and Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship

Recording | Slides

Developing Your Scholarly Digital Profile, April 8, 2020

Promoting your scholarly presence online can be an arduous task. You’re not alone! With such diverse platforms as Google Scholar, Humanities Commons, Academia.edu, Linkedin, ResearchGate, ORCiD, institutional repositories, and more, the options for online promotion can be daunting. This workshop discusses the best ways to build your scholarly digital profile and the advantages and disadvantages of certain tools and platforms. Instructor: Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Digital Scholarship

Recording | Slides