Undergraduate Research at the Scholarly Commons

While the research conducted by graduate students and faculty has been a trademark of the University of Illinois for over a century, undergraduate research is often overshadowed. Why is undergraduate research important? As the Office of Undergraduate Research explains, “Our [mission] is guided by the philosophy that all Illinois undergraduate students should learn about current disciplinary research, take part in research discussions, and be exposed to research experiences in their regular coursework.” Learning how to do research in a field is quickly becoming part of what it means to learn a field.

As a source for digital content creation and scholarly communication, the Scholarly Commons has built on this mission to provide a digital publishing base for these bright students through the Undergraduate Research Journals. These journals have the dual purpose of showcasing the work our undergraduates are doing while giving experience to students, both undergraduate and graduate, in running their own academic journals.

Through the open-access framework of Open Journal System, these journals present work from disciplines across campus ranging from English to Agricultural sciences. Some of these journals have had print runs in the past, or continue to print conventionally, while others are taking advantage of the online format to start new publishing opportunities.

The Illini Journal of International Security is one such journal. Through the Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security, IJOIS is a new journal publishing this year accepting cross-disciplinary approaches to international security issues.

Our Undergraduate Research Journals are a window into the exciting work being done by undergraduates across campus, and we encourage our readers to check each of the journals out at https://ugresearchjournals.illinois.edu/.

-Posted on behalf of Dylan Burns

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Ariel Waldman: The Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Mark your calendars: Ariel Waldman will be visiting the University of Illinois campus on March 1 to give a lecture titled, “The Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The talk will take place in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom at 4 PM, with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public.


Here’s an excerpt from her official bio:

Ariel Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration. She is the founder of Spacehack.org, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global director of Science Hack Day, a 20-countries-and-growing grassroots endeavor to make things with science. She is the author of What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There (Chronicle Books, 2016). Ariel is also the co-author of a congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences study on the future of human spaceflight. She sits on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that nurtures radical, science fiction-like ideas that could transform future space missions. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.

Let your friends know you’re going with the Facebook event page! In the meantime, you can learn more about Ariel on her official website.

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Join Us for Love Your Data Week

The University of Illinois Research Data Service and the Scholarly Commons will be participating in Love Your Data week Feb. 8-12, 2016, a nationwide event designed to raise awareness about research data management, sharing, and preservation, along with the support and resources available at our university. We believe research data are the foundation of the scholarly record and crucial for advancing our knowledge of the world around us. If you care about research data, please join us!

Each day will have a theme driving the event, with opportunities to complete hands-on activities that will guide your efforts to keep your data safe, findable, understandable, citable, and reusable.

Follow @ILresearchdata on Twitter where the Research Data Service will be tweeting daily research data management tips, examples, and resources, as well as connecting you with experts on our campus and in your discipline. Track #LYD16 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to tune into the national Love Your Data week campaign and join the conversation about research data management by sharing your own experiences and results from the daily activities.

Visit the Love Your Data website to learn more about the event and check out the topics we will be exploring each day.

If you have any questions about Love Your Data week at the UofI, please email Elise Dunham at emdunham@illinois.edu.

(Guest post by Elise Dunham)

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Natural Language Processing in the Digital Humanities

     Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an important method for digital humanists, enabling researchers to look for relationships and patterns between words in large bodies of text. The Scholarly Commons provides tools and resources for scholars who are using or learning NLP in their research, and we want to alert you to awesome-nlp, which is a compilation of NLP guidance available on the internet.

     This page on GitHub “awesome-nlp,” has links to resources, tools, and tutorials. Three resources that I found to be helpful on the page:

1. Video: Stanford’s Coursera Course on NLP basics
2. Article: Natural Language Processing: An Introduction
3. Paper: TwitIE: An Open-Source Information Extraction Pipeline for Microblog Text

     Awesome-nlp is available on GitHub at https://github.com/keonkim/awesome-nlp. One thing that I really liked about this site was that it is inclusive to all users. It provides a range of resources suited toward the novice and the more advanced practitioner. I found this page to be especially beneficial for someone who does not have an in-depth background in natural processing languages. It offers a wide variety of introductory videos and papers on the topic.

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A guide to choosing the right statistical analysis

Often one of the most difficult parts of running a statistical analysis is figuring out which analysis to use. While data can be analyzed in a variety of legitimate ways, it is useful to have some general guidelines to use in getting started.

photo credit: Lendingmemo.com

photo credit: Lendingmemo, CC BY 2.0

The Institute for Digital Research and Education at UCLA has put together a handy table to help you figure out which analysis to use based on the number and nature of the variables with which you are working.

After you have determined which test to run, take advantage of the links to tutorials that explain how to conduct the tests using SAS, Stata, SPSS, and R.

If you would like more assistance with statistical analysis, don’t hesitate to contact us at the Scholarly Commons.

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Data/Python Open Hours for Spring Semester

Research data not playing nicely? Don’t let a data management or a technical problem come between you and your data being beautiful. Let the Research Data Service and the Scholarly Commons help.

The RDS has once again partnered with the Scholarly Commons to offer Data/Python Open hours for the Spring 2016 semester. These drop-in hours are designed for anyone needing data management or technical help on a research project. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome to drop by (for free!) to get help with:

• Research data management
• Learning how to code
• Using Python and R for reproducible research
• Accessing large data files
• Cleaning data
• Web scraping
• And much more!

Please bring your computer and any data files you’re trying to work with. Drop-in hours are not designed to be homework help for programming or statistics courses.

Stop by anytime between 3-5pm on Tuesdays starting January 19 at the Scholarly Commons (Room 306 Main Library; near the Wright Street stairwell).

Questions? Contact Elizabeth (wickes1@illinois.edu) or the Scholarly Commons (sc@library.illinois.edu).

(Guest post by Elizabeth Wickes)

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Jan 30: FREE Computational Social Science Workshop

The Scholarly Commons and I-CHASS (The Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) are teaming up to host the 2016 Computational Social Science Workshop. Speakers from around campus will give introductory talks and hands-on workshops about data-driven research in social science, including such topics as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), network analysis, text analysis, and machine learning. Keynote speakers Ruby Mendenhall and Sally Jackson will share their experiences bringing computational methods into their research.

Graduate students are encouraged to submit poster abstracts on their own computationally-oriented research for the afternoon reception and poster session. The CFP and submission form are available here: http://goo.gl/forms/JXpMJqEpdc

Register for the 2016 CSS Workshop here: https://goo.gl/ggV19P 

Schedule and more information here: http://www.library.illinois.edu/sc/events/css.html

The event will be held on January 30th from 9 am-5 pm at the I-Hotel and Conference Center. It is a FREE event for graduate students, and lunch and snacks will be provided.

Please contact Eleanor Dickson, dicksone@illinois.edu with any questions.

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Data Cite – Find, Identify, and Cite Datasets

Data Cite a non-profit organization created to establish easier access to research data,  increase acceptance of research data as legitimate, citable contributions to the scholarly record, and support data archiving.  This organization seeks to bring institutions, researchers and other interested groups together to address the challenges of making research data accessible and visible.  Through collaboration, researchers find support in locating, identifying, and citing research datasets with confidence.

Data Centers are provided persistent identifiers for datasets, plus workflows and standards for data publication. Journal publishers receive support to enable research articles to be linked with data.  Data Cite works with organizations, data centers, and libraries that host data in efforts to assign persistent identifiers to data sets.

Data citation is important for data re-use, verification and tracking.  Citable datasets become legitimate contributions to scholarly communication, paving the way for new metrics and publication models that recognize and reward data sharing. More information on  DataCite services, resources and events can be found  https://www.datacite.org/.


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University Library joins “Annotating All Knowledge” effort

The University Library and more than 40 scholarly publishers, platforms, libraries and technology partners have joined the “Annotating All Knowledge” effort. Coalition members, some of the world’s largest and most important scholarly publishers and knowledge platforms, share the goal of building an open conversation layer over all knowledge, which encompasses books, articles, images, data, and other scholarly works. They will be working together to define, design, and implement a common framework for scholarly collaboration from peer-review through post-production discussion, all based on open standards.

“Libraries are hubs which bring users and information together,” said John Wilkin, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at Illinois. “Open Annotation is a compelling technology that can make our online resources more lively and valuable.”

For more information, visit http://hypothes.is/annotating-all-knowledge.

-Posted on behalf of the University of Illinois Libraries

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Scholarly Commons offers reference collection in support of digital scholarship

The Scholarly Commons reference collection contains resources about a wide variety of topics in digital scholarship. Our collection is small enough for browsing by new learners and broad enough in scope to offer useful resources to researchers who need to brush up on various software packages.


Our collection contains books on the following topics, as well as many more:

  • Data visualization
  • GIS
  • Author Rights and Open Access
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • User experience and Usability Testing
  • SPSS
  • R
  • Photoshop
  • Bibliometrics
  • Data Mining

Our workstations are loaded with many of the software packages covered by our reference collection so that you can read up on software right as you are using it. We also have several comfortable reading chairs where you can study our books. Though reference collection items can’t be checked out, we have scanners on hand if you need to copy a few pages.

Come check out our reference collection for yourself in room 306 of the Main Library. We are open from 10 to 6, Monday through Friday.

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