ICPSR Research Paper Competition Now Accepting Entries

The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is now accepting entries for their Research Paper Competition. Entries will be accepted from both graduate and undergraduate students (or recent graduates who graduated on or after April 1, 2014.). Papers can be based on any topic from the ICPSR General Archive or Thematic Collection.

Awards include: $1,000 for first place and $750 for second place

Visit the ICPSR contest page for more info on how to enter the contest as well as view examples of past winning papers.

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THAT Camp – Chicago

Interested in attending a THAT Camp? Now is your chance! The camp meets on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago. It will last from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The cost is $20 (collected at the door), which helps cover some of the costs of holding the event. There are still some seats available! All are invited, but the attendance is capped at 50 people, so please sign up early and make proposals!

For those not familiar with them, The Humanities and Technology Camps (THAT Camps) are open, welcoming meetings where participants learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot. Anyone who is working on a digital humanities project, or who wants to learn about starting one, is welcome. You can learn more about how they work at the About THATCamp page.

THATCamp HSS 2014 is held in conjunction with the History of Science Society meeting this fall in Chicago. People of all skill levels and humanities interests are encouraged to attend. You can register here.

Sponsors include the IsisCB and the University of Chicago Press – Journals Division.

Follow updates for the camp on Twitter @THATCampHSS. Please use the hashtag #thatcampHSS.

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Using Voyant Tools for Basic Text Analysis

Voyant Tools is an open source web-based application that allows users to work with their own texts or existing text collections to perform basic text mining functions. These functions make it possible to quickly extract characteristics from a corpus and discover themes. Voyant Tools is available for free at http://voyant-tools.org/. From here, users can input the text to be analyzed in multiple ways. Follow the steps below to get started.

Loading Texts

For a basic single text: paste the text into the text box.

For text from webpages: enter the URLs of the webpages into the text box, listing each URL on a   separate line.

For plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, RTF or MS Word: select the “Upload” button beneath the text box. Click “Add” for each new document and “Upload” when all documents have been added.

To use Voyant’s pre-existing text collections: select “Open” and choose from the drop down list. Currently available are the Humanist Listserv Archives and Shakespeare’s Plays.

After the text is in place, select “Reveal.”

Basic Analysis Tools

After “revealing” the text, three tools will automatically appear: Cirrus, Summary, and Corpus Reader.

Cirrus displays a word cloud of highest frequency terms. Hovering over certain words will reveal their frequency. Clicking on a word will reveal more information including a word trends graph. In order to remove articles such as “the” and “and” from the word cloud, select the cog tool above the Cirrus feature. Select the language of the text from the drop down list and then click “Ok.” This will remove stop words from the word cloud revealing a more meaningful representation.

The Summary tool will provide information about the text or group of texts including total number of documents and words, length of documents, and distinctive words in each text. This will also draw out notable peaks in frequency and vocabulary density.

The Corpus Reader will reveal the texts in the corpus allowing the user to hover over words within the text to reveal frequency and more information.

To see the additional tools of Word Trends, Keywords in Context, and Words in Documents, click on the double-arrow icon in the upper right corner. Click on the single arrow icons to open all of the windows, and use the toolbars in the bottom of their panes to generate results.

More tools are available here.

Exporting Data

Above each tool, there is a disk icon that can be selected to export data from that tool. Users will have the option to save the data as an image or a URL that will return to that data. Exporting data will prevent the need to upload the same texts each time they are required.

For more information on using Voyant Tools, see this guide and additional documentation.

To see Voyant Tools in use, explore these examples.




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Docear – The Visual Citation Manager

Citation managers are incredibly helpful tools for organizing the work that we do as researchers. The ability they give us to search, sort, arrange, annotate, and create bibliographies serves as a great time-saver when it comes to the research process. We spend a lot of time carefully highlighting and annotating our resources, so wouldn’t it be nice if we could easily extract those annotations as we begin drafting our papers? Earlier this month, a patron alerted us to a new citation manager that allows you to do just that!

Born from a PhD project and supported by the University of California, Berkeley, and the DKE Group of the OvGU, Docear helps users organize, create, and discover academic literature. Docear was first officially released to the public in 2012 and its latest update included a new Microsoft Word add-on.This open-source (FREE) software is the first of its kind to offer a feature that allows you to begin drafting your paper right in the user interface.


There are three main features that distinguish Docear from other citation managers.

Single-section user-interface While it does offer a classic three-section interface, Docear’s single-interface setting is what sets it apart. This interface allows users to browse multiple documents of multiple categories at the same time as well as multiple annotations of multiple documents at the same time. This could allow users to locate particular annotations very quickly rather than scrolling through an entire list of annotations for one document. Users can also create sub-categories within PDFs in order to search “key terms” within annotations. The downside to this approach is that it is not very intuitive and could take some time to master.

Literature suite concept (academic suite) Docear combines several tools into a single application by useing a technique called “Mind Maps.” This unique approach to organizing references and PDFs is a visual learner’s dream.

Here is a break down of the hierarchy of a Mind Map: The root node typically represents the title of your work > Nodes in the first level represent chapter headings > then follow sub-headings > paragraphs > finally users may create a node for each sentence. Here is an example of a Mind Map.

The enhanced formatting capabilities of Docear allow users to format text, add icons, change colors of the categories, and add visual links between papers in order to better distinguish between sources.

Docear also offers a “recommender system” (similar to the Mendeley’s recommendation feature) that suggest papers that may be relevant to your research. All papers that Docear recommends are available for free in full-text.

Document Drafting and Outlining — Drafting your own papers, assignments, books, theses, etc. is the defining feature of Docear. To get started with this, users have the option to copy PDFs, annotations, and references to drafts. As users write, this will enable them to click over to the PDF they need and immediately access the page and annotation they wish to use.

Keep in mind that Docear is a very new product with a few bugs to work out. For example, there is not currently a web-importer. Click here for some instructions from Docear on how to import documents. It also doesn’t have the capability for integrated synchronization of data, but it does allow for users to synchronize data with 3rd party tools such as Drobpbox. As it grows, it could be the tool you’ve been waiting for to help streamline your workflow. Docear is free to download, so give it a try! There are constant improvements and updates being made to Docear. You can track those on the Docear blog to stay up-to-date. There is no such thing as the perfect citation manager, but there is such a thing as the perfect citation manager for you. Docear could be the one!

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Panel: “The Future of Scholarly Communication”

Next Wednesday, September 18th, the Scholarly Commons along with IPRH, GSLIS, and the Spurlock Museum will be sponsoring a panel on Scholarly Communication.

The ubiquity of digital technology and networked communication, in parallel with changing dynamics and economics of scholarship and the academy have led to rapid change in scholarly communication. While it appears clear that sharing scholarship and engaging in scholarly dialogue will remain central to the academic enterprise, the best ways to share and to conduct that dialogue are less clear. Libraries, scholarly societies, and, of course, scholars themselves are all assessing both present and future modes and methods of communication. This panel discussion will be conducted by those on the front lines of that assessment and of innovations in response.
Presented in collaboration with the Scholarly Commons of the University Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, with co-sponsorship by the Spurlock Museum.

The panel consists of: Kathleen Fitzpatrick the Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association and Visiting Research Professor of English, New York University, Seth Denbo the Director of Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives at the American Historical Association, and Maria Bonn from the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences and the Editor of the Journal of Electronic Publishing.

Date: Sep 17, 2014
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum (600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana)
Sponsor: IPRH, GSLIS, Spurlock Museum, and the Scholarly Commons of the University Library

This event is free and open to the public.
For more details click here.

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ATLAS Offers Data Consulting, Free Online Tools, Workshops, and More

The college of LAS has recently purchased college-wide licenses for the online survey research tools: Surveygizmo and Qualtrics.  These accounts are free to faculty and students.  To request an account please use the following link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1781704/surveytool

ATLAS also offers:

– A free questionnaire design workshop  and assistance with programing online surveys:http://www.atlas.illinois.edu/services/stats/consulting/

–An open computer lab with knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions about quantitative and qualitative research and programs:  2043 Lincoln Hall,(9-5 M-Th, 9-3 F)

–Free workshops: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1708941/workshop-registration

–Classroom demonstrations  for our supported programs: http://www.atlas.illinois.edu/services/stats/tutorials/

Here is the ATLAS Fall Workshop Schedule

10/08/2014  – ATLAS.ti Introduction – Qualitative Coding

9/24/2014 – ArcGIS 1: Introduction to ArcCatalog and ArcMap
10/01/2014 – ArcGIS 2: Introduction to ArcToolbox

10/07/2014 – SPSS 1: Getting Started with SPSS
10/142014 – SPSS 2: Inferential Statistics with SPSS

10/22/2014 – Stata 1: Getting Started with Stata
10/29/2014 – Stata 2: Inferential Statistics with Stata

10/21/2014 – SAS 1: Getting Started with SAS 
10/28/2014 – SAS 2: Inferential Statistics with SAS

09/23/2014 – R: Getting Started with R
09/30/2014 – R 2: Inferential Statistics

11/04/2014 – Survey Research

Do you need help locating data for a project or thesis?  Do you need assistance preparing your data for analysis?  ATLAS holds Data Service hours in the Library’s Scholarly Commons (306 Main Library).  For more information please visit: http://www.library.illinois.edu/datagis/

For more information about any of these services, please visit:

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Help Obtaining Data is Available from the Library

This fall marks the fifth annual Data Purchase Program, where the University Library accepts applications from campus researchers for purchasing data that will be useful to them in their research.  The data must under $5,000, must be used for teaching or research, and it must be available to all of campus.  Some vendors are only willing to sell access for one person, but often we can negotiate campus access.

The library has purchased a large variety of data: from tax assessor’s data for the Chicago area to satellite imagery of a river in Argentina and the locations of villages in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India.  A full list of purchased data is on the program description page at http://www.library.illinois.edu/sc/datagis/purchase/description2014.html.

The deadline for first consideration is September 29, but the Data Services Committee will consider applications that come in later as long as we have funds available and can complete the purchase by the end of the fiscal year.

If you are interested in applying for the Data Purchase Program, the online application is at https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/9886260.  If you have questions about the program or need help identifying data for your research, please contact Karen Hogenboom, Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian, at hogenboo@illinois.edu.  We look forward to connecting you with the data you need!

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Learning with Lynda.com

Finally, you’ve located the software you need. Now, how to use it.

The ever broadening world of software, programs, applications, coding languages, and technical services can be hard to keep up with. Youtube can be a great option when you want a quick fix of how to convert file formats, install things, and the like. However, if you’re looking for a well-made tutorial that will walk you through learning a piece of software, look no further. Lynda.com is a subscription service available through the library with your netID.

What can it teach me? Lynda offers courses on much of the software available in the Scholarly Commons in categories of Animation, Music, Business, CAD, Design, Developer, Education, Marketing, Photography, Video, and Web.  Although there are hundreds of tutorials on specific software, they also feature tutorials on learning discipline specific fundamentals and principles. Lynda also remembers which tutorials you watched and displays an eye-icon next to them so that next time you’ll know where you left off. No need to watch a whole series though if you just want to learn a particular feature. Tutorials are often broken down into specific items or features that you might want to use (e.g. how to sort tables in Excel).

Where can you find it? Lynda is available through all three campuses and the different links are listed below. Once you’re logged in though, finding the software you need is a simple search in the search box or navigating their tutorial catalog.

Whether you’re looking to update your software skills, want to explore an application before deciding to purchase it, or need to learn some programming for your research project, Lynda.com is a great place to start.

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New GIS Specialist at Scholarly Commons

The Scholarly Commons has a new GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Specialist, James Whitacre. James’s expertise will enhance the Scholarly Commons’s ability to help students and faculty with their geospatial research needs and geodata design and management. He will be available by appointment to help researchers acquire geodata, design and manage spatially enabled databases, find the geoprocessing tools needed to analyze geodata, and enhance maps to be publication ready and will hold office hours during fall and spring semesters.

If you are unsure of what GIS is, the Scholarly Commons will continue to offer an introductory workshop on how GIS can be used in research, to help researchers understand the power of geospatial technologies. Additionally, the Scholarly Commons plans to expand GIS training opportunities to help expand students’ knowledge of GIS concepts and techniques. Topics will include finding geodata on the web, geodata design and management best practices, map publication, free and open source and online software tools, coordinate systems and projections, and software scripting tools such as ModelBuilder and Python.

James comes to us from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History where he served as the GIS Manager for three years, after finishing his Master of Science in Geography, concentrating on GIS and Cartography, at the Indiana University of the Pennsylvania. James has a strong background in natural sciences, but also has experience with many other GIS applications, such as population analysis, crime mapping, and cartographic production.

Welcome, James!

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The Image of Research Gallery

Behold! All image entries from the very first Image of Research Contest are now viewable in the online gallery!

The Image of Research is a multidisciplinary competition celebrating the diversity and breadth of student research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Inspired by the contest at the University of Chicago graduate college, this spring was the first edition for the students at Illinois. Both graduate and undergraduate entrants were asked to submit an image along with a brief abstract articulating the ways in which the image relates to their research. The entries were then judged by an interdisciplinary panel and monetary awards were given to the top contestants.

The graduate Image of Research contest was held in February and the winners were announced during graduate student appreciation week in April at a showcase in the Illini Union. There were an impressive 64 entries this year! The winners included: Keith Cassidy in first place, Marissa Brooke Siebel in second place, Lauren Fields in third place, and Aron Katz and Nico Brown with honorable mentions. The people’s choice award (voted on at the showcase) also went to first place winner, Keith Cassidy. The images have since been archived in the institutional repository (IDEALS) and they have been organized into collections and exhibits using a platform called Omeka, making them accessible long-term for those who are interested.

The undergraduate edition of the contest was held in the Illini Union this year and showcased the works of 23 participants. This year’s contestants of special recognition included: JunYoung Gwak in first place, Aimee Gottlieb in second place, Le Wang in third place, and Tayana Panova of honorable mention. This year’s student contributions illustrated some of the creative and exciting research that undergraduates are involved in at the University of Illinois. All entries have also been put into IDEALS as well as Omeka.

You can navigate through each image and read each abstract submitted by the contestants in the gallery. Browse the winners in the 2014 Winners Exhibit! Go take a peek at this great demonstration of the scholarly research being done by the students at Illinois.

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