As blogs continue to provide a low barrier to entry for authors to distribute content in all avenues from academia to entertainment, it is important to make sure that blog posts are just as easy to access for readers. Here at Illinois, our blogs are run through publish.illinois.edu, a WordPress-based publishing service. As we try to improve our services for all, especially our remotely available services, I wanted to use this week’s Commons Knowledge post to discuss improving accessibility in WordPress. Within the platform, making more accessible blog posts isn’t difficult nor does it require much time; however, building these practices into our workflow allows for posts to be accessible—not just for some, but for all.
The Scholarly Commons would like to wish you a warm welcome back as we gear up for an exciting new semester of research and opportunities together! We have officially resumed our regular semester hours. Come visit us anytime Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you’re anything like us here in the Scholarly Commons, the day you’ve been waiting for is finally here. It’s time to put on a costume, eat too much candy, and celebrate all things spooky. That’s right, folks. It’s Halloween and we couldn’t be happier!
If you’ve been keeping up with our Twitter (@ScholCommons) this month, you’ve noticed we’ve been sharing some ghoulish graphs and other scary scholarship. To keep the holiday spirit(s) high, I wanted to use this week’s blog post to gather up all our favorites.
First up, check out the most haunted cities in the US on The Next Web, which includes some graphs but also a heat map of the most haunted areas in the country. Which region do you think has the most ghosts?
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) October 15, 2019
If you’re more interested in what’s happening on across the pond, we’ve got you covered. Click on this project to see just how scary ArcGIS story maps can be.
And while ghosts may be cool, we all know the best Halloween characters are all witches. Check out this fascinating project from The University of Edinburgh that explores real, historic witch hunts in Scotland.
Looking to brush up on some haunted history this week? Check out this fantastic map of the witchy history of Scotland, courtesy of the University of Edinburgh!https://t.co/GnxRr8YL2F
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) October 28, 2019
The next project we want to show you might be one of the scariest. I was absolutely horrified to find out that Illinois’ most popular Halloween candy is Jolly Ranchers. If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters tonight, please think of the children and reconsider your candy offerings.
Is your favorite candy on the map?https://t.co/Lqc6ggwqyo
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) October 28, 2019
Now that we’ve share the most macabre maps around, let’s shift our focus to the future. Nathan Yau uses data to predict when your death will occur. And if this isn’t enough to terrify you, try his tool to predict how you’ll die.
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) October 29, 2019
Finally, if you’re looking for some cooking help from an AI or a Great Old One, check out this neural network dubbed “Cooking with Cthulhu.”
Need some recipe ideas for your Halloween party? This AI project is here to help (well… sort of.)https://t.co/0YSpejCsfF
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) October 31, 2019
Do you have any favorite Halloween-themed research projects? If so, please share it with us here or on Twitter. And if you’re interested in doing your own deadly digital scholarship, feel free to reach out to the Scholarly Commons to learn how to get started or get help on your current work. Remember, in the words everyone’s favorite two-faced mayor…
Lynda.com had a long history with libraries. The online learning platform offered video courses to help people “learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.” Lynda.com paired well with other library services and collections, offering library users the chance to learn new skills at their own pace in an accessible and varied medium.
However, in 2015—twenty years after its initial launch—Lynda.com was purchased by LinkedIn. A year later, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. And now, in 2019, Lynda.com content is available through the newly-formed LinkedIn Learning.
The good news is that this change from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning includes access to all of the same content previously available. This means that, through the University Library’s subscription, you still have access to courses on software like R, SQL, Tableu, Python, InDesign, Photoshop, and more (many of which are available to use on campus at the Scholarly Commons). There are also courses on broader, related topics like data science, database management, and user experience.
Setting up your own personal account to access LinkedIn Learning is where things get just a little trickier. As a result of the transition from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning, users are now strongly encouraged to link their personal LinkedIn accounts with their LinkedIn Learning accounts. Completing courses in LinkedIn Learning will earn you badges that are automatically carried over to your LinkedIn account. However, this additional step—using a personal LinkedIn account to access these course—also makes the information about your LinkedIn Learning as public as your LinkedIn profile. Because Lynda.com only required a library card and PIN, this change in privacy has received push-back from libraries and library organizations across the country.
This new policy change doesn’t mean you should avoid LinkedIn Learning, it just means you should use it with care and make an informed decision about your privacy settings. Maybe you want potential employers to see what you’re proactively learning about on the platform, maybe you to keep that information private. Either way, you can get details on setting up accounts and your privacy settings by consulting this guide created by Technology Services.
LinkedIn Learning can be accessed through the University Library here.
Hello students, faculty, and everyone else who makes up the amazing community of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! We hope the beginning of this new academic year has been an exciting and only-mildly-hectic time. The Scholarly Commons, your central hub for qualitative and quantitative research assistance, has officially resumed our extended hours.
That’s right, for the entirety of this beautiful fall semester we will be open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-6:00pm!
New additions to the Scholarly Commons this semester include two, new, high-powered computers featuring: 6-core processors, NVidia 1080 video cards, 32GB RAM, and solid-state drives.
For the first time, we’ll also be offering REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) consultations to help you with data collection and database needs. Drop-in hours are available during this fall on Tuesdays, 9:00-11:00am in the Scholarly Commons.
CITL Statistical Consulting is back to help you with all your research involving R, Stata, SPSS, SAS, and more. Consultations can be requested through this form.
Drop-in hours are available with CITL Consultants:
Wednesday: 10:00am-1:00pm, 2:00-5:00pm
Once again our wonderful Data Analytics and Visualization Librarian, Megan Ozeran, is offering office hours every other Monday, 2:00-4:00pm (next Office Hours will be held 9/9). Feel free to stop by with your questions about data visualization!
And speaking of data visualization, the Scholarly Commons will be hosting the Data Viz Competition this fall. Undergraduate and graduate student submissions will be judged separately, and there will be first and second place awards for each. All awards will be announced at the finale event on Tuesday, October 22nd. Check out last year’s entries.
Do you like to transform data into knowledge? Do you make graphs, infographics, or interactive dashboards? Show off your work! Enter your best data visualization for a chance to win $400. Visit https://t.co/lTQNxDyquE for more information and to submit. pic.twitter.com/Edvemdjp4c
— Scholarly Commons (@ScholCommons) August 26, 2019
As always, please reach out to the Scholarly Commons with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and best of luck in all your research this upcoming year!
Data visualization is where the humanities and sciences meet: viewers are dazzled by the presentation yet informed by research. Lovingly referred to as “the poster child of interdisciplinarity” by Steven Braun, data visualization brings these two fields closer together than ever to help provide insights that may have been impossible without the other. In his book Data Visualization for Success, Braun sits down with forty designers with experience in the field to discuss their approaches to data visualization, common techniques in their work, and tips for beginners.
Braun’s collection of interviews provides an accessible introduction into data visualization. Not only is the book filled with rich images, but each interview is short and meant to offer an individual’s perspective on their own work and the field at large. Each interview begins with a general question about data visualization to contribute to the perpetual debate of what data visualization is and can be moving forward.
Antonio Farach, one of the designers interviewed in the book, calls data visualization “the future of storytelling.” And when you see his work – or really any of the work in this book – you can see why. Each new image has an immediate draw, but it is impossible to move past without exploring a rich narrative. Visualizations in this book cover topics ranging from soccer matches to classic literature, economic disparities, selfie culture, and beyond.
Each interview ends by asking the designer for their advice to beginners, which not only invites new scholars and designers to participate in the field but also dispels any doubt of the hard work put in by these designers or the science at the root of it all. However, Barbara Hahn and Christine Zimmermann of Han+Zimmermann may have put it best, “Data visualization is not making boring data look fancy and interesting. Data visualization is about communicating specific content and giving equal weight to information and aesthetics.”
A leisurely, stunning, yet informative read, Data Visualization for Success offers anyone interested in this explosive field an insider’s look from voices around the world. Drop by the Scholarly Commons during our regular hours to flip through this wonderful read.
And finally, if you have any further interest in data visualization make sure you stay up to date on our Exploring Data Visualization series or take a look at what services the Scholarly Commons provides!
Although the push for open access is decades old at this point, it remains one of the most important initiatives in the world of scholarly communication and publishing. Free of barriers like the continuously rising costs of subscription-based serials, open access publishing allows researchers to explore, learn, build upon, and create new knowledge without inhibition. As Peter Suber says, “[Open access] benefits literally everyone, for the same reasons that research itself benefits literally everyone.”
Peter Suber is the Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication; Director of the Harvard Open Access Project; and, among many other titles, the “de facto leader of the worldwide open access movement.” In short, Suber is an expert when it comes to open access. Thankfully, he knows the rest of us might not have time to be.
Suber introduces his book Open Access (a part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series) by writing, “I want busy people to read this book. […] My honest belief from experience in the trenches is that the largest obstacle to OA is misunderstanding. The largest cause of misunderstanding is the lack of familiarity, and the largest cause of unfamiliarity is preoccupation. Everyone is busy.”
What follows is an informative yet concise read on the broad field of open access. Suber goes into the motivation for open access, the obstacles preventing it, and what the future may hold. In clear language, Suber breaks down jargon and explains how open access navigates complex issues concerning copyright and payment. This is a great introductory read to an issue so prominent in academia.